Real estate investing companies have new competition in the space: the mobile app. More and more startups are offering people the opportunity to get into the real estate investing space for as low as $10 or $100.
While this is good news for investors, it can be bad news for established real estate investing companies. Mobile apps in the real estate investing space are new and shiny. They’re getting lots of news coverage. Every time a tech startup secures multi-million dollar funding, they get free publicity in the form of news headlines.
It can be challenging for a real estate investing company to compete. So, what marketing goals do you have to make your company stand out?
Is This My Target Demographic?
The first thing you want to do is stop and take a breath. All this hype around mobile real estate investing apps can prevent you from seeing the key question. Are the people who use these apps my target demographic?
Many times as marketers, especially when we’re marketing for our own businesses, we get pulled away from our marketing goals. We’re so busy trying to react to the market that we move away from our marketing goals.
So, take a moment to breathe and process. Then ask yourself, are the people who use these apps my target demographic?
People who use mobile apps for investing tend to be younger, part of the Millennials and Generation Z. Am I trying to target investors in that age group, or am I targeting Generation X and Baby Boomers?
The people who use mobile apps for investing usually look at the apps because they have a set amount of income they can invest in the real estate market. They’re looking to own a piece of a property instead of the whole property because they may not have the cash flow currently.
Do you have a target price for investors? Are you looking for investors that can invest $100,000 or more, or are you also targeting investors that can invest $10,000 or more? In the prior case, the mobile app users may not be in your target demographic, while in the latter case, they may be.
How to Pull Investors Away from Mobile Apps
If you’ve determined that some, if not all, of the mobile app investors are also your target market, then there are ways that you can show them that you’re a better choice than these nameless, faceless companies.
Offer Better Service
First and foremost, offer better service.
A mobile app is designed for hundreds of thousands of users. Anytime one of these users has a question, they email customer support through a generic email, receive an automated reply and then wait 24-48 hours for someone on the other end to give them a canned response.
Your team can do better than this. Personalize your service. Address each client by name when they email. Automated responses are acceptable when you receive the initial email, but spend the time to offer a genuine and personal email response when you answer the question.
Be timely, but also be personal.
Offer Better Information
Mobile apps are all about making things easy to understand and read. As a result, they don’t always offer the best information about an investment. It’s tough to pack all that information onto a small smartphone screen.
As a real estate investment company, you can offer your clients better information. Sure, you can break things down into manageable, bite-sized pieces. But you can also elaborate on that information. You can go in-depth and keep your potential clients informed.
Set up an introductory meeting to talk to potential investors. Not only will you offer better information than a mobile app, but you’ll also offer better service in a 30-minute appointment.
And, when it comes to investing, education is just as important as information.
Mobile apps don’t always go that extra mile to educate customers. You can.
This isn’t just educating people about the investments available to them but also educating them about the process itself. Educate them about the pros and cons of real estate investing. How do you choose suitable properties for them? What do you look for in a tenant? Are there rules that you live by?
Think of this as a teaching opportunity for investors. That’s something that you can offer that most mobile apps cannot. Use your experience and market know-how to one-up the competition.
Mobile apps can look like a threat to your business and your business model. As a business owner, you should be aware of what these apps are doing and what they’re offering. Be apprised of what your competition is doing.
However, do not overreact. Remember to take a minute to evaluate. Is this direct competition or just another player in the market going after a different clientele than you?
No matter what you determine, as long as you stick to offering excellent customer service and keeping your clients well-informed, you will be okay.
Written by Erika Towne