Updated: Mar 7, 2021
Many of the people I know and work with are surprised to learn that when I moved to the U.S. 5 years ago, I didn’t know anyone. Nonetheless, that didn’t stop me from raising tens of millions of dollars in capital for my real estate syndications. Today, as founder and CEO of Blue Lake Capital, I have over 2,000 units across the country.
There is something else that most people don’t realize about me: I absolutely hate sales! Some people are born to sell, and love selling to others. I don’t fall into that category. What I did to help me raise capital was to build a system that allowed me to act as a salesperson without having to go through the rigorous selling process. Thanks to the system I developed, investors now reach out to me from across the globe on a regular basis. My system automates the process of raising capital, and if you implement it, you’ll have investors reaching out to you as well.
Managing Your Time
Before developing my automated system, I would make individual phone calls, send out individual emails, and wait until I had an actual deal before engaging in communication with investors. Those tactics are a prime example of how NOT to raise money as a syndicator. The issue is time, and there’s never enough of it during the day. Reaching out individually takes an inordinate amount of time from my day, and your day as well.
Instead, you should always be automating the selling process. Before you ever have a deal, you should be engaging with investors. You should also be engaging when collecting soft commitments from investors, once the deal is in place, and after the deal closes. I do this every minute of every day, because the more contact you have with investors, the more visible you will become and the more capital you will raise. It helps not only build a group of potential investors, it helps you manage your time more efficiently.
3-Step Plan to Automate Capital Raise
The automated process I’ve developed is a 3-step plan designed to automate raising capital. I’m happy to share it with you, with the hope it will help you manage your time and build your syndication business.
Step 1: Create a Thought Leadership Platform
Investors who don’t know you want to be sure that you have the experience and knowledge to successfully syndicate a real estate deal and provide a competitive return on their investment. A thought leadership platform helps you demonstrate that knowledge and expertise about real estate investing. Even if you’re just starting out, the fact is you know more about investing than the average person does. It also opens and expands your network beyond the people you know. Using a thought leadership platform, investors reach out to me from all over the U.S., Saudi Arabia, Spain, Germany, etc.
Start an Investing Blog
I recommend creating a blog, that will not only be informational, but educational as well. The key to success with a blog is to be consistent. I have a new blog on my website each and every week, without fail. That way content is fresh, timely, and shows you’re at the top of your game. When writing your blog, start by finding your voice in order to show that you are unique and set apart from other syndicators who publish blogs.
Brainstorm Topics and Content
Finding topics that appeal to passive investors is crucial to having a successful blog, as well as one that people look forward to reading. You can start writing about questions you often hear from investors. You can also view competitors’ blogs to gain insight on the topics they’re using and do keyword research to see what people are searching for when they go online.
I recommend using “Keywords Everywhere” – a browser add-on for keyword research. It provides keyword information you can use to gain visibility for your blog. You’ll be able to view the keywords people are using, what others are paying for cost-per-click and also get “people also searched for” informational data that will give you additional keyword info.
If you have trouble writing a blog or aren’t sure about the best practices involved in putting one together, hire a freelancer. Websites like Upwork.com and Guru.com have professional providers who can write in your unique voice, using “I” and “we” when talking about your topics. You can view their profiles, view samples of their previous work and writing style, and learn how much they’re charging for their time.
Create a Lead Magnet on Your Website
A great tactic that I use is a lead capture program. Often referred to as a “lead magnet,” a lead capture program is designed to get email addresses of targeted people, in your case passive investors. With this program, you offer a person something for posting their email address in order to download the content that you’re offering. Just remember that you have to offer something of value at no charge in order to attract interest and get the person to provide their email address. It can be an article, white paper or an eBook that talks about a relevant topic, like purchasing value-add multifamily properties, top rental markets for investors, or other similar topics.
Speaking of your website, you should also create an investor form, so potential investors can reach out to you. Get all of their pertinent contact information and ask if they’re accredited investors, as well as how much money they’re planning to invest, etc. Finally, you need to automate the newsletter reminders for follow-up with investors. Use CRMs like HubSpot or Contactually that help you set up templates and reminders, helping to maximize your time. Remember, consistency is the key to success.
Another tactic is to promote your content on social media using an automated scheduler like Hootsuite. You will be able to target your audience with LinkedIn, Facebook, and other social media sites.
Create a Weekly or Monthly Newsletter
I recommend developing a newsletter to keep potential investors engaged while educating them about real estate investing. If you don’t want to do it yourself, hire someone from Upwork.com or Guru.com. Another option is to record short videos of yourself talking and post them as part of your newsletter.
In addition to investment content, your newsletter should also include personal information and stories about yourself and what you have been doing. This helps to personalize your newsletter and show you as a person, as well as a syndicator. Suggest recommended reading materials, including articles, books, and journals that talk about your area of expertise and include links to each one. Offer valuable content, because your goal is to add value to investors. Also include a link to your current blog posts in your newsletter, and direct investors to visit your website. Always have a contact link in your newsletter so the viewer can easily schedule a call with you.
Step 2: Automate your Marketing Process
This includes lead capture programs, automated email follow ups, social media and so much more. It also includes creating templates and other materials that enable you to communicate without having to reinvent the wheel every time you want to send something to investors.
Step 3: Automate the Investment Process
When you have a deal, handling investors manually can be a time-consuming mission, and a very inefficient process. Don’t send individual emails to each investor. Instead, send out an automated email using marketing platforms like HubSpot, Constant Contact, or Mailchimp. I also send an automated invite to my investors and invite them to a conference call. I hold it live and walk through the deal, allow investors to ask questions about the deal in real time, and then send the recording to those who couldn’t attend the call. It’s a tactic that basically cut the time it took me to market a deal in half, because you pitch the deal once to tens or hundreds of investors, instead of repeating your pitch every time you speak with an investor. You can use tools like Freeconferencecalls.com, Zoom, or WebEx.
When sending an email to investors with your new deal, you can also add a soft commitment button, and start building a list of interested investors. This is relevant before you are ready to get funded (when you are still finalizing the PPM, setting up the LLCs, etc).
When you are ready to take hard commitments and your investors need to sign the PPM, use DocuSign to sign investors, acknowledge receipt, and get their copy of the agreement. Other investment management platforms such as Groundbreaker or MSI can be helpful in automating signatures on PPMs and wiring funds.
As you can see, there are many ways you can maximize your time each day by automating the engagement process with investors. Start with a Thought Leadership Platform to demonstrate your knowledge and expertise. Be sure to automate your marketing program and automate your soft commitment process.
Create a blog, a newsletter, and automated emails to keep in touch with investors. Drive readers to your website and be sure to be consistent with your posts. Develop a lead capture program to capture email addresses of investors. Automate your emails, and don’t wait for a deal to send them to potential investors. Always have communication going so people know what you’re doing. Use social media to encourage people to read your blog and visit your website. And always send out follow up emails to anyone who has responded to you.
Want to Invest with Ellie?
If you are interested in learning more about passively investing in apartment buildings, click here to schedule a call with Ellie Perlman.
About the Author
Ellie is the founder of Blue Lake Capital, a real estate company specialized in multifamily investing throughout the United States. At Blue Lake Capital, Ellie helps investors grow their wealth and achieve double-digit returns by investing alongside her in exclusive multifamily deals they usually don't have access to.
Ellie is the host of REady2Scale , a podcast that highlights honest, insightful, and thought-provoking discussions on the multiple approaches for successful real estate investing.
She started her career as a commercial real estate lawyer, leading real estate transactions for one of Israel’s leading development companies. Later, as a property manager for Israel’s largest energy company, she oversaw properties worth over $100MM. Additionally, Ellie is an experienced entrepreneur who helped build and scale companies by improving their business operations.
Ellie holds a Masters in Law from Bar-Ilan University in Israel and an MBA from MIT Sloan School of Management.