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Social Proof for Motivated Sellers: 6 Ways To Maximize Conversions

Social Proof for Motivated Sellers: 6 Ways To Maximize Conversions

Reputation is everything in real estate. It takes hard work to build a good reputation, and even the slightest blunder can ruin it. And, today, with social media (and the internet in general), it’s really easy to check the track record of a specific company, your real estate investing business included.

To help you create a more positive perception of your business, let’s look at social proof marketing for investors. We will cover the basics of word-of-mouth marketing through digital means and explore six ways to use social proof to increase conversions.

Read on to get our take on marketing strategies based on social proof.

Social Proof Marketing 101

What does social proof actually entail? 

Traditionally, social proof refers to testimonials from people who’ve bought a product (or in the case of real estate investing, used a service). Testimonials remain the most effective form of social proof marketing, however, online posts, reviews, and social shares help convert your audience as well. You can also use stats to present your business to prospective leads and partners, particularly if you select those stats that make your brand look good.

Since we all work and socialize in a fast-paced world, even short reviews can influence house sellers’ decision-making when they need a real estate investor’s services (more on this below).

The underlying logic is straightforward; often, the house that’s up for sale is the owner’s most valuable asset. And on top of that, they are about to enter into a significant transaction (sometimes the biggest of their lives), so the urge to check what other house owners say about the investor comes naturally.

The perfect scenario is to have someone satisfied with how you sold their house refer others (family, friends, neighbors) to your business. And when that’s not possible, digital social proof will do – it’s the second-best.

Why Does Social Proof Work?

We don’t need to present some hard science to prove that people are influenced by the feedback of their peers. This happens each day, to all of us.

The opinion of others affects real estate along similar lines, especially since motivated house sellers are typically under pressure. After all,

  • they need to get rid of a property quickly,
  • they’ve never heard about real estate investors before, or
  • even if they know what real estate investors do, they’re afraid you’ll rip them off.

So, house sellers are wary of making a costly mistake because they are selling their houses at short notice. As a real estate investor, you have to bridge the gap somehow, and social proof helps inspire trust right away.

We will share the best spots to share social proof about your real estate investing business, but before we do that, let’s touch upon the target audience.

Specify Your Target Audience

You need to tailor the social proof message according to your target audience. Real estate investors primarily need motivated house sellers, but you can use social proof to attract cash buyers (wholesaling), renters (landlords), and other investors (coaching) as well. You’ll need different kinds of testimonials for each of these groups.

Sometimes businesses try to build their brand by showcasing the number of deals they’ve closed, their turnover per annum, or their dominance over a given market. Real estate agents, for example, can use such indirect social proof by providing selective performance data for everyone to see.

However, if your goal is to get motivated house sellers as a real estate investor, bragging how much you made last year might not be the best approach because it can trigger fears in the seller’s mind (“This guy will rip me off”). Don’t forget that optics is very important and can quickly erode hard earned trust. Ideally, you should have different websites for each of these target groups – motivated sellers, renters, cash buyers, coaching students, etc. – but if you only have one website, remember that every website visitor will see the same piece of social proof.

Though, the platform at which the testimonial is shared plays a role, too.

Ways To Use Social Proof To Increase Conversions

Let’s assume you have several testimonials, but you aren’t sure where to post them. The short advice is to publish them everywhere you can. Obviously, your real estate investing website offers several options for posting social proof, but we will cover other options as well.

Social Proof on Your Website

Of course, your website is the prime spot for placing testimonials. We have a lot of data on the online behavior of website visitors because this allows us to monitor all sorts of metrics for PPC campaigns (click-through rate, conversion rate, etc.). Well, user interaction heatmaps show that once people get on your website, they check the “about” and “testimonials” sections. Visitors want to know who they are dealing with.

So, you can use several different pages to provide social proof to motivated sellers:

  • Landing page – it’s one of the design elements of real estate investing websites we often tweak to get better results from ad campaigns. Add some form of social proof on your landing page and you’ll increase the conversion rate. The exact layout can vary, but don’t forget to include it.
  • Home page – make sure website visitors can see at least one testimonial on the home page without pressing buttons or following links. Often, these snippets lead to a whole section dedicated to social proof.
  • Testimonial page – this is an option for those who’ve had the opportunity to collect enough testimonials to dedicate a whole page to them. Don’t create a testimonials page if you have feedback from less than five separate house sellers.
  • Lead capture forms – whenever you throw a call to action (CTA) at website visitors, add social proof. The catch here is to select a testimonial that’s relevant for the call to action and to edit its contents to be as short as possible. For instance, when house sellers are about to fill out a form to redeem an offer, add a review in which visitors praise your team for calling back right away.
  • Newsletter – similar to CTAs. If you are a real estate investor who uses email campaigns for lead generation, add social proof.
  • Comments – you may not think of it as such, but the comments section below a blog post or property listing is another great spot to build trust with visitors. Each slot where visitors can ask a question drives engagement and provides social proof for future website visitors.

Nowadays, however, social media profiles get much more comments than websites, so let’s check them out.

Social Proof on Your Social Media Accounts

Social networks were created to facilitate engagement from audiences, so every interaction within these platforms is a form of social proof. Whether it’s a social share, a like, a comment, a subscription (follow) – they all serve to ensure others that you are a legitimate business, and that you provide a good service.

And when people publicly commend you (and your team) on your skills or a job well done, social proof doesn’t get better than that. If you are a member of our Facebook group (REI Marketing Nerds) or you follow us on Twitter, you know that we like to do this as well. Feel free to brag with this type of feedback, as it’s social proof-based digital marketing at its finest.

Sometimes, you can also share a snippet of private chats in your social feed. You need to be very careful when you display private messages (or chat) in public, because you have to consider confidentiality and privacy issues, otherwise the post might backfire. So many marketers (and other professionals) share private chats to boost social proof, that the method has become fair game at this point, but it’s still best to blur the sender’s name, unless you have permission to publish it.

Social Proof Through Reviews

Online reviews are the gold standard for making eCommerce decisions, i.e., choosing one business over the other. House sellers are used to checking reviews for trivial purchases, and you can bet that they will check third-party reviews before they sell their house to you. And this is perhaps the most important distinction when it comes to social proof marketing for real estate investors – you don’t have control over reviews.

Of course, you can post only the testimonials you like on your website, unless you’ve added a plug in to pull testimonials from a third-party website. Same goes for your social accounts, you choose what goes in your own feed. Reviews that come from sites like Goggle My Business or Facebook Business, though, are out of your control.

And some of the reviews might not be favorable.

Handling Poor Reviews

You need to manage the public image of your company. This is also known as social listening or checking what is being said about your brand online. Thankfully, real estate investors got this easy, as there aren’t many platforms where you can do this.

When you receive a poor review (yes, unfortunately it’s a “when,” not an “if”), consider it to be a good thing, as it allows you to sort out the issue. Your response to a poor review should be carefully crafted even if you can’t really make the person who left the review to change their mind. The response is also a part of your social proof marketing. If there are 25 positive reviews and one neutral (or negative) review, people will go straight to the review that voices a concern. If they see that you’ve responded poorly (ex. offend the sender or reply in a passive-aggressive manner), that answer will outweigh every positive review.

Ultimately, don’t allow yourself to get bummed out about poor reviews. While receiving them is not pleasant, it shows that there are real people behind the business. When you think of it, it’s actually more suspicious not to find any 3-star review and to have everyone giving you 5 stars.

Social Proof In Ads

In Google Ad campaigns, the focus is on keywords and there is no social proof in that. But if you do any other kind of ad campaign, for example, an Instagram ad, you can tweak more elements. Including a testimonial in an ad is sort of an unwritten rule, particularly if you are making a video ad

Usually, social proof in ads is reserved for the end of the pitch. The best possible social proof ad for real estate investors is to have a couple of house sellers say on camera that you’ve bought their house at a higher price than what they originally asked for. If you are transparent about the way you come up with house offers, this is not hard to do. Often, motivated house sellers are going through a crisis and would consider themselves lucky if they find a solution for their problem at short notice.

Now, you work for profit, but if you are able to help house sellers out by lowering your profit margin, you will still make money and also earn a referral or great testimonial in the process.

Social Proof From Businesses and Media

You can also enjoy some form of social proof marketing from people and companies who’ve never sold a house to you. Of course, we are referring to local businesses, industry professionals, and media coverage.

These are practically link-building methods that can translate into improved social proof for you. Even if someone from the local coffee shop has something good to say about your business, either offline or online, it helps establish brand identity.

Being featured in the media is also instrumental in building trust. Let people know that you’ve appeared as a guest on a podcast or that someone has interviewed you. Real estate investors are catching up on this kind of social proof, and their websites have “as seen on” or “featured in” icons.

Competing With iBuyers Through Social Proof

iBuyers are doing their best to eliminate (or at least minimize) human interaction in the house selling process. Their goal is to provide instant, no-hassle service, and many sellers appreciate that, especially younger generations. And naturally, iBuyers also use social proof-based marketing as their reviews highlight the expediency of the process and a lot of housing market data available right away.

One way to set yourself apart as a real estate investor is by providing a human touch in the selling process and pushing this perspective through social proof. Two strategies are used to compete with iBuyers: embedding yourself in the local real estate market and excelling in the service you provide. There are other strategies as well, but iBuyers can’t match your local knowledge and can’t hear motivated sellers out in person. Sellers are motivated for a reason and if you help them, you’ll establish a connection that iBuyers simply can’t rival.

Social Proof Works Everywhere

Don’t forget that you can use social proof in other contexts as well. If you run a real estate investing business, your focus is on acquiring motivated seller leads, however, there’s much more to the industry than that.

One such scenario is when you need to get a loan from a bank or a private lender. You can, for example, tell the person who decides whether to approve your loan that you’ve handled loans previously and you will increase your chances of getting the money. Even if the previous loan was for your car, it could help you present yourself as someone who can keep loan payments current.

We will share another example that’s typical for investors in rental properties. If you are a landlord, the person (or business) who handles property management is the face of your rental doors. Tenants won’t see you, they’ll see these guys, so keep this in mind when you choose the type of people you hire to represent you. Having a presentable property management team will be more appealing to prospective renters, and this will decrease your vacancy rates.

Takeaway

Selling a house is a big decision, and more and more house sellers check the company’s social proof before deciding to work with them.

Any form of social proof is useful in this regard. It can be a testimonial, online review, social post, stats, etc. Use them in all marketing channels; your website (landing page, home page, lead capture forms), social media accounts, ads, but also when you get loans or when you try to find renters for your properties.

Lastly, pay attention to what is said about your real estate investing company online, because website visitors are sure to check your poor reviews. We are wired to value feedback from our peers, so make sure you use social proof to grow your business.

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