This is an episode of the
Accelerated Real Estate Investor – Josh Cantwell Podcast
Host: Josh Cantwell Guest: Todd Heitner
Transcript of “Improve Credibility and Get More Traffic To Your Website” – Podcast – Nov 9, 2021
Josh Cantwell: So, hey, guys, welcome back to Accelerated Real Estate Investor. Here, it’s Josh, and I am so excited to be with you guys. And today, we’re not going to talk necessarily about doing deals, but we are going to talk about credibility. We are going to talk about websites. We are going to talk about how to attract more investors and how to attract more brokers and more wholesalers and more sellers to bring you deals.
Today, my guest, his name is Todd Heitner. Todd is the CEO of ApartmentInvestorPro.com. About 17 years ago, Todd started building websites for real estate investors, started out with single-family investors, flippers, and wholesalers. Since then, about five to seven years ago, he branched out and was really focused on multifamily and apartment investors, and especially and specifically for syndicators. He created a company called Apartment Investor Pro, which provides website development services for multifamily investors. They specialize in helping investors create these amazing websites without spending tens of thousands of dollars in weeks and weeks or months creating and developing a very customized well-performing optimized website.
So, for any of my audience that’s been thinking like, hey, I want to get into the game or I need to do my first deal, but man, I’m kind of embarrassed, I don’t really have a website. I don’t really have a brand. I don’t really have anything to show people, like brokers or investors. This call is for you. Todd created Apartment Investor Pro to help multifamily investors streamline their websites with all the basic tools they need for a simple, yet highly effective website that can be up in a matter of hours or days, not months.
In addition, Todd and I talk specifically about number 1, why it’s important for multifamily investors to have a website; number 2, should you get a website before or after your first deal? Number 3, we talked about the elements of a website and what’s important to make sure the backbone of the website is working. Number 4, we talked about how a website can attract investors, and some of the different traffic sources you can use to build authority and credibility. And finally, we talked about what are the options for building your own website, and of course, having the option to have Todd do it for you. We also put together a very special offer to get 10% off of the cost and investment into having Todd build your website. You can find that at FreelandVentures.com/Josh. So excited to have Todd on the show, so let’s go ahead and jump in.
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Josh Cantwell: So, hey, Todd, listen, thank you so much for jumping on the show. I am so excited to be talking to you about credibility and websites and how to be a serious multifamily and apartment investor leading with your brand, leading with your website, credibility, and how to recruit more capital and get more deals by your kind of forward-facing appearance to these brokers and investors. And I know you have “done for you” solutions for this and looking forward to this interview for a long time. So, thanks for hopping on the show.
Todd Heitner: Yeah, thanks for having me. I appreciate it.
Josh Cantwell: Fantastic, Todd. So, every guest I have on, I ask them the same question to get started, which is tell me about something, tell our audience about something that you are excited about that you’re working on right now. What are you passionate for? What gets you going? What kind of gets you up and gets you out of bed in the morning?
Todd Heitner: Yeah, I mean, really, our website service is helping as many apartment investors and multifamily investors get their website up and running as soon as possible. This year, we’re really focusing on getting in front of more people, going to events and networking, and things like that. So, really, trying to get the word out there. I guess so many people say, I wish I knew about you, like a few months ago before they started setting up their website. So, I’m trying to get in front of people before they get to that point, so, yeah.
Josh Cantwell: It’s good stuff. So, I just spent a couple of thousand bucks building a custom website. You are well known for basically helping investors stand up a branded website literally in a matter of minutes or hours, and not have to put in all the time, effort, and energy into building a site. So, why don’t we just start by telling our audience about your service? What do you guys do? And then, we’ll back into kind of the importance of some of the things that you guys do, but why don’t you just jump in and tell everybody? Because I got a lot of students who are like, man, I need more credibility with brokers, I need more credibility with investors. I need a website, I need a credibility kit, but man, I don’t have the time to do that. So, tell us a little bit more about your service.
Todd Heitner: Yeah. So, we’ve tried to take the pain and the hassle and a lot of the time out of that process. We’ve spent all that time putting it in, building these designs, and we’re creating content, everything that people can use. Multifamily investors can use, they can sign up and have their website up and running, like you said, really within minutes. I mean, ideally, you’d probably want to do a little bit of tweaking it, just to make it your own and get your domain name connected, but for sure, within like a day or two, you’ll have it up and running without spending hours on it. And that’s something that I saw, like a lot of people are spending, I mean, one person I talked to said he built his own site, it took him 10 months because he’s also trying to do deals, finding deals, finding investors, things like that, like, see, they’re going to be on the back-burner or the more important things are going to be put on the back-burner. So, it’s not really a good use of your time. So, anyway, we tried to do something together to help people get up and running quickly, get the credibility they need to gain people’s trust, basically.
Josh Cantwell: Yeah, it’s so important. And we talked before we started recording about being secret shopped. I’ve got three massive deals right now, one in Houston that’s $40 million, one in Cleveland, it’s $20 million, another one in Cleveland, it’s $12.5 million. And I am 100% positive that the brokers that brought us those deals secret shopped us. I’m sure you’ve probably heard the same thing. So, brokers are like, hey, I’m going to look up your Facebook, your LinkedIn, your Instagram, see if there’s anything weird on TikTok, and of course, look up your website. So, why don’t we start with, you’d have 17 years of experience building websites for real estate entrepreneurs in the last five or seven years, also building websites for multifamily investors. Why, in your opinion, and with all of your other clients, what do you think is the most important reason why multifamily investors have to have a website that looks professional?
Todd Heitner: Yeah, I mean, really, the credibility is the biggest thing. Like you said, I mean, whether it’s brokers or investors, like either way, you’re doing the due diligence on these deals, they’re doing due diligence on you. They want to find out, can I trust this person or not? Is this person going to waste my time? Are they going to scam me? Those questions are there. And so, if they search for you on Google, and nothing comes up, or like you said, it’s like it’s stuff that you wouldn’t really want them to see, just social media, whatever, not really the impression you want to make. So, whether you have no website or like a really unprofessional website, it’s just not sending the right message. Yeah, so people are going to look for you, and you want to control that process of what they see when they search for you. And the best way to do that is to have a professional website that comes up first that makes a good impression on them.
Josh Cantwell: Yeah, you probably have a lot of experience over the last, especially five to seven years, working with apartment investors. What do you think are some of the elements of a website that stick out, like you’ve learned so much, you’ve got a lot of feedback from investors that said, I need this element to stick out or I need this credibility piece to stick out or I need this language or this design to stick out? I’ve got more people visiting this page or the sub-page of my website. So, what are the main elements that you think are important to kind of pull it all together to make sure that it looks professional, sounds professional, and does the job?
Todd Heitner: Yeah, I mean, it all starts with your domain name, I think, having a good– like I say, always get a dot com and have it match your business name. I have seen people go with something like whatever dot invest or investment, something like that. And like, I saw that, and I didn’t realize it was a website address, so we use the dot com. So, I say it starts with a domain name, but then, all of the elements of your website are important for different reasons, going from the web hosting like you don’t want cheap web hosting that’s going to go down all the time or be slow. You want to build on a platform that’s going to grow with your business. Like a lot of people start out, and they build it themselves on Wix or something.
And then, they get to a certain point, they realize, oh, I can’t add this feature that I need. So, then they’ve got to start over from scratch, but as far as like the elements on the page, I think a couple of really important things, one is an About Us page because I found that even on our own website, that’s the most visited page. We’ve done some testing, and what people click on the most is About Us. We all want to know who we’re doing business with and checking them out. And of course, I’d say that’s one of the first things people want to add, make sure you have there.
And then, another thing is, of course, a way for investors to contact you. I’ve been on syndication websites where there’s no way to actually move forward. Like if you wanted to invest with this person, there’s no way to do it so having a form that they can fill out that lets you know that– the contact information, of course, but then, are they SEC accredited? How much do they want to invest, things like that? Some way to make it easy for them to find that, have a call to action throughout the site where they can easily find out and move forward.
Josh Cantwell: That sounds great. So, with the websites that you build, do you typically kind of explain the entire process of investing in an apartment? Is there a life cycle of a deal? Is that one of the kind of elements that it shows? Or how somebody can make an investment? Or why multifamily over single-family? Or why multifamily over the stock market? Help me understand some of the content, some of the pages and the sub-pages that you think are the most important to have.
Todd Heitner: Yeah. So, I think on the home page, a lot of basic information about why multifamily, why it’s a good, solid investment, things like that. We do actually include a few blog posts with most of our plans and go over some of those things in more detail, like comparing it to the stock market or even explaining different asset classes, just for people who aren’t familiar with that, so they know the language a little bit. And then we do have kind of a simple step-by-step process so they can kind of visualize what it is that’s going to happen before they contact and kind of know what they need to do and in what order.
Josh Cantwell: Got it. Love it. Now, I’ve made the mistake, you’ve probably seen it too, or somebody puts up a website and just thinks it’s going to solve all their problems, but you’ve got to have a website that gets traffic, that attracts people to the site, that allows people to engage with the site and ultimately engage with you. I mean, I tell people all the time, look, when we pick up the phone, the purpose of the phone is to get an appointment. The purpose of the appointment is to close a deal, whether it’s an investor or a lead or with a new property that we’re buying. The purpose of the website is to get visitor traffic to turn into some sort of lead. So, how can people use their websites to attract visitors, attract investors, gain credibility with brokers? Because you can’t just throw up a website and let it sit there, it’s not going to do anything for you unless there’s traffic to it. So, what are some of the additional things once the website is up that you’re coaching your clients on and things to do to attract investors and have it be a useful asset?
Todd Heitner: Yeah. So, a key to that really is producing content of some sort. It could be blog posts. It could be having a podcast, email-newsletter, something in your videos, whatever you’re comfortable with. Start with one thing and do that consistently and really, by putting out that content, it’s helping you to build authority too, like people see, they may find you through some of that, they might find a blog post first, or they might find a podcast you were on, and that instantly elevates their view of you. I mean, they see you as an expert because if we look at the base of the word of authority, it’s author.
It’s author content producing content that we view those people as experts basically on that subject. So, producing content, and then, that way, you’re not really having to chase people so much, but rather you’re attracting them. They want to work with you because they see you as an expert, and we all want to work with the best. We want to work with somebody who knows what they’re doing.
And then, there are some other elements too things that the people should have. One is a lead magnet, which is kind of like a free report or something like that you can have on your website. You have to realize that most people that go to your website are not going to contact you and say, I’m ready to invest, especially when they first go there. They’re just checking it out, but if you have something free there, they can just put in their name and email and get. Well, now, you have a way to follow up with them. You have a way to get them either back to your website or get them to book a call or something. You can start building a relationship, basically.
And so, the first step, though, is having something for them to sign up for. And then, from there, ideally, you do want to have it kind of automated. You can have a series of emails. They get that introduced them to you and let them know, here’s our team or here’s what we do, educate them, and kind of build that relationship with them. And a lot of that can happen on autopilot, which is really cool. You can be building a relationship with lots of people at once. You may not even know them personally, but by the time they do actually contact you and say, I’m interested in investing, they’re probably pretty serious if they’ve consumed some of your content.
Josh Cantwell: I love it, I love it. Yeah, I had a guy this past week, so everything we described, so I’m going explain this to our audience in kind of a step-by-step fashion because we’re executing on most of the stuff that you and I are talking about. We’re already executing on it, and have been for years. So, you have some sort of authority-building content, some sort of thought leadership platform. It could be a podcast, could be a YouTube channel, could be TikTok, whatever it is, LinkedIn. LinkedIn is a great place, by the way. LinkedIn, YouTube, this podcast, iTunes are my favorites, those three.
And I had a guy that opted in on our website because he heard that free content. Then he was getting our emails, got the follow-up email marketing, which led them to additional podcasts, additional videos, additional blog posts. And I put together a podcast that was the 7 Commandments, it was called the 7 Commandments for Investing in Apartments. He’d listened to that, and when I got on the phone with him, finally, he booked an appointment through my Calendly link. So, he just showed up on my calendar without even me calling the guy.
I got on the phone with him, and he says, “I’ve been going through your content for the last 30 days, and the one that really hit me the hardest was your 7 Commandments podcast. So, when are you going to have your next deal that I can invest in?” The first call within the first 10 minutes of him going through that automated process, all of that happened with zero interaction for me. I had to put in the work at the beginning to create the system, but now the system is working. We got, I believe, last week, 27 new passive investors that opted in on our website, ended up in our back-office portal, were added to our autoresponder in the last two weeks.
And so, all of the stuff that Todd and I are teaching absolutely works, but if I didn’t do any kind of content creation or LinkedIn posts or podcasts or YouTube videos, the website, it’s like having a rental property that nobody ever goes in. It’s like having an apartment building that nobody lives in, it’s just sitting there. You need to send traffic to it through that ongoing content creation. And believe me, it’s actually not as hard as it seems. This piece of content that Todd and I are creating right now is something that’s going to attract people. So, it could be as simple as what we’re doing today.
I find the audio version for people that are in their car and the video version that people that have the time. Todd, how about you, is there a favorite platform that you or your clients like to produce content and put it? Maybe it’s one of the ones I already mentioned, but is there a favorite for you that you like to post on or your clients like to post on that seems to get the best traffic?
Todd Heitner: Yeah. I mean, what we’re doing a lot of right now is we do kind of a combination of blog posts and video interviews and things like that, kind of put them together, but one thing we’re getting ready to start doing is Facebook advertising, kind of promoting that free content, our blog posts and things like that. It’s pretty powerful because, with Facebook, you can send people to your free blog posts, but you can track them, and then the people that visit your website, you can later show an ad to them on Facebook and get them to come back and opt into something, sign up for something, and then like, take them through that process. So, it’s really a lot of powerful stuff.
I’ve talked to some people recently that have raised a lot of money through Instagram, actually. I think Brandon Turner from BiggerPockets, I think, he raised like $75 million or something like that from Instagram. And so, I think a lot of different platforms could work, some use podcasts. I think the key is like picking one thing that you’re going to really focus on and build that up before you start branching into more things because if you try to do a little of everything, you’re going to be so scattered that you’re not producing anything consistently, and it takes a while to build up an audience.
Josh Cantwell: Yeah, I love that advice of pick one. They’re all good as long as you’re consistent with it, at least a video or two a week, if not more, a couple of posts a week and it could be Instagram, it could be YouTube, it could be LinkedIn, I guess, is one of my favorites. And of course, iTunes and podcasting are also one of them. Now, Todd, obviously, you guys do this for a business. So, this is a shameless plug to check out Todd’s services to build your website, but there’s a lot of different options that people do have for building their own website. They can do it themselves. There’s a lot of different options. Walk us through some of the options that people, because you have a lot of clients that do it on their own or do some of these other ways, and then ultimately think, like, you know what? Todd, I just hire you to do it. So, tell us about some different options that people have that they can do outside of just hiring an expert like you.
Todd Heitner: Yeah. I mean, so there’s do-it-yourself. I don’t recommend that for most people. I mean, if you’re starting out with like, absolutely no budget and you have a lot of time, I would say, okay, maybe, but for the most part, for most people, I don’t really recommend that because it can take, best-case scenario, many weeks, but more likely months to get it done. And if you’re focusing on that, you’re not focusing on doing deals and finding investors, so not really the best use of your time. You can hire freelancers. You can go to websites like Fiverr or whatever, and you can hire them. Thing is, you’re kind of responsible for managing the whole process. So, you have to kind of get your web hosting set up. You have to know what you need first to be able to hire people to do it and you have to kind of be responsible for getting all these pieces put together. And it’s kind of like conducting an orchestra, and it’s like moving pieces together, which again, can work. And if you’re on a fairly tight budget, that’s an option.
And there’s kind of maybe the other extreme is like hiring a big design and marketing agency where they do everything for you, which is great, but some people said they’ve spent $10,000 to $30,000 on their website, so that can be really expensive too. So, yeah, there are other options out there. I mean, you can kind of piece things together and like hire somebody to do it for you. I’d say it’s a better option than trying to do it yourself. Of course, there’s our service through Apartment Investor Pro, where we have a lot of the work already done for you, just kind of sign up and get it up and running and then you can tweak it, customize it, make it your own when you have time. We try to make it where you don’t really have to immediately, like it’s ready to go. People can start going there immediately, but in time, you want to put your own personality and brand into it.
Josh Cantwell: Got it. Love it. So, Todd, that’s fantastic stuff. I mean, there are different ways to build your own website. I’ve tried it. It takes a long time, right? I have been that guy that spent $30,000 to $60,000 on a website. I’ve been that guy that you mentioned that took 10 months to build a website. So, happy to have met you and know that we can just offer this to our members, our audience, and they could just have it done for you, website basically built for them for a fraction of the cost.
So, what we’ve done, guys, just specifically for our Accelerated investor members, we’ve put together a special website with a special offer. If you guys go to FreelandVentures.com, Freeland Ventures is the name of my apartment investing business, but FreelandVentures.com/Josh, there is a special offer there to get 10% off of Todd’s Apartment Investor Pro program, and he’ll be able to again stand up a website for you, a very professional website, and make sure that it’s hosted, it’s monitored, maintenance is done, and he’ll also work with you as far as ideas to drive traffic to that website as well. So, if you’re a multifamily investor, an apartment investor, you’ve been dying to put up a website, just haven’t done it yet, and you want the easy button, there you go, FreelandVentures.com/Josh. Check it out. You’ll get a special offer on Todd’s “Done for You” program.
So, Todd, listen, thank you so much for jumping on and talking websites and talking traffic. This is hugely important. Any kind of final thoughts or words of advice for our audience?
Todd Heitner: I appreciate you having me on, I mean, I do think– well, I guess, one thing I would say is like I frequently will ask a question, I guess, should I build my website first? Or should I try to do my first deal first? I say, get the website first because it’s going to be making it a lot easier to get your first deal because, like we said, people are going to search for you on Google. And if there’s nothing there, you’re missing out on that. Having a website can actually help you to get that first deal. It can give you the credibility you need to do that. So, I would say, don’t wait on that. Again, it’s whether use us or somebody else, like, don’t wait on that step.
Josh Cantwell: Yeah, I love it. Todd, listen, this has been great. Appreciate you coming on and offering your service, especially the special pricing. Thank you so much for joining us today on Accelerated Real Estate Investor.
Todd Heitner: Alright, thanks for having me.
Josh Cantwell: Hey, guys, thank you so much for joining us today on this episode of Accelerated Real Estate Investor. Again, Todd has an amazing, amazing resource for all of you guys. Check it out at FreelandVentures.com/Josh to get 10% off of Todd’s services. Guys, listen, no brainer, you need a website, would you rather spend thousands and thousands of dollars and months and months of building it or just have Todd do it for you?
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