The Incredible Value of Connections Made on BiggerPockets

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Last week I wrote a post about making connections on BiggerPockets. If you haven’t read it you can check it out here. Otherwise, here is the thesis:

Most posts = more connections = more money.

The rest of last week’s post went on to prove that frequent posting really does lead to more connections. This week we’re going to talk about how those ‘connections’ can really be seen as ‘leads’ for your business (whether you’re a broker, CPA, wholesaler, contractor, or anything else). And more leads, means more customers, means more revenue.

Does Networking on BiggerPockets lead to more money?

Yes. Yes, it does.

This is a hard thing to quantify. There is no table in our database called “money_made_on_bp.” That’s just not possible. But lucky for me, I have a few connections of my own on BiggerPockets, so I went to the well and asked some of our top users for help. So BIG shout out to: Bill GulleyRussell BrazilDmitriy FomichenkoBrandon Hall, and Jay Hinrichs.

These members are a few of the many ‘Power Users’ on BiggerPockets. These are people who understand the value of networking on BiggerPockets and have used BiggerPockets to grow their businesses. So get to know these people, see how they post and share their knowledge, and get to know them – they have a lot to offer.

Now, back to the study.  I’ve broken this down into four parts.

  1. How does BiggerPockets generate leads for your business?
  2. Do leads from BiggerPockets translate to real money? (Spoiler: YES)
  3. How do ‘Power Users’ maximize their lead generation on BiggerPockets?
  4. How does BiggerPockets compare to other methods for networking and marketing your business?

DISCLAIMER: this is study of only a few of our top users. This does not represent everyone on BiggerPockets, nor is everything here scientific. Some of the numbers provided to me were (understandably) estimates. None of this happened overnight for these users. These kind of crazy returns take time. This is something to aspire to.

I will be writing a follow-up post on how to calculate the value of leads and networking on BiggerPockets for YOUR business in the coming weeks. This study is simply about ‘Power Users.’

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How Does Networking on BiggerPockets Generate Leads for Your Business?

Let’s talk about leads. You can consider a lead many things. A person you talk to on the street, a visit to your website, or better yet when someone gives you their information on your website. To me, a lead is anyone who could eventually become a paying customer.

On BiggerPockets, there are many ways to generate or look at leads, but for my purposes I am looking at two things that are easy to quantify: Profile Hits, and Colleagues. To me – these are the BiggerPockets equivalent of a visit to your website, and someone submitting their information on your Contact Us page.

Note: Not every profile hit and colleague on BiggerPockets is a prospective customer. BiggerPockets is a community where we all share knowledge and help one another. The point of this post is that by helping people and sharing your knowledge, you are naturally building a lead pipeline for your business.

Related: The Beginner’s Guide to Highly Effective Real Estate Networking

Help people on BiggerPockets, and when they need an agent, a financial advisor, a CPA, or a contractor, they are more likely to choose YOU.

Okay, so let’s now look at how Power Users do this. How do they translate helpful posts on the forums into real paying customers.

On average, our ‘Power Users’ have 7752 posts, 18,500 profile hits, and 1,200 colleagues.

That equates to over 4 profile views for every post they make, and 1 colleague for every 4 posts (I believe a colleague is a stronger lead for your business than a profile hit). Pretty amazing. Again, not every profile view and every colleague is a prospect, but some of them are.

Put simply: more posts = more leads for your business.

Do ‘Leads’ From BiggerPockets Translate to Real Money?

The short answer: Yes, and a lot of money. But read on to see just how much, and how it’s done.

Remember These are not returns from real estate investing. These are best-estimates of the money made directly from networking with people on BiggerPockets. So, commissions made by an agent, fees collected by a CPA, etc.  

The average amount made from BiggerPockets ‘Power User’ connections: $138,000.

Whoa! I was blown away by this number.

While causation is a tricky thing to nail down, let’s look at these members’ post and profile numbers. These members averaged 7750 posts, 1273 colleagues,  and 18550 profile hits.

That means that over time, on average, these users earned $7.91 for every profile hit, and $132.60 for every colleague, and $37/for every post.

Please Remember:  This does not mean that someone handed them $37 every time they wrote a post, or $7.91 every time another member viewed their profile. But it does show that over time, if you continue to post, generate profile hits, and add colleagues, you will get more customers. Like I said earlier, not every colleague and profile hit ultimately earns you money. But on average, over time, building your network on BiggerPockets will lead to more paying customers.

How to Maximize your Lead Generation like a ‘Power User.’

So how do the Power Users do it? Here are four simple steps:

  • Post! As I’ve shown the last two weeks, the single best way to get more colleagues and more profile hits is to post on the forums. Just posting works, but remember, posting high-quality, relevant, and helpful information works even better.
  • Keyword Alerts: Make sure to set your keyword alerts. If you don’t know much about it, here’s a quick intro from Brandon Turner. But in short – if you want to grow your business, you need to know when BP members are discussing your industry. Set your keyword alerts to be notified when a discussion is going on about a topic you can contribute to.  
  • Appear Professional. Make sure your profile picture is professional, fill out your profile, and create a professional signature that includes your email and phone number.
  • Convert! This part is up to you. Post, be patient, and when your colleagues are ready to make a deal, prove to them you’re the right person for the job.
  • DO NOT FORCE A SALE. This is against BiggerPocket’s Rules and Terms of Use.
    • Instead, continue to provide value and help until a lead approaches you about doing business together.

Note: BiggerPockets PRO members get more keyword alerts (and SMS notifications), enhanced direct messaging capabilities, and expanded signature functionality. So if you’re ready to really start generating leads, you may want to check out BiggerPockets Pro.

These are easy ways to generate leads! I think one Power User, Dmitriy Fomichenko, summarizes it well:

“I discovered that there was a need for my expertise on the forums. I started engaging in the conversations and providing my answers in the related discussions. Keyword alerts were an instrumental tool enabling me to be in the center of those conversations. As a result I met new friends, developed a number of great business relationships, made a few personal investment deals, connected with countless leads interested in the services my company offers, and gained a couple hundred new clients.

A couple hundred new clients?! Incredible. YOU CAN DO THIS TOO.

Related: Lead Generation: What Makes you Different Can Make you Rich

How does BiggerPockets compare to other methods for networking and marketing your business?

For the purposes of this study I only looked at one alternative type of lead generation: Google Adwords. There are tons of other ways to generate leads: networking in person, meetups, buying lists, etc. But since we’re an internet platform, I just wanted to compare BP networking to buying traffic for your company’s website.

AdWords is a tool, built by Google, that allows you to buy placement in search results. So, for example, I could buy the term “Denver Real Estate Agent.” It’s a complex auction system for who sees what Ads, but basically the price of buying that term depends on demand. AdWords is priced as Cost-Per-Click (CPC) – meaning you only pay when someone actually clicks on the link to visit your website.

So I used Google Adwords’ Keyword Planner, which estimates CPC for different search terms, and looked at a few different types of businesses: broker/agents, financial advisors, CPAs, contractors, and wholesalers. I looked at what the average Cost-Per-Click was for these business is Denver. The results are all over the board based on industry, but averaged about $9/click.

So it would cost $9 to get someone to your website. Conversion rates are different for every website, and every industry, but a good benchmark is 2.5% of people who visit your website will submit their information to your either via email, web form, etc.

So to get a lead’s contact information it would cost you $360 (9/.025). That’s a lot of money!

Now let’s go back to BiggerPockets.

Obviously, if you’re a free user your cost/lead is $0. Yes! That is amazing. You can generate leads for FREE on BiggerPockets.

But since all of the ‘Power Users’ we’ve been talking about are BiggerPockets PRO members, let’s look at their cost per lead.

BiggerPockets Pro is an annual ($290/year) or monthly ($29/month) fee, for UNLIMITED NETWORKING.

For the users I spoke to for this post the numbers are crazy. They average $.04/profile view, and $.63 for a colleague.

That is insane! 4 cents for a profile hit, and 63 cents per colleague is incredible.

So let’s compare. A profile hit costs $.04 on BiggerPockets. A paid click to your website costs about $9.

A colleague on BiggerPockets costs about $.63, when a ‘contact’ from your website costs about $360.

Let’s just assume both your website leads and BiggerPockets leads convert to real clients at 10%, a customer obtained through BiggerPockets costs $6.30, and one through your website is $3,600.

I know which one I would choose.

Two Things to Remember

  1. BiggerPockets leads cost less in MONEY, but more in TIME. When you’re building a business time = money. So remember, while only $6.30 is coming out of your pocket for a customer on BP, you need to factor in the time you spend posting on the forums and networking into this equation. If you spend a few hours setting up AdWords, you can ‘set it and forget it.’ You will spend less time generating leads, but you will paying much more for leads (and I would argue lower-quality leads).
  2. Leads cost different amounts for different industries, and locations. I used an average of $9. But I would encourage you to play with Google Adwords Keyword Planner to see what the cost-per-click is for your industry, in your city. If you know your conversion rates then you can figure out the cost per lead for YOUR business. But more about this soon.
  3. I am not saying networking on BiggerPockets is a silver bullet. Only you can decide the right mixture of lead generation for your business. My point is just to show what a powerful piece of the pie BiggerPockets can be.

So get out there and network! Generate leads (in the form of profile views and colleagues) by posting, setting your keyword alerts, and appearing professional. It will take effort, it will take time, but you can and will generate real leads and real customers by networking on BiggerPockets.

COMING NEXT: How to calculate your own cost-per-lead, and cost-per-customer. Stay tuned!

How has BiggerPockets helped you build your business? What sort of leads have you gotten, and how long did it take you to generate those leads?

About Author

Dave Meyer

Dave’s entire career has been spent as a part-time real estate investor and full-time data nerd -- so working at BiggerPockets is a perfect fit. Dave invests primarily in multi-family residences, and has a ton of experience being a landlord. Prior to joining BiggerPockets, Dave worked in Education Technology - both as a company founder, and in the investment space. He studied Political Science at the University of Rochester, and is currently pursuing a M.S. in Business Analytics from the University of Colorado Denver. When not working, Dave is usually eating sandwiches, skiing, or at a concert.

4 Comments

  1. Scott Trench

    Awesome, awesome article Dave!

    One thing I’ll add is that posting to the forums is perhaps actually a NEGATIVE cost (you get MORE value than just leads) to you as a businessman, agent, or professional. Why would I say that – well the reason is that you are LEARNING more about the industry, how to conduct yourself, and how to position yourself as an expert.

    After 7.5 THOUSAND posts, guess what – you are a pretty credible source. You’ve come across, and had intelligent discussions on, more situations relevant to your line of work than almost anyone else in your industry! That’s an incredible way to point to your credibility to potential clients AND simply a way for you to actually serve your clientele better with more relevant information!

    It’s possible that there are very few people out there that are better prepared to serve their investor clientele than the folks you mentioned in this article.

  2. Brandon Hall

    Nice work Dave and thanks for including me in the study. BP has allowed me to connect with many people and add significant amounts of value to the lives I touch. I’m grateful to be a part of this awesome community!

  3. Shaun Reilly

    Good article but there are a few important things that do need to be overly emphasized.
    You did point out that these returns are based on getting customers not on investing. So this is a great article showing the value for non-investors to join the community to try to sell there goods and services to the investor community.
    This isn’t a bad thing but it is an important distinction as this doesn’t translate at all into how actual real estate investors make money by being active on BP.

    Now if you are an investor that found that killer agent, accountant, contractor, attorney, property manager… based on your BP networking that is incredibly valuable, just way harder to quantify!

    There have been threads in the past talking about the actual monitization value of BP where investors also chimed in. For Super Users off the top of my head I recall @Will Barnard and @J Scott talking about the direct gains they made on deals done via contacts on BP. So there is some sources to do an analysis on that side as well.

    Also not really sure that the BP vs. PPC makes much sense. Other than using the inter-web to access both they really have nothing in common. I think a better comparison would be to see what returns someone that spends a lot of time cultivating prospects in other areas. Could be doing live in person networking or probably the best comparison would be someone that puts a lot of time into Facebook making posts, replying to people in their feed and spending a lot of time in various real estate related groups helping people and adding value to them.
    Now I am not saying this because I think you are over hyping BP. On the contrary I think that most people that have tried doing both (as I have at points) will say your time is MUCH better spent on BP than trying to get traction in that much more disjointed environment.

    Just to emphasize again I think this was a good article and I think BP is great.
    Just some (hopefully) constructive feedback. 🙂

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