Over the past year I’ve been asked all kinds of questions about my experiences with Investor Carrot. When I first discovered them I had a lot of questions myself and found it hard to find the answers. At the time Investor Carrot had just launched the service so there was not a lot of information out there. I just had to take the plunge and hope for the best.
I’ve had my website up for over a year now with some good results. From my experience with the website service I felt I had enough knowledge to put out an in-depth review. I tried to cover all the questions that I had in the beginning and also all the questions that I’ve been asked.
Table of Contents
- What is Investor Carrot?
- What do you get with Investor Carrot Websites?
- Website Packages
- What the Initial Setup of your website is like?
- Investor Carrot Support and Tutorials
- What are the Content Packs?
- How I discovered Investor Carrot
- My First Reaction after signing up
- How I customized my sites
- Behind the Scenes Look at my Sites
- After a Year, How many site visitors did I get?
- How well do the sites convert?
- How long did it take before I started getting leads?
- How many deals have I gotten?
- What I LIKE about my Investor Carrot Websites
- What i DO NOT LIKE about my Investor Carrot websites
- My Final Thoughts
What is Investor Carrot?
Simply stated Investor Carrot is a website solution for real estate investors. These websites aren’t just company websites about your “We Buy Houses” business. They are lead generating websites that pull in cash buyers and motivated sellers. This is a form of Inbound Lead Generation…The leads find you instead of you going out and finding them (i.e. direct mail).
As you go through my review I’ll have videos of the front-ends and back-end of my sites that will give you a full understanding of what Investor Carrot is all about. It’s more then just a Template based product, it truly is a system.
What do you get with an Investor Carrot Websites?
A well designed website based off of the WordPress platform For anyone who has used WordPress to develop a website/blog you know how easy and powerful it is. Investor Carrot doesn’t use the full capabilities of WordPress but is a customized version that is geared towards real estate investors. Another reason for the customization is that they can control what plugins are used. This is good and bad. I explain why later.
Customizable, Pre-Written content. I love this because it meant that I didn’t have to spend tons of time writing content just to make my website look legit. Now they don’t write the content just for you, they have a growing list of templates that they use (The Pluses and Minuses of this later).
There are two ways this content is customizable, (1st) it automatically uses your target area, business address and phone number through it’s content. Think similar to how mail merge works in Microsoft Word. (2nd) You can change the pre-written content however you wish. I chose to reword much of the content to make it more unique.
The content is also very well optimized for search results. I know a thing or two about SEO and let me tell you I’ve learned a lot more by seeing how my investor carrot website does things.
Contact Forms. You can tell that the investor carrot team did some research and testing because of this feature. On my site there are 6 contact forms that are placed throughout the site. Each used to convert different types of motivated sellers which I like. My favorite part though is that after filling out the initial short contact form they are then forwarded to a more in-depth contact form. I rely on this full contact form information to help me weed out the motivated sellers before even talking to them.
Additionally if you use a third party tool for managing contacts, the system can be integrated with some of the leading CMS systems out there…
- Zoho CRM
- Constant Contact
Downloadable PDF Guides. This is an underrated feature in my mind. These are informational PDFs talking about things such as “Pros and Cons of dealing with an Investor” and “5 Ways to Get Out of Foreclosure”. The purpose of these forms is to get sellers who are on the fence to submit their information to you in order to get the guides. Now they are in your pipeline so you can follow up them.
Custom Templates for Showing Properties. A cool feature that helps to show your buyers the houses you have under contract. I’ve only experimented with this feature but what I liked is that it was available and I didn’t have to create my own template. I tend to put things off if I have to think about it to hard. Thinking takes a lot of energy…you know.
Squeeze Pages. Squeeze pages differ from regular posts and content because they are strictly used to get people to sign up for something. Investor Carrot supplies you with 4 (that’s what I got) already created squeeze pages. They are used for your downloaded guides as well as property information forms for motivated seller who want to get a “quick offer”.
You aren’t limited to just those lead pages, you can create as many as you like. I’ve messed around with them a little and they are very customizable as well.
Testimonials. Just like the property section, there is an area where you can add testimonials. If you are a serious investor, having testimonials on your website will give you huge social credibility.
Customize the appearance. One of the drawbacks of investor carrot “out of the box” is that it looks just like all the other Investor carrot websites out there. However they provide you with an endless amount of customize options so you can change colors, fonts positioning, pictures and more. I did not touch these options very much but I may in the future. In the behind the scenes video I’ll show you all the customize options.
Additionally they even provide 4 different Themes for your entire site. This is a quick way to make your site look different. I’ve stayed with my original choice but I can see the value of this for people just signing up.
It’s always good to modify your content some what to make it more unique.Like I mentioned previously, the prices about doubled since I signed up 3 years ago. I talked with Trevor about this and they found that they needed to adjust the packages and raise pricing because they wanted to make sure that they serve there current and new customers better. I can totally understand this. Every website is created based off templates. With over 900 current subscribers and climbing it increases the chances for duplicate websites in a given region. Duplicate content could kill your search rankings.
All of these packages have hosting included. That is usually $7 to $10/mo by itself. All of these packages are full service. The only thing you have to do yourself is get a domain name and point it to your new website.
Which package do I recommend?
When I first signed up for Investor Carrot back in June of 2013 the prices where about half of what they are now. I started off with what is equivalent to the Pro Package. At the time I paid $49/mo for 3 sites. That was a STEAL!
To get more clarification on what this package provides I asked Trevor to go into more detail. He had this to say…
“So our team is writing between 20-30 articles per month… mixed between buyers, sellers, tenants, etc. Right now there are about 30 in the content pro area… all are optimized by me and I choose the article topics and titles actually tooTrevor Mauch
This content is automatically added to your pages. You have to go in and choose the set of articles you’d like to publish to your site(s). Once chosen you’ll schedule them (once a day, week, month,etc…). Here is how Trevor explains it…
Then the way the system works is there is a “content” portal where you can choose different “content packs” to publish (some packs have 5 articles… some more… as we grow…some will be topic specific, etc.). Then you can choose the frequency they’re published and when they are to start. So you fully control what goes on your site and when.Trevor Mauch
Additionally I had some questions about the keywords being used. I may only want to target specific topics (probate, tired landlords,etc…). This is what Trevor had to say about that…
The keywords used for the most part are longer tail type keywords. They won’t be main type pages like “sell your house fast [city]”… rather stuff like “how to sell my house without a real estate agent in [city]” etc. All of our articles are based on keyword research (people are actually searching for that phrase above).Trevor Mauch
Being the semi control freak that I am, I wondered if you could suggest article topics…
As for input… totally! If you have ideas… send them our way and we can have the writers put them in the next batch if we feel they’ll fit most people. So yes!!!! Actually we’d appreciate feedback on article topics.Trevor Mauch
What is the Initial Setup of Your Website Like?
When you first sign up with Investor Carrot you’ll be asked some general questions about your company. When I signed up last year I was asked the following…
- Company Name
- Target Area
- Company Phone Number
- Company Address
This information will then be used throughout your websites. The video below was put together by Trevor Mauch (founder of Investor Carrot) walking you through the setup of your website.
Thoughts about the sign up process
Investor Carrot How To Videos and Tutorials
For certain when you get your investor carrot website up and running you’ll want to make some modifications, add Google Analytics, edit your contact us page, edit navigation menus or any other random item.
80+ Mastermind Calls
70 Tutorials for setup, customizations, writing content, squeeze pages, getting traffic and more.
The best way for me to explain what they have in the support system is just to show you. So here is a video walk through of what they have.
When I signed up 3 years ago I was impressed with the help and support area. Taking a look at it for this updated review has really showed me how much they care about their users success. They have really spent time here trying to make it the best they can. It’s so much easier to navigate and find what you need help with.
Here is the COMPLETE list of Tutorial and Mastermind replays as of this posting…
What are these Content Packs?
If you sign up for the Content Pro package you will get access to Investor Carrot’s pre-written articles. With this access you can schedule these articles to be published to your site on a routine basis.
While these articles are all Templates and everyone who has the Content Pro package has access to them, it is an excellent way to keep your site active.
In total there are about 70 articles that you can publish to your site. Now not all of them are appropriate for all sites. They cover such topics as…
- Motivated House Sellers
- Rent to Own
- Private Lenders
The largest group of articles is for attracting seller leads. I wanted to show you a quick video on how to use the content packs.
Great feature though if you schedule them to go out to often you will run out. Hopefully they keep pumping out the articles so that doesn’t happen.
Let’s get into the Investor Carrot Review
By now you should have a pretty good idea on what you get when you purchase an investor carrot website package. Now I want to give you my experiences and thoughts.
How I Discovered Investor Carrot
I found out about Investor Carrot after buying an SEO course called Real Estate Commando Lead System by David Corbaley. Great course, but I just didn’t have the time to spend on it. I like communities and this course included membership to a Facebook group. I was reading some of the threads one day and found one talking about OnCarrot websites…This could be for me! There were a lot of good opinions so I went and checked it out.
Coincidentally OnCarrot was being converted to the new Investor Carrot at the time. I’m not sure what it was before but I think it was strictly a template you’d buy (probably the first evolution of what we see now).
It was an easy decision to give them a try because at the time they had a $1 for the first month promo. This promo was for the 3 site package as well. I handed over my dollar and jumped right in.
My First Reactions After Signing Up
This is the gods honest truth…I was down right giddie with excitement the first time I saw my new websites. My excitement even grew after clicking through the pages and forms. You could tell there was a lot of thought, testing and time put into how everything worked together.
Simply put…I was IMPRESSED!I’ve read a lot about creating websites, SEO and conversions. Many of the concepts were used in the website. From the placement of the contact forms, the free PDFs, the calls to action and the proper SEO strategies.
Here are some quick video walk throughs of my websites…
Investor Carrot Seller Site (SellYourNJHouse.com)
Investor Carrot Buyer Site (NewJerseyInvestmentProperties.com)
Investor Carrot Company Site (ScottyBuys.com)
How I Customized my Sites
One of the first things I did when I got my site was to point my Godaddy hosted domains to the Investor Carrot webhost. This was very easy to do and once pointed it took about 24 hours before the internet picked up the change (this is typical). I knew how to do this but followed the Tutorial on Investor Carrot for Godaddy domain redirect.
Uploaded My Company Logo. The default is a Text Logo with your company name. I had already used Fivrr.com to create a logo for me so I uploaded that and replaced the Text. This was very easy to do.
Reworded the Articles. This is where the heavy lifting began. I was a little worried about duplicate data with Investor Carrot websites since they come from templates. I talked with Trevor Mauch (Investor Carrot Founder) extensively about this and the only worry would be if you don’t change your site and there is another member in your direct target area. Other wise they have not seen any evidence of being penalized.
Even with that small chance I decided to reword much of the content on the site. It was nothing drastic and I pretty much kept the exact layout. The one thing I made sure to do was to keep the Keywords that the articles were based on. I didn’t want to mess with those and risk harming the future rankings.
The rewording of the content took me about a month. It was not an enjoyable task by any means.
Added Content to The About Page. This should have been the first thing I did because its one of the most visited pages on my site. Funny enough I just found out that I had forgotten to redo the about page on my Seller Leads website. Its been like that for a year…Crap! I wonder how many leads I lost because of that?
Added 20 City Specific Pages. After talking with Aaron (Investor Carrot SEO manager) and Trevor, they recommended created separate pages for cities in your target market. These pages should not be exact duplicates of your home page. You should change up about 20% of the content as well as change the target market.
For me my target area is New Jersey, so I came up with 20 cities in NJ that I wanted to micro target (Morristown, Phillipseburg, Trenton,etc…). I then made exact copies of the homepage and for each replaced every where that New Jersey showed up with the city name I wanted to target. I then just rewarded 2 paragraphs on each and that was it.
Created Offsite Citations. Citations are basically company listings in the yellow pages, but on the internet. You find directories that list local business and setup accounts with them. Some are free and some are paid. Investor Carrot has a service to do this for you, but I chose to use a company called Moz. (https://moz.com/local/overview).
This is all I have done to my sites. There is a lot of SEO and conversion tactics pre-built into the websites so any additional work should be geared towards offsite SEO.
Behind the Scenes
I’ve used WordPress for my StrugglingInvestor blog for 7 years now…I’m familiar with it. When I first logged into my Investor Carrot websites I was pleased to see that it was built on the WordPress platform. For those that have used WordPress before you know how user friendly it is.
Let me show you what it looks like and some of the features in this video…
After a Year, How Many Site Visitors do I get?
The first part of getting leads from a lead generating website is getting traffic. Make no mistake, just like all websites, my investor carrot websites took about a year before I really started to see a decent amount of traffic. As websites Age, get indexed (found) by the search engines and backlinks get created your site will rise in the search engines for your targeted keywords.
Your site will top out at a certain point because your competition might have a stronger SEO Profile. You might top out at #3 or #20 (last on 2nd page). That’s okay, it just means you are going to have to put in some more work to pass them by.
For my main keywords I’ve topped out in the top 5 of Google search results. This is awesome! Now I need to start working on getting all of these to #1. How I do this is for another article.
Looking at my Google Analytics over the first year of my site, we can see when my site hit the first page. It’s easy to tell because that is where my traffic really started to rise.
Not coincidentally I got my first internet deal from a lead that came in March of 2014. Now let me show you how my site has been doing from day 1 to now (Feb 2016)
You can see that my traffic has been steadily rising. The steady growth is related to other keywords that I’ve been adding along the way. These keywords are not my main keywords, but none the less drive traffic to my site.
How Well Do The Sites Convert?
Getting visitors to your site is worthless unless you can convert them to leads.I have to admit that these sites convert very well. Over the first year of my Investor Carrot site, I had been building up a non-investor carrot website for testing purposes. I hired an SEO guy and a Content creator to help build out the site. This site also ranked in the top 5 for the same keywords over that period of time. The traffic is similar but I got about 5 leads (from the Investor Carrot site) for every 1 lead from the test site.
Why I think these sites convert well…
2 Step Contact Forms
Over the last few years, the idea of having a 2-step contact form has been introduced and tested…and the tests are returning fantastic results.
Dale Carnegie once said… a small yes leads to a big yes. A site visitor who commits to filling out that short contact form is much more likely to complete the longer contact form afterwards.
If you want to learn more about 2 step opt-in forms, I wrote a guest blog post for RETipster.com about 2 Step Contact forms
Automated Email Follow Ups
Once a person fills out the initial contact form the system is setup to send a personal email. This email looks like it comes from your smart phone and contains some follow up questions. It also asks when the best time to call them would be. I’m surprised at how often this email is responded too with useful information that better qualifies the sellers.
Multiple Contact Forms for Different Things
There are 6 different contact forms on each site. Each of these contact forms is designed to attract leads with different levels of motivation. Their are…
- 2 forms to download guides (Pros, Cons and Pitfalls & Free Foreclosure Guide) for leads who are in the beginning stages of selling.
- 2 forms setup for leads who are really motivated (Sell Your House Now & Need to Sell Fast).
- A form for people who aren’t really sure what they want to do (Tell us about your situation)
- A form to contact us if they have any questions at all.
How Long Did It Take Before I Started Getting Leads?
This is a very good question. If you build it…they will NOT come. At least not right away. Over the first 4 months I could count all the leads I got on one hand. It took a good 6 months before I started getting about 5 leads per month. This lasted for another 6 months before the leads started picking up.
Here is a quick chart that shows the leads/mo over the first 11 months (The chart starts with the most recent month…July 2014).
As you can see I got a HUGE spike in leads in the middle of 2015. I am not sure what caused that but it was nice to get. It doesn’t really correspond to my traffic so that doesn’t explain it.
Have I gotten Any Deals?
Anytime I’ve ever been asked about Investor Carrot websites the first question I get is…How many deals have I gotten? This is a valid question. I got 1 deal in the first year, but since then I’ve gotten 7 more.
I have gotten a total of 8 deals from my investor carrot sites.
Can you guess when my first deal came? Yup…From a lead I got in March 2014. My partner and I netted about $5000 from that deal. Easily paying for the next 2 years of my websites.
What I like about my Investor Carrot Websites
If you’ve read the entire article up to this point you won’t be shocked when I tell you that I LOVE my investor carrot websites. If it were not for these sites I would not be actively wholesaling right now. When my wife lost her job in the summer of 2014 I could no longer afford to send out direct mail. Having these websites is my sole lead generating method at the moment. And it works very well!
Here is a rundown of everything that I like about Investor Carrot Websites…
An Instant Full Featured Website
It honestly took me 3 months to get my Test website (webuynjhouses.com) up and running. In 2 days I had 3 investor carrot websites up and quite frankly they looked and performed better as well. I like them so much I am an affiliate for Investor Carrot, but this is the honest truth.
Great Looking Sites
I really like the looks of the site. My good friend Sharon Vornholt (who also has a website through IC) thinks it’s a little to manly looking, but that might be the reason why I like it so much.
What I mean by this is that each page plays off the others very well. There is a purpose for everything that they include. Testimonials, Downloadable Guides, smartly placed contact forms, and great content based off of good SEO strategies.
Focus on SEO
They use the Yoast SEO WordPress plugin which is widely considered to be one of the best. Each of their pre-written articles are created to the specifications of that plugin. Also if you pay attention they do a great job of internally linking their pages. This is a huge SEO must and produces big results
Conversion Rate (2-step contact form)
They use Gravity Forms as their contact form plugin. This is a $40/yr plugin and is excellent. I chose this same plugin for my test site because of it’s flexibility, power and ease of use. Also the use of a 2-step contact form really improves opt-ins. The first form only asks for minimal info (name, address, phone and email) and the second form gets the rest of the info that you will want.
Support, Tutorials and Webinars
In addition to all the tutorials, they hold weekly training webinars for members. These webinars are not for selling, but strictly for teaching members how to better their conversions, increase traffic and much more. Trevor really puts a lot of attention towards his current members.
When I signed up last year the price for the 3 site package was $49/mo. Even though they have doubled their pricing I still think it’s a steal for all you get. Keep in mind this price also includes the hosting of your sites.
In comparison my test site (with hosting, highered SEO guy and Content writer) has cost me over $2000 to get it up and running and $350 /mo on going.
I love WordPress and the fact that Investor Carrot is built upon that platform makes it a cinch to manage.
What I DON’T like about my Investor Carrot Websites
There has to be some bad right? There are but the issues are manageable to a point. Here are the things that worried me about having an Investor Carrot website…
Built on Templates
They obviously don’t custom create your site and write unique content just for you. They use templates. I’ve spoken to Trevor about this and he has said that they currently have 4 templates you can choose from. He also said they are adding more and retiring others. This alleviates some of my concerns but I still felt the need to reword a good amount of the content.
Duplicate Content Possibility
Because they use templates there is a possibility that another person in New Jersey could have an almost identical site as mine. Google will not like this and punish both sites. Trevor recommends that once you get your sites that you personalize them more and reword the content somewhat. It took me a month or two to do it for my 3 sites.
Don’t Have Control Over Website Host
I’m a bit of a control freak and tinkerer when it comes to my websites. I like to have access to my sites on the hosting level. You don’t get that with IC. They do that for a reason. It prevents people like me from messing something up. I know just enough to create a lot of problems 🙂 Still I’d like to have access to the Host.
All Investor Carrot Websites Look Similar
If I do a general search for “We Buy Houses ” I can almost pick out all the Investor Carrot websites from their default Meta Title and Description. Also if you go to the websites you’ll quickly notice which sites are IC sites. Let me say though you do have the ability to really customize the look of your sites so they don’t look like all the other IC sites. I recommend you do this to at least your homepage so your site stands out from all the lazy people out there.
I mentioned it a few times throughout this post. For the first 12 months, along with my Investor Carrot sites, I been built a Non-Investor Carrot website. I’m doing this for a number of reasons.
Firstly, I wanted to directly compare a website built from scratch by me to the IC Websites. I hired an SEO expert to help me with ranking my site and I also hired a copy writer to create content. Working with these people for a while now I can honestly say they are great at what they do.
Second reason is that I wanted to learn more about SEO and the process of ranking a website. This would help me better analyze the Investor Carrot websites and to understand their SEO strategies.
Lastly and simply an added bonus is that I don’t have all my eggs in one basket. If anything happens to either site, I’m not shut down. Also I could take either site and focus on completely different markets. It’s a good position to be in I think.
So with all that being said here are the direct comparisons of Investor Carrot Website vs My Test Site…
* I hid my keywords to protect my rankings a bit
In short…I’m a big fan of Investor Carrot! I’ve spoken with Trevor many times for any problem I may run into or just to ask him a general question about the Pro Package. He has always responded personally or had one of his team members get back to me quickly.
These websites are top notch products that have even improved since I signed up over a year ago. It’s unlike any other Investor website services I’ve run into.
If you are looking to get a website up and running quickly give these guys a try. As of this article they are offering the Pro +Content Package for $99/mo. That is $100/mo off the regular listed price. I don’t know how long they plan on offering it at that price but I upgraded my plan to that yesterday.
Updated Final Thoughts for 2016
As I use a product over time it’s a great sign when that product continues to evolve and get better…and not charge you extra. Investor Carrot has been awesome in that regard. Since this review 2 years ago I have noticed the following about Carrot..
Improved support – They have added support staff to their team as well as easier ways to contact them when I have a question or an issue. When I recorded the signup video (new for this review) I got an email the next day asking if I meant to create that new account. The reason was because I already had an account and just upgraded to yearly billing. That’s good service in my book.
Additionally they have continued with their weekly mastermind calls and the topics are always useful and current. There are many times where the topic of the week was something I was just thinking about. Not sure how they managed to do that.
Always Looking to get Feedback – I routinely get emails from Trevor or a member of his team asking for my feedback about a feature. They also share with me their ideas for the future and my thoughts on that. Makes me feel like I’m a part of the team and community.
More Competition – The number of Carrot members over the past 2 years has exploded! For many of my keywords the top 10 are littered with carrot sites. This just goes to show you how well they work. It also emphasizes the need for you to work on your website and do more then your competition. You can’t just sit back and expect to be the #1 ranked site anymore.
Still Ranking highly – I am happy to say that my main seller site is still highly ranked for many of my keywords. Most times I’m either #1 or #2 which is oustanding! As you can see by my traffic and lead graphs above that those numbers continue to steadily rise and I don’t see that changing,
I have really enjoyed my experience with Investor Carrot and HIGHLY RECOMMEND them to anyone and everyone. I seriously want to model their company blue print when I introduce my next product.
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