If ever an industry needed a one-and-done SaaS solution, it was real estate. Disrupting the real estate industry is like turning the Titanic. It just doesn’t respond nimbly to change.
Maybe that’s to be expected for an industry whose roots are in the Feudal system, with its hierarchical structure of “noble” lords, tenant farmers, and royal fealty. Fast forward to today, and many modern real estate professionals still seem to be polishing their seats at King Arthur’s Round Table.
Want to become an investor? Go to investor mixers and shake a lot of hands. Want to find wholesale deals or listings to broker? Lace up your comfy shoes and start knocking on doors. It’s like the internet was never even invented.
Carrot is on a mission to change that. Their pitch is this—in a crowded field, entrepreneurs who successfully leverage technology will rise to the top, leaving their door-knocking and cold-calling brethren in the dust.
By going to carrot.com (or oncarrot.com) and becoming a Carrot member, the pitch continues, real estate professionals of all stripes—landlords, house-flippers, wholesalers, note investors, agents, brokers, and more—can win that tech race with one mouse click and a reasonable monthly fee.
To hear the Carrot team tell it, Carrot is the quickest, easiest, most done-for-you solution to drive leads to a real estate business.
What Is Carrot?
In a nutshell, Carrot is a Cloud-based ecosystem for building and managing a real estate website.
But not just any real estate website. The raison d’etre of oncarrot.com is that most real estate websites don’t perform. Little better than online bragging rights or signifiers of credibility, they’re something to put on a business card that you hand to a stranger whose door you just knocked on.
Put simply, most real estate websites aren’t worth the cost of the design or the data. This is a credible claim. You can probably think of a few right now:
The slapdash website thrown together on Weebly, Wix, or Squarespace by an investor with no design talent whatsoever.
The clunky, outdated ReMAX subpage with nothing more than the agent’s headshot, phone number, and IDX/MLS integration.
These websites are worse than just uninspiring to look at—they easily get lost in the noise. What’s to distinguish this ReMAX agent’s site from the two dozen other ReMAX agent sites in the same zip code?
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When it comes to DIY sites built on Wix, Squarespace, et al, investors and agents face the problem of “right job, wrong tool.” The sites built by these web tools aren’t SEO-optimized right out the gate, nor is it obvious how to create a “customer journey” within the site—one that converts visitors into leads.
DIY web-builder tools are quicker to learn and more user-friendly than learning to write HTML from scratch … but there is still a learning curve. Entrepreneurs who think it will be “easy” to save a few bucks building their own website on Wix may discover that they are spending all their time as techies and none of their time actually “doing real estate.”
Worst of all, the job never ends. A big part of promoting a website is constantly adding content, in the forms of new blogs, videos, articles, etc. What real estate professional has the time? They went into business to work with property, not become full-time bloggers.
Long story short—even if you dumped time and money into a DIY site, or even hired a web designer who didn’t know exactly how to build a user journey to convert real estate leads, chances are that website will still underperform.
Even if it does generate leads, it might not be generating as many leads as it could. Carrot CEO and founder Trevor describes this as a “phantom expense”—tens of thousands of dollars that are walking out the door, without you ever knowing, because your website is subpar. It stings even more if you paid money to drive those leads to the website, in the form of paid search or social media ads.
At oncarrot.com, members will find everything they need to build a real estate website that actually works, including tested website templates with easy customization and back-end analytics, SEO trackers, and native lead management.
But Carrot goes further, offering users an industry-leading automated content generation service, as well as supplemental training, tutorials, and coaching calls to help members get the most out of their oncarrot.com membership.
Carrot memberships come in two flavors:
Investor Carrot provides members with tested one-click website buildouts targeted at popular investor niches. You can build landing pages to attract any one of the following:
Multiple landing pages can be integrated into one site. Carrot can also build top pages for a business brand to tie all the lead-generating landing pages together.
Agent Carrot helps real estate agents and brokers stand out from the pack by tailoring a web build to convert realty prospects, including:
Again, multiple landing pages can be integrated into one site within the membership package, and Carrot can build home pages to tie all the lead-generating landing pages together.
What Value does Carrot Offer?
Carrot has many value offerings, with packages available for almost any budget or any level of commitment:
The introductory materials describe their native website builder as an easy-to-learn “drag and drop” design tool.
Actually, a “one-click website builder” is a better description. It’s quite impressive. Once you create your oncarrot.com account and initiate the “Build New Site” process, you simply pick what types of leads you want the site to attract, enter some basic information about your brand (company name, contact info, etc.) and click “Create My Site.”
That’s really it. The system then automatically builds you a website using a structure that has been tested and proven to convert, optimized to rank. The site includes hooks, calls to action, and prominent opt-in buttons to gather leads.
Of course, it will do better if you perform some light customization. The first task will probably be to add your logo to the header of the site. Once you do that, you can change the theme color to match your logo. There are about a half-dozen “themes” you can choose to give your site a look you love. Again, every theme has been tested and optimized to rank and convert.
The site comes complete with a big block of keyword-rich generic content—a crucial component of SEO. How does oncarrot.com generate unique content for each user? AI content generation? Staff writers? It isn’t clear, but you can customize the content in any way you like.
When you are logged in to oncarrot.com and looking at your site, an “Edit” button is at the top of every page. Once you enter editing mode, we find an interface somewhat similar to Wix or WordPress—you can’t really mess around with the theme and site structure too much. For non-tech-savvy real estate professionals, this is good news—there’s less stuff to break.
Once you enter editing mode on a page, however, oncarrot.com exhibits some of the “drag-and-drop” functionality of a Weebly or a Squarespace. For example, you can drag-and-drop pictures or videos into the text. A branded intro or explainer video is a solid choice to add close to the top of your home page.
Mindful that over half of all web searches happen on mobile devices, every Carrot website is fully mobile-responsive. This is also crucial for SEO, since search engines like Google now employ a “mobile-first” ranking algorithm.
Going back to first principles, the purpose of a website is to generate leads. Even the cheapest website isn’t worth the money if it doesn’t drive leads. It’s not there just to look pretty—it’s a tool to generate and close new business.
Once you get the lead, though … what then? Carrot offers a full back-end lead management system, which allows you to store your leads in one place and track their progress in the customer journey. The opt-in forms on your oncarrot.com website automatically add the new lead to this management system.
Carrot’s lead management system is not a full CRM. The good news, though, is that oncarrot.com can fully integrate with hundreds of popular CRM platforms, including real estate favorites like FreedomSoft, Podio, Zoho, and Investor Fuse.
Back-End SEO Management
A key selling point of Carrot is its promise to build websites that are search-engine optimized. Carrot makes the lofty claim that its users own more top-five page rankings on search engine results pages (SERP) in Google or Bing than any of its competitors.
If Carrot can deliver on this promise, it’s huge. Real estate is a crowded field in almost every market. Everyone knows three or four REALTORs, and you can’t throw a rock more than five feet without hitting a “We Buy Houses!” bandit sign.
While a niche business like mobile car detailing might be easy to optimize for high SERP ranking, a saturated field like real estate is next to impossible … at least by conventional means. If Carrot sites streamline the ranking process, they are worth every penny.
The SEO back-end tools offered at oncarrot.com include a rank tracker, which estimates your page ranking on a day by day basis so you can track your page’s search engine performance.
In editing mode, your pages also feature a “Page Analysis” tab which takes you to, among other tools, an SEO keyword grader. With this tool, you can enter the desired keyword and get back a color-coded grade on how well that page is optimized for that keyword—red being badly optimized, green well-optimized.
You need to add or purchase a plugin to do this in WordPress, so the fact that it comes standard in Carrot is handy.
Automated Content Marketing
This might be the coolest feature offered by Carrot. Think of how time-consuming it is to research, write, and post blogs, white papers, and other pieces of content to keep your site fresh and your brand top-of-mind. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could just have a full-time blogger on staff to do it for you?
This is the beauty of Carrot’s automated content marketing packages. The Carrot team of bloggers generates unique content and posts it to your site on whatever schedule package you select (biweekly, weekly, monthly, etc.)
Content marketing is massive. Most of your potential clients aren’t searching for your business … or at least, they don’t know it yet. They are searching for answers to burning questions they have right in the moment:
How do I stop a foreclosure?
Is note investing better than real estate investing?
What improvements will increase the value of my house more than the cost?
If you can produce content that answers these burning prospect questions in an engaging way, you can multiply your traffic, brand exposure, and SEO performance exponentially.
To have someone else research high-performing key phrases and topics, write SEO-optimized content, and post it to your blog for you is next-level stuff. This offering makes Carrot look less like a SaaS tool and more like a one-stop-shop to launch a real estate business from scratch.
Training and Support
While much of the Investor Carrot and Agent Carrot platforms are automated and user-friendly, there is still work to do and a learning curve to master if you decide to go the DIY route with your Carrot membership.
Carrot offers new members training sessions and webinars to get them started. There’s also a “Carrot University” series of continuing education modules. Some of them free; some of them incur an extra fee to purchase. Carrot users had great things to say about the “3 Leads Per Day” training module, which costs $99 over and above the cost of a Carrot membership.
Carrot also prides itself in its robust customer support ecosystem. Live chat windows can be accessed from the lower right hand side of every window. Carrot also offers scheduled group coaching calls, as well as phone support by appointment.
Full Concierge/Done-For-You Service Available
Carrot memberships, which you can purchase in three tiers from the website, favor a “DIY” approach, which oncarrot.com streamlines through automation.
However, busy entrepreneurs may find it more appealing to just pay professionals to do the whole thing for them. For these clients, Carrot offers concierge-style “turnkey” services that build and customize the website for them.
Customized quotes for a “done-for-you” service start in the thousands of dollars, which makes Carrot competitive with other services.
The advantage they have over competitors is their depth and breadth of experience in real estate service websites. You won’t be getting some eCommerce expert trying to fit a square peg into a round hole—the Carrot team knows real estate, and knows how to build websites that convert real estate prospects.
What Results Does Carrot Deliver?
Carrot team members claim to be the best at what they do, and they try to back that claim up with numbers. So how many points does Carrot have on the board?
Carrot’s home page claims that they have generated over 2.3 million real estate leads and counting. (The data page says it’s 1.2 million leads.) This breaks down to an average of over 120,000 leads per customer, 58% of them from mobile devices.
The source of the traffic makes a big difference. Carrot leads break down to just over 3% from referrals, just over 10% from paid traffic. That leaves over 38% from direct marketing and over 36% from organic search, the most cost-effective and scalable sources of leads.
Do they deliver? They have the glowing customer testimonials on their side, but staking your reputation on SEO is dicey. SEO is notoriously finicky, depending more on backlinks than on content or site optimization alone. The SEO rankings tracked in the back end are hard to prove. Even top sites may fluctuate between position 1, 2, or 3 etc. depending on the day.
That said, attention to content marketing and the user journey is sorely lacking in most real estate website strategies. In that sense, Carrot delivers big-time.
Agent Carrot only offers the Content Pro and Advanced Marketer membership tiers, not the Core tier.
The gold standard of SaaS is a “one-and-done” solution—the kind of Cloud service where you can enter your credit card number, click a few buttons, and be up-and-running. Your web presence is handled, just like that.
Carrot makes a great argument for itself in fulfilling that standard for the real estate industry. In a real sense, the right oncarrot.com membership is all you need, and boom, you’re in business.
It’s a little more complicated than that. Your Carrot site will almost certainly need extra SEO attention, and driving paid traffic to the site can’t hurt. Carrot has resources and services to streamline that process, but many of them cost extra. At least you know you’re paying to drive that traffic to a website that’s built to convert—to take those precious visitors on a user journey that ends with leads collected, contracts signed, and cash added to your bottom line.
J.R. Medrano is a real estate investor who specializes in wholesaling inherited homes. He has been wholesaling real estate in the Corpus Christi, TX area for the past 5 years. If you would like some honest advise about wholesaling houses. Feel free to contact him at anytime.