Dirk Zeller is a speaker, author and CEO of Real Estate Champions. His company trains more than 350,000 real estate professionals each year through live events, online training, self-study programs and newsletters. He's written several articles and books, including Your First Year in Real Estate, Success as a Real Estate Agent for Dummies and Telephone Sales for Dummies. To learn more, visit http://www.realestatechampions.com.
Marketing Yourself on Mobile
Changes in real estate are coming fast and furious, and one of the biggest revolutions is in the mobile sector. How can you promote yourself in this space?
June 1, 2011
The real estate business has changed a great deal in the past decade, sometimes at an alarming rate. And there are no signs that it’s going to stop changing. But in the face of constant transformation, how can real estate professionals generate consistent business?
First, they have to recognize that change is a good thing and embrace the opportunity that it represents. Rather than looking backward and wishing for the good old days, whenever that might have been, we need to look at what’s on the horizon.
Right now, the new frontier for our business is mobile marketing. More than 91 percent of the U.S. adult population has a mobile phone. Sixty million people — more than one-fifth — of those mobile users have a smartphone. And 80 million more people are projected to transition to a smartphone sometime this year. That will raise the percentage of smart phone users in the United States to just over 50 percent of all mobile users.
Consequently, our communication, marketing, and sales efforts need to be aligned to smartphone users. They have a sea of information right now in the palm of their hand, so what you send must grab their attention. The graphics, pictures, and videos must stand out so you can convert and secure the prospect.
Because of the explosion of smartphones, it’s merely a matter of time (I give it less than 36 months) before one of the really great services and lead-generation techniques for buyers — call capture — is dead. (For those of you who don’t know, call capture is the 800-number codes you see on real estate signs and in home magazines for properties. It has been a great source for 20 years for leads.)
In today’s market, you must have multiple mediums of connection and contact. Your lead follow-up strategy has to employ calls, e-mails, letters, postcards, texts, e-cards, e-mails with pictures, and e-mails with video. You can’t rely on one medium to convert leads in today’s marketplace. You can’t exclusively use e-mail or phone calls. You have to use multiple avenues to build a connection, conversation, and conversion. You also must use multiple lead-harvesting strategies to capture the mobile consumer.
The replacements for outdated methods such as call capture will be text messaging, keyword marketing, and QR codes. I think QR codes are cool if you are using them to broadly market yourself and your service. They will be very effective for some prospects, but some are more likely to enter a five-digit text message and get the same info, pictures, charts, and graphs on the property. With keywords, the important thing is to reinforce your brand. You could use a keyword to position yourself as the local expert.
However you do it, the result of your efforts should be that consumers get what they want — comprehensive, instantaneous information about a property — and you receive what you want: their contact info.
Some of these services have great back-end dashboards where contacts are organized by property, so if you get a price reduction, with a few mouse clicks you could blast out texts to people who have inquired about the home over the last three weeks. Or if an offer is coming in, you could text that out to see if you could produce one of your own. Or if you or your company gets another listing similar to the one they inquired about, you can send them information about that property. That kind of attention sets you apart from the competition.
Let me give you a quick example of how powerful mobile marketing can be. In the ‘To’ field of your smartphone’s text messaging application, type the numbers 35620 into the subject line and enter “Go Mobile” as the message. You will get property information as if you were a buyer. You can see the power of mobile marketing right in the palm of your hand.
We all have to acknowledge and embrace the change in today’s marketplace. We have to view it first as an opportunity and realize that most agents will view it as a threat. That one mind-set difference will enable you to not only survive but thrive in today’s marketplace.