More and more consumers are growing accustomed to using their mobile phones as their main, and sometimes only, device for the majority of their communications for personal and business use. Although baby boomers (45 years old and over) still prefer computers over mobile phones (51% versus 21% respectively), Gen Yers (18 – 24 years old) prefer their mobile phones over their computers (47% versus 38% respectively) according to Accenture. This may not seem like enough to force real estate professionals to shift their attention to mobile marketing, but this trend is growing faster and faster as better, smarter and more affordable mobile phones continue to saturate the market.
Gen Yers will quickly become the target demographic for many real estate professionals over the next decade, which means that you, as a real estate professional, must start mapping out your long term plans to secure your future success in the industry. As it is with any business, the first to market is usually the most well received and remembered, which in this case means that if you are one of the first to market your real estate business on the devices that are selling by the millions each year, then your business will be extremely well positioned now and in the coming years.
Mobile marketing is the future and we are going to tell you how to leverage it to help your grow your real estate business.
How Does Mobile Marketing Apply to Real Estate?
The real estate industry is arguably one of the most tech savvy when it comes to using new technology and new forms of media to market, advertise and sell product. This has provided real estate professionals with numerous tools to aid their business in marketing, selling, tracking and managing existing clients and prospects effectively.
One of the main, and most useful, tools of the trade has been the mobile phone, more specifically, the smart phone (iPhone, Google Phone, Blackberry, HTC Touch). These devices have changed the landscape of finding and selling real estate. More importantly, they have become necessities for real estate professionals looking to market their services as effectively as possible. Mobile phones provide two main opportunities to Realtors when it comes to building exposure and branding in all the right ways.
Text Messaging / SMS
People love their mobile phones, but one thing that they might love the most about their mobile phones is the ability to text message. We love being able to get information as fast as possible and in its simplest form. Text messaging allows us to communicate with just a few brief sentences that are delivered almost instantaneously.
Text messaging / SMS is used frequently between home buyer / seller and Realtor as it allows both sides to communicate efficiently and often without much hassle. Best of all, text messaging / SMS can be automated, like Email Drip Marketing, which makes it an extremely powerful tool to stay in front of clients and prospects.
Read on to find some great products, services and companies that are helping Realtors use SMS to market their real estate services.
Mobile Web Browsing
Mobile phone users spend a lot of time on their devices. One of the main uses of these phones, specifically smart phones (iPhone, Google Phone, Blackberry, etc), is to peruse the Internet with the built in web browsers. This being the case, mobile phones provide yet another point of touch with consumers that should be capitalized on for maximum exposure and branding.
It is also important to note that many websites are NOT built to work with every mobile phone as they do on a computer. For example, your great looking website may not work at all on an iPhone, especially if it is 100% Flash as iPhones do not currently support Flash with its web browser. This means that you will need to either find a service to create a mobile version of your site for you or have your web developer / designer make your site “mobile friendly”.
NOTE: Do not expect your web developer / designer to have done or do this for you free of charge as this does require extra coding and work. If you have a company that will then definitely take advantage of it. If not, then respect the fact that this work does consume time and resources for web development companies and expect to pay a nominal fee for this service.
Read on to find some great products, services and companies that are helping Realtors use Mobile Web Marketing to advertise their real estate services more effectively.
Top Mobile Marketing Ideas for Real Estate
As we stated in our previous post about the Top Online Marketing Tools for Real Estate, Mobile Marketing IS the future. Mobile device sales continue to burst through the roof each year making mobile phones more and more common in everyday business and personal life than ever before. For this reason alone, we strongly advise real estate professionals to get involved with mobile marketing now while it is still relatively new to the industry.
We have scoured our emails from readers and service providers over the past few months to put together a comprehensive list of the TOP Mobile Marketing Ideas for Real Estate.
If you are a service provider with a fantastic product / service that provides a solution to one of the following ideas, then please leave us a comment below or send us an email at [email protected] about it so we can review it and let our readers know about it too.
IDEA #1: Connect Home Buyers with Property Info via SMS
One of the most convenient uses of SMS with regards to real estate is to quickly get property information on a home without having to call or email anyone. By simply allowing someone to text message a given number to receive property information without calling or emailing you first can save you valuable time by pre-qualifying prospects for you.
In addition to providing you with a great pre-qualifying tool, a premium mobile marketing company will also provide your prospects and clients with the ability to receive notifications via SMS of property updates. Some brokerages / MLS boards may provide this feature already so be sure to check with your IT department before you pay for something you might already have.
Providers to Check Out:
Save time, generate leads and win more listings with DriveBuy Technologies’ simple mobile marketing solutions.
Cost: starts at $8 per active ad code per month
Increase sales through GoomZee’s innovative solutions that helps to connect buyers and sellers.
Cost: starts at $99 for 3 codes, 3 months (free signs)
Serve home buyers more efficiently and effectively with House4Cell’s new revolutionary tools.
Cost: starts at $29.99 per month for 3 codes (unlimited inquiries)
Market your listing or promote your services with MyCityPhone’s new mobile marketing and lead generations services.
Cost: starts at $25 per month for 5 keywords
Think your business deserves to be on this list? Let us know. Leave a comment below or send us an email at [email protected].
IDEA #2: Create Mobile Friendly Real Estate Websites
Millions of people with mobile phones spend a significant amount of time actually using their phones to surf the web. This gives real estate professionals even more of a reason to need a website that properly represents their services online. If you don’t have one already, we recommend that you get at least one mobile friendly website that allows people to search properties, read about the services you provide and contact you easily through your mobile site.
One thing to know though is that many existing or older real estate websites are not optimized to look and work the same on a mobile phone as they do on a computer’s web browser. For example, an older mobile browser would need a completely different version of a website, in most cases, for a user to be able to even see it. Even on newer, more advanced phones like the iPhone, flash heavy websites will not be very user friendly or even visible to users. Knowing these things ahead of time will allow you to make the right decisions with your mobile marketing initiatives.
Website Providers to Check Out (non-mobile focused):
The following providers focus primarily on providing great looking, effective websites for Realtors and brokerages. They do not, at least not yet, focus too much on mobile websites. However, the products and services that these companies provide do meet certain standards that allows their web based websites to be usable on mobile based browsers.
With over 10 years in the business of creating real estate websites, Advanced Access is one of the top providers available to real estate professionals looking for simple, but effective websites.
PROS: Websites are HTML based making them very mobile friendly already. No additional fees necessary to make your Advanced Access website work on mobile phones.
CONS: Does not provide iPhone versions of websites. Does not provide only mobile websites for people wishing to purchase only a mobile site.
If you like “pretty” websites, then Agent Image is tough to beat, but that’s about the extent of their expertise as their websites show many fundamental issues for both SEO and conversion.
PROS: Designs are certainly unique and customized to give agents individual branding.
CONS: Websites consistently include a lot of fundamental issues like missing, basic on-page SEO and improper implementation of IDX tools. Mobile versions are offered, but they are not optimal.
Real Estate Webmasters
Based in Canada, Real Estate Webmasters has one of the best overall services available to real estate professionals looking to market themselves with a well designed, user friendly real estate website.
PROS: Non-flash based websites are HTML based and mobile friendly already.
CONS: Does not provide iPhone versions of websites. Does not provide only mobile websites for people wishing to purchase only a mobile site.
A La Mode
One of the more development savvy real estate website providers around, A La Mode continues to innovate in the real estate space with its numerous technically advanced websites, programs and applications.
PROS: Has a very cool iPhone version of its websites, but not available just yet (hence the honorable mention). This product will be one of the top ones available when it is officially launched.
CONS: Mobile websites are only available for properties, not entire websites
Website Providers to Check Out (mobile focused):
The following providers offer web based websites, but specialize in mobile based marketing and websites primarily. If you already have a website (preferably from one of the companies above) and would like to get a separate mobile website, then the following providers should be a good fit.
Create a custom mobile site for your business, complete with back end administration and much more.
Cost: starts at $29.95/month (unlimited listings)
Setup and maintain a fully functional website right from your mobile device.
Cost: starts at $480/year
Think your business deserves to be on this list? Let us know. Leave a comment below or send us an email at [email protected] and we will be happy to review your service and your business as well.
IDEA #3: Syndicate Your Listings to Top Real Estate Websites
If you do not have the luxury, or money, to get your own mobile website for your real estate business, then a simple and effective option is to make sure that your listings are included in the top real estate websites like Trulia and Zillow. These large websites usually have fantastic mobile applications that are fully functional and feature-rich. If your listings are available on these websites then mobile application users will be able to find them via the web and their mobile devices.
Syndication Providers to Check Out:
With over 35 syndication partners, Point2Agent provides the largest syndication network in the industry.
Provides a comprehensive system to maximize listing exposure while providing Realtors and brokers with all of the necessary tools to track and analyze the online activity of their listings.
Allows users to create, list and syndicate classified listings through their service, for FREE.
As noted above, if you are on a tight budget, then simply go to the top real estate sites like Trulia and Zillow, create an account for yourself and add your properties manually to assure that they are included for all users to find.
Should your business be on this list? Let us know. Leave a comment below or send us an email at [email protected] and we will be happy to review your service and add it to the list.
IDEA #4: Run Targeted Pay Per Click Campaigns
We are huge proponents of paid search marketing as it provides advertisers with a fast, targeted way to get online visibility. There are tons of other reasons why you should be marketing your real estate business with Pay Per Click so if you need more convincing on why you should be using pay per click marketing, then check out our sister blog on the Top 10 Reasons to Use Paid Search Marketing.
For the purpose of this article, we are recommending PPC here because web browsers are all compatible with Google, Yahoo and Bing searches. These search engines display paid ads and content ads just as they do on web based sites so it is important that mobile users can find you both on the web and on their mobile devices.
By setting up and managing Pay Per Click campaigns on the main search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing, you are providing another way for prospective clients to find your services in every way possible.
If you need assistance setting up a PPC campaign or would like some references for reputable PPC management companies, then simply leave a comment below or email us at [email protected].
Real Estate Mobile Marketing is the Future
People are becoming increasingly busy, trying to shove as much as they can into their short 24 hour days. As a result, mobile phone usage continues to gradually catch pace, and eventually pass, computer usage as the more common, everyday activity. Allowing people to do much of what they need to (check email, browse the web, shop, read reviews, etc) right from their hand-held devices, mobile phones will continue to provide marketers with fortuitous opportunities to get their brand in front of as many people as possible.
Real estate professionals must capitalize on these opportunities while they are still fairly new. As more marketers realize the importance of mobile marketing in the coming months and years, delivering ads and marketing messages to mobile phone users will only become disgustingly saturated as we have seen with web marketing through search and display ads.
Try out some of the things suggested above. We are confident that your prospects and clients will appreciate these efforts, which in turn will of course help you close more deals. If you have any questions about any of the suggestions or have some of your own recommendations or experiences that you would like to share, then please leave us a comment below or email us [email protected].