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Technology, Industry

September 24, 2018

The Power of Marketing Automation in Real Estate

Why Every Agent Should Use Real Estate Marketing Automation To Keep In Touch With Prospects And Make Their Lives Easier

Let's Face It, The Real Estate Business is a Hectic One

Every day Realtors encounter many challenges that compete for their time: showing properties, arranging open houses, meeting with contractors, staging homes, placing ads, calling on prospects, networking and on and on.

An agent could be the most disciplined scheduler in the world, but because of human nature, it's certain things will go awry from time to time.

People show up late for appointments. Listings all of a sudden have issues with plumbing, etc. Homes are not cleared of clutter. Credit scores and appraisals are different than anticipated. Buyers and sellers get emotional and bounce all over the place during negotiations.

In the middle of all this activity, it's critical that a broker or agent dedicate time to keep in contact with their prospects and move them through the sales funnel to a contract. Because at the end of the day, that's the ultimate goal.

However, many experts say that only about 20% of agents reach out to customers and leads on a consistent basis.

The Solution is Automation

There are solutions out there to help brokers and agents stay engaged and use their time more efficiently.

Just like the many apps on your iPhone or Android smartphones such as GPS or alerts, there are real estate marketing automation programs that can be of tremendous value to real estate professionals.

These real estate marketing automation programs perform two critical functions. One is to automatically free up a broker or agent's time for all those other tasks they have to accomplish every day. The second function is even more important. Creating a consistent strategy to keep in touch with prospects and to provide them not only listing information continually but updates on market conditions as well.

This consistency will have a powerful effect on prospects and help move them through the process of buying or selling a home. (And there's one feature that gives brokers and agents incredible insight into the level of interest with those prospects. We'll talk about that in a minute.)

How Does a Real Estate Marketing Automation Program Work?

Let's start with email. Even though email has been around since the days of those shiny AOL internet disks, this medium is still extremely effective.

A broker or agent's email list should be one of the main components of their sales activity. Email is still a great way to stay in touch with prospects and continually feed them information. If prospects see information that is relevant to them, they will open those emails and read them. And this medium is certainly easier than typing up letters, stuffing envelopes and lugging them down to the post office. 

A real estate marketing automation program allows brokers and agents to load their contacts into the system along with the MLS data for the properties they want to promote.

The program does the rest. The application will pull relevant information from MLS and format that data and images into an appealing email message. An agent can schedule email blasts to go out on a regular basis, keeping prospects informed of listings that meet their criteria.

Some real estate marketing automation programs go even further. They also offer "microsites" that contain the latest real estate market data for the area so consumers can stay informed about changes in the marketplace. That data can include Recent Sales, Number of Homes Sold, Average Days in Inventory, Property Value Updates, Median Prices, Price Ratios and much more.

All that information can be very persuasive to a potential buyer or seller. If a buyer sees market activity heating up, they know they need to make a move sooner rather than later. For homeowners, a rise in home sales might just be the catalyst to pick up the phone and call the agent to list their home.

These automated programs lift a tremendous burden off the backs of brokers and agents. They don't have to fret over what to say in their email campaigns. They don't have to worry about getting that email out in time. They don't have to go digging for local real estate market data to show prospects. These functions are all done for them automatically. 

It Gets Better

Another time-consuming project for brokers and agents is keeping current on their social media accounts: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.

Here's the challenge. In a recent survey by Realtor.com, about 90% of agents said they use social media to promote themselves. That makes for a very competitive landscape to catch the attention of consumers.

As marketing experts will tell you, consistent repetition yields results. Just like McDonald's and Ford regularly run commercials on TV, a business person needs to stay in touch with consumers constantly. 

These actions not only create brand awareness and name recognition for the real estate company, but it also keeps them in front of consumers so that when they are ready to act, they know who to contact. That's a big relief for any real estate professional.

And here's the bonus feature that a broker or agent should look for in an effective real estate marketing automation program. In today's era of "big data," there is an incredible ability for users to analyze the activity of web visitors and prospects. Those analytics can provide critical findings. With a real estate marketing automation program, a broker or agent can gain insight and track how consumers are reacting to the email messages and data they are sending them.

For example, an agent might notice that one particular email recipient is spending quite a bit of time opening those emails and checking out market data. In fact, they return to the microsite with the home sales data several times a week.

Obviously, this is a very interested and motivated consumer. Someone who is probably ready to make a decision. A broker or agent can reach out to those prospects who show the most interest and assist them with additional information, answer their questions and help them move closer to making a buying or selling decision. 

Communicating with prospects in this way is a very effective way for agents to prioritize and focus on those prospects most likely to act in the immediate future. That's certainly better than a scattered approach to a big base of contacts. Agents can concentrate on people who will help them generate commissions sooner rather than later.

Embracing Technology

In this day and age, even with all the technology out there, real estate professionals are busier than ever. There's always competition. Schedules don't always go as planned. Brokers and agents also want to spend with their families and friends.

Embrace the latest technology that is out there to alleviate many of these challenges. In fact, one agent who uses an automated program said, "This has been my most important tool. I am very impressed by the high response rate from my clients and that has helped me understand the value because it creates the image of being here for my clients."

Realtors would be smart to add a real estate marketing automation program to their toolbox to maximize outreach efforts and frankly, make their lives less hectic and more effective.

Robert Caston is the Content Manager for Home Junction, a real estate technology company, they provide real estate market data and a marketing automation program for brokers and agents.

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