The New Mobile World – How Does Your Web Marketing Stack Up?
The American consumer is going mobile at a break-neck pace. Sometime late last year, according to researchers, the number of people living in households with one or more cell phones exceeded that of people living in a household with a landline. And, it’s only going to move more in that direction. The convenience of the cell phone in our busy lives is just too great.
The real estate professional who wants an effective Internet presence should also be carefully following this mobile trend as well. Let’s expand our nomenclature to an “effective technology marketing presence.” It ties together the Internet with the mobile market via SMS text messaging and mobile web sites. There are already a number of major retail marketers using text messaging and mobile web sites to allow their customers to shop from their cell phones.
Ralph Lauren has a site specifically designed for selecting clothing from a cell phone, placing an order, and having it shipped or picking it up at a retail location. Sears has also created a mobile shopping site. When you locate and purchase your item on your cell phone, you need only wait for the text message telling you that it’s ready to pick up at the chosen store location.
Yes, I agree that you can’t sell a home over a cell phone connection. But, you can facilitate mobile access to real estate information for the consumer. There are free and paid services available to allow a drive-by prospect to text in for home information using the text address on a yard sign rider. They are at their highest interest level sitting out at the curb. That’s when a text message with the details of price, bedrooms and features will have the most clout.
But, there’s more to do than that. With the iPhone, the Android phones coming out, and ever more Web friendly cell phone hardware, the average consumer will be able to access a live domain from in front of the home as well. Now it just gets better, with access to color photos and more detailed information than a text message can provide.
How does your website look if viewed from a mobile phone screen? Most are a complete disaster, as they just aren’t set up to be viewed in that very small screen format. And, the navigation is a horror as well. Or, there is an ad to access a real estate website with a mobile phone, but the domain address that must be typed in is just too long, so they don’t use it. So, what is a real estate professional to do to compete in the very near future when a high percentage of their prospects are demanding mobile access to information?
Work with professionals in web design, and particularly the real estate website field, to develop a mobile web presence that works along with your regular website to provide what the prospect wants, where they want it. It isn’t about everything being available, but there are certain portions of your site that would be of value to the mobile visitor.
Most people will be content with very in-depth research on their home or office computers. However, they will want some information to be readily available when they’re on the go. Particularly in the area of listing information when they’re driving around, you’ll want to be able to give that buyer prospect a quick information-fix. The impulse to learn more may be long gone by the time they get back to a computer.
There’s another facet to presenting a mobile presence effectively. With the average consumer becoming more technologically proficient every day, they appreciate the vendors, or Realtors, who are keeping pace. They’re far more likely to visit your regular site when they do return to their computer, just because they were impressed with your technological presentation of mobile info.
This isn’t an area in which you can “go it alone.” Consult with your real estate website company representatives. Begin to at least discuss a future mobile presence for your site. You’re ahead of the curve right now, but you know how fast things are moving. Get your mobile plan together soon.
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