Real estate agents and brokers wear many hats – educators, guides, salespeople, negotiators, brokers – and, most importantly, marketers. Successfully selling a property depends on a real estate agent’s ability to follow up on a lead quickly, and text messaging is an invaluable channel to connect with prospects fast. According to the National Association of Realtors, it was found that 62% of all home buyers would like their agent to send that property-related information via texts. And that’s not the only reason why realtors are quick to adopt this method of communication. Pew Research Centre discloses that text messages have higher response rates as compared to email.
The good news is that realtors are quickly catching on to this real estate marketing trend as 92% prefer text messaging, and 37% use instant messaging to contact prospects and clients.
Are You Ready to Incorporate Texting into Your Real Estate Marketing Process?
If you aren’t using text messaging as a part of your real estate marketing strategy, you are missing out on a major competitive advantage over other realtors in your area.
We’ve created this handy list of tips for real estate agents that are new to texting. Read on:
Know Your Audience
77% of consumers aged 18–34 are likely to appreciate a company that offers text capability. But just because you are text messaging doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to use shorthand, emojis, or abbreviations – especially if your client is older or more professionally inclined.
Knowing your audience is the first step in an effective marketing strategy, and it also precedes text messaging. Understand who your prospect is, and speak on their level. Give them as much or as little detail as they can handle and always encourage them to ask questions.
Messaging works for real estate agents because it saves them from long conversations – a perpetual fear for many. The problem is that people expect an instant reply, making it absolutely crucial that you get right back to clients and partners.
It’s a good idea to text a prospect within 5 minutes of them submitting an inquiry on the website. Respond as quickly as possible especially if they have initiated the text, even if it’s just to tell them that you’ll get back to them later.
Never leave them hanging – but it is fine to reply the next morning if you received the texts late at night; otherwise, make sure you respond within the hour.
Use Other Reach-Out Methods as Well
There is no denying the fact that texting is a great way to communicate with clients, prospects, and partners alike, but it should be a part of a bigger communication strategy.
Your goal should be to get a phone call with them, ultimately leading to emails and then face-to-face meetings.
Besides, even in this day and age, some people can’t quite get the hang of text messaging and prefer to do things the old-fashioned way. Make sure you have a strategy to bring them into the sales funnel as well. Offer several options to suit every age, style, and need so you cater to a vast audience.
Remember Texting Takes Two People at Least
Text messaging is supposed to be a conversational tool. Use it to ask questions and get feedback. Engage the other party and entice them to respond instead of bombarding them with a series of unsolicited messages.
So make sure your texts don’t sound like a marketing pamphlet and start a conversation with your prospects with real estate text messaging.
Utilize the Right Tools
If you don’t have the time or resources to create a real estate text messaging plan, there are tools out there to help you do just that.
These apps and services can automate text messaging responses and even function like virtual assistants by sending out appointments and reminders etc. These tools can be of great help when trying to streamline internal operations and reaching clients in real-time.
Know That Texting Is Nothing Like Email
It’s never a good idea to repurpose texts from your email campaigns for texting. Text messaging isn’t suitable for lengthy and detailed conversations, and it doesn’t lend itself well to long attachments either. Be brief, i.e., short and sweet with your text.
For example, here’s a sample appointment reminder that’s perfect as a text message:
Hello [name], we are just sending you this reminder for your viewing of [property] on [date]. Will you be able to make it? Reply with ‘YES’ to confirm or ‘CANCEL’ to reschedule.
That’s it; that’s all the space you have, and there’s plenty you can do with it.
Sure email can be a part of the bigger campaign; for example, you can send your prospects a text to let them know that you’ve emailed them a proposal and expect a reply.
Get the Timing Right
Just like you wouldn’t call a prospect at 11 pm to discuss a property you think they’d like, don’t text them either. Please keep it to daytime hours when you can be confident that they are awake and open to doing some business.
Include All Relevant Information
Treat each text like it as a bite-size listing. Include the size, price, profile address of the property, as well as your contact info, when contacting for a possible sale or purchase. It would also be a good idea to include a short link to your real estate agent website or Google Maps location for the property in question.
Send Photos and Videos of Listings
Over 81% of mobile phone users in the United States have smartphones. Please take advantage of this by sending over photos and videos of properties they are interested in. Make it seem like an exclusive preview for your select clients; they’ll feel unique for getting the ‘inside scoop’ on your hottest properties.
Do Follow Up as Appropriate
As mentioned earlier, make sure that all modes of communication are on the table. If the potential homebuyers texts you enquiring about contingencies or escrow, there is your opportunity to call or email them back instead of sending a long text message. Don’t hesitate to reply that the answer is complicated and tell them that you’d instead call or email to explain it thoroughly.
Don’t Spam or Group Message
Be selective about your message – make sure it’s relevant to the receiver and that they want to receive it in the first place. This can be done by explicitly asking them if they wish to receive occasional texts, right when they provide you their cell phone number.
Also, it’s never a good idea to spam your entire contact list with a link to your new listing every time there is one. This is the fastest way to annoy prospects and compel them to opt-out of your marketing program.
The Last Word
Real estate text message marketing can be a potent tool for real estate agents. It is easy to use, and with the right strategy, text messaging can bring in qualified leads and ensure business profitability for the long term.
This article has been contributed by Jennifer Houghton.