By Dana Larsen
To keep up in the real estate industry these days, agents have to be well-versed in technology. In fact, in June 2014, Google's Consumer Survey reported that mobile phones accounted for 27 percent of total searches related to buying a home, which is up 19 percent from the prior year. And mobile and tablet consumer usage continues to grow as America evolves technologically.
Tapping into technology and into the heads of consumers in the real estate conversion funnel, through newsletters, websites, social and more, is important for real estate success in 2016 and beyond. And being technologically savvy in today's Information Age isn't as hard as you may think.
How Agents Use Technology to Reach Potential Homebuyers
So how exactly can real estate agents leverage technology to boost their marketing and business success? It's obvious that having a solid online presence (that is also mobile friendly) is crucial for a real estate agent's success. But there are technology tips you can utilize as a real estate agent to improve business and help with your client networking and marketing.
Here are six ways agents can use technology to grow their business:
1. Be optimized for mobile.
So far into 2015, Google reports that, "one-quarter of Google searches for mortgages have been on mobile devices and tablets have seen a huge spike in searches." This research confirms that that mobile is clearly becoming the leading source of information for homebuyers—and tablets are following—so agents need to be thinking mobile and optimizing their information for mobile, in addition to desktop.
To be optimized for mobile, agents need to download necessary real estate apps, and be savvy at updating their websites and their listings for desktop and mobile. Here are a couple rules to follow:
- Use responsive design. Many real estate companies and agents can capture more leads by targeting mobile users with responsive and optimized versions of websites.
- Be succinct. The mobile/tablet screen is small and consumers scan the information. Only provide the most important and necessary information for your website and listings to encourage consumers to contact you for more detailed information.
2. Use mobile apps and software to maximize productivity.
Real estate agents have helpful apps, software and optimization tools at their fingertips these days. From Premier Home Services by Pro.com, a technology platform that offers help with client marketing, personalized website resources and analytics to track customer information, to the myriad of optimization tools available to agents these days; there are many tools to easily improve customer reach and conversion.
Mobile apps can also offer customized experiences as agents can connect with clients by staying in touch throughout the home search process through email, private messages, push notifications and personalized listings. Apps offer easy price and property comparisons to make the search much easier for both agent and client. Here are the 10 best apps for real estate agents, according to Forbes.
3. Use email and newsletters to market yourself.
Sending email every few days to potential and/or new clients, in addition to a weekly newsletter, keeps homebuyers educated and informed of listings and the market. The constant contact also helps with relationship building, trust and proving that you, the agent, is an expert. Think of the communication as a branding effort.
Premier Home Services can offer assistance with the email and newsletter endeavor, or agents can download software or use programs to create their own email marketing and newsletters. According to National Association of REALTORS®, two-thirds of marketers rated email marketing as having “excellent” or “good” ROI, so this type of marketing makes sense.
4. Hyperlapse your photos.
Photos sell clients. It is the photos that will intrigue potential homebuyers to tour a listing. Hyperlapse is a new app that Instagram launched that uses time-lapse photography and technology in addition to impressive image stabilization software that puts a few thousand dollars worth of equipment on a single app on your phone for free. This photo app sharpens, enhances and improves photos to make your listings more visually appealing, thus bringing more potential clients.
5. Boost your social media.
Keeping up with social media helps brand your online business. If you have a website or a blog, you can post articles or listings on your page, in addition to the latest market information, to keep potential clients informed and impressed by your market knowledge and dedication. Social media posts can also improve your website and blogs through the eyes of Google and get your postings into the various social channel news feeds (which are prime for sharing and networking!).
6. Perfect plugins.
If your website is on WordPress or other CMS systems, real estate plugins can help you get information, analytics and enhancements for your site. From adding a professional listing feed to mortgage rate widgets and calculators, plugins are a great technology resource for the savvy agent.
According to Google's Consumer Survey, "There is a need to act on listings quickly if you are looking to buy, and the immediacy of mobile helps people stay on top of the market in real time." Because consumers are online, keeping up with technology helps inform them of the marketplace, which in turn, networks your business. Let technology work for you and use the available resources to help make your job easier.
Dana Larsen is a writer for Pro.com, an on-demand home service with a mission to simplify the home renovation process, including the up-front research before a project begins. Find home services professionals with the right qualifications and work ethic without the hassle of back-and-forth phone calls, scheduling and getting the work done. Read more home improvement tips on their blog.