Agents wanting to make an impact on mobile marketing should accentuate their local expertise, said John Thornton, the real estate lead at Google today. “Localization is probably the biggest piece that mobile unlocks. You have to get a bit more targeted,” he said.

  • Emphasise your local expertise when mobile marketing.
  • Make your mobile website clean and pared down compared with your desktop website.
  • Make it possible to click to make contact on your mobile website or app.

Agents wanting to make an impact on mobile marketing should accentuate their local expertise, said John Thornton, the real estate lead at Google today.

“Localization is probably the biggest piece that mobile unlocks. You have to get a bit more targeted,” he said.

“For instance, rather than using an ‘L.A. real estate website (name),’ which will cost a lot of dollars per click, target yourself more for your neighborhoods and areas you know well. Some of these are only 15 or 20 cents per click and two, three, four times more valuable because you are experts in that area.”

People looking for homes nearby, walking into a neighborhood and wondering about its listings will find you far more easily, he said. This is how you move potential customers from online to offline, so you can have face-to-face meetings.

‘It’s all the mobile experience’

Thornton, who admitted to checking the value of everyone’s home he’s ever been to, said: “It’s all the mobile experience that’s driving that.”

The Google executive warned agents who have been slow to use mobile marketing: it will be hard to catch up.

“You will be impacted if you are not mobile-friendly.  The bar has been raised — if you are just getting over that bar, it’s way too low.”

The mobile process is a better consumer experience than websites, he said. “Tinder is not an accident.”

Thornton gave out some tidbits of research that Google has done recently on real estate.

“In our research, people are using mobile real estate apps three years ahead of their home purchase,” he noted. “The fact is, you have created an audience which is always interested in real estate and mobile — that comes out the most,” he said.

“Sixty-four percent of people who just bought a home, keep shopping on real estate apps after they purchased it,” he added.

“The mobile experience is now full consumer cycle — it is all the time,” he said.

How to prioritize?

If you are moving towards mobile how do you prioritize between your website, your company website profile and mobile app?

Jim Marks, CEO of Virtual Results, a design company that works with brokers and agents to develop their web presence online and understand the long term impact,  said as well as your company website, “you have to have a mobile website and an app.”

“You don’t get to choose how your user feels about your wWeb asset. You have to get into their shoes,” he said.

When on mobile, people have different things to do, so “pare it the hell down,” said Marks.

“You are different in your distribution when you are on mobile — you have to understand that the mobile consumer wants (information) in a shorter period of time than on a laptop,” he said.

“Real estate apps are used to retain the client you already have.”

“If they are driving through a neighborhood — every question they have comes back to you. With an app, when they call it will ping you,” he said.

Stock Rocket / Shutterstock.com

Stock Rocket / Shutterstock.com

Components of a mobile site

What makes a great mobile website? It has to be clean, simple, visual, with links you can actually click on, fast-loading, and you can click to call or text, said members of the audience.

And if the idea of having your own app as well as a mobile-friendly website seems a costly route, there are other options.

Marguerite Giguere, from Windermere Real Estate’s Tacoma office, said she had used the Redfin app with great success instead of building her own.

“Redfin, I think, is the best mobile app in the world. I’m not going to pay for my own,” she said.  Realtor.com also has an app.

“If something’s working for you, keep doing it,” said Marks.

Email Gill South.

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