September is Marketing and Branding Month at Inman. That means we’re talking to the chief marketing officers at major brokerages about how the pandemic is changing their jobs and what it means for agents. We’re publishing a suite of tactical Inman Handbooks for marketing on digital portals. And we’re looking at what pages of the traditional marketing playbook still work. Join us all month long.
The real estate industry is undergoing a disruptive change propelled by technology. The property technology sector is booming, and it’s transforming how buyers and sellers interact with each other, as well as the way buying and selling of property takes place.
Given the competitive nature of the market, a digital mindset has become a must-have for real estate businesses. Generating qualified leads and getting them to convert is the most effective way for real estate agents to grow their business. A steady flow of leads is the foundation for a robust pipeline for future business and sale.
However, while generating new leads is vital, sustaining existing relationships is equally important in the world of real estate. Forward-looking businesses are already leveraging technology for attracting, converting and retaining prospects.
Here is how you can leverage technology to your advantage and empower your real estate agents to find and retain more clients and skyrocket your business.
1. Use content marketing to your advantage
The days of cold calling potential leads and blasting them with generic emails are long gone. Content marketing is emerging as a powerful tool to connect with the right audience who may be in different stages of their buyer journey. Valuable content is a great lead nurturing tool that holds the audience’s attention till the time they are ready to make the purchase decision.
Forty-four percent of homebuyers today start their property search online. Moreover, 90 percent of the buyers switch to the internet at one point of time or the other during their buying journey. Using content marketing is simply meeting your prospects where they are and providing them with meaningful content to ease the buying process.
Content provides a direct access point to potential customers through real estate lead generation. It’s the easiest way of creating trust in the mind of potential buyers, building credibility and showcasing your depth of knowledge at the same time.
Content marketing is the best way to nurture your prospects not just through the conventional stages of the marketing funnel — awareness, consideration and conversion — but beyond that into the stage of loyalty and advocacy as well.
The new marketing funnel acts like a feedback process, taking insights from the customers and using it to provide even more meaningful content across the different stages of the buyer’s journey.
Customer relationship management (CRM) software like ActiveCampaign is a great tool to track leads within the pipeline, to nurture and engage with them at the right touch points, identify potential bottlenecks in the process and form long-term relationships.
Content curation is an ongoing loop. You need to be cognizant of the information that the prospects are looking for. Conversations with prospects need to act as a guide for future blog posts, videos, infographics and other content that can help answer their pressing questions.
2. Include chatbots in your lead generation strategy
Chatbots have come a long way from the rudimentary software with limited conversational ability. Chatbots in real estate have transformed static form-filling and mundane repetitive conversations into interactive experiences. AI powered chatbots have the potential to transform lead generation. Not leveraging the potency of artificial intelligence is a very common mistake that real estate businesses often make.
Real estate chatbots save time and money, and have a significant impact on ROI and customer engagement too. With their ability to create engaging and rewarding conversations with prospective clients 24/7, AI powered chatbots can help generate and qualify the leads.
Chatbots simulate human-like conversation in order to propel potential customers forward in their buying journey. As Jesus Mínguez Castanheira, CIO of XS Informatica, claimed in this post, “The use of artificial intelligence through the application of ‘chatbots’ is just one way to drive the conversation in this next era of conversational commerce.”
Benefits of real estate chatbots
In addition to what’s mentioned above, here are a few more benefits of including real estate chatbots in your lead generation strategy.
- The 24/7 availability and real-time processing of inquiries.
- Customized, user-specific conversations.
- Automated follow-ups.
- Ability to search through multiple multiple listing service (MLS) databases.
- Automatic data trail to keep track of historic communication.
- Multiplatform availability including website, Facebook messenger, Skype, WhatsApp and more.
- Direct integration with CRM leading to data-driven insights and strategy.
How do you get started with chatbots?
Here’s the good news. You don’t have to be a tech professional to get started with chatbots. Using chatbots on platforms like Facebook Messenger is a great starting point.
Customers aren’t just communicating with friends and family over messaging apps. They are the preferred touch points for interacting with brands and businesses as well. According to Twilio’s survey, nine out of 10 consumers prefer communicating and engaging with brands via messaging applications.
With real estate chatbots, prospects can directly interact and resolve their queries with zero human intervention. By asking specific questions and providing clear options for prospects to choose from through predefined workflows, chatbots do the heavy lifting in the lead qualification process.
Using a chatbot app like ManyChat can help you set up a messenger chatbot for your real estate business in a jiffy with zero coding knowledge. All you need is just 10 minutes to get started. Here’s what you need to do.
- Have a Facebook page for your business.
- Figure out a warm, friendly and personalized welcome message
- Research the most asked questions by potential prospects
- Design the flow and give your prospects choices to choose from
Here’s how the sample flow template from SendPulse for a real estate chatbot looks like.
By giving users options to choose from, the chatbot automatically qualifies the lead. They can choose when they want to take things forward and get on call with a human real estate agent who can then proceed further armed with the information the chatbot has already collected and successfully close the deal.
3. Boost posts across social media platforms
Leveraging social media channels like Facebook, Instagram and Youtube is a great way to amplify your lead generation process. However, trying your hand at all these platforms together may result in you biting off more than you can chew.
Rather than superficially trying out all social media platforms, going all the way on one and eventually branching out to other mediums is always going to be a better strategy.
With 1.7 billion daily active users, Facebook is the best starting point for social media marketing of your real estate business. The diverse set of user base ensures that your target demographic can be identified and reached. Facebook’s specific ad targeting ensures that the sponsored posts you choose to boost reach your target audience.
With location, age, gender and interests mapped out for you, your marketing efforts just need to be centered around creating creative content tailored to your audience profile. Facebook will take care of the rest.
So, whether you are targeting a tech entrepreneur who wants to make a real estate investment in the valley or a retiring couple looking for a laid-back home in the suburbs, boosting your posts on Facebook can help you be on your target audience’s radar.
Once you’ve got a good grasp on and mastered one platform, it’s time to move on to the next social media channel. Creating and posting on every platform individually can be a painstaking and time-consuming activity. Using automation tools such as Buffer and Hootsuite can help you plan your posts days in advance and automate social media marketing.
Linking your business social media accounts to a marketing automation software also allows you to look at the data, figure out what kind of content is working (and what isn’t) and use the insights to create a successful and repeatable social content strategy.
4. Create hyperlocal video content
Video content is all in rage right now. Your audience is likely to watch a video about a listing than read a blog post highlighting its pros and cons. Combine the power of video and hyperlocal strategy — and you’ll have a winner on your hands.
So, what exactly is hyperlocal content? It simply means focusing on a small local area within a community. So, the content you produce is targeted on that specific audience.
The best strategies for hyperlocal content are laser-targeted and fixated on super-localized content. The video content you produce can be local information pertaining to a specific neighborhood. This includes videos on places to dine, socialize, shop, entertainment destinations or places that offer specific services.
Videos on local events for your target audience to attend in the neighborhood are also great content for a hyperlocal strategy. Video interviews of the locals in the neighborhood and the small businesses that operate there is also a great value add. In order to get hyperlocal marketing right, your content needs to create value for the local community and fulfill their real estate needs.
Creating video content isn’t rocket science. Don’t go investing into expensive gear from the get-go. Start small. A good quality cell phone camera and a gimbal can be the only two equipment that you can start out with.
There are also a ton of video-editing software in the market (both free and paid) for you to choose from. Examples include Openshot, Movavi, Adobe Premiere Pro and Final Cut Pro, to name a few. The important thing is getting started and staying consistent.
Using technology in conjunction with your existing marketing efforts is sure to make lead generation, qualification and management easier. These efforts should result in a self-sustaining lead generation engine that can function on its own with minimal interventions from your end. In short, the goal of technology is to streamline activities while minimizing the efforts.