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Real Estate Technology: What to Use and What to Ignore to Grow Your Business

Mar 13, 2019 11:50:54 AM

Most agents plan out their marketing budgets for a quarter or so at a time. Naturally, new advancements or products are put out or improved throughout every year.

The key is to know what new technology can help you get more listings and what products aren’t worth your money and time.

You know you need to stand out from the competition, and making the right calls when it comes to new trends in marketing and lead generation can do just that. Here’s four things that can improve your marketing this year, and two trends you'd be better to ignore. 

Use a new CRM that fits your business style.

Categorizing leads and staying on top of communication is tough for agents who don’t use a Customer Relationship Management software.

Customer relationship management (CRM) is an approach to managing a company’s interaction with current and future customers. The CRM approach tries to analyze data about customers' history with a company in order to better improve business relationships with customers, specifically focusing on retaining customers, in order to drive sales growth.

If you don’t use one, you should start shopping around. 

Even if you currently use a CRM software, there are advancements each year and new improvements that could help you even more. Don’t base your fondness for a CRM off your coworkers or any other agent that you talk with. What works best for them may not be the best for you.

Here’s what to do: Make a list of any problems you’ve had with your software or places where you see a limitation. Then, research different ones to use this year. Here’s a list of real estate CRMs that includes descriptions and customer ratings.

When you're looking through the list, or any other list, think of questions like these: What are my goals to improve on this year compared to last year? What level of automation do I want? This will lead you down the right path to finding the best software for your personal work preferences.

If you don’t use Google Analytics, you should be.

You need to be tracking your website’s visitors and what channels they come through.

Installing Analytics is simple, and Google will give you instructions. If someone else has access to your website or you aren’t as comfortable with technology, they can do it in minutes. The biggest benefit to Analytics is finding out how visitors get to your site and being able to improve your marketing in the places they don’t come from. Whether your leads visit your site from social media, Google searches (SEO) or email campaigns, you’ll be able to easily find out.

You can also view the navigation users go through on your website and how long they stay on each page, and where they exit. Use this to improve pages that don’t capture attention. You can also find out the types of devices most users use to view your pages to make sure they're formatted correctly for those devices.

Use 3D tours and virtual reality.

It's not a coincidence that homes on Redfin offer 3D tours in VR. This technology is soaring in popularity and offers buyers another way to look at prospective homes. Homebuyers aren’t restricted in any way during these types of tours and can look at the homes at their own pace. It’s the closest thing there is to attending an open house or showing, without attending an actual open house or showing.

A Coldwell Bank study found that 77 percent of buyers prefer to start out by going through an open house walkthrough. There are a lot of companies popping up who specialize in these. You can film the tour yourself or have these companies handle everything.

Providing virtual tours can generate better online interactions with your listings than typical slideshows or even normal walkthroughs. Even more importantly, in that same study, 62 percent of home sellers said they would rather list with a Realtor who offered VR tours than one who didn't. 

Use big real estate data and patronize companies who offer it.

Big data has been more traditionally used in other sales businesses but has made its way into the real estate industry for 2019. There is a lot of data out there for real estate, and companies have started using artificial intelligence to predict and utilize it.

Walmart and other supermarkets are the greatest users of this type of technology. AI processes how much product has sold on which days, and gives recommendations on how much to put on the shelves. The data and AI is now being used in a similar way in the real estate market.

One company, Likely.AI, processes information for your market and area and can sell you a list of likely home sellers. Instead of adding a list of homeowners to your contacts who might not sell, these homeowners are predicted to sell in the near future. The company uses data from “demographic, psychographic, financial and macro market influencers.”

There are plenty of other similar companies you can explore. This predictive analysis has had significant impacts on other markets and will do the same in real estate.

Don't exclusively use chatbots.

Chatbots are automated responses to certain questions, usually used to interact with a visitor long enough to get their contact information. However, if you solely rely on chatbots and aren't available to actually speak to people who reach out to you, you will lose leads quickly. 

Only 15 percent of people use chatbots when they are on a website in the first place. 

If you have one installed for your Facebook, people won’t know at first. When they find out, they may be disappointed to realize they have been talking to a robot. The same can be said for people who don’t know how chatbots work when they ask a question on your website.

People who interact with chatbots may assume you aren’t immediately responsive to your channels and rely on a form of automation for all of your communications. With the reputation that Realtors already have of being poor communicators, this is a technology I would limit using.

Don’t use all-in-one social media apps that post to all of your platforms at once.

These also aren’t worth the money or effort. Each platform is different (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter), and the content you post should be specifically targeted to each platform. These applications that cross-post are easy to spot once the post is made. People can tell you are using them.

You might have different audiences, as well. On Instagram, your audience may be younger than your followers on Facebook. You want to craft your content and posts to each of your separate audiences. These apps don't help you take a targeted approach.

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Until next time, keep working smarter!

 

avatar_joe Joe Nickelson is a real estate professional dedicated to helping home buyers and sellers achieve their dreams of owning property, and helping real estate agents stop using the sometimes-vicious tactics that weigh on their consciences. He believes that the Smart Agents books will, quite literally, change people’s lives for the better. Check out his full bio here

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