Catching and Keeping a Buyer's Attention in the Digital Age
Are you aware that you check your phone as many as 150 times per day? Unless you intend to employ a licensed real estate agent to handle your sale, this statistic could help you sell your home. If you aren’t much of a texter, it’s time for you to step up your game in the texting world.
More people use mobile sites to access information than ever before. Doesn’t it make sense to meet potential buyers where they live — on their phones? Nine out of 10 people in the United States own a cellphone.
That’s a large majority of the population, including almost everyone with real buying power. According to the Pew Research Center, 95% of Americans own a cellphone, and 77% own a smartphone. Chances are great that your potential buyer is carrying a phone in his or her pocket or purse. Eighty percent of people keep their phones on them at all times, with 90% of adults ages 18-29 sleeping within arm’s reach of their phones. Ninety-five percent of those phones can receive text messages.
Americans send and receive 6.3 billion text messages daily. And while you might think that a lot of text messages are disregarded as spam, people do tend to read them all. In fact, texting is the most frequently used medium for personal written communication for adults 35 and under.
The use of text messaging to market a business is a highly effective and free method of advertising! Text message marketing has not yet become oversaturated, unlike emails or direct mail. The New York Times claims that texting is “the closest thing in the information-overloaded digital marketing world to be a guaranteed read.” People tend to read new text messages almost immediately. You can’t get a better response than that!
Have you opted in for text alerts from your favorite restaurant or clothing store? When you opt-in with your personal cellphone number, you acknowledge that you are interested in the business. You might not take advantage of every offer, but you probably visit these establishments more often than you would without these regular messages about specials or discounts to keep you engaged.
If you’re just starting out and have only a few people interested in your house, you can simply build a list in your phone and send out messages and alerts manually. If your marketing efforts or open house really get you rolling in leads, you’ll want to find a Short Message Service (SMS) service which can send out mass texts to buyers on your list. The SMS service provider will not only send the text blasts, but also track your mobile marketing campaigns, import contacts into your list, schedule and send your personalized messages, and organize inbound responses. Every service provider has different capabilities and pricing options.
Today’s consumer demands instant gratification, not only for fast food, but for anything and everything. Hence, over the last quarter of a century, we have seen a boom in 24-hour supermarkets, pharmacies, and fast food restaurants. Next-day or two-day shipping is expected, and slow Wi-Fi in a café, hotel, or on the plane is flatly deemed unacceptable.
Companies without websites are deemed sub-par, and a customer service line that is slow to respond can literally kill a business. Real estate is not exempt from the consumer’s demand for immediate results.
Forrester analyst Nate Elliot writes that when text message marketing is targeted well, “users stop thinking of it as marketing and start thinking of it as content, or a service.”
When potential buyers browse online or tour a city looking for a new home, who do you think they will contact? The people who can provide them with the most valuable information in the shortest amount of time. Text-messaging services connect you quickly and efficiently with potential buyers.
Ditch the Old, Bring in the New
While the traditional “for sale” sign lists your name and number, there is a new and better way to advertise your listings. By giving a potential buyer a specific code to text to a number provided or a QR code to scan right from your brochure, postcard, or sign, you are immediately giving them the answers they want to questions they didn’t even know they had. While standing at the curb, they can see the house on the outside while seeing pictures of the inside and learning all the vital specifications.
Before the age of texting, potential buyers had to call a number from a sign and either leave a message or speak to a live person. There are people who hesitated to call because they didn’t want to become a “lead” and start a relationship they might not want by speaking to a live agent until they received enough information to further their interest.
You Know How it is:
You walk into a store, and suddenly you’re surrounded by “helpful” employees asking all sorts of questions. These salespeople don’t mean to be aggressive, but sales is often a commission-only type of living and that’s how they make their living. It’s the assertive sales person who is the successful salesperson, but it’s a bit overwhelming if you haven’t yet had the opportunity to see what they have to offer and if you are even interested in browsing further.
Salespeople who give you a couple of minutes to browse before approaching you are more likely to connect with you because you’ve had a chance to acquaint yourself and form some questions.
Buying a home is no different. Potential buyers are more comfortable with initially receiving information digitally because it gives them time to “warm up” and decide if they want to pursue a personal interaction with an agent.
While you want to give prospective buyers their “space” by providing digital information, you do want to follow up immediately. That’s just common sense and solid sales strategy. If you use a text-messaging service such as Smart Lead Capture, you can not only provide a QR code, texting option, or toll-free number to call, you can even meet the potential buyers in person in a matter of minutes.
When more information is requested via text, you as the agent will receive a text alert with the potential buyer’s number. You should immediately call them to offer a meeting time, either now or at a future time.
The sooner you show the home, the sooner you can make the sale. It’s an overall better way of delivering information right to their fingertips and the pressure of proactively calling a live agent has been removed.
Imagine a world before technology gave FSBO sellers these fantastic marketing tools, when sellers had to spend countless hours and dollars placing ads in papers and then wait for the phone to ring. Some of you don’t have to imagine, because you were there.
Look at how far Real Estate has come as an industry. With the ability to list your home online via your website or other social media accounts, you can reach a broader market than ever before. You can attract buyers from out of the area. You can provide details and pictures. You can let buyers schedule appointments through your online calendar. You can even provide them with instant access to information right from their mobile phones.
SMS marketing is a fantastic marketing tool, but, again, not without its expense or requirement for some technical savvy. Real estate agents have learned to take advantage of the great sales opportunities of text-messaging services as the next best way to stay ahead of the crowd. As a serious FSBO, you can, too.
Make Access Quick and Easy
All fliers, ads, or brochures that you produce should contain a link to your listing or website as a QR code (a “Quick Response” code used for storing URLs or other information for reading by a camera on a smartphone) that can immediately transport buyers to the listing. The QR code provides buyers with the ability to scan a code and receive “immediate gratification” by finding the information they are seeking right away. They’re more likely to take immediate action rather than store away your flier or ad for later. Sometimes, later never comes!
Use Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Keywords to Attract Out-of-town Buyers
This is big. You want as many quality buyers looking at your house as humanly possible. Why limit yourself to your hometown or cities within a certain radius? People relocate not only across town, but across the state, and across the nation every day. That means that you can potentially gain a new prospect every day.
Sixty-nine percent of home shoppers begin their internet searches with a local phrase, like “Homes for Sale in Cincinnati.” You should load up your website and listings with similar words, such as “Cincinnati Real Estate,” “Cincinnati Homes for Sale,” “Cincinnati real estate listings,” “Cincinnati FSBO,” etc. Incorporate local keyword targets by working them into content that is valuable to a prospective home buyer.
With pages that have been created with SEO in mind, you can attract buyers from all over the country. Learning SEO isn’t difficult, but it is-time consuming. It involves targeting local keywords, writing regular blogs with those keywords, and making your website a local resource for information about schools, median income, crime rates, and lifestyle. This won’t be second nature to you as a For Sale by Owner, but Realtors® do this all day, every day as a part of their business model.
If you don’t have an agent, it is worth the extra investment to hire an online marketing expert to help your online performance. Do everything you can to set your home apart from the other listings, and then sit back and reap the rewards.
If you have any questions or want to learn about why you may want to hire a Realtor®, give me a call at 931-210-8834. I look forward to hearing from you.
~Debbie Shulman, REALTOR®
Compass Realty Group