Mobile Marketing (along with Social Media Marketing) seems to be one of the buzz terms in the Real Estate industry lately. Because of this interest a number of companies have popped up recently that claim to have a Real Estate Mobile Marketing solution. Invariably, many of them  have a similar concept; text in a keyword to a number and get back information on the property via a text message. And that is where most of them stop.

Many of these new companies leave out the essential features, options and controls necessary to help REALTORS generate qualify leads via mobile marketing. We have compiled a list of features (and why they are important) that you should look for in your Real Estate Mobile Marketing solution.

  • Instant Notifications- These notify you as soon as an inquiry comes in. The notification should provide both the number of the person inquiring and the basic information about the property.  You should have an option of receiving notifications via text (SMS), email or both.
  • Link to Mobile Optimized Website or Virtual Tour- Many services claim to be a complete mobile package.  They include a link to the property’s virtual tour in the text message but they leave it up to the real estate agent to make sure the virtual tour is mobile optimized. By having a mobile optimized virtual tour you ensure that the prospective buyer can get the information they want without having to decipher a web site that shows up poorly on their phone.
  • Email Package- Text Messaging by its nature is limited to 160 characters.  While you can pack a lot of information into that 160 characters you can’t get it all in there.  Make sure that your Real Estate Text Message provider has an email option.  This will provide you with a way to capture a leads email address and provide the lead with more information on demand.
  • Call Me Now Option- I know, the lead is texting because they don’t want to call.  But, once they have the information they requested and have been able to qualify the home as one they want to see more of they are more likely to want to speak to an agent.  Why not make it easy on them and have the agent call?  It is also a way of qualifying very interested leads.
  • Reporting- no program, no matter how inexpensive or simple to use is worthwhile unless it provides reporting. All reporting should include date and time of day, property information, phone number and type of inquiry (text, email package, call me, etc…).  In addition to online reporting a weekly or monthly summary that is automatically emailed to you should be part of the package because, let’s face it, you are busy and the last thing you need to do is log in to yet another web site just to run activity reports.

Another concern is that many of these Mobile Marketing for Real Estate providers are ignoring best practices and laws specific to mobile marketing that could have serious consequences for any agent using them. We have seen where many of these companies offer a “Text-Blast” feature, while this is a great idea many are not following TCPA laws that could lead to ~$1500 per message fine to the agent. (This is in no way meant to be legal advice, please consult an attorney for complete clarification on how to be compliant with TCPA.) Below is one of our podcasts where we discuss this and other Real Estate Mobile Marketing concerns.

Real Estate Mobile Marketing Take Aways

  • Respond Quickly
  • Respond in the same fashion as the inquiry came in
  • Be compliant with all laws, rules and regulations

Real Estate Mobile Marketing Transcript

Adam Small: Good afternoon, this is Adam Small, with Agent Sauce, and this is the Real Estate Marketing Podcast. With me today, here in the DK New Media studios is Doug Karr.
Douglas Karr: Hello, sir.
Adam Small: How you doing today, Doug?
Douglas Karr: Always wonderful.
Adam Small: Seem a little subdued today. Just a little bit, but I’ll let it slide. And we’ve got Austin Day, intern Austin, with us as well.
Austin Day: Hey guys, hey guys.
Adam Small: Doing all right today, Austin?
Austin Day: Not too bad.
Adam Small: All right, great. So today I thought we’d talk about another real estate lead generation technique that has been commonly used here, in the last few years, and that would be Mobile Marketing for real estate marketing, or Text Messaging/SMS for real estate. That sort of thing. Initial thoughts, Doug?
Douglas Karr: Mobile marketing.
Adam Small: Mobile marketing, there you go.
Douglas Karr: Overview, I guess.
Adam Small: Well, the thing about it is, real estate mobile marketing can really encompass a lot of things.
Douglas Karr: Oh yeah, sure.
Adam Small: Any more, you know?
Douglas Karr: Apps and mobile web, and everything else.
Adam Small: Right. Apps, and ads, and mobile web, as well as push notifications, text messaging. And at one point in time, it was even defined as having a billboard on a truck that you could drive around.
Douglas Karr: Come on, that was not mobile marketing.
Adam Small: I know it wasn’t, but when I first starting with mobile marketing, I would say mobile marketing, and they’d get all excited, ’cause they’d seen a truck drive by with a billboard on it.
Douglas Karr: Nice, nice.
Adam Small: You know, and it’s like, no, that’s not what we’re doing here. What we’re doing is trying to target the mobile device, you know? So what we’re looking at in particular today is using SMS as opposed to any other technology like Bluetooth, for Mobile Marketing. So what are some of the unique ways that you’ve seen SMS text messaging used for mobile marketing, Doug?
Douglas Karr: Well I mean the thing about SMS that’s probably different from everything else is that it can be seen as invasive, but that can be used to your advantage. And so the things that I like the best are the just-in-time type messages. So if you’re checking your email, you might see the email from yesterday afternoon, or this morning, but a text message is pretty much right then and there. And so for me, I’m not a real estate agent, but for me, it’s been at 11:00, my favorite place to go to eat lunch offers a … has a special.
Adam Small: A special, that sort of thing. So more of the mobile marketing text club, is what you’re talking about, in that instance.
Douglas Karr: Yeah, and so … but it’s not every day, right? They use it on slow days, and the thing is, they’re texting it right when I’m making a decision about “Hey, I wonder where we’re gonna go to lunch today.”
Adam Small: When your belly’s starting to grumble a little bit, say hey, I’m hungry here, right? Exactly. So and to get back to your point about being invasive, there’s the right way, the legal way to do text messaging here in the United States, anyway, and then there’s the wrong way, which is any way that’s not the legal way is the wrong way.
Douglas Karr: Yeah, right.
Adam Small: And there are some pretty steep issues around that as well. Steep fines related to that, too. So even with text messaging and mobile marketing, even if you do have permission, which was the first thing I was gonna say. There are all sorts of opt-in permissions, and requirements for a mobile marketing text club, where you’re broadcasting to large groups of people. Even if you do have that permission, you can still be invasive, if you overdo it. If you send me a message every single day, I may not appreciate that. It’s a lot like email. You can overdo it, and you can under-do it. You gotta find what that happy medium is. So those non-invasive, but still timely, mobile marketing messages right? So that’s a great example. Text clubs are a great example of an effective way to use text messaging and mobile marketing. From a real estate perspective, one of the things that we offer, and one of the things that we do is a bounce back message, if you will. So you assign a listing, a code, and then you put a sign in the yard. A rider, or a full-sized sign, and it’s got a call-to-action on it. It says “Hey, text Home 2,000 to 71813 in order to find out more about this home,” right? When the prospective buyer does that, they get information back about the home. They also get the agent’s information. And then the agent gets a text message, says, “Hey, this buyer, this phone number, has texted about this particular listing.” And then the agent knows, right then and there, that this person is sitting in front of that home, and they’re checking it out, right? So it’s a great way to generate a lead for real estate agents.
Douglas Karr: Well, and it’s not just a lead right? I mean that’s a hot lead, standing in front of a property that they looked up, and-
Adam Small: Literally right there, right then, yeah. So you know that they’re interested in it, right? And it’s funny, ’cause we also do a toll-free call capture, and its on the same sign, generally speaking. And one of the things we tell agents is if you get a lead like this, you need to make sure you respond quickly, because they’re right there. You know, like you said, Doug, they’re a hot lead. But at the same time, you need to respond in the manner in which they contacted you. So if they called a toll-free number, call them. If they texted in, text them back, right? And make sure you do it timely. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve had somebody say, “Yeah, I haven’t been able to convert any of the leads.” Well when are you following up? The first response is, “Following up? I’m supposed to do that?” Yes. But then the second response is, “Oh, well you know, I usually wait until the next day, or the day after.” You know, and it just amazes me. Because really, and truly, the concept is, is that that is a hot lead. They’re right there, right then, at that moment, and they’re looking at that place.
Douglas Karr: On the expectation, the expectation when I text something, I’m expecting an immediate response back.
Adam Small: Right. You’re expecting an immediate response back, which the system supplies, but then if you get a quick followup from the agent, you’re still in the context of “Hey, I just texted in,” so it’s perfectly normal, and acceptable. As opposed to maybe a day later, where you go, “Who is this? What is this about? Oh yeah, I was there yesterday.” So there’s-
Austin Day: Yeah. That actually happened to me last year, going into my junior year, me and my buddies were looking for a house for us all to stay in, and I texted a couple properties, trying to get more information, and I got the information I needed, looked at them, and then about a week later I heard some followups from real estate agents-
Adam Small: A week later.
Austin Day: Asking me about the properties, when I was already moving into … we actually picked a town home, and I was moving into the town home, and got emails and a couple calls. And I was like, “Really?”
Adam Small: So a week later, right? As opposed to right away, how did you end up picking the place?
Austin Day: I ended up just going off the information that I had that they automatically send back to you. And then we ended up looking at another property.
Adam Small: With an agent?
Austin Day: No, we actually just ended up going with a town home afterwards.
Adam Small: You’re supposed to help me out a little bit here, go “Yeah, the agent that responded is the one I went with.”
Douglas Karr: No, but it’s even better, right?
Adam Small: It is better, right.
Douglas Karr: No agent responded, so he just went and found a town home, and did it himself.
Adam Small: Well, and based off the information that he had gotten, right? So yeah.
Douglas Karr: But if an agent would have responded to him immediately, he might have moved into their location.
Adam Small: Exactly. So.
Austin Day: Yeah. I think the big thing is that, I mean there was no next step for us. It was, okay, we looked at this property. Even if we were interested, what do we do?
Adam Small: Right. So there’s probably a lack of a call to action inside the mobile marketing text message. You know, saying “Hey, contact me for more info,” or “Let me help you out,” or something along those lines as well.
Douglas Karr: Yeah, like I’m surprised that, you know, I mean that’s a perfect opportunity. Especially