By Alexis Petersen
Marketing your real estate business can take a lot of time—especially tasks that might seem repetitive or menial. Thanks to technology, it just got a whole lot easier. You don't have to repeat basic marketing tasks daily anymore, but can leverage your time by automating key elements of the marketing process. Real estate agents who participated in the Real Estate Express income survey said a flexible schedule and good time management are what help them earn top dollar in the market. Free yourself to earn more by automating processes where you can.
Read the tips below to learn how to automate real estate marketing tactics and get ahead of your competition.
5 Ways to Automate Real Estate Marketing
From social media strategy to basic communication methods, automating your real estate marketing is a great way to take your real estate career to the next level.
1. Text Message Marketing
Texting clients about potential properties is handy because the vast majority have a cell phone and use it constantly. Send text blasts about new opportunities in real estate to your contacts to get the word out quickly. You can schedule automatic text messages for any point in the future and send one-off or recurring messages.
- Quick method of communication – People are always on their phones and tend to check their texts almost instantly.
- Open and click-through rates are sky-high – Research puts open rates of branded text messages as high as 98 percent.
- Personalized form of messaging – Text messages have a more personal feel than other forms of communication.
- Overusing text message marketing can frustrate clients – People are more worried about spam now than ever.
- Clients can easily spot a "generic" message – If you don't properly personalize, mass text messages could lose their impact.
- Limited character count – If you have a lot to say, a text message might not be the best solution.
2. Email Drips
Feed your contact list with regular real estate updates and opportunities to maintain a steady flow of communication. This can be done using a service like MailChimp or Emma, both of which offer templates and tips for your e-newsletter. The good news? They're super easy to use.
- Consistent and formal – If you have lengthy, corporate messages to convey, this could be the best avenue.
- Allows lengthy descriptions and embedded pictures – There's no word limit on email.
- Ability to split test different elements – You can A/B test new subject lines and embeds, helping you to fine-tune your marketing.
- Easy to delete without reading – Many people delete branded emails or filter them straight to spam.
- Can feel less personal – It can be hard to break through the corporate stigma with an email.
- Take a long time to write – Since emails are usually longer and more complex, it takes longer to set up automated email chains than other forms of marketing, such as text messages.
3. Automated Direct Mail
Creating a newsletter or postcard to mail out is a standard real estate tactic, but you can automate this by using direct mail automation software. You can automate a weekly, bi-weekly or monthly newsletter or postcard using a service like Growmail or Postalytics. These services help you to digitize your direct mail so it's easier to measure results—something that has not traditionally been available for direct mail.
- Digital communication methods are crowded – It's hard to be heard through the clutter of an inbox right now.
- Take advantage of the physical touch – You can stand out in the crowd by sending physical marketing materials instead of sticking to strictly digital.
- Humanize yourself with a picture – Here's your opportunity to get your face in front of clients and come into their home, quite literally.
- Can be more expensive than digital mail – You might not have the budge to rely on direct mail as heavily as other methods.
- Potential clients might perceive direct mail as unwanted advertising – Spam messages can hurt your brand.
4. Website Chat Bots
You may have been on a website and seen a box in the corner offering a 24/7 chat assistance. This feature allows you to reach your audience quickly and efficiently to answer questions, and is totally automated. Zendesk and Chatbot are examples of automated chat rooms that enhance the appeal of your website. You get clients chatting using a chat bot and then can follow up personally with qualified leads.
- Instant customer satisfaction – Sometimes people want an immediate answer, and the chat bot can be trained to do this for you.
- Easy to use – It doesn't take a lot of training to set up.
- "Rich Messages" feature – This allows for bots to send pictures and links in addition to text
- Inability to give human-level responses – If someone asks a really complicated question, your chat bot will probably recommend that they email you.
- It could get costly – If you don't have many users accessing your website, this might not be the right place to spend your money.
5. Social Media Marketing
It's no secret that social media is on the rise and real estate agents are relying on social channels to build their brand. Of those, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are among the most popular. Create an account and post visual-heavy content for the best results. You can use services like Later (for Instagram) and HubSpot to automatically send your scheduled messages, which means you can upload messages once a week (or month) and have the service send these automated messages whenever you choose.
- Reach audiences where they're spending a lot of time – People are naturally on social media, so it makes sense to use it to have a conversation with them.
- Connect with business associates and clients alike – Professional networks such as LinkedIn can expand your contacts and establish you as an expert for clients.
- Build a brand that weathers downturns in the market – When the market takes a dip, clients will gravitate toward brands they trust. Social media helps you build a brand.
- Maintaining different channels can be time-consuming – Building a social media following doesn't happen overnight.
- You need to stay updated on best practices – Social media best practices can change quickly and if you don't keep up you'll get left behind.
Save Time on Small Marketing Tasks
Now that you have the tools to automate your real estate marketing, the systems you choose to use will do most of the work for you. Hiring an assistant to help manage your various accounts can be well worth your time, especially if your business starts growing due to your excellent marketing automation.
Alexis Petersen is the director of Content at Real Estate Express, a national leader in online learning for pre-licensing, continuing education and professional development. For the last six years she has been educating real estate professionals on how to successfully launch and advance their career. She's also a seasoned marketing veteran, with nearly 15 years of experience.