Anyone can see that the market’s changed, and that the days of buyers’ choosing realtors based on who left the most attractive magnet-in-gift-bag at their doorstep are long gone. As in every other sector, competition in real estate is fierce and, without the proper tools, it’s easy to get left behind.
But where do you even start? With businesses churning out thousands of new apps a month, it’s hard to know which tools are effective and which are cash grabs based on the fundamental misconception that digital is, inherently, better. It’s not.
What digital is, however, is the place where 99% of your potentials could come across you. And that’s important. Because, despite all the word-of-mouth and referral-based leads you probably get from being an excellent realtor, at least half of all people on the market simply turn to the Internet.
So, when in Rome, right?
Digital Tools To Grow Your Real Estate Business
There’re really three areas you need to target to enjoy the most growth to your business: marketing, website, and in the hands of your agents. If you hit all three, you guarantee that potentials get your message (marketing), are impressed with your business (website), and have a nice-enough experience to become repeat customers and potential sources of referral (agent).
Marketing Tools for Real Estate Businesses
Marketing tools are likely the most important place for you to consider investing. In an oversaturated market, it’s clever marketing that gets potentials’ eyes on your business.
- Zip code marketing: Both websites like Trulia and social giants like Facebook offer zip code targeting so that your ads are only displayed to those who’re looking in your area
- Seller Targeting: Data-driven solutions like Smartzip provide agents with accurate predictions of which sellers will be on the market in the next 6-12 months
- Single Property Websites: Using a service like ListingsUnlimited to create simple websites for individual properties shows buyers and sellers you’re serious about selling while allowing you to spend marketing dollars directly on properties you’d like to sell
- Segmented Email Marketing: Rather than traditional email-blasting, tools like SharpAgent allow you to send different emails to different groups of clients (recent buyers or long-ago sales, for example) and provides a content library for easy, personalized email creation
Website Tools for Real Estate Businesses
Your website is your first (and possibly last) chance to make a positive impression on a potential buyer. In addition to ensuring that it works, the design is modern, and the information is up-to-date, consider:
- Multiple Listings Search (MLS) tool: Allowing web-visitors to use your site to perform complex, multiple listing searches creates an incredibly high probability that they’ll be interested in you as an agency; IDX is a personal favorite
- Blog: While not a plug-and-play tool exactly, blogging with an eye on SEO best practices can establish you as a thought-leader, increase organic search results, and convert potentials who otherwise might not have considered you
- Community Page: Similar to the blog, a community page will help establish professional ethos, local area expertise, and will boost organic search results for chosen keywords
Because agents are the men and women that make things happen, equipping them with tools to make them more effective is a no-brainer. Try:
- Digital Contract Tools: Tools like Docusign allow realtors and clients to sign contracts on the go, from their mobile, tablet, or desktop devices
- Local Data Aggregator: Tools like Sitegeist aggregate all kinds of data to help realtors answer location-specific questions like “What’s the average rent in this area,” “What’s the age distribution here” or “What are this neighborhood’s political leanings?”
- Contact Manager: Contact Managers like CircleBack help realtors keep connected with all their various stakeholders—buyers, sellers, lenders, brokers, underwriters, etc—so that they’re always in the loop and ready to act
You can also check out some more real estate apps from here. Keeping your real estate business afloat amid the changes in the selling and marketing landscapes can be difficult, but it’s definitely not impossible. By implementing small changes to your marketing, your website, and your agents’ digital toolkits, you can streamline your business, attract more attention, and, ultimately, increase your returns.
Do you have any must-use tools we missed?