Before we go on, here is a little about me and my fascination with Real Estate Marketing and things that stuck out like a sore thumb after I had bought and sold a number of my own properties and how it could be done better.
The first bit that took me back was communication but the experience was not positive, because quite frankly, there was none until negotiation (and even that wasn’t clear cut, and more BS). The second thing was information, and I mean information that would be relevant to my needs or to make a decision, and quite frankly, I had to source that myself because you could never get a straight answer out of an agent, and lastly, who do I work with and who would I trust with both buying and selling for me.
Well, the short answer to the above questions is, if you contact me when you have something that I might be interested in rather than simply “touching base” and make information available transparently and without a certain amount of BS.
So, as any normal guy with a sales and marketing background, I got to work on how I would like to be engaged rather than only being engaged at the endpoint when money had to be on the table.
The “thinking about selling mode” strategy all started from when and how an agent put their prospecting plan into gear and how they handled themselves at open homes and follow up (this is also at the time when you don’t know any agent).
The usual way to know what is going on, is you checked out online, then got to know the neighbourhood, you got an idea of what you liked, got an understanding of prices, how long the properties were on market and most importantly, which agent actually took an interest or gave you the information (Da nah! Not hard is it!)
Ok, in the early 2000’s I started to develop a strategy which involved mobile (this is pre iphone and fast internet). At that time SMS worked on every phone and QR Codes could direct anyone to anywhere so long as it could show up on a cell phone over the limited GPRS network we had as the internet.
All that was needed to make this strategy work was
- A keyword you could send by SMS and you got an immediate response and a link to the property to view more photos and leave a message for the agent and
- Use the QR code and put it on signboards, flyers, newsletters print advertising and the list goes on and
- A responsive agent
This strategy would give the buyer/seller what they want immediately, and the agent would receive the number as a warm lead that the agent could respond to after the prospect made the initial contact.
Anyway, I realised where the problem was! Making the strategy work it was down to the agent marketing the property because, they were not educating any of the buyers that were making enquiries on properties, coming to open homes, sitting down at listing presentations (in fact this won me listings because the vendor immediately saw the power, and I now had their mobile number)
The strategy presented how it captured the buyer 24/7/365 on the spot in front of a signboard or in print! No, they didn’t need to run home, kick their child off the computer, open up the internet and go and search for it on one of the portals which is also going to show a prospect the property and of courses other properties – as a vendor previously myself, don’t get me started on that! Instead, from the signboard they either send the SMS or scanned the QR code and viewed the property there and then in front of the property – then as a good proactive agent, I called the prospect back to assist.
Not only was it responsive, but it also built a list of buyers that were added to the buyers who came through open homes, who then received one SMS broadcast per week notifying them of this weekend’s open homes, all through a mobile-first experience. Please note, we were doing this in 2010 and were closing plenty of listings, and our buyers were kept up to date, and we could also approximate how many people we would see at each open.
At the same time all of this was going on, we had the next best tool starting to emerge called Facebook. Facebook allowed us to adopt a similar strategy and retarget those who came from our mobile marketing channel and the whole process becomes a rinse and repeat process (just like an Auction campaign is sold by agents). We now had the benefit of increasing our list using targeted advertising on Facebook which allowed Facebook to also put our ads in front of the right people – we use a targeted approach rather than the usual common approach that’s being constantly used today by agents and agencies which is also being paid for by the vendor – if vendors knew how their social media spend is being managed they would be pulling their money from social media marketing – a good agent will either have someone who is professionally doing this for them (or the agency) or they have spent the past 12 years full-time learning how the platform actually works.
Then came along the ability to target prospects and send them into Messenger, which was just like sending an SMS but there was no automatic response and the agent would actually need to do what they are paid to do and assist people with their real estate needs.
Anyway, in 2016, Zuck decided to open up Facebook to developers to make the Messenger platform more interactive because Facebook makes their money from advertising. This gave us the opportunity to look at all the old prospecting strategies and automate these processes in Facebook Messenger in an on-demand, intuitive, frictionless, and personal manner – Guess what, we don’t need to ask people for details such as Name, Email, Phone Number, etc. because we get enough information as soon as they engage with you in Messenger.
What’s also available once the automation has been enabled (which by the way is working full time around the clock), is knowing how far through the prospect would get such as, what ad did they click, what property did they look at, did they look at open home time, what market report did they download, did they download as a buyer or a seller and then with using that information go and check out a prospect’s profile for something they can immediately build rapport on when they manually go back and communicate with the person looking for help with Real Estate.
This simple strategy builds database lists faster than any other strategy out there, it helps Facebook know who they should be pointing your vendor ads too, it provides a prospect with an immediate response, and a long list of names from enquiry to show your vendor where their social media dollars are being spent – this is not video views, clicks to view on a website, this is real names and real enquiry automated.
Here is an interview with a couple of principals talking about how good it is:
If you would like to try some of what we do out for yourself (only some). The QR code will allow you to experience an agency bot: