Email, a web site, a blog, and social networking accounts aren’t enough for individual real estate professionals to attract the most tech-savvy buyers, sellers and renters.
Consider adding an interactive app to your digital marketing tool box.
(A branded page on a recognized web site like DeadlineNews.Com isn’t a bad idea either.)
Large real estate companies jumped on the app bandwagon long ago because they know mobile tools are essential for those browsing for housing while on the go.
Nearly all (98 percent) of homebuyers who used a mobile device (smart phone or tablet) in their home search considered the device a valuable tool, with 46 percent asserting it as “essential” and 52 percent stating it as “helpful,” according to a “Mobile Home Shoppers” study from The Real Estate Book, published by Network Communications, Inc. (NCI) a media company providing lead generation, advertising and Internet marketing services to the housing industry.
“Our research supports that homebuyers are turning to their smart phones and tablets in their search and taking action to reach real estate professionals,” says Scott Dixon, president of NCI’s Real Estate Division.
A study of apartment renters from NCI’s Apartment Finder yielded virtually the same results.
It’s technology, stupid
Mobile device users can connect to home seeking-related services via the Internet, but they also use mobile “apps.”
Mobile apps (applications) are programs designed for smart phones and tablets or other handheld devices. Typically WiFi connectable, apps are often dedicated to a specific task or group of related tasks, say, home shopping (MLS Source for Northern California; Realtor.com for the nation), mortgage comparison (Erate.com), game playing, price comparing, GPS mapping, even when to go the bathroom during a movie’s slow times (RunPee), among a host of other, ahem, tasks.
Smart phone savvy real estate agent professionals already have their own apps designed specific to their operation to highlight their own listings, to promote connectivity with clients and to offer home shopping tools like mortgage calculators, price comparisons, neighborhood and school information, news and advice and other services.
In the United States, 87.4 million people owned smartphones ending in September 2011, according to comScore, Inc. In 2012, smart phone sales are expected to top sales of personal computers. Tablets aren’t far behind.
“The time is now for agents and brokers to add mobile tools in their marketing mix to increase traffic and reach home shoppers right when they are actively engaged in their search process,” Dixon added.
Where the app action’s at
The Real Estate Book’s Mobile Home Shoppers study found that the activities conducted by home shoppers most often from a mobile device were:
- Viewing photos and videos of homes, 78 percent.
- Inquiring for more information about a listing, 66 percent.
- Find listing details, price, description, amenities and contact information, 60 percent.
- Locate a house listing with GPS, 57 percent.
- Search by city, 55 percent.
- Download a home buying search app, 42 percent.
- Shared listing information with friends and family, 30 percent.
The Apartment Finder Mobile Renters study found that the activities conducted most often by apartment shoppers from a mobile device were:
- Viewing photos and videos of apartments, 72 percent.
- Finding details, price, description, amenities and contact information, 68 percent.
- Searching by city, 59 percent.
- Inquiring for more information about an apartment community, 53 percent.
- Locating an apartment community with GPS, 45 percent.
- Downloading an apartment search app, 36 percent.
- Sharing listing information with friends and family, 24 percent.
Marcia Bollinger, president of Apartment Finder, said, “What’s even more compelling about these survey findings, particularly for property managers and apartment communities, is that mobile users are not only browsing on their devices, but taking action to contact someone to view the listing.”
She added, “This is powerful insight for anyone in the business of leasing apartments. Now is the time to leverage mobile tools to reach renters in leasing mode, right when they are actively engaged in their search process.”