By Maria Patterson
RISMEDIA, February 3, 2011—As the regional director for RE/MAX of New Jersey, Amanda Brown is charged with providing service and support to the more than 205 offices and nearly 3,400 agents that comprise this busy East Coast region.
This past October, Brown took the concept of service to a new level, however, by implementing a mobile strategy provided by Camden, New Jersey-based Smarter Agent. “Everyone is changing and people aren’t using the computer as much,” says Brown. “Everyone is going to their phone instead, so I felt it was important for RE/MAX of New Jersey to be where people are going. I thought it would be great if all of our consumers in New Jersey could find information about houses for sale right on their phone.”
After exploring a couple of different options, Brown chose to work with Smarter Agent, primarily because its mobile platform could be utilized across all smartphones—such as iPhones, BlackBerrys and Droids—in addition to standard cell phones as well. Since RE/MAX of New Jersey launched its mobile application in October 2010, there had already been 14,333 downloads at press time.
One of the best parts of this mobile strategy, says Brown, is that the mobile application is branded to every agent and every office, and that it also ties into the firm’s back-end lead generation system on remax-nj.com. “We worked closely with Smarter Agent to make sure our lead logic was consistent across all platforms,” she explains. “They understood what we are trying to do and they are constantly updating products behind the scenes on their end.”
Home buying consumers can download the RE/MAX of New Jersey mobile application from the Web or from the app store on their smartphone. Agents can also send it directly to their clients through a “send to a friend” feature built into the app. Consumers can then download the app to their mobile device via text message.
Once loaded onto their phones, consumers can search for homes via their smartphone’s GPS, bringing up all the homes available in their area, based on their physical location at the time. They can also search by city or by zip code.
“It’s just like searching for homes on the Internet but on your phone instead,” Brown explains. “The app allows you to save favorites or send a listing to your spouse. We keep telling our agents that the big thing about this tool is that consumers will send it to their friends and neighbors, too. Even if you’re not actively looking for a home, you can use this to find out what homes in your neighborhood are selling for or what they look like on the inside. And, every time someone uses this app, they’re seeing your name and your branding. This is better than any newsletter.”
When somebody downloads the application to their phone, it is linked to the backend of the RE/MAX of New Jersey website. Agents can see when somebody downloaded the app but their phone number is not disclosed unless the consumer presses the “Call to See” feature. At this point, the consumer’s number is paired up with the correct information on the backend of the site, which identifies the client through their cell phone.
Brown expects the app to pay dividends in terms of increased business for brokers and agents. “It makes it so convenient for a consumer to do a search and it’s so entertaining to play around with this tool…and it’s all branded to RE/MAX of New Jersey,” says Brown. “They’re ready to do a real estate transaction. It helps them develop a comfort level with the brand. There’s no doubt that people will think of RE/MAX and naturally reach out to us when they’re ready to list their home.”
Brown is working on integrating the company’s mobile strategy into its entire marketing campaign, including outdoor advertising, Facebook, Twitter and print advertising. She’s also encouraging sales associates to create their own text code and feature it on the back of their business cards.
“Our associates are very excited about our mobile platform,” says Brown. “Even if you never sent a text message in your life, this app is really easy to use. And most importantly, they can tout it to their customers. It helps brand us and it helps us stand out. It’s the best advertising you could have.”
For more information, visit www.smarteragent.com.
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