By Greg Harris
RISMEDIA, August 9, 2007–By definition, the term “hunting” means to actively seek something. Since the Internet has become such a driving force in selling homes, the “hunt” has become much easier. It has also lowered the barrier of entry for your competition, and has crated a level playing field.
A real estate agent who does not have a Web presence of some type would not be taken seriously by any buyer in this 21st century market. We all know that. So it’s safe to say that between agent Web sites, broker Web sites, Realtor.com, Trulia, Zillow and the other big players, that you have the Internet covered. You’ve even created a Web site specifically for a single property. Your listing can be found, and you can be contacted by anyone searching online for what you are selling.
But what good is any of this marketing when the buyer is not in front of their computers?
Home buyers are not driving around with their computers searching for homes, and sending emails to agents. If we believed that, then we would not even bother to put up a “For Sale” sign.
You’ve also listed your properties in the local newspaper, The Real Estate Book, Homes & Land, and other local real estate listing publications. The reason you do this is that although the Internet plays a big part in getting leads, these “off-line” methods still bring in buyers. These print publications still play a big part in the actual “house hunting” that is being done.
So how can you reach these buyers? How can you reach out and grab them? How many people drive by one of your homes for sale, or see an ad in one of the publications and don’t contact you?
There are three things that virtually all consumers have with them at any given time. They have their keys, their wallet, and their mobile phone. While the keys won’t help you sell a house, and the wallet is needed when they are ready to spend money, the mobile phone is the most personal item that can be used to reach consumer. Which of these 3 things will almost 100% of your prospects have within arms length of them when they are exposed to your ad or sign?
What good is all the Internet marketing you’ve done going to do you now? What good is that lawn sign with the Web address to the cool Web site going to do you now?
For example, let’s say a home buyer grabs one of the real estate magazines at the diner and sits down to look through. They start to mark off some houses that look interesting. They would love to know more, but the last thing they want to do right now is start calling agents, wait for callbacks, and feel sales pressure. They just want to see some more pictures and details.
By adding one simple sentence to your print ads, you can provide that information and at the same time capture the buyer’s phone number.
“To see pictures & info text the house id# to 95495, or call 1-866-760-2345 from your mobile phone and it will be sent instantly”
What does it cost to add a single sentence to the bottom of your ad, or to put it on a rider? It cost nothing. You are already paying for the ad space. You are paying for the ad design. It’s just words.
With this simple sentence, you have accomplished the following:
You’ve made the ad trackable. You can now know exactly how many people requested your information. You now know exactly which of your ads is drawing more response.
You’ve collected the mobile phone numbers of buyers that are clearly interested in your type of property. Maybe this one is not good for them? We’ll I’m sure there are others you can show them.
You’ve given the consumer what they wanted, when they wanted it. They don’t need to rip out an ad, or remember to visit your site when they get home. They have a text message on their phone with your contact information, and a link to your mobile web site. How many of those consumers would put your business into their phone’s address book with a single click?
Mobile phones are advancing at an incredible pace. The new Apple iPhone has raised the bar, and mobile use will begin to grow at an exponential rate. From the palm of their hand, buyers are able to find properties, and do the same research they can do from their computers. As these new, incredibly advanced mobile phones arrive, mobile Internet usage will explode. Will you be found?
Start thinking about adding a mobile strategy to your marketing arsenal. Staying ahead of the curve will bring in more buyers, and more listings.
Greg Harris is the founder and CEO of Mobile Visions, Inc. the providers of the Cell a House service. Cell a House is a mobile phone based lead generation and information tool for agents and home buyers. Cell a House creates a mobile Web site for each property with detailed information for the buyer. The buyer’s phone number is send to the agent for follow-up.
Mobile Visions, Inc specializes in creating tools that use the mobile phone to increase sales through the use of text messaging and mobile web sites.
Cell a House can be reached at 1-877-659-0629.