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2015 has been a crazy year full of excitement, change, and opportunity for the real estate industry. 2016 promises to be provide more of the same; I want to dedicate some time to this year’s highlights (in no particular order) …and how you can leverage them in 2016.

Global real estate – Expanding your business internationally
I’ve been writing a lot about this lately and I hope you see its importance. If you’re not plugged in to the global real estate reality, you’re missing opportunities…a lot of opportunities. This doesn’t just mean plugging into a global agent or broker network, it means translating marketing materials into multi-lingual websites and brochures, having multi-cultural and multi-lingual agents, and understanding the nuances of how people in different parts of the world do business.

Again, even in global cities, there are those that have not embraced this concept. It’s even worse in not so global cities where this phenomenon has quietly taken hold. Be a leader, embrace the global real estate opportunity and you will develop a huge advantage in your market.

The sharing economy
Having just an office is not enough. Having a great website is not enough. Having an MLS is not enough either. But having global connections is a strategic advantage for real estate professionals. Why wouldn’t you give motivated agents more ways to make money?

How do you, as real estate professionals, participate in the global marketplace? How are you leveraging the sharing economy?

The sharing economy promotes to peer-to-peer-based sharing of access to goods and services coordinated through community-focused online technology platforms. The sharing economy provides expanded access to products, services and talent. Uber and Airbnb are leading the way in other industries and this concept is just starting to be introduced in the real estate industry. You owe it to yourself to explore how this consumer trend can change the way you market properties.

Keeping up with consumer expectations
This is a constant theme of mine and, although there is more attention being paid to this, our industry is still woefully lacking in this area. We still rely too much on independent contractors to consistently deliver a great experience before, during, and after the sale. The reality is it’s just not happening.

Think about all consumer-centric brands (i.e. Amazon, Zappos, Apple, Starbucks, etc.) that have carved out huge pieces of their markets specifically because they know how to create amazing consumer experiences online and offline. You can shine in your market if you can take the lead like some of these other organizations have done.

Promote your performance at the hyperlocal level
Like consumer experience, positioning yourself as the expert in your local and micro markets (both online and offline) is a huge opportunity for you to differentiate yourself. And I am not just talking about your local competitors, but other national portals that just can’t do what you can on at this level.

Stop talking about how great your company and agents are and start talking about how you have information about the market consumers need in order to sell or buy homes. That information is one of the foundations of delivering a great consumer experience.

Responsive design cannot be ignored
Speaking of foundations for a great consumer experience, I’d be remiss if I didn’t bring responsive design back into the discussion once again. It’s been around for years, but 2015 appears to be the year that the other shoe is finally dropping. Mobile usage has skyrocketed (it now exceeds desktop browsing) and directly affects how the real estate industry has to communicate and collaborate.

Real estate consumers are mobile; if your site is not built on responsive design principles, your prospects and clients will not have a good experience.

Adding further fuel to the fire, Google’s algorithms recognize if you are not responsive, and your search rankings are directly affected. That’s two strikes against you if you don’t adapt to modern web principles like responsive design.

The opportunity here is that, like everything else, our industry is slow to adapt. Therefore, if you are an early adopter of responsive design in everything you do online, you’re going to look great and offer consumers a better experience than your competitor who is not doing so.

Additionally, this is also a great way to show agents in the market that you get it. Any younger agent is probably going to have this high on their list of wants from a company they would work for.

Digital marketing is cheaper, faster and more efficient
Although this one seems obvious, it’s shocking how many brokerages still don’t utilize digital marketing platforms and analytics tools that exist. If you are using digital marketing you are tracking analytics, trends, and other important information that allows you to save money, better run your business, and make the right decisions.

Thanks for reading and all the wonderful comments you provide throughout the year.

Here is to an AWESOME 2016!

Jose Perez is the founder of PCMS Consulting.

This post was originally published on the PCMS blog.