If you want immediate feedback from your real estate leads, texting really is your best bet. People are constantly on their phones and a clear, concise text message will get their attention. Today’s real estate clients want immediate responses, and as an agent with many years of experience, I know that if you can provide that, you’ll get more conversions, close more deals and build stronger long-term relationships. Texting offers Realtors and other industry professionals a quick and easy way to respond immediately to their clients’ needs.
Pew Research studies show that text messages have a higher rate of response than simply sending an email. Their customers have an average response rate of almost 45%, whereas the response rate from MailChimp is only 11%.
People commonly accumulate voicemails they need to return, but they almost always respond to their text messages. We found that many of the Realtors we work with experience a noticeable spike in lead responses upon texting the lead when they first inquire.
Text Message Marketing
Text message marketing is an extremely effective tool that you can use to achieve your business goals. We have a comprehensive guide that provides an in-depth explanation of everything involved, but you can get started by having just a basic knowledge of several features:
• Short Codes
SMS shortcodes are numbers that are used for sending SMS or MMS messages only. They are only five to six digits long, so they cannot be mistaken for a phone number.
An SMS keyword is a short word you give your customers to text your shortcode if they want to opt-in for messages. You can set it up with a message offering more information to be automatically texted when your keyword is texted.
A text campaign is a single text message or a series of texts, that is automatically sent out to the people who subscribed by opting-in with your keyword.
MMS is short for Multimedia Messaging Service. These messages have a longer character limit and you are allowed to include audio files, video files, GIFs, and photos with MMS.
Autoresponders are text messages that have been previously scheduled to be sent out automatically. They can set up to be sent out within a few days, weeks, or months.
• Data Collection
This feature allows you to ask for more information from your subscribers, like first and last name, email address and more.
Benefits of Text Message Marketing for Real Estate Agents
Text messaging can be put to great use in real estate because agents are highly dependent on getting leads. In the recent past, this was primarily done through newspaper ads, distributing flyers at open houses and yard signs with your name and phone number. These are still very useful options, but technology allows you to incorporate SMS to your marketing strategy, which will definitely give your business a boost. Anyone with a cell phone can get property alerts via SMS or MMS.
While working with the Real Estate industry, we have seen the results that text message marketing can bring to agents:
• Attract Potential Buyers
Agents can attract potential buyers and other clients by adding this phrase to the yard sign in front of a house for sale, “Text House345 to 65432 for information on this property.” We have found this to be far more effective than just listing a phone number, which you would still want to do.
• Grow Your Leads List
You can ask prospects to text you for more information on real estate ads they see on billboards, flyers and other ads.
• Spread the Word on Open Houses
Send text messages to your list of potential buyers with time and location. This promotion will get results and definitely set you apart from the competition. Sending the right messages at the appropriate time will garner better ROI.
• Group your leads for more targeted messages
By assigning a separate keyword for each property you can group your leads according to criteria, like location and price. This helps you send more targeted messages.
• Manage Multiple Agents
If you have multiple agents working for you, getting them on board with SMS will help your agents garner more leads and that can only lead to more closings.
• Sync Your Text Appointments with Your Google Calendar
All real estate professionals are juggling busy schedules. To make the appointments process easier, you can schedule and sync your text message appointments with your Google Calendar. If you’re ready to empower your team by deploying real estate texting, we’ve compiled the industry’s best practices for texting your leads and tracking how effectively you’re communicating. However, there is no need to pressure everyone to implement this. It really isn’t all that complicated, so don’t make a big deal out of it. Everyone already knows how to send text messages. We’ve been texting friends and family for years! You’ve had to master the art of communication in just being a Realtor! Use those same skills and your personality and incorporate those into your text messages. And don’t forget, a text is just that. It’s not meant to be a marketing brochure. When composing a text, don’t forget to ask, “Would I read and reply to that message myself?”
Tips for Increasing Your Response Rate
• Do NOT Cram Everything into One Text
Let go of the idea that this one text will be your only chance to connect with this lead. Send a message that requires a quick reply, one that can spur a conversation.
• Ask a Quick Question
You can more easily start a conversation by asking a quick question. Most people are happy to answer a quick question. You can then use their answers to gently move the process along. For example, “I was just wondering [first name], how soon would you ideally like to get your home sold?”
• If You Include a Link, Talk About it
Do not make the mistake of texting a lead the link to your website and just leave it at that. Give them a reason to click on it. For example, “Have you seen the homes that just hit the market? Take a look [first name] at www.yourwebsite.com.”
• Show Some Personality
Don’t be a robot, let your personality shine through in your texts. Convey your messages in the same manner that you speak. If you typically use emojis, keep using them. People are far more likely to respond if you sound like a real person without all the formalities. For example, “[property address] has a huge swimming pool with a Jacuzzi in the backyard! Sounds perfect for you. How ‘bout seeing it?
Shorter Texts Have a Better Chance of a Reply
As a real estate agent, your day is jam-packed, right? The same goes for your leads. We’re all extremely busy.
I’m sure you’ve received texts or emails that you had no choice to put aside because it would take time to process all the information. Do not make the mistake of overwhelming your lead with tons and tons of information.
This is far too much to include in a text:
“Hey, Jason this is Tricia with Best Real Estate Agency, in West Los Angeles. We have a lot of fabulous listings at the moment. I noticed that you’ve been looking at 2525 Park Avenue, which is in one of the neighborhoods I specialize in. Want to see it? For information on all our listings, you can visit my website at www.mywebsite.com any time of day or night.”
Honest Real Estate
This would be better:
“Hey, Jason! Since you seem interested in 2525 Park Ave., would you like to see some other homes like it?”
This message works because: This shorter message is better because it’s a quick easy question that he can just as quickly answer. He’s not being bombarded with a bunch of extraneous information.
Also, there is no need for the text signature. It’s a distraction from the question you asked. If they need your number, it’s already on their phone from your text.
Timing is Everything When Sending Texts
Up to this point, we’ve been discussing what to say in your texts and how to say it. But now we need to talk about “when” to text. Just like how it’s important that the idea of texting not feel complicated, or treated as a marketing campaign, it’s not necessary to make up a lot of rules regarding timing. However, we do want to give you some Dos and Don’ts based on what we know works best:
Get back to a lead with a text within a few minutes of them submitting a question through your website. Wait no longer than 5 minutes! This is the most important thing you can learn from this blog!
If you can’t call, send them a text after they’ve actively engaged with your website, like if they’ve favorited a property. Time this for when they’re likely to be less busy, late afternoons perhaps. There are stats that show texts get a better response on Wednesdays and Thursdays. If your lead sends you a text, respond as soon as possible, even if all you have time to say is that you’ll be getting back to them. Never leave them hanging as people usually expect a fast reply to a text as opposed to an email or voicemail. If you’ve left a voicemail already, send them a quick text like this, “[first name], seems like we keep missing one another! Still want to chat?”
If you aren’t getting a response, do not keep sending texts day-after-day. A text does not replace a phone call. It’s still important to keep trying to call your leads as this is still the most effective way to make a real connection. Most importantly, you have a good idea of what kind of relationship you have with all your leads. If you feel that the time is right to send a text message about something relevant, then send the text!
When a Text Message is NOT the Right Way to Communicate
Texting is a very effective way to communicate with your leads, but not in every case.
Do not send out broadcast texts that have little or no relevance to that specific lead.
Do not send texts promoting your contest, no matter what the prize is. If you have a contest with an iPad giveaway or some other promotion, announce it on your website, not by text.
Do not convey serious information via text message. If a client’s offer was not accepted or if an escrow fell through, a phone call would be the appropriate way to communicate that message.
Do not send binding documentation via text message. This would more appropriately be done via email or in person.
How to Automatically Text a Lead
We told you how important it is to text a lead within a few minutes of their submission, and not to wait any longer than 5 minutes. But since you’re extremely busy and often in your car, how can you do this?
You do this by setting up auto text messaging, along with an email drip so that you’re always covered.
Texts are not meant to replace other forms of communication, but they are a great way to amplify the other ways you communicate with clients. You can effectively use texts as follow-ups on emails or to arrange phone calls and meetings. You can also use texts to move important conversations along and to communicate more effectively throughout a transaction. The next time you want to remind a client to fill out an e-file ASAP or want to set up a time to discuss a counteroffer or an inspection report, send a text to follow-up on your voicemail or email. And don’t shy away from using your favorite emojis to keep things friendly.
Stick with the Rules
Don’t forget that you have a lot of options at your disposal for automating and personalizing your text messages. There are also templates that can help you format your messages. But, it’s important not to over complicate this, so just stick to the rules of keeping them short and sweet, use your personality and don’t shy away from using emojis.
Legal blurb: Don’t forget that you must follow FCC guidelines when texting or calling your leads! More information can be found here.
Check out Ascend Lead Sites where texting your leads within our CRM is quick and easy!