Dialing is dying, or at least, so it seems.
How many calls have you gotten today that you've actually answered? It's likely far less than what it was years ago when your entire real estate business was reliant on the number and frequency of dials you were making.
That is no longer the case today. The future of real estate lead conversion is messaging. Specifically, real estate text message marketing will help you increase real estate sales like never before. That's because the lead conversion game is changing, and here's how you can not only keep up with the changing market, but dominate it.
Millennials are messaging
It's no secret that millennials are entering the market. In fact, they already represent the majority of consumers buying and selling homes, according to the National Association of REALTORS. This is important because they (myself included) grew up in a world where social media dominated. If we wanted to get in touch with a friend we messaged them via text, Facebook, or Snapchat. We'd never think nor care to call them. In fact, according to MobileMonkey, in the U.S., text messaging is the favorite way of 20 to 40-year-olds to stay in touch with service providers.
Some of you might think, "sending real estate SMS messages to leads and clients is unprofessional.” I would challenge that by saying it's unprofessional not to send your leads and clients text messages. Texting is becoming the preferred channel of communication for most consumers. In fact, it's so important that 95% of text messages are noticed or read within 3 seconds of receiving them and most are responded to in 90 seconds or less, according to TextRequest.
You must start incorporating text messaging into your real estate lead follow up and lead nurturing to stand a chance in today's evolving market.
Text to qualify and set phone appointment
Years ago you needed to get a lead on the phone, qualify them, and set the appointment. Today, the entire lead qualification process can happen entirely via text message. Today's consumers are willing to exchange 20-30 messages back and forth rather than pick up the phone. You can use that to your advantage.
Use the initial text message conversation to not only engage your lead but to qualify them and set a phone appointment. Phone calls will never completely die. Consumers are just wary of who they pick up for. If you are able to qualify a lead via a text conversation first then set a phone appointment, they stand a 90%+ chance of answering that phone call - far better than just cold calling them.
Text message marketing is the new cold calling
You likely have 10, 100, 1,000, 10,000 or more leads just sitting around in your database collecting dust. Sound familiar? You could (and should) have your Inside Sales Agent (ISA) call hundreds of them every day, but they can only be so effective.
In today's world of avoiding answering the phone at all costs, it's likely to result in an extremely low contact rate. However, utilizing text messaging to "revive" your old leads is a much more powerful, effective and beneficial way to re-engage those leads.
In fact, this is such an effective means of communication, many Structurely users report over 50% engagement rates uploading their old leads to our system for re-engagement. Dan Armstrong, a Keller Williams team leader, reported the very first "old" lead he uploaded to Structurely resulted in a closing.
Regardless of if your business is growing quickly or relatively stagnant you likely have a database to prospect. Instead of continuously investing more and more into the top-of-funnel (ToFu) you should be using real estate text message marketing to convert more leads already in your funnel, or middle-of-funnel (MoFu) opportunities.
What messages should you send?
Sending real estate marketing messages is often thought of as a top of funnel activity. You want to engage more leads who've never heard of you before to interest them in your value and services. This is often a misconception.
In reality, the best real estate SMS messages are to your existing leads. Why? The best messages are personalized and to the point with the goal being to simply get them to respond, get them qualified then get them on the phone to close.
What do those messages look like? Thankfully, at Structurely, we've had the opportunity to message hundreds of thousands of real estate leads. We've found the best real estate text message templates empathize with the lead, provide the lead value and always end in a question. Here are a few of them:
"Hi <name>! Haven't heard back from you in a little while and wanted to let you know there are a few more homes in your price range that hit the market. Can I send those your way?"
"Hey <name>! Our team set up a quick search on the MLS for homes similar to the ones you looked at initially. Would you be interested in setting up a time to see a few of them during the week or this weekend?"
"Hey <name>, I just wanted to make sure I wasn't dropping the ball here. Did you still want to go and see some houses this month?"
***PRO TIP: Our highest-performing messages use the phrase, "I just wanted to make sure I'm not dropping the ball." Leads almost always reply saying, "You're not dropping the ball, I'm just still figuring this all out."
Notice that every one of these real estate SMS samples has a specific value proposition and call to action. So many real estate drip messages lack any value to the consumer or any call to action, leaving them annoyed and confused.
How you can start texting your leads today
So you're convinced utilizing text message to communicate with your leads is the way to go, huh? We think so too. Real estate text message marketing is the way to go (we think so to). So how can you start utilizing this powerful channel?
The beauty of using texting to convert more leads is its simplicity. As we've mentioned, it's important to focus on the middle of your funnel, or existing lead opportunities, with the goal being to set a phone or in-person appointment. So here's how you can start:
- Analyze your CRM to find leads who know you (registered on your site, portal, Facebook, etc.) but who've not yet responded to you (unresponsive)
- Create a dynamic list that segments all leads from the last 30 days who've not responded to you
- Export the lists to CSV
- Upload CSV to mass texting service like Structurely
Before we get too far ahead of ourselves, let's take a quick step back. We've already addressed the power and scale of text messaging. Now you have your list in hand and you're ready to roll. Before you pull the trigger you need to ask yourself one more thing, "are you ready to scale?"
Scaling real estate lead conversion
After you've engaged a targeted list of real estate leads with text message marketing, you're likely going to be inundated with responses.
Some will be leads simply saying "no thank you" or the occasional "f*&% you leave me alone!". Both of which are good. Leads who opt out allow you to focus on more of the agent ready leads (and thankfully with Structurely, bad leads like this can automatically be filtered out and opted-out).
So how can you sift through the bad leads to focus on those that are the highest quality? This is where emerging real estate technology like artificial intelligence can help you and your ISAs scale like never before.
By using a service like Structurely's Aisa Holmes, an artificial intelligence inside sales agent, you can upload a list of thousands of leads while knowing Aisa will engage and qualify or disqualify every lead that responds.
And now, with Structurely's Stages, your list of leads is further categorized for you automatically based on a lead's responsiveness and interest into the following categories:
- Not responded
- Not interested
- Needs agent follow-up
By combining real estate text message marketing with high tech real estate tools like artificial intelligence to do the dirty work, you can make the most of your existing opportunities without investing more into lead generation.