User experience (UX) is at the heart of how clients and prospects interact with your real estate brand. It includes analog, old-fashioned interactions, but the primary focus is on the digital realm. A seamless, high-quality user experience is a crucial factor in lead generation and keeps clients satisfied after choosing your business. Of course, that also means that a bad user experience will have the opposite effect. So let's take a closer look at what the UX is exactly, how to avoid turning clients away with a bad UX, and some tips for overcoming common UX challenges for your real estate brand.
What Is the User Experience, and Why Is It so Important?
The UX Encompasses Nearly Every Aspect of How Clients Interact with Your Brand
Talking about the user experience can feel a bit overwhelming at first because it's such a broad topic that covers... well, pretty much everything when it comes client interactions. The good news is that it's also fairly simple to boil the UX down to a few key concepts, and we're going to focus primarily on the digital side.
Want to Better Understand UX? Start with a Few Important Questions
When a client engages through your website, how easy is it for them to find the information they need? Are there barriers in place that prevent them from taking next steps? Does your content go beyond the basics to speak to the needs of each client? Can they easily access your content and services on the device of their choice? A high-quality UX makes life easier for clients, which ultimately makes it easier for you to earn their business.
The User Experience Is More Important than Ever in the COVID-19 Era
COVID-19 has changed how people buy and sell homes and the way they interact with real estate brands. Clients rely much more on digital tools to conduct real estate business, while in-person interactions have taken a backseat. Now more than ever, real estate firms need a digital UX that clients will love.
Common UX Problems and How to Avoid Them
Forced Registration and Asking for Too Much Up Front
One of the easiest ways to discourage clients with your UX is to ask for too much right away. If you force clients to register for your website before they can do anything or request extensive permissions, they may simply move on to the next option. There's a time and place to ask for more information or permissions — and it comes after you've demonstrated the value of your brand to clients.
The Fewer Hoops to Jump Through, the Better
Building on our first problem to avoid, it's crucial to avoid burying important features behind items that are less important to clients. Most clients will be engaging with your UX to shop for homes in specific neighborhoods, or to find out how much their current home would be worth on the market. When you place the features that clients want most front and center, they'll be more likely to stick around long enough to explore the rest of what you have to offer.
Failing to Understand That Clients Are Making More Than Just a Financial Transaction
Buying or selling a home is a personal, often emotional process. If you don't integrate content that shows an understanding of the why, then it's hard to build a connection with the client. The content on your website should go beyond the financial basics while speaking to your target audience's needs. It should highlight the communities where you do business while showing clients how specific homes and neighborhoods can answer their needs.
Mobile-Friendly Is a Must for a Quality User Experience
Clients want to connect with your business in the way that works best for their needs, so a website that's not mobile-friendly or a buggy, hard-to-use mobile app will be a major red flag. It's critical to make sure that your UX's quality remains reliable no matter which device the client is using to access it.
The Right Team Makes All the Difference in Building a Great User Experience
Building an outstanding, streamlined user experience starts with understanding what users want and how to provide that to them. Delta Media Group works to build your real estate business a stable, high performance UX that makes it easy for clients to find homes, fall in love with neighborhoods, learn about local real estate markets, and conveniently connect with your business on any device. Our team is focused on creating a quality UX that makes it easier for your real estate team to generate leads and do what they do best.
Experts estimate an astonishing 87.1% of marketers in the U.S. used Facebook marketing features in 2020.
Facebook has 2.4 billion monthly active users, including some 255 million in the United States and Canada. As Facebook loses its cachet among the college students it was originally created for, it's still growing among the under-36 cohort most likely to be active homebuyers.
No matter who your target demographic is, Facebook has them. And the most vital resource for reaching those potential leads is your Facebook business page. Even if you already have one, there are exciting ways to make it more effective.
Real Estate Agents, It's Time to Renovate Your Facebook Business Page
If you've been in the real estate industry more than a month, odds are you have a Facebook business page for your practice. But Facebook is constantly providing new tools to apply to your lead generation efforts. Just like an old home, your page may need a fresh coat of paint.
Luckily, your business page is under your control. It's up to you to make the most of it. By keeping your Facebook page modern, you're adding extra authority and interest to your posts. That helps you stand out from the crowd and get recognized as an authentic local real estate expert.
Here are four ways to do it:
1. Update Your Facebook Cover Image With a Call to Action
You already know your cover image is the most important visual element on your Facebook page, right?
It serves as the masthead, taking up more space than anything else. A good cover is 820x360 pixels, so it shows up brilliantly on both smartphones and desktops. Text is kept to the middle, where it can't be cut off. The image shows a compelling real estate photo, your face, or both. And, of course, it includes your brand name or logo!
But did you know you can add interactivity to your cover?
One of the more recent quirks of business pages is the "call to action" button. Just like a CTA on your blog posts, this tells visitors what to do next — a step they often won't take unless it's made explicit. The CTA appears in a prominent position on your cover, and it can be styled in many different ways.
Some relevant options for real estate include:
Here's how to set one up.
2. Add Property Search to Your Facebook Page
Although you can't display MLS listings directly on your Facebook page without using third-party software, there's another way to give your properties more reach. Submit your listings to Facebook Marketplace in the Real Estate category, and you'll have many more options for promoting them, such as using Facebook Ads or sharing them with your active Groups. You can also communicate with prospective buyers right on Facebook.
3. Encourage Former Clients to Visit Your Review Section
When your business page is filled out with your website URL and address, Facebook reviews can boost your local SEO — getting you more traffic from searches relevant to your business within 20 miles of you. That means even if you already showcase reviews on your website, Facebook still has something to offer.
To get more reviews, follow up with satisfied clients within a week of closing day. Also, reach out to clients who've already submitted positive reviews on Google My Business or Yelp. 81% of 12,000 respondents said their friends' recommendations influenced their buying behavior, so this can create a snowball effect.
4. Set Up Facebook Messenger to Communicate with Contacts
Facebook has big plans to expand Facebook Messenger and make it the customer service solution of choice for as many businesses as possible. In this case, however, they're simply responding to how people are using the software already. This ubiquitous app makes it easier than ever to start a conversation at any time. Real estate is all about relationships, so it's a natural fit.
To get all the benefits of Facebook Messenger, you need to be set up. On your page's General Settings, be sure "People can contact my page privately" is enabled. Verify your Messenger username, also under General Settings. The username is automatically generated based on your page name and can be changed. Next, consider updating your page's call to action to the "Send Message" button.
As you get more comfortable with Messenger, you can use its automation features to provide seamless service for common customer needs. Write a greeting for Facebook Messenger to introduce yourself and use Instant Reply to send an automatic response to each user's first message to you.
DeltaNET customers can take Facebook to the next level with automatic social media updates, including new listings, closings, and open house announcements. To see it for yourself, contact us at Delta Media Group.
It wasn't that long ago when most phone service providers enforced strict limits on text messages. Most users could send 500 or even just 100 a month. Now, such rules are unthinkable — the average American sends and receives around 85 texts a day. With 96% of all U.S. adults owning a cell phone, virtually everyone sends and receives texts. What's more, the average text message is read within three minutes.
Those facts are of great interest to relationship-driven industries like real estate. 75% of consumers surveyed say they are okay with receiving texts from brands. With its astonishing 90% open rate, texting shows signs of giving email a run for its money as the marketing technique with the lowest costs and highest campaign ROI.
If you're not using text marketing yet, it's not too late — but now's definitely the time to start!
The Benefits of Texting for Real Estate Professionals
Real estate is all about relationships. Once you incorporate it into your workflow, text marketing is a natural extension of that mindset. From leads to clients to former customers, all can benefit from and respond to texting.
Let's consider some of the top advantages:
Texting is Personal
The great majority of texts are legitimate, one-to-one communications from the people your leads genuinely want to hear from. When contacts opt in, they invite you into a much more casual and personal space than their email box. You, in turn, can speak to them with clarity and authenticity, making a real connection.
Texting is Responsive
Real estate pros have long understood the faster you can respond to a lead's first attempt to reach out, the more likely you are to get an appointment scheduled. Texting allows you to answer others even faster than a phone call. Plus, you can do it without completely interrupting the flow of your busy workday.
Texting is Universal
Consider the stats above — 96% of American adults have a cell phone. They don't need the latest fancy Apple smartphone to send and receive texts. Even the simplest phones with the most budget-friendly plans can generally receive unlimited texts. You never have to make any assumptions about your contact's technology.
Texting Uses Automation Effectively
Some marketing techniques, like email, are a natural fit for automation. Others, like a phone call, had better be done manually. Text messaging falls somewhere between the extremes. While a personal text is often the best bet, you can automate certain "event-based" texts, and they will still feel perfectly natural.
Text Message Marketing: From Beginner to Advanced
If you use texts in your day-to-day life, you have skills that will serve you well in text marketing.
The key to text messaging is context. If you send messages only when it makes sense, you'll avoid having contacts opt out. Texting is a two-way street: your goal is to combine great timing with interesting content that will get recipients to respond more often. To do that, you need to know your clients well.
Let's look at ideas for taking texting to the next level:
Automate Your Initial Opt-In Texts
To stay on the right side of the law, it's crucial to ensure contacts affirmatively opt in for ongoing texts. You can automate this process using CRM data, ensuring that open house attendees and those who register for updates on your local listings receive an opt-in invitation right away — when they're most likely to consent.
Make it Easy to Set Appointments by Text
Many people prefer the convenience of text to the rigmarole of a phone call. Some people dodge phone calls to avoid high-pressure sales situations. By texting leads a link to a scheduling app, they can put themselves on your calendar in a low-friction environment.
Ask Questions in Your Texts
Every time you get a response to a text, you open the door to extending that relationship. The best way to incorporate questions is to make them meaningful, like "What do you like most about the house you just toured?" Most recipients prefer to dash off an answer rather than risk seeming rude.
DeltaNET customers have the opportunity to deploy text messaging campaigns with confidence from right within our high-performance, AI-driven real estate CRM. To find out more or get started, contact us today.
In this episode of Tech Tuesday, Harley Wolfarth demonstrates DeltaNET 6's Seller Report system.
It seems like technology advances and integrates into new aspects of our lives every day. Even the jobs in which in-person communication and physical interactions are relied on, somehow, technology seems to find a way to connect. The real estate industry is no exception; technology has dramatically changed the way agents, buyers, and sellers accomplish their goals. While at times it may seem like these new systems and software may overly complicate certain processes, technology like automation can immediately improve existing practices. Agents will quickly discover that automation improves the real estate industry in more ways than one.
The Newest Trend in Real Estate Technology
Though automation is not a new concept, its application in the real estate industry is relatively young. Many real estate agencies, even industry-leaders, have been hesitant to adopt certain technologies that would dramatically alter these transactions. It's fair to assume that some buyers and sellers were hesitant as well. Since buying a house is one of the largest financial transactions a person will make in their lifetime, the thought of conducting parts of these transactions online may be uncomfortable.
However, many agents realize automation can present significant advantages to the real estate industry. Technology will continue to advance the way we live and work, which means these solutions will inevitably continue to integrate into the real estate industry in unique ways. By adopting automation in certain processes, agents can reduce the time, money, and effort they put into tasks that can be easily accomplished with a hands-off approach.
4 Ways Automation Improves the Real Estate Industry
As a real estate agent, your tools and your team are your greatest resources. With so many technologies at your disposal, the tools you choose must benefit you and those you work with. Automation is one of the most versatile resources you can add to your repertoire.
While some technologies are nice but not essential, real estate agents are discovering the many benefits of automation integration. By automating certain tasks like lead generation and customer management, real estate agents will have more time to focus on touring homes and closing sales.
79% of customers trust online reviews just as much as personal recommendations. In younger demographics, the figure can be even higher — up to 91% for consumers aged 18-35. Regardless of age, most people read online reviews, and many customers won't buy until they've read a review.
Don't think online reviews only matter for e-commerce stores: 87% of consumers used them to compare local businesses in 2020, up from 81% in 2019. Only a meager 48% of all respondents would even consider using a business with fewer than four stars.
What does it all mean? If you don't have online reviews, you don't exist!
When your neighbors go online to get help buying or selling a home, odds are they type in "real estate agents near me." On Google, that provides a list of agents along with their average star rating — and easy access to their reviews. Sites like Yelp also centralize reviews, serving as a proxy of a company's reputation.
In effect, your future customers use the same methods to compare real estate agents as they do to compare pizza places or burger joints. Say what you will about whether that's fair or not: to excel in a fast-paced real estate market, you need to find ways to use it to your advantage.
The best way to do that is to make sure you have customer reviews right on your website.
Customer Reviews On Your Website Build Trust and Motivate Leads
You can't stop people from looking on Google, Yelp, or wherever else they might search around — and most big review platforms also penalize you if you incentivize reviews in any way. But you are always entitled to ask for reviews, and all of your best online reviews should be displayed prominently on your website.
Some great places to showcase reviews include:
The footer that appears on each page of your site
Your website's "Contact" and "About Me" pages
Your calendar or scheduling app, if you use one
Your social media accounts and YouTube channel
When you give online reviews pride of place, you are doing more than just encouraging more business for yourself. You are adding value by creating ways for leads to make an informed decision. That's something everyone can appreciate, even though not everybody who sees your website will ultimately work with you.
Let's consider some of the benefits of using online reviews on your website:
Reviews Foster Trust
Your website is a terrific way to introduce yourself. It helps people understand who you are and what you can do for them. But that doesn't mean they want to take your word for it! Reviews function as social proof, giving greater weight to everything you say. When leads see that others "just like them" have had great experiences with you, they feel more comfortable reaching out. That helps you build rapport and work together.
Reviews Help People Avoid Scams
On the flip side, remember that many of your clients will be first-time buyers or sellers. They may have limited or no experience working with a real estate agent. Being unfamiliar with the industry and its credentials, they are on guard for foul play. Reviews on your website are among the most important trust signals you can send. Your site may help guide others so they know what to look for in a reputable expert.
Reviews Draw More Website Traffic
Online reviews have a major role in driving more traffic. Yes, reviews posted on Google or Yelp may inspire more people to check your site, but it goes beyond this. The reviews you post and promote help search engines to recognize you as an established and trusted local authority. Over time, posting reviews can help your website become more visible when prospects search for topics related to your business.
Reviews Act as "Tiebreakers"
When two businesses seem similar from the outside, which one gets the sale? Usually, it's the one with a bigger roster of positive, credible reviews. This goes back to the idea that many future clients won't know the ins and outs of real estate — they depend on their agent to keep them informed. Your reviews highlight your successes, skills, customer service, and other points of comparison that could be harder to spot otherwise!
Whether you're new to real estate or an old hand, it's valuable to make customer reviews an ongoing part of your practice. That means recognizing the right time to ask for reviews, following up, and cultivating reviews on your own website, as well as responding to the reviews you collect on other platforms.
With its state-of-the-art real estate CRM, social media, and email marketing automation, DeltaNET is the AI-driven premier pro-tech solution to energize your promotional efforts. To find out more, contact us today.
In this episode of Tech Tuesday, Harley Wolfarth demonstrates the Customer Center in DeltaNET 6.
Not all websites are created equal. Just as no two real estate agents are the same, each agent's website highlights the differences between other agents vying for the marketplace. Though content is king, it's important to understand that even your website's domain name has a significant impact on your agency's performance and perception.
9 Benefits & Advantages of Having a Custom Domain Name
1. It's a No-Brainer
Why should you have a custom domain name? Why not? It's simple, especially when you're trying to encourage clients to access it. Instead of asking clients to remember a confusing web address, simply adding a ".com" to your business name makes engagement effortless. It also makes it easier for clients to find you passively, for instance, when they search for you online. If they search "John Smith" and find "johnsmith.com," they'll know that they've found the correct address.
2. It Gives You a Leg-Up on the Competition
Do you know how many of the other agents in your market have their own custom domain names? Chances are high there are many which simply use web address provided by a hosting site. By locking down your custom domain name, you have another leg-up on the competition by demonstrating your legitimacy.
3. It Demonstrates Legitimacy
How does having a custom domain address demonstrate legitimacy? First, it shows that you're using the latest technologies. Though websites are nothing new, you'd be surprised how many agents still do not use custom domain names despite the relative ease of obtaining one. It also helps a user feel more comfortable following your link. "johnsmith.com" appears much more legitimate than "johnsmith.domainhosting.com."
4. It Increases Your SEO Ranking
SEO. Three letters your small business needs to know regardless of which industry you serve. If you're online, Search Engine Optimization is essential to your success. With so many other agencies selling homes in your area, you need the best search ranking possible on Google. Having a custom domain is one way to increase your SEO ranking in the eyes of Google's algorithm.
5. It Enables Custom Email Addresses
Similar to your web address itself, your email addresses are small yet important elements of how your business is perceived. Sure, an @gmail.com or @outlook.com address will work just the same, but having an @johnsmith.com address will once again enhance your legitimacy and reassure customers that you're the real deal.
6. It Elevates Your Brand
The brand you've cultivated in the real world can be easily integrated into the digital world with a custom website address. It also helps your brand consistency to have a legitimate domain name that matches your other online profiles, like your social media accounts.
7. It Enhances Your Branding
"Branding" is different from "brand." Your brand is the business; your branding is what your business does. For instance, you may be a luxury real estate agent, but the content you supply that highlights your listings is an act of branding. A custom domain name is an investment. When clients click that link, they're taken to your website to interact with you through your branding. If you're trying to wow your luxury home market, for example, your domain name is the doorway to these interactions.
8. It Opens Potential for New Leads
You don't need an open house to generate new "walk-in" leads. As you strengthen your website's content with a custom domain, you increase the chances that new customers will organically visit your site when they find it through a search engine. With the right tools, you can convert these visits to potential leads by continuing to engage them after they've left your site.
9. It May Be the Future of Virtual Businesses
Thousands of new websites are created each day, which means many domain names become unavailable every instant. It's clear that more and more agents are adopting custom domain names. Keep in mind other agents may also scoop up domain names that you're interested in.
Delta Media Group's digital marketing platform will easily integrate your custom domain, ensuring you reap the maximum benefits from your online presence. If you lack a custom domain name, we encourage you to consider these advantages and discover how quickly a new website address can benefit your agency.
After a year that seemed like it would never end, 2021 is already steaming ahead. Before we know it, the holiday season will be just around the corner once again. But is your year off to a strong start? It's a question all real estate agents must ask themselves. There are dozens of proactive measures real estate agents can take to ensure that they're moving in the right direction — but there are also a few pitfalls that should be avoided.
4 Do's & Don'ts of 2021
Even though we're into January, it's not too late to start the year off on the right foot. There are plenty of realistic and attainable goals that you can achieve if you start working on them now. Here are a few tips for making sure 2021 starts off strong.
No one knows what the real estate market will look like this year, but one thing is for sure: there will always be a need for a real estate agent. People from all walks of life will continue to buy and sell houses. The best way to increase your likelihood of having a successful year is to start putting in the time and effort in January. By acknowledging your agency's strengths, identifying its areas for improvement, and being receptive to new ways of pursuing your goals, your brokerage can begin laying the groundwork for a successful year.
In this episode of Tech Tuesday, Harley Wolfarth demonstrates how to use Social Connector in DeltaNET 6. Social Connector allows sales associates to automatically post their new listings, open houses, sold listings, customer reviews, listing videos, and more directly to their social media pages.
There's a lot that we want to leave behind in 2020, including outdated habits for managing our customers. Believe it or not, there are plenty of real estate brokerages and agents using old, less efficient methods of customer relationship management despite having the most advanced technology at their fingertips. We noticed that many agents avoid using a customer relationship management software, or CRM, simply because they don't have a centralized database.
Instead, they keep paper or digital records in separate files, such as a holiday list with labels, emails that get often get hung up in Outlook, or a crammed file folder with Post-It notes that are easily lost or misplaced. Don't let your agency suffer because of outdated CRM habits. Make 2021 the year of streamlining your agency and get your real estate CRM up and running!
What is a CRM for real estate agencies?
Customer relationship management software is not new technology and has been integrated into countless industries over the years. Essentially, this software is designed to help businesses manage their prior, current, and potential customers. By streamlining the way that the business interacts with its customers, CRM software provides an easy-to-use, efficient way to manage relationships with these clients.
Why a CRM for real estate is a necessity for agents in 2021
It seems that every year, new technologies debut that have practical integration into the real estate industry. Although some of these software and systems do provide benefits to brokers, there are more than a few that simply don't deliver the results desired. With so many technologies to choose from, we understand that many agencies have trouble determining which are best for their needs. When it comes to customer relationship management software, real estate agencies will see instant benefits. Here are five reasons why you should adopt a CRM software in the New Year.
A CRM system is a vital necessity for your agency. If you believe that you simply don't have time to transition from your current processes to a CRM, think again! You can make the transition in a matter of days. After adopting a CRM system, it's worth hiring an intern or student to come in and assist you. All they'll need to do is gather the relevant information then load it into the CRM. Before you know it, you'll be using your CRM for countless other tasks to ensure that 2021 is your agency's best year yet!