SMS texting has skyrocketed to become one of the most important tools for real estate agents. It can be used to stay in touch with clients at any stage of a transaction, including building a relationship with all-important leads before they commit to making their move.
Since 2017, NAR research has shown that about 90% of realtors prefer to use text messaging — that's just behind emails and phone calls. While all of these options have enormous potential, texting now stands out as a modern and convenient approach that respects everyone's time.
Why SMS Text Can Be Even More Powerful than Email and Phone Calls for Staying in Touch
Emails tend to be on the longer side. They take time to read and digest. If you don't have a strong relationship with the recipient, your emails could be overlooked. On the other hand, texts usually consist of just one sentence and take only seconds to absorb.
The average American checks the phone approximately 96 times a day, or every ten minutes. Texts are integrated directly into most phone systems, requiring just one click to check and showing up right on a lock screen's notifications. By contrast, checking email often takes several taps and swipes.
And in many situations, texting also beats phone calls hands down.
The Millennial generation is now the biggest in the housing market, and Generation Z is surprisingly close behind them. If there's one marketing fact that real estate agents and brokers need to know about them, it's this: They hate voice calls. About 75% of Millennials say they're too time-consuming.
If you are trying to get hold of a Millennial or Generation Z client on the phone, then your interaction has already started with a groan, even if you succeed. On the other hand, you can be certain that your new text messages will be reviewed during the day — sometimes within just a few minutes.
How to Make SMS Text Messaging Part of Your Real Estate Marketing Strategy
As a core part of the smartphone experience, text messaging is here to stay. The majority of smartphone users can send thousands of texts a month, or have fully unlimited texting. Texting isn't just convenient for them; it can also be a huge time-saver for you.
Here's how to make the most of it:
The Future Is Now with Text Message Marketing
Text messaging is a powerful, efficient, cost-effective tool for real estate marketing. Contact us to find out more or get started with text message marketing in your practice.
This video demonstrates how to create and manage custom pages on your website using the DeltaNET Pages system.
Pay-per-click (PPC) online advertising may seem like one of the most challenging topics around.
But of all the industries that use PPC, real estate agents are among those most likely to gain a true windfall of business value. That's because PPC ads that may cost only a few dollars a week greatly accelerate the process of attracting qualified buyers to properties.
We know: From the outside, PPC seems complicated, technical, and risky.
The truth is, profiting from PPC ads has gotten more and more difficult over the past few years. When more advertisers join a platform, the prices go up. At the same time, each major digital platform is at work on new ways to protect its investment, making the standards for every ad higher.
But there is a simple, powerful way around all that complication.
First, understand the value proposition:
Pay-per-click ads can help you sell houses faster for just a few cents a day.
Once you see the potential, the rest of the details slide into place much more easily. Simply, PPC is a far easier prospect when you have the potential to make $5,000 or more on a transaction. There's room for trial and error compared to companies that may be trying to make sales for only a few dollars each.
So, how can you get the knowledge you need to get started with PPC?
Pay Per Click Is Simpler Than You May Think
In truth, there are only a few factors you need to be aware of in PPC.
This handful of factors will produce 90% of your results:
On Facebook, the photo associated with your ad is its most powerful asset. That's the core reason why Facebook – and its even more visual counterpart, Instagram – are at the center of the conversation for real estate professionals who want to get real digital advertising ROI.
Your ad may lead to a landing page on Facebook or on your website. For example, this approach may be best to collect sign-ups for an open house. Or it may lead directly to your listing, which should be ported from your MLS directly onto your website. If your listing is fully optimized, this can be a good bet.
Whatever the case may be, your visuals are a major determining factor as to whether and when people will click. You should be just as careful in selecting them for quality, composition, and vividness as you would be when you assign pictures to the listing or any other marketing element.
Targeting is the other key factor in ensuring that the right people click on your ads at the right time.
Even with the rise of virtual tours, most buyers aren't looking for a home 1,000 miles away. To maximize your chance of selling, your ads must be micro-targeted to prospective buyers. This is another element where Facebook and Instagram shine since their ad targeting is so precise.
Using zip codes and other means, you can micro-target your ads within miles or even just a few streets of a given property's address. You can target neighborhoods, cities, states, or even adjoining states. And each person who clicks can be delivered a customized experience based on their specific needs.
Headline and Other Text
All online ads have some degree of text.
With a Google Ad, success depends entirely on your text and headline. As a result, you'll want to use automated tools to compare different versions of your text and consistently display the versions that are more effective. Over time, this refinement strengthens your results.
Facebook, Instagram, and other social media networks use text as well, of which the headline is the most important. Your headline must be short and compelling. It makes a promise that your listing or landing page must immediately deliver on so you don't lose a user's attention.
Digital Marketing Automation Is the Key to Unlocking Value from PPC Ads
Now that you see where PPC results come from, hopefully it all looks a little bit less mysterious.
Where people in any industry get tripped up is in the need to monitor these factors constantly.
While it takes a few days for any new advertising campaign to capture useful information, all of the best campaigns are monitored on a daily basis. Daily monitoring ensures all outliers — including mistakes and home runs – are caught as soon as possible.
With a real estate CRM, you have the chance to leverage an AI-driven center of excellence for your pay-per-click advertising. Ad Wizard is just the solution. It handles all the detail work so you can keep an eye on your campaigns, fine-tune them, and improve your results in just seconds every day.
Contact us today to learn more or begin.
The most successful real estate agents tend to have a steady routine. They know their team, their brand and what they must do each day to achieve their goals. So, change can be a challenge even for the most experienced agents, just as it is for newer agents who are still establishing their foothold in the industry. A merger represents a significant change for any agent, but it can also lead to new opportunities for agents to thrive.
Keeping your agents happy throughout the merger process comes with its challenges, but it's one of the most important things you can do to make your merger a success. Transparent communication, honesty and a willingness to listen are all key ingredients in keeping your team on the same page as you transition to a new era. So, let's take a deeper look at what you can do to keep agents happy before, during and after a merger.
There are two sides to the coin for agents who are part of a merger, with the fear of change and the unknown being balanced by the new opportunities that the merger presents for them to grow their careers. How each agent perceives a merger depends largely on how you communicate with them, how well you prepare them for the transition and what they have to look forward to once the merger is complete.
Start With Open, Transparent Communication
Change is scary. That's as true for agents who've been with you for 25 years as it is for the promising, new agent who has recently closed their first few deals. How much that fear of change influences agents depends on how well you communicate with them throughout the merger process. So much of the fear of change comes from fear of the unknown, which is one reason why transparent communication is so important.
When you keep your agents informed, provide details and focus on open, transparent communication, those agents will naturally have less to fear. They will know what to expect from each step of the process, how to prepare themselves for the transition and where they'll stand when the merger is complete. Just as agents want clients to be able to imagine what their lives would be like in a potential new home, you want your agents to be able to imagine what their careers will be like after the merger.
These conversations won't always be easy, but they are necessary. The bottom line is that every agent is planning for their own financial future, and the possibility of a merger can have a big impact on their personal career plans. Effective communication helps keep everyone on the same page and gives you the best chance of keeping agents happy during a merger.
Provide Frequent Updates Using All Channels of Communication
Transparent communication is important, but it can only have the desired effect if that communication is also consistent and accessible. One of the easiest mistakes to make during a merger is to provide your team with a healthy dose of information upfront but then let communication trail off as time passes. Even if those initial details give agents a lot to look forward to, fear of the unknown is sure to creep back in if communication doesn't remain consistent over time.
So, you'll want to have a plan for providing frequent updates throughout the process to keep your agents informed and give them confidence about what comes next. When you're providing those updates, don't just rely on one channel of communication. An email with bullet points can provide important facts, but a video message or video call can provide greater context while allowing for a more personal touch.
Communicating through multiple channels has another key, practical benefit. Most teams have agents from various generations, and each agent will have their own preferences regarding communication channels. By providing updates through all channels of communication, you can ensure that your message gets through to each agent in the most comfortable and accessible way.
Create a Private Facebook Group to Provide an Open Forum For Conversations
So far, we've focused mostly on how you can communicate effectively with agents. However, it's equally important to ensure that agents have an open forum for communicating with management, and with one another. Starting a private Facebook group for your team to discuss the merger is a great way to foster the back-and-forth communication that is crucial to success.
This is one area where your willingness to listen, understand where agents are coming from, and respond in a thoughtful, transparent way will be critical. Agents will have questions, concerns and curiosities about what the future will hold for them after a merger. Those questions won't always be pleasant, and that's okay. Agents will naturally be concerned about their professional futures during a merger, and any tough questions they may have will be coming from an honest place.
A private Facebook group also provides a safe place for agents to interact with one another regarding the merger. Keeping an eye on what agents are discussing can provide valuable insights into what they're thinking and feeling, which can ultimately help you communicate more effectively with your team.
Showcase the New Tools and Opportunities That Agents Will Have
Another key element of effective communication is showcasing all the positive things that agents will have to look forward to after a merger. While the details differ case by case, mergers often provide new perks to help agents thrive.
Perhaps you're merging with a company known for its effective digital marketing practices, which can help every agent grow their personal brand within the larger company while generating more and better-quality leads. Maybe the combined financial strength created by the merger allows you to invest in new technology that will directly benefit agents, like a modern, feature-rich real estate CRM that can make their lives easier in many ways.
In many cases, the merger may create opportunities for agents to reach new markets or gain a stronger foothold in their existing markets. A merger might mean adding new divisions to the company, which will allow agents to branch out into luxury or commercial real estate if that is their preference. A larger team also means more learning opportunities, whether through mentorship for new agents or through experienced agents trading tips on what works best for them in specific markets.
Whatever the benefits are that agents can look forward to after the merger, make sure to communicate them clearly. It's so much easier to keep agents happy during a merger when they know that they'll have tangible, professional benefits that can help them grow their own careers and increase their earnings after the process is complete.
Stay Focused on Positives While Providing Proper Context and Perspective on Negatives
Let's be honest. In most cases, a merger is a mixed bag for agents, especially from their perspective. Ideally, the positives will strongly outweigh the negatives, but those negatives will still exist. Since agents are naturally so focused on how the merger will impact their own careers, it can be easy for them to focus on the negatives even if the merger will have positive benefits for them in the long run.
Keeping agents focused on the positives is an important part of your job during a merger. As we detailed in the previous section, there are usually plenty of things for agents to be excited about regarding a merger, so you should have no shortage of benefits to focus on when discussing the future with your team. Always be honest, but try to keep conversations focused on the positives as often as possible.
However, focusing on the positives doesn't mean ignoring any negatives that may be part of the process. Instead, try to provide the proper context and perspective on any factors that agents could view as negative. Even if they don't like one aspect of the merger, it will be much easier for them to digest if they understand why a change is necessary. When agents focus on the positives while understanding the context of the negatives, the transition of a merger is much easier for everyone involved.
The Bottom Line: A Successful Merger Starts With Communication
If there's been one consistent theme in our deep dive on mergers, it's that effective, transparent, consistent communication is the key to unlocking a prosperous future for both you and your team. Keeping your agents informed is the best way to keep them happy throughout the process while making them feel involved and invested as a result. Fortunately, you have a wide variety of tools available to help you keep them up to date. Balance honesty with positivity, and be prepared to answer questions in a transparent way.
Remember, too, that the merger is just the start of the journey. Communication isn't only important during a merger. It's also a key factor in the transition period after the merger is complete, while your agents adjust to the new normal. Keep your agents on the same page, and your business will emerge from a merger stronger than ever before.
Quick — what's the most powerful form of marketing for real estate agents?
These days, the first thing that comes to mind might be something like social media. And it's true that of all the professionals active on Instagram, Facebook, and the rest, real estate pros have the best shot at transforming all that time spent scrolling their feed into real business value.
Next, you might think of email marketing. And it is the best in at least one way: Experts estimate it has the highest ROI of any digital marketing technique. After all, it only costs a few cents to send emails all month long. And each one could help you close a transaction valued at $50,000 or more.
But neither of these is the best option.
In fact, there isn't one.
Over the last few years, digital marketing has made a big impact on the world of real estate. Millennials are stepping up as the biggest group of homebuyers, and Generation Z is just one step behind them. In both cases, these younger buyers look to the internet when it's time to launch a home search.
It's crucial to be where they are since they might be deep into that search before they reach out to local real estate agents. But, despite all of the techniques that can reach your audience, there isn't a surefire approach that definitely will. It's crucial to have a variety of methods at your disposal.
"Doing It All" Versus Doing a Few Things Well
Whether online or off, effective real estate marketing helps you do two things:
Both these functions are crucial to growing your real estate practice. Buyers of any age or background can take weeks or even months before they decide to enter the market – with marketing, you can be sure they're on your radar. As you communicate with them, they're more likely to choose you.
Likewise, you can motivate and inspire prospects to become leads who are ready to take action. Yes, you can't get someone to buy a house when they aren't ready, but you don't have to. Education is the key — as a real estate expert, you can highlight when it might be the right time for them to make their move.
The question then becomes, "How do you do it?"
There are dozens of different marketing tactics that can help your business grow. The challenge is to apply a variety of skills but practice them consistently. Inconsistent marketing usually fails to make a difference. At the same time, it leads to frustration and disappointment.
Getting reliable ROI from marketing also has a few easily identified planks:
An AI-driven center of excellence for marketing is the secret behind some of today's fastest-growing real estate agencies and brokerages. Using an all-in-one real estate solution like DeltaNET®6, you can ensure that you are in constant contact with leads through a full range of digital channels — while spending minutes a week.
What should your marketing toolbox look like?
These are some of the most potent marketing moves around:
Contact us to learn more about marketing automation for real estate professionals and teams.
This video demonstrates how to use the blog platform in DeltaNET 6.0
Is your team taking advantage of every opportunity to expand into new niches, unlock new markets and reach new clients in your existing ones? Targeting niches is one of the best ways to expand your real estate brand and create new opportunities for your team. But it's not something that your agents will do automatically. There's competition in every major real estate niche, so success requires a plan for your team, motivation from team leaders and modern marketing tools to help you effectively target every niche that matters to your business.
The first step to successfully targeting niches is getting your agents on board with the process. This may require a little bit of convincing, but savvy agents will ultimately recognize the value of targeting niches for their own career as well as the team as a whole. So, you can start by asking each team member to take on an extra specialty – ideally, one that suits their skills and ambitions as an agent.
Depending on what types of properties are available in the markets you aim to conquer, your team should have quite a few options when choosing a niche. Luxury real estate, new home sales and land/lot sales are always popular choices, but they're far from the only options. Also, consider specialty property sales like waterfront homes, equestrian properties, agricultural properties, condos and golf course homes.
Find the Niche That's Right For You
These are just some of the most popular niches that your team can target. The best niches to target will depend on the types of properties and opportunities available in the markets you wish to reach, which will naturally vary from one market to the next. Here are some tips to help team members pick a niche that fits their passions and skills:
Choose a Specific Geographic Area
Expanding can mean establishing your brand in a new geographic area that you haven't served before or expanding into a niche that you didn't previously cover within your existing markets. Either way, choosing where you want to target a new niche is the perfect place to start.
· Research Demographics and Market Trends
Once you know where, it's time to discover which niches are available in that market. Demographic research can help you find out more about the potential clients in a market and whether there could be a niche targeting a specific generation of clients like Millennials or Baby Boomers.
Researching market trends and the types of properties available within a market is another key step. That's how you'll find out whether it makes sense to target one of the many property niches that we have already mentioned above.
· Pursue a Passion
Naturally, as an agent, it can be helpful to pursue a niche that you already have a passion for. If you tend to gravitate toward a specific type of property and have built up a strong knowledge base around it, that niche will likely be a great fit to pursue further. Remember, though, that having an initial passion for a niche isn't a requirement for success. If you identify an excellent opportunity to cater to a niche and find success within it, that passion will likely develop over time.
· Identify Opportunities in Existing Networks
Along the same lines as pursuing a passion, evaluating your existing personal and professional networks can also provide insight into which niches are the best fit for you. If you already have extensive connections within a specific niche, that can provide a big advantage compared to starting from scratch.
Create Opportunities by Specializing in New Ways to Buy Homes
Specializing in specific types of real estate is a great start, but it's not the only way for your team to target niches effectively. More than ever, buyers have an increasing number of options for how to purchase a home. Having one or more team members focus on new ways to buy homes can help you unlock new markets while showing your target audiences that you can accommodate all of the needs of modern, market-savvy clients.
Though they cater to people who want to buy or sell homes through technology, iBuyer services rely on local agents to supplement their online services. Power Buyers provides unique financing options for purchasing homes, with a larger national footprint and a more agent-focused model than iBuyers. With such a fast-paced modern real estate market, providing Cash Offer solutions can also be a great area to target.
With how quickly real estate evolves — especially in recent years — it's critical to keep your finger on the pulse of the many ways people are buying and selling homes. Being an early adopter of new buying/selling tools does come with risk, but gaining an early foothold can give you a major leg up on the competition when a new way to buy homes becomes more mainstream.
Leverage the Right Real Estate Tech
Of course, choosing the right niches is just an important first step in the process. In order to expand and truly conquer those new markets, you're going to need to back your team by providing the right modern marketing tools to help them thrive. Our DeltaNET® 6 CRM combines the best modern real estate tech in one convenient, easy-to-use package, allowing each team member to market their niche confidently and unlock sustainable ways to attract new clients.
· Virtual Tours, Open Houses and Showings
With more buyers expecting to be able to tour homes in detail online, providing virtual tours, open houses and showings are a must for breaking into your new niches. Providing these modern options will help you appeal to tech-savvy buyers and anyone shopping for a home in a market far from their current location. It also adds appeal to sellers, who will see that you provide the best tools available for marketing their listing.
· Lead Management, Tracking and Automated Lead Segmentation
No matter the niche, it's so much easier to accomplish your goals when you know which leads are ready to pursue, which ones will need some nurturing and which ones can safely be put on the back burner. Automated lead segmentation makes life easier for agents and boosts productivity by allowing them to focus on the right leads at the right time.
· Smart Drip Email Campaigns
Email marketing is one of your best tools for nurturing leads within a new niche, allowing you to send timely, relevant content that helps to convert leads over time. Even if they're not ready to buy or sell right now, smart drip email campaigns make them more likely to think of you first when they're prepared to take the next step.
· Customizable eCards and Flyers
Whether you want to send an eCard online to promote a new listing or create a more traditional flyer, we make it easy to create appealing, informative marketing materials with hundreds of templates that are easy to customize to suit your niche. In addition to promoting properties, eCards are excellent for recognizing your clients' special days and reminding them that you're always there to help with their real estate needs.
· AI-Driven Email Newsletters
Keep your clients informed on the latest market happenings in their niche with auto-generated, AI-driven email newsletters. Clients benefit from having relevant, up-to-date information on the markets that matter to them, and agents benefit by having an automated, timely tool for keeping clients in the loop.
· Digital Marketing Services
In addition to all of the tools found within DeltaNET® 6, we offer comprehensive digital marketing services to help you conquer new niches. Whether you want a fresh, modern website with excellent SEO, a more robust social media presence, niche-specific content for your blog or an easy way to launch paid advertising campaigns on the biggest platforms, our digital marketing services are here to help boost your brand as you expand into new markets.
Remember That Conquering New Markets Requires Time and Commitment
In some cases, if a niche is truly under-served in the markets you aim to reach, team members can find something close to instant success in targeting that niche. However, most of the time, expanding into new markets isn't an overnight process. It takes a certain level of effort and commitment to establish a lasting place in new markets.
As we've covered extensively, choosing the right niches and providing your team with the best real estate tech for marketing to those niches will go a long way toward establishing your brand in new markets. The long-term benefits of conquering new markets are more than worth the effort for individual team members and your real estate brand.
You want people to find your business when they start their search for real estate services online, and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is one of your most potent tools for accomplishing that goal. SEO is tied to nearly everything that your business does online, from the design of your website to the content that you create and share with the world. When done right, SEO increases visibility, makes it easier for prospects to find your business, and brings a reliable source of leads to your digital doorstep.
SEO is also constantly evolving as search engines update their algorithms and SEO experts find the best ways to adapt to new changes. Keeping up with the latest best practices is critical to achieving your SEO goals and growing your real estate business online.
Google Business Profile
Let's start with an easy one and something that every business should prioritize. Filling out your Google Business Profile (formerly known as Google My Business) can give your search engine ranking a boost and allows you to provide key information to your audience as soon as they find your business through an online search. All of the key details, like location, hours, and contact information, are part of your Google Business Profile. Your profile also has the key benefit of an integrated review and feedback system, which makes it easy for search users to find out what others have to say about your real estate services.
The keywords that you use in your real estate content are critical to overall SEO success and especially important for local SEO. Keywords are the words or phrases that search users type into their search window when seeking information. By naturally integrating the right keywords into your content, you can help people who are looking for the real estate services that you provide find your business online. The Google Keyword Planner is a free tool that helps you research keywords, which you can then use to increase the SEO benefits of your content.
Mobile-Friendly Content and Design
With so many search users accessing search engines from their phones or tablets, it's no surprise that Google prioritizes mobile-friendly content in search results. Responsive website design is one key element of ensuring that your content is mobile-friendly and can be viewed on any device. Since mobile users also tend to prefer images and video content, adding those types of content to your mix can also help with the mobile-friendly aspect of SEO.
We've already touched on reviews in the Google Business Profile section, but reviews are so important that it's worth diving a little deeper. In addition to helping people learn more about the quality of your real estate services, reviews on major online sources like Google, Yelp, and Facebook play an important role in SEO. So it's well worth giving a friendly reminder to clients that reviews are appreciated after you've helped them with their real estate needs.
Local SEO is one of the most important aspects of successful SEO in real estate. When people search for real estate brokerages, agents, or homes in one of your markets, you want them to find your brand first. Many of the topics we've covered already, like keyword research and your Google Business Profile, can help give your local SEO a boost.
One of the most dependable ways to improve your local SEO is to create localized content about the places where you help clients buy and sell homes. From neighborhood guides to blog posts on specific attractions, local events, and businesses, creating localized content helps you inform your audience while also providing major benefits for local SEO.
We'll spare you the nitty-gritty technical details of how SEO should be integrated into your website design because there are so many behind-the-scenes design details that can help improve your SEO. Even something as simple as website loading speed can make a difference. So if your website wasn't designed with SEO in mind, now is the perfect time to consider a new, SEO-friendly website that boosts your brand's visibility online.
There's an Easier Way to Have Great SEO
If all of this sounds like a lot of work, well... it is. The good news is that the benefits are more than worth the effort, and the even better news is that you don't have to invest all of the effort yourself. With our Delta Media Group SEO services, we handle all of the heavy lifting for you. We make it easy for both agents and brokerages to integrate the latest SEO best practices and take care of all the details so you can focus on converting the fresh leads that your SEO brings to your business.
What's in the news sometimes feels like it has no connection to daily life. But world events can have a real impact on the housing market. Even though happenings overseas won't directly influence housing stock, they can change the perceptions of buyers and sellers.
Just think about how the arrival of COVID-19 transformed the real estate industry. Never before in history did so many professionals come together, questioning the basic assumptions they had relied on for so long. But to protect agents and their customers, nothing less would do.
Now, we live in a world with unprecedented virtual transformation.
It was once unthinkable that buyers would purchase a home without ever setting foot in it. But thanks to virtual tours and open houses, it's now a regular part of doing business. Change has arrived throughout the value chain, with "drive-through" closings still available in some areas.
Even as the pandemic fades into the rearview mirror and mitigation measures disappear, the industry has learned new ways of adding value that aren't going away. Buyers and sellers have come to depend on these innovations, and now they are a way of life in real estate.
All in all, it's safe to say real estate will never go back to the old way of doing things.
Of course, international events can positively or negatively affect housing. It's hard not to wonder about the ramifications of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, for example. We live in a world where nothing is impossible and unprecedented events can happen at any time.
For our customers and communities, real estate professionals must be ready.
With that in mind, let's look at how world events impact home sales. It's a big question, and even the most accomplished scholars often disagree on the answer. But if we break this down into a few core aspects, it'll become much easier to see what the future might hold.
How do Larger Economic Conditions – Macroeconomics – Affect Home Sales?
Over the last few years, the biggest economic indicator real estate pros have followed is the interest rate. Buyers and sellers alike have been waiting with bated breath to know when interest rates would rise and how quickly.
We all know that higher interest rates mean buyers spend more money servicing their mortgage loans over a lifetime. Historically low-interest rates drove millions of Americans into the housing market who might have otherwise had to wait.
Some prospective buyers will be pushed onto the sidelines if interest rates regain their former levels over time. Likewise, sellers will no longer expect to get caught up in the middle of a profitable bidding war. Yet, no one really knows what the future holds for interest rates, either.
That raises the question: What might happen with home sales if the global economy shifts?
World economic conditions often follow the United States, not the other way around. An upturn in the global economy is good for home sales, but the reverse is not always the case. Poor conditions abroad may have limited effects on the U.S. housing market or no impact at all.
Historically, housing inventory has an even greater influence on selling than world events or even interest rates.
Combined with buyer and seller demographics, housing inventory is the major factor that determines which way a housing market is going at any given time. Markets are so responsive to inventory that local, state, and regional sales trends can be markedly different.
This is one of the reasons why local expertise is so essential to successful real estate agents.
While problems like higher fuel prices will raise business overhead for agents and the people they serve, there is no reason to believe any of the global economic factors we currently know of are setting up for a dramatic or long-lasting impact on homeownership in the United States.
Low Inventory is Keeping Prices Up in Many Parts of the Country
Higher interest rates mean that financing packages are harder to come by for the average buyer, and some may need to put their homebuying plans on pause. At the same time, however, low inventory is helping to sustain lofty housing prices. In some hot urban markets, they are skyrocketing.
The growing prevalence of remote "work from home" jobs means that small towns and cities around the country are getting new interest from buyers who often have significant savings and disposable income. Along with investors, these buyers continue to make a brisk trade in markets from coast to coast.
All signs indicate that low housing stock will continue to be an issue for several years to come.
Like most other industries, home builders saw a demand slump. Many have slowed down their overall pace of operations and paused major developments. Even as businesses return to a robust schedule, they still face supply chain issues that could substantially drag their finances.
Hot housing markets may soon drop to a simmer. But the wise agent should not be discouraged by the sudden change. While others batten down the hatches, don't give in to the temptation to reduce your investment in your business. In particular, agencies and brokerages must continue to do marketing.
The last two years have seen an unprecedented pivot from traditional face-to-face marketing to a mix of digital methods. The nature of digital marketing is that each piece of collateral you create has a chance to make your website more visible in online searches relevant to your business.
In a world where most buyers go online to start their home search, it's crucial to commit your time and resources to online visibility. A brand new digital marketing strategy may take about three months to gain traction. Still, as it continues, it provides compounding returns – helping your website climb the ranks of relevant searches. That means more first-time website visitors every month.
Real estate agents are uniquely positioned to turn their websites into lead generation engines. They can also benefit more from social media than virtually anyone else online. A consistent digital marketing approach is the key to achieving work-life balance and ending the days of "hunting down leads."
But that requires real estate agents to prioritize their digital marketing, rain or shine. Even when there are market headwinds to hinder your growth plans, the agents that reap the most benefit from an economic recovery are those who have continued their marketing through the worst.
The Demographics Are in Your Favor
One of the biggest success stories of the pandemic era is the strong showing older Generation Z buyers made. With the elder cohort in their mid-20s, Generation Z is having kids and looking at homes. They also have a distinctly "old-fashioned" orientation to buying that may prove helpful.
Unlike much of the Millennial generation and Gen X before them, Gen Z sees buying a home as a key goal for their early life. Many say they want to get it done by age 35, some by 30. That puts them on track with their grandparents' generation, seeing a home as an essential asset for wealth building.
Don't count Millennials out, either.
While some Millennials remain wary of home buying (and big financial institutions in general), others recognize opportunity in the fast-changing housing situation. Now long past tired of renting, they are the largest demographic group in the market today and will remain so for some time.
Over the past few years, Millennials have been:
That underscores the point above: Marketing is a sound investment. Savvy brokerages and agents must be marketing to Millennials. Make sure your real estate website is fast, modern, and looks great on a smartphone, which an increasing number of young people use as their primary form of online access.
No One Can Read the Tea Leaves on Interest Rates
From ordinary buyers and sellers to highly trained analysts, everyone waited to see what would happen with interest rates. And, sure enough, the general trend for a while was up. Then it was down. What's next? The truth is, no one knows.
Rising interest rates would have some very predictable outcomes for the housing market, which may be one reason why everyone is so focused on them. But when it comes to the actual timing of interest rate increases (or decreases), uncertainty is the only sure thing.
Recent events have proven that nobody has a crystal ball on interest rates, not even the Federal Reserve. So, if you find yourself thinking about the subject a lot or the planning around it, it may be prudent to step back and put things in perspective. No matter who you are or where you stand in your career, you'll always get the most done by focusing on the things under your influence.
Real Estate is Cyclical – Tune Into Your Own Sphere of Influence
Real estate agents rise by their local expertise. Because they know their markets well, they are trusted to set a steady course under any conditions. Instead of looking over the horizon or overseas, it's better – and much easier on your nerves – to zero in on what's directly in front of you.
There'll always be people right in your backyard who are ready to buy or sell a home no matter where you are. Some agents have seen both the best and the worst markets of their careers over the last few years, but the ones who got through with the greatest ease maintained a steady hand.
Change is the only constant, but you can continue to deliver the highest quality of service to your customers, deepen your network, and show others how you can help them both online and off.
There's Never Been a Better Time to Leverage DeltaNET® 6, the World's Best Real Estate CRM
A good Customer Relationship Management app provides complete visibility into your entire network. You can see at a glance where prospects, leads, and customers stand in their real estate journey. And you can continue strengthening relationships with a timely, relevant follow-up that makes a difference.
In a time of uncertainty, the best thing to do is improve your fundamentals. Many real estate agents are still tracking their relationships manually, spending hours figuring out when to follow up and how to do it. To save thousands of hours every year, a CRM suite is imperative.
DeltaNET 6 is the first real estate CRM developed by and for real estate professionals. In consultation with agents and brokers from across the United States, it was built with your needs in mind. And it brings world-class artificial intelligence and machine learning into your business like never before.
With DeltaNET 6, you never miss a beat when others interact with your brand or show interest in your listings. It brings together user behavior data from your website, social media, email, listings, and open houses, so you are with leads every step of the way as they move closer to choosing an agent.
Plus, it helps you establish the rapport that makes you the most trusted agent in town.
Providing event-driven updates to your subscribers and followers based on their interests and behavior, DeltaNET 6 ensures you are always in touch and always adding value. You no longer need to work into the night manually writing your emails, blog posts, or social media updates – it's all done for you.
2020 introduced a new era in real estate, and the pace of change hasn't slowed down since. It's normal to feel worried or confused. But while there's little you can do about the state of the world, you can always elevate the state of your business. The most effective way for agents and brokers is to make sure they're using the right technologies to realize their top priorities.
In the wide world of housing, "brain drain" is associated with a mismatch between financial capital and human needs. When young, educated people leave an area en masse, usually seeking more affordable housing, it means less innovation in the communities left behind.
This kind of brain drain often happens in the wake of a housing bubble.
But there's also a different kind of brain drain, a kind that strikes organizations. When talented people leave, two weeks is often not enough to replace them. And even if their role gets filled, they take with them valuable insights and best practices that are undocumented.
As a result, the next person in the role takes even longer to acclimate. Depending on the situation, they might never quite reach the performance of their predecessor. Meanwhile, other members of the team and even other departments lose the benefits of that person's special expertise.
We often look to standardized certifications as a measure of knowledge in real estate. Valuable as they are, though, they only tell part of the story. Soft skills are developed only through experience, which may be lost as colleagues retire or move on.
Once people are gone, it's often difficult to point to the full extent of their contributions. Brokerages and agencies do their best to train new hires well and find candidates with comparable skills. Still, there's always something irreplaceable – and they may not even know exactly what they lost.
Luckily, you can solve the problem of brain drain by being proactive.
By uniting the right hiring practices with the right technologies, it's possible to mitigate the impact of brain drain before it gets felt. It takes time, effort, and preparation to make this happen, but it will positively impact team performance and the future of your enterprise.
When you prepare for brain drain in advance, you can ensure:
The brain drain problem might seem amorphous when it isn't happening – out of sight, out of mind. But when a talented individual at any level is lost, it often means others need to pick up the slack. If someone ends up doing two roles for the price of one, they can easily be lost ... and so on and so on.
Luckily, the inherent flexibility of real estate gives you plenty of ways to strengthen your team.
Let's look at some of the ways you can connect talent with talent, keeping your organization strong:
1. Create Advisory Groups to Keep the Different "Generations" of Your Organization Together
Real estate leaders are learning that offboarding their departing employees may be almost as vital as onboarding them. Just as onboarding sets clear expectations for the newcomer, offboarding creates a chance for an ongoing and productive relationship.
As a result, some of the most prestigious brands in real estate are making strides in turning their former colleagues into proud "alumni" who continue to support the organization years later, no matter where their careers take them. You might recognize this same vision at work in top strategic consultancies.
One of the ways to realize this approach is to create official "advisory groups" to link retiring leaders and the high-performing agents who remain behind. An occasional "roundtable" between the two groups is a powerful way to brainstorm and problem-solve emerging industry challenges.
Today's technology makes this easier than ever. A brokerage can build the right foundation by creating a private group on LinkedIn and inviting departing employees to join during their out-processing. This group allows them to continue to contribute to their departing organization and share their insights at any time.
Also, from the group, they will be invited to "high touch" events where they'll be able to discuss matters with agents in real-time. Facilitating this kind of event is now simple, thanks to the deep experience most agents have with Zoom and other video conferencing apps, making it truly ideal for real estate.
Some organizations shy away from the idea of vigorous networking with former employees. They worry that this will create a pipeline for existing talent to depart more quickly. But everyone must leave sooner or later. Being mindful of this can help instill greater loyalty driven by shared values.
2. Improve Retention by Using Real Estate Marketing Automation to Reduce Workloads
When one person leaves, the work they would have done and the results they would have produced get dispersed throughout the rest of the organization. This is even true in real estate, where agents tend to be more independent and self-driven than in other industries.
If there is an upside to this, it's the fact that – unlike in other workplace settings – it's very rare for just one person to end up "picking up the slack." Still, the need to work harder and do more can negatively impact the whole team. That's true even with the schedule flexibility many real estate agents have.
Luckily, there is a way to achieve more in the same amount of time.
When real estate agents want to go to the next level in optimizing their productivity, AI provides them with the answer. With AI, you can automate many rote tasks that you perform every day or every week.
That may save you thousands of hours a year, but the results don't end there.
With real estate marketing automation, you:
A modern real estate technology strategy starts with Customer Relationship Management. A CRM suite gives you complete visibility into prospects, leads, and current customers. You'll no longer have to spend hours each week apprising yourself of where everyone stands or what needs to happen next.
The power of machine learning makes a real estate CRM even more effective. Your CRM can connect the dots between millions of data points as you work, surfacing patterns no human would notice. That enables them to score leads more efficiently and cue you at the best follow-up times.
3. Pass on Wisdom to Newcomers Through an Internal Mentoring Program
In the first two years, a new real estate agent learns a tremendous amount of information.
That first year is usually dedicated to learning the ropes. With a good command of the basics, year two is the beginning of defining an individual brand. The agent must decide which clients, transactions, and key problems they specialize in. The right level of specialization allows them to attract their ideal customers.
To prevent burnout, it's essential that this process flows along without delay. New agents may feel the temptation to work late into the night and skip weekends, but this must end sooner rather than later. Mentoring is a way to accelerate talent development and keep new agents from reinventing the wheel.
An internal mentoring program is one of the most cost-effective ways to identify high-potential leaders and help them rise. It also positively affects senior agents and leaders who do the teaching, bringing them to a new level of understanding and sophistication.
It is said that you don't "really" understand something until you can explain it to others, and mentoring shows the truth of this. Both sides of the mentor-mentee relationship will see higher productivity and greater confidence, setting the stage for deeper, more meaningful relationships.
In the competitive realm of real estate, it is essential to set the right tone from the very start. When a mentoring program has a firm support and robust participation at all levels of the organization, it shows new hires "we are all in this together" in a way few other perks can.
Naturally, you'll need to adjust the specifics of your mentoring program based on the individual skills of your team members and the ways in which your organization aspires to excel. In the beginning, it helps when a mentoring program has an executive sponsor who can show top-level buy-in.
4. Acknowledge Your Valued Managers and Agents to Keep Morale High
By now, it is fairly well-known that positive reinforcement works better than negative reinforcement. People love to have their hard work and contributions acknowledged. They remember how they feel when recognized, adding to the complex motivational stew that results in higher performance.
Social media is an apt way to drive recognition for your managers and agents. Real estate agents are the most active of all the professionals on social media. They're also most likely to build a business where social media is a robust and reliable part of their marketing mix.
So, a social message – from a leader or directly from your brand account – can be a terrific way to give a "shout out." But be aware that everyone varies in their communication preferences. Some people might react even better to a personalized, face-to-face interaction that provides specific feedback.
Slack, email, and video are other potential methods for recognition. Whatever you choose, be careful to align it with the other person's preferences so that it will never feel impersonal or rushed. Whether it's a peer, report, or client, the key to social relationships is to take a genuine interest in the other person.
5. Use "One to Many" Video Education Centered on Your Seasoned Leaders
Over the last few years, video has become an indispensable tool in real estate. Video is used throughout the value chain, from listings to open houses and everywhere in between. Experts also realize that, by and large, a video might be the most effective choice for educating agents.
Studies suggest that people remember the content of a video much more clearly and for longer periods than with text content alone. They are also more likely to take action on the information they hear. These advantages translate very effectively to your internal training initiatives.
Video education might seem like a substantial investment. But just like your marketing materials, every piece of video collateral you create has the opportunity to make a positive impact for many years into the future. A full library of video content is a formidable asset that can be used in many ways.
As with other talent development initiatives, video education is almost as beneficial for trainers as it is for students. Trainers who've had difficulty adjusting to being on camera in the past may see this as an opportunity to get to another level, making virtual tours and video marketing more compelling.
Video education also allows agents to build rapport with organizational leaders they might rarely see in person. This is another plank in the effort to create consistency and camaraderie. Each person within the hierarchy can see their colleagues as trustworthy resources with important contributions.
A Multi-Layered "Generational" Approach Helps Head Off Brain Drain Before It Happens
What brings all of these ideas together?
Simply considering they prevent people from getting siloed off, it is all too easy for some of the best minds in any business to be isolated based on their experience or seniority. With these methods, you can make sure your organization becomes fully integrated.
In the near term, it means everyone feels more supported. And in the long run, when it's time for someone to bow out, they will be "gone, but not forgotten" – as others continue to reap the benefits of their contributions.
Even in real estate, businesses rarely leap onto the scene "fully formed," ready to use best practices to the utmost. Any business usually builds over time. Whatever works at the beginning is maintained until it stops working — and, often, long after that.
This tendency is why businesses are said to have "growing pains." It's one of the reasons why, in so many industries, full potential for growth is realized only after an infusion of investor money. In real estate, however, professionals are called on to evolve without the benefit of lavish resources.
Real estate teams usually remain lean and mean, focused on doing more with less.
Unfortunately, it's also the case that real estate experts can get dragged down by the day-to-day grind of moving transactions forward. They may not have the time or energy to work on those priorities that are "important, but not urgent," the very same ones that have a tendency to elevate your business.
Sometimes, it takes external motivation to gain the commitment to do things differently.
If you're concerned about falling behind and you want to move things to the next level, you have plenty of options. However, it's usually best to start with what's most cost-effective. Hiring an experienced real estate producer is an uphill climb, and newer ones will need time before they can contribute effectively.
What's the solution for empowering each member of your team to accomplish more? You won't find it in the old-fashioned playbook of internal competition and long hours.
The answer to higher productivity at a lower cost is technology. And it will also keep your team running for the long haul while lowering burnout risk.
Real Estate Is Going Online — Your Business Must Be Ready to Serve in Cyberspace
Technology doesn't replace the human aspect of real estate. Instead, it makes it easier for real estate pros to focus more attention on what they do best. In order to make full use of their people skills and local knowledge, they need to make a strong first impression.
That impression is made online.
Among Millennials and the emerging Generation Z, the great majority of buyers go online to start their home search. They don't look at individual real estate agents or brokerages until they are further along in the process and ready to examine specific properties.
Although access to your local MLS gives you many amazing tools, it is not enough on its own. You need to go a step further by making sure first-time visitors to your listings are getting a fully branded online experience — one that starts the process of positioning you as a trusted advisor.
The "old-fashioned" MLS Listing Book is all but gone.
In its place is your real estate website, which not only shows prospects all of the same properties but establishes the unique value you offer in comparison to your peers and competitors. Done right, your website has the power to educate, inspire, and guide prospects to become leads, then customers.
Marketing Automation Helps You Establish Rapport in Just Minutes a Week
Agents can't spend all of their time on the phone — they need a scalable way to build relationships from dozens of people to hundreds. A real estate CRM provides that exact opportunity, giving them full access to the best in email marketing, real estate social media, and much more.
For just pennies per person per day, every member of the team has the ability to craft and hone their message in a way that distinguishes their unique insights. For example, it is now possible to send out emails targeted to leads' interests every week with just a few minutes of initial setup.
Agents can control and customize emails so that their voice and brand are always represented. And with each connection made, recipients are that much more likely to select them over other agents across the local area. This is especially valuable when leads may need weeks or even months to make a decision.
Every real estate agent knows that following up is the secret to success. Sometimes, it's necessary to follow up anywhere between nine and fifteen times. With online technology, however, you can often cut out fourteen of those interactions and still have a robust relationship in place. It is just that simple.
Like all technology, real estate marketing automation is about saving labor. It's no longer effective for agents and brokers to "burn the candle at both ends." Those who really achieve the most stay firmly centered in their area of genius and allow the right resources to do rote, routine tasks for them.
That transition accelerates growth — and sometimes, it's the only way to grow.
Don't wait any longer to embrace the future. Contact us today to find out more.
See how custom QR codes can be created and managed through the DeltaNET. This system provides an easy method of creating QR codes that can direct users to your listing pages and allows them to be repurposed to direct to different pages when that listing is no longer on the market.
Let's start with the basics. What is an AVM? AVM stands for Automated Valuation Model, and in today's marketplace, it is one of the best tools at a brokerage's fingertip to help win new listings. For years, I have heard real estate agents push back on the idea of providing consumers with automated home value estimates being worthwhile. After all, those automated home value estimates used to be way off and lead to more uncomfortable conversations for real estate agents than positive ones.
That status quo has most certainly flipped in the last couple of years. Automated home value estimates have only continued to get more and more accurate. Certainly, they will never beat an estimate given by a licensed professional able to see the house in person. However, the industry has learned how to turn a potential home seller's curiosity into a new listing. This knowledge didn't come overnight, nor did the automated tools provide these curious prospective home sellers with a real-time home value estimate.
Delta Media Group® has been in the real estate technology software space dating back to the mid-90s (1994 to be exact, when we launched the first website in the country providing live MLS data & photos). It was shortly after the company moved from Sunnyvale, California, to Barberton, Ohio, in the early 2000's that the idea for automated home value estimates started to surface at Delta. A recent review of our Delta AVM platform revealed a history dating back to 2002, when the work first began on what would eventually turn into our built-in automated home-value tools.
Back in 2002, Delta Media Group was looking for a way to bring more accurate market data to the forefront of our website visitors' minds along with reverse prospecting tools. We looked to build tools to compile automatically generated email reports and landing pages that would feature up-to-date data about market trends in specific areas around the country. Building these types of reports and then further automating them to be emailed directly to potential home buyers and home sellers was a major project that was ultimately completed and launched in 2006 under our "VMA" product — otherwise known as Virtual Market Analysis.
The Virtual Market Analysis tool allowed customers on brokerage and agent websites to complete a short form, filling out details about their own home and information about the city and state where the home was located. While filling in these details, the customer would be prompted to fill out how often they'd like to receive automated updates about the market. The VMA would then provide the customer with a real-time market report showcasing how many homes were for sale in the market their home was located in, the average asking price for properties in that market, recent homes sold in the area and the buyer interest in that market. This system would also automatically generate a lead for an agent to be able to create a true Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) and reach back out to the prospective client.
The VMA tool was a hit, generating thousands upon thousands of leads for agents using the DeltaNET® platform for years. As with most tools in the DeltaNET, development never stopped. The VMA system saw continual refinement through the years, ultimately culminating in a partnership with a long-time Delta Media Group partner to expand our VMA product.
The project to expand the VMA into a full-fledged automated home value estimate service ultimately evolved into the AVM tool we have today. The product allows website users to enter their address directly from the website's homepage and be given a return of multiple home value estimates powered by data from sources like Collateral Analytics and RPR.
Since launching the AVM tool, we have delivered over 33,000,000 home value estimate requests.
Shortly after the full rollout of the AVM, we continued the expansion of the product. We added Zillow home value estimates (Zesitmates) as an option to the service, giving prospective sellers up to three different home value estimates with calls to action, getting the person to engage and become a lead opportunity. We introduced the concept of "Door-Knock leads" to help drive new listing potential. With this new concept, a client could enter an address and see home value estimates without filling out a contact form. This still would generate a new lead opportunity for the brokerage, who could add that address to their print-mailing rotation and try to farm engagement from properties that had been looked up online.
In the past few years, we expanded our AVM tool even further — this time redesigning the entire lead capture page from the ground up. Google maps street view of the property was refined, and buyer heat maps graphically showed the prospective home seller where potential homebuyers were saving searches that matched their property. The saved search data was compared directly against the AVM, giving us the ability to introduce reverse prospecting reports. For example, if a company had 500 potential buyers with saved searches running (EG; two bed, one bath, 300k max price in a specific school district) and a prospective seller ran an AVM on their property, that seller would be able to see that more than 500 people were looking for a property just like theirs if they listed the home. On the back end of the software, agents were able to run more detailed reverse prospecting reports to see all the homebuyers in their CRM that may be able to be connected with this prospective seller should they list their home.
We didn't stop there. More AVM data sources were also connected, introducing appraisal home estimates as another option for brokerages to connect. We developed our own in-house home value estimate tool and included it in the product at no additional charge, giving us a 5th home value report. This time, we also expanded our AVM tool to be included at no additional charge for all Delta Media Group website partners as a part of our SEO platform.
Ultimately, that brings us to today. More than 20 years since we first began working on our VMA product — which was designed to give automated marketing insights and generate CMA lead opportunities for agents — we at Delta are launching our own in-house CMA product: Delta Pitch. Delta Pitch is designed to be the industry's easiest-to-use, most automated CMA builder ever.
An agent using Delta Pitch would be able to generate a "quick-build" CMA in as little as one click. Enter the property's address, and click "build." You've now got a highly accurate, engaging CMA built into an interactive flipbook with comps, recently sold homes, information about the market and more. Delta Pitch comes pre-loaded with a variety of templates to select from, the ability to create your own CMA templates (with custom pages and more) and, of course, gives agents the ability to customize all of the information in that CMA to give an accurate recommendation to win the listing.
Here's the part that's even more exciting to us. Bringing things full circle, we wanted to push the envelope even further. One of the many features baked into the DeltaNET / Delta Pitch / Delta AVM platform will give us the ability to offer fully-automated CMA's. Picture this: a prospect visits your beautiful website and sees that they can enter their address to get home value estimates. They plug in their address and see a semi-accurate picture of their home's value.
Entering this address means that Delta Pitch has automatically built an interactive CMA and emailed it to an agent who gets this lead opportunity. No manual work is needed. Your CRM platform has already responded to the customer and let them know a CMA is awaiting their review and gives them the ability to schedule a meeting with you. You're given an automated task through your CRM to review the CMA prior to the meeting, and the call with the prospect goes perfectly. You win the listing.
This is the future of real estate technology. Your website is automated. The home values are automated. The CMA is automated. You're empowered to go prospect more business and focus on winning more listings. The most exciting part about Delta Pitch, and the future of our AVM platform, is that the innovation never stops. We aren't a technology company that has built our entire company around a feature. The VMA and later AVM were just features that grew into full products of their own. We believe in all-in-one, so existing Delta Media Group partners don't have to pay extra for these features. And more importantly, unlike other automated home value products on the marketplace, your data is yours. Rest assured knowing Delta Media Group is never reselling your prospective seller's address or contact information to third-party mortgage companies.
Keep an eye out for more information about Delta Pitch, Delta's AVM product, and more in the coming months. More exciting automation is on the way.
Zillow has endured some notable failures recently, including shutting down its Zillow Offers iBuying program after consistently taking losses when flipping the homes that it purchased. But does that mean that the threat of Zillow is over for real estate agents? Not quite. While Zillow is no longer in the business of purchasing homes, it's still a popular, well-known platform that many people turn to for real estate information.
The good news is that, while Zillow is still a threat, there's plenty that you can do to stay out in front and provide a level of service that big platforms can't match. Zillow's clout comes from its name recognition and size, but agents and smaller real estate firms have the advantage of being nimble. With the right tools to boost your marketing and provide personalized service, you can stay ahead of big-name brands like Zillow.
Your real estate CRM, like DeltaNET®6, is one of your most powerful, reliable tools for overcoming the threat posed by companies like Zillow. Here are some of the many ways that your CRM can help you stand out from the crowd.
Provide Personalized Service by Knowing Your Leads and Clients
Whether you're gathering data on new leads or keeping track of the needs of your clients, your CRM allows you to keep all of the information that you need to provide great service in one place. With all of your key data in one place, you're always ready to provide personalized service and connect with clients in meaningful ways. It's not just about remembering names and contact information. The data that you compile lets you know what your clients want, where they stand, and how you can help them move forward with their real estate goals.
Take Advantage of AI and Automation to Boost Your Marketing
As an individual agent or small real estate firm, simply finding the time to stay ahead of brands like Zillow can feel like a tall task. DeltaNET 6 offers many time-saving benefits to help you stay ahead, from auto-generated, AI-driven newsletters to smart drip email campaigns that can help you reach out to large segments of your audience with content that converts. All of this can be done with little effort on your end, leaving more time for you to provide the level of service that keeps clients coming back again and again.
Segment Leads to Send the Right Message at the Right Time
Automated lead segmentation is another tool that both saves time and leads to better results with your marketing. One of the biggest challenges with marketing is making sure that the right message reaches the right person at the right time. Every lead is at their own place in their real estate journey, and knowing where they stand can help you reach them with the content that they want to see. Segmenting leads also makes it easier to know which leads to prioritize so that you can invest your effort where it will make the biggest difference.
Track Data to Improve Results
We've already touched on how being nimble is an advantage compared to big companies like Zillow, and part of being nimble is a willingness to find out what's working, as well as what could be improved. With analytics and tracked email marketing, your CRM can provide you with the data that you need to make informed decisions about your business. You don't have to guess what's working and what's not. You can easily learn more about your strengths and discover insights that help improve upon your weaknesses.
Integrations Put Countless Tools at Your Fingertips
The tools within DeltaNET®6 extend far beyond the basics, including integrations with dozens of popular platforms that can help you market your business, promote your listings, build deeper connections with your clients, and make your life easier in the process. Why scour the internet to find every tool that you need when you can have it all available in one place? Just one more way that your CRM can help you stay ahead of Zillow.
Zillow May Be a Threat, but You Have the Tools to Overcome It
Even with some very public failures, the threat of big-name online real estate platforms like Zillow is unlikely to disappear completely anytime soon. That's why it's so important to take advantage of the tools that you have available, like DeltaNET®6, to attract new leads and provide the best possible level of service to your clients. There's no one magic fix to overcome big brands like Zillow. Instead, it's the sum of all of the small things that your real estate tech provides, along with the ability to innovate and adapt at a much faster pace than the big, corporate brands.
One of the best ways to create a successful marketing campaign is to segment your audience. Many agents will create "buckets" by dividing their client and prospect contacts, then focusing most of their efforts on the most likely to buy or sell soon.
That's not a bad strategy, but this approach often only yields short-term benefits. The system creates a marketing cycle of "prospect, prospect, prospect – secure leads – then process, process, process" these transactions. The challenge for agents is this becomes a roller-coaster approach to business growth. You feast after closings and famine when hunting for more business.
By leveraging the potential of the DeltaNET® 6 CRM, you can end the roller-coaster nature of your business. Delta's tech toolset allows you to create ongoing, set-and-forget marketing campaigns that build both immediate and longer-term business.
Targeting both ready-to-transact prospects and nurturing longer-term potential clients is particularly valuable when statistics now tell the average homeowner tenure is just over 13 years. As a result, real estate agents often face one of the most prolonged business cycles in terms of repeat business.
But real estate veterans will tell you that a lot, if not the majority of their business, comes from referrals. And although people live in their homes for a long time, these same people buy vacation homes and investment properties.
Another way to design your marketing campaigns to fulfill short-term and long-term business needs is to segment your contacts by generation. How many would fit in each bucket when you look at your total sphere of influence?
· Generation Z (ages 12-23)
· Millennials (ages 24-42)
· Generation X (ages 43-57)
· Baby Boomers (56-76)
(Ages shown are based on National Association of Realtors research)
And more and more, demographers are breaking these generations down even further by bifurcating two of the largest groups – Boomers and Millennials. The National Association of Realtors makes its distinction this way:
· Generation Z (ages 11-23)
· Younger Millennials (ages 24-32)
· Older Millennials (ages 33-42)
· Generation X (ages 43-57)
· Younger Boomers (ages 58-67)
· Older Boomers (ages 68-76)
· Silent Generation (ages 77+)
What if you also knew the buying and selling habits, overall, for each of these generation segments? Fortunately, the National Association of Realtors recently released its "NAR 2022 Generational Trends" report.
This 140-plus page survey document is a treasure trove of statistics to help you better reach each of your audiences.
A great example is the share of buyers and sellers in today's marketplace by generation.
Share of Sellers by Generation
· Generation Z: 2%
· Younger Millennials: 6%
· Older Millennials: 20%
· Generation X: 24%
· Younger Boomers: 23%
· Older Boomers: 19%
· Silent Generation: 6%
Share of Buyers by Generation
· Generation Z: 2%
· Younger Millennials: 18%
· Older Millennials: 25%
· Generation X: 22%
· Younger Boomers: 17%
· Older Boomers: 12%
· Silent Generation: 4%
NAR explains that they broke apart both the Boomers and Millennials by age into two groups because these segments have "differing demographic and buying behaviors."
For example, researchers found that Younger Boomers were more likely to purchase in a rural area, while Older Boomers (likely due to retirement) moved the furthest distance. In addition, Older Millennials had one of the highest shares of married couples among these generations (64%), while Younger Millennials had the highest share of unmarried couples (21%) buying homes.
Generational Impact on Real Estate
It's valuable to understand the massive influences that each generation has today – and will have tomorrow. For example, Millennials comprise the largest – and growing – share of home buyers at 43%. Eighty-one percent of Younger Millennials are first-time buyers, more than any other age group.
Boomers are motivated to move closer to friends and family, move due to retirement or a desire to have a smaller home. They also are more likely to purchase homes in a small town. Gen Xers have the income – the highest earning power at a median annual income of $125,000. Gen Xers also buy the most expensive homes: $320,000 with a median average size of 2,300 square feet. They are more likely to purchase a multi-generational home or move because of a job relocation. They are the most racially and ethnically diverse population of homebuyers.
And while Gen Z currently has little impact on buying and selling homes as they capture just 2% of the market, play the long game with this crowd, and you could win. Gen Z is a group that is interested in becoming homeowners.
How do You Reach Each Generation?
Different generations rely on different communication methods and social channels. For example, Boomers primarily use email and are active on Facebook. Millennials and Gen X are text-centric and engage with businesses on Facebook and Instagram. Gen Z loves the video-oriented platforms YouTube and Tik-Tok.
More importantly, understanding what's important to each generation and where they are in their buying and selling cycle can help you connect in the right way. Knowing your audiences and their communication habits is the first step to successful marketing.
The new NAR 2022 Generational Trends Report allows you to see each generation's buying and selling habits. Knowing these differences unveils the myriad of business opportunities each group can offer you.
Next, you'll need to provide the right content that engages each generation. That's different too. Just as you need to understand the communication preferences of each generation, you also need to understand the content consumption habits.
Once you better understand generation habits, you can use this knowledge to create more effective communication strategies and content.
The Power of Social Media
Market research from Sprout Social tells us that more than three-in-four consumers (76%) have used social media within the last year, and 63% have bought from it.
Millennials are avid social media consumers. Their social media usage is up: 72% report their social media activity has risen in the last year. Millennials are more likely to use Facebook (70%) and Instagram (64%) to connect with businesses. They also are the generation most likely to buy something after seeing an ad, watching a video review or reading a review on social media.
Gen Xers are not digital natives, yet they are the second biggest consumers of social media among generational groups. Their appetite continues as their consumption rises: 76% said they used social media more in the past year. Gen X's first choice of social platform is Facebook, followed by WhatsApp and Instagram. They also value responsive customer service.
Baby Boomers may have come late to the social media party, but they use Facebook the most today: 92% of Boomers have an account. Their social use is also growing, with two-thirds of them reporting an increase in social media use in the past year.
According to the Social Sprout study:
· Baby Boomers' primary motivations for liking or following companies on social are to learn about new products/services (69%) and stay up to date on company news (51%).
· Most Baby Boomers (87%) are likely to buy from a brand when someone they trust recommends a product/service.
· More than two in 10 Baby Boomers reach out to businesses on social when they have feedback, second only to email.
You can see why the popularity of Delta Media's Ad Wizard is at an all-time high. It's tough for agents to engage on one social channel, much less manage ads and budgets on a social channel.
That time-consuming process is automated by Ad Wizard, built to help agents maximize their exposure on Facebook and Instagram.
The Impact of Email
If you have deep knowledge about your targeted audiences and know their communication and social media behavior, you now know your audiences and have the right way to engage with them figured out.
But you still need to deliver to each audience the right messages. If you are like most real estate agents and brokers, creating content is challenging and takes time. The good news is that Delta Media can do the heavy lifting for you.
One of the most powerful and easiest to use tools within the all-in-one DeltaNET® 6 CRM platform is its AI-drive email marketing and newsletter campaigns. When you are looking to deliver the right content at the right time to the right audience, this is your go-to solution.
According to researchers, email is still the most preferred communication channel overall for communication from a business. That's true of Millennials, Gen X, Boomers and even Gen Z.
The best part of the Delta Media drip email campaigns is that they are ready to go, so you don't have to create content. But, most importantly, the interaction that prospects have when they read your emails and newsletters helps determine the future content they will receive. The magic of using artificial intelligence for marketing is that it gets smarter by learning what the reader wants, sending them more of the content they prefer.
This is how Delta helps you achieve marketing that has more impact and success: by helping you send the right message to the right audience, the right way, and at the right time.
Most people know more than one real estate agent. Likewise, even if they know you well, the majority of people you connect with aren't ready to jump into the market: If you're lucky, they'll be thinking about it. A final decision could be weeks or months away.
What should a real estate agent do in the meantime?
The traditional answer is "follow up." And while following up is important, it's a little too vague on its own to be useful. What's the best, most effective way to maximize the power of your follow-up while saving precious hours of the day? The answer is email marketing.
By turning first-time website visitors into email marketing subscribers, you ensure that you can connect with them on a regular basis. Providing helpful, informative content through email helps you reach your goals while enabling your leads to do the same. That positions you as a trusted adviser.
Alternatives like phone calls and in-person visitors are interruptive and demanding of both your time and the lead's. On the other hand, an email can be dispatched in seconds. Using the power of email marketing automation, you can speak to a thousand people as easily as just one.
The Biggest Mistake Real Estate Agents Make with Email Marketing
Email marketing is believed by many experts to be the digital marketing technique with the highest ROI. It only takes pennies a month to maintain your email campaign, but you can inspire action that results in thousands of dollars in commissions or referral business.
That said, your emails must be precise to be powerful. If you are sending out email without a clear plan in mind, your results are likely to be disappointing. Those early disappointments can lead you to think a robust approach to email isn't worth the necessary effort.
Get through the initial setup phase, however, and your real estate marketing CRM can shoulder much of the work for you afterwards. The most important thing is to avoid the most common mistake in email marketing. If this mistake is baked into your assumptions, it can hold back your entire campaign.
The mistake is this: Believing your email marketing is only about your listings.
Yes, your listings can and should be a part of your email marketing. Especially if you know enough about a lead to understand their priorities and expectations for their next home, a targeted list of properties is a value-add. But it shouldn't be the only thing in your email marketing strategy.
To distinguish yourself from all the others out there, you need to go above and beyond.
That means sharing helpful, informative content laser targeted to each lead.
How to Bring Your Real Estate Email Marketing Strategy to the Next Level
No matter if you're just getting started with email or you've had it going for a while without seeing the results you want, it's not too late to make it work for you. Email has the potential to influence readers and inspire them to reach out to you, helping fill your schedule with less work on your part.
Here's how to strengthen your email results:
Contact us to discover how DeltaNET technology can help your email campaigns.
In this video, Harley Wolfarth demonstrates how you can set a verified cell phone number that can be used as your username when logging into the DeltaNET via the web or the mobile app.
In the past few months, you've probably noticed that listing inventory has been extremely low, at least in most of the country. As if it wasn't enough that current homeowners are less apt to sell during these uncertain times, labor shortages and supply chain issues have slowed new home builders down. When you're used to most of your real estate marketing being centered around new listings, it can be tough to keep the leads coming in with limited listings on the market.
But fear not, because I've laid out some tools you can use to keep marketing your brand so that when people are looking to sell again or for those that are still looking to buy now, you're the first name that comes to mind.
Use Ad Wizard to Post to Social Media
Even when you don't have any active listings, you can still market yourself and your website on social media. There's nothing wrong with a Facebook or Instagram ad that just features you and links prospects back to your website instead of features a listing. Even when inventory is low, plenty of buyers are still looking, and your website can still provide them with a lot of value, given that buyers must find and inquire about a new listing fast if they want to have any hope of getting it in today's market.
Suppose a customer comes to your Delta website and saves a search. In that case, they can be notified immediately via both email and push notification when a new listing that matches their search criteria comes on the market. That has always been useful, but with how fast listings are selling at the moment, having that kind of edge is more important than ever. Ad Wizard is a feature that can be found in DeltaNET® that allows you to create several different kinds of ads and post them to Facebook or Instagram. It includes simple branded ads to market yourself and get people coming to your website to save those searches or even just look around.
Set up "My Customer For Life"
The My Customer For Life (MCFL) system is another great feature of a Delta Media Group® website and CRM that can keep your customers engaged even when you don't have listings to show them. If you've read any of my articles before, then you know that the MCFL system is a common topic for me. What can I say? It works. We even have the data to back it up. Whether they're buying, selling or are happy right where they are, clients like these articles, and the open rates prove it. There's no better way to keep a customer engaged than sending them the information they actually want.
For those unfamiliar with the MCFL system, this system allows you to share informational articles related to buying, selling and homeownership via email, social media and your website. Even those past clients that are no longer in the market will find a lot of value in reading them. The best part is that, in addition to making them available to read on a page of your website, you can add your clients to a mailing list to have a few of these articles sent directly to their email each week. The system then keeps track of the articles they engage with so that it can send them more of those kinds of articles in the future. New articles are created in-house each week by our extremely talented content writers. Did I say they're talented? Well, they are.
If you'd rather create your own content, Delta websites also include a blogging platform. Like the MCFL system, these articles can be shared in ways beyond just your website. You can subscribe past clients to your blog, or they can subscribe themselves on your website so that they're notified every time you write a new article. You can also share these articles on social media or, even better, configure the Social Connector system in the DeltaNET® to post them to your Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn pages for you every time you write a new article.
Share Good Reviews
Next to listings, there's nothing that brings customers directly to you more effectively than good reviews. Not only can you store your customer reviews in the DeltaNET and display them on your website, but you can use the Email Campaign or Eblast system to solicit them from your past clients. You can even configure Social Connector to share them to your social media accounts automatically as they come in. This is a great way to market yourself and your website when there aren't a lot of listings, and like MCFL, it's almost entirely hands-off after a little configuration.
Make eCards and Flyers
Don't forget about ecards and flyers. Creative Studio, along with the legacy eCards & Flyers system found on the Marketing Center page, might be something that you're accustomed to using for sending out ecards for listings. However, there are numerous templates in both systems designed to help you market yourself too. Some are just branded marketing pieces, but there are a wide variety of designs for occasional greetings like holidays and birthdays as well. There are even designs meant to celebrate pet birthdays. Every time you send a "Happy Birthday," "Happy Easter" or "National Donut Day" ecard to a past client or prospect, it becomes that much more likely that you're the person they'll call when listings start coming back on the market.
This all goes to show that, even in times when there aren't many listings available, there are plenty of ways you can continue to market yourself. Real estate marketing isn't entirely about listings. Content related to homeownership and even things as simple as a holiday greeting card can help put your brand on top when the listings return and buying and selling ramps up again. It's coming, and your diligence will pay off when it does.
Many real estate agents spend the first year of their careers "chasing down leads."
The process starts by telling everyone you know that you're now a real estate agent. From there, hours of in-person networking are usually used to fill the funnel. But the truth is, most of these people aren't leads in the technical sense. They are prospects, people you only hope are interested.
Someone becomes a lead when they raise their hand in one way or another and signal that they really are interested in your services. They may not be prepared to buy or sell right now, but they do care to hear more. These relationships can be deepened until the lead becomes a customer.
This is a crucial distinction for real estate in particular.
You could focus all of your attention on networking and cold calling like the real estate agents of old, but inevitably, you'll end up investing more time on prospects who aren't interested than on leads who'll be ready to make a decision within the next quarter.
That can lead to stress and burnout, as it feels like your efforts are going nowhere.
Luckily, there's an alternative. By optimizing your real estate website, you can help leads self-educate and make it easier to engage with them at the right moment. Much of the process can be automated, ensuring you take powerful action at the right time rather than just "staying busy."
Meaningful Engagement Is Essential to Today's Real Estate Success
What makes a moment of engagement particularly meaningful?
Based on feedback from thousands of agents and brokers, "meaningful" engagement is:
Any form of engagement with your leads can be meaningful when it delivers the right information at the right time based on what you know about that person's wants and needs. The format — call, text, email, and the rest — is usually less important, but some are easier to scale with your business than others.
Ideally, your website should be set up with a number of "conversion actions" so you are notified at the very moment a prospect becomes a lead. A lead may surface after having certain interactions with your listings, joining your email subscriber list, following you on social media, and so on.
A Customer Relationship Management suite like the DeltaNET®6 can give you the total visibility you need so you always know where, when, and how to engage. With data from your CRM, you can follow the best practices below to turn more of your leads into customers:
By automating first contact and initial follow-up with DeltaNET®6, you set the stage for a productive and mutually beneficial partnership. Contact us to discover more or get started.
Real estate technology is moving faster than ever, and some agents are beginning to wonder if they'll be left behind. Big industry players have made moves to automate real estate in disruptive ways — but, in the long run, they've only succeeded in "disrupting" their own business.
It is becoming more obvious that the average buyer or seller doesn't want a fully AI-driven process, nor do they want to do it all themselves, no matter how convenient the tools become. What they want is personalized advice from a local expert.
Rather than replacing agents, the best technology enhances what they can do.
More Accessible Technology Means Better Results for Organizations of All Sizes
It was not that long ago when the best technology was available only to the largest brokerages. With the introduction of Customer Relationship Management tools like the DeltaNET®6, that's no longer the case. From large enterprises to independent agents, everyone can benefit.
Likewise, CRM technology was once limited mainly to B2B sales teams. With a CRM solution built by and for real estate professionals, it becomes possible for any member of a team to be more productive than ever before — while doing less work and making fewer errors along the way.
Not even the most advanced technology available can do what real estate agents do: Guide customers to informed, confident decisions about buying and selling. But what technology can do is accelerate and automate rote tasks and routines, especially those related to marketing and advertising.
You know marketing consistently is an essential part of your business success. But how often have you set out to do it only to have other priorities take center stage? It's a common problem for people at all stages of their careers, and precisely the one technology is best suited to overcome.
Technology Supports Your Efforts to Deliver the Human Touch Every Time
To work with you, someone has to know you, like you, and trust you. One unique aspect of real estate is that you often must build that rapport before the person steps into your office for the first time. For that to work, technology needs to be there to fill in the gaps.
From your real estate website to social media and email marketing, an all-in-one technology center of excellence like DeltaNET®6 ensures that you are always communicating with your audience in a humane, consistent way — no matter if you're talking directly to one person, one hundred, or one thousand.
For email, it does this through a combination of templating and personalization. You set up campaigns once, for just a few minutes at a time, then the system fills in the blanks based on individual behavior. Every mailing list subscriber gets a tailored experience based on their interests.
For social media, an event-driven approach is best. For example, you can have automatic updates made whenever details on your active listings change. You can also instantly publicize new listings, focusing a fast-moving audience's attention on virtual tours and other features that matter to them.
Yes, you could do it all yourself, painstakingly writing social media updates and emails by hand. In the end, though, this wouldn't make the quality of your communication better. Instead, it would just mean spending more time on it, to the detriment of all the other things that move your business forward.
The Future Is Now for Real Estate — and Marketing Automation Is Ready to Help You
As real estate agents, we know technology isn't the answer to every problem. Despite rosy predictions about the future of machine learning, we are probably 200 years away from fully autonomous robots doing the work of today's agents.
In fact, an Oxford study ranks "real estate sales agents" near the middle of the pack for their long-term computerization risk — suggesting it will take a long time and a lot of technological development before agents and brokers need to be concerned.
In the meantime, technology is not an enemy, but an ally. You can use it to build the practice you want by giving yourself the leeway to spend your time and energy wisely. It's no longer a choice between so many long hours of marketing or nothing at all. In this sense, at least, you really can have it all.
That's an essential piece of the puzzle for agents and brokers who want to optimize their business for work-life balance. Within just a few weeks of implementing real estate CRM technology, you can save dozens of hours. Those can be used to push your business further or get the rest you need and deserve.
Delta Media Group is here to help you bring the promises of technology down to earth in your career. Contact us to learn more or begin.
As I sit in my home office, I find myself gazing out the front bay windows staring at the bright green grass that's starting to grow, the Bartlett pear trees that are beginning to flower, the pine trees blowing in the wind and the oak trees lining the streets. Spring is finally here after what seems to have been a long Ohio winter.
The picturesque, almost mesmerizing view is perfect for clarity breaks. It makes me think of past times; it's hard to believe that Delta Media Group® turned 28-years-old this year. I don't know if there is a dog-years equivalent for technology firms, but 28 years seems like 100 in "technology years."
This got me thinking about how Delta has evolved into an all-in-one provider. In 1994, the journey started with simple real estate websites that contained property photos and data. Doing those websites was no small task back then, and I think we were the first to do it. Today the listing data and website thing is quite trivial to us, even though we handle nearly 100% of the listing data in the United States and some outside the country. We have evolved so far since then.
There is so much talk in the real estate industry around "all-in-one" versus "best-in-breed." I want to explore this dichotomy a bit.
First, let me try and clearly define both terms:
All-in-One — This is a term used to describe technology firms with a broad technology offering where many technologies are bundled together in one package that solves multiple needs.
Best-in-Breed — This is a term used to describe an approach where firms purchase multiple technology tools instead of purchasing all the tools from one provider.
If the technology entrepreneurs and the venture capitalists (VCs) are honest about it, what everyone is chasing is an all-in-one "holy grail" for the industry. I have been watching VCs pull together all the technology pieces needed over the past twenty years to try to bolt them together. That's why we see so many acquisitions of smaller niche technology firms in our space. I also know first-hand that VCs view Delta as a highly coveted hub that could pull off this all-in-one "holy grail," and I agree because that is exactly what I am trying to accomplish.
I believe the small niche technology providers have coined the best-in-breed phrase, and honestly, it is brilliant marketing. I mean, who doesn't want to have the best? I do. You do. Everyone does. The problem with this approach is that historically speaking, I have not seen where these small niche technology providers can survive long term.
Regardless of everyone's opinion and approach to technology, Delta will continue to pursue the all-in-one platform approach and allow the so-called best-in-breed approach with our platform. To me, the holy grail of technology is an all-in-one platform that is continually improving and evolving and that plays well with others. That's why today, we have hundreds of industry integrations, and the list continues to grow.
As time moves on, I believe that the all-in-one platforms will continue to mature and evolve and there will be fewer and fewer feature providers. What will drive this shift are three specific things.
First, healthy all-in-one providers continue to evolve and improve their systems. As one example, at Delta, we are working on DeltaNET® 7 CRM right now, and I believe it will be the best and easiest-to-use CRM in the industry.
Second, the all-in-one providers are automating more and more of the mundane tasks that should be automated. This simply is not possible outside the all-in-one ecosystem. As one example, at Delta, we are automating the whole AVM to CMA process. Salespeople will be able to configure how they want it all to work. Imagine someone visits your website, runs an AVM, and seconds later, you have a CMA delivered to your phone that you can share with that person and you didn't have to do anything. There are hundreds of automations like this inside the all-in-one platform ecosystem.
Third, an all-in-one approach is more affordable for the customer and more profitable for the technology firm. There is reduced overhead, shared resources, more seamless and deeper integration and everything is streamlined. I predict that we will see another wave of small feature technology providers going under during the next down cycle of the real estate industry.
At the end of the day, though, everyone has to implement a strategy for their business. If your strategy is best-in-breed, that's fine, but I would recommend that you at least partner with an all-in-one provider that plays well with others, such as Delta.
At Delta, we are all-in-one when you want it, and we support best-in-breed when you don't.