It’s a pretty sure bet that you have a cell phone. What about text messaging, do you use it? If you don’t, consider yourself in a very small minority. Nielsen Mobile surveys shows that by the second quarter of 2008, text messages had exceeded the number of cell phone calls by an impressive margin.
And, if you think it’s all just teenagers who don’t buy or sell real estate, think again. The facts show that every age group up through 44 years old sent more text messages than they made cell phone voice calls. And it was close on the 45 to 54 group. The plain truth is that text messaging is becoming a wildly popular way to exchange information. And, huge marketers and retailers are now doing text message marketing to bring in consumers. You can actually get a coupon text message and show it in a restaurant for a discount.
That’s nice, but we’re not selling burgers you say. True, but we are in a service business that is very dependent on making contact with our prospects and clients. And, we market high dollar products. If a burger sale justifies expenditures on SMS text message advertising, then why wouldn’t a home listing? The good news is that there are uses in our business for this medium, and they can cost as little as nothing, zero, free.
How many people do you think drive by your listings every weekend? Do you use a brochure box? Is it empty every time you check it? Who took them, and what was their level of interest? Can you contact them again? How many wanted a brochure but didn’t find one in the empty box? What if:
- Every person who drove by and had an interest could have text messaged a code to get price and other information?
- You never have to fill a brochure box again, AND you get the information out when they want it?
- You never print brochures but you end up with the phone number of the person who asked for more information?
- You could text that person again if the price is reduced?
All of this is currently available technology. You can get the basics for free with an account at 4info.net. There you can set up to text out your listing details from a sign rider code. And, you can even send out text alerts to subscribers of market news from your website or blog. Or, let them know when you list a new home. Now, 4info is free, so you don’t get the phone number of the person who asked for the information, or a color website for the listing. Or, for another free solution for getting out sales data, new listings, or market alerts, you can use Twitter.com. It will issue text message alerts for you.
If you want to take it to the next level, another service at UGotItFirst.com will set you up to send text alerts from the yard sign, but there is more. You can also get their phone number, and they can subscribe to receive your alerts in the future. They also get a link to a color presentation on a website for the listing. Those who are web-enabled will be able to look at the home in all its glory.
The point is that SMS text messaging is wildly popular, and it’s just getting more so. If you do not have a plan to implement it in your marketing, you’re falling behind already. And, it’s not just about texting out your listing data when they’re in front of the home. It’s about alerting your interested prospects of important market news or real estate statistics. You can place a box on your site where they can subscribe to get text alerts of price drops or other market news.
One Realtor in a vacation home market has a popular alert service to let interested investors or buyers know of values on the market. This broker realized that he was reading the Hotsheet every day, seeing some great price reductions on properties that weren’t his listings. By subscribing for these alerts, the broker is free to send them out, though not his listings. These are bargain hunters who want to know about deals as soon as they hit the market. He reinforces his knowledge and value by choosing real deals, sending few alerts. But, they generate business precisely because they point out true value.
Start looking at how you might use SMS text messaging to bring your message to the new consumer. It is for all ages, and they appreciate the ability to tell you what they want and when they want it. And, if a buyer prospect is sitting in front of your listing and wants to know more, get the information to them in seconds as a text message and/or a link to full rich web content.