By Eric Eckardt
Mobile, social, and other technological advances over the past decade have altered the way consumers search for homes, providing real estate brokerages with the opportunity to leverage this shift in consumer behavior.
By integrating a few basic technological tools into your business development process, you can improve your ROI and position your firm to capitalize on the new market landscape. The following ideas can improve your operating efficiency and help you target more potential home buyers and sellers.
1. The Cloud – Make your business more accessible online with the Google Apps suite and other platforms designed for real estate. These tools can help you manage transactions, share documents and store digital files from any device. Additionally, the cloud reduces on-site storage needs and drives down your overall operating expenses.
2. Mobile – Mobile web use continues to explode, which allows more consumers to view your website on their phones and tablets. Engage your website developer to optimize your site across all mobile devices and how to keep your customer experience consistent.
3. Social Media – Over 89 percent of agents use some form of social media. At minimum, you should be monitoring your brand via social sites, but engaging your customers via social media can be even more rewarding. Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and Facebook—which itself has over a billion users—are great for promoting your brand and acquiring potential new customers. You can also use social media tools such as Hootsuite, Sproutsocial, Buffer and Social Bro to manage your brand online.
4. Video – A great way to engage current and potential customers is to update a YouTube channel regularly with short videos. You can also add video experiences to your website and email short clips to your customer base. The popular photo-sharing app Instagram recently introduced an integrated 15-second video capability for users, which shows great promise for the real estate industry.
5. Know Your Value Proposition – Consider what you offer the marketplace and what differentiates you from the rest of the pack. Create a sustainable formula and determine what technologies will most resonate with the consumers who are an integral part of that formula.
Today’s technology offers many new avenues for customer engagement – take advantage of it! Give potential customers a way to easily engage with you and keep them on board with a dynamic business model that keeps you ahead of today’s rapidly changing real estate landscape.
Eric Eckardt, Vice President of Direct to Broker for Hubzu®, is a real estate entrepreneur and former investment banker who is passionate about technology and real estate. Eric is a licensed real estate broker in New York and Florida.