Home buying comes with a long sales cycle often times starting with the home buyer doing a ton of research before your even see them which is real estate SMS marketing is an effective selling tool.
The goal with SMS is to begin a conversation as early as possible into the buying process so you can build a relationship, learn what the home buyer is looking for, educate and position yourself as a trusted adviser and help them find the home that they want faster.
SMS marketing is an inbound marketing strategy which means people are coming to you because they are interested in what you have as opposed to outbound marketing where you send advertising out to people who haven’t asked to see it.
Here’s a handy graphic from MOZ to help you see the difference between outbound vs. inbound marketing.
For the sake of simplicity, inbound marketing will generally drive more qualified leads since they feel like they have found you (through an article, downloadable resource or through search etc.) rather than you finding them which makes a huge difference in terms of strategic positioning.
1. Create A Buyer Persona
With any marketing approach, it helps to know what motivates specific types of customers if you’ve been in real estate for a while you’ll know the specific types of buyers.
Here are the basic steps:
Name each home buyer persona
List out their demographics:
- Single, defacto, married, divorced
- Income etc.
List out each persona’s buying concerns:
- Not being close to work
- Not knowing what to look for in a home
- Not knowing what questions to ask the real estate agent
- Where are the best areas to buy etc.
List out their wants and desires:
- Walking distance to work
- Be able to have friends and family stay etc.
While there will be a lot of crossover between the different personas there should be 2-3 very specific concerns or motivators that separate them.
You have a persona “Patty” who is a first home buyer who is using this property to buy into a much larger home 10 years from now.
Patty is primarily interested in buying into an area that in the next 10 years will become a hot spot for affluent young professionals due to new café’s and restaurants and new apartments planned for development meaning Patty can get maximum resale value for her next upgrade.
You could create free report outlining the next big areas in the city and give that away to people when they opt-in to your SMS marketing list.
Now you can call that person to find out if they found the report valuable, if they’re currently looking and what areas etc.
Now you have a list of potential buyers who you can reach out to as soon as you have a suitable listing.
By understanding the specific concerns and motivations of each buyer you can set up more effective marketing campaigns overall not just with SMS.
2. Promote Your SMS Campaign
SMS is essentially a list building marketing tool and works in exactly the same way as email marketing in the sense that in order for it to work you have to get people on to your SMS list through promotion.
As with any purchase home buyers are going to be attracted to anything that is related to home buying including:
- “For Sales” signs.
- Financing offers
- Real estate websites
- Search (Google, YouTube, Bing etc.)
- Search ads
- Real estate magazines and newspapers etc.
You want to place your SMS campaign on as many marketing channels as possible to start driving leads at a very minimum they should be on your website.
“Text ‘REPORT’ to 12345 and see what homes like yours are selling for in your area.
3. Generate Leads 24/7
One of the absolute best ways to generate a consistent flow of leads is by creating valuable articles that answer specific questions and offer great advice.
Keep in mind that long before a person starts showing up to open homes that are searching for answers to questions on Google, YouTube, Bing etc.
This allows them to find you early in the buying process giving you a head start on your competition.
Here’s how to do it:
Find longer tail keywords that have less competition and create an article that has more information and value than everyone else’s.
For example: “what first time home buyers should know” is a specific long tail keyword that would make an excellent guide and lead generation content piece.
- Select a keyword with little competition (get this plugin)
- Do a search for that search term.
- Open up the top 10 search results on the first page.
- Take a word count for each page and make your article longer (use this tool).
- Note down the topics they all cover and cover them better.
- Reach out to other websites who educate on home buying but are not direct competitors and ask them to link to your article.
If your article offers more value and has more sites linking back to it chances are you’ll get on to the first page of search results.
Promote your SMS campaign inside your article
At the end or even throughout the article you can promote your SMS campaign which can offer them more information related to that subject they should know all they need to do is opt-in.
4. Collect Leads
Grabbing someone’s email address is ok but having someone opt-in to your SMS marketing campaign means that you have their mobile number allowing you to get a direct line of communication to build a relationship.
Here’s how to do it:
Create a number of contact lists – each contact list needs to build a list based on certain criteria, for example, you may have a contact list named Sydney – Alexandria which collects the mobile numbers of people who are interested in properties in Alexandria.
Create offer – this is the thing that compels a person to opt-in to your list. “Text ‘REPORT’ to 12345 to find more properties like this on in Alexandria.
Placement – using the suburbs example, you would place your offer on For Sale signs in Alexandria so whenever someone opts-in they are automatically placed into the “Sydney – Alexandria” SMS contact group.
That’s all there is to it, your list will now begin to fill up with potential leads.
5. Select Messaging Schedule
Once people are on your list you don’t want them to get cold so you’ll need to set up a SMS schedule that delivers information relevant to that list.
The best scheduling is between 12pm and 6pm weekdays and only 1 per fortnight or 1 per month any more frequent and people will start unsubscribing, any longer and people may forget they opted-in and unsubscribe and/or send complaints.
6. Follow Sound Sales Copywriting Principles
A standard SMS message is limited to only 160 characters which means that you need to pack a lot of persuasion into a short time in order to get a person to reply or click on a link inside your message.
Mastering sales copy is arguably the most valuable skill in marketing so it’s best to learn it as soon as you can have lots of fantastic resources available to learn the basics of sales copywriting.
There are dozens of different copywriting formula’s you can use but the one that is most common is the good old AIDA formula (Attention + Interest + Desire + Action) which I’m sure you’re familiar with.
Here’s a quick example of how you can quickly use AIDA to move a person to take an action:
Attention: Hey Sara
Interest: found a seller In Alexandria
Desire: the owner needs to sell it quickly and at below market price. Closed door offer.
Action: Reply if you want more information. Jack
Once Sara replies back you can give her a quick call to discuss.
SMS is a power tool for real estate for generating leads at different stages in this article I focused on the importance of inserting yourself into the conversation during the early stages to connect and gain top of mind.
This pre-emptive approach allows you to:
- Build rapport early
- Position yourself as a trusted expert
- Educate the buyer in a way that makes it easier to sell
Most agents will wait for the later stages but by then you would already have a lot working in your favour and while this doesn’t guarantee a home buyer won’t go with another agent it does give you a greater advantage.