Should Mobile App be Part of Digital Marketing Strategy for Real Estate Businesses
According to Maldavin “One of the biggest booms today is actually the boom in applications,” given that in 2011, $186 million was spent on real estate tech applications, and that number had increased to $2.7 billion in 2016.
Yet most real estate brokerages and companies find themselves overwhelmed and baffled about the use of digital, are least active on social and the most common problem they face is the ‘Lack of leads’!
Having said that, challenges and competition in the real estate industry are immense and it’s becoming increasingly difficult to differentiate one real estate business from the other.
Competition is being fiercer with every passing day and most companies find it very challenging to address recruitment, marketing the services, digital strategy, constantly exploring new way to engage customers, identifying right prospects and managing sales process.
Though there are a lot of solutions available, especially as a mix of web application and mobile apps, to streamline these processes, most small businesses get into the vicious circle of avoiding it till the next day or plan the work in bits and pieces leading to losing the value in the implementation of such solutions.
We asked following questions to some of the real estate brokerages and answers reflected lack of planning and a clear strategy:
- How do customers find you?
- How can customers explore all the properties/inventory available with you?
- Can customer calculate mortgage, Loan EMIs etc. for a specific property immediately without leaving your site?
- What strategy do you have for site visitors who came to your site but dropped out?
- How do you refine sales process and customer management process?
There are numerous questions and challenges faced by today’s real estate business. Earlier it was purely network based; today it’s a mix of network, online visibility and availability. That’s where it becomes very crucial to have a right digital strategy in place.
With this post, I will try to cover how mobile app fits in digital strategy of real estate businesses, does it offer any edge over competitors and is it better to have a mobile app or will a mobile optimized site be enough.
1. How it changes Brand value and identity?
How many real estate businesses you have come across that have their own mobile app? Most of them, right? Can you recall their names? Most probably, yes – you sure can!
Does this process of you being able to recall their names reflect something? Yes, it reflects that those businesses could differentiate themselves from the clutter and leave a mark on your memory.
So, the very first investment in the mobile app is to increase the brand value and recall factor of the businesses. It will always have an edge and more respect over other similar businesses due to the differentiation it creates by getting a place on user’s mobile phone.
2. What’s the effect on ‘Ease, Flexibility, Experience’ of customer
Have you ever observed key differences between mobile website and a mobile app? They are able to perform and deliver almost all functions similarly however experience of using a mobile app in most cases have an edge over a website.
Experience of searching, exploring, shortlisting, wish-listing properties and getting relevant information:
- On the go when they want
- Without hassle of searching something on Google or other search engines
leads to an edge that’s very difficult to achieve with a website.
A real estate mobile app gives users CONTROL which is what every user wants!
3. Does it improve sales process?
A business always have prospects and customers, and numbers of leads per day generally depend on business size and marketing efforts. A single person business generally maintains records in their work log book/diaries or record management app while SMBs tend to use Excel or more sophisticated tools.
Now, let’s say you recieve 5 leads per day becoming 50 leads in total by 10th day. These increasing numbers at one point become overwhelming and leads to questions such as:
- How to manage these leads?
- How to prioritize? Can we score the leads or place remarks somewhere!
- How to allocate to sales team, place reminders, follow-ups etc.
Now let’s assume another scenario wherein everyday 5 customers have to be alerted for the kind of property they were looking for. And let’s assume you come across the availability of these properties. How would you go about it?
A mobile app offers immense control over sales process, it’s optimization, sales team management, deals status and stages, and impacts the conversion/revenues dramatically.
4. How it helps in optimizing ‘Customer Management Process’?
Most real estate businesses we have consulted still manage their customer data and information via spreadsheets. That’s not bad if it was just about data management but that data is not being updated and is unable to provide any actionable insight.
A customer facing mobile app with admin panel for business owners/sales teams/admin facilitates a mini CRM tool which can help in-
- Customer data management in a structured and friendly way
- Easy updation of data
- Improves customer relationship, customer service and satisfaction as customers can send queries any time and can be attended in a personalized manner
- More engagement with reminders, notifications(Greetings, property related, company updates)
5. Can it help in the marketing of your business?
Most businesses always complains about lack of leads and focus generally remains on organic and inorganic ways to generate leads.
Mobile app sitting in user’s smartphone is a tremendous tool to generate leads, retain and nurture prospects and close new business deals if utilized properly.
Following are couple of ways it can help marketing campaigns:
- Capture interest (Specific info of prospect’s interest related to lease/buy/budget)
- Leads (Easier lead capturing, connecting with sales team due to click to call features etc.)
- Notifications- This feature if used properly can not only help the conversion from prospect to customer in user-’s buying journey easier but also help in cross selling and upselling of other services.
- Engagement(Forums, Q&A)- Property buyers have a lot of questions. Questions specific to property, vicinity, neighborhood, investment questions etc. and getting them a forum comprising of members from local community can play a crucial role not only in buying process but also building your company’s community itself as well. 70% of homebuyers forget their agents/brokerages after one year according to remindermedia
6. How are customers affected?
A customer or prospect generally would like to know about property’s dynamics, mortgage calculation, loan details etc. and providing such information which a prospect can use on the go becomes very useful for them.
Similarly, tool to facilitate Virtual property tours(Via 360 video) with listing are not costly and can add immense value when implemented with a mobile app. Overall experience of the prospect’s can be enriched and these little things decrease time spend in decision making by prospects as well.
A real estate mobile app is great for nurturing the relationships with your existing customers, which is absolutely essential for the success of your business. You may think that, once you close a sale, there is no need for you to stay in contact with your clients, given the fact that you have already helped them buy or sell a particular property.
However, following up with them and nurturing those relationships is exactly what will help you stand apart from your competitors and build a strong brand and reputation. You will show that you care about your customers, which will inspire their loyalty and make them recommend you to their family and friends, helping you grow your business.
Though the benefits are many, mobile apps are yet to find their fair share in digital mix of real estate companies and that’s been the case primarily because most companies have not been able to plan their digital strategy well. In cases where there has been planning, implementation has been in bits and pieces leading to lost value of implementation.
We need to understand that mobile app is part of the solution i.e. the digital mix and not the solution itself, however it’s important, and the sooner it’s implemented the better it is for organization owing to its impact on business processes, marketing, and customer relationship. You can consult any mobile app development company to discover how a mobile app can accentuate your real estate marketing campaigns driving increased sales and brand reputation.
Finoit Technologies, a top mobile app development company in India & USA, offers Android, iPad and iPhone application development services through its agile, scalable and cost-efficient development channels. We have developed over 450 mobile apps, and have assisted many solopreneurs in their journey of startups by functioning as a tech partner and rolling out their product ideas. For questions/queries, you may write to us at [email protected]
Neha Baluni is an avid writer by day and a reader by night. Being the senior content writer at Finoit technologies, a renowned iPhone app development company, she enjoys unleashing the latest app development techniques through her writing. Besides iPhone development, Finoit is reputed as a prominent Android app development company.