How Automated Text Messaging Can Help Real Estate Businesses
- 23 Mar 2023
If you’re in real estate — whether you’re an agent for sellers or buyers, a property manager, a home sharing host, or a home inspector — chances are you live on your mobile phone. Your potential customers — homeowners, buyers, and renters — are just as connected. That’s why you’re probably putting listings on Instagram or Twitter. So why not deliver messages directly to people who already have phone in hand by using SMS, a.k.a. text messaging.
What’s the benefit? SMS messages have an open rate of 98% — higher than email. Most people read their text messages within five minutes. But most importantly, people prefer texting to other forms of communication;68% of home buyers and sellers say they want to receive property information and communicate with their agent via SMS.
Chances are you’ve already seen that preference for texting in your person-to-person communications with your clients. But you can automate application-to-person text messages with an SMS API and get even more benefit.
Benefits of real estate texting
You can use SMS to send messages with news, promotions, updates, and other relevant communications to clients, prospects, and leads. Using text messaging gives real estate businesses several benefits.
One of the biggest advantages of SMS is that you can reach clients and colleagues in real time, which is critical when you have an offer to present or a new listing to share. And messages sent via SMS are less likely to be ignored (or shunted into a junk folder) than email messages.
Excellent open rates
When you have a 98% open rate, you’re almost assured of delivering your message. Whether people respond depends on how relevant to them your message is. We have some tips on that below.
Automatic record of conversations
When you exchange information with a client via SMS, you’ll both know where to find that information when you need it.
Because you can automate your messaging, you can make formerly manual processes happen without your attention. That frees you up for more important uses of your time, such as prospecting.
The time you save by automating real estate communication processes means lower labor costs. On top of that, each SMS message costs less than a cent, which is more cost-effective than alternatives such as direct mail.
Use cases for real estate texting
Here are just a few ways to leverage text messaging to enhance customer relationships and improve revenue.
Set appointments and reminders
Ever have a client miss an open house that you know they meant to see, or even miss a one-on-one showing? Sending automated reminders makes that less likely — and if a customer does have to miss a meeting, your reminder is likely to solicit a timely reply so you can adjust your plans.
Provide new listing information
Do you already have a way to email people when new listings in their price range and preferred area come on the market? You can get the message to your contacts more quickly via automated SMS messages that trip either as soon as a new listing appears on MLS or once a day.
Promote open houses
SMS supports sending multimedia context, such as images and videos, along with text. Technically, these messages are MMS — multimedia messaging service. You can text photos of a property or an image of a nicely designed flyer that includes not only pictures but also the address, asking price, and date and time of an open house. With bulk SMS you can easily send one message to hundreds of clients or dozens of fellow brokers and Realtors.
Send invitations to events
Did you just get a new listing and you want to show your fellow agents the property? You can set up an address book of agents’ numbers to text with information about an upcoming broker open house, which can include a link so they need only tap on their phones to RSVP and create a calendar entry for themselves.
Best practices for real estate texting
Text messaging is part of a larger conversation about marketing, in which the goal is to stay in touch so customers think of you when they have a transaction to make. You might employ email, voice calls, and direct mail as marketing tools; each communications channel has strengths and weaknesses.
For the SMS part of the process, don’t cross the line into sending too-frequent messages that recipients consider spam. Do, however, follow these best practices to increase your response rates.
- Make sure you have a clear reason for each message you send. Each message should be about something your recipient cares about, and bound to a specific time and place.
- Keep your messages short. If you have a lot of information to convey, include in your message a link to a website that conveys the whole story. In your text, stick with the key points.
- Use an informal but competent tone to convey your professionalism and trustworthiness. Avoid real estate jargon. Try to sound like the best version of your in-person self; that’ll help you enhance your relationship with your customer.
- You’re sending a text message because you want the recipient to do something. Make sure you include a clear call to action, which might be getting recipients to click on a link to bring up a web page, tap a number to phone you, or some other action.
- Create a template for different kinds of messages in your communications application, then have your outreach program populate your templates with specific details for each new message.
- Measure the conversion rate each time you send a message — find out how many recipients take the action you want them to. From time to time, make changes to your templates to see if you can improve conversion rates.
Another best practice involves the number type you use to send messages. There are three possibilities: long codes, toll-free numbers, and short codes. We wrote a whole blog post on how to choose the right phone number for your business.
Use SMS for real estate
Sold? Given all of the potential use cases and the benefits you can derive from using SMS in real estate businesses, the only question you should still have is: how do I get started? Check out Plivo’s SMS and Voice APIs for real estate communication. You can sign up for a free trial and get enough usage credits to use our communications APIs in a pilot project.