Real estate

2020: The year of the real estate text message?

If you’ve been in real estate for more than a couple of minutes, you’ll remember the days when the ways we did business remained static. Being a real estate agent meant never having to face innovation, never having to deal with change – it just didn’t happen.

Then, along came technology, at warp speed. Many agents were left in the dust, but many others embraced the change and have soared.

What’s even more impressive is that those who embraced all this new-fangled tech stuff have a median age of 56 years young (the under 30s only comprise 4 percent of agent ranks – one-fourth that of agents age 65 and older). Take that, millennials!

So, ok, you all are one tech-savvy bunch of property-slinging, relationship-building primarily-baby-boomer-entrepreneurs, so let’s take a look at real estate text messages, and whether 2022 should be the Year of the SMS (and MMS, if you are so inclined).

STUDY: Sending real estate text messages to sales prospects can boost conversions to crazy heights

How crazy? As much as 328 percent, according to a Leads360 study.

Admittedly, that study is quite old (performed in 2013), so in all likelihood, it doesn’t mean much in 2022. Notice as well that this conversion rate is for prospects, not leads.

Sadly, new statistics to replace those in the study are dubious, at best, released from biased sources.

Here is what we do know about using real estate text messages for client communication and prospecting:

  • 93 percent of NAR members prefer to communicate with their clients through real estate text messages or telephone. Pity the NAR didn’t break the two down – they are in only one way similar – both can be done on a smart phone. And, keep in mind that just because you prefer texting doesn’t mean your leads do.
  • 65 percent of buyers said it is important to them that their agent sends them listings and communicates with them via text message. Break it down into cohorts, however, and the picture changes. As well, notice that these aren’t leads — they are clients.
  • Nearly 80 percent of youngsters, age 28 and younger, want you to text them. Millennials and Gen X are pretty close in their preference for text communication at 69 and 65 percent respectively.
  • Nearly 65 percent of younger baby boomers and 60 percent of their elders say texting is cool and our oldest generation, the Silent Generation chooses not to remain silent. More than half want you to pick up the dang phone and call them.

Again, keep in mind that this NAR study deals with clients, not prospects. As well, the preferred mode of communication depends on what it is you’re trying to communicate.

Nearly three quarters of buyers, for instance, prefer a personal phone call from their agent when being kept up to date on “activities.”

Should you text your first response to an online lead?

Whether you buy them or get them from your website, social media or the big real estate portals – online leads can be quite valuable.

No, I’m not going to argue with you about this.

Some of them are stinkers, I’ll give you that. But many aren’t – but the way some agents work them does stink.

I’m not dissing you; one of my favorite parts of no longer being an agent is not having to make a cold contact.

So, you have the information about the lead in front of you. How will you respond? Will you pick up the phone?

Or, will you email or text?

Thankfully, there are abundant statistics on the effectiveness of email, so you may want to reconsider going that route:

  • The average open rate for emails sent in North America is 19.49% (getresponse)
  • You know those studies on how amazing email click through rates are? They refer to B2B emails. You, my friend, are a B2C emailer and your click through rates are 47 percent smaller than those of the B2B guys.
  • In fact, the average open rate of a real estate email is less than 20 percent, according to a MailChimp study. The CTR is even more dismal, only 1.77 percent. The highest open rates go to government, non-profit and sports-related emails.

When it comes to something as important as communicating with a lead who has reached out to you, skip the email response.

First response to a lead: should I text or call?

There is so much advice online for real estate agents, doling it out has become an industry of its own. Which would be a good thing for agents, if the people who gave the advice did some research before doing so.

Sadly, they don’t and far too many advocate texting your initial response to a lead.

“One of the best times to use texting in your real estate marketing is when a new lead comes in,” claims one. Yet another offers text scripts for the initial response to a buyer or seller lead.

Had they done some due diligence, and checked their assumptions against reality, their stories would’ve been completely different.

Here is the reality:

Leads who receive a text after contact has been made convert at more than twice the rate of the average contacted lead.

See the italics in that sentence? Those are mine. It’s a point that some folks miss and that’s dangerous.

The same study found that sending real estate text messages to a prospect before you’ve made contact with her brings with it a 39 percent chance that she’ll ghost you.

In other words, when a lead contacts you, call that person. Then, ask permission to communicate via text.

The answer to the question “Should I text or call in response to a contact from a lead?” is CALL. It’s only after that initial phone call that texting becomes an effective and welcome form of communication.

Not sure how to market to your leads? Here are 200 ideas you can use to get more leads and listings.

EAP’s Texty app makes it easier than ever to get in touch with your leads via text – here’s how it works:

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