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Localised customer service remains number one in the technological age

While technology and social media have considerably changed real estate marketing practices to give properties international as well as local exposure, the most effective marketing is still done locally.

This month, Sold Magazine talks to Jin Lim of Printforce, about some of the tools and tricks to optimise your local marketing efforts.

Localised customer service remains “Number 1” in the technological age

While technology and social media have considerably changed real estate marketing practices to give properties international as well as local exposure, the most effective marketing is still done locally. This month, Sold Magazine talks to Jin Lim of Printforce, about some of the tools and tricks to optimise your local marketing efforts.

Most, if not all, industries have to adapt rapidly to a constantly changing and evolving world and lifestyle.It is hard to imagine today that not even a generation ago businesses were producing documents on typewriters, and fax machines were considered to be the latest in cutting edge technology.As a result of technology and a change in consumer buying habits and sentiment, businesses selling products and services have needed to revolutionise their sales and marketing techniques, and even the means in which they earn their bread and butter.

The real estate industry has certainly not escaped this evolution unscathed, and unfortunately, many businesses have had to close their doors because they have not adapted quickly enough for a consumer base that arrives already armed with information, and expecting service of a high quality immediately.Forward thinking multi-national real estate organisations and local independents alike have created and utilised business practices of every nature and form to try and stay ahead of the game – from social media, to “talking” sign boards, state-of-the-art 3D window television screens and glossy magazines that advertise listings.There is no doubt that the Internet has allowed real estate agencies in Australia to reach a national and, indeed, global audience, for their clients’ listings. Real estate sales professionals have had the opportunities to advertise listings on their own website, strategically enriched with the use of Google AdWords and SEO. Other real estate listings sites like realestate.com.au have been developed over the years to enable all real estate professionals to advertise their listings in one handy location.

However, in a world dominated by Facebook, mobile phone apps, daily deals and a virtual world at your fingertips, some things just never change. A fact that has remained central to the real estate industry, regardless of technological progress and a global marketplace, is that the best chance for a real estate agent to sell a home is to someone else local. Despite having access to a world of information and possibility, families want to stay where they feel comfortable at home, and therefore (unless their situation requires otherwise) will almost always opt to move within the same neighbourhood. This means that, for all the international and national exposure that can be obtained for a property, the most effective marketing (that is, marketing which leads to a sale) is done locally. And as much as any technology-savvy agent may wish to argue, the facts and statistics will always prove otherwise.

“For all the international and national exposure that can be obtained for a property, the most effective marketing is done locally”.

So, while this is a little disappointing for real estate agents who have expanded their knowledge base in international and national marketing techniques, it is actually quite a relief. The reason why is as follows – a real estate agent, no matter where in Australia they are located, needs only to concentrate on marketing to their immediate vicinity. There is really no need to obtain access to the next town, city, or even suburb. As any good real estate sales professional would be aware, a marketing strategy will always serve two purposes – to market the property of your client and also to market yourself as a sales agent. This is because these two distinctive groups of clients will almost always fall into the same geographical area.

When it comes to reaching these clients, with both your own marketing material and that of your listings, as it turns out, the most effective way is the old fashioned way.That is – directly, either via a personally addressed mailer or a phone call. And while most real estate agents will never advise against an online listing, and won’t be able to resist a social media status update, it is often the humble addressed mailer that draws the serious buyer and results in a sale.

And while most real estate agents will never advise against an online listing, and won’t be able to resist a social media status update, it is often the humble addressed mailer that draws the serious buyer and results in a sale.

Although the methodology might remain the same as 20 years ago, thankfully technology has stepped in and made the process so much easier. Agents no longer need to resort to the white pages or pounding the pavements to reach the consumer base most likely to show an interest in one particular property or another.

In actual fact, the largest provider of Real Estate printing in Australia, Printforce , has just released a brand new product.According to Marketing Manager Jin Lim, this online product gives real estate agents access to a “washed” list of residents’ names, addresses, and telephone numbers, available on a subscription basis that fully complies with the ‘Do Not Call’ register.

“Basically, how Radius Campaign works is, it plots a circular area around a specific residential listing address, then gives you the names, addresses and compliant phone numbers of the closest, 100, 200, 300 or 400 neighbours around that address,” he said.

“This allows real estate agents to promote Open Homes, Auction Invitations and ‘Just Sold’ notices directly to surrounding neighbours either by mail or via a courtesy phone call.”

Mr Lim said that the phone numbers are “washed” against the Do Not Call register every 21 days, so that agents don’t call those who do not wish to be phoned.This is important, because a lot of time and money can be wasted (not to mention the frustration that results) by contacting people who are no longer there, or do not wish to be approached.

Mr Lim said that, once purchasing this list, agents can utilise Printforce ’s “Print & Pack” option. Printforce will design a DL Property Card promoting a home for sale, mail merge it with the relevant Campaign data and then post the addressed cards to the surrounding neighbours.

Incidentally, Mr Lim said that real estate agents keen to promote themselves and/or their office to their farming area would take advantage of a similar product created by Printforce. Radius SUBURB offers similarly “washed” names and addresses for selected suburbs, purchased on a yearly subscription for a one-off fee.

“During the year, agents are able to access their suburb data at any time, safe in the knowledge that the data is up to date at all times against the DNC.”

“The great thing is we have streamlined this entire process, so that agents can do the most important parts of their job, prospecting and marketing their listings, in the most effective and cost-effective way possible.”

Therefore, it appears that the real estate industry has embraced the technology age by using the technology available at our fingertips to create the most effective environment to provide quality and effective service to our clients, and operate a successful business in the process.

Jin Lim

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