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The dos and don’ts of SMS marketing

Hot on the heels of releasing an e-book on how text message marketing can be used to convert real estate leads into clients, Podium has revealed the dos and don’ts of a successful SMS marketing campaign.

Podium regional sales director Sean Smit explained SMS marketing offered numerous advantages to agents.

“When was the last time you enjoyed a 98 per cent open rate on one of your emails?” he asked.

“At Podium, we focus on SMS is because it’s personal, it’s convenient, it’s how most consumers want to engage with each other and a business, and it’s where the customer’s attention is.”

Noting email marketing often saw a marketing message fighting for attention in a junk folder or an inbox, Sean said text message allowed the recipient to view the content immediately.

But in real estate, text marketing best practice isn’t about the traditional “just listed, just sold”, he continued, and a good initial focus point is paying customers.

“Landlords and vendors are the people that we want to attract and get into the funnel,” Sean said.

“I would be focusing on incentives for vendors to start a conversation with the agency and the same thing with the landlord.”

He noted the way agencies could target potential clients included:

  • An offer around reduced management fees to landlords who have multiple properties
  • Repeat vendors who are offered a market appraisal.

The dos and don’ts of marketing via text

Sean noted Podium has conducted extensive research when it comes to what makes an effective SMS marketing campaign in the real estate arena.

As a result, he said text message marketing started with seven simple tips:

1. Make it a two-way conversation, not a broadcast

Sean explained Podium has had two-way texting available for a long time, but has refined it to be a consumer-led tool.

Best practice involves encouraging a two-way conversation where the agency reaches out with an offer, and the recipient is encouraged to answer back.

2. Use conversational language

As it’s a two-way conversation, Sean said any text marketing campaign should draw on simple, conversational language that creates a personal connection.

“It should always have that look and feel of, ‘Hey, this is Sean at X Y real estate, reaching out to Sam, the potential vendor’. Rather than it looking a lot like it’s actually Sean from X Y real estate, just sending out bulk messaging to 800 people,” Sean said.

3. Pick a suitable time

To ensure the conversation feels real and natural, text messages should be sent during business hours, Sean continued.

“If this is asking for repeat business coming back in, or if it’s an offer for the spring auction selling campaign, sending that at 3am, is going to really miss the mark and it’s really going to frustrate your potential clients,” he said.

“They’re going to know it’s not from you. It’s from a marketing system as well.”

4. 160 characters or less

Sean explained texting usually involves 160 characters or less in order for it to feel like genuine message.

“So make sure it’s valuable,” he said.

5. Include a CTA

The message should encourage potential customers to do something, so a call to action or link should be included.

“Make sure it’s either providing some information or there’s a clear call to action asking them for what you actually want them to do,” Sean said.

“If it’s just send us a text back, if it’s follow this link, those calls to action need to be really relevant and provide value.”

“If we are including a link as well, make sure that link is neat,” Sean explained.

He continued that sometimes he gets messages from retailers, and although the message might be relevant, if the link takes up the majority of the message, it feels inauthentic.

“It looks like it’s coming from somewhere and it is just a spam message, so use a link shortener.

“Or if the marketing system, as in Podium, can do that for you automatically when you’re setting up that campaign, it makes things a lot easier.”

7. Engage

Sean also explained that if the aim of the text is to have someone text back, then it’s important to keep up the conversation by replying.

“If the message’s call to action is ‘send us a text back if you have any questions or to book an appraisal’, respond in a timely way,” he said.

“I’m not saying respond within three minutes, but respond 20, 30 minutes later – even a couple of hours is fine.

“As long as it still feels like it’s that one-to-one feel.

“There’s nothing worse than seeing a promotional message, you respond back as the consumer and you don’t get a response for a couple of days. Again, you’re going to know that it wasn’t necessarily one person texting.”

For more insight into the value of text message marketing, listen to Sean’s recent guest interview on the Elevate podcast. Alternatively, download Podium’s SMS marketing 101 e-book here.

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