Don't be that agent who let me run by the property without capturing my contact information

Reposted from our Homes By SMS blog

I went for a run this morning in the neighborhood and saw a beautiful property for sale along my route. I was interested to see the details and photos of the home, but unfortunately - as it is the case too many times - the flyer box was empty. A snapped a few photos just to make the point, one shown below. I masked the actual listing broker's info, because the point here is not to single out a particular company, but to demonstrate how easy, cost-effective and no-brainer it could be to provide 24x7 access to property information via Homes By SMS sign riders in order to grow your buyers database, better serve sellers and win more listings.

Empty-Flyer-Box-1024x768

With both our all-inclusive Homes By SMS service and with our DIY RealBird PRO SMS marketing, you can easily solve the "empty flyer box" problem and in the process gain the following benefits:

  1. Capture buyer leads and grow your buyer side business using your current listing, 24x7: I am not in the market for this particular property (it was way too big for me), but I am interested in this neighborhood enough as a potential buyer, that I would have inquired about the details had they provided an SMS text code on their sign rider. Although the agent's/broker's phone number was listed on the sign, I was not ready to talk to them over the phone directly, but would have taken a quick break during my run to text for automated, instant info. By not providing me with a way to do so, they missed out on adding me to their buyers database.
  2. Win more listings: bring the SMS sign rider to your listing interview. Point 1 directly leads to this benefit. Sellers do see the empty flyer boxes in front of their homes for sale as well! In many cases, they are the ones alerting the agent to this fact. Imagine telling the above story at a new listing interview, while showing the seller your actual SMS marketing sign rider that you'll use at their house, demonstrating how you are going to solve the "empty flyer box" problem, separating you from the crowd of other agents who "can't be bothered" to deal with this issue.

If the two clear benefits above are not worth $45/months as a real estate marketing expense, I am not sure what is. I think it is an easy decision (yes, I am biased, but still...) With Homes By SMS, you can solve both of the problems listed above and with this all-inclusive service, the low monthly fee covers the cost of text messaging up to 100 leads each month and we provide you with the reusable sign rider, shipped to you. If this was not convincing enough, then another unique benefit of using an SMS text code marketing system (vs. QR codes, listing domain names etc.) is that the SMS system captures the home buyer information for you right away, at first interaction, including name, phone number, email and many times, demographics information. This is a huge value in itself.

Don't be that agent who let me run by the property without capturing my contact information :)

Get started with Homes By SMS today


Updated MLS-compatible Virtual Tours are Available

We are glad to let you know that the brand new, shiny version of the MLS-friendly, non-branded RealBird virtual tours are now generally available. Just log into RealBird and you can get them on the list of listings page. For best results, make sure you upload many, large, high quality photos for your listings on RealBird.

Below is an example of a gorgeous property in Covington, LA, courtesy of Pam Head 

We'll be featuring listings using the new virtual tour for a few weeks, so if you'd like us to feature yours, just send us an email with your RealBird link.

-- The RealBird Team

ps. Check out our new blog post on Homes By SMS as well: The Sad Tale of Empty Flyer Boxes


Small updates launched and some big ones are coming

Sold Listing Site ExampleWe have released a few, smaller updates over the last week. Here is a recap:

Fewer steps for social media sharing: you can now upload your primary picture together with the brief listing info, which cuts down the time significantly. Create a basic listing site in less than a minute and share it to social media easily using the new confirmation page. Since you already have the first picture published, you are ready for social media sharing. You can then go on with adding unlimited, additional photos and more detailed content to your site.

Sold listing marketing improvements: many of the RealBird power-users have been using the sold listing marketing feature to win more listings and there are now even more ways to promote your past sales. Using the new Sold RSS feed (under Listing Widgets > RSS in the member area) you can now autopost solds to social media and create new type of sold widgets for your sites, blogs and Facebook pages. We are also auto-sharing your sold listings through our Twitter feed, providing you with additional exposure.

Your branding on top of your listing website: We added a small branding section on top of the desktop/laptop version of your RealBird property websites. It's a tiny UI tweek but we are already receiving some good feedback from many of you. This is a quick update while we are working on a brand new listing presentation platform for you (new single property websites, new MLS friendly virtual tours, new presentation widgets)

Large images are now stored with your listings: For the last half year, we have been testing even larger versions of your unlimited listing photos stored for your RealBird listings sites. We settled with 2000 X 1500 size as an optimum for performance and quality and you'll see many new listing presentations and listing marketing tools (postcards, sign riders) being launched soon, utilizing the larger images. Make sure you upload your best quality photos.

Homes By SMS: our new flagship SMS real estate marketing service is gaining traction: As a reminder, Homes By SMS is an all-inclusive buyer prospecting (SMS home search), seller prospecting (SMS postcards, sign riders) and listing marketing tool for your current homes for sale that can be integrated with one of our own property search tools or with your existing IDX website. It's an all-inclusive service, we setup and provide you with all the tools including a free sign rider, postcards etc. for one low monthly fee. If you considered dominating your market with SMS text code marketing, Homes By SMS is the tool for you.

We hope you enjoy these new features and stay tuned for some major announcements soon!

As always, thanks for using RealBird and let us know if you have any questions, just call or email.

-- The RealBird Team


Tips for your sign riders: Keep your SMS keywords easy to enter on phones

Typing on mobile phone - SMS marketingHere is a small but important and easy to remember rule: keep your SMS keywords short for effective text code marketing.

If your first instinct is to pick a keyword that's representative of the property as you would with listing domain names (e.g. using the street number and street name), for text messaging marketing on sign riders and printed cards, the goal should be to make it as easy for users to enter your code as possible. In lead generation, every little barrier that you can remove, the more improvement your stats gain.

  • Keep code short, preferable less than 10 characters. Shorter, the better. The default code generated by RealBird for your listings are 6 character long
  • Decide whether you use numbers only or letters in the code. E.g. the standard keyboard on iPhones only shows numbers or letters only. Users have to switch back and forth otherwise. Extra work, more chances of an abandoned process.
  • Same applies to switching between small and large caps. Use all smalls or all large letters. While the RealBird SMS applications are case insensitive, it ignores capitalization, home buyers may believe that they have to switch between small and large caps back and forth . Again, extra work, more chances of an abandoned process. 

As a summary, keep text codes short and try to avoid the need for switching back and forth on the keyboard of the phone.

So what would be an ideal text code that you can also reuse with different properties on RealBird?

You guessed it right: home fits all these criteria :) Of course if you are marketing many different properties with text codes on RealBird, you have to get a bit more creative, but these guidelines should help.

As a reminder, we provide two different SMS text code marketing services for real estate:

  1. Do-it-yourself with RealBird's SMS add-on
  2. All-inclusive with Homes By SMS - another RealBird service. We even give you free sign riders and postcards as part of the service.

Please don't hesitate to inquire about the different capabilities of the two services.

-- The RealBird Team


Question answered: "Why would I spend money on listing marketing in a seller's market?"

Sign Rider In Front Of House Square With MLS Number 500pxWe call our home real estate market the Greater San Francisco Bay Area, as some of our employees live on the Peninsula, a few minutes from San Francisco, others along the Monterey Bay and our HQ is in Santa Cruz. This is a territory of 50+ miles radius with common real estate market characteristics of very limited real estate inventory and very high real estate prices (in absolute and relative terms). It's a seller's market.

One of the questions we hear over and over again is why would an agent spend money on listing marketing in a seller's market, when the property "sells itself" quickly anyways, if priced correctly? The answer is not obvious at first glance, but a bit of elaboration shows many distinct benefits of marketing listings aggressively even in seller's markets:

First and foremost: When you are selling a particular property, you are also using that activity to get positioned for your next transaction. Below is a quick list of the many ways you can utilize an existing listing for pushing your overall business forward:

  1. Impressing current seller can lead to listing referrals: We heard of many stories and saw it first hand how a proper listing marketing process impresses the current client, who will then be way more likely to refer you to friends and family. Just make sure that the seller knows that you invest in his marketing whether it's a seller market or not, and demonstrate all that you do for them online and offline.
  2. Impressing neighbors can lead to listing referrals: Listing marketing technologies used at the house, including for example our RealBird SMS text code marketing can make neighbors notice your efforts. In a seller's market where the perception is that anyone can sell a properly priced home, this may very well be the differentiator that you need to win the next listing. It makes you stand out of the crowd. Nothing is more convincing than professionals who walk the extra mile.
  3. Growing your buyer side business: The more private-labeled technology you provide with your listing marketing, the bigger the chances of double ending your transactions. While double ending transactions may or may not be part of your business practice, getting buyer leads while selling a property ensures a healthy lead pipeline for future transactions by growing your prospective buyers database.

So how exactly does RealBird's technology help you in a sellers' market:

  1. Create single property websites for your current and past properties to impress the current seller and build and compound your online footprint. Make sure you let your seller know about it and share it with neighbors too, if possible.
  2. Syndicate and market your listings via social media and with listing widgets using the RealBird all-in-one toolkit
  3. Use our new all-inclusive Homes By SMS sign riders in front of your current property for sale and provide SMS mobile access to property information. You will impress your current seller, the neighbors and can capture buyer leads for future transactions during, before and after business hours. Automatically, 24/7.

We'll be writing more "Questions answered" type posts in the future, but we thought highlighting the benefits of listing marketing on a seller's market might be a good start. What do you think? 

Should you have questions about the new Homes By SMS text code marketing service for listing promotions and buyer and seller prospecting, please don't hesitate to contact us.

-- The RealBird Team