Caller ID is Now Available for the RealBird SMS Real Estate Marketing platform

SmsTwilio - the service powering the RealBird SMS marketing platform - has some amazing new features using 3rd party Add-ons and we added support for them in RealBird as well.  This is just a quick post about this update while we are working on the full announcement, should you want to start exploring it today.

One of the most useful add-ons is the caller ID lookup feature. With that, you can now receive name, address, emails and other public, non-confidential information about your prospect via service providers like Next Caller. These are all actionable information and will greatly enhance your marketing efforts and best of all, it is a low, per-lead cost, so you only pay for it when you actually receive new inquiries. 

For example, adding Next Caller's add-on to your Twilio account will cost only an additional 5 cents per lead. The standard rate is 1.5 cent per lead and for a total of 1.5+5=6.5 cents per SMS inquiry, you can have access to the clients name, gender, address and email if publicly available.

To add this feature:

  1. Visit your Twilio account's Add-on page
  2. Select the add-on and click "Install" (e.g. Advanced Caller ID by Next Caller)
  3. On the Configuration page of the add-on, under the "Use it" section, select the checkbox for "Incoming SMS Message" and click "Save" at the bottom of that page.

That's all. No changes are necessary in your RealBird account, assuming you already have the SMS platform configured.

We'll publish a more detailed tutorial for new RealBird members and in case you haven't setup the SMS platform yet. In the meantime, should you have questions, please do not hesitate to email or call us.

Important note: Caller ID and related data are provided by third parties via Twilio and RealBird in no way can guarantee accuracy. We are just forwarding that data provided by them to you. Please follow all local and federal regulations when marketing to your clients using these information.

Happy Marketing !

-- The RealBird Team

 


Improved listing management, SMS with signature and Backpage syndication update

We released a few improvements over the weekend, before the rollout of some major new features in the upcoming weeks. Below is a quick list of these updates:

Improved Listing Management Page

Ideal for users who manage a large inventory on RealBird, the listing filter form now retains your settings, so upon subsequent visits (e.g. after updating a listing or log in the next day), the last filter will be applied again. As a practical case, you may have dozens or hundreds of sold listings published through RealBird, but you rarely need to edit or manage them once added. So setting and retaining, Active and "Published only" filters will make managing current listings much easier.

Listing-Management-Page

Backpage syndication update

The automatic syndication to Backpage now shows your broker/company name and your state license number for compliance with local rules. Make sure that you add these information to your profile in RealBird and we'll take care of the rest.

SMS marketing platform bug fix

A software issue has been identified and fixed over the weekend that affected text code handling for those client's whose text messaging app is configured to include their signature automatically. The RealBird SMS Text Message Marketing platform now correctly handles these specific cases as well. 

Advanced, lead capture webhook API

This is an advanced feature and it is valuable for those members who work with 3rd party developers. If configured, we are now posting the details of your lead as you receive them to any 3rd party webhook Url you set. This is a preliminary release of this feature and available upon request. More details about this including documentation and other API features will be posted in the upcoming weeks.

-- The RealBird Team
www.realbird.com


Phone call activated, geo location enabled mobile marketing with RealBird and Twilio

This is one of the coolest and most unique features that we launched so far for the RealBird Text Message Marketing platform.

The RealBird Text Message Marketing service is built on top of the Twilio infrastructure. As we wrote when we first launched in December, the primary goal was to provide a text (SMS) keyword marketing tool for you: your prospective buyers see your call-for-action message asking them to text a keyword to your Twilio phone number and when they do so, RealBird returns to them your property information via an SMS reply, while also capturing their phone numbers for you. 

Soon after the launch, we noticed that consumers had a tendency to call the SMS phone number, rather than texting the SMS keywords, so we began to work on RealBird features that can handle incoming calls on your SMS phone number as well.

First, we made sure that prospects who call your marketing phone number are captured in your RealBird contacts database so that you can call them back with more details. Now there is another feature automatically available to RealBird PRO members:

RealBird Geo Enabled Voice Call
This feature is very unique and powerful: When a prospect calls your phone number, we not only store their contact information for you, but we automatically and instantly return to him or her an SMS message on your behalf with a geo location enabled link in it. This is how the workflow goes:

  1. Prospect calls your SMS phone number 
  2. RealBird captures his/her phone number in your RealBird database and sends you an email with the prospect's details 
  3. RealBird hangs up the phone call (we'll have more options for this soon) 
  4. Then instantly, RealBird sends an SMS message back to the prospect: The SMS contains and thank you note, your RealBird phone number to call (your regular number in your profile) 
    AND and link to a special RealBird mobile page 
  5. If this special link is followed by the user via their smartphones, RealBird asks the prospect for permission to access his/her location (via the GPS geolocation feature available in modern smartphones) 

    A) If prospects declines this (or his/her phone does not support geolocation), RealBird redirects the user to your RealBird mobile website's homepage

    B ) If prospect allows the GPS lookup, than RealBird searches your RealBird listings for the nearby property (within 0.2 miles of your prospect's current location) 

    >> If the RealBird listing is found (prospect is in front of your property within 200 feet), then RealBird redirects him/her to your mobile property website showing the property details 

    >> If the listing was not found (e.g. the prospect called your number via a magazine, print ad etc. - i.e. away from your property), RealBird redirects the prospect to your RealBird mobile site's homepage

This is a very powerful and novel feature that bridges phone calls with geolocation enabled smartphones and provides an additional way for you to turn these prospects into clients.

And just like with the SMS feature, you can use this new voice feature to WOW your prospective sellers at listing interviews: You can set up a draft listing on RealBird prior to your meeting and at your seller's house - as a demonstration - you can call your Twilio phone number, receive the geo enabled SMS message and automatically pull up their property information on your smartphone.

If this does not WOW your prospective sellers about your technical/marketing capabilities, I am not sure what will :)

We hope you will like this new RealBird feature and put it to good use.

Should you need help with setting up Twilio with RealBird, please contact us directly as Twilio does not have access to the RealBird backend and they can't support our integration. We are here to help if you need assistance. 

 

-- The RealBird Team
www.realbird.com


Unifying the RealBird mobile user interfaces

By looking at our web analytics of the last few months, we noticed a solid month-to-month growth in smartphone access on the RealBird property marketing platform. 15.4% of visitors on the RealBird members' sites were using smartphones in November 2011 and the number has been growing ever since. As of February 2012, it is up to 18.6%, up more than one percent from January's 17.5% and there is no sign of slowing down.

We have been planning to unify the RealBird mobile user interfaces for a while, but this trend convinced us that the time had arrived for implementation and we just launched the first set of updates today.

See below the summary of the new features, all of them are automatically applied to RealBird PRO property websites:

RealBird Unified Mobile Platform

  1. We are now "deep linking" into your RealBird Mobile Real Estate Site to show the property details. 
  2. "Deep linking" now applies no matter where your visitors come from: via your SMS text keyword marketing, your QR codes, or following a link on social media or blog posts, from any sources as long as the consumer is using his or her smartphone to access your listing information
  3. When the mobile listing information is "deep linked" to (vs navigation from your RealBird mobile website's homepage), the header of the details page is slightly different: your mobile property page shows the "Home" icon on the top left, "Info" as the header and a "Nearby" button on the top right. The "Home" icon links to your RealBird Mobile Website's homepage, where visitors can see your other listings, start a property search or read your blog posts. The "Nearby" button links directly to your RealBird Mobile Search form so that they can find other properties and send inquiries about those to you. 
  4. We also added a second call-for-action link - called "Schedule Showing" - below the primary photo. It opens the same inquiry form as the previously and still available "Request More Info" button at the bottom of the mobile listing page. We've noticed a great deal of improvement in visitors-to-lead conversion, ever since we added the "Schedule Showing" button to the regular single property websites, so we decided to add it to the mobile version as well.
  5. Finally, "Draft" listings (unpublished RealBird listings, saved as Drafts) are shown on the mobile devices. This is only applicable for deep linked property pages, so they won't show up in your featured listings list if the mobile user starts the navigation from your RealBird mobile website's homepage.

This last option - i.e. showing draft listings - is a very powerful marketing tool for Expired and FSBO listing interviews. You can now set up a "Draft" listing on RealBird for your prospective sellers prior to the interview. And because the property site has "Draft" status, it won't be syndicated, search engine indexed or shown on your public RealBird widgets. However you can create its own SMS text keyword, QR code and demonstrate your mobile marketing capabilities for your prospective sellers. Just ask them to scan their own QR code on their smartphone or text the SMS keyword to the phone number and they can see the instant result. Wow them with your mobile marketing services. When you win the listing, you can log back into RealBird and you can "Publish" the draft property website easily. Just a quick note: in case of expired listings, make sure you don't use copyrighted materials: e.g. the previous agent's photos, notes etc.

Let us know what you think?

Thanks and Enjoy !

-- The RealBird Team
www.realbird.com 

 

 


Summary of new RealBird features launched in 2011

RealBird-Bird-LargeToday is the last business day of 2011 and we thought it is the good time to summarize the main new RealBird features that we launched in 2011. 

Switched the RealBird Property Search from Google Base to Oodle data

As you may recall Google suddenly announced in January '11 the discontinuation of Google Base. Because the RealBird Property Search was based on data from Google Base, we had to find another solution. We successfully ported the application to use real estate data from Oodle, soft launched in March and made it available for all RealBird members in June. The new search application has been working great ever since and has delivered thousands and thousands of buyer leads to RealBird members.

New listing inventory widget replaced the old version, with color themes and custom transition effects

We retired one of our legacy sidebar listing inventory widgets and replaced it with a brand new one, which can be configured with custom color theme and custom transition effects.

The first version of the RealBird Mobile Real Estate Website was launched

In March, we launched the first version of the RealBird Mobile Real Estate Website service with vanity domain name and QR code support. Within weeks, thousands of mobile sites were set up by RealBird PRO members. It also received coverage from Inman News.  

The second version of the Mobile Real Estate Website added Property Search support

Soon after the initial launch, we also completed the mobile user interface for the RealBird Property Search and added to the RealBird Mobile Property Website service. Update to the platform (and the new desktop IE support) also made it possible from then on to embed the mobile real estate website on regular blogs and pages with the handy RealBird widget, including the inclusion of the QR code and a call-for-action message.

Default Property Website Theme editor added

One of the powerful features of the RealBird single property websites has always been the versatile theme editor. We realized however that even with the easy-to-use interface, it has been an unnecessary hassle to set up the custom design for each listing one by one, so we introduced the same powerful theme editor tool as a global configuration option. In other words, RealBird members can now set up a default custom design once and all new property sites will inherit this theme.

Introduced 3 Facebook Real Estate Page applications

Just in time for Facebook's application platform overhaul during the summer, we released three Facebook applications for different RealBird services. You can now easily add your listing inventory widget, map-based property search and your mobile real estate website to your Facebook business page.

Diligent SEO work brought major results: video thumbnails of your property websites are now shown on Google

We've been always focusing on SEO best practices, but 2011 brought some break throughs: Finally, over 1 million pages on RealBird has been indexed by Google and to our great surprise, RealBird became one of the few real estate information providers whose pages have been enhanced with video thumbnails on the Google search result pages. This is a very positive and stunning SEO news and together with the high ranking of the RealBird property websites, it represents a major improvement in visibility for our members.

Tighter integration of your RealBird featured listings and map-based property search

We also introduced a small, but powerful feature for RealBird PRO members. The RealBird map-based property search can now be configured to show your own featured listings as "sticky", highlighted icons on the map. We call them "sticky" icons, because they are shown on the map independently from the actual search criteria, as long as their location falls within the current map boundaries. This a great, non-intrusive advertisement of your own properties to home buyers using your map search.

United Kingdom coverage added to RealBird

We also extended support for most of the RealBird services for estate agents in the United Kingdom. With this launch, RealBird now provides online marketing services to US, Canada and UK agents and brokers. 

Brand new, major redesign of the flagship RealBird single property website platform launched

It's been a long time coming and finally, in October, we launched a major redesign of our flagship RealBird Listing Publisher property website platform. The system has many, many improvements and new features, while remaining fully backward compatible: new layout design, improved SEO, improved load speed, deeper social media integration, better lead capture, more automatic integration with 3rd party services such as Walkscore, ability to add more custom pages and content and many more features. We were very happy to receive an overwhelmingly positive response from all of our members regarding this major update.

New Craigslist property ad generator released

A revamped Craigslist property ad generator was launched in November, making it much easier for RealBird members to create a Craigslist ad with unlimited color theme options. Craigslist is one of the most popular classifieds ad platforms and this new tool makes it way easier to create much better looking ads for your RealBird listings. 

SMS keyword property marketing added to your mobile marketing toolkit

Just in time for the holiday season, we added a new listing marketing service to the RealBird mobile toolkit. We integrated RealBird with the leading SMS technology provider, Twilio and introduced SMS keyword marketing for your properties with an amazing, automatic lead capture feature.

Last but not least, 7,616 real estate professionals joined RealBird in 2011. This is our highest yearly registration number ever and we thank you all very much (long time and new members as well) for trusting your real estate marketing on the RealBird platform. 

We Wish You All A Very Happy & Successful New Year !

-- The RealBird Team
RealBird.com