Step aside, email. These days, text messaging is the fastest way to get in touch with real estate leads and clients.
Text messages have a much higher open rate than emails, according to SMS Comparison. Get a load of these stats:
- 98% of all text messages sent are opened (compared to 20% of emails)
- 45% of text messages receive a response (compared to 6% of emails).
If you aren't already using text messaging in your real estate business, it's time to get on it!
Read on to learn how you can set up automated text messages to respond to leads faster, provide superb client care, and stay in touch with past clients.
Text Messaging for Real Estate: The Basics
Before we dive in, here are a couple of basics to understand about using text messaging for your real estate business:
First of all, you might hear texting referred to as SMS messaging. SMS stands for Short Message Service.
Second, the three tactics listed below involve sending automated text messages. That means you’ll need some sort of automation platform with which to execute these ideas. Chances are, your real estate CRM has texting capabilities built in (if you're a Realvolve user, you're all set).
Now that we’ve covered those basics, let’s get to the good stuff.
3 Automated Text Messaging Tactics for Real Estate Agents
1) Create an auto-responder for improved speed to lead.
According to Market Leader, 31% of leads expect a real estate agent to reply instantly to their online inquiry, and you are 100x more likely to reach a lead if you respond within 5 minutes versus 1 hour.
But what if a buyer is online at 2 AM searching for houses...and you're fast asleep?
If that buyer clicks to inquire about a property, you’re not going to see it until hours later. Meanwhile, that same buyer is going to find another property on someone else’s site—and there, they might receive an immediate response.
So what does this mean? Are you destined to forever miss out on late-night leads, just because you go to bed at a reasonable hour?
Not at all. You just need to set up an auto-responder text message.
To respond to online leads instantly and automatically, you can set up an automated text message to reply instantly to online leads. The text message should say something like, “Hi [name], thanks for your interest in the property at [address]! When could I give you a call?”
*In Realvolve, you can create text message templates and use merge fields (the words in brackets) to pull in relevant data. Realvolve templates allow you to put a lot of personalization into your automated text messages.
2) Send appointment reminders.
During a buyer or seller transaction, there are many important dates and appointments that you and your client need to remember. A lot of these are standard parts of a transaction: the home inspection, the appraisal, the closing date, etc.
Rather than manually sending your client all of these text message reminders, you can incorporate them into your workflows and have them go out automatically. In Realvolve, for example, you can create a home inspection reminder text and schedule it to send two days before the inspection date.
*Realvolve's 4D automation allows you to schedule tasks to occur on a specific date, after a delay, after a previous task is done, or based on a decision point.
Think of all the time you'll save by not having to manually send these same text message reminders over and over again!
3) Stay in touch with past clients.
Automated text messages can also be a great way to stay in touch with clients after closing. Here are a few ideas for what to send:
- Check in two weeks after close: "How is everything going? Are you getting settled? Let me know if you need any recommendations for contractors/cleaners/etc."
- Wish them a "happy home anniversary" one year after close
- Send a "happy birthday" message
- Ask them to write a review on your preferred site
- Invite them to your client appreciation event
Should you implement a texting strategy?
There is certainly a right time and place for text messaging. Should you completely eliminate your warm-calling strategy? No. Should you use texting for all of your leads and clients? Probably not.
Texting isn’t a replacement for phone calls or face-to-face interaction. And not everyone wants to communicate by text message, so be sure to ask about their preferences.
But an automated text messaging strategy can be extremely effective for providing instant follow-up, staying top-of-mind, sending quick reminders, and even wishing past clients a happy birthday. So go ahead—add automated texting to your real estate process, and watch your business grow!
This article was originally published on October 6, 2018. It has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.