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Smartphones are everywhere. They’re used by every age group — my toddler can scroll through photos and watch videos on my iPhone — and every walk of life
And they’re becoming more even affordable, accessible — and ubiquitous.
With smartphones becoming increasingly popular — your customers are living, working and breathing their smartphones — the “smart” builders will be the ones who utilize mobile technology to broaden their marketing reach.
And don't think that smartphones are a passing fancy. They've become valuable communications and information-gathering tools.
Just how valuable? Consider this:
By the end of 2010, 80% of Americans had mobile devices.
Thirty-five percent of adults use their mobile devices to wirelessly access the Internet.
Only 45% of iPhone usage time is used for making phone calls.
Smartphone browser and application usage has increased more than 110% in the past year.
Video usage accounts for 69% of total mobile data traffic.
In 2012, the number of smartphones shipped is expected to exceed the number of PCs shipped.
Applications for smartphones continue to emerge as the device’s popularity soars.
Consumers use their smartphones to make restaurant reservations and bank deposits, pay bills, download coupons in stores while they shop and, yes, they even use their smartphones to search for their new home.
So, if your marketing hasn’t gone mobile yet, you’re missing an ever-growing opportunity.
Move Forward With Mobile Marketing
From a business marketing perspective, you need to ensure that you make it extremely easy for prospective buyers to access your information — especially when they’re gathering information about your homes and community while sitting in their car in front of your model.
To go mobile with your marketing, first recognize that mobile media embraces voice, data and video — ideal mediums for the real estate and construction industries to promote their products.
The following pointers can help you integrate mobile media into your marketing:
Make sure your website can be viewed on mobile devices.
Work with a web design firm that can convert the pertinent information about your product so it can be available quickly on a mobile device.
You don’t need every page of your site converted, just the important information a buyer needs access to while on the go — like home details, pricing, community and area details, maps and contact information.
With so many new browsers for mobile devices available and being developed, make sure your site’s scripting remains current so your visibility isn’t restricted to users of older smartphones.
Think text marketing — to provide instant gratification.
Secure a short message service (SMS) phone number for texting and include it in all your advertising so potential home buyers can text you for more information. That way, a customer driving by your property can immediately receive the info they need and access details through a return text and link to your mobile site.
In addition, this is a great way to collect users’ mobile numbers for your courtesy follow-up calls.
Need a home? There’s an app for that.
Create an application that enables mobile users to stay connected with you on their iPhone or other smartphone. An app is a great way to keep your icon front and center in your prospect's home search.
In all your advertising and outreach calls, don't forget to inform prospects that they can access all the details they need on their mobile device. Also, let them know they can call, e-mail or text you for the information.
Get Social on Mobile Devices
Don’t overlook marketing through social networking on smartphones, either. Social networking apps are the fastest growing applications on smartphones today.
Users post updates, ask for recommendations and share their opinions and experiences through their far-reaching network communities.
Within our industry, prospective home buyers are taking photos of properties, posting them on their social networking sites and asking for opinions. You absolutely should be a part of this conversation.
Of the 500 million users on Facebook, 100 million access the network through their mobile phones. These Facebook users are generally more affluent and active, as evidenced by their need for a device that can keep pace with them. These users also generally constitute a strong match with your demographic.
Facebook also has a new Places application that can be a boon for builders. It enables users to connect in order to meet face-to-face with people who happen to be near the same place at the same time — perhaps in your model home.
But remember, even with all the possibilities this technolgy affords, your marketing still needs to educate and remind your customers throughout the sales process to connect with your company — whether by checking in, posting pictures or signing up on your “Like” page.
Be Smart, Lose Your ‘Dumb’ Phone
With a pocket-sized smartphone, you can conduct business almost anywhere by keeping on top of your e-mails, staying connected with your clients, getting instant updates on your social networking activity, taking photos and videos and more.
As a real estate professional who is always on the go, your phone should be able to record and send videos to anyone in your network. It should allow you to send and receive tweets, update your Facebook and LinkedIn profiles and send and receive e-mails. And that’s just for starters.
With a smartphone you can:
Record a video blog at the site of a new development or touring through a community
Video and upload customer testimonials they are most satisfied with your help
Check other listings on the Internet
Research rates and information for your seller, wherever you happen to be
Use your smartphone’s built-in GPS to get where you need to go
Synch your contacts so you always have the e-mail addresses and phone numbers you need
Keep your calendar updated and handy
Use a smartphone to put your waiting time to good use. Connect with five or six buyers in a matter of minutes, even when you’re away from your office and computer. How much is a quick response worth to you?
More importantly, how much is it worth to them?
Mike Lyon is a sought-after consultant on Internet marketing, sales and technology for home builders and the author of “Browsers to Buyers: Proven Strategies for Selling New Homes Online” and the newly released, “Social Media Guide for Real Estate.” For more information, visit www.doyouconvert.com, or follow @mikelyon on Twitter.
A version of this article originally appeared on the NAHB Sales and Marketing Channel.
“Social Media for Home Builders: It’s Easier Than You Think,” available at NAHB Builder Books
Learn how to use social media sites to build your brand, engage new and existing consumers, manage your online reputation and sell more homes.
To view or purchase this publication online, click here, or call 800-223-2665.
“Think Sold! Creating Home Sales in Any Market,” available at NAHB BuilderBooks, is a practical, how-to guide for developing the self-awareness, knowledge and skills needed to succeed in the competitive field of new home sales.
The book covers everything from the home buying process and new home financing to strategies for making better sales presentations and sizing up the competition. It teaches readers how to overcome customers’ concerns and provides specific examples of how to explain the benefits of new home features in customer-friendly language.
“Think Sold” provides insights on how to approach sales and life from a position of optimism that will create successful outcomes; how to improve upon potential customer prospecting and follow-up skills; and how to communicate effectively with various types of buyers and learn how to adjust communication strategies to increase rapport and alignment with buyers’ motives.
To view or purchase this publication online, click here, or call 800-223-2665.
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