There are 77 million reasons why real estate professionals should integrate text into your lead generation strategy. That’s the size of the U.S. Millennial marketplace, those born between the early 1980s and early 2000s, yielding an annual purchasing power estimated at $1.3 trillion.
Millennials comprise one-fourth of the U.S. population, and most importantly, 85 percent of them own smartphones.
Texting is to Millennials as talking is to Boomers. While the average smartphone user texts 357 messages a month, Millennials show superior dexterity of their digits, texting an average 1,752 times a month.
More than Millennials
Beyond the texting preference of Millennials, there’s another huge reason that text is a vital tool for agents and brokers for lead gen: Text trumps email on open rates.
Only 22 percent of emails are opened, yet 88 percent of text messages are read.
Research also shows that text messaging is also the most effective method for reaching under-served populations, including minorities, as research show minorities may have a lower adoption rate of smartphones, they have a greater propensity to use text.
Overall, email is in dramatic decline as a medium to reach Millennials, and that decline is accelerating. Researchers report email usage among Millennials has declined as much 27 percent in the last year.
Big Benefits of Using Text
By making certain your lead-gen strategy incorporates Text and IVR—or interactive voice response, a technology that allows a computer to interact with people through the use of voice – you’ll reap greater rewards with younger buyers.
First, it’s how Millennial buyers prefer to inquire on properties (mainly because it’s fast) and second, and more important to the agent, text and IVR inquiries deliver a phone number and often a name, versus just an email address. This enables the agent to follow up on the lead via text or call. This is an actionable lead: Remember, 88 percent of texts are opened!
Using a web strategy (based on email opt-in) for mobile lead generation at the curb is a mistake. With a 5 percent opt-in rate, which is considered quite good, you easily lose 95 percent of the opportunities. So whatever you do, don’t place web addresses or QR codes on your yard signage and leave them off you property brochures for that matter. Delivery of property information at the curb should be conditioned upon you—the agent—knowing the identity of who is inquiring. The best practice would include sending specific property information by text, but also including a tracking link, to take the potential buyer directly to your personal mobile site, which is preferable over sending them to a mobile app.
Why Nobody Downloads a Mobile App at the Curb
Millennials are finding “holes” of missing data in some (pre-loaded) mobile apps. Without going into the detail as to why syndicated data can’t compete with real MLS data when it comes to mobile search, let’s just say Millennials are losing confidence in its data accuracy. In a tight market, this really matters.
The less-savvy agent, or brokerage, might be inclined to provide access to their mobile application at the curb. Millennials know, though, that downloading a mobile app takes a few minutes and few “megs” of data to load. Generally, they won’t do it. Besides, they just want information on a specific property—why should they download your entire mobile app? It’s better to make sure they get what they want, without a lot of work.
Don’t Miss a Money Call
On the opposite side of the spectrum are the phone numbers that agents place on their yard signage. Brokerage phone numbers are generally not answered after business hours, nor on weekends and that’s when the “money calls” arrive.
Research shows that 42 percent of buyer calls to agent cell phone numbers end up in voicemail. It’s bad enough to make a Millennial call an agent’s cell phone to get property information as their only option, but sending this call to voicemail cements their belief that the listing agent doesn’t want their business. Research shows Millennials hate voice mail.
The key is to provide your prospects with the ability to connect with you the way they feel most comfortable.
That’s one reason why Hunt Real Estate uses VoicePad to power their main brokerage phone number on all yard signage. This assures that on-demand property information is delivered immediately by text or audibly while on the call. Live transfers can ring multiple phones at once to assure someone will be there to take their call.
Fifty-one percent of total leads on Hunt properties now originate from the curb. Automation at the curb is much less expensive than a call center…and a whole lot more effective than voicemail.