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Delta Media Group Blog


Monday, September 16, 2013

Staggering Mobile Traffic Growth: What Brokerages Need to Know Now

An article and interview with Mike Minard, CEO of Delta Media Group, on why mobile growth studies revealed in new White Paper are so important to the Real Estate industry


It happened the entire time I stood in line for coffee this morning.



It didn’t stop while I was at dinner the other night. 



It was going on every second of the last concert or sporting event you attended, and even while you walked down the sidewalk. Heck, it happens while I am watching TV with my family.



It seems no matter where you are or what you’re doing, someone around you is on his or her smart phone. 



What used to be a rude habit has now become a cultural norm, and there’s no indication the course will ever reverse itself as millions of new smartphones are activated in the U.S. each day. 



Those people aren’t all working. Many are using their mobile phone as a convenient avenue to access the things they would have checked anyway. That means checking email. It means logging onto social networks. It might mean shopping, finding a quick answer, or doing more extensive research.



When I joined my new company, I heard over and over again the importance of brokerages having a website optimized for mobile customers. Not because all people are searching for homes from their cell phones rather than their desktops (though statistics highlighted in our new White Paper show mobile real estate website searches are growing rapidly). It’s because people now expect the ability to access everything from their cell phones. 


This explosive mobile growth trend is why my company decided to author its latest White Paper, entitled “The Mobile Customer Experience: Trending, Optimization, and Application”.  In this paper we publish statistics and insight gathered from our national customer base of REALTORS.  As a part of the paper’s release, I wanted to interview our CEO, Mike Minard, and get his perspective on why this paper is important and preview some of the important topics discussed in the paper. 

Here is the interview with Mike:

Q.    What’s the purpose of this white paper?
R.    I started seeing drastic consumer behavior changes in 2010. Those changes in behavior are maturing now and the method in which REALTORS need to engage these customers is different. I wanted to give a non-technical insight into some of these changes through a short white paper. The main purpose of the white paper is to get anyone in the residential real estate business to take a strong, honest look at what they’re doing in the way of mobile marketing with their customers.


Q.    What are the business opportunities with customers using mobile technologies?
R.    First, it’s important to understand that almost everyone is moving to mobile. Even though tablets are not considered mobile, to me they also represent the entire mobile echo-system that is upon us as consumers. We’ve learned through our own research and email marketing campaigns that mobile represents a huge segment of our customer traffic engagement. You need to be aware of the consumer traffic trending in YOUR personal business. Analytics is a key part of your understanding. You need to know how many of your customers are on mobile, tablet, and desktop computers and what their behavior patterns are. Don’t be concerned with how you rank with someone else. Don’t worry if your web traffic isn’t 40% mobile yet. Consumer behavior is different in different areas of the country. What you need to focus on is this: ‘Is my mobile activity growing or not?’ It needs to be growing and your customers need to be engaging through mobile more and more over time.


Q.    What are some things I need to do in my business?
R.    One, make sure all of your marketing emails are fully supported on mobile devices. Second, make sure you have a mobile presence through which your customers can use and engage with you. This means providing the ability to easily register and do things such as saving properties, providing the ability to make showing requests, send you emails, get driving directions, call you, send you a text message, etc. It’s also important that if you’ve leveraged videos in your business and your videos are supported on mobile and integrated into the entire customer experience.


Q.    What about forced registration on mobile?
R.    I’ve been a huge advocate of doing what you think is best for your local market. This is why the Delta platform for the past ten years has offered options on forced registration. In our platform we’re treating mobile different. We’ve given our customers the ability to force registration on mobile even when they aren’t forcing it on desktop or tablets. The reason is simple. Many outside studies have shown that people using mobile devices are more likely to give you their personal information such as name, email address, etc. We’ve also seen this to be true. We have brokerages forcing registration on mobile and they’re converting an unbelievable number of these customers to actual transactions. This is something that should be seriously considered in your business as you evolve your mobile platform. Using the right lead engagement and optimized marketing platform... I’m confident in making the statement... can more than double the business coming from mobile traffic.


Q.    What about mobile apps?
R.    This is a complicated question. Almost all of the large real estate companies I’ve spoken with and worked with that have developed a mobile app have issues with the cost versus the return. I’m somewhat critical of most of the apps that are in the marketplace right now. Delta is releasing an app for Android and iPhone, but we have specific strategic goals with our app that go beyond corporate branding. Our analytics show that a very small percentage of home seekers download real estate apps, because there are typically few compelling reasons for them to do so. However, at least in our experience, the customers that do download and use real estate apps are VERY engaged. While the number of customers using the app is relatively low, these customers are buyers and sellers that are serious. Don’t just dismiss apps because your current app doesn’t do much for your business or because you’ve heard from other brokerages that they don’t get any business from their app. One final thought is that if you are using an app right now you MUST have analytics with it. You need to know the exact number of users daily and their behavior. (End of interview).


As a digital marketing company, we of course put a huge premium on mobile communications, because we understand the trending and have statistics from our customer base to back them up.  But we constantly stress to our brokerage customers that they need to develop their own effective mobile marketing strategy, and if they haven’t already done so they are already behind. 

Here is our “mobile mantra” to the Real Estate industry, and in many ways it is perhaps the most important message they need to hear:

Your mobile real estate website is the end-game result of what people around the country are doing on mobile. If people are checking Facebook, let them connect to your Facebook. Link your account to your easy-to-use mobile real estate website. More than half of all Facebook visits come from mobile devices, and Facebook leads all websites in total mobile visits.



If people are checking their email, let them open your Market Watch or New Listings email. Let them click that property they like, and see it in a user-friendly mobile browser.



If people are doing some homework for their mobile device on the local market and researching whether they should consider listing their house or make a purchase, let them read about market conditions on your blog. Let them find the information they’re searching for and research more.



And if they’re just curious about a property they just drove past or were told about by a friend, let them go to your website directly or find it on Google while they are out on their house hunt. Allow them to search the area they’re interested in and find the listings they want when they are on the go. And integrate your mobile and desktop lead analytics from day one so you have a full picture of your success and can distribute and follow-up up with your leads efficiently.

As far as the mobile user interface, design it differently than your desktop site. The mobile user experience needs to offer touch-driven controls as opposed to traditional mouse clicks and keyboard controls. Take advantage of advanced mobile user functionality, such as finger swipe, touch, drag, pinch, and zoom. Use simple, large buttons to designate interactions and navigation, such as a large call-to-action and video play buttons. And incorporate dynamic content, which renders faster, getting your users the info they are searching for quicker.

Don’t think for a moment that your potential customers will just turn to your desktop site if they don’t get the optimized experience they are looking for from your brokerage's mobile site. They’re browsing while they’re in line at a grocery store, or waiting for their food at a dinner table. And each time they browse your site, they are having some kind of mobile experience with your brand, good or bad.


Mobile customers aren’t necessarily your customers. They’re just people looking for an answer using the quickest and simplest means they have available. But you can make them your customers if you provide the answers they’re looking for wherever they are, using the technology that’s most accessible to them.


Click Here to download the White Paper, entitled The Mobile Customer Experience: Trending, Optimization, and Application to learn more about current mobile Real Estate trends, and learn how to enhance your customer's mobile experience and brokerage’s brand as a result.


About Delta Media Group, Inc. 


Serving over 600 real estate brokerages, 35,000 agents and 225 MLS's across the nation, Delta Media Group is the enterprise marketing and business management solution for real estate professionals. Delta partners with companies and top-performing agents at the point where marketing meets technology, helping our clients efficiently navigate their business pipeline from lead to close.  For more information about Delta Media Group, visit www.DeltaGroup.com.  
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