Real Estate Webmasters report on the industry.
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It's our favourite time of year here at Real Estate Webmasters.
Not only is it the holiday season, it's also a time to reflect on successes of the past year and a time to look forward to the year ahead.
At REW, we've successfully grown our business by every conceivable metric every single year since our inception in 2004. But that doesn't mean it's time to take the foot off the gas.
Looking ahead to 2019, REW is investing in our technology, people, and marketing more than ever before. Because that's what it takes to be an industry leader.
And the same applies to you. Whether you're an agent, team, or broker—it's a great time to ask:
"What am I doing to make 2019 that. much. better. than 2018? What am I doing to get ahead or to stay ahead in my extremely competitive market?"
What is the 12 Days of Christmas Promotion?
Every year, leading up to Christmas, Real Estate Webmasters holds the 12 Days of Christmas promotion.
12 Days of Christmas provides 12 incredible deals that help you take your real estate platform to the next level.
Whether you're a first-time window shopper or a long-term client, this is the absolute best time of year to upgrade your platform or purchase service hours before the end of the fiscal year.
Why is this promo so awesome?
Here are three reasons why this promo is so great:
- The best prices: These are our best prices of the year. Hands down.
- The most choice: You get to choose which of the 12 deals is best for you.
- The best timing: By getting in now, you can have your site up and running for the beginning of 2019, well before the busy summer months.
What are this year's 12 Days offers?
This year's deals are bigger and better than ever before, ranging from $4,200 to over $22,000 USD in value*.
Everyone who purchases a new Vision or Discover site on a 3-year SaaS contract will be eligible to choose from any of the 12 offers below. Of course, additional terms and conditions apply to each offer.
All 12 Days of Christmas offers are described in full detail here, but here's a rapid-fire look at what we're offering this year:
Set up your site to perfection and receive incredible one-on-one training with double the number of Customer Success Manager hours.
Get your very own branded home-search app thanks to a 100% discount on the REW IDX App setup fee, plus 6 free months months of REW IDX App SaaS.
A great chance to enter our Partner program! Receive a $5,000 credit for your first Partner referral.
Expertly managed PPC campaigns without the cost. We'll waive the program fee for 12 months of PPC Advertising.
Want to boost your search rankings? We'll provide a free SEO Expert Audit (5 hours), plus 20 hours of content development.
Receive all the bells and whistles REW has to offer with two free years of REW Text, INRIX Drive Time, Get Local, and the CMA Tool.
Join us in Vegas next summer with a free REW Summit + Inman Connect Full Access Combo Ticket, plus flights and hotel.
Need two websites? We have you covered. Get a second website setup for free.
Want to go all in on building the best website in your market? When you order $50,000 in Professional Services, we'll give you every website add-on for free for two years, including the popular REW IDX App.
If you're looking to invest in website customizations, now's your chance to get 25% off the price of a 6-month Retainer project.
Perhaps the best offer of all: the chance to meet us! We'll fly you to Nanaimo or Vancouver for a two-hour consulting session with REW CEO and Founder Morgan Carey.
Your state-of-the-art website needs equally stunning visuals. We'll provide a one-day local session with a videographer in your city to capture videos and photos for your website—and we'll upload them for you.
So there you have it. I know it won't be an easy choice, but happy shopping!
*Terms and Conditions apply to each individual offer. See each offer page for more details.
11/18/2018 07:51 PM
We're going to Vegas, baby!
Real Estate Webmasters is thrilled to announce that this year's REW Summit will be taking place during Inman Connect Las Vegas 2019.
Our team is proud to offer two value-filled days of hands-on learning in afternoon sessions on July 24 and 25.
Learn from industry leaders as they discuss lead generation, lead conversion, website optimization, marketing strategy and all the latest technologies coming out of product development.
Attendees will also have a chance to network and share ideas with like-minded peers from non-competing markets.
Gain an edge on the competition in your local market by exchanging ideas with top-producers and industry innovators across North America.
REW is the Title Sponsor for the First-Ever Inman Connect Las Vegas
Inman Connect is moving from its longtime home of San Francisco to Las Vegas, bring brand new and vibrant energy. With a new theme of Bigger, Bolder, Better, this year's event is gearing up to be the biggest yet.
And REW will be there as the title sponsor.
Inman Connect is renowned throughout the real estate industry for bringing together the best and the brightest.
This year's event is estimated to attract more than 4,000 top agents and brokers, franchise CEOs, MLS and association leads, and top tech entrepreneurs and marketing professionals.
Over five incredible days from July 23-26, attendees will hear inspiring talks from real estate leaders, take part in enlightening seminars and discussions, and network with the brightest minds in the industry.
Get Full Access with a Combination Ticket
Learn from the best at REW!
So that conference attendees can enjoy both world-class events, Real Estate Webmasters is offering a special REW Summit + Inman Connect Las Vegas Full Access Combination ticket.
The special combination tickets include entry to Inman Connect events from July 23 - 26 and to all REW Summit events from July 24-25.
It really is the total package.
Tickets are available now at early bird pricing of $1199 USD or $1559 CAD. Make sure to buy your tickets soon, as the combination tickets are limited.
We can't wait to see you there!
11/13/2018 05:45 PM
Real Estate Webmasters is happy to announce our first new platform release of Fall 2018!
This update includes several features requested by our incredible clients related to Discover, REW CRM, and the REW IDX mobile app experience.
And if you read all the way to the end, you'll see a revolutionary new home search feature that we've added to the REW IDX app.
Here's what's new and exciting with Discover:
Map Pins Highlight on Hover
This suggestion originated from the Discover Facebook group, so keep those suggestions coming!
As requested, when site visitors hover their mouse over a property listing card along the side of the Discover's map search, that property's location pin will become highlighted.
This will greatly assist in locating that listing in real-world terms.
Google Maps Optimization
In the past 6 months, Google launched a new Google Maps Platform and introduced a pricing structure for companies using the Google Maps API.
We understand the pay-as-you-go price plan creates unpredictability in your monthly costs, so we have introduced a change to listing details pages that limits your costs, while still providing your site visitors with the map display if they choose to use it.
Site visitors now may select the map to be displayed rather than have the map auto displayed.
REW CRM Improvements
If you're on REW CRM, here's a new feature we rolled out this month:
Editable Subdomain Logos
Individual subdomain logos can now be edited manually and independently of the site's main logo, allowing agents to upload their own personal logos and branding.
New Features in REW IDX App
If you haven't checked out the REW IDX App for iOS and Android yet, you absolutely should. It's a great way to differentiate yourself in your market.
Beta Release of REW's Augmented Reality (AR) Search Tool for iOS
We are especially excited to announce the initial beta release of this potential industry game changer.
Teased back in the summer, REW IDX App clients on iOS will now be able to test out this exciting new feature.
Using your phone's camera, the REW IDX App will be able to display nearby listings within the camera's view in real time using augmented reality technology.
Yes, it's as cool as it sounds.
Home buyers can upload their own photos and notes
In addition to notes, your clients will now be able to add their own photos and captions for each listing. This could be an invaluable tool for agents and their clients to use to when comparing multiple listings after viewing. The possibilities are endless.
Stayed tuned to the REW blog for more updates as they are announced.
Of course, we wouldn't be where we are without the help of the early adopters. We thank you for your continued support and feedback. Keep those suggestions coming.
11/08/2018 12:20 AM
The 2018 REAL Trends Real Estate Website Rankings are here. And once again, Real Estate Webmasters clients dominate the list.
REW is proud to have more clients featured on the REAL Trends list than any other real estate technology provider.
The annual REAL Trends rankings serve as a wonderful showcase of some of the most beautifully designed websites in the industry.
Websites are judged in a number of categories including:
- Best Overall Website
- Best Community
- Best Design
- Best Mobile
- Best Property Detail
- Best Video
Congratulations to all three. We are honoured to share this win with you!
Let's hear more about our incredible clients.
The REW team was absolutely thrilled to partner with the Agency's incredible in-house team to create their award-winning website design. Full credit goes to the Agency's Rodney Jones-Parnell and Kate Schillace for their sleek design.
What They Won
The Agency won top honours in the Best Design category, with a strong showing in both the Best Mobile and Best Overall categories
- Best Design - #1
- Best Mobile - #2
- Best Overall - #4
Why They Won
The Agency's stark and intuitive design combined beautiful photography, clear navigation, and great branding to create a beautiful and highly usable website.
Its sophisticated layout speaks to its iconic brand with quick access to powerful search tools, and does an incredible job at providing uniquely local content dependent on the user's location.
JB Goodwin REALTORS
JB Goodwin is the largest independent brokerage in Central Texas—and a long-time client of Real Estate Webmasters.
After recently launching a brand-new custom website in early 2018 based on our popular Vision platform, we are beyond thrilled by the accolades they've received.
What They Won
We're proud of JB Goodwin's impressive showing in the following categories:
- Best Design - #6
- Best Mobile - #8
- Best Overall - #11
Why They Won
JB Goodwin's large market and depth of information presented a unique challenge for how to best display its wealth of content.
The result is an incredibly user-friendly layout that effectively covers both the Austin and San Antonio markets, and everything between.
JBGoodwin.com provides direct access to its stellar suite of powerful search too ls and expert guides. The website's fluid, flexible layouts move effortlessly from device to device.
Matt Curtis Real Estate Inc.
Matt Curtis Real Estate's effective design cuts right to the core of their business.
The website speaks not only to their passion for real estate and their customers' success, but also for creating a better world for everyone.
What They Won
Congratulations to Matt Curtis and his team for winning an impressive position in the Overall, Best Design, and Best Property Detail Categories.
- Best Property Detail - #9
- Best Design - #10
- Best Overall - #22
Why They Won
The homepage intuitively targets both buyers and sellers, while also promoting the company's incredible focus on customer service.
The award-winning and stylishly designed community pages create a great balance between authoritative, local community information, market stats and listings, and beautiful neighborhood photographs.
Best of all, Matt's website strongly showcases his dedication to giving back to his community through the MCRE Cares program. Great work Matt!
This Could Be You...
Nothing makes us happier than working with our clients to bring their visions to life.
Do you think you deserve to be nominated for the 2019 awards? Do you want our help getting there?
Let us know!
10/30/2018 01:19 PM
In October, I teased an announcement on my social that Real Estate Webmasters (REW) would be launching a new partner program and that to celebrate this launch, we would be giving away $1,000,000 USD cash in double partner payouts to the first 10 partners to reach 20 referrals during our giveaway contest.
That’s right! One Million Dollars!
We have now decided on a timeframe for this contest. We will be running it from November 1st, 2018 until Inman New York, January 29th, 2019 where we will announce the winners of the double prize payouts and present cheques for $100,000 USD to 10 lucky partners.
Even if you aren’t one of the 10, just for participating in the program you will get paid up to $2,500 USD per referral, or if you’re an REW customer receive up to $4,000 USD in retail credits on account. This program is CRAZY good!
Setting the program (and your referrals) up for success!
In contemplating this program we realized that volume could be a problem (I mean how could it not be! We provide the best websites for Realtors on the planet!)
This is going to mean that client onboarding is going to be challenge when (not if) this thing takes off. And so I had a thought, an idea, an epiphany!
Since our partners want their referrals to have an amazing onboarding experience (so that they have satisfied referrals) it is incumbent on them to help provide the support & guidance that their referrals will need to be successful. Based on this notion, we are going to ask our partners to help.
What does this mean? Well let’s take a quick trip into REW history.
When I started REW in April of 2004, I had already been a founding member of many boards and communities (such as SEO Guy, SEO Chat, etc.), so I had a lot of experience building awesome communities of members with a common goal who loved to share ideas and help others. They understood the flywheel effect and how it clearly benefited all parties involved.
By 2006, REW was the largest online community resource for Realtors on the planet. We had over 50,000 members and it was THE PLACE to go for real estate marketing and technology advice.
Sure, we staffed it with experts and made sure no member went without response, but I tell you what, we often didn’t have to do a thing! We had such amazing members they would always get to the questions before we even could! It was great! Truly the pinnacle of collaboration for real estate marketers and technologist. (If you remember this, feel free to share your favourite story or memory in the comments below or on social, I’d love to hear from you).
So my idea is this: Bring back the community! Members helping members, partners helping partners.
I thought about re-creating a new offsite board for this like in the old days, however let’s be honest, the reason the boards (all boards) died in the beginning of this decade was the rise of social. People like being on social media platforms, and with Realtors—specifically when it comes to collaboration— Facebook is their platform of choice.
So what I’m going to ask all our partners to do is join the REW Facebook group, and help ignite that spirit of community, collaboration and knowledge sharing.
Come join us and the thousands of members (staff, customers and partners) who are already a part of our amazing group and as a new “partner” help make our new customers (your referrals) have the best onboarding experience possible so that they can see the success that you have seen, and will provide references and referrals to you to keep your referral business going too!
This time, it’s different!
Back home at REW Campus, we have drawn a line in the sand. We know that while our products and services are amazing, not every customer is as tech savvy as some of our DIY genius customers or have the huge budgets of our large enterprise or celebrity clients. There is a huge group in the middle that want a great site that is properly setup, and follows be st practices, but they have neither the time, inclination or budget to get it done right.
To address this, REW has introduced a brand new Concierge program and it’s FREE to all incoming Real Estate Webmasters customers for their first 60 days of on boarding.
The Concierge program was piloted by our sales director Tim Collins. He called his new group “Customer Success Managers” (CSMs for short) and he went about creating a program where there is a much higher touch for new and upgrading customers.
The program was a massive improvement over the past process (where customers reached out to customer support in a reactive way with questions, this way was “proactive” and provided for a far more engaging experience).
But there was still a problem - the CSMs were there as “teachers”. It was great for those who wanted to learn, they set up scheduled calls, did demo’s, walk throughs, helped when they were stuck etc but there were still bits and pieces the customer needed to do. Again this was GREAT for the DIY customer who actually wanted to learn, but what about that group who just says “listen, I know it will be awesome, but I don’t have time, can’t you just do it for me?”
We thought about it, and you know what? We actually can! And why wouldn’t we! We want you live, and we want you benefitting from the product as soon as possible, so yeah, I’ll write that cheque! I can make that happen! And thus the Concierge program was born.
Now, I do want to say here that what we’re talking about is "out-of-the-box" REW products and services. Not to be confused with our high-end custom professional services agency. CSMs are not designers or programmers, they are not SEOs or writers.
So you can’t get free custom work out of them. That, customers still need to pay for (of course). But when it comes to the setting up of your out-of-the-box REW platform so that you can take your site live as fast as possible.
That is what CSMs are here for. They will take your place (the customer's place) and they will do the work that the customers used to have to.
This sounds awesome, so why do you need partner help? You have CSMs!
It’s true we do! But remember what I said about "when" not "if" we blow this thing up. We’ll hire as many CSMs as makes business sense in order to accommodate scale, but hiring amazing folks and training them takes time, and so for the periods between departmental growth, we could sure use some help to make sure no new customer is left behind.
Also, at REW we REALLY care about work-life balance. As such, we want to ensure our CSMs are not working 24 hrs a day, 7 days a week.
Just like many of us, they have families, or are going to school (maybe working towards a computer science degree so they can join REW R&D one day) they all have their stories and they are amazing! So we do let them go home evenings and weekends when it’s slow :)
That doesn’t mean the questions stop though. Our customers are fired up and engaged! They are often on the boards evenings and weekends. I know because I personally make it my mission to make sure every customer on our boards is engaged with and has an answer as fast as possible—no matter what the day or time is.
But I could use some help too! If you’re there once in a while (only if you’re up, and on the boards anyways), it would really help me personally with my own work-life balance. It means I would have more time to focus on my favourite part of my internal job at REW, building new and amazing products with our products team for ALL our customers to enjoy!
The point I’m trying to make by now is likely obvious. If everyone helps out (even just a little), then we will have a much greater community with far more satisfied customers and a much better result.
And of course, the other thing that’s different this time around? We’re inviting you to share in our business success!
We are paying you up to 50% of the revenue per sale a s our valued partner on the setup fee of these amazing websites. Our goal is to increase our membership by 3,000 users, that’s $7,500,000 USD in payouts we’ve allocated to our partners over the next 36 months.
REW is already the most successful custom website platform in our industry (and by a large margin) but now is the right time (as the market starts to shift) to accelerate our base and double down on R&D and new features for our amazing customers. I’d really like you to join us.
Who is right for this program:
Customers: The most important group of all!
Many of our customers are absolute wizards when it comes to the REW platform and have a tonne of experience in content development, SEO, and conversion. This makes them natural product mentors and places them in a unique position to help our newly joined Realtors see the most value from their REW platform.
The great thing about our customers as partners? They are ALREADY helping, and they are doing it for free!
Now with the launch of our partner program, we have an amazing way to recognize these amazing, helpful customers in a way that further extends their abilities to leverage our products and services for their business and explore awesome new implementations that will benefit their lead generation, recruiting, retention, and enhance their brand.
During this launch, customers will be granted up to $4,000 USD in retail credits PER REFERRAL! These credits can be used for any non SAAS based product or for retainer hours at Real Estate Webmasters.
We’re so excited to be able to offer such a compelling reward to show how much we appreciate the REW customers who ALREADY refer us business and help onboard our new customers every day.
Non-competing service providers to Realtors:
If you are a non-service partner/provider for Realtors, then you could be an amazing fit for REW’s partner program. Are you a real estate blogger? How about a VA or an ISA? Maybe you are even an internal resource to a brokerage like a head of technology? Anyone who has access to and relationships with Realtors already is a great choice.
I want to be upfront on this one. We require a non compete in the Real Estate Website / CRM space. We are going to be teaching you our secret sauce, so hopefully you can understand that the last thing we want to is create our next competitor.
Coaches are especially an absolute natural for this program! In fact for ALL partners who are also service providers to Realtors, there is an additional benefit in that they can showcase their success to the massive REW audience (over 50,000 paid users) through approved channels (we might want to sell / promote your services for 50% if they are awesome too)!
Realtors who are NOT customers (yet)!
What better way to learn about REW and our benefits than to get the inside track! As an REW partner, you will get firsthand training and unheard of access to our teams, roadmap, events, and best practices.
And if you decide to go for credits? You can have your own REW platform and services (other than SAAS) pretty much FREE! Just use your partner credits!
Finally let’s look at the math:
REW is not for everyone. Our websites retail at $5,000 USD setup and are $499 USD minimum per month. So it’s important to know, we are only targeting folks who not only have this kind of budget, but that are focused on ROI and having the best platform, not the lowest price point.
The program pays out 50% of the setup fee for every customer that signs up for a 36 month contract. That is up to $2,500 USD per sale!
Here is what you’d get paid (in cash or in REW retail Credits) per year if you signed:
1 per month: $30,000 USD cash or $48,000 in customer credits
2 per month: $60,000 USD cash or $96,000 in customer credits
4 per month: $120,000 USD cash or $192,000 in customer credits
5 per month: $150,000 USD ca sh or $240,000 in customer credits
10 per month: $300,000 USD cash or $480,000 in customer credits
I think we can confidently say that this is THE MOST lucrative partner program in ALL of real estate and perhaps in the entire website industry as a whole.
There are of course Ts and Cs, but if you are serious about joining this program, then I would love to hear from you! Please hit me up on my personal Facebook and I will happily answer any questions you may have.
Together, let’s make 2019 the “Year Of The Customer” and ensure that Real Estate Webmasters customers are the ones to grab market share and dominate in this changing landscape!
I look forward to hearing from you
10/28/2018 01:18 AM
Real Estate Webmasters is pleased to announce our third and final product update release of the Summer.
Yes, it's technically two weeks into Fall, but that's because we spent two extra weeks incorporating new client feedback and suggestions into the platform—making this an even bigger and better release.
This update focused heavily on Discover—our newest and most innovative website platform yet. This update brings a combination of exciting new features, new color themes, and a handful of fixes that enhance both the frontend and backend experience.
Here's what you'll see coming to the Discover platform in the coming days:
New Property Details Page Layout
While site visitors absolutely love image-heavy listing details pages, they can be a big challenge for website owners. The variety of image sizes, quality, and content in the image make it a challenge to come up with a one-size-fits-all listings display.
REW has reconfigured the property details page layout to make sure that even smaller or low-quality photos coming from the MLS feed display just as beautifully as larger photos.
Maps, Directions, Bird's Eye, and Street View
Full Google Maps integration has been brought to Discover property details pages. From any given property, site visitors can now look up directions, take a peek from a bird's eye view, or check out the home on Street View.
More/Less Map Defaults
You asked for it, and we delivered. You can now specify the default setting for how much of the map is displayed on your hybrid map search page. Site visitors can still toggle between "More Map" and "Less Map"—but now you can choose your starting preference.
Discover-Themed Responsive Saved Searches
Saved Searches are one of the best lead nurturing tools at your disposal in REW CRM. Discover sites now have the ability to send Discover-themed responsive recommended listing emails that keep your branding consistent across platforms.
New Discover Color Themes
We know how important branding is to the real estate business. That's why we've developed five new color schemes for the Discover platform, inspired by:
- RE/MAX color scheme
- CENTURY 21 color scheme
- Coldwell Banker color scheme
- Sotheby's International Realty color scheme
- Keller Williams color scheme
Discover Style Guide
REW's team of designers has put together an amazing resource to help you understand how to deploy all of Discover's great design features, including hex codes for all colors used on the site.
Here's how to access the Discover Style Guide:
- All new Discover site installs as of October 5, 2018 will feature a /style-guide.php page by default, titled "Style Guide" in your site's backend.
- Discover site installs prior to October 5, 2018 can access the Style Guide on the Discover demo site. The HTML code to generate this page will be added to our Support Documentation in the coming days.
REW CRM Lead Count
Back by popular demand for all REW CRM clients, we've added the Lead Result Count back into the search results for a lead search. That means you'll be able to see the exact number of leads that meet your search criteria.
And much more...
Thank you to all the early adopters that have submitted feature requests for the Discover platform. We truly value your input, and have been hard at work integrating your feedback into the template.
Overall, ove r 80 additional improvements were made to the platform in this release—and we're excited to make even more in the coming months.
And of course, customer suggestions are always welcome. To learn how to submit your feedback and suggestions, visit our Facebook group's About page for details.
10/05/2018 11:43 PM
Real estate technology is constantly evolving.
We live in a world that's downright obsessed with smartphones, tablets, and overall screen time.
Yet, mobile apps are still a highly underutilized marketing channel for real estate businesses, often ignored completely in even the most competitive of online strategies.
But they're starting to gain popularity. Zillow, Realtor.com, and Redfin now have mobile apps.
So it's time for agents to step up and take advantage of this new marketing channel.
Why would agents need an app and a website?
You may ask yourself, "I have an amazing website. Why do I need an app too?"
As a real estate tech provider, we had to ask ourselves the same question. And when we did, we found overwhelming evidence that we should be building apps too, which is why we created the REW IDX App for iOS and Android.
Let's recap the major reasons that convinced us why every agent and brokerage should have a real estate listings app.
1. Apps Provide a Better User Experience
Remember the main reason your clients are using your technology: They want a convenient way to search for homes.
Therefore, your goal should be to provide potential and existing clients with the best possible home search experience.
And apps do just that.
Apps are Optimized for Mobile
Consider that even the best mobile websites are a compromise. A mobile site takes all of the information from a desktop website and adapts it as best as possible for smaller screens and touch interactions.
The end result is an information-heavy experience, full of detail and distractions.
But because mobile apps are downloaded later in the sales funnel, they can forego a lot of the detail expected on a desktop or mobile site.
Mobile app users don't expect or need to find a home buyer's guide, or company biographies, or detailed neighborhood descriptions.
Instead, people using real estate apps just want to search for homes in the most convenient way possible. That's it.
Apps are Lightweight
"The more functionality you have, the more complicated it gets for the user to understand," said Andy Madan, the lead iOS developer at Real Estate Webmasters.
"This problem exists on desktop websites too but is significantly amplified on mobile devices. Because of size constraints, apps have to focus on what users want or need the most. There's simply no room for excess or fluff."
Without all the distractions required on a desktop or mobile site, real estate apps can focus on the goal of creating the best property search possible for each individual device. Every feature and function is created and optimized for device-specific interactions, and that results in a stronger user experience.
"When we build real estate apps, we intentionally construct every element and consider it within the mobile context. We're constantly thinking about how the user is going to interact with each element on their device and optimize the app for the micro-moments that intuitively guide our decisions. Significant time and care are put into user experience and, as a result, native apps are easier to use and understand than mobile sites," said Andy.
2. Apps Are Stickier, with More User Engagement
87% of millennials never part from their phone. As a real estate agent, that means you can connect with a huge portion of the buying population at any time once they've downloaded your app.
Research by Criteo concluded that apps deliver 2X the new user retention power when compared to mobile web users, and app users are twice as likely to return within 30 days.
Why? The result of superior mobile experiences is better stickiness, loyalty, and conversion.
In fact, Criteo's research of the retail shopping industry concluded that apps have the highest conversion rate out of any online channel. By contrast, mobile websites have the lowest conversion and desktop falls in between the two. Users naturally gravitate away from the poor experiences they have on mobile, even if they aren't consciously aware that it's happening.
But apps have another secret weapon that actually exists outside of the app itself:
Once a client has downloaded your app, you are free to send push notifications directly to their device—and it's a tool that you should take advantage of.
For example, the branded REW IDX App for iOS and Android can trigger push notifications in any number of ways:
- New listing updates
- Price reductions
- Property recommendations from their agent
- In-app messages from their agent
These notifications are far more likely to result in user engagement than an email. And best of all, they keep users coming back to the app, over and over.
Of course, more user engagement ultimately results in more closings for you, the agent.
3. Apps Lead to Brand Loyalty & Recognition
Several years ago, Adobe reviewed data from over 600 brands and published their findings on mobile apps and their correlation to loyalty.
The quick summary is that apps are used more frequently and for longer periods of time than mobile websites, and the study concluded that "building a mobile app is a worthy investment as users of mobile apps are more loyal to the brand versus those who just visit the website from their mobile device."
Couple Adobe's research with the "effective frequency" concept, which tells us consumers need to see a brand approximately 20 times before they feel loyal to it, and the increased visibility and usage of mobile apps suggests apps are a fast-track to securing new business (without having to do a thing!).
In the case of the REW IDX App, the app is branded with your logo and colors, meaning your branding will be solidified with your user every time they load up your app.
4. Major Portals like Zillow and Redfin Already Have Apps
A lot of buyers and sellers don't enjoy browsing real estate on the mobile web. In fact, they'll actively avoid it and seek out apps instead. We discovered this behavior during our own formal market research, which will be publicly released later this year.
When the only apps available in a market are from portals like Zillow and Realtor.com, users are practically driven straight to these competitors, who are then given the prime opportunity to secure their loyalty and business for life.
"I use mobile, but not for agents' sites. You get way better functionality on the Zillow, Realtor.com, and Redfin apps," explained one of our research respondents.
If real estate agents genuinely want to compete with the portals, they need to be on the playing field, at the very least. Mobile apps put agents in the game and provide the opportunity to keep mobile traffic on their own site.
And that's not all...
While brand loyalty, user experience, and user engagement are convincing enough, there are several other reasons real estate professionals would be smart to invest in a mobile app:
- Demonstrate savvy and innovation
- Improve company visibility
- Directly connect with consumers using push notifications
- Stand out from the competition
- Show clients you're successful enough to afford apps
At the end of the day, there are a lot of great reasons to invest in a mobile app, and the data outlined above shows us that consumers agree.
How To Get People Using Your App
Now that we know why real estate apps are important, let's talk about how users find apps in the first place. Many real estate agents are familiar with the concepts of lead generation and lead conversion, but they aren't quite as clear where mobile apps fit into those processes.
The answer? In between.
Apps are the perfect lead nurturing tool. Just like drip campaigns or long-term action plans, mobile apps are a phenomenal way for you to keep in touch and maintain a relationship with a buyer until they're ready to make their next move.
But first, you need to get buyers onto your app.
The need for app marketing is reinforced by Google and Ipsos Reid research, in which users were asked: "In which of the following ways have you first become aware of smartphone apps?"
- 52% - friends, family, and colleagues
- 40% - browse the app store
- 27% - search engines
- 24% - company website
- 22% - TV
Notice that all of those answers rely on an informant. Someone or something had to make the person aware that the app existed. So, let's talk a little bit about how we do that with a real estate app.
1. Tell People About Your App
First and foremost, agents and brokers need to tell their clients that they have an app!
This sounds obvious, but we have seen numerous real estate agents purchase an app and then never try to promote it.
While they do get a few users here and there, it's nothing compared to the agents who actively push their app out there.
For every potential client you meet, show them your app. Put it in their hands. Download it on their phone for them. Do that, and you're off to a great start.
2. Convert Website Users to App Users
The most obvious opportunity for getting leads onto your app is through your website.
Your leads are already on the website and the app is going to sync data between the two, so it's a natural hunting ground for app users.
Here are a few ideas for converting website users into app users:
- Include the download links in your registration auto-reply
- Add the official download buttons to a visible spot on the website
- Send an email reminder every few months
- Include the Apple Store and Google Play buttons in your email signature
Remember, the goal here is to get your website leads onto your app so they can have a superior customer experience.
3. App Network Advertising
How do you get your app in front of people who aren't on your website but already love apps? Advertising.
According to Google research, 47% of people have downloaded an app from a banner or graphical ad within apps. Mobile app advertising is a skill in itself, but it can be extraordinarily effective in driving app downloads. Real estate agents who want to get into this space should look into mobile ads to ensure the best possible audience is being reached.
For Android devices, Universal App campaigns allow you to share your app across the search network, display network, Google Play, and YouTube. Similarly, Apple enables people to advertise in the App Store or within other apps using a couple different campaign options.
4. Search Engine Advertising
1 in 4 app users discover an app through search, and people are searching for apps in the search engines. That's pretty cool because it means there's potential for users to find your app "accidentally" before they know you exist.
In fact, let's take a look at the Google Trends for the search term "real estate app" in the United States:
People are more interested in real estate apps more than ever and there's no sign of that stopping anytime soon.
The real opportunity for app promotion is in the more generic real estate keywords, like "New York Real Estate." Ranking organically in the search engines is an undertaking in itself, and it's highly unlikely that a mobile app page will outrank big real estate websites, but you can use paid ads to get your app in front of major keywords.
Better still, they can target ads specifically for mobile devices, and geotarget their audience right down to a specific location. As a result, there's a huge opportunity for increasing app awareness through paid advertising.
5. Optimize Your App Listing
In addition to letting people know about your app, it's important that it's easy to find.
Some people naturally seek out apps, while others will be referred by a friend. In either scenario, it needs to be extraordinarily easy for these app seekers to find your app when searching for it or any other related apps.
Both the Google Play and Apple Store allow app descriptions and metadata to be updated. Ensure you have a complete profile that accurately describes your app, including the location that is served, and contains relevant keywords.
You can also make your app easy to find by including it on your website, in your email signature, and in any other location where buyers and sellers might look up your company or contact info.
A Missing Link for Real Estate
Real estate apps are an incredibly powerful means of engaging and building loyalty with users, yet they are missing in far too many agents' online strategies. If you're a modern agent or brokerage who wants to build a meaningful connection with buyers and sellers, and differentiate from your competition, it's time to take a serious look at real estate apps.
There are numerous benefits that real estate professionals can take advantage of, including:
- Maximize user engagement
- Increase brand loyalty & recognition
- Take back portal traffic
- Create stronger user experiences
Any single one of these benefits is enough to justify the investment, but together they represent a powerhouse of opportunity. If you're ready to differentiate, the next step is to begin drafting your app marketing plan to ensure you're taking full advantage of the benefits, improved customer relationships, and potential ROI.
Does your real estate business have an app? Take a leap forward and learn more about branding the REW IDX App for iOS and Android for your business.
09/18/2018 01:41 AM