How estate agencies can sell their properties faster by using SMS

Topic: Real Estate

The property market is facing some serious tests over the course of the next twelve months. 
At the start of 2018 it was reported that buyer enquiries had fallen for the 10th successive month, and the number of properties coming on to estate agents books equaled the record low levels seen in the middle of 2017 (source).
The actual number of houses being sold in the UK property market is a second cause for concern. The total sold in the first three months of 2018 was 290,670, which is down by 5% (307,550) on the same period for 2017 (source).
This presents two main challenges for estate agents:

  1. How can you engage potential sellers, and convince them to put their property on the market?
  2. How can you better publicise and make sales on your existing property portfolio?

The answer lies in making sure that your messages are received, read, and understood. Traditionally used channels like the local press and posting flyers through letterboxes may have worked in the past, but modern audiences now expect digital, mobile-focused solutions. That’s where SMS comes into play.

What are the benefits of SMS for estate agencies?

The first point to make is that when we compare SMS to traditionally used communication tools like post, the engagement rates are much higher.
For a start, we can look at the impressive 95% open rate for SMS in the UK, meaning more estate agencies’ messages are likely to be read by their audience.
There will also be a better level of responses to look forward to. For example, if we were to send out 1000 communications via post we can expect a response rate of 2.5% compared with 10% for the same amount of text messages. In this case, SMS would also represent a cost saving of £462 (source).

How can SMS be used to boost property interest and sales?

SMS can be used in a variety of ways to help estate agencies boost their sales. Perhaps the simplest way is to provide a more direct way to supply property updates to audiences.
Reliance on property websites or email (which has a much lower read rate of 27.16% for estate agencies) will mean that properties get missed by potential customers. The high read and response rates of SMS ensure that more alerts are seen. Alerts can also include web links and click to call functions, providing access to more information about the property.
SMS is also a fantastic way for customers to quickly access information about a property that they might have passed in the street. It’s often the case that a customer will see a property they like the look of and then struggle to find it on a website, or worse – forget about it altogether.
One solution is a shortcode* on the “for sale” sign which, when texted, would automatically reply with a link from where all of the important property information could be accessed.
Customers are happy to register their details with agencies in order to be first in line when it comes to finding out about the latest properties. SMS can help out with this too, by being used in conjunction with existing advertising strategies.
All estate agencies have to do is include a shortcode* such as 80800, which, when replied to by the customer, will trigger an SMS Survey asking a series of questions regarding the customer’s specific requirement (i.e. number of bedrooms, area etc). The data received can then be fed directly into agents’ existing CRM systems, with a view to future recommendations being sent.

What are the next steps?

Esendex offer a variety of services to estate agents wishing to get started with mobile-first marketing. SMS functionality can be integrated directly into estate agents’ existing systems via our API, or used through our online portal Echo.
To find out which will work best for you and how we’ve helped our existing estate agency customers, call 0345 356 5758 or email us at [email protected].
*A shortcode is a five digit number such as 80800 which is easier for customers to type into their phones than a full length mobile number.

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