Marketing

Fixing real estate's loyalty problem

Author
Jessica Swesey
No.
913
Please excuse the mess. This page is currently under construction.

Almost 90% of homeowners would do business with their Realtor again, but only 10% remember that agent’s name.

You’ve probably seen those stats floating around from NAR. They make this point rather loudly:

The real estate industry has a loyalty problem.

Many factors go into creating it. The average person needs a Realtor only a handful of times in their lifetime. Agents retire or change brokerages or careers. Or, their heinous turn-your-clocks-back emails get them cast off into spam box purgatory – to be forgotten forever.

In a business that thrives on referrals, customer loyalty is shockingly weak.

Read that statement again a few times and let it sink in. Customer loyalty not only creates repeat business, but also feeds the coveted referral engine.

Most of what we see today that aims to address the problem is ineffective:

fridge

It’s 2015. I watched someone fly a drone in the park last weekend. My house at this point is smarter than a lot of people I remember from high school. And big data enables Target to direct mail me advertisements relevant to my personal needs.

Yet, post-close marketing in real estate for the most part still sits at the refrigerator magnet level. And almost none of it has anything to do with my home.

At 1000watt, we’re aware of a handful of companies tackling the post-close marketing and loyalty problem. HomeZada is one that comes to mind. The company has created a product around home maintenance that gives consumers helpful information and reminders about keeping up their home – brought to you by the agent who helped them buy that home.

HomeZada is making the connection between home, homeowner and their agent so the homeowner will never forget who that person was and always associate them with their home.

Another product from a separate company taking a different approach will be launching at the Inman show in New York next week.

But here’s another thought:

NAR last year made a policy shift, which went into effect January 1, essentially lifting the barriers around sold data. Going forward, MLSs must provide sold data to brokers and tech vendors who want to use that data on their websites or in their marketing.

This is a post-close marketing goldmine. There’s a big opportunity sitting right in front of us, but most efforts to use solds in marketing remain primitive.

For instance, last week I received three different Just Sold postcards from three different agents in my neighborhood. I looked at each of them front to back – so they grabbed my attention. But then I just threw them in my recycling pile along with the weekly sale flyer from CVS.

Thinking back today, I have no idea what those agents’ names were or even what brokerage they’re affiliated with.

It’s about time to see some more modern adaptations of the Just Sold postcard. I could imagine something like an email newsletter from a real estate broker showing me recent solds for the month and providing me clear calls to action for contacting an agent. Or even something like digital flyers created with an app like Nudge.

This will go a lot further in tackling the industry’s loyalty problem than than a branded bottle of wine or plea for referrals in the signature line of an email.

Useful, relevant market data that can help me make smarter decisions about buying and selling? Yes, please.

In 2015, post-close marketing in real estate is ready to make some strides.

[Disclosure: 1000watt has done work for HomeZada; Nudge is a 1000watt product.]