Two statistics underlie why text messaging has become so important for real estate success. First, 89 percent of Americans always have a smartphone within arm’s reach. Second, 98 percent of texts are read within 15 minutes.
In a way, , . Phone calls require people to interrupt what they are doing; texts can be read and even quickly responded to with minimal time and effort. Furthermore, unless your spouse is texting you asking who’s picking up dinner tonight, no urgent pressure exists to reply right away, if at all.
Why Texting Is Smart
On the surface, texting can seem a bit impersonal in a business for which personal interactions are so critical. But consumers generally prefer receiving texts over emails and phone calls, even in real estate. People are so wary of spam that they won’t provide email addresses, but they aren’t as hesitant with phone numbers—messages can simply be ignored or blocked if the user desires. Texts can carry photos, listing information, and links that recipients can view when they choose; often, this is preferable to an email.
That said, avoid mass texts—messages you send to dozens, even hundreds of contacts often lack a human touch and may be viewed as spammy. You can use a script for texts, but still make it personal. Even quick, personal messages that aren’t real estate-related can be effective at engaging people.
5 Texting Strategies
Texting for real estate success must be more than sending random messages whenever you remember to do so. These five strategies offer a plan to maximize texts as you connect and engage clients, buyers, prospects, and any other contacts with whom you want to build a relationship:
Promote your listings: As soon as you list a new property, text buyers and anyone in your contact list with a link to the listing. You can follow up with photos and brief details of the property. As long as you don’t go overboard, customers love these timely, authentic messages.
Open house alerts: Send texts to buyers and to contacts in the area where you are hosting an open house. Even if contacts aren’t necessarily in the market to buy, a simple “Come say hi!” is a great way to keep in touch when them when they are ready to buy or sell. Be sure to send pictures and key info with the open house alert, as well as links to the listing.
Ask for referrals: Text contacts—particularly past clients—to ask for referrals. Whether recipients recommend someone (which is as easy as just forwarding your contact info) or forward your message to their friends, you benefit by expanding your sphere of influence relatively painlessly and inexpensively.
Lead generation: Texting is fantastic for generating leads and nurturing existing leads into customers. Thursday is the best time to engage leads with texts—it’s close enough to the weekend to get people excited about open houses and showings, but not so close that they might already have plans. (HomeSmart offers agents scripts in our Marketing Design Center to help with these lead generation texts.)
Existing customers: Send texts, as often as every morning, to your current buyers and sellers. Provide updates to sellers on listings and to buyers on homes they might be interested in. Even if there is no news, a quick text lets your customers know you haven’t forgotten about them.
5 Texting Best Practices
How you text your contacts and clients is as important as why you are texting them. Even though texting might seem casual, you need to strike the right tone with your messages. Consider these five best practices for successful real estate texts:
Be brief: Writing a text that’s a couple hundred words long somewhat defeats the purpose of a communication that is short by definition. Think of the long texts you receive—are you inclined to read and/or respond to them right away? Your contacts likely feel the same way. Deliver your valuable information in as few words as possible.
Be personal: Craft texts that directly speak to the unique recipient. Use first names if appropriate, and reference something that cements you know the person beyond just a name on your phone. For example, “Hi Bob! Saw your vacation pictures on Facebook; Yellowstone looks awesome!” Just be cautious not to get too personal.
Be casual: Texts should be about the relationship you have with your contact, not the hard sell. Push people too much in texts and they’ll ignore or block you, so find a good balance between friendly and promotional.
Provide an action item: Create conversation by asking questions and inviting replies to your texts. Simple queries can lead to simple answers that ultimately engage the contact and build their trust with you.
Follow up: Texting is great for a brief follow-up after any interaction, whether it’s a text, a phone call, or an in-person meeting. Also, if a client or prospect ever texts you first, always respond as soon as possible, even to simply acknowledge the message with a few words.
With these texting strategies and best practices, your smartphone can become one of your most valuable tools to running a successful real estate business. And if you are proficiently texting on a flip phone, we are even more impressed—you are officially and successfully old-school!