Advertising real estate used to be easy. You put up signs in front of the property, held a few open houses and showed up to let people in when they wanted to check out the property. Life was good. Things began to get a bit more complicated as technology progressed. Eventually prospective purchasers wanted to access information about the property from home. You needed a website with property and contact information. As technology progressed you eventually needed to understand social media and be active on sites like Facebook and Twitter. Now with the rise in popularity of mobile devices (“smart phones” and tablet computers like the iPad), Real Estate professionals are now expected to know and use that medium as well. Technology is progressing so quickly, where do you even start? Don’t worry, I work with (and build) mobile marketing tools everyday, and I’m here to provide you with a brief primer on the essentials of mobile marketing for Real Estate professionals.
The biggest new trend in mobile marketing is Quick Response Codes, or QR Codes for short. These square barcodes can be scanned by a mobile device and display a website or video on the scanner’s device. QR Codes work best as a way to provide additional information to prospective buyers. They work well on property signs, sales literature you pass out as well as on your business cards. Let’s take a look at some of the dos and don’ts for QR Codes, as well as the steps necessary to get started using these.
The hardest part of using QR Codes is deciding how to generate one. There are two main options, each has it’s tradeoffs that we’ll cover here. QR Codes can be generated for free (a google search for free qr code generator shows many fine choices, bit.ly offers QR Code generation along with URL shortening and is an ideal choice for free QR Codes). The process for free QR Codes is fairy easy, you enter the web address of a mobile friendly page containing the information you’d like to display, and the program generates a QR Code for your site. You save the image file and use it wherever you’d like. The downside is that the code is always linked to that specific page. This technique isn’t recommended for places where the linked information will need to be changed (like property signs). The free methods also require you to have your own mobile friendly page.
Paid QR Code alternatives generally offer more flexibility. You can reuse a QR Code, and change where it points to, or change the content of the mobile page. Some of these paid versions allow you to easily create a mobile friendly webpage (without requiring you to be a web developer). The paid versions generally also offer an easy way to track how many people are scanning your codes.
The choice comes down to free but limited or paid and flexible. You’ll ultimately need to weigh the pros and cons for each method and decide which works best for your needs. There isn’t one “right” solution. We’ll take a look at some of the potential use cases for QR Codes next, so you can make a better, more informed decision.
This is a good first place to start with QR Codes. The code can point to a mobile website with additional information about the property. Adding options to share the information via email (this is included on several of the paid QR Code generators) and a contact form to collect prospective buyers contact information are great options to include. Including images of the house, or a property walk through video can be effective as well. Walk through videos don’t need to be fancy. Many Real Estate professionals find it easy enough to shoot video on their cell phone or an inexpensive Flip cam. These codes allow you to provide additional property information to anyone who happens to pass by.
QR Codes can be effective on business cards. These can direct scanners to a list of all your properties, your Facebook or LinkedIn page or a short video of you explaining what you do. There are a lot of possibilities, and it pays to be creative with it. Make sure to keep your audience in mind. Who do you give your cards to? What additional information would you like to make easily available to them?
You’re likely already passing out property information to people who visit your properties. This is a great place to add QR Codes to provide even more information. The code can point to a photo tour of the house or give them an easy way to share property info. In general, the use case here is very similar to how you’d use QR Codes for property signs. The key is to figure out what additional information would be valuable to prospective buyers and give them that. Different information works best for different property types. It pays to think through what information a prospective buyer wants. Put yourself in their shoes and use that insight to create an informative mobile page linked to a QR Code on your sales literature.
These are a few of the easiest and most effective ways to get started with mobile marketing. QR Codes and the free and paid generators, make getting started easy. If you already have a mobile friendly website, you’re ahead of the game, and getting started is really easy. If you don’t have a mobile friendly website, a paid QR Code generator that helps you create a mobile site can get you up and running quickly.
Have you used QR Codes? Do you plan to? Where do you think they’d be most effective? Let me know in the comments below.