It’s a data delivery device. It’s Facebook, iTunes, a GPS locator, email, TV, gaming, voice memos, reminder lists and apps like Restaurant Roulette.
In May of 2010, the CTIA (the international association for the wireless telecommunications industry) published a report stating that, for the first time in the United States, the amount of data in SMS/text, email, video, music and other services that smart phones are designed to do, surpassed the amount of voice calls.
The original purpose of the cell phone, talking, is decreasing, while SMS/text messages have increased by nearly 50%. Smart phone design is trending towards data functionality, such as full “qwerty” keyboards with large screens, while becoming less “cheeky” or talk-friendly. More and more households are disconnecting landlines.
With respect to cell phone “voice” use, real estate agents have always led the pack. After all, for many agents the cell is their “office.” We are not suggesting that an agent should replace calling back prospects with an app… but the research is clear that the consumer prefers to make the initial contact via some sort of mobile application. So what does this mean for your business?
- You better have a mobile application that consumers can use to access your property information.
- The application should have the ability for lead capture.
- You need to be notified when it is accessed.
- You are best served making a good old-fashioned voice call to follow up.
Our company, Arch, pioneered call capture in the early 1990s. In the mid 2000s we introduced mobile features to complement the call capture. Now, for the first time, we are seeing a clear trend of consumers accessing the mobile features in favor of voice applications.
Specifically, buyers are requesting real estate information via text message. From an agent standpoint, there are several benefits to providing consumers with a mobile app. The consumer’s contact information is captured, i.e. cell phone number, name and property they called in on, and you are notified with this information immediately. Since the prospect’s request establishes a “business relationship,” regardless of their Do Not Call status, you have permission to follow up.
Your brand becomes “sticky” because we send your personalized electronic business card to their mobile device. In a different response, we’ll send pictures (unlimited) and/or a single property website. These types of features further incentivize buyers to use the mobile application.
The trend is clear. Data applications are becoming a more popular vehicle than voice for consumers. Manufacturers will continue to invent devices more suitable for this type of delivery (the IPAD), and as a real estate agent you must have a mobile marketing presence.