3 must-use tech tools to engage millennial homebuyers
For generations, homebuyers relied on real estate agents to navigate the stressful process of purchasing a home. Customers leaned on agents to minimize their anxieties around finding a house that fit their budget and needs, making an offer, and finalizing a deal. The face-to-face nature of real estate enabled agents to build trust, showcase their expertise, and differentiate themselves through personal interactions.
But the times, they are a-changin’. Millennials comprise the fastest-growing demographic of homebuyers, and their desire for convenience over all else means they behave quite differently than preceding generations. They make 60% of their purchases online instead of in brick-and-mortar stores. They shun phone calls because they’re too time consuming, preferring instead the convenience of email communications. And they prefer to engage in digital spaces, to the point where 41% of millennials prefer to see their own doctors virtually.
These digital preferences require real estate agents to fundamentally change how they approach millennial homebuyers. They still want the personal touch of a knowledgeable agent — they just want it at their convenience. Any real estate agent looking to make a splash with millennials must adapt to their preference for using technology to maximize convenience. Luckily, you don’t need to be a tech guru to attract millennial homebuyers. Here are three easy tech tools you should use to appeal to millennial homebuyers.
SMS marketing tools help you overcome phone-dodgers
If you feel like your millennial prospects are avoiding your calls, you’re probably right. Nearly every millennial owns a cell phone, but they don’t like talking on it. And don’t waste your time leaving them an in-depth message about a great listing: most millennials don’t check their voicemails at all.
But don’t give up yet on your phone-based marketing attempts. Millennials may not love speaking on the phone, but they’re avid texters — 95% of millennials send texts daily. Their love of texting extends to their dealings with businesses, with 75% of them appreciating texts regarding upcoming appointments, reminders, and promotional deals.
Texting opens up an entire avenue of communication with millennials and sidesteps their aversion to answering calls. Texts have a phenomenal 98% open rate, ensuring that your intended audience will at least see the messages you’ve sent. SMS marketing platforms often enable you to drop specific keywords in text messages to foster further engagement. (Think “Text HOME for more details.”) Such messages average a reply rate of 45% — which isn’t too shabby when considering only 19% of people answer phone calls from numbers they don’t know.
Texts are a terrific marketing method for a number of reasons, including:
- Spreading the word about a listing or open house
- Sending confirmations and reminders for upcoming appointments
- Asking leads if they desire more info about a property
- Notifying leads of your next available appointment
A variety of SMS marketing tools exist to help agents reach out to millennials through their preferred method of communication. The key to SMS marketing success is finding an affordable platform with robust features. An excellent example is Textedly. This easy-to-use tool allows you to sign up for a 14-day free trial to discover its value before making a commitment. From there, you can choose a plan priced around how many texts you intend to send every month.
Features of Textedly include:
- The ability to send out mass texts to your entire lead list
- The ability to customize messages to reflect unique pricing points, locations, and house features
- The ability to segment lead lists to target users with shared needs, interests, or demographics
- A free 14-day trial
- Plans starting at $24 a month
Scheduling tools eliminate calendar questions
Use a scheduling tool to minimize the stress of finding mutually convenient times to meet with clients. Imagine this: your SMS marketing efforts with millennials take off. Suddenly, your efforts to appeal to a convenience-obsessed generation have resulted in you being inconveniently busy.
The fact that millennials maintain hectic schedules themselves only compounds scheduling issues. Millennials know they need to move fast to land the home of their dreams, and they don’t want to spend three days texting or emailing back and forth over available appointment times.
Scheduling tools have a distinct advantage over calendars of yore: they grant clients visibility to your calendar and allow them to schedule a time that’s convenient for both you and them. These tools take the pressure off you to parse through your schedule in the heat of the moment and minimize your chances of double-booking an appointment. Yes, your cat calendar hanging above your desk is adorable, but physical calendars simply aren’t practical in a world filled with fast-moving millennials. Even agents who have migrated their traditional calendars from paper to calendar apps on their smartphones still find themselves at the mercy of their customers’ schedules.
Calendly works wonders for scheduling clients. Customers click a link to Calendly that takes them to your calendar and allows them to schedule appointments at their convenience. The app allows you to manually enter your availability day by day or to establish standing working hours for every week. Importantly, it integrates with your existing Google, Outlook, and iCloud calendars to ensure that customers can’t accidentally double-book you.
You can embed Calendly into your website to enable streamlined scheduling from both prospects and existing clients. Other helpful features of Calendly include the ability to:
- Send Calendly links out in texts and emails
- Automatically notify clients of appointments via email and text
- Set different durations for different types of events (e.g., two hours for open houses, one hour for showings)
- Include links to video conferencing platforms for virtual appointments
- Start using Calendly at no charge for a basic plan
Async video tools make you a resource to your clients
Millennials love video content. The cohort came of age alongside video smartphones, YouTube, and Netflix. Their love of video extends into the realm of marketing, too: 85% of millennials admit to purchasing a product after watching related video content. A staggering 87% of marketers claim that video marketing leads to a positive return on investment.
Agents who take advantage of the millennial appetite for video content stand to differentiate themselves from the competition. Yes, you should be using video as a lead generation tool, but you should also expand your video reach beyond the realms of lead generation.
Consider asynchronous (async) video tools as a way to encourage continued engagement with your customers. Just because you captured a millennial client as a lead doesn’t mean they’ve suddenly stopped hating phone calls. Instead of going over details about a listing over the phone or trying to take time out of both of your busy schedules to meet, record a short video and let them watch it at their convenience.
Async videos are great for a number of reasons:
- They add a face to proceedings. Videos enhance the personal aspect of the client-agent relationship and remind your customers that you’re more than just a voice over a phone.
- They can be used as permanent resources. Record a few videos that cover the questions clients frequently ask and send them a link to the content when needed.
- They can be sent to multiple clients. Need to give the same instructions or highlight a great new listing to several leads? Save yourself the hassle of calling each one individually and film a video instead.
- You can create virtual home tours. No need to carve out time to have your customers view a house they wind up not liking. Film a quick run-through of a listing and send it to a lead to see whether or not they’re interested.
Loom is the most prominent of the many async video platforms available. Sign-up only takes a few minutes before you’re ready to create engaging videos. The chief benefits of Loom include the ability to:
- Share your screen to show off listings or go over documents line by line for customers
- Transcribe and caption videos for maximum accessibility
- House content in a video library for later use
- Leave comments under a video to encourage further discussion
- Password-protect videos containing sensitive information
- Sign up for free for a limited subscription
- Upgrade your plan to access valuable features later on with the $8 a month Business plan
Invest in tech tools for millennials and beyond
The adoption of these types of tech tools enables agents to better engage millennials as the generation hits their peak home-buying years. Millennials aside, these tech tools will help your business run smoother in general and provide you with better avenues for engaging prospects and clients of all ages.
These tools are also an important long-term investment. Gen Z will age into the housing market within the next decade. They’ll have unique preferences of their own, but the future homebuyers of their generation grew up immersed in technology. Adopt tech tools to address the needs of millennials dominating the housing market in the here and now while keeping an eye on the tech-obsessed generation waiting just beyond the horizon.