When you host an open house or event, do you set out a sheet of paper to collect the names, email addresses and phone numbers of your visitors? Afterward, do you manually enter each entry into your CRM database? If you can relate, then you’ll agree that this is time-consuming and often leads to incorrect or duplicate entries.
As a real estate agent, you’re juggling lots of responsibilities, so your time is best spent nurturing client relationships that help grow your business vs. sitting behind a desk for hours performing tedious tasks.
Automation in real estate, which involves setting up simple tasks to perform with little to no intervention from you, frees up your time so you can focus on value-added tasks — like building relationships.
Even though real estate automation saves time, some agents shy away from it because it’s unfamiliar and feels intimidating. However, once you take the plunge and experience the benefits of automation for yourself, you’ll notice a shift in how much more efficient you are.
To help you get started, here are three areas that benefit most from automation. Use these examples to step into the digital age with confidence, knowing that even though automation changes how real estate works, the end results are a stronger business and client relationships.
1. Automation removes manual processes from daily work
On a typical day, you’re likely doing some combination of browsing MLS for homes to show clients, visiting Realtor open houses to scope out properties for clients, submitting paperwork, organizing property photo shoots, prepping for a weekend open house, and much more. The last thing you want to do is slow down to spend hours typing data into your computer.
Manual tasks, like entering lead form information, benefit from automation. Some of the biggest benefits of automation include:
- Faster data entry since automation is digital
- No entry errors since your CRM updates are based on what leads and clients enter
- Fewer duplicate entries since you can set up automation tools to overwrite entries or flag them for review
One way to manage automation is to choose the right tools for the job. For example, if you host open houses regularly, you can use a tool like Spacio to automatically log and update customer information.
When people visit, all they have to do is sign in with the digital form you create in the app:
Your CRM automatically updates and visitors — and their agent if they already have one — get a custom follow-up email thanking them for their visit:
With Spacio, you don’t have to worry about manually uploading handwritten names and email addresses to your CRM software anymore. It’s done for you as soon as customers enter their info. So while you host, you can focus on talking to visitors, answering questions, getting to know your audience, and showcase interesting features in the house without worrying about any of the admin work afterward.
What’s also great about this tool is the “seller reporting” feature. Instead of sifting through all of the data you collect from open houses to understand visitors and to identify trends and audience preferences, it’s already done for you. You can quickly show your sellers how many visitors came by and how many are qualified leads — i.e., most likely to submit an offer.
Also, because you can customize your check-in questions, you can use this data to inform the type of content you share with your email list, on social media, and even on your website. For example, if you find that interest rates and financing are important to first-time buyers in your audience, send them weekly email updates that outline trends and tips on financing. This is what’s great about automation: You cut out the time it would have taken you to enter data and replace that time with getting to know your audience better and providing them extra value.
2. Automation makes messaging more personal
Lead follow-up is extremely important in real estate, especially since there’s so much competition with other agents out there. That’s why, when a potential lead reaches out, you have to respond quickly— with a custom message — and move leads into your sales funnel.
Let’s face it, as much as you’d like to personally nurture each and every one of your leads, it’s impossible for you to respond to each one on your own. Imagine the amount of time it would take to enter email addresses into your email account and write a custom message for each person. This would turn into your full-time job, leaving you with little time for anything else.
The benefit of automating your customer communication is you can segment your email list — by demographics, geographics, psychographics, and behavior — and write custom messages for each group.
You can use a tool like Mailchimp to create custom templates that let you send specific messages to specific people. For example, you can use automation to send messages to people who:
- Submit an email through a lead form
- Reached out a month ago and need follow-up
- Want market insights
- Submit a question via social media
- Search for homes in a specific location
You can customize any kind of interaction you have with your customers. They still get quick and personal follow-up from you but you don’t have to spend hours dreaming up individual emails.
What’s also great about automating communication — whether it’s an email or text message—you can create email sequences that send multiple emails over time. For example, when a lead submits an email to join a mailing list or to download content, like an eBook, the email sequence can include:
- Email #1: The requested content
- Email #2: Welcome
- Email #3: Intro to the agent
From here, you can create a variety of follow-up emails. Send buyers, some of your featured listings, then an invite to book a viewing, and then links to blog posts that shed some light on the buying process. For sellers, send market insights to help them agree to a list price, followed by listings of homes in their area that are for sale, and then tips on how to prep for an open house or staging their home.
Use Mailchimp to create an email sequence with four to six emails spaced a few days apart so that there’s regular follow-up with useful, relevant information.
Now you’ve created a sales funnel of sorts that’s designed to move leads from curious and researching, to ready to buy or list with you. By customizing your emails, leads feel as though you’re personally responding to them and being helpful. Compared to generic emails, this approach goes a long way to building customer trust as you nurture your leads.
3. Automation helps you do marketing at scale
Advertising is a great way for you to reach a larger audience. You can set up newspaper ads, commercials, billboards, and of course social media ads. But all of this takes time.
Between scrolling through real estate listing sites and social media feeds, people spend an average of 24 hours a week online. Automating advertising — especially on social media — makes sure this audience sees your ads and gets engaged.
Studies show that 50% of people start their property search online — including on social media — before reaching out to a real estate agent. Use real estate automation to put your properties in front of this massive audience.
A tool like Boost makes Facebook and Instagram advertising simple. As a user, every time one of your new listings goes up on MLS, Boost creates a corresponding ad and landing page for you.
If you’ve ever been worried about how technical or confusing it is to create Facebook ads, this tool is for you. You don’t have to spend wasted hours coming up with content, finding images, guessing which audience to target, and setting random budgets. Everything is done for you. Your ads look just like any other ad people see on Facebook and Instagram plus the landing page you get sums up number of leads, views, and clicks.
Automating your ad creation frees up your time to add value to the customer experience. If it takes you two hours to figure out how to set up one Facebook ad, you could have used that time to speak with specific leads, share some insights on the types of properties they’re looking for, and book an appointment to show them a few listings.
Free up time with real estate automation
As you can see, managing customer data, personalizing customer communication, and advertising at scale benefit the most from real estate automation.
Once you take the time to automate these areas, you’ll have more time for tasks like engaging with their audience on social media, researching ideal neighborhoods for clients, taking clients to view homes, and more.
You’ll be amazed by how much more time you have to think of new ways to serve your leads and clients, so you become a trusted resource and your business grows and thrives.
Yes, automating your daily tasks might seem intimidating at first, but the benefits are far too meaningful to ignore taking this route.