Mobile App Development Timeline: A Realistic Perspective
Time is money. The longer an app takes to build, the more it will cost. If you’ve started pricing out ...Read
Everyone’s been telling you to expand your real estate business to mobile. Now you’ve finally taken their advice and invested in an app. It’s so exciting but now you may be wondering: what features should I put in the app? Before we get to that though, you first have to figure out what your biggest pain points are. Ideally, your app should help address these issues, maybe even solve them. We’ve identified four that could be solved with an app:
Each of the following features will address at least once of these issues.
Having a regular directory of your listings is definitely a must-have in your app, but what would make it even better is a location-based directory that is searchable and mappable. Whatever app you decide to build, make sure that you can easily filter and search through the directory.
You wouldn’t want just a random assortment of gallery images, but a proper profile for each home listing with the details, prices, photos, locations and more. The ability to create categories for the types of homes would be great too so your leads can go straight to whatever they’re looking for.
The directory should also have the ability to link in videos, especially if you have home tour videos already made. This can be done either by embedding the video directly into the app or via link.
Another important feature that you should be looking for in an app’s directory is bulk uploading. Manually entering each real estate listing might take a long time, especially if you have a ton of homes currently on the market. One way to mitigate this would be through bulk uploading. You can do this on the Buildfire platform with the Places Plugin Template.
This is powered by our Places Plugin.
It’d be a shame to get a lead interested in a specific house only to have them get confused about how to contact you about it. Having a Contact Us Plugin on the homepage is great, but what if they want to stay on the same listing they were looking at and call you at the same time?
It’s a small feature, but one that can make a huge difference. You want to keep all avenues of communication as open as possible in order to capture all the leads you can: phone, text, email, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and — why not? — Google+.
We highly recommend you put an easy way to contact you on every single listing possible. This might seem like a lot of work, but on Buildfire it’s super simple. All you have to do is click “Add Link” and input in your contact information. On the bulk uploading feature mentioned earlier, there are also options to input in the contact information.
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Continuing on the same vein of trying to be as accessible as possible to leads, this openness must extend to scheduling appointments as well. Scheduling appointments can be done directly with you via phone or email, but wouldn’t it be so much easier if they could do it while looking at your calendar, no phone call necessary?
On Buildfire, we have two plugins with the sole purpose of making appointment scheduling that much easier.
Calendly is a no-frills and modern scheduling app. This is for people who are looking for a platform that’s simple to use and easy to set up. When your lead goes in, they’ll simply tap on an open slot, answer your questions, and receive an email confirmation of the appointment. It’s free, but only for scheduling 15 minute time slots. You will have to upgrade to get more options.
You Can Book Me basically serves the same function(s) that Calendy does, except it allows for more customization. This is a great option if branding is very important to you.
Besides the typical email and phone, you need to be available on every other communication channel as well. You wouldn’t want to miss any opportunity for a customer to come to you! Email, chat, text, and social media are the other communication channels that come to mind. Most app builders should come with these basic features. All of this was already covered earlier on in this article.
But how about Slack, Zendesk, or Salesforce — all incredibly powerful tools for communicating with your leads? These and more can be integrated through the Smooch.io platform. It provides a simple interface for easily communicating with your users. It’s a tool with a lot of potential, which is why there’s a plugin for it on the Buildfire Platform.
What would you use the Smooch Chat Plugin for? Well, you can use it as a customer support tool. If anybody has any questions ever about any of the listings, then it’s an easily accessible means of communicating with you from within the app. It saves all of your conversations in one place and operate like a simple chatroom — making it probably the most convenient of all chat platforms. Because it has tons of integrations, you’re almost guaranteed to find one that works best for you!
On top of putting the event together, marketing an open house or special exhibition can be a hassle. Having all of those events in one easy-to-access location is one solution that can do the marketing for you.
Schedule all future events; this lets your leads prepare for heading out to check out the home ahead of time. If you have a brand new lead that you’ve never spoken to before download your app, an easy way to grab their interest is to let them know that there will be an open house in their ideal neighborhood within the next couple weeks. They’ll be thinking, “Hey, it doesn’t hurt to check this out.”
Then, send a notification out a day or two before to remind your clients to come out, just in case they haven’t inputted it into their personal calendars yet. It’s more efficient than even email and social media because — let’s face it — we all check our phones every time a notification comes through.
On our platform we give you two options for this: creating an in-app calendar or integrating an existing calendar.
Our Event Calendar Manual Plugin lets you create events from within the app. It’s incredibly customizable and lets you build out the calendar natively.
On the other hand, the Event Calendar Feed Plugin lets you integrate with an iCal or Google Calendar. This is handy if you don’t have time to create individual events in the Manual Plugin and you already have all of the events created in a Google Calendar. All you have to do is copy and paste in the iCal Feed. Yup! That’s it 🙂
Notifications are the backbone of mobile engagement and is one of the features that apps have but mobile websites do not. Here are some tips on making the most out of mobile’s most powerful feature in order to sell more homes.
It’s one thing to have the ability to send a notification out to everyone, it’s another to have targeted notifications. It’s just as powerful as basic targeted marketing is — if you have the ability to organize your users into groups, then you’re more likely to make effective sales and increase conversion. You can create Notification Groups that are separated by things like location (neighborhood, city, state), whether they’re a buyer or a seller, what kind of home they’re looking for, their price range etc.
After you create these groups, now all you have to worry about is sending out notifications. Here are some ideas to get you started:
Send a notification whenever…
You can create an amazing and well-designed app filled with amazing homes for sale, but if you don’t give your users a reason to keep checking back then those leads are more likely to leave. Use Notifications as a way to nurture your leads and keep them around for future purchases and sales.
Being able to pull data from your app is critical in succeeding in the mobile, and on-the-whole digital, space. Analytics on how many users you have, how engaged they are on your app, and, if possible, which parts of your app they’re spending most of their time on is crucial to developing your app and business.
First off, you’ll need to know how many downloads and registered users you have. You can easily see this displayed as a graph on our control panel under the Analytics section.
Secondly, it’d be nice to know more specific information on your user engagement. You can find out valuable information such as which parts of the app your leads tap on the most, how much time they spend on your app, and how often they open your app a day. On Buildfire, we let you integrate with Segment, which does just that.
Note: in order to measure registered users and use the analytics to its full potential, your users will have to have an account on your app. To do this, just click the Requires Login checkbox on any of our Plugins.
Analytics is key to understanding who your users are behind the anonymous numbers. With this, you can then have more power over how to manage them.
Once you have the analytics on your users, the next step is to have a system for managing all of them. How else are you going to know which users are looking for a 1BR house versus a 2BR one? Or the ones that are looking for homes in Austin, TX and not Dallas?
Having a User Management and Tagging system built into your app building and managing platform can solve this. On ours, we let you view all of the user profiles created in your app as well as apply tags to them. Tags are keywords that you’d like to associate with your users. For example, they can be things like: 2BR, Apartment-Hunting, Seller, Homeowner, Family, Looking-For-$80000-Home.
Earlier I mentioned how to build your app in a way that makes it as easy as possible for leads to contact you. Well, with User Profiles, we make it as easy as possible for you to reach out to them. When creating a user profile, we require users input their email address at the least.
Boom! You now have one mean of reaching out to a lead that was interested enough in your real estate to download your app and create an account. That’s huge!
Now, we also let users edit their user profile and add in more information like their social media, website, phone number, and brief bio. If you actively encourage your users to fill out their user profile, then our user management tool can become a powerful lead management tool for your business.
You can learn more about how our User Management and Tagging System works below.
Finding real estate success in the mobile space isn’t as simple as putting an app out there and hoping for the best. But it doesn’t have to be incredibly hard and headache-inducing either. All you need is a few key features in order to keep your users engaged and interested. If you follow this guide, you’re bound to keep your leads up until their first home sale/purchase and beyond.
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