by Andy Madan
on Thursday, May 10th, 2018 at 9:15am.
IDX apps are a powerful tool for your business. They can help engage potential and existing clients, improve brand loyalty, and get people addicted to your services. But to get the most benefit, you need to know when to promote your app and how to use it within your existing workflow. Timing is everything.
Typical journey of buyers & sellers
First, let's talk real quick about the basic digital journey that almost every buyer and seller takes:
1. Search online
When someone decides to buy or sell a house, they tend to start in one of two places: referrals or web searches. In either scenario, the person is trying to find more information about the real estate process.
People who don't want to start with an agent will search terms like "Vancouver real estate" in search engines to see what comes up. Likewise, we know from our real estate market research that buyers and sellers vet real estate agents online as the next step after they've received a referral.
This means that regardless of whether someone starts their search on the internet or through friends, they're going to be browsing the web next.
2. Website discovery
Once a potential client finds your website, they're going to look around. They will probably check out your home page, click on a few listings, and hover on your navigation. If the buyer or seller likes what they see, they'll explore further.
It typically goes one of two ways from here. Either the user registers on the site and becomes a lead, triggering your lead follow-up process. Or they don't find what they're looking for and leave the site, likely forever.
Here's where your app first comes into play. If you're one of the few Realtors who is differentiating themselves with an app, you can give your users a third option: download and install your app.
Realtors should use their websites to promote their apps—especially to people on mobile devices. Apps create a better user experience and, if potential buyers download your app, the likelihood they'll become clients is much stronger.
3. App discovery
If you managed to successfully get your website visitors onto your app, give yourself a high five. More than 70% of active app users on REW-built apps visit the site at least three times per week. That's a pretty powerful statistic because it indicates that users are hooked on the apps.
Getting people to install your app is the single biggest hurdle in the entire process but it's a critical step for your app's success. Do everything you can to get people to try your app! Once they do, you may very well have new customers for life.
4. App engagement
This is where the magic starts to happen. Once someone downloads your app, they're going to try it out. If they like what they see and find what they're looking for, they're going to be hooked.
The best part about real estate apps is they're focused on exactly what buyers want: homes. Push notifications and alerts remind visitors to come back to the app, and—if your app is through REW—all the homes viewed in the app will be recorded in your CRM.
How to naturally promote your app
If anyone contacts you or indicates they are searching for homes in any manner, the next step should be to recommend your app. Send them your link and let them know how the app will help them achieve their goals.
But just in case they don't contact you, you'll want to make the app an obvious option on your website too. There's a very limited window of opportunity to get users on your app and your goal is to make it as easy as possible to find and download your app.
Here are a few ways you can promote your app through your website:
Intercept ads - particularly those that detect mobile devices
Download buttons in visible locations on the website
On the "thank you" page of any form
In the auto-email received after a form submission
Using app data to convert leads into clients
The final piece of the app puzzle is converting those app leads into actual clients. If you use an app that automatically syncs data with your lead management platform, like our branded IDX apps do with REW CRM, you can use your existing action plans and follow-up procedures.
Within the CRM, you'll be able to see exactly which properties your leads interacted with, as well as their saved searches and historical activity. Use this information to get in touch, foster meaningful connections and deliver additional info that's of value. Even just a, "Hey, I saw you looking at 246 Chesterman on my app. It's a gorgeous property. Want to check it out?" will go a long way in building new relationships.
At the end of the day, your app is another way to help people find information and get clients engaged with your brand. In return, their data will provide you with invaluable insights that you can couple with your follow-up strategy and use to transform those leads into clients.