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Why Listing Portal Dominance is the Best Thing to Happen to Real Estate

December 16 2014

home cell laptop2014 has proven to be the year of the race to housing portal dominance. The real estate industry has seen unprecedented mergers and acquisitions among key players Zillow, Trulia, and Realtor.com. This activity has struck a chord with a plethora of agents, for better or for worse. However, one thing is certain--the change is forcing agents to prove their relevance in an age where housing information is literally littered all over the place. Real estate notoriously lags behind in technology adoption compared to other industries, but the fear of going the way of travel agents is empowering agents to reverse this trend.

Zillow and Trulia alone control about 70 percent of online real estate traffic, and I am not surprised at all. These companies have ruthlessly innovated on behalf of the consumer as major real estate players stood idle. This massive land grab has finally caught the attention of the industry and literally forced the industry to start building and creating the demand for innovative products. Over the next couple years, agents will have to adopt new tech to simply survive.

Starting in 2015, Millennials will represent the largest block of homebuyers. To no surprise, this demographic is also the largest users of smartphones. If these macro trends are any kind of indication for where real estate technology is headed, here are three tips to help empower agents in a world where portals dominate search and mobile is ubiquitous:

1. Leverage mobile technology to increase client retention

There is no better platform than mobile to stay top of mind with clients. Your brand is literally in their pocket all the time. This represents an opportunity to cut costs and increase effectiveness of their marketing dollars. Whether it be your own app or popular blog, creating a user experience worth experiencing is a tremendously powerful way to create "stickiness" with your clients.

2. Email reigns supreme for customer acquisition

As a technology start up CEO, "word of mouth" and e-mail marketing continue to prove to be the most cost effective way to acquire new customers. Although I am not an agent, email marketing is extremely effective, and learning how to target your customers effectively can allow you significantly decrease your customer acquisition cost.

The trick is to master your subject line. Find your subject line that has an open rate greater than 50 percent of the time consistently, and it is only a matter of time before the phone starts to ring.

3. Embrace a concierge level of service

The real estate process is an emotional, stressful, and time-consuming transaction. As an agent, it is your job to minimize the often-painstaking process of buying a home. The goal of an agent is to make sure every client leaves the closing table with a positive lasting impression of you.

For example, the last experience you have at Disney World is not the fireworks, but it is the parking lot. Disney invests a lot of money to ensure parking garage attendants are there every step of the way to help you find your car.

Without spending much money or time, agents can easily leave that lasting impression by sharing their list of vendors or hooking up the utilities for them. Maximizing utility without breaking the bank is the job of every successful real estate agent.