According to a 2021 Zapier poll, automation tools saved marketers an average of 25 hours each week. By incorporating real estate marketing automation, agents can spend more of their time focusing on client interactions, networking, and gaining more business.
However, don’t think of real estate marketing automation as simply software that cuts out time-consuming tasks like manual data entry (though it does help with those too). Instead, imagine it as a tool to reach your larger goals like improving your outreach strategy to prospects, maintaining consistent business, and providing real value to clients and homeowners in your network.
In this ultimate real estate marketing automation guide, we’re going to take a closer look at the tools and methods of automation available for real estate agents and their capacity to completely revolutionize how you do business.
You’ll learn more about:
- What real estate marketing automation can look like
- The unique benefits of investing in automation for your business
- The four most transformative areas of real estate marketing automation:
- Email marketing automation
- Social media automation
- Lead generation automation
- CRM automation
Find It Fast
What is real estate marketing automation?
Consider real estate marketing automation as a whole new way of thinking rather than just a speedy alternative. Begin with how you think about communicating with your clients. With automation, facilitating outreach with new leads can look more like “follow-up sequences” rather than “from scratch” conversations each time.
Your current, manual setup might look like this:
- An “8 by 8” framework: You send out helpful communications once a week over an 8-week period, ultimately leading up to a face-to-face meeting or appointment.
- Semi-regular communications at fixed touchpoints: You might reach out on important dates and anniversaries, right before property tax season, or other dates that make sense for your business.
- Sporadic outreach: You reach out when you have the time or have a good reason to get in touch.
You may already have some semblance of automation existing in your process—your date reminders or alerts are automatic, for example.
However, when the reminders pop up, you ultimately still need to sit down and put together a text, email, hand-written note, or call the contact directly. Technology helps make it easier, but these processes aren’t smooth and it’s easy for leads to fall by the wayside.
Now, let’s look at this process with real estate marketing automation:
- New leads and prospects provide information through an open house form or contact form on your website. All of those details automatically transfer to your customer relationship management (CRM) tool.
- When a new contact ID is created, it automatically starts the clock. You receive alerts for every new interaction and get reminders for when it’s time for personal outreach (like a phone call or meeting).
- Your email automation or SMS messaging tools automatically send out timed messages. You might have a follow-up sequence with welcome emails, information about the local area, and homes that match their preferences (especially if your contact form asked for details or they found you at an open house).
- You receive alerts when leads indicate interest: they’ve opened emails, clicked through the links, or even messaged back to say they want to look at a home or learn more about how you can help them.
- No matter where prospects are in the follow-up sequence, they receive seasonal notes about local events, market trends, and home maintenance tips.
- Your CRM actively manages all of those interactions so you can see who is a hot lead, who is a cool lead, and which tasks actually require your attention.
Automation should power your communication efforts so they stay humming along in the background as you focus on leads who are ready for your complete attention: buyers who know what they want to buy and sellers who are ready to sell.
Benefits of real estate marketing automation
Reframing your understanding of real estate marketing automation in terms of “follow-up sequences” opens the door to a wide array of benefits for every agent—whether you focus on buying, operate primarily as a listing agent, prefer to act as a referral agent, or are the leader of a large real estate team.
Along with the benefits of faster task completion and not having to rely solely on memory to keep your outreach efforts going, you also tap into these transformative benefits of real estate marketing automation for your business:
Increased efficiency in lead generation and nurturing
At your open houses, networking events, and day-to-day life, you’ll generally collect a handful of names and numbers. These opportunities require your manual attention, at least until you enter their details into your database.
Automation at this stage gives you two new avenues for generating leads. We’ll dive deeper into automated lead generation tools later on in the guide, but for now, here is an overview:
Contact forms at your open houses
Instead of having potential leads sign in on a piece of paper, set up a tablet with an easy-to-use form. This way, their contact details go straight to your database or CRM. That means no data entry for you and zero delays for them.
Contact forms on your website
If you’ve invested in digital marketing, you might already have a robust online presence. For example, maybe you have an “active listings” landing page on your website or have a blog with weekly articles, home maintenance tips, and other useful information.
All of this content should eventually route interested readers to an online sign-up form that deposits their contact details and their specific preferences.
New leads in your database need a lot of time and attention. Since they’re brand new contacts, they don’t have a relationship with you yet, and you aren’t likely to be top of mind if they’re considering buying or selling a home.
Remember: there are over 3 million real estate agents with active licenses, so your new lead is probably already in someone else’s database. In fact, out of a hundred prospects, only one or two are likely to make a transaction with you this year.
This means the second someone new is in your system, it’s time to start the outreach and nurturing process. However, when you’re running all your own systems manually, it can be hard to find time for each of them, and leads that initially seem unpromising can simply drop off.
With real estate marketing automation, you don’t have to decide who to prioritize; you can prioritize everyone. Leads automatically get a series of predetermined email and SMS messages based on the communication tracks you create, even if you’re too busy to pay them much attention.
Eventually, these automated outreach efforts will help new contacts settle into a more manageable workload—you’ll know who’s engaging with your outreach messages, who’s actively looking for help, and who isn’t likely to work with you at all.
Personalized communication with leads and clients
A decade or two ago, mass emailing and messaging were the main forms of outreach AKA generic newsletters and messages that many recipients ignored. But today’s real estate marketing automation tools offer personalization, not just scalability.
You can tag (or invest in a CRM that automatically tags) leads based on their interests and what communications you think are most relevant.
Remember: think of real estate marketing automation in terms of those “follow-up sequences.” This means you can create these communication campaigns or your own variations:
- First-time homebuyers: Contacts in this bucket will receive emails about how the home-buying process works, down payment assistance programs, and how realtors can help them find their first home.
- Experienced buyers: Provide mortgage rate updates, market insights, and helpful information about real estate laws, property tax rules, and other regulations that might affect their purchasing decisions.
- Sellers: Give helpful tips about staging, real-time market insights, and property pricing strategies.
- Open house leads: Depending on the tools you’re using, your database can start categorizing open house leads based on the particulars of the house that they viewed.
For example, let’s say you got two new contacts today: one at an open house listed at $850,000 and another at an open house at $400,000 located half an hour away. These two prospects are in very different markets, so you can use automation to set specific communication guidelines based on these preferences.
Personalization helps you provide real value to all of your leads. With real value added, fewer contacts will unsubscribe from your mailing list, and your communication efforts will create trust between you and your potential clients.
Consistent branding and messaging across all channels
The best way to create a memorable relationship with new leads is to have a very consistent brand voice and message. This means you need to have the same tone, unique selling proposition (USP), and expertise across every marketing channel you use.
This is another area where real estate marketing automation tools can help you. Today’s marketing platforms have integrations and Application Programming Interfaces (APIs), so you can link all of your content together.
For example, from a centralized platform, you can publish social media posts about a new blog article, publish that blog article, and send out email newsletters that link back to it.
When you’re planning your content creation strategy, you can take further advantage of the opportunities of marketing automation. You might create a series of blogs and social post content about a specific topic and then schedule them to post or send in an order that makes sense to all of your recipients—for instance, a series of “First Time Home Buyer: What You Need to Know Financially” blog posts.
You can do the same with your home maintenance topics, market analysis topics, and more. This makes the content smoother and more cohesive while still allowing you to space out the delivery over time.
Better tracking and analysis of marketing efforts
Data analysis gives you a much deeper level of understanding of your contacts. Automated data analysis is even more powerful because you don’t have to manually extract the data, compile it, or set up formulas.
Some of the most valuable avenues of automated tracking include:
- Identifying a critical point when leads are ready for a face-to-face meeting
- Automatically tracking incoming messages that indicate a hot lead
- Noting increased activity on certain buying or selling resources
- Measuring percentages of active leads per new contacts and transactions per leads (conversion rate)
- Noting which marketing channels produce the most leads
- Noting which marketing channels produce the most profitable leads and converted clients
When reviewing areas for real estate marketing automation in your existing process, note the data analysis tools that come with the software. Once you get acquainted with the analytics tool, set time aside each month to dig into that information for more insights into your contacts and marketing strategy.
Improved ROI for marketing spend
With marketing automation for your real estate business, you don’t need to guess which channels and campaigns are the most effective. Instead, you can track which campaigns, open houses, and platforms are the most valuable for your business and adjust accordingly.
As you collect more data, note the cost per acquisition of a new lead, A/B test different messages, and forecast your marketing budgets with more detail. The detailed insights you gather can lead to far more precise decision-making, where growth isn’t a gamble and you aren’t operating in the dark.
Must-haves for your real estate marketing automation
There are four key avenues of real estate marketing automation that every agent should prioritize:
- Email marketing
- Social media
- Lead generation
- CRM automation
Focusing on these aspects allows you to personalize messages while ensuring prompt outreach to all of your leads and contacts. Keep reading for tips on how to implement each type of automation.
If you’re worried about making too many big changes at once, we recommend starting with email marketing automation. This single aspect will dramatically affect how you communicate with everyone in your network, leading to fast benefits and better relationships.
The beauty of email automation is that it can send out the right message to the right people at precisely the right time. No more lag time between a completed form and the follow-up email, and no more skimming through your “Sent” folder to see who needs a nudge.
Why you should use email automation in your real estate business
While all of your marketing efforts have their place, one of the most lucrative and irreplaceable business assets you own is your email list. Email serves the powerful purpose of connecting you directly to your audience and keeping you top of mind.
The highly customizable nature of email marketing means that by differentiating your messaging for each lead, you can provide high-quality service for leads at any point in their real estate journey.
Additionally, your email list is one of your only audience lists that is truly yours. The changing landscape of social media means that your follower lists on Instagram, Facebook or TikTok could abruptly shift at any time—you don’t have full control over these platforms.
However, your email list is truly in your hands, not dependent on the mercy of any algorithm.
For the vast majority of real estate agents, email marketing takes on a “one size fits all” approach. This strategy keeps you showing up regularly in the inbox of your audience, reminding them of your expertise and your presence in their area. This approach works well for agents who are early on in their careers and still dipping their toes in the water of various marketing strategies.
However, for luxury real estate agents who are ready to take their email marketing to the next level, automation is a powerful tool. Email automation allows you to write a set of emails upfront, then set the system to send the message to certain leads at specific times.
For example, if someone visits your site and signs up for your email newsletter, you can create an automated welcome series to help them get to know you and open the door for them to ask questions or set up a meeting. This way, potential clients have a much lower chance of slipping through the cracks.
Further, email automation as part of your real estate marketing automation strategy can benefit your luxury real estate business by:
Making your leads feel seen and heard
A recent study by Accenture revealed that 91% of consumers are more willing to buy from businesses that give them personalized and specific offers.
When your email marketing is responsive to the needs of your clients and leads, you make them feel seen, heard, and important. You gain the ability to send targeted messages that matter to them instead of clogging their inbox with content that’s only helpful to a different subset of your audience.
Email automation allows you to differentiate and personalize your emails to clients based on previous actions they’ve taken online or based on assigned categories. This helps remove the large-scale feel from email marketing—the feeling that you’re addressing everyone—and instead makes leads feel as if you’re specifically addressing them.
For instance, in the welcome series example above, you might send a series of three emails once someone signs up for your newsletter:
- This first email might be rather generic, with a quick introduction to your background and your services.
- The second email might provide helpful information about your local market.
- Lastly, the third note could dive into your top tips for buyers or sellers, depending on which category they fall into and their preferences.
By asking a few questions upon sign-up or creating various lead funnels with buyer or seller-focused materials, you can set yourself up to deliver relevant and helpful content from the very start.
Freeing up your time
When you automate an email response for various actions taken on your website, you save yourself the time of manually sifting through your website analytics to pinpoint new leads and follow up with them individually.
The automated nature of this strategy means you can essentially set it and forget it while still nurturing your leads appropriately and building trust and connection along the way.
With a properly-crafted automated email campaign, you can turn a casual browser who happened upon your site into a qualified lead without much added effort or time on your part.
How to use email as part of your real estate marketing automation strategy
Now that you have a better understanding of the benefits and importance of email automation, let’s get more in-depth with how you can actually use it.
As with most real estate marketing automation tools, getting acquainted with a new email platform can feel daunting at first. However, once you get started and stick to a tool that works for you, your automation efforts can come together quickly and begin making a positive impact on your business in no time.
1. Find the right platform for your goals
There are countless email automation options on the market, each with its own set of pros and cons. The right software for you will depend on your budget, how many subscribers you have (or hope to build), and your reporting and data needs.
Some programs are also more user-friendly than others, with features like drag-and-drop email design templates and smooth scheduling tools.
A few popular programs include:
Many platforms provide a free trial, either for a short amount of time or up to a certain number of subscribers. Once you’ve read reviews and general reports on different software options, initiate a free trial before committing to a paid service to see if it’s a good fit for you.
Since the initial process of learning how to use a new platform and transferring all of your email contents into a new system can require some intensive time upfront, aim to choose a platform you can use for your future marketing goals as well as your current needs.
2. Write your emails
Once you’ve settled on a particular software, it’s time to craft your emails. Explore your email automation program to find out exactly how it ties into your website analytics, and leverage automation in every way you can.
A great place to start is with a welcome campaign that can help build initial relationships. You might also craft campaigns around visitors viewing properties on your website, completing an inquiry about their home value, or utilizing a mortgage calculator.
Make the most of the automation by getting specific with addressing the exact pain points that come along with whichever action triggers each email.
Don’t forget to include a clear call to action (CTA) in all your emails. Whether you’re asking users to respond to a question or you’re sending them to a particular property page, provide a helpful next step for them to complete once they’ve read your email. This will open the door for deeper connections and ideally face-to-face meetings and contracts.
3. Create your campaigns
With your email copy ready to go, you can begin to configure your design and set up your campaigns.
Utilize preloaded templates and incorporate your own logo and branding in order to make each email feel uniquely like you. The style, branding, and tone of your emails should match the rest of your marketing materials, but creating each email shouldn’t require intense design chops. Keep the focus on your words.
Then, determine the triggers and timing for each email in every series. For example, if your welcome campaign includes four emails, you might send the first one instantly after signup, then move to every couple of days or even weekly. This way, you’re following up without becoming “clutter” in the receiver’s inbox.
4. Analyze data
As you test out your new campaigns, take time to periodically analyze their performance. Many email automation programs will provide useful information about how many people opened each email, read through it, and clicked on the links within it.
If you notice that some emails don’t result in many clicks, replies, or completed CTAs, it may be helpful to go back to the drawing board and tweak the copy. If any emails have a particularly low open rate, it’s time to change up the subject line. Email automation, like all types of marketing, requires ongoing trial and error and continual learning.
Social media automation
Just like any other online platform, social media marketing works best if you have a consistent posting schedule. With consistency, you can regularly engage with your audiences and build out another lead generation pipeline. Plus, you are building connections every time you post and reply to a direct message or comment. These seemingly small interactions can have a large impact on your business.
In fact, according to a 2020 Harris Poll with Sprout Social, 78% of consumers are willing to buy from a company after having a positive experience with them on social media. This ranges from aspects like timely responsiveness to the relevancy and quality of the content itself.
Why you should use social media automation in your real estate business
That being said, it can be challenging to post to all your socials at all times. Especially when this is only a small part of your actual day-to-day duties. Automation becomes essential with social media since showing up regularly is imperative to finding success within each algorithm.
How to use social media as part of your real estate marketing automation strategy
The first step is deciding what you actually need your automation tool to do and how it needs to perform. Depending on the social media automation tools you add to your tech stack, you can:
- Automatically resize images and snippets to fit the preferred dimensions and character allowances for multiple different platforms at once.
- Schedule your posts so they automatically go live, no matter how busy your schedule is that week.
- Assess the success and reach of different posts to find the right posting schedule and content focus for each channel.
Another way to determine the best social media automation tool(s) for your business is to decide whether you want to adopt a multi-channel or omnichannel approach—meaning you decide to use multiple social media channels.
For example, you might access part of your market on Facebook while connecting with prospective first-time homebuyers on Instagram and professionals for your network on LinkedIn.
The right social media tool can help you schedule, upload, and analyze your posts to all these channels from one main platform, whenever you decide to run your campaign. Automation means you can publish posts consistently, be alerted to messages you should respond to quickly, and capitalize on trends that funnel the highest number of right-fit leads to your online contact forms.
Some popular social media automation platforms include:
Lead generation automation
Throughout this real estate marketing automation guide, we’ve incorporated two methods of lead generation: website form lead generation and open house lead generation.
Let’s take a closer look at both options so you can prioritize the best one for your business or consider other options for automatable lead generation.
Website form lead generation
Prospective buyers and sellers are doing their research online more than ever before. In fact, 41% of homebuyers start their search online—not just through sites like Zillow and Realtor.com, but also through Google searches to find more localized resources.
Your website can capitalize on this traffic with SEO-friendly first-time home buyer guides, frequent reports about the market, and other information targeted to the specific towns and neighborhoods you serve.
But once they’re on your website, what happens next?
This is where a website form (and automation to match) comes in. If you convince your online visitors to submit their details and preferences through a contact form, then providing immediate value is crucial. You can do this by automatically sending a confirmation message and having your CRM add them to a follow-up track that’s the right fit for them.
For example, someone who fills out your form at the bottom of an article about home staging is likely to be a seller, while someone on your down payment assistance article is likely to be a buyer. You can even set up an automatic alert so you can call your new lead as soon as they click that submit button.
Open house lead generation
Open houses are primarily lead generation tools, not selling tools. The majority of the people who come through are prospective buyers and many of them might not have agents yet. So, collecting their contact information can help you secure more leads and, eventually, more business.
Automated forms can optimize this entire process, especially if you put in the work upfront to perfect the process. Consider these strategies:
- Tie each form to the specific property: Anyone stopping by a specific open house is likely to be interested in the house based on its location, size, price, or features (or a combination). This is the beginning of a personalized report that you can send them every time a comparable house hits the market.
- Ask specific questions on the form, such as if they already have an agent: If an open house lead doesn’t have an agent, reach out to them the following Monday and set them up on an automated “8 by 8” follow-up track.
- Assign open house leads to newer agents on your team: If you have a team, your newest agents will need a little help finding leads. Assign out the leads you collect so they can gather more information and start forming relationships. You can even make this standard practice by automatically assigning each new lead to someone on your team through your CRM.
Every agent has a database, whether it’s a Rolodex, a spreadsheet, or a list of Google Contacts. But what every agent really should have is a CRM.
These platforms are more versatile databases that allow you to easily store prospect and client information, track opportunities and outreach efforts, and generate reports based on any of the fields in the account details, from “actively searching” to “interested in duplexes.”
Your CRM should be at the center of all your platforms, software, and real estate marketing automation tools; everything should tie back to this essential resource.
By investing in a CRM that offers automation functionalities, you can perform the following:
- Automatically personalize communications with each lead’s name.
- Sort different contacts for different follow-up tracks or outreach efforts.
- Assess the value of your active pipeline and forecast transactions for the year or quarter.
- Assign (and reassign) prospects to people on your team based on your preferred variables.
- Streamline your data entry processes so accounts are automatically generated for new leads, updated as prospects interact with you, and shifted to the next stage of the process.
- Automatically set up tasks tied to each stage of a lead’s journey so you receive reminders, have appointments scheduled in your calendar, and never leave leads in a gap between stages.
CRM automation is like having a virtual assistant who manages administrative tasks on your behalf so you can focus on client meetings, networking, and building your business strategy.
Some popular CRM software includes:
Transform your business with real estate marketing automation and Luxury Presence
Real estate marketing automation is more than just automating manual tasks. It’s about transforming your business and communicating with your clients in a more strategic way.
Ready to power up your real estate business by working smarter, not harder with Luxury Presence? Reach out to our team for more information on how you can grow with our modern marketing platform and trained experts.