Would you like to get to know a marketing channel that has one of the highest conversion rates (35%) compared to others?
What I am referring to is text message marketing and text message marketing for real estate.
Some might hastily jump into it and forget about the existing regulations and standards.
To get the most out of real estate text message prospecting and marketing and to do it right, I wrote a small performance-based guide for you.
In it, you will learn about:
- Text Message Marketing Statistics & Advantages
- Text Message Marketing Compliance with Opt-Ins
- 5 Compliant Text Message Marketing Providers
- How to Do Real Estate Text Message Prospecting
- The Difference Between Recurring and One-Off Text Messages
Sounds interesting? Then please keep reading.
Text Message Marketing Statistics & Advantages
The first question you might ask yourself is why should I start with real estate text message prospecting in the first place.
The first advantage is obvious.
Without having to look into statistics, we already know that text messages are probably a form of communication that is more comfortable for introverts, and less painful when you get turned down (which is quite common when doing prospecting at least with phone calls).
But what other data and performance-based information is out there?
Let’s take a look at some of the promising statistics.
- Shopping decisions are made by 79% of smartphone users based on SMS opt-in or other mobile device services (source).
- After consumers making it clear that they want to hear from their brands’ promotional texts, only 30% of them actually receive these texts (source).
- You can expect an incredible open rate of 98% for text message marketing campaigns in contrast to 20% for email marketing campaigns (source).
- More than half of consumers have a clear preference for contacting customer support via text messages.
- Phone call response rates seem to be big losers compared to SMS response rates, which are 295% higher (source). Additionally, the response rate is on average 209% higher than for Facebook, phone and email together (source).
- If you want to increase the chances of converting more clients, SMS marketing messages will increase them by 40% compared to not sending them at all (source).
- Provided they could opt-in for the service, 75% of consumers don’t mind receiving an SMS text from a brand (source).
- On average, text messages are read in under five seconds. And 90% of people open them within the same amount of time (source).
- Market leaders seem to have recognized the potential of text message marketing, because 20% of them plan to use it more in the future (source).
- Text message ads have an average click-through rate of 19% (source). As a comparison, Google ads have an average CTR of 1.91% (source), Facebook ads 0.9% (source), and email 2.5% (source).
- Text message marketing has an average conversion rate of 35% (source), and a 45% response rate (source).
- The phone is checked 47 times a day by the average American (source), and emails are checked on average every four hours during the day, which makes roughly 4 times during waking hours (source).
- Text marketing messages are considered spam in only 1% of the cases (source), compared to 45% of emails (source).
- Worldwide phone users can be best reached by text messages in 35% of the cases (source). In comparison, it takes on average 8 cold call attempts to reach one prospect, which is 12.5% (source).
- People (80% respectively) seem to be looking for text message based support to get help with their shopping (source).
- One factor to increase conversion rates even further is to use short links that users can recognize coming from your brand (source).
To give you a further perspective, I put some of the key marketing performance indicators in the below table for comparison.
|Marketing KPI||Text Message||Phone Calls||Facebook Ads||Google Ads||Physical Mail|
|Conversion rate||35%||2%||1% - 2.7%||10.68%||3.4%||6.6%|
What can we derive from all of the above text message statistics for practical real estate marketing use?
Overall, the quite favorable marketing key performance indicators of text message marketing and prospecting show that this marketing channel should be part of your real estate marketing plan.
Due to the better reachability of potential clients, higher click-through rates, response rates, and conversion rates, you will likely have lower costs per acquisition and a higher return on investment.
Text Message Marketing Compliance with Opt-Ins
While all of the above data looks promising and you might want to dive right into text message marketing, you may want to make sure that you are compliant with the current regulations.
First of all, there are four respectively three entities that make the rules in the context of text message marketing, namely the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) TCPA (Telephone Consumer Protection Act), CTIA (Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association), and MMA (Mobile Marketing Association).
They refer to the category of recurring text message marketing (sending more than one bulk message to your subscribers) and not one-off messages that you send once after the first contact.
1) TCPA (FCC)
The Telephone Consumer Protection Act was created by the FCC. They don’t make laws, but set standards.
If they are broken, you can get into legal trouble, since the TCPA operates under federal law.
While there are no text message marketing specific standards defined in the TCPA law, the entity focuses on setting standards for permission with regards to text message blasts.
What the entity defines is what actions are considered to be permission granted.
Additionally, it determines what you can do or what is allowed once a subscriber gives you consent to be marketed to (source).
The Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association (CTIA) was founded by wireless carriers.
The entity’s aim is to protect all mobile phone users from having to receive inappropriate, annoying, and irrelevant marketing text messages.
Their guidelines are clearer than the ones from the TCPA and are related to:
- HELP & STOP commands
- Message & Data Rates
- Message Frequency
- Terms and Conditions
You can find them in CTIA’s mobile commerce compliance handbook.
They make it quite clear what you want to include in your text messages and what is not allowed.
These guidelines aren’t law, but should they be broken, you increase your risk of a shutdown.
Before we can start with the fun part of applying this marketing channel to real estate marketing in a practical sense, the last association to keep in mind is the Mobile Marketing Association (MMA).
They set similar standards to what you can find in CTIA’s Mobile Commerce Compliance Handbook (feels a bit redundant) and also provide best practice literature.
These best practices aren’t laws either but nevertheless might get you into trouble if violated.
Actually, the only entity to be able to enforce guidelines is the TCPA.
Now, you might wonder how on earth you may be compliant with all these standards, guidelines and associations when doing text message prospecting and text message marketing.
On the website of the text message marketing provider SlickText, you can find valuable guidelines to make sure you are in compliance with all of the above-mentioned entities and regulations.
To not make this section longer than necessary, I will summarize the published guidelines below:
- Get permission from prospects and potential clients before you send them recurring texts. The opt-in part (e.g. text to join) is one of the most important guidelines to follow to be compliant. Sending cold texts with “text to join” wouldn’t count, by the way. This should come from other marketing activities (direct mail, landing pages, content marketing, Facebook Ads, etc.)
- Make it clear to prospects and potential clients what they can expect to receive in the future (e.g. Thanks for joining our “Sell Your House Fast Program”).
- Let potential clients know how often per month they will receive text messages.
- Include disclaimers in the initial opt-in message, such as “Message and data rates may apply”.
- Provide an option to opt-out of your marketing text messages, and how to do that (e.g. “Text ‘STOP’ to cancel the subscription”).
- Not only sound guideline-wise, but also marketing-wise, is to send messages only during normal business hours so you can take advantage of the fact that most read it in under 5 seconds.
- Don’t exaggerate with text abbreviations so the message comes across in a clear and professional manner.
- You always want to try to provide value in each text message you send.
The most important one that will keep you out of trouble, for the most part, is getting permission.
While these guidelines and rules might feel a bit overwhelming, you won’t have to be that much on top of them when you use a good bulk SMS provider or text message marketing provider.
Of course, it’s good to know them, but a good provider will have to make sure much more than you do to follow the rules.
The survival of their business depends on it.
But it doesn’t hurt to ask them during onboarding if and how they comply with the standards from the TCPA, CTIA, and MMA.
Overview of 5 Compliant Text Message Marketing Providers
In the below list, I provide you with five text message marketing service and software providers that to date of writing this article comply with the current standards.
|Slick Text ($0 to $139 per Month)||EZ Texting ($19 to $299 per Month)||Texedly ($0 to $50 per Month)||Trumpia ($45 to $195 per Month)||SimpleTexting ($25 to $625 per Month)|
|Mass text messages||Group messaging & mass texting||Mass group texting||Mobile keywords||2-way messaging|
|Text to join||Keywords for opt-ins||Text scheduling||Online sign-up pages||Scheduled texts|
|Text message scheduling||Dedicated short codes||Long text messages||Contact import||Autoresponders|
|Auto-replies||Toll-free numbers||Authentic text messages||Data capture||Contact import|
|MMS/ picture messaging||Link Shortener||Free incoming messages||QR codes||Multi-number|
|2 Way text messaging||MMS & picture messaging||Analytics||Shuffle responder||SimpleTexting mobile app|
|Text to win contests||1-on-1 chat: text-to-landline & textable numbers||Just once auto-reply messages||Mass texting||Sms keywords|
|Birthday texts||SafeSTOP opt-out tool||Single send||Two-Way /1-to-1 texting||Custom fields|
|Fully featured mobile app||Contacts upload & management||Picture messaging||Send from phone||Data collection|
|Text to vote & sms surveys||Contacts segmentation||Email capture||Landline texting||Contact segmentation|
|Repeating messages||Text personalization||Voice services||MMS||Link tracking|
|Drip campaigns||Message templates||Personalization||API||MMS marketing|
|Automated workflows||Analytics & reporting||Drip campaigns||Auto response||Teammates|
|Opt-in links||Mobile app||Text to vote||Appointment reminders||Away messages|
|Shopify integration||Scheduled texts & recurring messaging||Zapier integration||SMS coupons||API|
|Zapier integration||Reminder campaigns||Text keyword||SMS surveys||Templates & duplicates|
|Email capture||Drip campaigns||Auto reply texts||Yes/no response||Triggers|
|Email integrations||Text forwarding service||Two way sms||Text-to-screen||Mailchimp integration|
|Data sync||Teammate manager||CTIA and Mobile Carrier compliance||Reports||Zapier integration|
|Facebook integration||Managed accounts||Unlimited subscribers||Remove and block contacts||Analytics|
|Mobile coupons||Text-to-win||Text message data collection||International & landline number clean-up||Text to win|
|Loyalty rewards||Text-to-join||Built-in link shrinking||Omni-channel texting||Text to vote surveys|
|Free rollover texts||Text-to-vote||Texedly from your mobile phone||Polling subscribers|
|Extended length messaging||Web sign-up forms||Subscriber list upload||Web forms|
|Personalization||Emojis||Inbound multimedia messaging service||Tiny links|
|Custom subscriber fields||Multi user support||Extended messaging|
|Detailed analytics||Two-factor authentication||Text-enable your number|
|Web opt in forms||Automatic replies||Push notifications|
|Age verification||Instagram texting||Rollover credits|
|One per person||Text to join||Image attachments|
|Double opt in||SMS surveys||Group text from phone|
|Built in link shortening||Self cleaning lists|
|Link tracking||Automated birthday texts|
|Unique coupon codes|
|Offer expiration dates|
|Send from phone|
|Segment your contacts|
|Self cleaning subscriber lists|
|Upload your subscriber lists|
|Real text messages|
|100% carrier & CTIA compliance|
|No charge for incoming messages|
|A RESTful API|
|Muliple user support|
|Adjust your plan at anytime|
|Two factor authentication|
How To Do Real Estate Text Message Prospecting
Firstly, let’s take a look at the different use cases for text message prospecting and marketing in real estate.
In my article about real estate prospecting conversion rates, I already defined what prospecting is.
Prospecting is a category of outbound or push marketing. This means your focus is on actively putting your service offer in front of potential customers.
The contrary is when the potential client comes to you via inbound or pull marketing methods, such as content marketing to name one example.
Since we have to abide by the regulations, we just can’t buy a list of leads with cell phone numbers and then text them in bulk to promote your services as a real estate professional.
You either already have a list of clients that you can ask via other communication channels such as email if they are interested to opt-in also to text messages or you have to target them via paid advertising and other marketing campaigns to opt-in.
Our target groups are potential real estate buyers or sellers.
But how do we reach them by text without violating the standards I discussed above?
You will need to create incentives for them to opt-in but again, we can’t promote this incentive to opt-in by cold texting them in bulk.
What options are there to do that without using cold texting?
You can basically use all the different on and offline real estate marketing channels there are to promote the different opt-in incentives you have:
- Your website
- Email lists
- Open houses
- PPC advertising on social (especially Facebook Messenger ads, WhatsApp ads and Push ads) and on search engines (Google Ads, Bing Ads, etc.)
- Direct mailing
In the following articles of mine, I discussed many more real estate marketing channels that you can use to promote your opt-in incentive for text message marketing and prospecting:
- All You Need to Know About Real Estate Prospecting Conversion Rates
- How to Find Motivated Sellers in Real Estate Using 80/20
- Top Real Estate Marketing Ideas From 10 Real Estate Pros
- Do Open Houses Really Sell Homes and Do Serious Buyers Go There
What you might have had in mind first when thinking of prospecting with text messages is bringing cold calling 1:1 to text messaging which is not advisable because of the existing regulations.
If you have a smartphone (you have one, right?) you know push notifications as these short messages that provided you have them activated can appear several times per day on your smartphone screen.
The common ones come from different apps and websites such as news sites, weather, social media updates and more.
The potential clients that you can target with push notifications have already agreed to receive these notifications from a website.
This means that ads can be delivered to the user’s mobile or desktop devices via notifications.
One strategy to get an opt-in for text messages from potential clients is to run a push notification campaign where you use a lead magnet as an incentive for them to opt-in.
The Difference Between Recurring and One-Off Text Messages
It is easier to identify a bulk text message marketing campaign that is recurring than to identify when one-off messages become recurring.
Therefore, I will give you some use cases for both, and it becomes easier to identify.
Examples of Recurring Text Messages
Generally speaking, these are mostly valuable text messages that recycle real estate content you produce anyways, or new property listings.
Here are some examples:
- Sending out property deals on a regular basis
- Sending out seller tips on a regular basis
- Regular text messages about just sold properties
- Regular news about your local neighborhood
- Text messages about new construction projects
- New rentals available text messages
Examples of One-Off Text Messages
One-off text messages have a much higher degree of individuality and live interaction with the potential, current, or past customer.
It’s usually just one message that might lead to further dialogue.
- You reach out to a high-profile real estate client communicate now (e.g. asking if the client is available for a showing on day X, if a customer received important documents for a closing, when the client can be best reached by phone, etc.).
- Answering an individual inquiry about your service or a property and qualifying a potential client (e.g. “What is your maximum budget for property in neighborhood XYZ?”, “In which time frame do you plan to buy a new house?”, etc.)
- If you want to test with a few clients the text of a message you plan to send out in bulk.
In general, the one-off message can lead to further engagement, a dialogue or further questions from a potential client.
But once the dialogue that might be transactional-based, for appointment coordination, or other intentions dies off the category likely changes to recurring messages.
When does this happen?
When you send several more messages on an ongoing basis afterward. In this case, the above-mentioned regulations would need to be applied.
The Bottom Line
Real estate text message prospecting and marketing has promising statistics and marketing key performance indicators compared to other marketing channels.
However, you can’t easily translate prospecting via cold calling to text message prospecting since different standards and regulations apply at least more strictly for recurring bulk text message campaigns.
In my opinion, this marketing channel should be an important element of the marketing mix of a real estate professional.