Would you like to get to know a marketing channel with one of the highest conversion rates (35%) compared to others?
I am referring to SMS real estate marketing.
Some might hastily jump into it and forget the existing regulations and standards.
To get the most out of real estate SMS marketing and to do it right, I wrote a small performance-based guide for you.
In it, you will learn about:
- What SMS real estate marketing is
- SMS marketing statistics & advantages
- SMS marketing compliance with opt-Ins
- 5 compliant SMS marketing providers
- How to do real estate SMS marketing (prospecting)
- The difference between recurring and one-off text messages
Sounds interesting? Then please keep reading.
What Is SMS Real Estate Marketing?
Simply put, SMS marketing is the hero of the real estate world.
Imagine this – you’ve got an all-star line-up of properties ready to take center stage in the market, and you need a spotlight to shine on them.
That’s where SMS marketing steps in.
Using text messaging, you can communicate directly with clients, prospects, and leads, making it a star player in your marketing toolkit.
With text messages having an open rate of 98% (see statistics in the next section), you can reach out and practically tap your audience on the shoulder.
The way it works is quite straightforward. First, you need phone numbers you may have gathered from various real estate lead generation methods.
You can’t just start sending messages willy-nilly.
As you will later read, regulations such as the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) require agents to obtain consent before sending marketing messages.
This keeps you on the right side of the law and builds trust with your leads.
So, you’ve got your leads and their consent.
Now, you create messages using real estate copywriting.
This is where you get to let your creativity shine.
You can craft messages about new listings, open houses, price reductions – anything you think your leads will find valuable.
If you already produce content, you can also “recycle” parts of this content you’ve already created.
Keep in mind brevity is your friend here.
This might seem like a lot of work, right?
Not if you automate.
Many SMS marketing providers can send these messages to you, making your job a lot easier (more about them below).
Automation has got you covered, from reminders about upcoming viewings to updates when new properties match a client’s search criteria.
Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, is “response management.”
Your seller or buyer leads aren’t shouting into the void; they expect quick responses.
So you want to be ready to hit back quickly.
SMS real estate marketing is all about harnessing the power of immediacy and familiarity with text messaging.
SMS Marketing Statistics & Advantages
The first question you might ask yourself is, why should I start with real estate SMS marketing in the first place?
The first advantage is obvious.
Without looking 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 are 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 clarify that they want to hear from their brands’ promotional texts, only 30% 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 prefer 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). On average, the response rate is 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).
- If they could opt-in for the service, 75% of consumers don’t mind receiving an SMS from a brand (source).
- On average, text messages are read in under five seconds. And 90% of people open them simultaneously (source).
- Market leaders seem to have recognized the potential of text message marketing because 20% 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 average American checks the phone 47 times a day (source), and emails are checked on average every four hours, roughly four 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, on average, it takes eight 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 in increasing conversion rates even further is to use short links that users can recognize coming from your brand (source).
To give you a different perspective, I put some key marketing performance indicators in the table below 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 the above text message statistics for practical real estate marketing?
Overall, the quite favorable marketing key performance indicators of real estate SMS 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.
SMS 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 ensure that you comply with current regulations.
First of all, four respectively three entities 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 recurring text message marketing (sending more than one bulk message to subscribers) and not one-off messages you send once after the first contact.
1) TCPA (FCC)
The FCC created the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. They don’t make laws but set standards.
You can get into legal trouble if broken since the TCPA operates under federal law.
While no text message marketing-specific standards are defined in the TCPA law, the entity focuses on setting standards for permission regarding text message blasts.
What the entity defines is what actions are considered to be permission granted.
Additionally, it determines what you can do or is allowed once a subscriber gives you consent to be marketed to (source).
Wireless carriers founded the Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association (CTIA).
The entity aims to protect all mobile phone users from receiving inappropriate, annoying, and irrelevant marketing text messages.
Their guidelines are more precise than the ones from the TCPA and are related to the following:
- HELP & STOP commands
- Message & Data Rates
- Message Frequency
- Terms and Conditions
You can find them in CTIA’s mobile commerce compliance handbook.
They clarify 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 practices, the last association to remember is the Mobile Marketing Association (MMA).
They set standards similar to what you can find in CTIA’s Mobile Commerce Compliance Handbook (which feels a bit redundant) and provide best practice literature.
These best practices aren’t laws either, but they might get you into trouble if violated.
The only entity to be able to enforce guidelines is the TCPA.
Now, you might wonder how you may comply with all these standards, guidelines, and associations when doing real estate SMS marketing and prospecting.
On the website of the text message marketing provider SlickText, you can find valuable guidelines to ensure you comply with all of the abovementioned 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 comply with. Sending cold texts with “text to join” wouldn’t count, by the way. It 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”).
- It is sound both guideline-wise and marketing-wise 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 clearly and professionally.
- 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 overwhelming, you won’t have to be that much on top of them when you use a good bulk SMS or text message marketing provider.
Of course, it’s good to know them, but a good provider must ensure 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 TCPA, CTIA, and MMA standards.
Overview of 5 Compliant SMS Marketing Providers
In the below list, I provide you with five text message marketing services and software providers that comply with the current standards to date of writing this article.
|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 SMS Marketing
First, let’s look at the different use cases for real estate SMS marketing and prospecting.
In my article about real estate prospecting conversion rates, I defined what prospecting is.
Prospecting is a category of outbound or push marketing, meaning your focus is 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.
Since we have to abide by the regulations, we 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 you can ask via other communication channels, such as email, if they are interested in opt-in and text messages, or you have to target them via paid advertising and other marketing campaigns.
Our target groups are potential real estate buyers or sellers.
But how do we reach them by text without violating the abovementioned standards?
You will need to create incentives for them to opt in, but again, we can’t promote this incentive by cold texting them in bulk.
What options are there to do that without using cold texting?
You can use all the different on and offline real estate marketing channels there are to promote the various 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 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 could use to promote your opt-in incentive for real estate SMS marketing:
- 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
- How to Do an Open House – Is It a Good Idea?
What you might have had in mind when thinking of real estate SMS marketing is bringing cold calling 1:1 to text messaging, which is not advisable because of the existing regulations.
Nevertheless, what comes closest to that are push notification ads and messenger ads via Facebook combined with chatbots and WhatsApp.
If you have a smartphone (you have one, right?), you know push notifications as these short messages that, provided they are 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, etc.
The potential clients you can target with push notifications have already agreed to receive these notifications from a website.
It 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 using a lead magnet to incentivize them to opt in.
The Difference Between Recurring and One-Off Text Messages
Identifying a recurring bulk text message marketing campaign is easier than when one-off messages become recurring.
Therefore, I will give you some use cases for both, making them easier to identify.
Examples of Recurring Text Messages
Generally speaking, these are primarily valuable text messages that recycle real estate content you produce or new property listings.
Here are some examples:
- Sending out property deals regularly
- Sending out seller tips regularly
- Periodic 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 potential, current, or past customers.
It’s usually just one message that might lead to further dialogue.
- You reach out to a high-profile real estate client and communicate now (e.g., asking if the client is available for a showing on day X, if a customer received essential documents for a closing, when the client can be best reached by phone, etc.).
- Answering an individual inquiry about your service or 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.)
- You want to test with a few clients the text of a message you plan to send in bulk.
Generally, the one-off message can lead to further engagement, a dialogue, or 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, the abovementioned regulations would need to be applied in this case.
The Bottom Line
Real estate SMS marketing has promising statistics and key marketing performance indicators compared to other marketing channels.
However, you can’t easily translate prospecting via cold calling to real estate SMS marketing 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 essential element of the marketing mix of a real estate professional.
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