As a real estate agent, how are you leveraging mobile technologies? Truth is a mobile-friendly and responsive website is no longer enough to reach new people and impress them with what you have to offer. Don’t worry though, as here’s the easy way out: a native real estate app is a fantastic tool to showcase your knowledge and expertise. In this post we’ll take a look at what a native real estate app is, how it differs from a mobile website and why it’s vital for your real estate agency to have both.
For real estate agents, a mobile strategy isn’t an uncommon question to struggle with. Everyone knows these days you need to have a mobile-friendly website that shows up fine across different mobile devices. Plenty of agents sigh with relief once they’ve managed to build a responsive real estate website.
However, while it can be tempting to do so, it won’t work in your favor. The next essential technology to master is creating your own native real estate app. Fortunately, that’s really easy.
But first things first, and let’s try to shed some light on how a native real estate app works and how exactly it differs from a mobile website.
A native real estate app & a mobile website: what’s the difference?
A mobile website is a miniature version of your big, desktop, website. A mobile website adjusts to any particular mobile device to fit its screen size. It’s a great way to connect with your mobile customers and ensure your properties are perfectly showcased everywhere. Your images are resized, menus and contact forms simplified, and social icons relocated to just the right places.
People can view the mobile version of your real estate website via browsers on their mobile devices. For example, if they have a Chrome app installed, they would just enter your site’s name and check out the results.
All of this enriches the user experience but doesn’t make it as perfect as you need it to be. That’s where a native real estate app goes to work to bring all that cutting-edge value that instantly differentiates you from the competition.
A native real estate app is an application that people directly install on their mobile devices. Typically, these apps can be downloaded from the app marketplaces like Apple Store or Google Play. So if people want to access some information about you, they only have to tap once on your app icon somewhere on the screen of their smartphones and everything is beautifully unfolded in front of them.
So basically the main difference between a mobile website and a native app is how you access them. Mobile website – via your mobile browser; native app – installed directly on your phone or tablet and accessed with a single tap.
While it seems such a small detail to be occupied with, that’s where all the right answers are hidden. Let’s reveal all of them so you’ll never find yourself stumbling in the dark next time it comes to mobile.
How native real estate apps brilliantly capture you new leads
People are walking away from their computers but you can still catch up with them
Previously this year, at Inman Connect San Francisco, Google shared its research on mobile usage. It turned out that mobile significantly outperforms desktop. This is especially true for local search: 88 per cent of customers look for local information via their smartphones.
These stats aren’t surprising. It’s typical for us to grab the phone in a supermarket, or when spotting this new house for sale and trying to check out the agent. Moreover, people often prefer to use their phone to search for something while sitting in front of their laptops. Google calls these multiple logins “mobile moments”.
These “mobile moments” give you one super important insight: people don’t want to hang out in mobile for hours. They want quick, accurate and actionable information about the local business they are thinking of buying from. Because mobile apps provide customers with the kind of purchasing information they want right away, you get a stellar chance to level up your customer engagement like never before.
Native real estate app vs. mobile website: which brings you more leads?
85 per cent of mobile usage is apps, not browsers. In other words, if people were given the choice whether to use your dedicated app or search via mobile browser, they’ll choose the first option.
Even more interesting are the numbers Rich Barton, Zillow’s Executive Chairman, revealed: “mobile web gets the majority of mobile users (as high as 70 percent) but a small fraction of engagement (as low as 5 percent)”.
All engagement comes from the apps. They provide you with all those bits of interaction you need to build personal connections:
- social messages.
This is because apps are tailored for simplicity which mobile users just love. With mobile apps, it’s easy to chat and instantly ask questions. And that’s what every real estate agent is waiting for, right?
With a mobile app, you’re carefully securing that all leads are funneled back to you. People will be viewing listings from the whole region but will only contact you, and not the other agent, because it’s your app they are using!
Maximize your accessibility as a real estate agent
Customers use mobile devices because they give them the information they want right away, via the device they always carry in their pockets. One huge advantage of apps over mobile sites is they are always in sight. Your mobile website is bookmarked somewhere in mobile browsers, never to be seen again among another few hundreds of sites that people promise themselves to check out later, only to forget about them in 5 mins.
But a mobile app is something very different. It’s installed directly on a phone or tablet, and people can access it with a single tap. They will never forget about it like it often happens with mobile sites. They’ll come across it every now and then and they’ll actually use it. Moreover, native apps will connect with your mobile website so you’ll never have that opportunity unexploited.
Mobile apps are powered by the smartphones’ functionality
Home-buying apps are fast and to the point. They use smartphone features like GPS navigation, or cameras, and showcase your listings and prices even better. This is one of the reasons why they generate so much more engagement than a mobile site.
The app is also much faster than a mobile site. Because it’s pre-installed on the phone, it allows for much faster access, no matter the network and location.
Moreover, smartphones provide an excellent feature of interactive maps which is a huge opportunity for every real estate agent to simplify the home search for customers. Finding the right neighborhood is daunting for most people. With a native mobile app, you are building trust and helping them get a stronger sense of the community.
Should you abandon a mobile website then?
You should never, ever do that. Although apps drive you all the engagement, not everyone uses them. People who are looking for properties will most likely use your website (desktop or mobile) first. It’s up to you to let them know that your brand also has this terrific home-buying app and encourage them to download it because it will provide them with an even more amazing online experience.
Here’s an easy way to do this. Whenever someone visits your mobile site, prompt them to download your app, giving a single link that will land them on your app’s download page. This way you not only provide a seamless mobile experience but invite them to join your community in a much more meaningful way, and that’s the whole new level of engagement you’re reaching.
Generally, it’s good to approach it this way: a mobile website is a perfect way to connect with your on-the-go, mobile customers. With a native app, you’re taking them one big step further in their customer journey – towards greater engagement. For you, this means the actual conversion of leads and prospects into sales-ready homebuyers.
Lastly, real estate apps are not a luxury available to a few big brands but affordable to local real estate agents as well. If your budget leaves you an opportunity to choose your next investment, a native app is just the right tool to incorporate into your marketing strategy.
Do you make it easy for your customers to catch up with you at any time and from everywhere? Whether you need to capture more leads, engage clients, or reinforce your brand, a native real estate app is an excellent and smart tool to deliver all your knowledge and expertise right at your customer’s fingertips.