10 minute read

Through the years working in digital marketing, we’ve tried and tested a lot of tools. Some bad, some good and a very few extraordinary. I’ll focus on the latter group today and hope this essential selection will help you do things better, quicker and deliver a better return on investment.

While digital marketing tools will only help you execute a proper strategy (some won’t do all the work for you), the right technology stack can really help you zoom past the competition.

Some tools out there are foundational — things like email marketing, web forms, analytics, and a CRM. However, other tools are more specialised and serve a very specific purpose.

To take your marketing strategy to the next level, we’ve outlined the following 9 digital marketing tools every real estate agency (and agent) should have in their tool belt leading into 2020 – all of which we use ourselves and/or for our clients here at Stepps.

The Top 9 Best Digital Marketing Tools For Real Estate in 2020

  1. Activepipe
  2. Zapier
  3. Grammarly
  4. Hotjar
  5. Live Chat
  6. MailPoet
  7. Diakrit
  8. Home Live
  9. Facebook Business Manager

1. Activepipe

There is a plethora of email marketing platforms on the web today but very few are as powerful for the real estate industry as Activepipe.

More than just an email marketing platform, Activepipe integrates with your real estate CRM to automatically match your listings and content to the most relevant people.

Over time, Activepipe helps you learn more about your contacts and also helps you profile your database contacts into segments that can identify buying and selling intent.

activepipe

Database segmentation allows you to tailor your communication on a whole new level. Instead of spamming everyone with the same message, you can be much more targeted in your approach.

Your categorised lists can also be exported and used in other marketing platforms, such as Facebook. Simply upload your segmented lists into your Facebook Ad account to run highly targeted campaigns to specific lists.

facebook custom audiences

Related: How To Create Facebook Ads: A Step-By-Step Guide For Real Estate Agents

Activepipe is much more than just an email marketing tool – it’s a powerful profiling tool. If you’re using Activepipe already, there are likely a tonne of ways to leverage your data that you aren’t yet thinking about, such as the Facebook Custom Audience approach we’ve mentioned here.

2. Zapier

Zapier lets you automate everything. Well, just about everything.

Consider it the ultimate digital marketing tool for connecting your apps and automating your workflow.

Zapier can move information between 1,500 web apps automatically – in fact, it plays nicely with most of the tools you use every day – from Facebook to email, to SMS, to bookkeeping, to LinkedIn and much more.

zapier

Say you’re running Facebook Lead Ads and someone takes the bait and fills in your form. You may want to add that person to your email marketing list in another platform. Zapier can automate that process.

Or perhaps you want to post your latest blog articles to Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter all at the same time as soon as a new article is published on your website. Zapier can automate that too.

Not sure where to start? The Zapier team has a list of suggestions about how you can use the tool to streamline your digital marketing and business processes.

3. Grammarly

Nobody wants to look bad when they publish content online – whether that be on social media, email or your website. Grammarly has changed the game for real estate marketing teams who pride themselves on always using the right words – spelled correctly.

Grammarly is a real-time, artificial intelligence-powered spell checker, grammar checker and it also assists with sentence structure and phrasing.

Whether you’re writing an email, Facebook Post, LinkedIn update, YouTube video description or a blog article, Grammarly has you covered. Its browser plugin currently supports Chrome, Firefox, Edge and Safari.

From grammar and spelling to style and tone, Grammarly helps you eliminate errors and find the perfect words to express yourself.

4. Hotjar

Hotjar s a popular analytics and feedback tool that visualises how users engage with your website.

You’ve probably seen heatmaps that show which sections of a website are most engaged (Hotjar produce these for you too), but Hotjar Recordings show you exactly what your website visitors are doing, clicking, scrolling, tapping, typing etc.

Imagine being able to see exactly where your website visitors are dropping off. This is exactly the kind of insight you’ll get with Hotjar Recordings.

  • Do your forms have too many fields?
  • Are your images taking up too much space on certain devices, causing users not to scroll?
  • Is your navigation too complicated?
  • Should you place a call-to-action on a certain page?

Hotjar will tell you everything you need to know.

See your visitor’s clicks, taps, and mouse movements, identify on which page and at which step most visitors are leaving your site, and discover why your visitors abandon your forms or pages so you can make improvements the performance of your real estate website.

5. Live Chat

An Econsultancy article found that 79% of customers say they prefer live chat over other channels (e.g., email, phone calls) because of the immediacy it offers.

Because of this, customers are more likely to head to your website to connect with an employee about questions or inquiries they may have.

There is a tonne of live chat options available that can be easily integrated into your website, including:

Live chat and chatbots are quite different.

Live chat is a function on your website that allows users to connect with a sales rep or other employee from your company immediately.

A chatbot is an automated system of communication with users that requires building out chatbot workflows. A chatbot can answer questions, send users to specific pages on your site, or qualify them before sending them to an employee for further discussion.

For us, personally, we favour live chat over chatbots.

Chatbots can often just ‘kick the can down the road’, meaning the bot collects information and then sends it to a real person in the end anyway. And sometimes, the user has to wait hours, possibly days, before a real person gets back to them. Plus, chatbots aren’t all that good at displaying empathy or human emotion. Not yet anyway.

Live chat puts a real person in the driver seat from the start and from the testing we’ve done with our website and our own clients, live chat has been a raving success with outstanding feedback from users.

hubspot live chat

Hubspot Live Chat: It’s free!

Users are delighted with the fact there is a real person on the other end of the line that can answer questions like a real human can, rather than a series of “did you mean this or that” questions.

There are a number of AI-powered chatbots hitting the market now that are promising to learn more about the user behaviour over time to become better at answering questions and only time will tell if they deliver on their promise. But right now, nothing beats a human touch – in my opinion.

Related: Live Chat Vs. Chatbots In Real Estate: The Pros & Cons (And Which Is Best?)

6. MailPoet

MailPoet is an email plugin for real estate websites that run on WordPress (which is a lot of them – WordPress powers 34% of all websites on the internet today).

If you are familiar with MailChimp, then MailPoet will be a breeze. It’s drag and drop interface makes it easy to build beautiful email newsletter templates in minutes.

mailpoet email marketing real estate

You can add listings, blog articles, testimonials and more in seconds. Just drag them onto the canvas. MailPoet is highly customisable and, via its API, can also integrate with your CRM to keep your subscriber lists in sync.

The most important digital platform today is your own real estate website. It’s the only digital platform you own. And you need to be driving as much traffic to it as possible.

MailPoet makes this easy by ensuring that all of the links in your emails are pointing back to your website.

mailpoet email marketing real estate

MailPoet can send emails to your subscribers at pre-determined times as soon as a new article or listing is published to your website.

You can also set up automated campaigns so that when new listings or blog articles are published to your website, your subscribers are alerted. Simply set up a template, when you’d like your subscribers to be alerted and you’re good to go.

7. Diakrit

Diakrit brings your listings to life with professional magazine quality photos, interactive decorating and furnishing features allowing your potential buyers to digitally customise areas of a property to their taste, as well as offering highly immersive VR enabled 360° tours.

One the things we like about Diakrit’s products is that they can live on your own website to provide a truly unique experience for potential buyers to explore your listings.

diakrit

Diakrit’s Kitchen Styler and Furnish products are not only a great reason for buyers to visit your website over your competitors but they keep people on your website longer.

The amount of time someone spends on your website is a big contributing factor to your SEO (Search Engine Optimisation). In other words, the longer someone spends on your website, the better your website will rank on Google.

8. Home Live

Home Live is like Facebook Live on steroids. It’s a live streaming platform built specifically for real estate that offers agents a truly unique way to engage with buyers. It also offers a range of lead generation opportunities as potential buyers can join live viewings of open homes remotley from any device.

One of the things we like about Home Live is the ability to embed live streams on your own real estate website. People will spend up to 700% more time on a web page with a video. You might as well make it yours.

Home Live also integrates with all of the major real estate CRM providers.

9. Facebook Business Manager

Facebook Business Manager is the most powerful advertising platform on the web today.

From managing your Facebook Page and Instagram Profile to creating your Facebook Pixel and managing your advertising – Business Manager allows you to do everything all in one place.

Many real estate businesses have set up their Facebook Business Manager but most are only using the basic features. They’re merely scratching the surface of what benefits it can provide to their business.

One of the most underutilised features is Audiences. This feature allows you to create targeted lists for your advertising on Facebook, Instagram & Facebook’s Audience Network. Instead of targeting everyone with your Facebook ads, you can target people more likely to engage, thus more likely to convert, based on your own data.

There are two types of Facebook Audience’s every real estate business should be thinking about:

  1. People who have visited your website
  2. People who exist in your CRM

Say for example you’d like to run ads to people who have visited your listings on your website:

facebook custom audiences

Note: You’ll need your Facebook Pixel installed on your website for this to work.

Or, say you’d like to upload a list of your potential vendors from your CRM and target ads to them:

facebook custom audiences

Facebook will begin to match Facebook profiles that have registered their account using an email address or phone number that you’ve just uploaded from your CRM. Facebook will then add those profiles to your audience.

Once you’ve created these two types of audiences, Facebook can help you build a bigger audience of people who “look like” your website visitors or the people in your CRM.

Facebook calls these “Lookalike Audiences” and the concept is that you can target your advertising to people on Facebook who – behave like, and – are interested in the same sort of things as your database contacts and your website visitors.

facebook custom audiences

There is no limit to the number of audiences you can create inside your Business Manager.

By targeting your advertising to specific audiences rather than ‘spraying and praying’, you will achieve a much higher return on your advertising dollar.

In closing…

There are plenty of different tools for you to tackle your digital marketing problems head-on — you just need to decide where to focus first. Which tool works best with your company structure and ultimate goals?

Our team of strategists are here to help.

Whether its website design and development, digital marketing training, content marketing or social media advertising, we advise Australia’s leading agency brands and individual agents on how to better leverage their time and generate more revenue from their digital marketing efforts.

Contact us today for a confidential discussion. 

Author: Josh Cobb

Phone Number: 0427 184 183

Email Address: josh@stepps.com.au

Stepps was founded by Josh Cobb in 2014. Josh has advised more than 100 brands since starting the company and hundreds of agents who have attended his workshops. He is the host of the popular Real Estate Pros podcast, oversees digital strategy for top performing real estate agents and teams, and travels the globe with several international speaking engagements each year.

Recently, Josh was named as a finalist in the 2017 REB Awards for Industry Thought Leader of The Year and the winner of  Brisbane Young Entrepreneur of The Year 2017 – Marketing, PR & Events.

In addition to web development and digital strategy consulting, the company also runs Stepps Media, a fast-growing education company that produces an iTunes top-ranked podcasttraining events, email and webinars.