Jeff De Cagna, founder of association consultancy Principled Innovation, says reaching your members via mobile devices isn't about technology; rather, it's about filling their needs when they're on the go—needs they may have always had but couldn't fulfill before the advent of mobile technology.
In addition to giving real estate consumers access to property information via text message, Mobile Websites allow consumers to continue their search online right from their mobile device. Mobile Websites are formatted to fit any phone with internet access and will be fully branded for your firm. Brokers have the ability to customize their Mobile Website to further enhance the overall user experience.
The MRE ID SMS program makes property information, pictures and the agent’s contact information available 24/7. By automatically creating a Single Property Mobile Website for every property in our database consumers can access that URL right from their mobile device. In addition, prospective buyers can text the Mobile ID to instantly receive property information, the link to the Single Property mobile Website & the listing agent’s contact information. When consumers text, a lead with that buyer’s contact information will be sent via e-mail and text message directly to the listing agent.
Do you need your own app?With so many real estate mobile apps—and more popping up every day—why would an association invest in creating its own?One main reason is exclusive data. Association-owned MLSs have created mobile apps that can -easily trump other mobile home searches because they feature all MLS data fields. These apps, such as the one recently released by the San Diego County MLS, Sandicor, are password-protected and available only to MLS members. Associations can also offer mobile versions of other data they create or collect, such as local market reports and statistics, along with association publications and news. The California Association of REALTORS®, which was the first association to create its own mobile app, My C.A.R., in 2009, now markets its -iPhone mobile app to other REALTOR® associations as “My AOR.” Both the New Jersey Association of REALTORS® and the North-Shore Barrington Association of -REALTORS® in Illinois, have launched customized versions of the My AOR mobile app. My C.A.R. features market data for 21 regions in California, current loan information, plus highlights from the association’s newsletter, Inman News stories, and other association resources.The Chicago Association of REALTORS® launched a mobile app in April featuring market data by neighborhood, education schedule, and member benefit information. “More than 400 members have downloaded the app from Chicagorealtor.com and we haven’t even begun marketing it,” says Jessica Kern, the association’s marketing communications manager.Anyone can create a mobile appTo create a good mobile app today, you still need programming knowledge, but that could be changing. Google, for example, is launching a simple building-block system that, it claims, anyone can use to build an app for the Google Android. A startup called Sweb Apps, aimed at small and medium-sized businesses, enables you to build a simple iPhone app using a series of Web forms “in as little as 5 minutes,” according to the company.Plus, there’s a growing crowd of customizable mobile app templates as well as companies that will build your custom mobile app for you (grapplemobile.com, iSites.com). Associations strive to wherever they are. Increasingly this means on the go—and on their smart phones.
Right now, the iPad owns the tablet market. According to eMarketer's research, Apple's tablet market share will ultimately erode, as it will in the smartphone market. Apple's iOS will remain the dominant U.S. smartphone platform in 2011, but Android will pull ahead in the near future. Tablets are essentially an additional front in the operating system (OS) war. Tablet awareness and purchase intent are healthy, especially among young consumers. After establishing that kids of this generation are only going to know touch-screen devices, Elkin noted that part of Apple's marketing strategy includes targeting 2-year-olds. Using his own daughter as an example, Elkin noted, "She can barely speak, but she knows how to swipe photos on my iPhone and change it from landscape to portrait mode... Apple has designed an interface that someone who is functionally illiterate can use."In addition, tablet owners are more receptive to advertising. Not only are they more open to a range of different advertising formats, but the richer ads delivered on tablets bring high engagement rates. Using Hyundai's Equus as a case study, Elkin explained how the automotive company is taking full advantage of what tablets have to offer. When Hyundai introduced the Equus, every model came with an iPad. While this was a great marketing gimmick that gained immediate attention, the company didn't stop there: Each iPad was preinstalled with an application meant to function as the central point of consumer-brand interaction. New Equus owners can not only schedule service appointments on their iPads, but the service department will also come to their houses and pick up the cars. Further, the application takes the owner's manual to new heights with the interactive capabilities of tablet technology. Features include a demo on how to use the navigation system, as well as a car driving game aimed at showcasing the lane departure warning system. These features not only answer any questions drivers could have, but also make it fun. Elkin emphasized that marketers should leverage this form factor when designing applications: While smartphones and tablets run on the same OS, the size of the tablet screen offers benefits that the smartphone does not. Focusing on these differences, as Hyundai did, can lead to a more rewarding user experience. So will the iPad dominate the tablet market for the foreseeable future? Apple still has the advantage for now, due to its brand appeal, the breadth of its content, the iTunes interface, and the company's large retail presence. But, Elkin said, the Android "is maturing quickly and has strength in numbers." The mobile platform competition will continue to be ferocious, and it's shaping up as a one-on-one battle between Apple and Android.
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The diverse jobs that a real estate agent performs has remained basically the same over time. What has changed is how information is delivered and exchanged.
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Six in ten American adults are now wireless internet users, and mobile data applications have grown more popular over the last year.
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What are those “Savvy Home Buyers” really doing on that phone?
If you make it easy for your prospects to find and interact with you on the mobile web, they could essentially be carrying you with them all the time.
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