Real estate tech is booming and house flipping is back.
For real estate tech companies, that great news. For realtors who sell homes the traditional way, this spells what could be long term trouble.
In 2017, tech startups in the real estate sector raised an impressive $3.4 billion in funding, a 5x increase over funding in 2013, according to CB Insights. Most of the funding is going into startups that offer platforms and software + service hybrid models to bring new efficiencies to the home buying, leasing, or selling processes.
Our customer, House Buyers of America, was capitalizing on growing trend that is starting to reshape the residential real estate market: selling your home directly to investors. The overall process is not new. House Buyers of America purchases the home from a seller, makes improvements a needed, and then puts the house on the market to sell.
What is new is the way the company, alongside a growing list of fast growing real estate startups, is using the web, data, and a deep experience in home values to buy and sell large numbers of homes at a profit. House Buyers can purchase the house with cash to eliminate risk to the seller and move from quote to closed transaction in a matter of days. For buyers who are in a rush to sell, the certainty and speed of the transaction are worth more than the slightly discounted sell price that the company will typically pay.
We worked with House Buyers of America and created a totally rebrand of company with new creative, a new website, and integrated outbound communications. The recently launched new website moved the company away from an investor home buyer to a real estate servicing company that helps people sell with confidence.
But House Buyers of America needed to do a lot more than look good to continue to grow and capture market share away from realtors or other real estate investment companies. Optimyz helped the company rebuild their lead generation process, including website lead conversion optimization, lead engagement, and outbound email.
To improve inbound lead engagement and conversion, we created a new lead flow that integrated with Google Maps to enable visitors to locate their home on a map, confirm their address, and them move through the get a quote process. What we found was that, while the new lead flow process was longer than a simple form, it effectively enticed people to go through the quote process. It was a lot more user friendly and inviting then then the previous lead flow.
Another benefit of the new lead flow is that it required that he buyer be in the client’s market area. That was important, because each incoming lead required multiple phone calls from the sales team to determine if the seller qualified – thereby saving a lot of resources.
Once the leads came in, they were sent to Microsoft Dynamics and the outbound drip email campaign started. We integrated the website forms, built in WordPress, with Microsoft Dynamics using a custom WordPress plugin. Next, we created a custom email flow using Click Dimensions, which is natively integrated with Microsoft Dynamics.
Finally, to move yet another one step beyond the competition, we implemented an automated postcard flow so that a welcome postcard was triggered with each incoming lead. With the average cost per acquisition at around $2,000, adding another $.80 to send a postcard to each new lead made a lot of sense.
Our inbound lead mailer program gets the postcard to the recipient in 2-3 days after the lead comes in. If 1 out of 2,000 postcards helped close a deal, the client generated a positive ROI. With automated direct mail for inbound leads, because you already generated lead, the postcard drives engagement and helps to differentiate your brand from the competitor’s brand. As such, it can be tricky to attribute the exact benefit the postcard had toward closed deals. But we have a few ways to track effectiveness that work well.
As House Buyers of America continues to grow in its market, the next step will be to build integrated house map and notification system so that sellers, agents, and House Buyers of America can all be alerted to new potential deals.
We’d love to hear what you think. If you’re a real estate investor and are interested in improving your seller engagement or lead acquisition process, get in touch with us.