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How To Go Mobile
What You Should Know About Mobile Technology
Using Mobile Phone Technology For Success
Real estate professionals recognize the need for technology tools that connect them with today’s mobile buyer. But determining the right solution for you is not as easy as it seems...
Real estate professionals recognize the need to reach buyers via mobile channels.
There is no debate; the cell phone has become the ‘third screen’ in marketing. Unless you have been too busy writing buy-sells and attending closings, you have likely noticed the increasing number of sales professionals turning to mobile applications to grow their business and maintain a competitive advantage. Nevertheless, the challenge of “going mobile” lies in deciding which technology best fits the needs of your business and most importantly your prospective clients. Extending a mobile marketing function should start with a simple premise: select solutions that allow you to reach the maximum number of users and phones. This article is designed to assist you in your search and selection of the right technology and partner. Read on to learn more about four (4) criteria to consider when evaluating any mobile solution and an overview of the options available. In addition, we specifically dissect how to differentiate among text (SMSbased) solutions.
US Mobile Stats
Total Approx 260 million subscribers % using text Approx 73% messaging % using Approx 13.4% mobile web % using mobile search Approx 6%
% using Approx 5% video Source: M:Metrics Mar. 2008
"All opinions in the world agree in this, that pleasure is our end, although they differ as to the means of attaining it." - Michel de Montaigne
How To Go Mobile
Mobile Marketing Solutions
Mobile marketing solutions can be classified many ways but for simplicity, it is best to break them down based on how users, or in this instance, buyers, interact with them. As is the case with any technology application, and in particular mobile technology, the user experience is the single most important factor in delivering value, adoption and long-term success. This article will explore the following types of mobile marketing solutions: • • • • • • Mobile Info Request (Text, SMS-Based) Mobile Search (App-Based) Mobile Search (GPS, Map-Based) Mobile Search (Mobile Web-Based) Mobile Search (Text, SMS-Based) IVR (Interactive Voice Response)
Photo-based marketing coming soon.
There is yet another type of mobile marketing category that is not covered in this article using image recognition. It involves users taking a photo of a 2D barcode as seen above, or an ad photo. An application then deciphers the encoded data and directs the user to promotional material related to the campaign. As our experts witnessed in Asia, Australia and Europe, this is still in infancy and we reserve the right to cover this and other technologies at a later time.
You may be surprised to see so many types and we will explain the differences at a very high level then focus on the particular differences between Mobile Info Request solutions. At Goomzee, we recognize the benefits of each type of solution but focus on the most relevant solution for the current market to achieve maximum client results.
Did you know?
There are currently over 1,400 mobile phone models being used around the world. Imagine having to design software that works with 1,400 different types of computers, each with their own input method, screen size, messaging and data plan, etc. Mobile technology solutions can add considerable value to your organization if done right. If done wrong, however, they can have a negative impact on your business, and the relationship with the end user.
Increase your potential to connect with buyers. Opt for solutions that reach the maximum number of users and phones.
AT&T T-Mobile Alltel 2
194+ models 90+ models 42+ models
Verizon Sprint Boost
130+ models 174+ models 15+ models
Keep it simple.
How To Go Mobile
Mobile Solutions Overview
As explained on page 2, we will first explore four (4) criterion for evaluating mobile solutions as well as perform a high level overview of the solutions available. Thereafter, we take a more granular look into (SMS) message based Mobile Information Request and Lead Capture.
Some solutions seem “sexy” but the key to success is maximum consumer reach & optimal user experience.
Key Real Estate Mobile Solution Criteria Many of the risks inherent in selecting and extending mobile solutions to your customers can be mitigated by exploring the four key criteria below: • • • • User experience Market reach Input device Agent value
audience who listen to, read, view or otherwise access a particular work in a given period. In context with mobile technology, this refers to solutions that work on the most carrier networks and can be accessed by the most subscribers on the widest variety of mobile devices (phones). Input Device The input device is the conduit through which data and instructions enter a computer. Mobile devices vary on how they receive user input, from touch screens, qwerty keyboards, numeric keypads, voice commands and various cursor devices. The mobile solution should require the least amount of time for the user to request and receive their desired information. For maximum usability, whenever possible use built-in technologies installed on the broadest range of devices. A built-in application offers reduced steps, keystrokes, application downloads and screens needed to interact, thus delivering maximum value while minimizing input error. Agent Value Sales professionals seek increased sales efficiency, client satisfaction and new buyer leads from a mobile marketing tool. As such, the tool should focus on minimizing additional work effort by offering data integration, provide accurate lead capture and enable timely follow up with real-time alerting capabilities.
User (Buyer) Experience User experience is a term used to describe the overall experience and satisfaction a user has when using a product or system. This is the most important factor in determining the success or failure of a mobile solution. A mobile user wants to be empowered to retrieve instant, relevant information with the smallest commitment of time. This is evident in witnessing the exponential growth of US text (SMS) messaging from an astonishing 2.8 billion text messages per month in 2006 to over 75 billion text messages per month reported in 2008. As such, it is essential to take a consumer centric approach to foster buyer satisfaction and most importantly, repeated use over time. Market Reach In the application of statistics to advertising and media analysis, reach is defined as the size of the
How To Go Mobile
(continued) advantage of the increasing number of phones that are GPS enabled. With all of these advantages, the obvious drawback remains reach and cost. Currently, few phones and carriers support this functionality and only a small number of subscribers pay extra fees for GPS based plans. Web-Based Mobile Search Mobile web is becoming more advanced and represents significant opportunities for the future. Web-Based Mobile Search requires a smart phone and a mobile web data plan. To access property information the buyer opens their mobile web browser and searches by predesignated criteria or types in specific search information. The user experience on Web Based Mobile Search is designed to mirror that of webbased searches from a PC. If you have ever surfed the web on your mobile phone, you recognize the challenges this solution currently represents from both a reach and usability standpoint. Today, less than 15% of mobile subscribers utilize web-enabled phones and only 6% actively perform mobile web searches, effectively missing over 80% of buyers. Mobile Search (Text, SMS-based) Not to be confused with Mobile Info Request, Mobile Search using SMS-based technology represents another form of mobile marketing and lead generation. Because its backbone is SMS, or text, it shares many of the same benefits as Mobile Info Request. Here’s how it works: Instead of entering a reusable property code, the buyer sends a text message with the property address, neighborhood, or MLS number. The system attempts to match the request to a property and delivers a return text with relevant property information. Some solutions may instead deliver a web link as the text message and require, once again, mobile web
You are now equipped with four objective criteria to analyze the morass of options available to “go-mobile.” Read on to explore a high level review of the various mobile solutions available to you. Mobile Info Request (Text, SMS-based) As described by the statistics on mobile use, Mobile Info Request solutions (Text-based) have the broadest reach and can be delivered to the largest number of cellular phones. To utilize this solution, buyers send a text message to a unique code, or keyword, and receive relevant information on their phone as a text message. Mobile Info Request offers instant response, utilizes the fastest growing communication mechanism (Text), has very accurate lead capture, and offers instant lead alerts. The challenge for those that want to implement text into their marketing - is just that - how to market, promote and manage their text codes For an example of how Mobile Info Request works send a Text to: 44133 with the Code: 10054 as the message. Application-Based Mobile Search Application based mobile search solutions require a buyer to download an application to their smart phone after which they can browse an inventory of listings. Mobile Search provides a relatively rich browsing experience and is typically connected to a listing database. If the application is designed well it leverages the navigation of the phone to simplify browsing. GPS or Map-Based Mobile Search GPS Mobile Search requires buyers to download an application to their smart phone after which they can view properties for sale relative to their location. This solution offers an excellent browsing experience and takes
How To Go Mobile
(continued) functionality that limits their reach. This solution seems ideal – but if you consider the potential for user input errors or costs to rebrand signs for each new listing (MLS#), it becomes less attractive. For instance, how does the sales professional promote this to prospective buyers? What does the buyer do if they don’t know the name of the street they are on? If the buyer misspells the street name does the system “guess” what was intended or deliver “no results?” Interactive Voice Response (IVR) The industry has seen these types of solutions for over a decade, often involved with a toll free 800-number and a unique code or extension. Although these are effective, they require more commitment from buyers who have to dial a number, listen to voice prompts, choose from menus and enter numbers. Voicebased solutions require agents to record messages or leverage a text-to-speech synthesizer for an impersonal user experience and limited retention of information, sometimes annoyance, during callbacks. IVR solutions offer value but market reports clearly demonstrate that mobile users today would rather send a text (SMS) message than call. Nielsen ratings reported as of November 2007 that SMS messages had surpassed telephone calls and the gap continues to widen through 2008. Mobile Marketing Solutions Recap You now should have an understanding of the key criteria when designing and evaluating mobile marketing solutions. User (buyer) experience means give them what they want, when they want it. Market reach means choose a solution that can deliver the most potential buyers using the largest variety of mobile devices. User input means pay special attention to the additional steps and time required for a user to interact – keep it simple. Agent value means the mobile marketing solution must meet agent needs that include buyer lead capture, increased sales efficiency and long-term value (buyer satisfaction for repeat use). At Goomzee, we pay particular attention to these best practices recognized by global experts including Google’s mobile engineering team. Given half the solutions above don’t offer lead capture and of the remaining, two scored lower in these criteria, for now we focus on text (SMS) message-based Mobile Information Request. Next we will explore this solution in detail noting key differences and how they affect agent value.
Watch out for 10digit SMS
It has been reported that some companies are attempting to offer a Mobile Info Request or Mobile Search solution using a 10-digit phone number buyers send text messages to. This is referred to as a modem-based alternative to carrier-certified short codes and should only be used for prototyping and testing purposes. Software developers will purchase a modem similar to what you used to dial up to the Internet with, except this modem accepts a SIM card from a mobile phone and will connect to the carrier network. The software can then use modem commands, commonly referred to as AT commands, and send and receive SMS messages and perform other phonerelated tasks. This solution, however, can put you and your company at risk given carrier Terms & Conditions (T&C) explicitly prevent this from commercial use and so the phone number and wireless plan may be subject to carrier cancellation. In addition, the maximum speed a GSM modem can process messages is 7 per minute. In Europe, GPRS modems can process nearly 30 messages per minute but this throughput could not support most commercial needs. The last point is that there are twice as many points of failure given both send/receive are over the air (OTA). Bottom line: steer clear of 10-digit SMS solutions.
How To Go Mobile
Mobile Info Request & Lead Capture Detail
We will now explore key considerations and differences in text (SMS) message-based solutions primarily based on how users interact. Key differences should emerge to help you distinguish one from another. Short Code Professional text (SMS) message solutions use a carrier-certified 5 or 6-digit text-in number, or short code. Short codes differ both in format and value. For instance, a code 256724 is more difficult to remember and input than Goomzee’s nationwide short code, 44133. When branding signs, ads and relying on word-of-mouth, your marketing will benefit from an optimized short code. Ideal codes consist of two sets of repeating digits, separated by another. This combination reduces the risk of too many repeated numbers and user input errors. Standardized Information In accordance with best practices, the solution must provide instant, relevant information to the maximum potential users and phones. To deliver maximum value, messages must include the property address and price, ideally in a standardized format. If users later view information stored in their phone, they need a way to associate the information with the item of interest. If they forward it to another prospective buyer, that buyer must have this information as a reference or it offers little value. Content Delivery How messages are received is very important as well. Many solutions simply “blast” subsequent messages all at once to the user. Some split up information across multiple messages. This can cost users more in messaging fees and time and forces them to switch between messages to find the desired information. Top solutions will deliver instant, relevant information on demand, or add a delay between subsequent messages, allowing the user time to view and optionally engage further. Photo Availability Given the most desired solution for marketing real estate will likely also offer photos, you must again consider the buyer experience, noting whether and how they receive photos. Many solutions rely on the phone having a mobile web plan and browser and simply deliver a link to photos. The photos are either displayed on the page and the user scrolls through them, or they click links and view them page-by-page. In observing that just over 13% of US mobile subscribers use their mobile web, this means a web-only solution misses nearly 87% of potential leads. An ideal solution will offer push messaging capabilities which allow them not only to link to photos in a browser, but may also deliver them to phones with PIX plans, effectively reaching approximately 4 times as many buyers. Not all push messaging solutions are alike, however, and some force the photos onto buyers that could cost them money and again, prevent them from repeated use and harm your relationship. The best solution would allow buyers to opt-in to view photos. Shamelessly, we went one-step further and invented Mobile Virtual Tours that delivers a multi-photo slideshow with captions as a single message, requiring the least amount of buyer time/cost, thus delivering high value.
How To Go Mobile
Headquartered in the scenic northern Rocky Mountains, Goomzee provides enterprise-grade technology solutions to individuals, small business and enterprise customers worldwide. Our company began in 2003 offering hosted online storefronts to small businesses, helping them sell online with the same capabilities as sites like Amazon.com, Buy.com, etc. Our business evolved and we leveraged our deep expertise in enterprise applications and mobile technology to offer an innovative marketing platform called Realty Connect. Using text messaging technology, we deliver product or service information upon request to mobile phones throughout the United States. Goomzee's management has assisted some of the world's largest companies and brands. We leverage our expertise to offer our customers the latest technology while delivering a true return on investment. We connect buyers and sellers.
Authors: Mike Sparr, Jordan Lind Reviewers: Valentin Crettaz, Dan Cripe, Darin Archer Goomzee Corporation PO Box 5692 Missoula, MT 59806 866.472.6062 www.goomzee.com
Odds And Ends
There has been “buzz” over smart phones, iPhone, mobile applications, etc. One should also recognize a clear distinction between having a capability such as mobile web and identifying actual usage. Amidst the seemed “craze” it can be difficult to identify what truly affects the success or failure of your mobile initiatives. At Goomzee Corporation we strive to protect our clients, even sometimes from themselves, and take a standards-based, best-practices approach to delivering technology that meets their needs today while continually investing in R&D to keep them prepared for tomorrow. We would like to thank the following for their contributions that helped us provide you what we hope is a valuable tool in evaluating mobile technology solutions. Amid Warsi, “7 Usability Guidelines For [Applications] On Mobile Devices” Brian Sullivan - AT&T, Adam Connors - Google, “W3C: Mobile [Application] Best Practices” Alex Gonthier - Paymo.com, “Common Pitfalls And Lessons Learned With 10-digit SMS” M:Metrics and Canalys for their accurate approach to mobile industry and device market share statistics. About M:Metrics - M:Metrics applies trusted media measurement methodologies to assess the audience for mobile content and applications. As the world's most authoritative mobile media measurement firm, M:Metrics delivers the most accurate mobile market metrics through the world's largest monthly survey of mobile subscribers as well as automated data collection methodologies. http://www.mmetrics.com/press/PressRelease.aspx?article=20080521-smartbrowsing
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