By Neil Sharma
It’s no secret the real estate industry is undergoing a metamorphosis impelled by the application of new technologies, and while some regard change as a disruption, others have embraced innovative technologies to improve their businesses.
One product slated to hit the market at the beginning of October is Ella, by start-up tech company Ampify. Using artificial intelligence, Ella automates published social media content, saving both time and money.
As a cost-cutting measure, Ella will alleviate the need for digital media agencies and social media teams, and the time saved by sales agents can go towards their myriad other duties, including prospecting and following up.
“Typically, when an agent manages social media, they have to publish content and make Facebook ads, which takes time and effort, and quite a bit of knowledge, if you want to do it properly,” says Hayden James, Ampify’s co-founder. “With Ella, all an agent has to do is log in and give a target area, then we pull the content.
“The agent puts in their target location, and we pull relevant content from the library, and then they’re able to set ads based on buyers and sellers and how much money they want to spend. Essentially, all they do is set a daily budget and we manage it from there.”
By using AI, potential clients who have searched specific housing types will be targeted by Ella with ads corresponding to their searches.
“Our content is auto-scheduled,” James says. “A lot of social media companies that do advertising do it manually, so it’s more expensive. We cut the cost down. We’re giving social media marketing to independent professionals who couldn’t afford it before.”
He also says this platform benefits brokerages too, because each individual agent can push the brokerage’s messages more effectively than a single advertisement would. “It’s a win-win for the brokerage and agents, because agents get more listings and the brokerage gets to push its business better. The brokerage gets to keep their happy agents and recruit new ones.”
Ampify is “beta testing” with Vancouver’s Century 21 In Town Realty by establishing an instant feedback loop. Using the brokerage’s sales reps, Ampfiy’s team can heuristically augment their product. While Ampify is working with other brokerages too, In Town’s feedback loop has been instrumental.
“When we were looking to launch the data version of our product, we approached some local brokerages within Vancouver, then went and sat down with Michael (La Prairie, president of Century 21 In Town Realty) and we just kind of hit it off,” said James. “He was looking for a technology company to come in and we were looking for a place to work so that we could work side-by-side with their users to establish a really fast feedback loop. If we need to make a change, we can do that almost instantly.”
La Prairie says he believes in what Ampify is trying to do.
“My ultimate goal with Ampify is to generate more leads for my Realtors and get better exposure for our Realtors,” says La Prairie, as well as getting “into the eyes of the competition for recruiting purposes, to show them we’re not just a standard brokerage, but a brokerage that doesn’t compete with our agents but enhances what our agents do to get more business.”
La Prairie is also an enthusiastic user of another product, BombBomb, which allows users to send video messages as emails.
BombBomb’s enterprise account executive, Justin Doornbos, says video messages can help a sales rep sell themselves in a few ways, but perhaps the most important is by building rapport with clients. For that, he says, text is vastly inferior to video.
“In the real estate industry, there are a lot of agents,” said Doornbos. “What sets you apart from everybody else? You sell yourself more than your product. People do business with people they know, like and trust and doing it through video speeds that process up.”
Additionally, because of how important referrals are, using an innovative video platform also lends an air of professionalism. Doornbos says BombBomb videos can be used for listing presentations, so “you’re going to market that house differently and better than anybody else.”
BombBomb also has a tracking feature that alerts the sender to when their message is viewed. That is perfect for lead generation, says Doornbos, because the sales agent will know when to follow up with their potential client.
“If you’re a real estate agent and you had a hot lead go completely cold on you, but you notice five days later they open your email and watch your video, you now know when the best time to contact them is. Videos can be uploaded on mobiles, but the tracking analytic also lets you know how long your video was viewed for.”
La Prairie says, “BombBomb helps me retain and recruit my associates, whether they’re new to the business or established in the business.”
One major disadvantage to regular emails, he says, is people cannot read one’s tone, but that isn’t the case with a video message, which leaves very little margin for misunderstanding.
“It puts a personal touch on the business we do, and last time I checked we’re in the relationship business,” says La Prairie. “I was introduced to BombBomb in February and I loved it. I drank the Kool-Aid and I use it religiously.”
La Prairie says, “These technologies are reinventing our lives and making them a lot easier. They make you look taller and thinner.”