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Coldwell Banker: Mobile is sharing medium for buyers, sellers and agents

NEW YORK – A Coldwell Banker executive at the sixth annual Mobile Marketing Day revealed that the real estate brand’s mobile sites and applications function as an optimal sharing medium for its buyers, sellers and agents by allowing for personal anecdotes, videos and photos that augment the sales process.

Although the real estate sector was previously not as active in mobile, Coldwell Banker underwent a revamping of strategy a year and a half ago to better incorporate customizable aspects and platforms tailored to different types of people. The brand realized that its mobile app and sites saw several types of consumers, prompting it to allocate proper resources to each platform and ensure that buyers, sellers and agents are all able to equally benefit from them.

“We realized, that in real estate, we were doing it all wrong,” said Anna Visioli, vice president of digital marketing at Coldwell Banker Real Estate, Madison, NJ. “We relaunched a whole new platform that allowed participation to take place.

“It’s not about the device. It’s really about the experience of bringing a seller and a buyer together, and what the device can do.”

Mobile Marketing Day is a Mobile Marketer event jointly hosted with the Direct Marketing Association.

Major digital redesign
Coldwell Banker chose to undergo a revamping following the discovery that while one billion consumers visited real estate Web sites last year, only five million bought and sold homes.

“We’re chasing a lot of volume for not a lot of action,” Ms. Visioli said. “We don’t want lots of traffic, we want the right traffic.”

The brand found that 90 percent of activity on real estate sites was search, which was specifically targeted to buyers. With its new platforms, it markets directly to buyers, sellers and agents, and offers a more social component.

“Not only is our audience very social, it’s very mobile,” Ms. Visioli said. “Sellers really want to be able to add personality to the marketing property. We think the mobile app is a great way to do this.”

With Coldwell Banker’s mobile app, buyers are able to upload personal anecdotes taking place in their listed homes, alongside videos and photos. A verifying question is sent to their agent to ensure honesty and accuracy.

The buyers can then easily view and track their favorite homes and preferences.

“Buyers want unique content and also share feedback,” Ms. Visioli said. “Buyers now have the opportunity to view new content sellers are posting about homes.”

Marketing to different types
Buyers, sellers and agents are all able to use the app and sites interchangeably. The app in particular offers native home screens for each user type.

It also features a social media-like dashboard to aggregate information and favorites, help interested parties track their preferences and browse via the same profile with a significant other.

“This is the way consumers are now expecting information,” Ms. Visioli said.

Ultimately, this led to a differentiation between the app and site, as those also saw a variation of visitors. The mobile site has a lower barrier to entry than the app does, but the app houses a more engaged audience.

In turn, the mobile site’s audience is larger.

“The site is almost a gateway drug to get them to use the app,” Ms. Visioli said. “The app is a task-master, it’s almost an extension of ourselves.

“We want to find ways to make them stand out from our competition.”

Coldwell Banker also provides an iPad tool that showcases the listing price to the seller and gives the reason behind it. Sellers can share demographics of neighborhoods and marketplace trends, which make the buyer feel as though he or she is receiving a customized price.

It then allows the real estate agent to adjust the presentation of the home.

“Make sure you’re on platforms that make sense to you,” Ms. Visioli said. “What’s great about the digital space is the ability to refine and fix.”

Final Take
Alex Samuely is an editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York