eMerge Blog

Five Questions with eMerge CEO Bondilyn Jolly

Posted August 4, 2016
Following up Bondilyn’s marketing automation discussion at Inman Connect in San Francisco, we asked our CEO to reiterate some of the key take-aways.  Here’s her response...

What are the benefits of marketing automation for real estate professionals? (ie.  organizations, brokers, agents)
Your typical real estate professional wears many different hats throughout the day and can have a tough time prioritizing time for effective lead nurturing and follow-up, which directly impacts the bottom line.  A good marketing automation campaign, or series of campaigns, helps to combat limited resources and limited time while providing a strong return on opportunities.   Another thing I love about marketing automation is that it’s scalable….it allows people to increase their sphere of influence / engage a larger audience without the sacrifice of service. 
What are some ideas of how marketing automation can work in real estate?
Agents can use automation to immediately reach out to new leads (text, email) as well as nurture longer term leads.  With an average lead to conversion rate on buyers being approx. 13 months, it’s imperative to have a solution in place to nurture and track these opportunities in order to prioritize outreach and stay in front of them.
We have brokers running amazing high-level, interactive recruitment campaigns inside of their market that are proving very effective.  Instead of blasting an in-your-face recruitment message, our brokers are launching 30 - 120 day campaigns that automatically customize the content, frequency and communication channels based on prospect engagement.
Organizations, like realtor.com, are using automation to cut tons of man-hours on outbound sales initiatives, instead focusing on prioritizing and responding to inbound activities based on each day’s automation records.  Automation is also great for automating first-level customer support follow-up.
What should people consider when developing an effective automation campaign?
An effective automation campaign provides a solution to a problem, for both the end-user and the business professional.  For example - if an agent is having issues responding to new leads in a timely manner, they can easily set up a campaign that automates the initial outreach and provides them additional feedback for follow-up.  The end-user benefits because they’ve received an immediate response and know that their request is being addressed.  
We encourage our subscribers to consider their resources, limitations and frustrations and then we can work with them to develop a plan that is going to produce the desired outcome.  It’s important to have a clearly defined goal / outcome for campaigns that can be used to track effectiveness.    
There are so many ‘canned’ automation services out there.  Should this be considered?  And if so, how should it best be used?
Canned content can be the bain of online existence.  Even in eMerge, we offer a huge content library of articles, images and social snippets for our users but the intention is to provide resources that can be used to supplement / support a more personalized campaign.  I always recommend that if you are scheduling canned content, at least provide relevancy for it.  For example - If you are sharing an article on how landscaping can increase curb appeal for a listing presentation, share a personal comment or success story to make the article relatable to your audience and to your services.
What’s coming up in the world of marketing automation for real estate?
Marketing automation is a huge, growing business for not just real estate, but all business verticals.  Our company has been working with a data mining company to take inbound real estate leads and ip addresses and run them against multiple consumer databases to develop very in-depth consumer overviews and then automate re-engagement campaigns against the data based on life style triggers and behaviors.  Scary as it may sound, there is a TON of information readily available on consumers and marketing automation allows us to run large-scale outreach campaigns that drive substantial increases in sales activity.