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Four things to look for in a real estate CRM

Running a smooth real estate operation requires organization and marketing, both of which should be found in a team’s CRM.



Industry-specific CRM questions

In the market for a real estate CRM/ contact management system? Keep the following considerations in mind before you make your decision:

First: contact management, of course

  • Robust contact management. It’s essential that your CRM have detailed contact profiles with fields for interests, birthdates, spouse and children information, wedding anniversary date, pets, and hobbies. Real estate is all about relationships so if you’re able to learn about your contacts and their life (and acknowledge them on their birthday and anniversary, for instance), you’re setting yourself up for referrals and repeat business down the road.

It should also be easy to add contacts to the system. This means the real estate CRM should have an Automated Website Lead capture tool that will automatically capture all of your web leads into your database and send you a reminder when you receive a new lead. You can then respond right away and assign the lead to a drip marketing campaign.

Second: email marketing

  • Fully-featured email marketing. It’s important that your real estate CRM have a powerful email marketing component because for REALTORS®, email marketing should be a key element of your keep in touch plan.

Make sure the CRM: gives you the ability to send out an e-Newsletter, includes graphical email marketing templates, lets you send out personalized mass emails, and has pre-designed drip marketing campaigns.

A drip marketing plan or campaign is a series of emails that get automatically sent out at various time intervals from the real estate CRM. There are drip marketing plans for marketing to a first time buyer, a potential seller, keeping in touch with past clients, and more. These plans help you automate a lot of your keep in touch work which will save you a ton of time!

If the CRM includes Email Campaign Reporting functionality, it’s a big bonus. With Email Campaign Reporting, you can see open rate, click through rate, forward rate, and other key statistics and information on emails you send through the system. This way, you’re not marketing with a blindfold on. You can also use this feature to identify potentially hot leads: those people who are reading and interacting with your emails the most.

Third: transaction management

  • Transaction Management. In order to stay organized, it’s important to have one place where you go to manage your prospects, clients, calendar, schedule, appointments, and active business. When I refer to active business, I’m referring to any listings you have and buyers you’re currently working with. Make sure the CRM you’re evaluating has robust transaction management features so you can manage your active business, generate service reports, organize offers, track commissions, and list property details.

The CRM should also have listing and closing activity plans which are a series of “to do’s” with accompanying reminders that will help you make sure no details fall through the cracks when you’re listing or closing a home.

Fourth: accessibility and compatibility

  • Compatibility and accessibility. Is this system fully Mac compatible? Does it work on the iPad? Can it sync wirelessly and instantaneously to your smartphone? These are key questions you need to be asking when evaluating a real estate CRM.

As well, if the system is not easy to use, you just won’t use it. There are many solutions out there that are anything but user friendly – it’s hard to navigate through them and the learning curve is often steep. Make sure you test out the system (even a couple at a time) and see which you find is easier to use. In the end, ease of use trumps flashy design because you need to be using the CRM on a daily basis. If not, you won’t get any value from it.

In real estate, there are so many products and services out there to spend money on. But of all of them, a real estate CRM is probably one of the best products you can invest in for your business. Why? Because the system will quickly pay for itself. The return on investment (ROI) is tremendous. Just one new client you’ve received as a result of using the system (say from sending a marketing email) pays for the CRM for years.

Summary checklist:

  • Robust contact management
    • Detailed Realtor-oriented contact profiles
    • Unlimited groups and easy contact filtering and searching
    • Keep in touch dashboard
    • Automated Website Lead Capture
  • Fully-featured email marketing
    • Monthly e-Newsletter
    • Personalized mass emails
    • Automated drip campaigns
    • Graphical marketing templates
    • Email Campaign Reporting
  • Transaction management
    • Manage listings and buyers
    • Activity Plans
    • Service Reports
  • Compatibility and accessibility
    • Smartphone Wireless Sync
    • Mac and iPad compatibility

Matthew Collis is part of the Sales and Marketing Team at IXACT Contact Solutions Inc., a leading North American real estate CRM firm. In addition to overseeing many of IXACT Contact’s key sales and marketing programs, Matthew works with REALTORS® to help them achieve their real estate goals through effective contact management and relationship marketing. IXACT Contact is a web-based real estate contact management and marketing system that helps REALTORS® better manage and grow their business. The system includes powerful email marketing capabilities and a professionally designed and written monthly e-Newsletter.

Social Media

Zillow launches real estate brokerage after eons of swearing they wouldn’t

(MEDIA) We’ve warned of this for years, the industry funded it, and Zillow Homes brokerage has launched, and there are serious questions at hand.



zillow group

Zillow Homes was announced today, a Zillow licensed brokerage that will be fully operational in 2021 in Phoenix, Tucson, and Atlanta.

Whoa, big huge yawn-inducing shocker, y’all.

We’ve been warning for more than a decade that this was the end game, and the company blackballed us for our screams (and other criticisms, despite praise when merited here and there).

Blog posts were penned in fiery effigy calling naysayers like us stupid and paranoid.

Well color me unsurprised that the clarity of the gameplan was clear as day all along over here, and the paid talking heads sent out to astroturf, gaslight, and threaten us are now all quiet.

Continue reading…

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Social Media

We watched The Social Dilemma – here are some social media tips that stuck with us

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Here are some takeaways from watching Netflix’s The Social Dilemma that helped me to eliminate some social media burnout.



Neon social media like heart with a 0

Last weekend, I made the risky decision to watch The Social Dilemma on Netflix. I knew it was an important thing to watch, but the risk was that I also knew it would wig me out a bit. As much as I’m someone who is active “online,” the concept of social media overwhelms me almost more than it entertains (or enlightens) me.

The constant sharing of information, the accessibility to information, and the endless barrage of notifications are just a few of the ways social media can cause overwhelm. The documentary went in deeper than this surface-level content and got into the nitty gritty of how people behind the scenes use your data and track your usage.

Former employees of high-profile platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google, and Pinterest gave their two cents on the dangers of social media from a technological standpoint. Basically, our data isn’t just being tracked to be passed along for newsletters and the like. But rather, humans are seen as products that are manipulated to buy and click all day every day in order to make others money and perpetuate information that has astronomical effects. (I’m not nearly as intelligent as these people, so watch the documentary to get the in-depth look at how all of this operates.)

One of the major elements that stuck with me was the end credits of The Social Dilemma where they asked interviewees about the ways they are working to eliminate social media overwhelm in their own lives. Some of these I’ve implemented myself and can attest to. Here’s a short list of things you can do to keep from burning out online.

  1. Turn off notifications – unless there are things you need to know about immediately (texts, emails, etc.) turn it off. Getting 100 individual notifications within an hour from those who liked your Instagram post will do nothing but burn you (and your battery) out.
  2. Know how to use these technologies to change the conversation and not perpetuate things like “fake news” and clickbait.
  3. Uninstall apps that are wasting your time. If you feel yourself wasting hours per week mindlessly scrolling through Facebook but not actually using it, consider deleting the app and only checking the site from a desktop or Internet browser.
  4. Research and consider using other search tools instead of Google (one interviewee mentioned that Qwant specifically does not collect/store your information the way Google does).
  5. Don’t perpetuate by watching recommended videos on YouTube, those are tailored to try and sway or sell you things. Pick your own content.
  6. Research the many extensions that remove these recommendations and help stop the collection of your data.

At the end of the day, just be mindful of how you’re using social media and what you’re sharing – not just about yourself, but the information you’re passing along from and to others. Do your part to make sure what you are sharing is accurate and useful in this conversation.

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Social Media

WeChat ban blocked by California judge, but for how long?

(SOCIAL MEDIA) WeChat is protected by First Amendment concerns for now, but it’s unclear how long the app will remain as pressure mounts.



WeChat app icon on an iPhone screen

WeChat barely avoided a US ban after a Californian judge stepped in to temporarily block President Trump’s executive order. Judge Laurel Beeler cited the effects of the ban on US-based WeChat users and how it threatened the First Amendment rights of those users.

“The plaintiffs’ evidence reflects that WeChat is effectively the only means of communication for many in the community, not only because China bans other apps, but also because Chinese speakers with limited English proficiency have no options other than WeChat,” Beeler wrote.

WeChat is a Chinese instant messaging and social media/mobile transaction app with over 1 billion active monthly users. The WeChat Alliance, a group of users who filed the lawsuit in August, pointed out that the ban unfairly targets Chinese-Americans as it’s the primary app used by the demographic to communicate with loved ones, engage in political discussions, and receive news.

The app, along with TikTok, has come under fire as a means for China to collect data on its users. U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross has stated, “At the President’s direction, we have taken significant action to combat China’s malicious collection of American citizens’ personal data, while promoting our national values, democratic rules-based norms, and aggressive enforcement of U.S. laws and regulations.”

This example is yet another symptom of our ever-globalizing society where we are learning to navigate between connectivity and privacy. The plaintiffs also pointed out alternatives to an outright ban. One example cited was in Australia, where WeChat is now banned from government officials’ phones but not others.

Beeler has said that the range in alternatives to preserving national security affected her decision to strike down the ban. She also explained that in regards to dealing with national security, there is “scant little evidence that (the Commerce Department’s) effective ban of WeChat for all US users addresses those concerns.”

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