Coupons. With the exception of followers of TLC’s Extreme Couponing, most people will use coupons on occasion, but won’t “go nuts” about using them. Since tough economic times have hit most of the developed world, coupon usage is rising. Mashable’s neat infograph (below) details not only how much the usage of coupons has risen, but it also highlights the fact that the internet is the source that a large portion of couponers use.
What does this have to do with real estate, you might ask? First, I’d like to point out the blindingly obvious fact that it’s a “brave new world” for the real estate industry. If you are a realtor or broker and you don’t have a good website, packed with lots of useful information, you are missing out on a HUGE opportunity to grow your business.
That being said, there is a trend that, while it doesn’t seem to mean much right now, could definitely become a very powerful tool for your business. The trend I’m talking about is in a fledgling state, however it has the potential to drive potential customers to your website and increase your conversions.
Dream Town Realty in Chicago, working in conjunction with Groupon, is a pioneer in bringing the “daily deal phenomenon” to real estate. In April of this year, buyers purchased a $25 coupon from Groupon which offered buyers a cash incentive of $1,000 towards the purchase of a home listed with the realtor or a credit for sellers who listed by April of 2012. There were 219 takers, which is slim by Groupon’s standards, however it shows the promise that this particular marketing strategy holds for realtors.
It’s definitely possible to tweak this deal to fit any real estate related criteria - not just the purchase of a home. For example, a real estate investment company could offer a dollar amount or a percentage off of educational classes, or mentoring sessions.
As a real estate professional, you don’t have to re-invent the wheel to bring this idea to your business. The website HouseTipper.com has already forged the way by bringing the power of collective buying to the real estate industry. Their site describes the service as follows:
“HouseTipper is the premier collective buying platform for the Real Estate and Home & Garden Industry. We bring incredible savings to consumers while generating new business for local companies. We’ve pre-negotiated deals with developers, real estate agents, property managers, store owners, and a variety of other businesses to offer you and your friends some amazing discounts in your home town.
To get started, sign up on HouseTipper. If you see a deal you like, click “Buy”. A minimum number of vouchers need to be purchased by other people in order to get the deal. That means the deal must be “Tipped” at a pre-set number of sales.”
The deal will “tip” when both the buyer and the seller can get a great deal based upon established conditions. You can help a deal to “tip” by sharing the information with friends and family, and sharing it with your network of online contacts via social media sites like Twitter and Facebook.
The daily deal or collective buying trend has grown from 873 million in 2010 to 1.25 billion just one year later (an increase of 43%), and it is projected to grow to 3.9 billion (265%) by 2015! The rise of both the internet and smartphones to acquire information has grown astronomically since 1998 (when online deals started emerging), and it appears the trend will continue to grow and develop over time.
Internet savvy real estate professionals know a great thing when they see it, so expect to see more of this trend in the coming years.