Digital Native vs. Digital Immigrant – Real Estate Communication 2016

The next generation of homebuyers – Generation X and Generation Y – all use technology differently and they want to be communicated with in various ways.  Email might work great for the vast majority of your customers today, buy your email may go unanswered and probably unopened if sent to a 20-something homebuyer.  You should have sent a text.


Understanding technology propensities is key to communicating with clients today and in the future.  It’s really not about the age, but about experience.  Many young adults today were born with a Game Boy in hand, but the next generation will not know what a mouse for a computer is.  It isn’t that the younger generation is better at technology, but it’s more ubiquitous to them.

For the older generation, technology has become actually useful in the past five years.  If you ask people today if they ever used augmented reality they’ll probably say ‘no.’  But augmented reality is looking to a phone and seeing information about a house on the screen.  The tech designers have led us to a new day, but many people are still worried about Outlook or taking the battery out of their BlackBerry to reboot it, (yes.. believe it or not there are still agents in the real estate business using BlackBerry’s and even flip phones).

In contrast, the younger generation doesn’t spend any time thinking about technology.  They just do it and move on to the next new thing.  Generation Y is about instant gratification:  If they can’t see it on their phone, it doesn’t really exist.  In real estate, they must be a part of the process.  If they don’t feel like they can ask questions, they’re not going to be interested.

Millennials now number around 85 million U.S. residents.  Many of them are just a few years from purchasing their first home.  How can you position yourself as the real estate professional that they want to work with?  You must bridge the tech gap by leveraging the power of a robust marketing technology.  While Generation X and Generation Y can easily navigate the Internet in search of data, they often don’t know how to make sense of it.  That’s where the real estate professional comes in, to educate them.

Develop your digital brand – Carefully!

You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression.  Think: ‘Before I open my mouth and tell people I’m a REALTOR®, I must have a brand I am proud of.”  Just having a website won’t cut it.  Generation Y and Generation X can tell immediately if you put everything together on the cheap and built your site in a hurry.  So don’t do it.  You’ll lose business.  The slogan used to be ‘Ready, Aim, Fire’ but some REALTORS® think, ‘Fire, Then Aim’.

Keep ahead of the curve: technology isn’t static.  It can change dramatically.  College students used to only use Facebook, but now Mom and Dad have a Facebook page, so Generation X and Generation Y are moving on to sites like Snapchat, Instagram and Vine.  They are going to smaller, micro-social sites.  They continually find a new place to communicate and real estate professionals need to also.

Real estate agents must concentrate where their target audience is focused.  Agents should think of their mobile plan like a store.  If you are going to build a retail store, then you want to be in the area with as much traffic as possible.  Getting people to your store involves two critical components:  perceived value and perceived ease of use, your marketing has to be about how easy you are to work with and how useful you are to your clients.  It’s also crucial when it comes to your 24-hour office, your website.

It’s important how much content you have on your site that visitors can go to without picking up the phone.  You want to get everyone to go to your site.  If you don’t have rich content on your site, there is no way people will stay and you will never get them back.

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posted: Feb 5, 2016 | No Responses

Posted by:  Krish Dhokia

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