Calling Up Customers Without Dialing

Apple’s iPhone was a huge hit — 1.1 million iPhones were sold in the last quarter. And while it may not appear to be a likely way to sell real estate, REALTOR.com is ringing up potential homebuyers using what may be this season’s hottest tech accessory.

REALTOR.com, the National Association of Realtors’ Web site, decided to utilize the iPhone’s popularity and create a search capability compatible with the iPhone. Using their phone browser, iPhone owners can access listings at http://iphone.realtor.com, search by neighborhood, view photos, property info and listing agent contact information.

This isn’t the site’s first foray into cell phones: the REALTOR.com mobile application also works on cell phones and PDA devices running Windows
Mobile 5.0, including HP hw6965, HP hw6925, Palm Treo 700w (or Palm
Treo 700wx), AT&T 8525, Cingular 8125, O2 Xda Stealth and Audiovox
XV6700.

Sound like a gimmicky promotional tie-in? It isn’t. Part of keeping afloat in this challenged real estate era involves creative marketing — and making listing searches easier for the more than 3.4 million people who are expected to buy iPhones (which also go on sale in the UK this week) this year is a smart move.  

Last week an Out and About blog touched on successful marketing techniques like e-newsletters and Talking House that are helping to sell homes. As the market sees less and less buyers, due in part to credit issues and consumer fear, it’s more important than ever to make things as convenient and easy as possible for those considering buying or selling. If you don’t, there’s a developer or real estate who will.

Consider creating a podcast. Adding to your Web site. Test-marketing new technology. The real estate industry isn’t just about business cards and open houses anymore — are you changing along with it?