Simplifying Your Real Estate Work Load
It's hard enough to run a small real estate business without having to manually finish every little task yourself.
It's 2017, and for as often as Artificial Intelligence and the impending self-driving car revolution are in the media, there exist many options for you - yes, you! - to automate your small business. Many of these options are SaaS (Software as a Service), meaning you can access them from anywhere you have internet, and some even offer free options that would be a great starting point to see if you think it's worth the effort.
Reasons to automate:
- You're feeling pulled in a million directions on a daily basis.
- You'd like to hire some admin help but aren't sure you even have enough to keep someone busy.
- You want to minimize time spent on the boring business stuff and get back to crushing real estate.
- You've heard about how the internet can save you time but don't have it working for you yet.
Here are some ideas for where to start. We'll start each section with the big option, the one the Targets and Keller Williamses of the world might use, and then offer up some less-robust options for us little guys.
If you're not on social media - or maybe just not that active - you should be. Some social media advertising options, like Facebook Ads, offer the biggest bang for your ad buck if you know who you want to target. More than just ads, though, social media provides a means for you to be a part of the conversation and get your name out there. Nobody's going to use your business if they don't know it exists.
Hootsuite is the best-known social media automation platform, and they do have free account options. By tying all of your accounts together (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, etc.), you can quickly and easily post to each or all of them without leaving Hootsuite. The really cool feature is that you can schedule posts ahead of time so you can set them and forget them.
Customer Relationship Management
Automating your leads nurturing and sales is a key target for automation for a business of any size. Once your wheels are really turning and the money's pouring in, you're working with a lot of customers and a lot of data, and in this digital age there are easier methods than a rolodex or that crusty notebook you've been carting around. Manual lead tracking can be a pain, which makes automation in this space a logical starting point.
Salesforce is the giant in the CRM space, and with a forthcoming 61-story building in San Francisco and over 19,000 employees, they're about as big as it gets. With Salesforce you can automate practically all of your customer management including email alerts, track activities, and real-time sales reports.
Salesforce definitely isn't cheap, though (those 61 stories don't pay for themselves!), and a less-robust option for small businesses to look at is Zoho.
Automating your email is a no-brainer if you have a lot of leads in your database. If you'd like to send automated welcome emails to new newsletter or blog subscribers, or to update customers as they progress through the homebuying process, the good news is there are quite a few options.
Pardot is owned by Salesforce, so if you're already integrating Salesforce into your business then Pardot will play nice with your existing leads database, though it doesn't require Salesforce. It can help you nurture those leads and stay in contact without having to manually set up every email that goes out.
Owning your own business can make tax season especially stressful, and it's easy to feel like you haven't taken full advantage of the deductions available. If you're not willing to cough up for a full-fledged accountant, you might consider handing your accounting needs to an automated program.
Tax powerhouse Intuit has a solution, and it's an especially robust one. From organizing transactions and tracking expenses to preparing financial reports, Intuit Quickbooks has you covered.
Just The Beginning
As you'll come to find, the more thought you put into automating your business, the more options and possibilities will arise. Once you really get knee-deep in this stuff, you very well might jolt awake in the middle of the night with a eureka moment that'll end up freeing up even more time in your day-to-day work.