Fast Forward: Keeping Ahead of the Technology Curve

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This post originally appeared on RISMedia.com, By Nick Caruso

Technology is shaping the future of real estate, and in today’s dynamic landscape, fully leveraging technology is critical to success—for brands, brokers and agents.

Sir Arthur C. Clark, acclaimed science fiction writer and co-author of “2001: A Space Odyssey,” noted that any sufficiently advanced technology is equivalent to magic. Today, truly successful real estate professionals are leveraging technology tools to create magical experiences that amaze and delight their clients in a completely transparent way.

Zap—a network of brand, broker and agent websites with an integrated CRM being rolled out for all of Realogy’s brands—is just the starting point at ERA Real Estate. The brand, known for being the first to see the business applications of the fax machine back in the early 1970s, has continued to innovate with a forward-thinking approach. This approach is apparent in how ERA Real Estate has deployed Zap across its network.

As the first real estate brand to connect all of its affiliated brokers and agents on the same platform, we created a unique, competitive position for our brand,” says Chris Trick, chief marketing officer at ERA Real Estate.

In order to drive traffic to the new platform and maximize results for the entire ERA® system, the brand launched an aggressive digital media campaign, complemented by an innovative co-operative lead generation program called “Light It Up,” which matched broker commitments dollar for dollar.

“As a result, ERA.com site traffic has increased 70 percent year-over-year, in addition to a surge of organic traffic of more than 100 percent,” notes Trick. “More importantly, we’re starting to see positive shifts in lead source as we recapture a higher share of leads coming from ERA.com.”

Driving traffic to the site is just part of the strategy. Getting ERA-affiliated professionals to use the site is just as important. To that end, the ERA learning team created multiple touch points for gaining mastery of the Zap CRM platform. From live, in-market instructional workshops to virtual refresher courses, ERA taps into its own corporate team, as well as Zap specialists who have gone through a “train the trainer” course to become the go-to expert for their company.

Regional learning events devoted entirely to Zap bring together upwards of hundreds of ERA brokers and agents to learn, collaborate and share best practices.

The multi-faceted approach to increasing Zap engagement has produced results: those ERA-affiliated professionals who are most engaged in Zap are seeing high average increases in productivity—demonstrating a direct correlation between engagement and productivity.

“On average, companies that implemented Zap in 2015 are seeing a greater increase in year-to-date GCI growth,” says Trick. “This underscores the importance of focusing on adoption and engagement.”

To foster usage across the network and close out 2016 in a strong position, ERA amplified the brand’s incredible momentum with an enticing incentive called “Zap to the Future.” During the month of November, ERA companies that had 50 percent of their affiliated agents log into the Zap platform were entered into a drawing for a three-month SEM campaign. Additionally, each day in November, an ERA-affiliated sales associate who logged into the platform was randomly selected to win a prize. Engagement begins by logging into the platform, because as Trick points out, “You have to be in it to win it!”

Also in November, the brand premiered Zap/TV, a live, 90-minute interactive television event providing participants the opportunity to ask questions, learn best practices and experience a day in the life of a successful real estate sales associate using Zap. The show is hosted by Wayne Weaver, a former top-producing sales associate with ERA Team VP Real Estate in Chautauqua, N.Y., who has traveled across the country in his new role as a Zap instructor, hosting live learning sessions at ERA companies.

Just as the real estate industry evolves, so does the Zap technology. In fact, there’s a saying at ERA Real Estate: Zap is not a product, it’s a process. And in keeping with the idea that Zap is a process, the ERA network is encouraged to keep up to date with the enhancements and developments that continue to provide an unparalleled competitive advantage for Zap users. In just 12 months, more than 90 new product features and enhancements have been pushed out, and many more are in the pipeline.

“Improvements happen every step of the way,” says Trick. “Over the past few months, Zap has introduced several major new features, including the Zap mobile CRM app, the new consumer app and improved property search functionality that includes neighborhood sub-divisions and school boundaries. And coming soon, we’ll introduce improvements to website configurations for affiliated sales associates to allow them to further customize their sites.”

With technology and innovation as cornerstones of the brand’s value proposition, ERA Real Estate is ready to “fast forward” to the future, providing its affiliated brokers and sales associates with a competitive advantage for years to come thanks to the brand’s out-of-the-box approach to maximizing the power of the platform.

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