Engaging Agents and Brokers with Your Association or MLS CRM
As we touched on in earlier articles, our industry is fortunate in that we already control the historically most challenging aspect of communications. Driving eyes/traffic to a single point of engagement, in this case the MLS and Association portal.
Usually, customer adoption takes piles of money, time, and effort to convert. The effort to drive engagement includes paid campaigns to your custom audience, content creation that is targeted to your customer personas, constant testing of multiple landing pages, etc. Depending on your local landscape this happens one of three ways.
Log into an AOR or MLS website
Via a mobile application
Bookmarked URL for a Gateway
MLS or Association Member Website
I will start with the point of entry that is most generally followed. A website login. The most important factor here is, does your area have an Association and MLS website as a point of entry? If so, that is the first potential problem. These need to be consolidated into a single place.
Assuming this is the case then the question is can I make both logins point towards the same asset? e.g., a Clareity Dashboard. If the answer is no, then that needs to be rectified. Ownership of the MLS makes this easy, but since most MLS ownership is among multiple associations, it can get more complicated. Even as an Association in a regional MLS, you can create an environment where agents prefer to login through your gateway if you deliver more value.
In a situation where the association site log in points to a member experience (Rappatoni IMS or Ramco Member Portal) and the MLS website points to the MLS front end, options need to be explored to unify the experience. To drive the value you provide, the goal is to create the best possible user experience for your customer. If you cannot engage your customer at login, it is difficult to drive your communications programs or adoption of member services.
What matters is all traffic is pointed to a unified experience. Then efforts can be made to surface relevant data to whatever that asset is.
Deployment of a mobile application as a point entry to MLS is paramount. The value of being able to identify the members phone and service push notification can't be understated. It is extremely tough for anyone to see the little red number hovering above the app tile and not clear it!
Making a mobile application choice depends on what ancillary goal the organization has.
1. An association application
2. A real estate search app
Distribution of a mobile application for the association provides an opportunity to layer communications as well as build additional revenue streams for the organization. The downside is the real estate professionals are already prompted to download more al la carte products than any demographic.
Real Estate Search Application
There is no shortage of these as we all know. I suggest that whichever one chosen for agent-client interaction gets repurposed as the organization’s point of entry application. Hold judgment for a second and let me explain.
We want adoption of our member benefits and so do the vendors that provide them. So I don’t think it is too much to ask a provider to surface a branded association version as the point of entry.
Imagine if anyone that interacts with education, events, service centers and emails is prompted to download what will be used to log into the MLS, pay dues, register for events/classes, save event schedule to their phone, etc. This is the heart of delivering value as an Association.
All it would take to accomplish this is for the app provider to add a single custom-branded entry page. This puts you in first position to communicate your value to your members.
The result will be mass distribution of the search application with the added benefit of controlling top of the funnel.
Book Marked URL
If after analyzing the current environment it is determined that a significant percentage of the membership has bookmarked the direct URL for the front end of the MLS, then steps can be taken to move that traffic into the preferred ecosystem. Lacking the intention to deploy an SSO experience then the most straightforward course of action would be to implement a web page with browser notifications and promote download of the mobile app pointed at the MLS gateway.
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