This year’s real estate market has presented challenges to many of us. With the re-organization of the mortgage industry and the bursting of the pricing bubble, REALTORS® have been exposed to tough competition in the marketplace. While some regional markets still continue to boom, most agents are finding that lead generation has become a difficult task. Despite tough conditions, the real estate industry has responded by using technology to develop more advanced marketing plans. Find out more on the state of the real estate market and how to use technology in our whitepaper, “Making it BIG in a Slow Market.” While you’re reading the whitepaper, you may ask yourself, “How do I reach different kinds of potential clients?” The most effective way to reach them is to know who they are, what they are about, and what kind of marketing language they respond to. Email? Flyers? Word of mouth? Ten years ago, the National Association of REALTORS® believed that technology and the Internet could decrease NAR membership by 50%. Today NAR membership has gone up more than 75%, and while the Internet has transformed the way real estate agents do business, the demand for REALTORS® is still vital to the home buying and selling process. The days of traditional marketing have receded, and in order to compete in this industry, agents are finding personal websites, and the adoption of new Internet marketing tools will allow them continued success and growth. Showing your clients that you are up to date on new technologies and are able to communicate with them intelligently will allow you not only to gain more leads, but turn leads into clients. The majority of today’s real estate agents and brokers are baby boomers, and come from an era when technology was just arriving. The traditional yard sign, mass mailings and newspaper ads were common and successful marketing tools. But while the oldest baby boomer turns 60 this year, the concentration of homebuyers has moved to the next generation, the MTV Generation or Generation X. Generation X speaks a different language than their boomer parents having grown up during technology’s formative years. Developing an online marketing plan that takes into account the differences in each generation, will give you an edge in this highly competitive market. While current technology reaches across all generations, each generation integrates new technology into their lives on different levels. Baby Boomers: 1946-1964, age 43-61 – This generation typically bought houses ten or more years ago at non-inflated prices. They are the parents of the MTV generation, so they have some familiarity with new technology via their childrens’ highly technical world. Boomers make up about 32% of primary homebuyers, and 47% of second homebuyers. (estimated from NAR 2006-Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers) Much of their net worth is held in their home, and as retirement nears they may be looking to sell homes to free up some of their assets, and also purchase retirement homes. TRY… email marketing to these folks. While they come out of an era accustomed to receiving correspondence via U.S. mail, they are also business savvy and most have embraced the use of email as a primary form of communication. Did you know? iHOUSE MarketReach™ allows you to perform traditional marketing tasks like quick creation of property flyers and brochures, maintaining your contacts in one database, and sending automated email drip campaigns to generate leads and maintain contact with previous clients. Generation X or the MTV Generation: 1965-1979, age 28-42 – Often growing up with two working parents, they are independent and resourceful. They use the Internet heavily in their home search, and want to participate with their agent in the entire home search process. They are responsible for the character of the Internet today, and are highly skilled in the technology realm. They also comprise 51% of the home buying population, and 33% of second home buyers. TRY… positioning yourself as a resource in their search. Seek out new technology that will aid them in their home search. Offer access to a branded MLS search solution on your website, and send them automatic updates to their email or PDA’s regarding properties that match their search criteria, and capture a lead simultaneously. Did you know? IDXPro® provides a search solution that brands every listing in the online MLS with your contact information. Additional features include interactive Google Maps to show listing by location, custom saved search capability, and more! Generation Y or the Echo Boomers: 1980-1995, age 12-27 – While many are not yet ready for the home buying process, the older ones are nearing their 30’s. Be ready for this group, who some say have the highest purchasing power of any generation. While Generation X may have seen the beginning of the Internet revolution, this group was born with it. Stay informed about their culture and technology habits and find out how you can impress them with your tech-savvy business skills. The bottom line is you have to know your target to effectively reach them with your marketing. Simply by taking the effort to understand what motivates certain age groups and by communicating in their language, you can turn the real estate slow down upside down for your business.