Inman Handbook On Getting Started With BoomTown

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Inman Handbook On Getting Started With BoomTown

BoomTown has been a popular software partner of the real estate industry for close to 15 years.

The Charleston, South Carolina-based company’s 250-plus employees continue to evolve their flagship product, an enhanced real estate sales and marketing solution that’s much more than a CRM, merging time-honored sales and marketing tactics with sophisticated digital efficiencies and clever applications of business intelligence.

BoomTown is a “big” product. There’s a lot to it. That doesn’t mean it’s hard to learn or use; it means its features and functionality are designed to address as many pain points as possible — and there are a lot of them in real estate.

What follows is not a comprehensive look into BoomTown, but a framework for helping you understand the software’s core competencies, the tools that apply to the challenges everyday agents face on a regular basis.

Between the major features churn countless cogs — nuanced menus and shortcuts, and design elements — that help pull together the greater user experience. You’ll learn those as you go. Until then, here’s the big stuff to know about BoomTown.

Table of contents

How to activate your database

Customer relationship management (CRM) software can’t exist without customers or relationships. And that starts with a healthy database. Creating one — an effective one — is likely any agent’s most challenging industry hurdle, and the first one needed to get the most out of any CRM software.

BoomTown offers a multichannel system to help new agents establish databases and tenured teams fortify what they’ve spent years crafting.

BoomTown is used heavily for its online advertising campaigns, which leverage Facebook’s dynamic ads engine and Google Pay-Per-Click (PPC). Digital advertising (run through Marketing Center) pulls people into your website from external internet sources, captures them with e-alert subscription appeals and other calls to action, and then automates the ongoing follow-up and nurture efforts.

While this is a long-proven tactic for web marketers, having systems in place to deploy it so efficiently, and with little user interaction, is a valuable component to BoomTown and an effective way to build a database. And when it comes to growing a database, BoomTown champions a volume strategy — the more, the better.

Years of feedback collected by the company has determined agents’ production volume increases year over year as their database expands, provided it’s continually nurtured. It’s true that traditional marketing mantras dictate email lists suffer under the weight of inactive contacts, as consistently poor open rates and inactive members negatively impact a marketer’s sending reputation.

BoomTown suggests a contrarian approach. The software is designed for easy segmentation, allowing users to categorize non-responsive contacts or previous buyers into campaigns meant to sustain long-term engagement.

Make no mistake — database decay is a real thing. However, it can be remedied with an ongoing effort to attract fresh interest and by keeping older contacts properly segmented by content topic and need. BoomTown provides specific marketing tools to resurface old prospects and previous clients.

Real estate information is always of interest to the current and aspiring homeowners on your list, as evidenced by the substantial increase in consumers using home search portals as a form of stress relief. Unless requested to specifically do so, don’t delete people you haven’t heard from in a few months.

BoomTown found that the longer a contact record is exposed to an agent’s marketing, the more apt they are to work with that agent. In essence, it’s a matter of compounding: create a cycle of outreach, and don’t consider a done deal a less critical relationship. Keep everyone within orbit of your brand for as long as you can.

If you already have a healthy list when joining BoomTown, then leave no record behind. (Changing CRMs is often looked at as a good opportunity to scrub contact lists.)

BoomTown’s Concierge feature (a part of its larger Success Assurance program) actively monitors your database upon account setup to gauge a contact’s level of activity, score them and recommend action. This is a powerful way to find forgotten-about clients and be reminded about those whose call you keep missing.

Even if it’s your first year in the business or your database is nothing more than a pile of smudged Post-its with folded corners and coffee rings, BoomTown can help it become the foundation of a lucrative career.

Additional resources

Getting to know Success Assurance

It’s easy to forget that an organization’s success is a direct reflection on the technology it uses. Thus, every software vendor wants its clients to know every way in which a product overlaps with their business. This is why adoption strategies need to be looked at as a critical part of any broker’s technology selection process.

To that end, BoomTown implemented Success Assurance.

Led by in-house teams empowered by their own tech, Success Assurance acts “as an extension of a real estate team” by filtering new leads through BoomTown’s concierge program. These on-call professionals nurture leads for up to one year, and allow agents a window into the discussions and activity, with the ability to take over conversations when appropriate or when it’s time to intervene.

BoomTown created the program by combining its own CRM technology with that of Real Contact, a lead qualification firm that it acquired in 2018.

Success Assurance includes BoomTown’s concierge teams fielding leads 24 hours a day, seven days a week for up to a year, and the option for agents to customize scripts that are used with their leads. They can schedule appointments, categorize contacts and alert users to high-priority leads.

From a business perspective, the Success Assurance program was likely a difficult implementation. It requires ongoing overhead, extensive internal training, and introduces risk in the form of an employee mishandling a client’s investment. Additionally, it’s primarily a soft return, more a hedge against losing business than a guarantee. But above all that, it demonstrates a firm investment in their clients’ growth.

Perhaps one of the most important features is that BoomTown representatives respond to most leads within 90 seconds, solving the mission-critical need for “speed to lead.” Today’s buyers and sellers want responses. Don’t give them a reason to put their phone down or scroll to another agent.

Additionally, having your leads worked for you offers more time for software skills training, such as learning what campaigns work best for what kind of leads or what website content is best for getting lead forms completed.

Additional resources

Creating a digital footprint

While it’s not exclusive to BoomTown, the concept of generating native leads is key to your success with the software.

BoomTown’s industry colleagues, such as Inside Real Estate’s kvCORE and Chime, also champion the value of traditionally earned leads over pay-per-lead sources. While tools for lead-source integration are present in BoomTown, the thrust of Marketing Central is generating and converting native leads for those agents who don’t outsource led gen.

BoomTown’s Marketing Central is the hub for all things digital advertising. It’s the launch point of Google and Facebook advertising products, listing promotion and driving traffic to search-friendly custom websites.

BoomTown ad campaigns can also target dead leads in existing databases, a smart way to invigorate a sales pipeline. What’s old becomes new again.

Campaigns can be created to promote existing listings or sold homes, or launched to go after “abandoners,” a term for people who have sniffed around a website or listing but didn’t register their information. These ads can be run on Facebook, Instagram or both. Agents can leverage video content, too.

One way Marketing Central helps build interest is by using the latitude and longitude of a listing to target a 15-mile radius to build a “look-alike” audience based on those who have stopped by the site or webpage. Ads can be single listings or use multiple images, and the software uses an agent’s MLS ID to pull properties into the system.

Chris Speicher of The Spheicher Group has been a customer of BoomTown’s for “about nine years.”

“We use the abandoners campaign to get those folks who have visited our site but not registered, and we use the inactive leads campaign for those who have come to our site, poked around, but have not come back in some period of time,” he said to Inman. “It’s a long-term nurture and brand awareness [campaign] to get people back to our website.”

Again, BoomTown is highly flexible when it comes to lead source. One can argue there is more value in earning the lead from inception, but outside sources, such as portals, can be as equally fruitful when subject to BoomTown’s omnichannel marketing tools.

Additional resources

Communicating through Lead Central

The dashboard where BoomTown users likely spend the majority of their time is Lead Central. This is where agents and teams get their hands dirty in the sandbox of new business.

A CRM can’t work for you if it doesn’t give you what you need to know to take action. Lead Central is a deep, granular look at the people you need to be reaching, how to reach them and when to do it. It’s also a jumping off point for communicating with prospects though bulk actions that are customizable to any stage in your relationship.

Using tagging systems, scoring models and automated activity-based surfacing, sophisticated lead management tools take the hassle out of hunting for who needs to be contacted. BoomTown excels at this, helping customers prioritize relationships.

The software’s Top Opportunities menu, or Now Wall, highlights those demonstrating outstanding potential to respond based on live (or very recent) activity monitoring on your website — a valuable tool for increasing response times, measuring website design effectiveness and for new agents not yet experienced enough to recognize sales queues.

“The Now Wall is one of BoomTown’s biggest advantages,” Speicher said. “We have four full-time people on our customer experience team.  They actively monitor behavior until it’s time to hand off to one my agents.”

Brad Nix is COO and owner of Path & Post in North Atlanta, Georgia. He’s been using BoomTown for more than seven years, and told Inman that it stands out for being more than a communication tool.

“It’s a behavior-based system, not just communication,” he said. “A lead tells us one thing about not moving, but their behavior on our website tells us otherwise, and BoomTown lets us see that.”

Lead Central is also users’ central interface between potential new business and concierge activity, allowing agents to view discussions, and respond to outreach and hand-off recommendations.

When it comes to listings, the My Listings experience within Lead Central is a comprehensive rundown of property interest levels and marketing activity, and an alert system for existing contacts who might be interested in a property. Again leveraging webpages, BoomTown helps agents publish home valuation calls to action to earn seller contact information.

Lead Central is where the majority of your interaction with BoomTown will originate. It’s your insight into new business and where your daily follow-up mission gets assigned. Think of this feature as the place where all of the systems you’ve put in place to manage your revenue come together. Treat it as such.

Additional resources:

Why websites matter

BoomTown’s websites are designed to attract consumers and present a polished, well-informed agent brand. And regardless of what you may hear, a custom, strategic website is a must.

They’re also at the heart of the product’s lead generation tools, providing the foundation of its seller and buyer lead campaigns, database growth and long-term branding efforts.

Agents and teams looking for IDX-powered search capabilities and an array of calls to action will find BoomTown to be a valuable partner. The company has built a number of ways for site visitors to interact — from home-matching e-alerts to custom or provided blog content.

Erica Ramus, broker-owner of independent brokerage Ramus Realty in Pottsville, Pennsylvania, is a seven-year customer of BoomTown. “We try to run everything we can through BoomTown — it should be open all day,” she told Inman over the phone. “Every client is on a drip campaign, and everyone is on e-alerts. We use those heavily.”

Property searches are accompanied by robust market information, including school rankings, property histories and listing comparisons. Individual agent and team pages are available, as well as capture forms that assist in qualifying folks for better categorization and more appropriate follow-up once deposited in Lead Center.

Websites are mobile-responsive and can be further branded through subdomains, and property data is always up to date.

Know that it’s easy to identify a BoomTown site, and they’re designed first for functionality and lead capture in conjunction with their marketing tools and tech. Agents wanting a totally unique look may have to work with BoomTown on a more involved level or connect a third-party design firm.

Additional resources:

Going mobile

A unique facet of BoomTown is its approach to mobile. While every player in its space provides value in the mobile environment, few offer two mobile companion apps, one for its agents and one for consumer search.

BoomTown Now is the agent’s pocket partner, a ride-along, always-ready version of its sibling browser app. The app is slimmed down to tasks and actions, designed to keep its agents in the know regarding new leads, what they need to do next, and when it’s time to respond. It’s an assignment desk.

The app is available for both major platforms. Leads identified within the last hour remain prominent and if not reached, fall back into a “waiting room.” It also offers up-to-the-minute business insights, ensuring that while you’re away from the office, you’re never away from business.

For consumers, BoomTown’s HomeSearchNOW is a branded, consumer-facing tool for exploring the market, registering for saved searches, favoriting homes and keeping their agent in the loop on wants and needs. This app also provides agents something of additional value to give clients and (hopefully) a way to keep them off of competing home search tools.

A user’s activity on the app then feeds directly into Marketing Central as part of the behavior-tracking functionality. This native transparency gives agents on the other end live insight on search trends and level of interest, furthering their knowledge on how to best help prospects and respond to their needs via e-alerts and ad campaigns.

Additional resources:

Following the numbers

For those team leaders, brokers and agents who appreciate the power of forecasting, the administrative functionality of the My Deals dashboard will surely keep you busy.

The reporting and measurement tools are developed to ensure the health of your business can be easily diagnosed. Use it to see total pending gross commission income, last year’s most valuable contributors and what lead sources offered the best return on investment. Track transactions from contract to close, and connect this data to existing transaction management partners.

Ramus fully leverages BoomTown’s integration power. “It’s the start and end of every transaction,” she told Inman over the phone. “We have BoomTown incorporated with Sisu for agent accountability, and we start a transaction, it moves into Dotloop. When we end a transaction, I then pay out of Sisu, too.”

BoomTown’s Reporting tools take the My Deals data beyond your office, helping users see how they rank among other teams and offices of similar size within the BoomTown ecosystem, across the country. This is a smart, highly useful feature not found on similar solutions.

Additional resources:

As mentioned early on, BoomTown is an enterprise-level investment. It can be rolled out across multiple offices and used by large teams. Yet, it can act light enough to not overwhelm a smaller-market independent. Nix’s Path & Post, with only 25 agents, fits that persona.

“I’ll never forget the day we launched it, Nov. 12, 2013, 11, 12, 13,” he said. “We were shopping for a CRM to be the hub of the whole business. We were struggling and needed a scalable solution. It was a lot for us to take on back then, but the system’s evolved a lot since then, and it’s the system of record for our brokerage. We don’t have anything else in the lead department.”

There’s 25 years of BoomTown use between Nix, Ramus, and Speicher — not a stat easy to dismiss when one considers the pace at which real estate technology has evolved in the last few years.

There’s a lot of options out there, and likely no shortage of sales reps from competing technologies calling on them. It seems clear that BoomTown delivers on its eponymous promise.

Craig C. Rowe started in commercial real estate at the dawn of the dot-com boom, helping an array of commercial real estate companies fortify their online presence and analyze internal software decisions. He now helps agents with technology decisions and marketing through reviewing software and tech for Inman.

IDX Real Estate

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