Using Browser Notifications to Drive Engagement for MLSs and Real Estate Associations

Blog / Planning​​​​​​​
Whenever an MLS or real estate association sends out an email, there’s far from any guarantee that this email will be opened. In fact, recent stats show an engagement rate of just 15 percent on bulk emails and that might sound generous to anyone who’s ever launched a web campaign that’s fallen short.

For MLSs and real estate associations looking to engage members, the low open rates on bulk emails might sound disconcerting. But there is a solution that has been shown to triple the rate of engagement: push technology, or browser notifications.

How it works

Helping get a web user receiving push notifications is a fairly simple process done one of two ways, enrollment when the website is visited for the first time or when the member joins the organization. Like a lot of what goes on at that marketing stage, a fair bit of this process can be automated. Here’s how it works.

It starts with current or potential member, visiting an MLS or association website. From there, software enabled in the website can check if a web visitor is subscribed. If the user is not subscribed, then they can be automatically asked if they want to subscribe.

The last step is fairly critical, as subscribing a web user to a service, in general, is not advisable without their explicit permission. Click-through rates and engagement will generally be much lower for content sent to a user that they did not request.

It is standard practice to ask a new member for contact information and preferred method of contact. “Which email address do you want this sent to or do you want it snail mail?”
Occasionally, to ask for preferred method of contact per subject. “I want dues invoices sent to my office street address, call me if there is a compliance issue and email everything else.”
Rarely, to ask for preferred method of contact per subject by current communication channels. “I want dues invoices sent via browser notifications, call me if there is a compliance issue, text me if there is going to be an MLS outage and I only want emails about educations/trainings.” 

Implementation of browser notifications and NOT poisoning the channel is the first step in engaging member by preferred method. 

It’s a fairly cut-and-dry process but one that can be highly effective at cutting through the noise and clutter of today’s online experience and the world in general. Browser notifications help ensure that MLS or real estate association members read important communications, pay dues, register for events and much more.

Functionalities and capabilities

Browser notifications enable numerous functions and capabilities. They can of course notify a web visitor when there is a new email, message or special publication, perhaps a new white paper or ebook, ready for them to download. With ever-evolving laws and regulations in the real estate field, automatic notifications can prove invaluable for realtors. Far from these messages seeming intrusive, a realtor might feel grateful to the MLS or association that provides them.

Browser notifications can also create end loops of sorts. They can show special offers from an MLS or association website, perhaps an upcoming professional development night for realtors. Once the realtor has signed up for this event, the notifications can be used to send reminders about it. And after the event has passed, a push notification can be used to request that the attendee take a survey about their experience.

An organization that truly wants to service their members at the highest level would offer to customize this channel for each member. 

This is easily set up in any marketing platform. Timely engagement with personal relevancy is the hallmark of marketing and communication in the 21st century. 

Real estate is a highly data-driven field. Browser notifications can help to gather more information while keeping end users -- the realtors who receive them -- better informed. They’re a fine use of technology.
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