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Tapping the Zillow Gap – Competing on Consumer Experience

Ah, Zillow. The real estate portal we all know and love? It’s no secret that many homebuyers leverage the “Z word” to begin their initial stages of the homebuying process. Due to the popularity of Zillow with homebuyers, many brokerages and agents alike feel they must be committing a dedicated monthly budget to the platform for a perceived fear of missing out on a potentially limitless stream of leads. Many real estate professionals also feel there is an unspoken expectation they need to be present on the search portal to truly compete with those who are also on Zillow.

However, often the cons/disadvantages of advertising with Zillow outweigh the perceived pros. Let’s start with the major disadvantage of advertising with the portal – cost. An average agent spends a minimum of $300/month on the portal with many spending well into the thousands. Measuring the efficacy of business gained by this spend more times than not does not justify the cost of the leads obtained. Another frustrating aspect of depending on a portal such as Zillow for leads to fuel your business is the inability to take control of your own lead generation strategy. Agents and brokerages are at the mercy of a portal’s algorithm which dictates the location and frequency ads are shown.  Additionally, brokerages and agents have no choice regarding the communication frequency and methods to interact with leads who express interest in particular properties. Because of the uncertainty and inability to control many aspects of their own marketing efforts, many brokerages are looking for proven and effective solutions to grow their business without a dependency on Zillow.

While it may sound risky at first, more and more brokerages are seeing the overwhelmingly positive results of transitioning the critical business component to their in-house technology platform.  The ever increasing popularity of proven real estate tech platforms is very evident. Many top performing brokers/agents experience amazing results upon moving to sophisticated lead generation platforms versus that which Zillow was producing. One of the key differentiators these platforms provide is control of the lead nurturing process. Brokers and agents alike are able to dictate how and when leads are communicated with as well as gain real time insights into what properties leads show interest in from their browsing habits. Tailored automated updates based on expressed property and/or location interests sent via a combination of texts, emails and queued phone calls produce proven results powered by behavioral automation and AI components. Additionally, these platforms provide tools and resources to generate leads via social media and other digital advertising methods, all at a fraction of the cost of what they were spending on listing portals.

One of the country’s top brokerages, The Keyes Company, shares the following in regards to taking control of lead generation, Keyes CIO Wendi Iglesias shares:

“When you tell an agent that he can generate leads from social media, you also need to give them a way to do it that isn’t time-consuming. Like so many brokers, we’ve spent gobs of money on lead gen through Trulia, Zillow, Realtor.com, and Homes. Now we’re trying to solve for organic lead generation.”

Since implementing the sophisticated kvCORE Platform by Inside Real Estate, The Keyes company has experienced a significant number of organic leads at a more cost-effective rate. CEO of Keyes, Mike Pappas, adds the following “With our old platform, we didn’t have the right tools to generate leads,” Iglesias says “Our programs with Realtor.com and Trulia are sunsetting. What used to cost us about $100 to $150 per lead, now costs us under $10. The first month we generated 12,000 leads for our sales associates. Also, he says, the company launched Inside Real Estate’s Property Boost solution—a social media Just Listed campaign for every listing. “That heightened our exposure and branding and drives thousands of buyer leads per month back to the sales associate,” says Pappas. Over the first 60 days, these ads provided over 1 million social media views, and thousands of leads.


Go beyond Zillow and make your marketing dollars go further by incorporating a modern real estate platform into your personal real estate technology landscape. This will yield more cost savings all while generating not only more leads, but more qualified leads. There is a reason these platforms are gaining momentum in the industry being incorporated by some of the best brokerages in the country- because they actually work. The proof is in the results.

Facebooktwitterlinkedinmail By Paul Salley Filed in: Uncategorized
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