Posts Tagged as real estate tool

The Zillow-Trulia Merger & Your Real Estate Business

Last week, Zillow revealed publicly its intent to buy Trulia for $3.5 billion. Obviously this news (and the rumors we’ve been hearing for some time) are hot topics of conversation in the real estate world. The consolidation will allegedly take place whilst still maintaining the distinct identities of both Zillow and Trulia. Only time will tell. But what will a Zillow-Trulia merger mean for your real estate business?

Last week, Zillow revealed publicly its intent to buy Trulia for $3.5 billion. Obviously this news (and the rumors we’ve been hearing for some time) are hot topics of conversation in the real estate world. The consolidation will allegedly take place whilst still maintaining the distinct identities of both Zillow and Trulia. Only time will tell. But what will the Zillow-Trulia merger mean for your real estate business?

On July 28th, Zillow announced via a press release that “it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Trulia, Inc. … in a stock-for-stock transaction. The Boards of Directors of both companies have approved the transaction, which is expected to close in 2015.”

Spencer Rascoff, CEO of Zillow, stated: “Consumers love using Zillow and Trulia to find vital information about homes and connect with the best local real estate professionals. Both companies have been enormously successful in creating compelling consumer brands and deep industry partnerships, but it’s still early days in the world of real estate advertising on mobile and Web. This is a tremendous opportunity to combine our resources and achieve even more impressive innovation that will benefit consumers and the real estate industry.”

Pete Flint, Trulia’s CEO, then commented: “Trulia and Zillow have a shared mission and vision of empowering consumers while helping real estate agents, brokerages and franchisors benefit from technological innovation. By working together, we will be able to create even more value for home buyers, sellers, and renters, as well as create a robust marketing platform that will help our industry partners connect with potential clients and grow their businesses even more efficiently. Our two companies share complementary employee cultures with innovative, consumer-first philosophies and a deep commitment to create the best products and services for our industry partners.”

By the (self-reported) numbers:
• Zillow reported a record 83 million unique users across mobile and Web in June 2014.
• Trulia reported a record 54 million monthly unique users across its sites and mobile apps in June 2014.
• Approximately half of Trulia.com’s monthly visitors do not visit Zillow.com
• Approximately two-thirds of Zillow.com’s monthly visitors across all devices do not use Trulia.com.
• “Maintaining the two distinct consumer brands will allow the combined company to continue to offer differentiated products and user experiences, attract more users and maximize the distribution of free content across multiple platforms, apps and channels.”

The Zillow-Trulia merger might not create the “pricing power” juggernaut that many people fear. We’ve been reading comments by agents and brokers all over the web, and the fact is that many MLS boards and independent agents are starting to pull their listings – they simply don’t want to have to pay to advertise next to their own listings. There are also frequent rumblings about the data and Zestimates on Zillow being inaccurate.

Citron Research cites a deal struck between Realogy and Zillow/Trulia. Realogy—the world’s largest real estate agency, comprising Coldwell Banker, Sotheby’s, ERA, Century 21 and Better Homes—secured a lucrative deal for its agents that “prohibits all other agencies from advertising on their listings” at a cost of less than 95% what any other agency pays. What’s more, Realogy is aggressively pursuing their own online offering that will compete head-to-head with Zillow-Trulia in the consumer-focused online real estate space, with a new product expected sometime in 2015.

“We believe that there is a space in there that we can compete in. It will have features like Zillow and Trulia. It will have features that you wouldn’t put on a real estate brokerage website. An example of that would be Zestimate that Zillow uses. There are certain features that we believe we can effectively do and be able to cast a net outcome, a consumer-oriented facing website arena and be able to capture leads, reviewing [scrub then] as I described, and then put them in the hands of our sales associates so we create the business opportunity,” NRT CEO and President Bruce Zipf is quoted as saying on May 9th during a Realogy Investor Day Q&A.

Rascoff, Zillow’s CEO, has been quoted as saying, “It ought to be quite clear to a listing agent or a broker that it behooves their seller to have their listing displayed on Zillow and Trulia or sites that Zillow powers.”

Indeed, Zillow powers some of the internet’s major property search engines, and together with Trulia will indeed have a massive reach. But for how long, with competitors like Realogy making such significant strides, technologically and on behalf of its agents at the bargaining table? And how long before Keller Williams, Remax, Berkshire Hathaway, or other agencies demand and negotiate the same deals Zillow-Trulia have granted Realogy?

Many real estate professionals feel a loss of power in the face of the deal, which cements a growing resentment at having to pay Zillow to advertise their listings. Online forums reveal many of these agents calling for boycotts, while still others agree there isn’t another viable option.

Inman News contributing writer Joseph Rand writes in his Op-ed “Why Zulia doesn’t mean checkmate,” that: “The bottom line is that Zillow needs listings more than listings need Zillow. Which means that Zillow needs the people (brokers and agents) who take those listings more than they need Zillow.” I’d venture that he is bang on with that assessment.

Where does your business fit in? Do you use Zillow to obtain leads? One thing I can say with certainty is that this isn’t over, and we’ll be talking about the Zillow-Trulia merger for some time to come. How do you feel about all of this? I’d love to hear your thoughts from the proverbial trenches.

Promote Yourself by Video to Increase Exposure and Sales

Mobile Technology for Real Estate Agents

Mobile technology is particularly exciting for real estate, because it allows the agent or broker to operate in real time, providing top notch service and response.

Real estate professionals have never been, as a whole, early adopters of technology, despite proven benefits. But falling behind when it comes to applicable technology can cost you money, and a lot of it. Mobile technology for real estate agents is a hot, growing field. What do you know about it?

The average real estate agent is in his or her mid-50s (57, to be exact). This is a contributing factor to the prevalent use of outdated technology in the business. But realtors are adopting mobile technology. Smartphones are commonplace. Tablets and iPads are growing in popularity. These devices enable location aware applications at very reasonable price points, designed for use on systems most people are already familiar with. It’s win-win-win-win!

Mobile technology is particularly exciting for real estate, because it allows the agent or broker to operate in real time, providing top notch service and response.

Handy SMS mobile tools like Smart Lead Capture allow real estate professionals to market their listings and capture leads over mobile devices. With smart lead capture, agents and brokers can capture leads by offering their clients the ability to “text for more information” about a property listed for sale or rent. The system stores and displays all of the property information and displays it to the prospects in a manner that best fits the user’s mobile phone. Information can be sent as a text message or over the internet via a mobile browser.

You can also ensure you never miss a text lead by setting up SMS Auto-Responder technology. Similar to email auto-responders, SMS Auto-Responders allow you to send an automated response via text message as soon as a prospect utilizes your text for information service provided by Smart Lead Capture. You can write custom messages for each of your listings, and they’ll be sent automatically.

Over half of prospects (56%) expect to be contacted within 30 minutes of expressing interest in a property, according to NAR statistics. This kind of high expectation leaves no margin for error. Taking advantage of the many affordable mobile technology tools now available to real estate professionals helps you close the gap, more and more.

Mobile applications like Lead Alert send instant leads via SMS (text) message, so that follow-up can happen in real time. Respond while a prospective buyer’s interest is at its peak – while they’re standing in front of the property or clicking through its individual property website.

We could spend weeks covering mobile technology for real estate professionals (and maybe we will!), but this is a great place to start. There is no shortage of awesome applications and new developments. Just a little investment will take you and your real estate business a long way.

Leverage Facebook Messenger for Lead Generation and Conversion

Easy Social Media Posting from Single Property Websites

Individual property websites are a great way to showcase listings – they tell both the seller and potential buyer that the home or property has worth and value. They’re also incredibly easy to set up and maintain. And easy social media posting from single property websites is one of their most useful features. The ability to quickly and easily add your listing to social networks, such as Facebook and Twitter, makes sharing your individual listing websites a breeze.

Promoting your single property websites through social media allows you to market online in a streamlined way, right where your local buyers and sellers are.

“Essentially, social media marketing is a lot like old-fashioned word-of-mouth marketing, but it is done on a much larger scale, thanks to the wide reach of the internet,” clarifies Amanda Cornelius, co-founder and CEO of Properties Online.

Each time you post a listing to your Facebook page, for example, you open the opportunity for someone to pass that listing on. As the housing market bounces back, you’ll find more and more of your “marketing” can be done this way – organic sharing, through real people.

The great thing about the social media and single property websites connection is just how easy it is. For clients of Listing Domains – one of the leading individual listings web products available – posting to Facebook, for example, can be done on an automated basis via an app that allows the agent to add all of his or her listings to Facebook, without any effort whatsoever.

Once listings are added through the app, the agent’s Facebook profile will dynamically update as he or she adds, edits or removes properties from Listing Domains.

If you want to start by promoting your listings is the best possible way, and finish by marketing them through a simple but extremely effective method, you need to be using individual property websites. And you need to be taking advantage of the fabulous benefits they offer – such as social media syncing.

Get started now!

Social Media Marketing for Real Estate

Social media marketing is essentially word of mouth marketing, but it is done on a much bigger scale thanks to the Internet.

Social media marketing is essentially word of mouth marketing, but it is done on a much bigger scale thanks to the Internet.

The idea of social media is that you simply talk with people – you reach out and network and have discussions just as you would have in a real life business function. The fact that it is online social networking extends your reach far beyond your immediate area, and makes networking much easier, because it can be done from your home computer, your laptop, tablet, smartphone or from the office desktop.

The secret to having a successful social media marketing campaign is to be genuine, and this is true for any type of social media campaign, including real estate. Reach out to relevant people – don’t just follow anyone – and initiate real conversations. Try to be as helpful as you can! Many business owners are using Twitter Search to create an ongoing search for a certain keyword. Every time someone mentions that keyword on Twitter, you get the opportunity to respond.

For example, if you specialize in Phoenix, AZ, homes, you might want be alerted when people mention “Phoenix homes” or “Phoenix real estate” on Twitter. See if you can help or contribute to the conversation, and after you have contributed, follow that person.

This strategy will help you build a social media account that is not just active and vibrant but also very effective, because it focuses on your target market.

Drip Email Marketing for Real Estate Agents

Drip email marketing programs enable you to automate your email marketing.

When working to grow your business, one of your biggest challenges as a real estate professional is the typically long buying cycle in the real estate market. Unlike an e-commerce merchant, for example, who offers items on the web and pretty much either sells them immediately to those who land on her site or not at all, your sales cycle takes time to mature. Drip email marketing for real estate agents can make a significant and positive difference to your sale cycle.

The time lapse between the point at which a person contacts you, whether via referral or through your website, and until they actually buy a house, is usually at least several months, and sometimes even longer. That’s why your goal as a realtor is not just to generate leads, but also to nurture them until they are ready to buy.

Lead nurturing means staying in touch, contacting your leads (which include past clients) periodically, and providing them with valuable material. You don’t want to nag! You want to establish yourself as someone who is willing to assist even before they officially become your clients. One of the best ways to do that is to send prospects periodic emails with relevant info such as buying and selling statistics in their area, a list of homes that might be of interest to them, or tips on buying and selling a home. But managing such an email campaign manually, when you have more than a few leads, is time consuming – so time consuming in fact that if you don’t automate your email marketing campaign, chances are you just won’t do it!

Drip email marketing programs were designed to help. These programs enable you to automate your email marketing. Instead of doing it all manually, you enter each new contact into the program’s database, then determine how often you want to email them and with what content. The system does the rest, freeing you to focus on generating new leads and on closing deals.

Considering the high value they give you, drip email marketing programs are surprisingly affordable. Drip365, for example, one of our favorite drip email marketing programs, costs just $19.95 per month, and offers a free 30-day trial.