Pretty much every person that has ever searched for a home online is familiar with Zillow. Zillow is probably the largest online marketer of real estate in the US. In today’s world of instant access to information, starting the home shopping process on sites such as Zillow, Trulia, Homes, and Realtor is the norm. Because of the high traffic volume, they are in a position to sell information or leads to real estate agents and mortgage lenders. Although, lately we hear many real estate agents complaining about the high cost and reselling of leads. Realtors® are faced with the decision to pay heavily into this system or be proactive and build their own lead generation funnel.
Buyers Find Their Realtor Online, Not Their Home!
Recently, there has been a change in how Zillow markets agents on each listing. The recent update provides a way for smart, proactive real estate agents to gain leads for free. Sounds too good to be true? See for yourself.
Free Zillow Leads
Based on recent conversations with our Realtor® partners, most have not caught onto this subtle, yet significant change. So, let’s go over:
- What Zillow has changed
- Tips for creating more leads
- How to build a strong profile
Many real estate agents worry about the escalating costs of buyer leads and the fact that these leads are shared with other real estate agents. As a result, some are considering canceling their ad spend investment on the site.
However, there is a change that can help Realtors® take advantage of Zillow’s popularity at no cost.
Before this change, any property would prominently advertise several premier agents. Premier agents are Realtors® who pay for leads. Then, if you scroll to the VERY bottom of the property listing, there is the listing agent’s contact information in small gray print. No gold stars, nothing in bold, and no picture. The agent who put the listing on the site received the worst advertising! How fair is that?
But now, rather than displaying the listing agent’s contact information at the very bottom of the page, the agent is now prominently shown in the first position on top of the paid “premier agents” list for each property. Now, there does seem to be a few variations for this, but for the most part, this is true.
Tell Me How to Get Free Online Leads
Zillow charges top dollar for the leads, but they do not charge agents to have a profile. So, there are two primary keys: Get more listings and have a top-notch profile. Again, both of these are free. As the listing agent, you are in the top spot ABOVE the top paying Realtors®.
Get More Listings
Most Realtors® know how to do this, although it does take the initiative to implement a successful portfolio of listings. Use your abilities as a Realtor® to call on expired listings, communicate and educate your business sources, be a resource to your sellers, provide open houses, and perfect your listing presentation. Gaining the seller’s trust is critical and being able to show a seller the tools and knowledge being used to sell their home is key. The more listings you have, then the more opportunities for top placement on property pages. Being the top agent listed improves your chances of being called over the other paying agents. It is a dramatic difference compared to being listed at the very bottom of the page.
Online listings automatically flow onto a Realtor’s Zillow profile. So, that part is simple once you have listings.
Have a Strong Zillow Realtor® Profile
Ok, you have listings, and you are on top of the paid premier agents. That is not all there is. You will still need to market to site visitors. Who wants to call a blank profile with no reviews? Sure, the Realtor® looks like he/she has a head, but that is about all you can tell of this agent. Buyers and sellers are looking for top reviewed and recommended Realtors® who are experts in their market. This essential part is also free of charge. Profile tips for getting more leads:
- Multiple 5-star reviews – minimum of 5
- Always input closed sales
- Fully complete your file
- All contact information, social media links
- Complete ALL service areas (not just one)
- Write a great bio
- Include a professional photo and video
Not only should a Realtor® have a complete profile, but it should also grab the viewers’ attention. Think about it. If you are the listing agent and have one review, no recent closed sales, and an incomplete bio your chances of standing out remain slim. If there are much stronger looking agents below your name, there is a good chance one of those agents will be contacted. Reviews not only help your ranking on Zillow, but they also tell third-party stories about your service. Also, reporting all of your buyer and seller side closings demonstrates your ability to close in your geographic areas. Finally, fully complete your profile. Not only should it be complete, but it should also be interesting, informative, and have a call to action. Remember, the goal is for buyers and sellers to contact you. Have questions? Our marketing department has solutions to help Realtors® build their brand.
“I Only Work With Sellers, So This Does Not Help Me”
Let’s say a Realtor only works with sellers. A listing agent strictly working with sellers would still have many advantages to following these tips. Here are just a few:
- Sellers unsatisfied with current agent & looking to change
- Seller buying another home, maybe yours
- Refer to a team member that works with buyers
- Refer to an outside relationship
- Use as part of listing presentation
Hopefully, this has provided some helpful insight into the workings of Zillow, but also something that will motivate you in your business. Of course, this could change in the future, but we feel that no matter what, these are excellent practices to use in your business. Plus, if you still want to buy leads from Zillow, great!
Be Proactive In Getting Leads Rather Than Reactive. The Best Realtors Create Leads!
Looking for more tips on building your business and providing world-class service? Contact one of our OVM Financial Loan Officers now. Not only are we able to provide clients with an exceptional mortgage service, but we also offer education in areas such as this.