Should You Use Zillow for Realtor Leads?
Zillow.com has become the largest real estate advertising network on the web. They are key providers of info related to US housing market forecasts. Only 14 years ago, in 2006, the company was launched by two former employees of Microsoft.
Since then, the Seattle based upstart has purchased a number of businesses to increase its reach and service offerings and its partnerships with Yahoo and MSN give it plenty of reach into the home buyer and renter marketplaces.
Zillow generates its revenue via advertising. It gets the majority of its traffic (40%) from Google and it is said to have up to 40 million visitors per month. That means it is a successful real estate site, one of the top visited sites in the US, and a key source of leads for realtors. I’m not sure that it does have more traffic that Realtor.org, but we know it is one of the top real estate portals.
With its unique value proposition covering services and opportunities you won’t get from your MLS or brokerage, you may have to pay more attention to Zillow. Zillow is an attractive home listing publisher for home owners and those renting their properties.
Zestimate Tool and Info on 100 Million Homes
It’s said that Zillow has info on 100 million homes in the US including prices, home values over time, and home and property details where publicly available. It is competing effectively against the MLS boards. Zillow’s Zestimate tool is much ridiculed but it is highly used.
As you’ll learn in this post, Zillow offers an extensive lead generation service which a few realtors believe in called Zillow Premier Agent. The video included in this post offers some good insight from one of their active clients who fields questions from some real estate marketers. As you can see in this chart below, agents actually do use Zillow for buyer/seller leads. That leaves us with the questions of lead quality, volume and cost.
I am a Zillow premiere agent and that means I show up to buyers and sellers on Zillow when they are looking for a house or looking to sell their house. I used to be a Trulia agent and we have had experience with Realtor.com as well. In my opinion Zillow has been the best lead source so far. Zillow gives us less leads, but they are higher quality. Zillow is a little more expensive than some other sites, but I think it is worth it — quote from Investfourmore.com
Zillow competes with other lead generation firms such as NAR’s Home Values, Bold Leads, Market Leader, Agent Locators, Agent Pronto and a fast increasing other lead sellers. Are these the best lead generation sources? In the long run, the best solution is the one I provide which is via Google and Social Media lead generation. The issue with these lead generation firms might be with the quality. With Zillow as with any other ad generated lead, realtors must respond very fast before the weak lead becomes very cold.
The speed at which a lead becomes cold really tells you a lot about the quality. If you develop leads on your own idx website, the leads are warmer, better oriented to your offer and brand image, and likely to stay loyal. They don’t go cold because this buyer or seller expects you to become their realtor.
Zillow’s reputation took a beating this summer when the company settled a sexual harassment suit out of court. An aggressive LA law firm put persistent heat on the company which was claimed to have been run like an “animal house.”
And Zillow was also punished regarding the hiring of Earl Samuelson of Realtor.com. Apparently, trade secrets were divulged or could be divulged. The law suits could cost Zillow some cash.
Here’s the company President speaking on CNBC
And here is Genny Williams of Get A Real Estate Life speaking with a realtor who relates his experience in using Zillow’s lead program.
Zillow vs Your Own Lead Generation System
I believe, that as an enterprising Realtor, you might well use the Zillow or Home Values system while building your own lead generation website and social media presence. You’ll always be paying for leads from Google Adwords or the real estate leads generation companies. Long term for the sake of your career and the possibility of a 7 figure income, you need to have a sustained, owned presence that you can groom and provide as an online focus for your inner circle of clients.
Consider how your clients just don’t get the clear Realtor branding message or the opportunity to calmly go to your website, ask questions and get the right response from you — because your brand and value proposition were properly built and you’re ready for the types of questions they will ask. That makes you look very good and is the reason why they won’t bother with another realtor.
Think about how the best realtors in the business such as Jade Mills, Santiago Arana and Tami Pardee in Los Angeles, or Merrily Hackett in Vancouver started out. They built equity and didn’t rent their success.
Find out more about digital marketing for realtors, social media for realtors, and the primacy of content and SEO. See these powerful realtor marketing packages and know that you actually can become a dominant realtor online.