Zillow is among the biggest consumer portals in the business. More than half of home buyers and renters flock to the website when entering the market. That makes it one of the first points of contact for many.
That can be a great asset to agents and lenders.
We're writing guides to the consumer portals to help you. In our last article, we talked about Zillow from a high level and shared stories about professionals who make the platform work for them.
Here, we're talking about bringing in leads through Zillow.
How to Get Started On Zillow
In general, there are a few ways to bring in leads. Your reviews and referrals can do the legwork, or you can advertise. Or, do both.
Zillow’s advertising program turns real estate professionals into “Premier Agents." This gives you a spot on property pages and search areas.
Lenders have specific platforms on Zillow too, giving them a place to show consumers mortgage rates. Zillow named the advertising programs for lenders Long Form and Custom Quotes.
Custom Quotes is for bigger lending companies.
"We regularly receive positive feedback about lead quality from our lenders who advertise on Long Form," Zillow wrote on their website. "On average, our participating lenders report 5-10% conversion rates from contact to funded loan."
Some advertising programs are set up on a variable cost-per-contact basis. Zillow takes loan prices and types into account when deciding the total cost. You also need to make an up-front deposit. But, that might be worth it.
These platforms give you the chance to target your preferred audience.
"We connect you with prospects so you can spend less time finding leads and more time connecting with them," Zillow wrote.
Purchase leads are the most popular type coming through the network, but Zillow said there are a variety of shoppers.
What's nice is that you'll receive leads from both Zillow and Trulia. In a simple sense, that's like doubling your efforts and it doesn't cost more.
Some of the agents featured on the company's website say they attribute half of their sales back to Zillow. Increasing sales and attracting clients are common themes in the Zillow testimonials.
But, looking away from spending thousands on advertising, you don't have to drop a penny to advertise on Zillow.
Bringing in Leads, Meeting New Partners
Word-of-mouth recommendations can come through as an inexpensive and powerful advertising method. So can having a strong profile and staying active on the platform.
Zillow's main case study showcases Premier Agent Chris Morrison. Morrison started using Zillow to boost client awareness by setting up a free profile.
He became active on the site, on the forums in particular. Morrison passed this strategy to his team. Not long after, they saw leads increase in a big way.
"So I taught my team to be active on Zillow and the leads started to flow in -- in fact, we had 16 leads in a single day," he said on Zillow's website.
The company said Morrison updates his profile weekly. Clients come to him and his team because they found them through Zillow.
Like social media platforms, Zillow is a key player in the game.
Consumers want to see who's in business and what's for sale. Lenders go to Zillow to scout out who’s doing business well. The same goes for agents.
Here's how to find that out.
From the home page, hover your mouse over “Mortgages.” Follow the drop down to the far right to the resources section. You’ll see a directory for lenders. You can also "Find an Agent."
Arriving here, you get a search section to narrow your findings to a specific area. Depending on what’s important to you – most active, houses sold, etc. – you can search by those guidelines too. Once you hit search, a reel of professionals appears.
Click on the best first impression you found and read about the individual, or the whole team if you can.
Going into an agent’s or a lender's profile, you get their background and basic information on them. You can also read reviews on them and more. Profiles can be extensive, and a great way to start the partnering process.
To get stacked at the top of the list, you need high ratings, positive consumer reviews, and a steady stream of business. This type of exposure can make a difference in your business like it has for Morrison. But, like building a following on social media or carving out your piece of the market, it’s going to take time. Remember that.
An easy way to get started is to ask current and past clients to summarize their experience on Zillow. The request could be in person, through email, or add it to your digital and print marketing material.
Not everybody takes the time to write a review. Although, the more people that do, the higher you rank, which creates something of a chain reaction:
The more reviews you get, the higher you rank; the higher you rank, the more potential of attracting business and partners.
It's also a way to improve your business. You should read the reviews.
Try to see things from the consumer's point of view. If the rating is at 100 percent, that’s fantastic. If it’s 99 percent, there is room for improvement.
Keep Your Zillow Profile Tip-Top
From this standpoint alone, you can see how much an individual uses the platform.
Keeping your profile fresh and up to date helps grow your network and your business. Here’s how to keep your profile tip-top:
The company offers users many resources, including websites with themes that are SEO optimized. There is also a resource library that's stacked with content specific to different types of professionals.
Much of the focus is on homes when it comes to Zillow, but the company understands what some of the pain points are.
"Differentiating yourself is key to building your brand, establishing yourself as a local expert and influencing consumers to contact you over another agent," Zillow wrote.
SHARP is Zillow’s motto for strong profiles. The acronym stands for sales, headshot, advertising markets, reviews, and your professional bio.
"Reviews have arguably the largest impact on your profile effectiveness," Zillow wrote.
We agree. Word-of-mouth referrals make up the lion's share of an agent’s or a lender's business. Sometimes, it's their lifeline.
Agents and lenders use Zillow to generate leads in two ways: referrals and advertising.
Advertising gives you great exposure, given that about 51 percent of home buyers and renters visit the website. But, if you're active on Zillow, you don't have to spend money to take advantage of that.
By setting up a free profile and encouraging your clients to post reviews, you can attract a lot of business. With that in mind, you might want to consider adding Zillow to your marketing strategy.
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