Tired of paying monthly fees to Zillow and Trulia for real estate leads online?

A lot of agents have a website, but not many of them are using them to their full potential to generate real estate leads online.  Instead, most agents prefer to pay large monthly advertising fees to companies like Zillow and Trulia.  It’s an acceptable marketing plan; hundreds, if not thousands, of agents rely solely on Zillow and Trulia to hand them real estate leads online that they can convert into commissions, and that’s great!

But there’s so much more potential that you’re not tapping into.  I want to help!

On Zillow and Trulia, not only are you competing with other advertisers, but you’re also paying for hundreds and hundreds of impressions that potentially go nowhere.  Plenty of people use sites like Zillow and Trulia who are not ready or willing to buy or sell real estate.  When you think of your Zillow and Trulia spending budget, don’t think of it as buying online real estate leads… because you’re not.  You’re buying exposure.

Don’t get me wrong, exposure is very important, and can play a big role in your overall marketing plan.  Exposure is what gives you credibility, and exposure is what helps people recognize you.  But unfortunately, exposure doesn’t promise a steady flow of quality real estate leads online.

In my opinion, a branded niche website which covers multiple individual niches is the best way to receive a steady flow of quality real estate leads online.  A niche website establishes you as the expert in the niche, and allows you to marketing only to your ideal clients.  Best of all, my niche website system includes a balanced system of inbound and outbound marketing, which allows you to capture leads from SEO, social media, and advertising.

The reason this system is so effective is that it’s truly turn-key and almost totally maintenance free, without any monthly services fees.  Your ROI will skyrocket because you’re spending less money, generating more leads, and you’ll have more time to work with those leads because you won’t have the wasted time of sorting through leads that are not ideal for your business.

To keep it simple, there are 3 basic reasons that a niche website is a better choice than Zillow and Trulia:

1. The leads you get from a niche website are cheaper in the long run.

If you’re paying Zillow or Trulia monthly for exposure, that’s great!  These companies give you guaranteed impressions, and their websites are visited by thousands of people per day.  However, if you’re paying Zillow or Trulia for internet real estate leads, that might not be such a great business plan.  It’s better to pay for actual clicks than impressions, and it’s even better to pay for clicks from a targeted audience rather than just any random consumer from Zillow or Trulia.  By targeting the people who see your marketing, you’re cutting your costs substantially.

2. The leads you get from a niche website are exactly who you want to work with.

Have you ever gotten a Zillow or Trulia lead that is for a rental property?  Or maybe it’s a buyer lead for one of your listings, but you prefer to only work with sellers?  If you’ve been in real estate longer than 6 months, chances are that you know what type of clients you’re looking for, and Zillow or Trulia  doesn’t have a way of providing that kind of advertising segregation for their real estate leads online.  With a niche website, it’s designed to target only those who are your ideal clients.

3. The leads you get from a niche website are generally more serious.

Most people have browsed Zillow or Trulia at once time or another; they might be curious about their home’s value, but that doesn’t mean they want to sell it.  They might be looking at homes for sale in an area, but that doesn’t mean they are qualified buyers.  It’s been said that over 75% of home buyers START the home buying process on Zillow or Trulia … but where do they go from there?  Most serious home buyers and sellers will do their own online research; they will want to know everything they can before making decisions.  During their research period, if they come across your inbound or outbound marketing, your niche website will be a beacon to them as an information resource and establish you as the expert for that niche.

One final thought: how does your current real estate website generate leads?  If you’re generating website leads because you require or prompt people to “log in” to search the MLS, you may be chasing away more leads than you’re generating.  These days, most people know that they can go to sites like Zillow and Trulia to search the MLS without signing up or logging in, so why would they give you all their personal information for no real value?  Just something I hope you’ll think about!

There are plenty of web developers (like me!) that will do work like this, but it’s your job to make sure that they understand your goals and objectives, that they aren’t overcharging you, and that they aren’t going to leave you hanging once the project is done.  They should teach you how to best use your new marketing investment!