Lead generation, or how I come by my clients, is not a topic that I would normally think of as appropriate for my clients or readers. The reason I’m doing it now is because last week I got a notification from Zillow that potential consumers were searching for me and that my “stats” were up. They followed up by offering me an “opportunity” (cough) to upgrade my account for better visibility….($$$)
After thinking about it, I felt that I owed those of you who take the time to read my emails an explanation as to why you won’t find much about me on such a major real estate venue.
Although most consumers think of Zillow as a free service, it is far from free to agents and brokers. Premier agents often spend hundreds, even thousands a month for their premier status on Zillow.
Even though agents are (or should be) all about serving the consumer, there does have to be a bottom line here; we have to have enough closed sales to cover our expenses and make a profit that will support us. If the vast majority of the “leads” we get on a site like Zillow are chronic tire kickers or the merely curious, that can be problematic.
This can force agents to chase a ton of red herrings. As new agents find out, this can be a bone-crushingly time consuming problem that robs our committed clients of the valuable time that we should be able to devote to them.
“Zillow charges based on impressions, or views of your ad. The cost per impression varies widely depending on your zip code…You may pay anywhere from 2 cents to 30 cents or more.”
This means that every time a visitor views a page with an agent’s ad on it, the agent is charged. The visitor doesn’t have to even click on the agent’s name, let alone attempt to make contact. So, as visitors scroll through the listings, they create multiple chargeable impressions. Even the most casual visitor will create a nice revenue stream – for Zillow.
Thoughts differ, but this is what we know…
Assuming that every home sale was the result of a Zillow engagement (highly unlikely) you are looking at about 3.5 closed sales per 1000 unique visitors to Zillow.
Zillow claims that its data states that for every $1 put into Zillow, the agent gets “around $2.60 back.” If you believe that, it sounds OK until you realize that gives Zillow nearly a 30% bite! That’s a massive amount to fork out just for web exposure. And the risk is all on the agent that there are enough actual clients from all these web impressions to at least cover their costs. Its kind of like gambling.
Further, when you add splits to brokerages and other expenses, the typical agent is taking home roughly the same amount of money they gave to Zillow.
I’m sorry, but this is absolute insanity. It’s a game I refuse to play. That money is best put to use for customer service that has a real value-add for my serious clients. Its small wonder that the Zillow reviews from agents and homeowners on the ConsumerAffairs site are far from laudatory.
So, don’t look for me on Zillow. But that doesn’t mean I’m not online. There are plenty of other places where you can find me .
Look for me right here! This website and blog are updated frequently…Lots of new information is being posted all the time.
© 2016 – Ruthmarie G. Hicks – https://thewestchesterview.com – All rights reserved.
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