Today, more leads are starting their home search on Zillow than any other site – and you know you should be taking advantage. You also know that advertising yourself as a Zillow Premier Agent could help you grow your real estate business - but you’re not convinced.
This is a common position to be in as an agent in today’s marketplace; that is, one of uncertainty. Why? Because while you know that Zillow can expose you to leads and sell you as an agent, it’s up to you to maximize the benefit (or ROI) of that exposure. Stated more clearly, there are no guarantees!
Before you dive into the world of Zillow Premier Agent Advertising, you need to learn what you must do to effectively grow your business as a Premier Agent – and this post will teach you exactly that.
Why reviews are the key to attracting and converting leads
It’s important to recognize that, first and foremost, Zillow is an online community of homebuyers, sellers and realtors. Members of this community use the Premier Agent ad platform to connect to one another.
In this system, homebuyers and sellers have the power when it comes to initiating contact with an agent. For Zillow Premier Agents who advertise on the platform, it’s like trying to make friends with perfect strangers on Facebook without having the ability to send a friend request. Instead, the best you can do is pay for exposure - so like any ad system, conversion comes down to credibility and appeal.
Zillow Agent Premier credibility is established through agent reviews
, which go through a multi-step authentication process before they can be published. Reviews provide prospective leads with an opportunity to quickly scan agent ratings before deciding who to reach out to for more information – just like many of us scan Yelp restaurant reviews before deciding where to dine out.
If you’re just getting started with Zillow, make it a goal to get 5-10 reviews within the first couple of months. Then, push for 20 or more reviews within the six- to twelve-month range, at which point you’ll be well positioned to maximize the benefit of your ad exposure.
Need help getting reviews? Get our free testimonial template:
Branding for success
The second element critical to success with online lead conversion is branding, or appeal. In an integrated community setting like Zillow, it’s important to recognize that prospective leads are not likely to leave the Zillow experience/website to review your personal website, your profiles on other websites or your reviews on other websites when deciding who to connect with.
Therefore, the importance of building out your Zillow profile to the point where it can stand alone from a branding perspective
cannot be overstated. A professional headshot, contact information, past deal history, etc., are the bare minimums. The good news is that Zillow knows this – and delivers prompts to premier agents that encourage them step on the marketing gas pedal when needed.
Accomplish as much of the legwork (getting reviews, building your profile) as possible early on. Once you start to generate significant lead volume, you’ll need that time to work your new leads and clients.
Know your market (and what to expect)
In general, the more competition you have on an ad platform, the more expensive impressions or clicks are going to be. Zillow’s platform is no different, which is why it’s critical to focus on optimizing lead conversion
(i.e. ‘maximizing the benefit’). Optimizing out of the gate is naturally difficult, so expect that. As you build your profile and presence on Zillow – your conversion rates may increase over time
. In other words, commit to the long haul
before coming to the conclusion that it just doesn’t work for you or for agents in your market.
Speaking of markets, make sure you give yourself the best possible chance to convert the leads you generate on Zillow (or any site, for that matter) into clients and closed deals by exhibiting hyper-local expertise of the areas you’ve invested in. Unfortunately, there is no ad platform out there that can close a deal for you – so it’s important to restrict your ad dollars to markets that you have in-depth knowledge of (e.g. average home values, number of listings, number of recent sales, neighborhood distinctions, agent competition, etc.).