Using Zillow for Real Estate Lead Generation Without Advertising

Published January 7, 2019 by Real Estate Leads

Late last year the US-based online real estate marketing resource giant Zillow began advertising Canadian properties. It’s been a real benefit for the real estate market all across Canada and particularly so given how interest in Canadian real estate coming from south of the border continues with much the same enthusiasm. It’s a development that should have a lot of relevance for real estate agents all across the Canada.

As our name clearly reflects, Real Estate Leads is all about helping you get greater numbers of leads. Our online real estate lead generation system is well established now, and it’s proven effective for putting greater numbers of both buyer and seller leads on your radar. Of course, the lead is just half of the equation for securing a real estate client. You’ve got to take care of the 2nd half, and that’s in showing yourself to be a legitimate expert when it comes you your local real estate market.

Today we’re going to discuss how realtors can use Zillow to generate even more leads for themselves, and not by simply paying for advertising on the site.

The Big Z

Zillow is very polarizing when it comes to how it has been received to date. Agents have mixed opinions on it, but the fact is home buyers, sellers and investors continue to flock to it.

Independent of what you think of it, as a Realtor if you’re trying to help your clients buy or sell a property then you really need to be using it and taking advantage of every single opportunity it provides.

Marketing Tool, or Competitor?

Most of you are likely very much aware of what Zillow is and how and why it’s so popular. It has established itself as the leading real estate and rental marketplace empowering consumers via data, inspiration and knowledge, and then connecting them with the best local professionals with the best understanding of the local real estate market.

The data, information and knowledge that a home buyer or seller can get from Zillow does make them a more educated buyer. This isn’t necessarily detrimental for a realtor, however, and it’s important to understand this first.

Rather than you – the Realtor – spending valuable time pulling comparables, curating data or sending repetitive information back and forth amongst your multiple clients, the client does all of that themselves through Zillow. Engaged prospects become active clients, and active clients put more effort into choosing a realtor and are more discerning when they do finally decide on one.

Your client then chooses you based on your experience, local knowledge, responsiveness, reliability, negotiating skills and creative insights – your ability to provide them with data isn’t a part of what they now consider valuable within the services of a realtor.

So here’s how you can use Zillow as a real estate marketing tool and lead generator

  1. Setup / Optimize Your Profile Thoroughly

Make sure that everything is filled out with as much detail and care as possible. Don’t be lazy or negligent completing every part of the first thing prospective clients will see if they ‘meet’ you first through Zillow. Take some extra time to include a video, links to your website (and make sure they’re followed links) and social media accounts as well as a full list of your service areas.

Make sure your profile is indicated as being 100% complete.

  1. Use the Right Agent / Team Association

If you’re part of a real estate team then Zillow makes a specific association available that you can use to communicate this to those viewing your profile and listings. Make sure you take advantage of it, joining the team affiliation while also maintaining a complete individual Zillow profile for yourself.

You can only belong to one team at a time, so making sure you don’t have any duplicate accounts floating around out there is important.

  1. Correct Your Listing Data

Be very diligent about going over all of the listing data shown on Zillow for properties listed by you on behalf of the homeowners. That’s the necessary basics, but also spending the extra time to write creative, informational descriptions for each property is something you should do too. Fill out every field you can, and make sure you upload professional-quality images and video of the property.

  1. Add Past SOLD Properties

It’s a fact that sellers like to see what types of homes have been sold by a realtor. And in particular they want to see what a home was sold for compared to its initial listing price. The lack of historically sold properties is a common oversight. Make sure yours are included, and add as many of them as you can while making extra sure all the information show is accurate.

  1. Use Videos

A well-shot video can do absolute wonders for a listing, and video listings display higher on results pages in Zillow. Zillow makes adding a video incredibly simple, and so even if it’s shot with your smartphone it can do well enough. Just make sure to hold the camera steady, move slowly, and have the zoom set appropriately.

  1. Get Client Reviews

Every single time you can you should add client reviews to your Zillow profile. Agents with more reviews and higher ratings will stand out to Zillow users. Aim to get at least 5 reviews initially, and then as your business grows you should be able to add 2-3 new reviews every month.

You should also reply to each review that you get with a personal, genuine response. It looks good on your and your professionalism, and it will also create opportunities for increased engagement with your past customers. Good reviews for your team can do the same.

  1. Answer Questions

Proving you’re an accessible resource for real estate information is one of the easiest ways to build your online presence and generate leads from online marketing. Try to participate in Zillow Advice as often as possible. It’s similar to ActiveRain, Yahoo Answers, Quora and other Q&A sites, but with the advantage being that your answered questions will be tied to your Zillow profile.

Answering 2-3 questions a week at minimum is very doable, and a reasonable goal for a realtor who wants to use Zillow for marketing themselves. Answer each question with as much detail as you can possibly put into it, and don’t just copy and paste answers from elsewhere.

  1. Automate Emails

Time is usually a very scarce commodity for a successful realtor. Sending repetitive, redundant emails to prospects is not only ineffective, but it’s poor use of your time. Zillow’s Auto Actions lets you automate emails that don’t require your personal attention every single time. What you should do is create genuine email templates that you can use to communicate with new prospects effectively and let you make better use of your time.

  1. Sync Your Leads

Zillow offers a powerful CRM to its users. However, if you’re like most agents then that’s not your primary CRM. Many realtors use something like Salesforce, Contactually or even your website to store and manage their leads. That’s fine, but make sure you keep your Zillow leads synced with your CRM of choice. What this does it is streamlines your lead management processes, and also allow for easier campaign creation.

Zapier is a really good choice, and the many favourable reviews it has from realtors suggests it’s a quality digital product.

  1. Spend Time on Zillow Digs

Zillow Digs is essentially a Pinterest for real estate that’s built right into Zillow. Those of you who have spent any time on Pinterest will probably know how engaging it can be. If you can pair that user experience and resource with a platform that is focused exclusively on the topic of real estate then you’re well on your way to having a captive, engaged audience that can be leveraged for growth.

Aim to create at least 3 initial boards on Digs and fill them with content every week. Also, finding a niche and catering to it will help you get even more out of Zillow Digs.

  1. Repurpose Available Reports / Data

Helpful market reports are often the result of researching, curating, formatting, writing, designing and sending, and when you add that all up it equals a lot of time spend creating reports. Zillow provides market data report that are usually released each season. These reports require you to download them first, but they’re openly available to agents and anyone else that wants to reference them.

Repurposing these reports by turning them into blog posts, embedding them on your website and sending them out to your email subscribers is a good choice. You will have to change the text of the reports, and with ‘big info’ it’s a good idea to verify the information provided by confirming it via a second reputable source.

  1. Install the Premier Agent App

Installing Zillow’s agent-focused app on your mobile device and desktop is recommended. This well-crafted app will allow you to manage leads, edit your profile and request reviews. Put the app on your device’s home screen and turn on notifications. This will keep the app top of mind and keep you active on Zillow.

Sign up for Real Estate Leads here and receive a monthly quota of qualified, online generated buyer and / or seller leads delivered only to you for your also-exclusive region of any city or town in Canada. It’s a dynamite way to supercharge your prospecting efforts and put you directly in touch with the types of people who will likely soon be needing the services of a quality real estate agent. That’s you!