The reality of marketing with Zillow

Zillow might not be your most effective marketing tool. Here’s why.


Zillow has become synonymous with the Real Estate Industry. Anytime an interested buyer or seller is curious about a home price and location they immediately turn to Zillow, the number one real estate site in the world.


Unfortunately, there are some drawbacks with the amount of traffic flooding to this widely used site. As a marketing tool, it doesn’t leave the agent much room for growth. Instead of finding the best agent for the right community, the contact information is up for grabs to the highest bidder. This is an old and outdated way of marketing, much like how Yellow Pages once was.


Instead of highlighting experience and work ethic, agents need to spend hundreds, if not thousands of dollars, to get any sort of viewing placement. Often, agents are crammed together in a small viewing area with other agents and advertisers competing for space. This type of solicitation rarely benefits the buyer and seller.


With home prices rising to all time highs, large agencies and brokerages are spending more and more money to simply eliminate the competition instead of attracting the right viewers based on their excellent services or knowledge of the city or community. This leaves little room for new or cash strapped agents.


What are my other lead generating options outside of Zillow?


Attracting the attention of leads, whether cold, hot or warm, will always require a bit of money. Your goal is to ensure you’re utilizing the best tactics and platforms that will generate the qualified leads you’re looking for. While Zillow maintains an unbeatable reputation for much traffic it generates, its bidding system may be too competitive for businesses that have smaller budgets to work with.


If you find that Zillow isn’t working out for you or if you are not seeing the preferred ROI, there are other options to consider.


Targeted Facebook Ads


Targeted social media advertising is holding the interest of many agents and brokers. This form of marketing involves paying to promote an ad to a specified audience, without the requirement of posting on a business page. The most exciting thing is Facebook’s highly sophisticated ad-targeting capabilities, which allow agents and brokers to create audiences based on criteria such as “likely to move” and “first-time buyers.” Additionally, businesses can also deliver ads based on a user’s ZIP code and household income.


Google Pay Per Click


Google Pay Per Click is a great tool for filling in the gap while your Search Engine Optimization for your site gets better and better. As your organic rankings increase, your Google PPC campaign spending should decrease. Additionally, you should consider display ads and online banner and display.


Old School Mailers


Although the web is where most individuals are hanging out these days, nothing beats traditional advertising like a mailer. When you have a targeted mailing list, you’ll have a better chance at obtaining attention from the people that truly matter. You should definitely consider allocating a budget to send out postcards to qualified leads or potential buyers who are associated with the specific ZIP codes you are active in. Beware of buying lists of leads that don’t want anything to do with you.




Of course, one of the best ways to generate warm leads is to ensure your website is fully optimized and that you have strategies and tactics in place for SEO. Be warned, executing Search Engine Optimization for real estate is not as easy as it seems. It’s important to realize that when it comes to SEO, it’s more of a marathon and not a sprint. It’s a long-term strategy that requires patience, but will provide substantial rewards when you’re able to rank for local keywords that your ideal customers are using to search for real estate online.


Which of these options are you currently using? Which ones are you considering for your company’s marketing strategy?