The #1 reason your clients prefer Zillow to your website

Mar 16, 2020

Michelle Carter – Director – FBS Products Broker Agent Services



What the heck do burgers have to do with Zillow and your IDX website?


Within 3 blocks of our main retail center in town, there are four burger restaurants, all chains, all taking up prime real estate on the main street with decent square footage. Every week we get promo postcards with discounts for free drinks with a meal or kids eat free Thursdays or the promo for the new salad to attract the dieting moms. Go on a Saturday night and they’re all busy. One would assume from big ad budgets and many patrons that they are doing well and, therefore, have great burgers.

Up the road, on a stretch that isn’t quite so busy or surrounded by Old Navy, Target, and Michaels, is a modest-looking building with the word Best Burgers above the front door. From the outside, you’d assume this would be an outlandish boast but, peruse the reviews on Yelp and Google, and you’ll find that there are far more raving fans of this locally-owned burger bar than there are of the chain restaurants put together. Inside, the booths are simple and the menu simpler, but the smiles of their trickling-in patrons are real.

So if Best Burgers really IS the best (even taking into account the subjectivity of that statement) why is it that Best Burgers isn’t as busy as the local chain restaurants?

The answer is obvious: most people don’t know it’s there. And if they do, they’re not sure if they’ll like it, and so they’d rather go to the chain restaurants because they know what that tastes like, and because something arrives in their mailbox every week to remind them to come. It’s the age old conundrum of the small business when the corporate chains come to town.

We’re hearing from some agents that they are abandoning their websites because they perceive their clients to have a preference for using Zillow for home search. Look past this assumption, however, and you’ll see the reality: there isn’t anything magical about Zillow that you can’t have in your own site.  Customers just know about it and are familiar with it. But, everyone has the same data (although how often it’s updated is something you should know about your home search solution). In fact, there are plenty of examples of agents who didn’t give up on having a website, and who have built home search marketing strategies that capture a steady stream of highly qualified leads and garner respectable market share.

Research by the National Association of Realtors shows that Realtors who spent at least $500 on their website increased their number of leads by 50% vs. those Realtors who spent nothing on their website. (Source: NAR 2018 Member Profile.) I’m not saying it’s easy. You can’t plop a site on the web and expect it to all just magically happen. As the NAR research reveals, investing the time and capital in developing a solid strategy and sticking with it will build a solid foundation for your own business, which is much more appealing than running on someone else’s hamster wheel.

That’s why we have an entire library of content dedicated to helping you get the most web traffic, leads, and clients, you possibly can from your site. And why having your own site, with its own personality, its own branding, unique to you, is still essential in our connected world.

I recommend these fantastic Success Articles, written by Mike Price, our resident IDX trainer, with 25 years experience in this space:

  1. 8 Winning Features of a Successful Agent Website or, for brokers, 10 MUST-HAVE BROKER WEBSITE FEATURES
  2. Testimonials and Reviews: Your secret weapon to driving website leads.
  3. 6 Lead Capture Ideas
  4. Stop waiting for the cat to bark. 6 Social Media Tips for IDX Website Success

… and a ton more where those came from when you click here.

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