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Have you been relying on Zillow for homebuyer leads? You’re not alone. This practice was a pretty solid one until just recently when Zillow announced it was planning to hire its own agents. Zillow will now be shuttling leads to their own agents, making the service a competitor rather than a friend. 

So how do you generate leads in this new landscape? It’s all about using reliable real estate lead generation services to identify and reach out to your own potential buyers. Knowing which home search tools are available and how to use them is the first step in taking back control and staying on top. Here’s how to market using property websites and IDX tools in the new year to build your agency.

First Things First

Before you even begin researching home search tools, you first need to build a strong local brand. Your brand is the face of your agency. It states who you and your team are, what you value, and why you have a competitive advantage. Your brand tells your story and helps potential buyers or sellers connect with you. To build your brand, you must do the following:

• Identify your ideal client. Do you want to work with young couples? Retirees who are downsizing? Your brand needs to appeal to your target market, so step one is always identifying your niche.

• State your values. What does this industry mean to you and your team? Why do you want to help home buyers and sellers, and how does that reason differ from other agents? Your values and ‘why’ should be front and center in all your brand marketing.

• Find your competitive advantage. Do you have more experience than other agents? More knowledge in certain areas? A diverse team? What makes you different is also what makes you desirable.

• Work everything into a visual representation and tagline. Sum up who you are and what sets you apart with appealing imagery and a punchy tagline to tie everything together and use in marketing materials.

Build Your Own Search Experience

If potential buyers visit Zillow first to view houses, you have to assume they’ll end up working with a Zillow agent. Even if they don’t, they’re still viewing your listing next to hundreds of listings from your competitors. With all this distraction, it’s less and less likely they will contact you and take the next step toward becoming a client. Now is the time to build your own search experience so you can capture leads and market to them personally without worrying about competing agents. When you own the search experience by developing property websites, you funnel prospects directly to your team. A modern, user-friendly IDX (Internet Data Exchange) tool is the best way to own search. IDX tools allow you to display MLS listings directly on your site and are crucial to your real estate lead generation services. Here are the best options:

• IDX plugins.  IDX plugins like Showcase IDX Real Estate Search give you portal-quality property searches that are fully mobile-ready, indexable, and compatible with WordPress websites. Other plugin choices include iHome Finder, FLEX MLS, Wovax, and IDX Broker.

• Organic IDX. Organic IDX is the process of using a professional to create your own search options on your site. Organic IDX features custom URL patterns, no subdomains, metadata, and keywords, and it allows you to host your own data. Though organic IDX options cost more than plugins, they are well worth it in terms of customization and flexibility.

The Luxury Presence IDX Home Search

Our IDX Home Search services provide award-winning design, lead capture functionalities, and other features resulting in a high-conversion IDX that is optimized for lead generation. Here are some of the features our real estate clients love:

         • Multi-field searches

         • Split-screen maps

         • Multiple MLS feeds

         • Listing notifications

         • Map-drawing capabilities

In addition to these outstanding features, your property website and search tools from Luxury Presence are also fully integrated into your site. This means you have a control center that allows you to conduct virtual tours, layer high-resolution photos, and create your own listing pages in the manner most consistent with your brand. Organic IDX search gets the right people to your site and keeps them there, so you have the best odds of converting them into clients.

Marketing Your IDX Home Search

Real estate lead generation services are not complete without a robust marketing campaign. After all, your potential clients won’t be able to find your home search tool if they don’t know about it. That’s where landing pages come in. When you advertise your next open house or new listing, you can send interested buyers directly to your custom search on your property website. This removes the possibility that prospects may look for the home on Zillow or another agent’s site. Here are some of the best ways to market your landing pages:

Social media. Put links to your home search or landing pages customized to feature a single home in your social media posts or social media ad campaigns.

Newsletter. When you send out your regular newsletters, include links to your customized search to help your prospects find the perfect home.

Promote on new listing flyers and your property signs. Wherever your agency’s name is being promoted, include a link to your IDX home search. This helps capture potential clients at every stage of the buying cycle.

Real estate lead generation services are changing, and you need to change with them to retain a competitive advantage. When you choose an organic IDX home search option to integrate into your website, you offer your prospects a seamless and user-friendly way to look for the perfect home. You also capture their attention and information so you can continue to market to them throughout the searching process. Take advantage of the new search landscape in 2021 to take your agency to the next level of success.