Listing Syndication. It's all the rage these days. Not because it really drives buyers and sellers to call your cell phone or email you; but it does seem to cover a lot of marketing bases with a simple click. Or does it? And if it does, how are you using it to the fullest advantage? How can it hurt you? Here is an overview that is super simplified, and give you plenty of thoughts that will make you go 'Hmmmmm':
Here is how to use Listing Syndication to your advantage:
1. Include an information page about it in your listing presentation. Don't overpromise; but simply compile a list of logos that you KNOW your listings end up on, so the seller can visualize how far your marketing plan reaches. There are TONS of sites that will syndicate your listing for free and do not cost a dime to add to. *(See reference paragraph below for a list of free ones as of 07/05/2010)
2. If your seller's primary method of communication with you is via email, then use these ads to keep them updated on a weekly/ 10 day/ bi-weekly basis. For example, upon taking the listing, you can email the links to Realtor.com, your local newspaper link (most newspapers receive all new listings in their online classifieds via homescape or your MLS or Realtor.com), and any other company ads (REMAX, Coldwell Banker, etc.). Include at least 3 links, and tell them how you will be working to maximize their online exposure, and let them know you're available for questions or concerns.
3. If your seller is still a 'snail mail' kind of person, send them a nice letter and a page snapshot of each ad. Even though they aren't online, they know it exists, and they know buyers will be looking at their home. This will also help you debunk their requests for print ads - print ads you don't want to waste money on!
4. Keep this method up on a regular basis. If you go to any of the following sites, you may be able to capture a free link to your listing:
- Your local newspaper web site
- Google Base
- If you are a smaller company, you can show them how their home is listed on Prudential, REMAX, Coldwell Banker, and Keller Williams web site. Explain in your letter or email that a Buyers Agent will more than likely bring the buyer to their listing, and because YOU belong to the MLS and have signed up for IDX (or broker reciprocity), those large companies have access to their home for potential buyers!
Know When To Hold em:
There are several circumstances where you will want to WITHOLD certain links from your sellers, here are a few examples:
- Sorry, I know Zillow is a frequent contributor to Active Rain, and I'm sure it has advantages, but in this case, I've seen it do more harm than good. If your seller is already touchy on price and has a tendency to micromanage, just send them their link to Zillow and watch them freak out. The 'Zestimate' is bound to be too low (or too high, directly contradicting your market analysis and pricing discussions). Zillow's zestimates make sellers angry, especially when the listing agent points out this mis-information to the seller as a 'great ad'. It's not, just leave it alone and hope they don't see the off-kilter value themselves, which will surely cause you grief if they do.
- Don't send them links to listing you have no control over if they are very savvy or micromanagers. When you do a price change, often the syndicated site takes up to 7 days to change the price! In the beginning, send them ads you have direct control over, and after they've done their final price adjustment, you can use these extra third-party sites that you can't manage directly (RealEstate.com, Homegain, Homebase, Redfin, Cyberhomes, etc.)
- Don't send them ALL the links you can find in the first stages of their listing. If average market time in their area is 60-90 days, you'll want to span the links and information out over this time frame. Sellers want frequent marketing updates; you can't give them everything you have and then say 'Well, you need to adjust your price!' when you've run out of marketing ideas. The price drop should have nothing to do with your lack of marketing avenues; in their mind, the two are not related.
*Free sites to create an ad to syndicate your listing (as of July 5th, 2010 - these 'freebies' change frequently!)
If you know of any other 'freebies', please post them in your comments!
In closing, YOU have the power of presentation to your seller, and so much of it is FREE to make you and your marketing plan look great. It's all in the packaging; make sure you do it right, and do it right the FIRST time! Remember the oldie but goodie, Underpromise, Overdeliver!