It’s the end of the month and I’m almost to the end of my Zillow experiment, where I bought a dozen or so zipcodes in the Seattle area, where my EZ ad would run thousands of times during the month. I have received 1 personal acknowledgment from a neighbor who was Zillowing his own house and saw my ad. And, so far, 208 click-through’s to my website www.SeattleDreamHomes.com.
Since I bought more than 1,000 page views for a few upper-end zips to pay about $200 for the month, it looks like I’m averaging about $1.00 a click, equal to what some key phrases on Google are charging. However, the difference is that with Zillow, people are still seeing my name and smiling face whether or not they actually click on my web link. It’s impressions or page views I’m paying for with Zillow, not just click throughs to my site.
Customers finding ones site through organic search is still the ideal, but, as pointed out by Dustin over at Rain City Guide, some search engines have been “confused” lately. Or are some sites being purposely penalized? Word on the real estate forums is that whole categories of websites are being removed from search engines, either for perceived industry-wide transgressions (such as exchanging too many links with other professionals) or as a ruse to sell more advertising. After all, if you don’t show up in organic search, you’re much more likely to purchase ads, right?
In another experiment (for both of us) Bradford Bohonus at VR Seattle placed a little Seattle Dream Homes tile on his site, and we’re monitoring clicks, just to see what happens. VR Seattle is Bradford’s virtual tour site specializing in 360 degree virtual reality photography. This imaging technology is utilized for creating interactive virtual tours and environments and is a perfect vehicle for marketing real estate.
Bernice Ross had a little post last week about agents who were too cheap to pay for video tours of homes. Granted, VRSeattle is not cheap. But when marketing upper-end properties, expenditures of several thousand dollars for advertising and promotion is not unusual.
These are some of my favorite VR Tours. They are so cool:
Also, as an experiment, I’m trying a different logo on his website.
I have my classic Seattle Dream Homes logo:
And then I tried a different look, which I debuted on VR Seattle:
If it works out well, I’ll move in that direction for the whole site. The old logo was all flowery, like Martha Stewart selling real estate, so I may be ready for a change.
In other interesting end-of-April (Fools) news, Redfin also redesigned their logo and website and opened a new office in Boston.
They made news on April Fools Day by launching the “real estate consumer’s bill of rights”. They stated “The premise of the bill is that consumers should have all the information the agent does about a house they’re trying to buy or sell, and about how the whole process works.”
Uhmmm…. my buyers and sellers already DO have all this information. But I digress….
Anyway, they sent out press releases to dozens of news organizations and got Inman News to trumpet it to their “hundreds of thousands of real estate subscribers”, requesting that Realtors, sales agents, brokers and buyers and sellers sign a petition that they would then send to the National Association of Realtors and all the MLS’s around the country.
So far, as of today, after 100′s of press releases, blog posts and newspaper articles and thousands of dollars of free publicity, they have a grand total of 70 signatures. Most signers appear to be Redfin employees or respected folks like “Daffy Duck”, “I.P. Daly” and “Heywood Jablowme”.
I’m so glad this April Fools month is finally over!