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How to beat portals at the lead game

By February 6, 2015 One Comment

Leads are life to Realtors. That’s obvious. Yet to anyone who’s looked to buy, sell, or rent online, it’s pretty obvious Zillow and Trulia own leads online.

Seriously, is there a major market in the United States where these two are not on the first page of Google? (If there is, let me know in the comments …)

Portal dominance may seem like a pretty bleak situation to the agent who doesn’t want to pay these giants for leads. And I get that. But there is a weakness in the web strategy that these web giants have adopted. That weakness lies in information that isn’t database.

What do I mean by that?

Well, Zillow and Trulia are good at displaying a complete Internet data exchange. And they are also good at squeezing contact information out of prospective sellers. Plus, they have an excellent system for comparing schools. But at the end of the day, no one wants to look at data.

Think about it. Would you rather have a conversation with someone who’s lived in an area or look at a chart examining the pros or cons of living in that area?

Probably the first one! And that’s where your advantage lies on the web against Zillow and Trulia. Here’s a video examining that.

So the key to beating these web giants is to create the content they can’t produce.

Zillow and Trulia cannot create video guides of local neighborhoods or tours of local attractions. They can’t create meaningful school comparisons that interview teachers and look at the after-school programs.

And the good news is that creating this content is easier than ever!

Smartphones and YouTube make it very easy to create engaging videos. WordPress blogs make it easy to create virtual diaries about entire neighborhoods. And social media groups make it so easy to get this information in front of everyone in those neighborhoods.

These tactics are more usable than ever before. You can use research tools like and to find popular article titles related to real estate. Then, recreate them for your own blog. Your admin can just post them to a few social groups once a day, and you’ll start getting major traffic.

Now that you’re getting more traffic, you need to copy Zillow and Trulia even further.

What do they always ask their visitors to give them? A valid email address. Using email is the best way to turn one-time website visitors into recurring website visitors and, perhaps, into clients.

Email is the best way to engage people. So you’ll need to install some email capture software on your website, and then you can start sending out your new posts to people in your community.

Mix in a few calls to action and you’ll see great results!

The key here is to be ultra-useful and to focus on creating the personal stories that big websites can’t create.

Try it today! Let me know what the people in your community think of your reviews, stories and videos in the comments below.

Tyler Zey is the digital marketing director and contributing editor for the Real Estate Digital Marketing blog on

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