Listing Syndication: Six Things You Need to Know -- Part Two
The real estate industry has begun to embrace the concept of listing syndication, and for good reason. Distribution trumps destination in the age of “Wikinomics” and the “Long Tail.” We have gone from skepticism a mere 24 months ago, to large franchises, brokerages and now MLSs and Associations moving to “single point of entry” syndication solutions.
The most obvious driver fuelling the move is consumer fragmentation caused by the onset of increasingly popular real estate search sites. The answer to the proliferation of sites with real estate content is to be proactive, publishing listings on as many sites as possible, increasing visibility of not only the listing but of the firm or agent. This strategy has provided firms and agents with increased branding, a new source of leads and, the ability to control the quality of their listing data online.
Previously in this column, we discussed key considerations in choosing a syndication solution. In brief, you should display your listing on as many sites as possible, so you need to subscribe to the largest network. Syndication should be free and must deliver leads directly to the listing broker, at no cost. The broker should have control over where their listings are published and must have access to traffic reports and analytics, also at no cost. Finally, a built in conversion system needs to be in place, in order to turn leads into prospects, prospects into customers, and customers into revenue.
Publishing listings on 20 or 30 high traffic websites such as Google or Craigslist is a necessity and can deliver significant benefits. If your MLS does not yet provide this value add benefit, ask them to consider doing so. You’ll likely find that they are headed in that direction anyway.
The untold story about syndication, however, is that as a strategy, it can be a listing differentiator. Agents need to include in their marketing materials the fact that they do syndicate, to whom they syndicate, and that for the most part, their competitors are lazy about exposure of listings on the Internet. Also, enhancing the listing with photos is simple and studies have shown, increases interest in the listing.
If you can offer more than your competitor’s site, even better. Handshake™, a technology offered by Point2 Agent, is another type of reciprocal listing advertising technology. It is opt-in, meaning you select which broker or agent you allow to advertise your listings on their website and, unlike IDX, it extends beyond the limits of your MLS. The system allows users to selectively syndicate listings for publication on hundreds or thousands of real estate professionals’ websites. Action Items:
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Negotiating Tip 113: Activating Our Opponent
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Negotiating Tip 112: Misconceptions
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