RISMedia's Real Estate Magazine

APR 2017

Real Estate magazine is the industry's leading source for real estate news and information since 1980. Published monthly by RISMedia, Real Estate magazine offers timely and relevant real estate news to the industry's top brokers and agents.

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RISMedia's REAL ESTATE April 2017 75 {Strategies} Upping the Ante with an Improved and Enhanced Online Presence ZILLOW GROUP WORKS CLOSELY WITH A TOP ILLINOIS BROKERAGE TO CREATE A WIN-WIN SOLUTION by Paige Tepping F or Wyllys Mann, director of Strategic Innovation at Baird & Warner, an independent real estate firm serving the greater Chicagoland area, the decision to partner with Zillow Group to improve and enhance the brand's online pres- ence—as well as that of their 2,200+ agents—was not only a no-brainer, but one that's proven to be advantageous across the board. While Zillow Group's role in the marketplace laid the foundation for the formation of a successful partnership, Mann notes that their goals are well aligned with those of Zillow Group, which has been instrumental in creating a win-win partnership. "Baird & Warner and Zillow Group are both committed to connecting consumers with someone who can help them navigate the real estate transaction," says Mann. "What's more, Zillow Group has captured the market's attention, and we want to make sure our agents look as great on Zillow and Trulia as they do across the rest of their online presence." As part of a broader push to further strengthen Baird & Warner's online presence at both the corporate office and agent level, Mann explains that there's no shortage of ways for agents to incorporate the various tools of- fered by Zillow Group and make them work for them. "Our people are quick to adopt the pieces they believe add value for them depending on how their business model matches up," says Mann, who points to Zillow Group's Tech Connect: Reviews as one area where he's seen a big push. In fact, according to Mann, Tech Connect: Reviews, which is an API that allows agents to showcase their re- views from Zillow and Trulia on their broker and agent websites, has been a terrific addition to Bairdwarner.com. "When we added our agents' Zillow and Trulia reviews via the API, it validated the high level of customer service our 2,200+ agents provide," says Mann. "The biggest proof point for the success we've had is that not a single agent opted out of the program." But it doesn't end there. Consumers benefit because they can see Zillow reviews right alongside agent testi- monials that would already appear on an agent's brand- ed website, and agents love it because rather than hav- ing to copy and paste reviews directly from Zillow and Trulia—or asking clients to leave another review—they're simply there. "Having the Tech Connect: Reviews API in conjunction with agent testimonials has called attention to the legitimacy of our reviews, and shows that we're not cherry-picking customers," says Mann. Another win for the firm is Zillow Group's Broker Pro, a foundational program of the relationship that automati- cally uploads past sales into individual agent accounts, creating an opportunity for widespread brand exposure to differentiate Baird & Warner in the marketplace. "Not only does this show the breadth of the Baird & Warner experience in the marketplace, but because they show prominently, it also highlights the experience our agent has in the marketplace," says Mann. Taking a proactive approach toward engaging agents to have profiles, reviews and past sales, 88 percent of Baird & Warner's agents have a profile complete with a full set of contact information, bio pic, etc. Taking this one step further, the firm is closing in on 5,500 Zillow reviews (at press time). Upping the ante even more, Baird & Warner has plans to launch Premier Broker—a platform designed to help brokers with lead management and conversion. Com- bining some of Zillow Group's most popular advertising products with new lead management capabilities, the platform is designed to streamline the lead acquisition and management process with new tools and services. "We're not doing anything different than we do any- where else by advertising with Premier Broker," concludes Mann. "We're simply expanding the same philosophy we bring to our integrated marketing campaign, including ad- vertising in the newspaper, on Facebook, and across all the other media channels." For more information, please visit www.zillowgroup.com.

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