Acquisition of HomeGain further strengthens Reply.com’s local advertising marketplace and will provide HomeGain advertisers access to significantly more consumer traffic
SAN RAMON, CA – FEBRUARY 4, 2013 – Reply.com, the leading online marketplace for local advertisers, today announced that it has acquired HomeGain. HomeGain has been one of the top visited real estate websites for over a decade and has thousands of real estate agents and brokers as its advertisers. Reply.com, which currently serves over 25 million locally targeted consumer visits per month (more than 20% of which are real estate consumers), will provide the current HomeGain advertisers with access to significantly more prospective buyers and sellers.
“We are thrilled to be adding HomeGain advertisers and consumers to our marketplace,” said Payam Zamani, founder and CEO of Reply.com. “Their brand is well-known in the real estate industry, they have long-standing relationships with many publishers, and they have a loyal following of real estate agents and brokers. We look forward to building on that foundation and growing HomeGain significantly in the future.”
“In my opinion, Reply.com is the perfect place for HomeGain to thrive in the future,” said Dan Jauernig, Chairman of HomeGain, Inc. and CEO of Classified Ventures. “This combination will certainly have a significant impact on the real estate market.”
Last month Reply.com announced that it reached over one million advertising auctions per day and hired Chris Mancini as Chief Marketing Officer to support the company’s rapid growth.
HomeGain is a leading provider of online marketing solutions that connect real estate agents and brokers with home buyers and sellers. HomeGain offers free services to find and compare real estate agents, research home values, and view homes for sale. Since 1999 REALTORS® have used HomeGain’s real estate marketing programs to connect with consumers, promote their services and grow their business. HomeGain.com has been a top visited real estate website since 1999.
About C.W. Downer & Co.
C.W. Downer & Co. is an independent, global investment bank offering middle-market clients a high level of personal attention coupled with 38 years of international execution experience. We provide insight, not just information. We generate value, not just transactions. With nine fully integrated offices on four continents, we consistently identify the most appropriate strategic buyer and uncover “hidden” acquisition targets. C.W. Downer & Co. delivers the reach of a bulge-bracket investment bank with the senior level focus of a boutique. For more information, visit http://www.cwdowner.com. C.W. Downer & Co. acted as exclusive financial advisor to HomeGain.com, Inc. on its sale to Reply! Inc.
About Reply.com, Inc.
Reply.com, Inc. operates the leading marketplace for locally-targeted advertisers. Reply.com’s platform provides advertisers of all sizes with a simple and scalable solution for locally targeted marketing. Reply.com owns and operates many destination sites including iMotors.com, Contractors.com and MerchantCircle.com, which is the largest online network of local business owners in the nation with over 1.4 million member merchants and 17 million monthly local consumer visits. To learn more about Reply.com, please visit www.reply.com.
Sparkpr for Reply.com
Posted by Adam Carabetta, Director, Retail Real Estate Operations
Filed Under Lead Generation, Real Estate | Leave a Comment
In last week’s blog, we asked for feedback to help make our online lead generation program better. In that discussion, there were many great ideas and a couple of recurring themes. You requested transparency about what a real estate lead generation program can and can’t do.
Here is what we believe is essential for transparency:
- To be effective, a lead gen program will cost approximately $1,000 per closed deal
- On average, an agent will close between 2%-8% of the total leads received
- Close rate will vary based on: lead quality, follow-up, selling ability
- Success requires patience, about 50 leads over 6 months is necessary before transactions close
- With online leads, many phone calls (5-6 per lead) are expected to an individual lead
- For 100 leads, the approximate breakdown you will receive is as follows:
- You will be able to reach 50 leads
- 30 will be interested in your services
- 2-10 will close
- Develop a system to measure return on investment for your spend on this and other marketing programs so you can compare apples to apples
- Once a close rate is achieved, if you want to sell more houses, you can simply purchase more leads based on your processes and return-on-investment
- Following the above steps will allow you to proactively grow your pipeline and build consistency in your business
You don’t have to take our word that Reply.com works, please review our testimonials. If you give lead generation enough time and follow the process – you will close sales.
Reply.com Testimonials from real estate professionals who have used our service:
“One third of my current listings came through Reply!. It is definitely a numbers game, so you cannot plan on every lead working for you. But you can plan to develop relationships with the leads, and get them comfortable with the work you can do for them. This has been a great source of business for me, allowing me to meet and develop new clients.” – Mark Griese
“Over the last year I have done $2 million in sales and have gotten a $30,000 return on my investment from the Reply! program. Currently I am working with two sellers and one buyer I met through Reply!. I would recommend this program to anyone who is persistent. It may take buying a few prospects, but the transactions will follow!” – Debbie Leiba
“Working with Reply has been very good. Unlike other companies who promise a certain quantity of leads and don’t come through, Reply! always fills my quota. My goal is to have a quality conversation with at least one potential buyer every day, and Reply! helps me do that. Reply! is a great tool to help you build your pipeline and make some sales in this market!” – Matt Green
Let’s look at the various potential earnings (assumes an average commission of $5000/house sold):
- 4 Deals Closed – 8% Close Ratio = $20,000 in commissions Total Spent: $2,750 Profit = $17,250
- 2 Deals Closed – 4% Close Ratio = $10,000 in commissions Total Spent: $2,750 Profit = $7,250
- 1 Deal Closed – 2% Close Ratio = $5,000 in commissions Total Spent: $2,750 Profit = $2,250
In their own Words (video of Agents who have been very successful with us):
- To Your Success,Adam Carabetta
Today, we are running on Active Rain’s home page to ask Realtors, what they want to see in a lead generation program. We’ve been providing marketing services to real estate agents since 2001, and feedback from our network of thousands of real estate agents helps guide our product offerings. We offer a variety of marketing programs to meet the marketing needs of individual agents, and you have the opportunity to influence our lead generation products.
If you could control the manner in which you purchase leads, which features would you like to see? What would you change about your current lead generation programs?
- Lead-Buying Controls
- Budget caps/lead volume controls
- Starting/stopping ad campaigns
- Cancellation policy
- Lead Quality Controls
- Contents of a lead (name, phone #, etc)
- Lead validation
- Credit policy
- Lead scoring/ratings
- User Interface Functionality
- Viewing & managing leads
- Customer Service & Account Management
We appreciate all feedback, and we look forward to hearing from you. Click on the links below to learn more about the suite of Reply! lead generation products.
Reply! Real Estate makes lead generation simple to use for even the busiest real estate professionals. Within 5 minutes you can set up your account and begin receiving leads. In 3 easy steps you can pick the areas in which you wish to receive leads, how many prospects you want to receive monthly, and you can even track, manage, and follow-up with all your contacts. You ONLY pay for valid leads, and you will always have 72 hours to return a lead with invalid contact information.
Realty Now is a great solution for part time agents who are new to lead generation. With this program, you can view all the leads in your area FREE of charge. You can pick only the leads you want to purchase. And best of all, you only pay for the leads that you pick!
Reply! Lead Marketplace: The Reply! Lead Marketplace is our newest product, and we place control in the hands of the Realtor. The Reply! Lead Marketplace system uses dynamic, auction-style pricing, which allows real estate professionals to choose the price they’re willing to pay for each type of lead. Learn about the additional controls at www.Reply.com.
You can check out the feedback “live” from real estate agents here.
Here are some very interesting presentations delivered at Inman’s Real Estate Connect in New York. Hope you enjoy them.
- Jeff Turner: “25 Web Sites To Help You Find Customers and Save Money in Downturn” (2.1 MB). Very helpful sites that you should review.
- Ashley Rigg: “25 Real Estate Web Sites to Keep Your Eyes On” (1.4 MB)
- Robert Shiller: “Finding A Fix For the Housing Market” (3.9 MB)
Having been to Real Estate Connect for 10 years running, I’ve seen the show during both the boom and the bust. Regardless of the circumstances, you can always get an insider’s view as to what is going on in the market at this conference. Three major points jumped out at me in reflecting on my conversations at the show:
- The Big Pullback. Many companies have pulled back dramatically on their online spend in response to the downturn this Fall. Real Estate has been tough for awhile now, but the end of Q3 and Q4 marked a new low for many companies that service the real estate market. And I am not just talking about real estate brokerages – a number of online companies that have built their whole business around their web presence have put paid search expenditures on hold. Also, I ran across – without much searching – several companies that had been forced to give up on or dramatically curtail their direct selling activities to agents or brokers because the return on investment was not there. The bottom line is that, even though the real estate market had been in a malaise for nearly two years, the events of the past six months caused a major pullback and Q1 does not look much better for many of those companies.
- Lasting Change. The new reality is forcing everyone to look hard at their business model and find ways to improve the results. The tough times will no doubt cause fundamental changes in behavior that will persist long after the market recovers. One example that struck me was Alex Perriello’s (CEO of Realogy who always shows up with a cool head) comment that there are far too many real estate offices and that he expected a significant shift toward home-based operations for the real estate industry in the future. NRT (the largest real estate company in the US and owned by Realogy) recently rolled out a web-based transaction management platform that will help facilitate such a transition; so he, no doubt, has an incentive to emphasize this change in the real estate business. Regardless, I was struck by his candid assessment that “there is too much brick and mortar in the business,” and that the financial realities of the situation will accelerate the transition away from the traditional, office-based business model.
- Time for Deals. Given the doom and gloom in the market, most leaders were actively searching out business deals that could help them weather the storm. In some cases, that meant reaching beyond the types of deals that would have gotten serious consideration in past years. When the markets are rolling along, leaders tend to focus on execution of their own game plan and are generally risk-averse when it comes to taking on new business partnerships. I found potential partners to be unusually open to exploring innovative business relationships and pushing beyond their historical comfort zone. I would not be surprised to see some interesting (maybe even shocking) business relationships be forged during the next 6-12 months, as we all figure out how to thrive in the new reality.
There has been a lot of good blogging done in follow-up to the show. Inman News pulled together a sampling of some interesting contributions that I recommend you check out, if you want to get a more holistic view of the show’s content: http://www.inman.com/blog/2009/01/14/bloggers-share-their-experiences-connect-nyc-09
According to Hitwise monthly category report for Real Estate, Reply! has joined the top 20 list of real estate-related websites in December and Reply! is ranked 17th overall. This is fantastic growth for Reply! and we are thrilled that both our Click Marketplace and Lead Marketplace have been so well received.
For more information on Reply! real estate leads please listen to the ActiveRain radio Interview that was conducted on Tuesday December.
For further details, check with Rain Radio.
I was surfing around and found a post on Geek Estate Blog that I have added additional resources too. For those in creating real estate sites, this is a great resource of free data that you can integrate.
- Google Docs - free online software, similar to Microsoft Word, that allows you to easily share documents with clients.
- 2000 Census data – 2000 Census data available for download from the US Census Bureau. Here is the ftp download server.
- Yelp Review Search API – local business information with reviews using neighborhood or lat/long. We use the Yelp APIs in several sites and have found them easy to work with.
- Hoodeo - A site that tries to match you with your ideal neighborhood. Think Match.com but for neighborhoods.
- Terabitz - A fantastic site that has rolled together a bunch of real estate APIs. Reply! is working with Terabitz on our ConnectingNeighbor.com sites.
Neighborhood and City Home Values:
- Zillow Local Real Estate APIs – Retrieve local home value trend charts with the GetRegionChart API and a wealth of other city and neighborhood home value data from the GetDemographics API.
- AltosCharts – Local market price charts.
- Cyberhomes - Local real estate APIs (free). We use both Zillow and Cyberhomes for data distributed on our sites.
- Eppraisal.com – Local real estate APIs (free). Great company, fantastic design.
- Zillow Neighborhood Boundaries – 150 cities covering 7,000 neighborhoods available via a Creative Commons license.
- Yelp Neighborhood API – Input a lat/long value and get a neighborhood in return.
- Zillow GetRegionChildren API – Input a city and state, and receive a list of neighborhoods and their center points in return.
- Terabitz - They offer listings from several sources.
- Oodle.com - Reply! uses Oodle’s home listings on our ConnectWithLife.com service.
- GraphicalData – MLS / IDX feeds, local school information.
- Education.com Schoolfinder API
- NCES Common Core of Data – Data about all public elementary and secondary schools. Descriptive information on schools and school districts; data on students and staff; and fiscal data.
- GreatSchools.com - a wonderful resource with tons and tons of schools available via their API.
- Yahoo Weather API – enter a ZIP or a geo location and receive current weather conditions in return.
- WeatherBug API – Live weather conditions by location.
Tuesday December 2nd, at 11am, Payam Zamani, CEO and Brian Bowman, CMO, will be interviewed by ActiveRain Community Builder, Brad Andersohn, and Rich Jacobson. For more information check out their blog post.
From their post, “Most real estate professionals here on ActiveRain have fairly strong opinions about lead generation companies, some who have enjoyed good experiences, as well as those who have had not-so-good experiences.
Now is your opportunity to actively engage in conversation with one of the company’s who are aggressively guiding lead generation into the next century!
For further details, check with Rain Radio.”
You can listen to the radio podcast interview below
I’ve been in the online lead generation industry for four years now and, in our business, it makes me a senior citizen. I’ve worn many different hats at Reply!—from starting out on our retail automotive sales floor, selling to single dealerships, to managing our entire Retail Automotive business. I’ve also worked with real estate agents, selling face-to-face at the National Association of Realtors Convention in 2004. While I’ve never directly sold cars or real estate, I speak to lead buyers all day long. In all the feedback I’ve received, there’s one thing I hear time and time again; Internet leads only work when they are worked.
Most lead buyers are constantly hiring and firing lead providers because “the leads don’t close.” Six months down the road, they get a call from the provider they left, and the salesperson discusses changes to lead generation techniques and validation processes. The dealership or real estate agent gives the provider another chance—six more months pass and the leads “still don’t close,” and the cycle repeats.
Why don’t leads close? Is it the lead buyer not properly working the leads, or is it the leads themselves? I believe the answer is, “Both.” Some of our clients tell us our leads were a waste of time, while others depend on us to hit their monthly sales targets and are very profitable. Both are right, depending on how leads are called and nurtured.
The lead provider has two responsibilities: setting the right expectations and offering controls for the buyer to segment. It is the provider’s job to communicate that Internet leads need to be worked and, when a buyer closes 10 of 100 leads, the other 90 will never transact. It is the provider’s job to explain the follow-up process that is most successful when applied to Internet leads and discuss that lead validation is imperfect, so the lead buyer understands invalid leads are part of the game. Ultimately, it’s the provider’s job to send leads that are intentful.
Assuming the right expectations are set, the buyer has the responsibility for working the leads. Our most successful clients tell us that Internet leads are no different than floor traffic or face-to-face appointments—they need immediate attention. Their auto-response emails are immediately sent to the consumer, and a phone call is placed within five minutes of a lead being received. Often, three to four phone calls at varying times of day are required to reach a consumer. Following the initial contact, the consumer should be placed in a drip campaign—coupled with phone calls—until an appointment is set, with continued follow-up until the lead buys or is unworkable.
From time-to-time, one of our customers becomes angry over “poor lead quality.” I have a rule that I follow before I call a client back. I take a snapshot of the last ten leads we’ve sent, and I call them myself. The same result happens every time; I’ll be unable to reach one lead, leave voicemails for six, and I’ll speak with two to three people that want to talk about a car or real estate transaction. Two to three appointments set from ten leads should ideally result in one sale, and we arrive at our 10% closing ratio.
If you’ve decided to invest in online, performance-based marketing, create a game plan regarding how you’re going to work the leads. One of our top clients is a Toyota dealer in Southern California that closes 14% of their leads each month! They call every lead four times-per-day, and keep the consumer in their database for up to six months, with frequent contact that is gradually reduced as time passes. Our top real estate agents work leads for much longer; for most agents, one sale will cover their marketing costs for an entire year.
Many variables can affect your experience with Internet leads. One thing is clear—Internet leads are a predictable and measurable marketing investment, and will only work for you if they are actually worked.
The largest Multiple Listing Service system, MRIS is launching a beta MLS called HomesDatabase. For now, only homes in the mid-Atlantic region of the U.S. are covered (DC, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Northern Virginia, and parts of West Virginia).
Their goal is to compete with services like Zillow, Trulia and RedFin.com but they aim to offer more up-to-date information. They also hope to partner with other regional MLS systems to expand to nationwide coverage.
It is great to see regional MLS services offering homelistings. It is good for buyers and sellers. At least the down-turn is forcing some real estate entities to think out of the box.