Zillow, Facebook, Amazon and the Real Estate Agent
Podcast Episode 29: How to Compete with Zillow, Facebook and Amazon
Zillow is looking to enter the Canadian market.
Facebook just announced they are going to advertise listings on their Marketplace portal.
Amazon isn’t too far behind...they had a page on their website up for a day or two and promptly took it down which sent Zillow Group stock heading south by ½ a percentage point.
What does all of this mean for the Realtor®?
I’m going to get into that in a minute but first let’s clarify what is happening with Zillow and Canada.
We have all heard that Zillow is coming to Canada.
Realtor® Facebook groups are all up in arms about it. What isn’t being explained and what is being speculated on is how the big Z is coming to Canada.
Let’s be clear here, without data, Zillow wouldn’t exist.
They need Canadian data feeds to get what they want. What they want to do is showcase Canadian listings on their website, in order to get those listings they need to have a deal in place with the member boards that allows them to pull that data, much like an IDX feed.
Zillow has a long uphill road to climb in order to do that as I have it on good authority that Zillow Group will not be looking to go direct through CREA, they will want to approach each board and try to get the feeds they require.
They would likely start with certain markets like the Okanagan in BC and Cottage Country in Ontario and then branch out into other markets like Vancouver, Montreal, Calgary, Canmore, and maybe even Toronto.
This is still very much in the early stages and likely won’t be ready to roll for quite a few months if not close to a year.
They’ve stated they want to start showcasing those listings in early 2018, but they will need agreements in place in order to do that.
As a Canadian Realtor®, once Zillow starts pulling the data, they won’t be pulling it just to showcase Canadian listings in resort markets….they will use this to test out their website and traffic to see if it will be worth going after the 98 other boards in the country to strike agreements and start pulling in all data from every part of the country.
There is a chance that this could happen, my guess is it will likely be a couple of years from now before we see that happen. Just know, that it is coming.
Now...another tidbit that was interesting just popped up on the wires yesterday talking about how in select markets in the US, Facebook will be carrying property listings in its Marketplace app.
Which means you will be able to use Facebook to search for a home. This is in the early stages yet but if Facebook is testing it out, you know damn well that they could be looking to be a player in the space within a couple of years.
Amazon. The giant. The behemoth. Bought Whole Foods for $13B and paid cash. Amazon is not going to go out and create its own listings portal, they will either buy the technology or buy the giant in the space to compete with what is coming with Facebook.
Did you know the market cap for Zillow is a little over ½ of what they paid for Whole Foods? Yup, $7.45B. Could this happen? I say hell yes it could happen.
The landscape of the listing syndicators is changing rapidly. Canadian data is going to open up to allow for the likes of Facebook, Amazon, Zillow and Trulia and enter our market.
The listing portal landscape is going to change drastically over the next couple of years with certain portals being swallowed up in whole. The user experience for shopping for a home online is going to become very user friendly and we could see the role of a Realtor change drastically.
What do you do?
Some might want to run and hide. Some might want to play with the big boys and put their dollars up for ad spend to generate leads (this will become more and more expensive). Some might want to run their own lead gen on these platforms (like Facebook) to generate their own biz.
Here’s what I would and am doing.
Diversify. We have said it before on this podcast, build your business with the idea of becoming a media company.
If you have never heard of Ryan Fletcher, I suggest you read Defeat Mega Agents as well as subscribe to his podcast and then go over to his FB page and look to see what they are doing there.
Look at what Gary Vaynerchuk has done.
Look at what Tim Ferris has done. They are media personalities that are moving their product through their media whether you realise it or not.
They have podcast’s. They do a shit ton of video. They have email lists and send out regular emails with great consumable content. They write using different platforms like Medium and their blogs. They are focused on content that is going to drive the consumer to their products that they either have created or that they promote.
Why can’t you as a Realtor® do the same?
Start a podcast. Use your phone and shoot video. Build and grow your email list and share awesome content. Build out a newsletter that you send on a monthly basis. Blog on a consistent basis.
Look, consumable content based around the consumer experience via Storytelling is how you are going to grow your brand in 2018 and beyond.
The world is noisy right now and only getting noisier, the way to stand out is to provide immense value to your database and clients FIRST. Write and produce like you are writing and producing for them and them only.
Once you have the flow down and the feedback from your client based considered and the content tweaked, begin to release it out into the social web via ads, regular consistent postings, in fact, if you haven’t listened to episode 8 with Katie Lance you should do that to learn how to create a content plan.
Build the content through various mediums and then lay out a plan of distribution.
Keep in mind that then you create the content, you should be able to repurpose it in the future.
Being a storyteller, a content creator is going to help to build and elevate your brand through those that know you best.
Creating stories around shareable, consumable content pushed to the right audience will help to increase your brand awareness through your network and ultimately help to improve your business.