Marketing the Real Estate Market: the need for more customers

Estately is an online real estate brokerage firm, designed at helping people find their dream home. Differentiating themselves from companies like Zillow, Trulia and RedFin, Estately claims that they have more search features and carry more information on each home so that you can truly narrow down your housing search and find the properties that have most value to you.

There’s a problem with Estately.com, though: where’s the zing and wow? In looking through their materials, I didn’t notice any feature that distinguishes them from other online realty companies. Their “search by school district” feature? Couldn’t find. And other cool search features – like distance to a train station or park? Available on other websites. When I signed up for an account, their welcome email including these “high lights” of their service:

“We work hard to make every little aspect of shopping for a home better. You can keep a list of your favorites and mark homes “not interested” so you don’t have to look at them again. Better yet, homes on the map dim when you click on them, so you can easily focus on the ones you haven’t seen. Estately has every nitty-gritty detail for every home, big, luscious photos (where homes are cooperative), all in a fast and snappy interface.”

Online realty sites are not oversaturated, as in there aren’t hundreds or dozens to choose from, but Estately is going up against some big, trusted names and their site, to what I can see, is not doing a good job at breaking into the market. Estately is only operating in 29 states; their company has 684 likes on Facebook and 2,204 followers on Twitter (compared to over 16,000 followers of RedFin and 126,000 followers of Zillow.com). Conventional real estate wisdom alludes to the fact that home buyers turn to their friends and family for advice first, usually to figure out with whom they should work to help find their new home. Now, the plethora of online MLS search engines has deteriorated the need for a real estate agent to do the leg work in finding a house, but this business still relies on the word of mouth to inform prospective buyers of their options between RedFIn, ZipRealty and the likes. Estately needs to do one of two things: 1) engage their satisfied customers and encourage a viral marketing campaign through the word of mouth or 2) develop some significant marketing pieces aimed at the prospective homebuyer, convincing them why they should chose their service over one of the many other options on the market.

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