Building the Pipeline with HomeGain’s BuyerLink

Posted by: Linda Davis on February 27th, 2008

We’ve heard all the arguments about lead generation companies. It’s been debated on blogs, in real estate forums and at office meetings. I recently read a blog comment which likened a certain lead generation company to a drug dealer.

Pretty strong stuff.

I’m the little guy with a little office. Even though I work for a franchise, I can’t personally compete in my area with the big franchises or the public MLS when it comes to driving traffic to my IDX website. If you do a search using the most sought after search terms in my area, all the big franchises are right there on the top of the first page, along with HomeGain and a few other lead aggregators. They can afford to outspend me to get there.

Blogging does keep me competitive with the big guys. As far as long tail searches, my blog is all I need, and I can outmaneuver the best of them on that playing field. But being the competitive person that I am, I wanted anther tool in my arsenal. In 2005 I signed on to HomeGain’s BuyerLink. At that time I had 3 buyer’s agents and needed to keep them fed with a good supply of leads. HomeGain generated about 30% of our team income that first year by driving traffic to our IDX site.

Here’s how it works for me:

HomeGain pays the big bucks to land a prominent place on search engines and to partner with online newspapers like USA Today. HomeGain is found online by consumers doing searches using popular real estate keywords. When a consumer clicks the link to HomeGain in my area, they will be redirected to my IDX site.

BuyerLink

I don’t pay referral fees, just a fee when anyone clicks on the link. I pay around seventy-eighty cents a click for the cities I chose, and have a cap on the amount I can be charged each month. I can change my budget at any time and there is no long-term commitment.

HomeGain supplies me with a steady supply of leads but having them in the pipeline doesn’t mean clients are going to walk into my office with checkbook in hand.

An agent needs to make initial contact very quickly and have good follow-up systems in place.

If you hear that HomeGain BuyerLink doesn’t work, it is most often the fault of the agent not of HomeGain.

According to the California Association of Realtors®, 67% of Internet buyers selected their agent because he/she was the first to respond to their inquiry or was the most responsive.

Most internet buyers expected their agent to respond within four hours or less.

Despite these statistics, I suspect most agents don’t respond that quickly or at all and instead expect an automatic email drip system to do the real work. In my experience, a phone call rather than email is the most effective first method of contact. (My IDX site states that providing a phone number means you will hear from an agent. A phone number is not required for access to listings.)

I’ve made plenty of money using HomeGain’s BuyerLink over the past 3 years. I found it especially useful when I switched IDX providers and needed to get buyers into the new pipeline quickly. HomeGain provided the leads. I developed good follow-up systems that work for my business.

The debate about paying for leads will continue. Many agents feel that sites like HomeGain use an agent’s listings to attract buyers and then refers those same buyers back to the agent for a fee. If sites like HomeGain didn’t exist, they say, leads would go directly to the agent without the cost of the middleman.

That may be true but as long as the big franchises are willing to devote a large percentage of their budgets to lead generation, this little guy needs HomeGain to remain competitive on the internet.

Click here to learn more about Buyerlink.

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Comments

15 Comments on “Building the Pipeline with HomeGain’s BuyerLink”

Brian Brady

Who let the VRWC in here?

Linda,

A few issues:

1- You’re a giant and a pioneer in online marketing, always.

2- In this market, one should use every arrow in their quiver. We should pay heed to things that drive convertible traffic.

3- Your final paragraph was in keeping with my summary in New York. The big guys will never roll over and play dead just because the little guy found out how to be more nimble. They’ll be slower than you or me but they will catch on.

Weblogging and PPC (which the HG service is; a very targeted PPC) is a way to wear a belt AND suspenders.

Sage advice, Linda. You are a giant

Mike Farmer

Would you say that is better or worse than Google adwords. I found when I was using Adwords, once I experimented with times of usage and ad content I could get clicks for around fifty cents.

Mitch Ribak

Well said Linda. It’s always great to see others that feel the way that I feel. Our overwhelming success with Buyer Link tells everyone that if you know what you are doing and are willing to invest the time and money, it’s a great program.

I agree totally that the negative responses are usually from an Agent that does not understand Internet lead conversion or might have bought $250 worth of traffic for one month and wasn’t successful. Marketing is an investment and converting leads is a science. Keep on rocking.

Jay Thompson

Linda. Fancy seeing you here. And Brian, always with the suspenders… ;)

The “little guys” have to be able to compete. It may be oversimplifying things, but the bottom line is do whatever it takes (within legal and ethical bounds of course.).

I have preached the “lead aggregators are evil.” mantra in the past. And while I personally do not use them (at this point in time) to ignore them if I do need them would be foolish.

Hey, if door knocking works for you, do it. If blogging works for you, go for it. If you find success putting listings on Craig’s List, then do it. And if HG’s BuyerLink works for you, fabulous.

Mitch Ribak

Mike,

I have done a lot with both Google and Yahoo. The difference to me was the conversion from click to lead. I went from 7-8% conversion with Google to 18-20% with Homegain. Not to mention it has kept my pricing stable, better quality leads and I don’t spend a minute of time managing my keywords. For all those reasons I find it better than Google and Yahoo. I hope that helps.

Linda Davis

Thanks for the nice words. I’m delighted that some of my very favorite people are here and at least one other member of the VRWC.

Mike Farmer

Yes, I started out with abut 10% conversion with adwords until I sent the clicks directly to a call to action page and then it went up to about 15-20%. I did have to spend a lot of time with it to get the right combination that worked.

I don’t use it anymore so the CPC might have gone up.

Thanks for the information.

Louis Cammarosano

Mike the biggest advantages that Buyerlink has over google are that
-you don’t have to select key words and manage your key word campaigns, we do that for you.
-the visitors are delivered to you evenly over the course of the month-no massive spikes or dips
-you preset what you want to pay and you pay only for what you get
-we have our system check every night to make sure your website is up so we are not sending visitors to a dead site and notify you if we find a problem
-Our price is often lower than Google or Yahoo
-our customers tell us our traffic converts higher
-we give away a free landing page that we KNOW based on hundreds of other customers converts 13-15%
http://www.homegain.com./buyerlink/index_html?ht=landing_bl

joseph ferrara

I agree with Jay Thompson. Do what works for you. For an agent new to the industry or new to a market, a program that sends them potential clients is worth trying, especially if you can control the budget. But the point of the post is very important. Consumers expect a quick response. SO, regardless of how you attract clients, you will lose the ones that come by if you don’t get back to them quickly. That is a function of consumer expectation and not middlemanism (is that a word?)

Louis Cammarosano

“Many agents feel that sites like HomeGain use an agent’s listings to attract buyers and then refers those same buyers back to the agent for a fee.”
Hi Linda
Thanks for your post.
Unlike other sites that display realtor listings (Yahoo, Frontdoor, google base, Trulia, Homescape, Zillow, Vast, Roost etc.), HomeGain does not use listings to attract consumers. We do not display listings. Under the Buyerlink program HomeGain drives visitors to YOUR site where YOU the Realtor display the listings, not HomeGain. We drive visitors to your site through a vast array of partners (over three hundred), a multimillion dollar SEM spend, traffic directly to HomeGain.com and SEO.
I like to think of HomeGain as a large co-op for agents and brokers who can tap in to our collective marketing reach to get a great deal of exposure for a decent price.

Kristal Kraft

Linda I guess that makes two of my friends who wear both a belt in suspenders…

Nice to read you hear and have you share your secrets of success.
kk

Carole Cohen

Is an Obama supporter allowed here :0) Linda, tg for you, with your ability to consistently point out that stereotypical (knee jerk?) reactions don’t always hold true. Good info and thank you.

Missy Caulk

The proof is in the pudding, good for you. I have closed a number of homes with homegain, sellers mainly. I have honestly never looked at the Buyers Link side.

Louis Cammarosano

Hi Carole

Thanks for stopping by.

I checked out your blog.(nice Obama widget.)

Looks like you are fallen back in love with Cleveland.

Would you like to do a regional report on Cleveland that we can post here?

We recently started a regional series with updates from around the country.

Please take a look and let me know if you are interested.

http://blog.homegain.com/category/regional

Louis Cammarosano

Since the publication of linda’s post I’ve received a lot of requests as to how to buy buyerlink. Its simple you can do it on line- check availability and order directly.
http://blog.homegain.com/category/buyerlink

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