Use HomeGain or Blog?

Posted by: Brian Brady on February 4th, 2008

Welcome to world of online marketing. Everybody’s doing it! I recognized that Web 2.0 had legs when I watched a model leverage a Myspace profile into a TV show. I choose to wrangle the herd by blogging.

While I’ve had some success, it didn’t come easy. Many real estate agents and mortgage originators believe that blogging is the “little purple pill”, prescribed to cure all their marketing woes. Others subscribe to business models like HomeGain, in hopes that it has the “magic tonic”.

I believe that real estate agents should have marketing systems to generate enough interest to meet their annual business goals. I think you should use the Millionaire Real Estate Agent model. That model, perfected by Gary Keller, is, without reservation, the finest way to market a real estate practice to would-be buyers and sellers.

It’s simple. You’ll close one transaction for every twelve “mets” you have in your database. If you’re practicing the principle of “buying brain cells”, through systematic multi-media marketing, you can eliminate blogging and HomeGain as part of your marketing plan.

Let me show you how simple it is to make $200,000 in real estate brokerage:

• Average Price Point = $200,000
• Average Gross Commission Income (GCI) Per Transaction = $5,000 (assuming 2.5% commission)
• Commission Split = 70%
• $60,000 annual expenses
• $260,000/.7 = $371,000
• $371,000/$5,000 = 74.2 transactions

You’ll need 75 transactions to meet your annual income goal. You only need 12 times that number to guarantee your ultimate success. That means that you need 900 “mets” in your database. You see? It’s simple!

It’s simple but it ain’t easy.

How many of you have 900 “warm & fuzzies” in your database? Not too many hands up. Don’t worry, my hand isn’t raised, either. While you and I might approach this problem differently, we share a lot of the same frustrations.

Critics of lead generation models complain about the “quality” of those leads. Let me assure you that I have the same challenges. In 18 months, my social media marketing efforts have brought over 1500 inquiries. Those inquiries resulted in about 100 loans. Most were people fishing for free advice, shopping, or testing the waters.

Does that sound familiar?

So…let’s get back to my title. I think any real estate practitioner should aspire to entrepreneurship. The reward of entrepreneurship is independence. While I hate the idea of “buying a client”, I’m a pragmatist. You gotta pay your dues. Building your database to 900 “warm & fuzzy” names takes time.

If HomeGain can help you get to that number faster, you should absolutely have them as part of your marketing plan. Critics will suggest that blogging is free. I have over 500 articles written on ten different websites; I can assure you that my efforts weren’t free. Time is, after all, money.

So…what’s the answer to the big question? Should you Use HomeGain or Blog?

That’s what we’ll discuss here. I’m biased but I think I have something to offer you about marketing. I’ve been marketing consumer financial services since 1989 and been around the real estate industry since my mother helped Rick MacLeish buy a home, in Cherry Hill, NJ. I’m a student of marketing from the Russell Shaw, Dan Kennedy and Jay Levinson “old skools”.

This ain’t my first rodeo. I’m here to make the frog jump so I want your comments.

I don’t want you to agree with me; I want you to challenge me.

Web 2.0 is all about interaction. I expect to learn more from the comments than I offer in the articles. In the end, I want us both to cross the finish line, regardless of how we get there.



16 Comments on “Use HomeGain or Blog?”

Brian Block

HomeGain and blogging are both vehicles to get the Realtor or Lender to the same destination — more clients. One takes more money, the other more time, which as you point out and we all know equates to money. Each professional must make their own decisions about how to spend their time and money. Personally, a combination of both seems to work well for me.

Louis Cammarosano

Thanks Brian for your common sense response. Many bloggers have a visceral distaste for companies, like HomeGain, who will drive visitors to their web sites for a fee. These bloggers view such services as evil. Nothing could be further from the truth as HomeGain has its customers’ best interests in mind in creating and selling our products.
Next week I will be posting the case against blogging.

Brian Brady

“Personally, a combination of both seems to work well for me.”

Excellent point, Brian Block. Marketing requires a channel mix. Blogging is a medium to reach one channel while a lead gen model is another way.


I’ll let you in on a little secret; I don’t care how people get to my site- I just want them to get there. I can see a use for Google Adwords, too. (as long as the search phrase isn’t “Chippendale dancers”).

One of the reasons I’m excited about the HG blog is it will allow me to discuss ALL facets of online marketing while drawing from the experiences of those who know how to profitably use paid clicks.

“Next week I will be posting the case against blogging.”

Okay, cowboy, that ought to be fun. Now that I see fellow Bloodhound, Jay Thompson, here, I can tell you that you’ll have your work cut out for you in the comments section.

Congrats on the great find in Jay.

Jay Thompson

Imagine finding you here Brian… well said.

I think we’ve both seen indications that some feel blogging is the “purple pill”. And while it certainly can work, it is far from free. The time involved is not insignificant.

I’ll freely admit I know absolutely nothing about using PPC or “lead brokers”. Looking to learn more about that from the HomeGain crowd. And as you’ll read here in short order, learning is one of the main reasons I blog.

Louis said, “Next week I will be posting the case against blogging.”

That should be interesting. ;)

Brian Brady

“Personally, a combination of both seems to work well for me.”

I have no doubt about it, Brian. I’ll be interested to hear more as we bring up more marketing ideas.

Louis Cammarosano

Agreed why chose between paid and self generated leads?
Why not strike the balance that fits your budget and needs.
I’m still not a believer that agent blogging or SEO efforts can bring in enough business to sustain a living in most cases….

Mitch Ribak

I guess I’m missing something here. I have had a blog for a year or so. I have made hundreds of comments on other blogs. I have a need to produce a minimum of 1,000 actual leads in my system monthly for my Agents to be successful. The challenge of course is the best, most efficient manner of generating leads which will generate sales. So to blog or use Homegain. I can tell you from experience, and remember time is money, that I get a heck of a lot more leads from my Homegain efforts (actually no effort at all) which is completely predictable than writing in tons of blogs to hope a consumer coming to Florida is going to read that blog. Does that mean not to use blogging as a means of generating leads? Of course not. In fact, I have had many customers who have said they enjoy my blog on my site and read it regularly. I believe it’s probably more of a lead retention tool than a lead generating tool. Until someone shows me how blogs are going to generate my 1,000 plus leads per month, I’m putting my efforts and money into things that generate sales today.

With that said, I have seen and been contacted by a few different blogging companies lately to spend a good amount of money to set up and then a good amount of money for a monthly fee. I tell them the same thing every time they call me. Until they can tell me how my dollars are going to translate to sales, it isn’t worth spending my money. So far nobody has been able to do that. Don’t all these companies that want to sell tools and products to Realtors understand that if there is no bottom line, then there is no real use for the tool. So yes, using Homegain is going to generate sales for me today. Will the blogs that I have been involved with throughout the Internet have an impact on my Search Engine Ranking or on my lead flow? So far after a year or so, I haven’t seen it. If you know a better way, please let me know.

Brian Brady

Hi Mitch.

Blogging does translate to dollars. The numbers come after 3-6 months (if you’re writing about the right stuff). The leads tend to convert better than “bought” leads.

SEO results can be gained best by writing more frequently. An author can write keyword text in the post but must be careful to not sacrifice the context of the story for that sake.

You might read for some good tutorials about blogging and SEO results.

You have great questions, Mitch but I’ll need a few months to answer them all (in the blog posts). Pay close attention to Jay Thompson and a few of the new bloggers.

Brian Block’s idea of media mixes are important

Mitch Ribak


I do agree with you on “bought” leads. I tried a few of those services when I first was deciding which way to go on the Internet. They were a disaster and a total waste of time and money. One company charged $50 per verified lead (was supposed to be verified they were looking for a house) and they turned out to be real people with real email addresses and that’s about it. I’m not a big believer in buying leads as I am about buying traffic. By buying targeted traffic, it allows me to use my successful programs to weed out the bad leads and convert the good leads to sales.

When I first started my blog, I was right on top of it and writing almost daily. However, between having to come up with a new topic every day and finding the time to actually write it, I found it wasn’t going to do much for me. I did that for over 6 months with minimal results. As I said before, I’m sure my blog helped convert some of my leads, but I don’t think it generated many leads for me. In the end, all that matters is that they come to my site, find what they need, and use us to buy or sell their home.

I think the more important message, which I write about on here all the time, is that you must have a system in place to efficiently convert Internet leads to sales. I talk to people every week who just don’t have the patience and the knowledge of how to convert a lead to a sale.

Even if your blog creates a visitor to your site, you still have to convert them to a lead and then eventually to a sale. I’ll keep my eyes open as people start talking about using their Blogs to convert leads and sales. I still have yet to find one Agent that can tell me they had 5 never mind 25 sales in a year by writing a blog. Time will tell I guess.

Louis Cammarosano

Mitch you may find a few people that make money selling real estate by blogging – Jay Thompson probably is one. But I would bet that far more people make money selling blogging services than do blogging for real estate sales.

Also we know that there have been thousands of HomeGain customers who have made money through their use of HomeGain products, a number I would dare say is much larger than those that have made money blogging.

Brian will point to himself as proof that a blogger can make money blogging. Brian, however is exceptional and has a passion and talent for blogging and could probably make money fly fishing if he put his mind to it.
Could thousands do what Brian has done? I doubt it.

Brian Brady

“Even if your blog creates a visitor to your site, you still have to convert them to a lead and then eventually to a sale”

Therein lies the challenge. Mitch. We’ll be talking about conversion tools as we go. Currently, the MLS feed (eg- buttons) and RSS subscribe buttons are the only tools available.

I have a lending post next but I’ll talk about conversion later.

Gabriel Silverstein

The key, then, is to change some of the variables: increase the average home price (some of you can’t do that – you can’t sell a million dollar home in a town that doesn’t have one) OR figure out how to be more efficient in closing those that you do meet, either by better pre-screening, more effective sales techniques, or (as Gary Keller I think also endorses) by increasing the base on a pyramid of people that comprises your team, so you start to sit in that position that you mention, Brian – the “boss”.

Diane Cohn

I’ve found success blogging. For every 1200-1300 unique monthly visitors I get to my site, I tend to close one deal. My deals last year averaged $704,000 in a market where averages hover in the low threes. I closed about $13 million in 2007. I am currently in the top 2% of agents in my MLS, in a declining bubble market. Not sure if can repeat this in 2008, we’ll see. My blog tends to attract affluent, well educated buyers. I toyed with purchasing leads when I got started three years ago, but decided to go the blogging route instead. It has worked for me, but I can see that it’s not for everybody. In fact, at this point, I’m starting to generate enough leads that some are tragically falling through the cracks. Generating leads is one talent, and I do that well, but following through systematically requires a different skill set, especially when the volume of inquiries gets to be too much for one person to handle. This is where I struggle. So I am looking at someone in my office to take over the role of lead screener/massager for a small referral fee (a service Homegain already provides for its customers) and we’ll see how it works.

Louis Cammarosano

Diane I agree that once you get visitors to your site (whether through blogging, ppc or HomeGain)the next issue is how do you convert your visitors to buyers.
I am expecting some of our guest bloggers and HomeGain real estate agents to provide some posts in the coming days on how they do it.

Brian Brady

Diane, I missed your comment. I apologize.

You have an interesting metric 1100 uniques=1 closed transaction.

That’s worth exploring

Wayne Long

I apologize for being late in commenting on this post but I just found it and think it is an interesting subject with excellent comments.

I find that there are a lot of ways to draw clients with HomeGain being a very effective method.

Smart Realtors will use a combination of approaches to accomplish this IMO including natural search for their websites and blogs, companies like Homegain, sphere of influence contacts like MREA suggests, builder contacts, REO, and others.

It seems to me that a Real Estate agent has a better chance of keeping his funnel full thru all types of markets if he uses more than one shovel to fill te funnel. :)

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