HomeASAP, the leading provider of Internet marketing solutions for real estate professionals and company behind the Real Estate Agent Directory™ on Facebook, is unveiling Search Alliance™, a first-of-its-kind solution designed to help real estate agents and brokers provide a superior home search experience for consumers, regain market share from the national portals, and lower the cost of lead generation.
Search Alliance™ enables agents serving any market and aligned with any brand to work cooperatively for online lead generation. Agents are provided a full-featured IDX website at no charge to link to the Search Alliance™ network. Once linked, agents are able to aggregate and share consumer web traffic across the network while delivering a national home search experience to prospects and clients on par with the national portals.
Unlike the national portals where the consumer starts their home search by first going to the portal website, consumers using the Search Alliance™ network start their search on a participating agent’s website. As the network grows and expands, the agents, in effect, create their own national home search platform to compete with the portals at the local level for consumer traffic.
In addition to the extensive data-sets that are included with every Search Alliance™ agent website, agents are able to personalize their sites with local content, photos and commentary, further enhancing the consumer experience when compared to the big box, ad-based, user-experience of many portals.
“We believe Search Alliance™ can be a game-changer for small brokers, teams and individual agents.” said Mark Bloomfield, CEO of HomeASAP. “The online home search duopoly created by the national portals has created an information layer between the consumer and the real estate professional. Consumers rely on portal sites over broker and agent websites as their primary source of real estate information. The ability for the small agent to be relevant online when compared to giant portals is more difficult and costly than ever. We aim to change this. Search Alliance™ was created to help shift market share back to the agents by providing them a new and innovative platform to be competitive online and lower their lead generation costs.” said Bloomfield.
Bloomfield, an entrepreneur, technologist and pioneer in portable cellular and computer-based faxing technology with 18 patents to his name, says his company began offering Search Alliance™ in March to select agents and brokers by invitation to test and refine the concept. Since that time, the platform has expanded to over 10,000 agents using the service. With this announcement, the company plans to make the service available on a wider scale starting with the 465,000 members of its Real Estate Agent Directory service, with the goal of reaching 100,000 members participating in Search Alliance™ by the end of 2017.
Leading up to the soft launch of the networked service, HomeASAP surveyed over 5,000 agents and brokers to gauge their interest level in the new concept, willingness to participate, and inclination to help grow the network. The feedback was clear-cut, with 85% of respondents stating they were “interested” or “very interested”, 90% requesting an invitation to join, and 60% saying they would refer colleagues to help grow the network.
Search Alliance™ websites are provided to all participating members. Developed using leading-edge technologies, every website delivers a fast, modern and intuitive search experience that works seamlessly across mobile, tablet and desktop devices. Active, sold and off-market properties can be searched. In addition to extensive property details, photos, tax records and parcel data for each property, consumers have access to micro-local information about the neighborhood, demographics and area lifestyle. Consumers can search for homes by location, school district or neighborhood using either a map or list search.
Agents participating in Search Alliance™ are able to brand, promote, advertise and drive consumer traffic to their sites. There are no additional charges for these activities. Because each site is networked, agents are able to earn network credits for traffic they generate to their site that travels across the network from their site to another agent’s site in a different market area. Credits are used to lower the cost of lead traffic that can be purchased from the network. This reciprocal arrangement rewards agents who make their Search Alliance™ website an integral part of their online marketing.
Agents are able to increase their exposure on the Search Alliance™ network for search traffic within their local markets by purchasing network traffic. Similar to Facebook’s ad auction model for serving ads, agents use a bid-system designed to deliver web traffic from the network to their site. To bid, agents set a price they are willing to spend per site visitor.
Traffic is awarded based on the highest bid among competing bids in a market area. Market areas are set and managed by the agent and are based on the geographic area that best matches the agent’s farm area. The actual charge to the winning agent is the amount needed to win the auction over a competitor’s bid, which could be less than the amount the agent bid. Agents’ set their own prices and pay nothing if no bids are won. There is no charge to a winning agent unless the site visitor performs a task, such as conducting a search or viewing a property detail page, assuring the visitor is actively engaged on the site.
Agents manage a marketing budget to cover the cost of lead traffic they want to purchase from the network. They can pause, start or adjust their campaigns at any time to align with their marketing needs, and are not bound to long term contracts. Using Search Alliance™ for lead traffic, agents only pay for the network traffic they want, only when they receive it, and at no more than the price they set.
“This is a zero-risk concept for agents, and they have everything to gain,” said Bloomfield. “Agents can easily utilize Search Alliance™ alongside any current marketing efforts and don’t have to change a thing if they don’t want to. We think once they’ve tried it, however, they’ll quickly want to direct more focus to this marketing channel. Search Alliance™ gives agents the opportunity to level the playing field with the portals right now, through innovative technology, superior user experience, and the power of cooperative marketing.”
Agents interested in joining the Search Alliance™ can visit: https://joinsearchalliance.com/.