Zip+4 Targeting: Online Advertiser Demographic Segmentation

Assume you’re a brokerage firm with a wide distribution of properties over several zip codes. Aside from basic syndication to online aggregators, what’s another strategy to market your listings? One fee-based option that many aggregators offer is enhanced listings. Before you pay, however, ask them to prove their merit.

Assume you cover these two zip codes 28226 and 28104. According to Claritas, homes in these zip codes have very different consumer attributes (you’ll have to enter the zip codes yourself to get the results).

Armed with the demographic information, you should ask your online aggregator to give you a demographic break-down, at the zip+4 level, of it’s user audience on the search patterns and niche pages/sections of its site. For example, assume a consumer is searching an aggregator’s site in your coverage area (indicated by the consumer entering city name or 5-digit zip code as search criteria). Based on these entries, relevant properties are returned to the consumer. It’s at this moment aggregators give you an opportunity to have an enhanced listing display to this consumer.

Now it’s your turn to push back: ask for the historical demographic breakdown of the users who entered those search criteria: does the demographic base skew towards segment A (assume A is more likely to own an inexpensive American made car and have a household income below $50,000) or segment B (assume B is more likely to own an expensive foreign made car and belong to a country club)? Once you know, you will know which listings to enhance, while including appropriate imagery and content triggers that appeal to the lifestyle attributes of your targeted demographic segment.

For example, if the base skews towards segment B, perhaps you choose to only enhance listings that are 1) above $750,000, 2) close to a country club, and 3) have ample space for a boat.

Thus, you’re consolidating your advertising resources by focusing on high-gain marketing activities that give you a higher chance of getting a high quality click/lead. It’s a win for the advertiser too because they’re serving you better by giving you the opportunity to gain a high value click/lead (thus promoting retention of their services), while legitimately asking for a higher CPM or CPC for such.

Wikia Search versus Google Search: Round 2

After a couple of months, I decided to give Wikia another test. The theme this time is “golf course homes”:

“golf course homes for sale columbus ohio” Google Wikia Winner is Google because it lists relevant, real estate oriented blogs with posts focusing on the specific search query.

“golf course homes sanibel florida” Google Wikia Winner is Wikia because there were more real estate firm sites returned than on Google.

“villas for sale on golf courses valencia spain” Google Wikia Winner is Google because Wikia’s results did not center exclusively on property for sale, while Google’s results did.

“finger lakes ny real estate for sale on golf course” Google Wikia Winner is Google because many search results returned focused exclusively on Finger Lakes real estate firms, whereas Wikia’s results were limited to six results with the first talking about the Sopranos.

Zip+4 Coding for Real Estate Listings

What does The Filter have to do with real estate search? (NOTE: I went through the The Filter Q&A and have to say it was eerily prescient).

What if there was a site where a consumer would 1) define the location where they want to live (via natural language, drop down, or map search), 2) answer a simple set of “lifestyle-oriented” questions, the answers to which would bump up against Claritas’ Prizm database and 3) where a real estate broker would have performed a similar zip+4 coding of their listings? When the consumer presses the “Go” button, the answers to the lifestyle questions would peg a PRIZM code to them (via session cookie or registration ID) that would relate to the same PRIZM code tagged to the properties and deliver only those matched properties to the consumer.

The benefit to the consumer is they’ve cut through gobs of listings that may not fit their lifestyle and found the ones that do. The benefit to the broker is they’ve delivered a high value service to the client. If the broker then had live chat, IM, or showing appointment booking features on each listing, there’s a higher chance of getting a conversation started and higher quality inquiry on the listing.
Right result, right time, right for the consumer.

Expanding real estate sphere of influence online

This post on Transparent Real Estate offers a concise, easy-to-follow, tutorial on how to use Twitter and Friendfeed for real estate business development purposes. And this Owyang post further explores these concepts.

Taking Kitano’s and Owyang’s lead, your micro-memes would update your existing, new client, and prospective clients with your market knowledge, your insight, your new listings, etc. A network meme is useful because you can discern what’s important to your clients based on what they’re reading, posting, etc; it’s like taking a pulse, you may not know what makes a body tick or is ailing it, but the pulse helps you decide whether to further explore an issue. You can use macro memes to your advantage by looking at industry trends, topics, etc, and use such as fodder for your micro memes.

For example, let’s say you came across this article on FOX, you could write a micro meme to your network something like this

Just read FOXNews article http://tinyurl.com/5c5pe7 about home auctions & foreclosures & how they affect home prices. See analysis on [link to your blog]

What this does is reinforce to your network that you’re the expert. Second, it demonstrates leadership in that you are keeping them apprised of the market in terms of options. Third, you’re keeping yourself at the center of the equation showing no fear. Fourth, this reinforces that you’re a trusted advisor. Your blog is where you can demonstrate your market prowess.