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Real estate agents are still using old-fashioned marketing techniques to reach customers

Seattle area companies such as Estately, Findwell, Redfin and Zillow are looking to upend the traditional real estate industry, using technology and new business models. But based on a new survey out this week from online real estate social network ActiveRain many of these newcomers still have a long way to go to transform the way people buy and sell homes.

Consider this: Of the 1,758 real estate agents surveyed, the preferred advertising method remains direct mail with more than 60 percent of respondents using the method to reach consumers.  (Not sure about you, but those marketing flyers that arrive on my doorstep each day typically make a quick exit to the recycling bin).

Even more interesting, real estate agents still are relying good-old-fashioned cold calls and knocking on doors over Internet advertising. (See chart above).

“Perhaps people still open the mail and hire their real estate agent based on the refrigerator magnet,” ActiveRain writes in the report. “More poor real estate agents report using direct mail than have an IDX site. In 2011 how is this possible? Either direct mail continues to be HIGHLY effective or we, as the real estate industry have been slow to change behavior. Hard to tell from the survey, but we at ActiveRain have our suspicions.”

Now, this could be a good news-bad news sort of survey for the likes of Trulia and Zillow as it shows just how much room there is available to expand their offerings and increase share as more agents utilize technology.

In fact, he study also took a close look at how “rich agents” — described as those who make more than $100,000 — and “poor agents” — those who earn under $35,000 — use technology in their businesses.

The report found a wide gulf in those two groups in things such as email newsletters and CRM/lead management systems. And the results of the survey showed that Trulia has a slight edge over Zillow when it comes to online marketing usage, though Craigslist remains the number one site for real estate agents.


Meanwhile, here’s an infographic that ActiveRain put together highlighting some of the results.

Data provided by ActiveRain.com. Join 215,590 Real Estate Agents on the world’s largest Real Estate Social Network.

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