#229 Mail-Right Show Part 3 10 Companies Making The Best Real Estate Websites in 2020
10 Companies Making The Best Real Estate Websites in 2020
Each year in August (End of summer) I review and publish a list of companies making the best real estate websites on the planet. From August of 2018 through December of 2019 there has been a single change in my list of recommended companies. Luxury presence joins the list of the top 10 replacing Resi. There have been many changes in price and service options from the companies that remain in the top 10. Here is a brief list of the companies that had the greatest changes in price, service or company structure. Jump down to the company reviews to find out the full details of any changes.
Easy Agent Pro
Real Estate Webmasters
Jonathon: Welcome back folks to the Mail-Right show. This is episode 229; it’s going to be our final episode of a series. We’ve had three episodes about an article that my great co-host Robert Newman has written recently about the 10 companies making the best real estate websites in 2020 and we’ve had a bit of a journey here, Robert. But firstly, I need to introduce you to my co-host Robert Newman, to you our new listeners and viewers. Robert, what do you like to introduce yourself?
Robert: I’d love to, we are literally to the point we can say there are thousands of you who are closing in on that every month listening to this show. First of all, John and I really appreciate it. We’re going to ask you for a small favor. Whenever you’re listening to this on whether it’s a podcast or a video, go ahead and like the video or can you like podcast John, is that possible?
Jonathon: I think it is, my table is going up and down. Is that a [inaudible [01:14] listeners and viewers, yes you can, I think so.
Robert: Okay. So, please like these podcasts, share them with your coworkers in your real estate office or with your own little family team. We would greatly appreciate it. John works very hard on these shows and we would love to help as many people as possible. So having said all that, yes, my name is Robert Newman. I’m the founder of Inbound REM on the very long-term veteran of the real estate marketing game. And I have a lot of great information on my website, inboundrem.com that reflect like some of which is the same as what we’re going to share with you today. Ten companies making the best real estate websites in 2020
Jonathon: Yes, and listen to the previous two parts in this mini-series. And listen, some of our old episodes in 2019, it really will make you a much better agent and I think it will make a difference to your 2020 as well. So Robert, in the previous two episodes of our little mini-series we’ve discussed luxury websites, branding websites that aimed at that part of the market, the different options you got to be aware of some of the key players; some of the minor players. But, we’re going to wrap it up in this final episode talking about the real lead generation kind of websites that provide a website but provide a mechanism to get traffic to them to turn that traffic into real leads. Is that correct Robert?
Robert: Yeah. I’m going to add some information, but essentially, absolutely. So real estate lead generation sites, what defines them? That’s got to be the question I get literally more often than any other question I’ve ever fielded on the phone for 13 straight years, is what defines a real estate lead-generation site versus these other sites? Well, number one, it’s a website that has primarily focused on collecting a name, a number and an email address from the end-user, from the person visiting the site. Most websites do that by having very natural appearing prompts or registration gateways in like that are intertwined with their search on their website. So sometime when you’re searching, you get told that you have to register. A lot of companies have gone so far as to create their own IDX, their own search feed so that they have the smoothest transition into registration as possible.
The best example in the entire group of real estate lead generation companies is absolutely, positively BoomTown, no doubt about it. They have the smoothest looking IDX with a number of really cool features. Like you can add a heart and you can do other little cool things and every time you do, then you get prompted to create an account, which in turn is a registration for the website owner or lead, for lack of any other better, better question, so real estate leads generation sites. I have a really important definition for our audience, John, super important, but before I do it, I’m going to list the companies off. I’m going to give you a little bit of a teaser and then I’m going to share this very important piece of information with you that you will want to stay tuned for. So the important, I know, I know. It’s terrible, cliffhanger, I’m terrible.
All right, so here are the companies, who are the real estate lead generation companies according to Robert. All right, so we got to start off this list with Real Estate Webmasters and BoomTown. Both of these companies historically have done very well at real estate lead generation. They still do very well at real estate lead generation. They’ve both spent a lot more money on their platforms and a lot more development time than everybody else on the list, which means that they tend to have more robust websites and solutions. That’s not always true.
Jonathon: I’m surprised in a way that you’ve linked those two at the start of this conversation so, directly because I was thinking you were going to link BoomTown in some ways with Real Reeks. Because I see Real Estate Webmasters as like your own company, they use SEO and content marketing to drive traffic to the website where BoomTown and Real Geeks utilize paid traffic, paid advertisement. So I see Real Estate Webmasters has been a very different animal to BoomTown.
Robert: That’s very, very true. Besides the company that I founded, Inbound REM, Real Estate Webmasters is the only company that even has the knowledge and the ability to drive traffic to their websites using SEO. They also get conversion off using direct marketing, which makes them only one of two companies on the real estate lead generators list that actually has two methods of driving traffic and thus getting leads; it’s us inbound REM and Real Estate Webmasters. And the reason that I mentioned Real Estate Webmasters right out of the gate is that they’re the Swiss army knife of real estate lead generation sites. They have a little bit of everything. They’ve got a built-in CRM. They’ve gone away from it in their latest version, which is why I was giving that disclaimer; they’ve got this new version of Real Estate Webmaster back-ends. They’re rebuilding the best back-end in the business and they haven’t gotten to the place yet where it’s nearly as good as the old back-end, which means that some of the stuff that you were used to getting with a Real Estate Webmasters site you’re not getting right now.
Jonathon: So how do they get traffic apart for you through the site having the mechanics are really excellent SEO, do they like your own company used content marketing or do they use paid traffic mechanisms in a blend scenario, Robert?
Robert: In my experience, they tend to use a combination of the two. The fascinating part about Real Estate Webmaster’s sites, at least historically, again, some of their new products do not work this well, but their old products did. And here’s the crazy thing, John. A lot of people were simply told how to build pages and Real Estate Webmasters had created such a good page builder, such a useful website that their sites would actually rank with the client building the pages. So you would, as a customer, you build your pages on a Real Estate Webmasters site and then you would have a reasonably good chance of ranking for SEO even if you didn’t know what the hell you were doing because their websites were just that good in terms of engagement. But once again, for all those listening, that is not necessarily the case anymore. The people building the most robust, complete engagement site at the moment are the people that were following in the footsteps of Real Estate Webmasters, which is Sierra Interactive.
Jonathon: And we’ve got to also point out that the two that you’ve initially come out the gate with, are two of the most expensive probably on this list. You know, as you stated Real Estate Webmasters, I think it starts around the 20 and quickly goes up. So that would only be attractive to a small percentage of the real estate agent market. With BoomTown, I think I’m correct in saying that you really got to have a budget between three to five thousand a month to really get the value out of an excellent platform. But you got to be aware; you’ve got to have that kind of budget. So really apart from the top [inaudible [10:23] of the individual agent, we’re looking at Oliver’s small brokerages, boutique brokerages or powered teams to utilize BoomTown. Would you agree with that?
Robert: I would say that there’s a smaller denim because BoomTown has thrown us all the curveball and they’ve launched a product specifically for the single agents. Okay, that’s new. They’ve just, I don’t know exactly when they did it, but I know that I’ve only started hearing about it in the last six months and that it’s 1250. It’s a little less than what they would normally, but that’s just to license the technology. Overall what you’re saying, John is 100% correct. I don’t recollect what the numbers were that you just said, so I’m just going to say what I think.
Jonathon: And I really do this, so hopefully you won’t get too annoyed. With Mail-Right, we provide a website, a WordPress website, a personal or IDX website. And then we both provide a Facebook marketing campaign to get traffic, which we convert. And we’re looking at a price of around $500, which is a direct competitor to, let’s say one that’s not on the list because it doesn’t provide a website which is Bold Leads. So Mail-Right is a hybrid where we provide a website plus the functionality and increased to what Bold Leads or Real Geeks provide. But, get back not sending my own praises here, but I just wanted to point that out to you listeners and viewers of what the value Mail-Right is providing. The two that you’ve just selected are fantastic pliers but they, apart from this level, which BoomTown recently have introduced, which is still around the 12 to 1500 mark, that’s still quite a lot of money for the individual agent, unless they are one of the more top players I feel. I feel one of the next really interesting player in this and I really want to see what you say about them is Real Geeks. So can we talk about what kind of price level are we talking around Real Geeks and what your real thoughts of them are?
Robert: We can, but there’s a whole bunch of stuff we have to [inaudible [13:03].
Jonathon: Go on.
Robert: Okay. So, first and foremost the pricing there needs to be, there needs to be a slightly better conversation about pricing with BoomTown and Real Estate Webmasters for the show to be valuable. There’s a lot of pricing tiers like Real Estate Webmasters is a 20-year-old company that has a lot of different products that they’ve launched over the course of that 20 years. At one point they even gave websites away. As far as I know, they don’t do that anymore. These days, a Real Estate Webmasters website is probably going to cost with no customization, no anything, your basic site, a luxury site is going to be between three and 7,000 with a service contract attached to the back of it, that is a minimum of $20,000. So you’re looking at a decision on the low-end.
Jonathon: So you’re looking at a one-year investment of around 27,000?
Robert: I apologize, but no, that’s not correct. So, Real Estate Webmasters does a three-year minimum contract and they are lions about it. Please do not; guys like me, guys like you probably say, “Hey, if you’re not happy go”, that is not what Real Estate Webmasters does; they will pursue you in court. They will take whatever action needed regardless of circumstances. I’ve had countless cases of clients coming back to me and telling me how aggressively Real Estate Webmasters pursued them when they didn’t pay their monthly correct. So let’s just get this detailed correct for all those people that might be looking at them. Its three years, $500 a month on the service side. That’s the minimum commitment. It’s $250 an hour for any service that the website needs, and you have to buy that service in a minimum of 10-hour blocks and you have to pay for it upfront.
There is no payment plan, so you get to pay. If you want something done to your site, like customized, they sell you that time, you don’t know really how long something’s going to take and then they sell it to you for 10 hours a piece. So it’s $2,500 just to get anything done to your website. So it is at least a $30,000 three year commitment on the Real Estate Webmasters site. On the BoonTown site, which you also covered, there is a setup and there’s a monthly, I don’t know what the setup is for the single agent. I do know what the old pricing was for the teams and it’s a minimum, minimum setup of 1500 plus 1500. So a BoomTown decision just to get started is usually three grand or better. And my guess would be, it would probably be better to budget out at about five grand and say that your monthly is going to be somewhere between three and 5,000 on the BoomTown small team side.
At the individual agent side, I would have to guess that maybe the numbers would be three grand and 2,500 per month because the licensing fee alone is 1250. You’re not getting marketing for that. You and I both sell plans that have marketing as the monthly, very few other providers do. All the providers on my list don’t, they just say you get it, you pay me $1,000 a month and you get access to the website that I’m giving you because it’s that good. And the only case in the entire real estate industry where it really is that good is either SYNC or BoomTown. There really is nobody else that could actually, like how people justify that kind of like price website.
Jonathon: I got a question about SYNC, but we’re going to go for our break folks, and when we come back, I’ve got my quick question and we go forth, we’ll be back in a few moments’ folks.
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Jonathon: We’re coming back. Hopefully, we’re not confusing our listeners and viewers too much. If we are, please send me a message through Facebook or you can email me directly at email@example.com. SYNC, you–
Jonathon: I’m having a bit of struggle.
Jonathon: You haven’t placed them on your list at all. I just want to quickly understand why you decided not to have them on this list?
Robert: Well, we covered this in one of our three lead-up back episodes, but I’ll recover it again for this third one.
Jonathon: I apologize.
Robert: There are a lot of companies in the real estate lead generation category and that is a good question to recover. So why Lopo, SYNC, Bold Leads, these are all real estate–
Jonathon: I understand Bold Leads because they don’t provide a website, like some of the other people, don’t provide a website, but they do, and that’s why I was wondering why you didn’t put them on the list.
Robert: Because in my opinion, these websites; number one, they have thousands that look exactly identical, so does BoomTown for that matter. And the thing about BoomTown that makes them different, so like SYNC and all these guys build this, let’s call it 10 pages, and they call it a website, but they don’t use WordPress; BoomTown uses WordPress. So technically speaking, you get a very robust content management tool with your website. Another thing that BoomTown does that nobody else does, is they teach you how to use your website, which SYNC does at a very basic level. And most other companies don’t do it all, which makes BoomTown–
Jonathon: For once, I don’t agree with you there because I have a friend who’s an agent that went with their system.
Jonathon: The actual training was very in-depth. You had to pay for it and that’s why they charge. But I did provide a lot of webinars; internet webinar-based over a period of 10 to 12 weeks, and it was very involved. So I slightly disagree with you there, Robert.
Robert: Yeah, but do me a favor, when you get a chance, and I’m deadly serious about this. When you get a chance, talk to your friend and ask them, did you get CRM training, funnel training or did you get–
Jonathon: It was just about using their system.
Robert: Yeah, so that’s not what I’m talking about. That’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about how do you use your website to publish content to make yourself have a bigger, better customized–
Jonathon: It was just used utilizing their system.
Robert: Right. So I’m actually talking about something different. I agree with you, they have very good training for their system, which is most of what the functionality of their websites does, which is another reason why I’m not listing them on the website provider. Because when you start saying, can you customize the website, do they focus their training on anything related to the website? The answer to all these questions, as far as I know, is no they don’t. They are focused on, we’ve got a funnel system, we can send emails and text messages, and then you can look at all your leads, and your team can look at all your leads. And these are all great things, but guess what? None of them relate to the website. The website is different and so SYNC pays no attention to that whatsoever. They give you a very fancy landing page and then a very robust system, which is the exact same thing that Lopo does. They’re not website providers; they are lead generation providers that have a slightly fancier landing page than Bold Leads does, in my opinion.
That’s why I don’t list them on the list of website providers because to me they’re not, I mean, yes, technically speaking they give you a website, but it’s like saying that technically speaking, GoDaddy gives you a landing page when in 10 seconds when you buy a domain, you can get like a website, but it’s not a website. It’s like the same page that everybody else has, that ever go bought a GoDaddy domain for $11. Period, it’s not a website. So anyway, that’s just probably–
Jonathon: I think that’s worthwhile to clarify. So do you want to go or share with us now and discuss Real Geeks?
Robert: Okay, so one thing everybody, I promised you a nugget a long time ago.
Jonathon: Oh yes, your nugget.
Robert: I’m going to give you the nugget; everybody ready? Here’s the nugget. So all of these real estate lead generation solutions are not created equal. They do generate real estate leads, but things like conversion rate and lead quality are the next questions that you as a consumer should be asking. Because it’s not a matter of does Bold Leads create leads? Yes, they do. They create very low quality leads that the conversion rate is going to be about one out of every 50. And then some of these providers create slightly stronger leads such as Real Estate Webmasters and BoomTown, both create a higher quality lead when the system generates it, which is why they are at the top of my list. Because believe it or not, you’re talking to a marketer that’s had the chance to look at leads that all these systems generate and I’m sharing my experience, which is limited. But, I probably have more experience than most of the people listening to this show.
In other words, I haven’t had a chance to check out one of these systems in every single market that they exist in, but I have had a chance to check out some systems in some markets, which is probably more than you’ve had a chance to check out. And that’s why you’re listening to the show, in theory, is you’re saying, “Okay, this guy probably seen something I haven’t seen, what is that?” And here it is, these guys do not generate the same kind of quality lead. So right beneath that is another provider called Real Geeks. Real Geeks has the advantage over these other systems of being much, much, much less expensive in every category. The website setup is $700, the monthly is $239, it has a reasonably good back-end, it has a very limited content management system, but it does have one, which means to me that Real Geeks qualifies in this category of building websites because they’re trying to give you a website solution.
And then the method as John has asked me, the only thing about Real Geeks is that while there are few examples of people that have done an okay job with SEO since the website is limited on what type of content it can produce and display correctly on the site. That means that the SEO value, the inbound marketing value of this site is limited as well, which means that they’re not really in the same category as like Real Estate Webmasters or Inbound REM or maybe even Mail-Right because I think Mail-Right is using WordPress.
Jonathon: Yes, we use WordPress.
Robert: Okay. So they’re not in the same category or Easy Agent Pro because Easy Agent Pro also uses WordPress.
Jonathon: And to see my price is a little bit more as I said previously during this mini-series. If you get fed up with Mail-Right, for $499, we migrate your whole WordPress website to any host you want, and off you can go on your own without Mail-Right which is something not offered by the majority of these players, is it not Robert?
Robert: Yeah, but with that price difference, comes lead quality issues, okay, and there is nobody, not John, not me, not anybody that has figured out some of the solutions that we’re going to talk about. We have things that we can do to improve situations, but for the most part, all guys, all companies using direct marketing, which direct marketing is you’re advertising on Facebook or Google for the most part when you’re talking about real estate. So direct marketing is you have to have a very powerful website experience in order to take a paid piece of traffic and turn that into a very good lead. And who is giving you the kind of depth, and like really incredible user experience? There really aren’t very many people, so what you’re doing is you’re going to get, yes, you’ll get leads and you’ll get registrations and two of the best response rate registration sites that you can buy are Real Geeks Sierra Interactive actually, I just had a chance to do some Sierra Interactive case studies, and they’re doing a very, very, very good job too.
BoomTown is at the top of the list, mind you, and I’ve never done a case study on Real Estate Webmasters, so I don’t know how they stack up, but based on what I’ve seen over the years, I would think that they stack up very well against everybody else. But what I know for sure is that BoomTown is at the top of the list and here’s what conversion rate is. If you take a hundred people to the site or a thousand, how many people register with the site? And the answer in most cases, a good response rate, right now in today’s market in 2020 John is 1%. It used to be much higher and actually many of these providers are not even going to get that.
They’re going to get a half a percent to a quarter of a percent out of maximum because we are in a 12-year bull-run market. And the longer we stay there and the more of your competitors that buy all the real estate website systems that we’re talking about and use direct marketing, that means the field is filling up. And as the field fills up and the end-users; the consumers, look at one experience after another that all look similar to them, that means that your lead registration quality drops because after the third time of being forced to register, these guys start to pop in–
Jonathon: Well, I think we’re touching the crux of this, aren’t we? And I think we can disagree maybe a little bit here. The problem is that the Mail-Right, I did it, especially the Mail-Right website that we provide that has IDX integration; it looks very similar to Zillow. The non-IDX website we provide, we focus it on personal branding because it doesn’t have the IDX integration as part of the package. Most of these websites from this list apart from the more customized offering, don’t you think that they all look really the same and they’re really competing with Zillow; with some of the other websites out there, and I see that as a bit of a problem.
Robert: Yes. Because once again, with nothing unique being offered across the board, the chances of a consumer going into their own marketplace and starting to click on ads at the top of a search result as they’re trying to use an MLS, that’s what most people that turn into real estate leads. So 80/20 is what the rule is for real estate lead generation to start with. So 80% of leads you’re going to get are going to be buyer leads versus seller leads, and you’d have to build a completely different type of website experience to get seller leads, of which there are very few examples in the 2 million real estate agents that are out there, but just trust me, it can be done. And one of the things that you’re going to find is that when you’re going and you’re doing your searches, you’re trying to find these consumers that are doing these buyer searches; you’re right, they’re going to be clicking on ads and these ads are going to present an almost identical real estate website presentation each and every single time.
They don’t even necessarily know that they’re on different websites. Yes, they understand that they’re looking at a different real estate agent, but everything else is so similar that they’re like, are you guys even using different companies, like, like in terms of whatever it is that you’re buying? So that’s why all these companies focus on the back-end. When you start talking to real estate marketing companies, they’re like, “Oh look at our back-end tools, blah, blah, blah, blah” because you have to send a hundred email messages and a strong follow-up in order to create value inside the lead generation process. And there’s nothing wrong with any of this, John, I felt like you got a little bit defensive, and I’m not knocking it. I feel like I’m just talking about a statistical fact inside.
Jonathon: Oh no, I wasn’t actually, I’m sorry you got that impression because I think you’re totally correct, actually. I just think I understand the total confusion that’s caused in the mind of the real estate agent in this market and the way things are. I understand why this has happened and how it has happened. And I’m not attacking anybody because I just understand, I feel like yourself; I totally understand how this has all happened, but it’s ended up causing a lot of confusion, hasn’t it?
Robert: Yes, without question. So we need to keep on this for just a moment because I think this is the last episode that we’re going to do. So there is real estate lead generation; the best numbers that you’re going to get is if you do a combo inbound direct response site. Inbound REM does one of those right now, and I’m not saying this is definitively in every single market. But, right now in the case studies I’ve done, we’re stacking up against in terms of response rate, every single other site out there. And you as guys who are looking at websites should be asking these following questions. What’s the quality of leads? Do you have even a clue about if I generate a hundred leads using your system, how many of those might close into a real estate transaction?
And the numbers for a high-quality inbound marketing site are like one in ten one in 15. And the numbers right now for a like a Bold Leads; it’s one in 30, one in 40, one in 50, like it just depends on the market, how Metro it is and how many competitors you have, but literally the numbers are that high. You’re going to have to try to talk to 30 or 40 people before you get a single sale. And then last but not least, what is the cost of lead generation? How much does it cost to generate a lead? And there are many, many, many guys out there who are real estate brokers and we’ve interviewed some of them, John, and they’ve mentioned numbers lower than this. But right now, a lead generation number for my case studies is hovering between five and $7 a lead. So that’s–
Jonathon: And I always talk much lower and I listen, and I accept what they’re saying, but I had to word this in a diplomatic way. I have to; it just doesn’t stick with my knowledge of the market at the present moment,
Robert: Right. Because right now a lot of these systems like Bold Leads, they’ll get you a lead generation cost that’s lower. But when I say I’ve got my sites generating between five and $7 a lead, you have to remember there’s the last and final number that you need to look at when you’re talking about real estate lead generation. Okay, so now you have, what’s the cost of generating lead? Some of these systems, like Bold leads can probably get you down to a dollar or two and you get a name–
Jonathon: Depending on the market.
Robert: Yeah, you get a name. But here’s the thing, how many of those names do you have to chase to try and get a transaction? Because, if the number is 50, and you’ve paid $2 a name, and now you get on the phone with a single person, it just depends on, yes, maybe your total acquisition cost is low. But, you spent 30 hours generating that sale, whereas, another system might be slightly higher. It might be like let’s just say instead of $200 its $300 but you spent five hours generating the lead.
Jonathon: We’re going to have to wrap up the podcast part of the show but we are hopefully Robert can. I think we need to continue and add a bit of extra bonus content which you’d be able to see on the Mail-Right website and also on the Inbound website as well. Are you okay with that Robert, that we continue the discussion a bit more?
Jonathon: But we’re going to wrap up the podcast as part of the show because we like to keep it to around 30 to 35 minutes. So Robert, how can people find out more about you and what you’re up to?
Robert: Okay. They can go to inboundrem.com. By the way, guys, since we are literally doing an entire show around one of the most popular pieces of content on my site, which is I do a review every year of who’s making the top 10 companies along with 10 honorable mentions of who is making the best real estate websites, in my opinion, each year. So for 2020, there’s a list of all these companies up on the website. You should go check it out.
Jonathon: That’s great. And if you want a free one-page marketing plan connected with a free consultation with me, go to the Mail-Right website and book. You can book a time and a place that suits you. And then we have a discussion on zoom and I’ll knock out a one-page marketing plan for you for 2020 around your online marketing and I think that’s a great deal. So I go over to the Mail-Right website and book your free consultation, and we’ll be back next week with a guest. I think we got a guest for next week, listeners and viewers. We’ll see you soon, bye.