Q&A with HomeActions CEO Barry Friedman
What is your elevator pitch for HomeActions?
HomeActions is a cloud-based platform designed to help agents communicate more effectively with their sphere of influence: their clients, prospects and referral sources.
We try to get agents connected to a potential customer as early into the buying cycle as possible, before the customer has decided to buy or sell. And we do that primarily through content marketing.
We provide the content in the newsletters, and we’ve developed unique systems to tell when a client or prospect has put their toe in the water, meaning they are ready for a real estate transaction.
We’ve found that content comes in different forms. There is just information, just designed to provide information, not to elicit a response. Then there is trigger content. We
start all trigger articles out with “is this your situation?”. If this is not their situation, they are probably not going to read it. No matter what we say afterward, if someone clicks on that article in my mind it is a warm lead — someone you would want to go in your pipeline.
Another key type of content we use in our newsletters is an interactive article. There is special technology associated with it. What this is about is how do you build your pipeline so that eventually people come out of your pipeline and become clients?
I started a previous company called BizActions which was sold to Thomson Reuters in 2012. From 2012 I really got into HomeActions wanting to build it up. We think we are the largest in the real estate space delivering about 3.5 million newsletters every two weeks on behalf of our 5,000 Realtor clients. We help those clients put together their database. We learned you can’t have content marketing without a database. We de-dupe it and cleanse it to make sure the email addresses are as clean as possible.
How is HomeActions utilizing ATTOM’s Neighborhood Data?
Our interactive articles are what uses ATTOM data. It’s basically a know-your-neighborhood type of article. Or if you are looking for real estate, check out the neighborhood first. When they click that article, we provide some content about why this information is important. Then we ask for their name and phone number.
We ask “why are you interested in this content?”. You wouldn’t think people would answer that but they do. These are purpose questions, and there are six purpose questions. They check off the ones that apply. When they hit submit, we then go to ATTOM’s servers and grab that property and we deliver a URL to them that gives them all the property and neighborhood information.
We’ve kept certain things in and kept certain things out. We don’t include crime statistics. We used to include AVM (Automated Valuation Model) in there but we took that out and we made AVM a separate article. Some Realtors like the AVM component because if someone is looking for the value of a property that is a heck of lead.
We then deliver that neighborhood data to the client. And they are always happy about. They often check it for several properties. Then we send it over to the Realtor with the reason why they are looking for the information. Mr. Smith is looking to buy a house. That’s a heck of a warm lead.
How is the real estate marketplace responding to HomeActions products/services?
Realtors are happy with having that type of local information. I would say that it has gone over well with the Realtors.
We kept on getting more and more interest in this information … and how we managed the information. We figured out a way to take your data and make it work in a lead generation environment.
We just came out with a new feature where you can add advertisements to your newsletter and there is a shared revenue component so you can share the revenue from that. We do all the work. We are sending out about 7 million newsletters every month. Let’s build the template of our newsletter in such a way where we can embed unobtrusive advertising, share the money with the Realtor, and that way we can make money off all these contacts. We already have 100-plus Realtors signed up.
Why did HomeActions decide to use neighborhood data from ATTOM?
There were a few companies that had the data so it wasn’t like ATTOM was the only one. But I like the way they presented the data, and there was some flexibility so I could add some things and subtract some things. And the people were nice.
I didn’t know if I could afford this. I didn’t know if people would like it or not. So we were able to start out with flexible pricing. That worked out really well for me because I could gauge whether my clients were interested or not, and we kept on getting more and more penetration. Then we decided to integrate into our overall product. And that’s when I went back to negotiate a fixed-price contract. And that is working out well.