Another shoe is going to drop today. Howard Hanna, one of America’s largest brokerages will announce their new listing syndication strategy. This is an important announcement because it brings forth a new chapter to the ongoing saga of finding an online advertising paradigm that balances the broker’s needs with the publisher’s needs, in the best possible way.
Howard Hanna has spend the past 15 – 18 months studying. They study their website. They study the website of similar size brokerages. They have studied publisher websites. They became experts.
Howard Hanna has been testing. Howard Hanna ran lots of experiments with syndication. Turning sites on. Turning sites off. Turning listing enhancement on, and off. They made note of the results.
Howard Hanna has modified the data feed in multiple ways too. They reduced and increased the number of photos in the feed. Make changes to the property description text to include agent contact information. They explored and they innovated.
Howard Hanna convened focus groups with consumers and agents. They listened. They gained a deep understanding of their customers’ attitudes, wants, and goals.
After all of these considerations, Howard Hanna developed an online strategy. One that supports their entire business – real estate, mortgage, title, and insurance. They met with leading publishers to share their vision for a cooperative relationship. A few publishers aggressively expressed a willingness to work with the broker, and are making some rather significant adjustments to their business to accomodate the thoughtful research performed by Howard Hanna. Those publishers will be the recipients of Howard Hanna listings and advertising, others will have their data feed turned off.
I doubt that Howard Hanna will publish a case study or a guide to managing syndication the Howard Hanna way. But other brokers and MLSs should watch what they are doing. Howard Hanna has well over 1 million visits a month to their broker website. It is not accidental. They average more than 12 page views per visit – also not accidental. The Howard Hanna strategy is not a strategy for the entire industry. It is a strategy for them. Pieces of it may work for you.
Howard Hanna has set targets for outcomes from their new syndication strategy. They have an expectation of positive impact to lead generation and traffic generation from their new partners. The launch is just the first step. The next steps of measuring, adjusting, augmenting and reporting will be the fun ones. Their strategy will continue to evolve, thoughtfully and practically.
Congratulations to Howard Hanna and their new partners. You are paving a bold new path for yourself and for others.
Disclosure: Howard Hanna is a WAV Group client, and a member of The Realty Alliance.
Partnership Announcement with Zillow.com from the HowardHanna.com website. See the Release Here.
February 13, 2012