1. Congrats on the partnership with Buyside. Can you tell us a little bit about how that came to be?
We were introduced to Buyside by our website vendor, Tribus. They know we’re always keeping an eye on the horizon for innovative partnerships. We liked their approach to really making the most of the online AVMs. Realtors often have to combat the limited or sometimes inaccurate information that AVMs provide to sellers. Rather than avoiding it, Buyside tackles it head on. Instead of giving just a limited view of a home valuation, it provides more context, including market data/trends. This takes a single valuation, and turns it into a conversation and opportunity for education, which is helpful both for agents and their clients. They have the added benefit of some great additional tools on their back-end dashboard, including printed reports, social sharing, and buyer-seller matching tools, which makes it even more robust for us.
2. You use Tribus as your website vendor. What do you like most about their platform, and what can they still improve upon?
Before Tribus, we actually had a fully custom site built from scratch in Drupal. Although it gave us full control over any possible change we’d want to make, it also meant we had to take full control over every possible change we’d want to make. Switching to a platform that has greater built-in features right “off the shelf” as well as automatic feature updates, while still allowing us control and flexibility of the design and content, made things far more simplified for us. We ultimately selected Tribus because they offered greater design control (not cookie-cutter, preset selection of styles), speed of search, and the people on their team who seem genuinely committed to great service and support. The only area for further improvement would be on the CRM on the back-end and some tighter API integration, both of which are in the works. Again, that’s why we liked them too. They are always working on improvements and new features.
3. What marketing efforts worked for you in 2017? Any strategic initiatives you can share slated for 2018?
2017 was an incredibly busy year for us as far as expanding our tech stack and services. In addition to Buyside, we launched programs for client rating/reviews, amenity maps, an automated social media ad platform, livechat on our site, and more. The market place is intensely competitive, more so as some new players enter the scene, so staying on the leading edge is critical. However, it’s also important to be sensitive to potential “tech fatigue.” It’s easy to wear out ourselves and our agents with too much too fast. For 2018, our focus is far more around simplification: maximizing all the tools we’ve launched, fine tuning, tightening integrations, training, streamlining workflow, etc. We want to get the most out of what we have, while making the process as easy as possible.
Thanks for taking the time, Melody.