This article is part of a larger series on Real Estate Lead Generation and Marketing.
Zillow is the largest real estate listing platform on the web, with more than 36 million monthly visitors. With Zillow advertising, agents can leverage this exposure to capture high-quality leads. Learn how to capture those leads by signing up for a Zillow Premier Agent (ZPA) account and use the advertising feature wisely.
What Is Zillow & How Does It Work?
Zillow connects to multiple listing services (MLSs) all over the country, making it easy for agents to claim their listings and build out an agent profile. They can then sign up for extra exposure by having their profile exclusively featured on their own listings so buyers can contact them.
To make the most of warm leads on Zillow, first sign up for a free Zillow Premier Agent account.
With the free account, you can:
- Create a robust profile page
- Claim your listings
- Use the Zillow customer relationship manager (CRM)
If you want to use the platform for more proactive lead generation, you can sign up for Zillow advertising as part of their Premier Agent service. This will give you exclusive exposure as the sole agent on your own listings and appear on non-ZPA listings in your farm area, or territory. You’ll set your budget as part of this process, which will help determine how many leads you get.
Once you have signed up for advertising, leads can contact you directly from property pages via a simple contact form. Depending on location and competition, you will likely pay $20 to $60 for each lead secured. Zillow verifies each lead before sending them to you, so ZPA leads are generally highly motivated and give you an opportunity to greatly increase sales.
How Much Does It Cost to Advertise on Zillow?
The exact price of Zillow leads is based on the average home cost in your ZIP code, area competition, and your budget. These three things are referred to as “share of voice” (SOV) by Zillow. However, you can claim a listing for free as a Zillow Premier Agent.
How to Successfully Advertise a Listing on Zillow in 10 Steps
According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), 90% of homebuyers use the internet to house hunt. That makes it essential to establish yourself on Zillow since it’s the most widely used listing platform. Agents can advertise on Zillow by signing up, filling out listing details or claiming listings, and then advertise for exclusive exposure on their own listings. To maximize these efforts, it’s important to add great photos, videos, and tours to each listing page.
Here are the 10 steps for how to advertise on Zillow and maximize your return on investment (ROI):
1. Sign Up for Zillow Premier Agent & Advertising
First, sign up for a Zillow Premier Agent (ZPA) account by visiting the Zillow agent homepage and clicking on “Join” in the upper right-hand corner. Enter all of your personal and contact information to create your free profile.
This will give you access to a free website, CRM, the 3D Home Tour app, and a dashboard for tracking advertising results. Once this is set up, you can request advertising details directly from Zillow.
2. Create an Agent Profile
After creating an account as a Zillow Premier Agent and setting up advertising, build out your profile page so that new leads can learn more about you. To do so, click on “Profile” at the top of your dashboard. Then, add your headshot and a compelling “About Me” section, which includes information about your experience, education, specialties, and any relevant personal information you’d like your leads to know. For more guidance, read our article on setting up a ZPA profile.
3. Claim Your Listings
With your profile fleshed out, you can now claim your listings. Simply navigate to the Zillow homepage while signed into your ZPA account and search your listings by address. Click on each one individually. At the top of each property page, click on “More” and then “Claim Your Listing.” This will automatically link the listing to your profile page and display it on a map below your “About Me” section.
4. Ensure All Listing Information Is Accurate
This is the best time to make sure that all of your listings have up-to-date information. While this is most frequently done through your local MLS, it can also be done via Zillow. To do so, click on “My Listings” in your ZPA dashboard. For each active listing, there should be a link that says “Edit this listing.” Alternatively, you can navigate to a property page and click “Edit Listing Info” from the top menu.
On the editing page, make sure all basic listing information is correct, including price, square footage, the age of the home, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, and other pertinent details. Also, be sure to fill out all listing sections as instructed in the steps below.
5. Fill Out the Home Description & Features Sections
When completing the listing information, it’s critical to make sure you incorporate all relevant details and make the description as compelling as possible. To do this, use ample (but accurate) adjectives and make sure to list major features in the “Home Details” section of the listing page.
Read more about the best real estate words and tips to write listing descriptions that attract leads.
6. Adjust the Asking Price to Increase Zillow Views
While editing your listing, consider changing the price of the property to increase views. While you don’t want to drop the price regularly or too dramatically, small adjustments may help your listing rank higher in Zillow search results pages.
For example, if your listing has been on the market for a month, you might drop the price by $99 just to get the listing back to a more favorable listing position. Keep in mind that you should never adjust the price of a property without first communicating with the owner. You can explain the benefits of changing the price and the importance of maintaining the listing on Zillow.
7. Add Compelling Professional Photography
Your listing pictures are going to be your best marketing tool on the website. Zillow’s own national research shows that a home with fewer than nine photos is about 20% less likely to sell in 60 days than a home with 22 to 27 photos.
To secure high-quality photos that meet Zillow’s guidelines, review the platform’s photography policies, learn best practices, and then consider hiring a professional photographer. With your photos ready, upload them to your MLS and Zillow.
Review Zillow’s Photography Policies
Before you start using any photography to market your listings on Zillow, you need to understand their rules for listing photography. These ensure that individuals’ information is protected and unsearchable, and overlaid text is not added to bolster advertising.
Here are the three primary photography policies of Zillow:
- Brokerage or team watermarks are not allowed on listing pictures. The only watermark allowed on Zillow is from your MLS.
- Name and phone numbers are not allowed on listing pictures.
- Descriptive text is not allowed on listing pictures.
Understand Best Practices for Listing Photography
The two primary guidelines for listing photos on Zillow are simple: Don’t include too many photos on a single listing and ensure that each one is properly sized. If you follow both of these best practices, you can be sure that users will be engaged without being overwhelmed and will have an exceptional user experience.
Here are the best practices for using photos on Zillow listings:
- Stick to one great shot for each room in the house.
- Use a “hero” shot of the exterior and backyard.
- Add a drone picture of the entire property if needed.
- If you have an historic or unique home, add detailed shots of woodwork, cornices, or other enticing features.
- Keep an aspect ratio of 4:3, and try to upload images that are 2048 x 1526 pixels.
Consider Hiring a Professional Photographer
Hiring a professional real estate photographer will cost $150 to $350, but there is a good reason why this is one of the best investments you can make as you continue your real estate career. According to a study done by Redfin, homes listed between $200,000 and $1 million sold for $3,400 to $11,200 more than their list prices when listing photos were taken with DSLR (professional) cameras.
If you must take your own photos, there are definitely ways to make your photos better. Our article on the top 25 real estate photography tips and mistakes to avoid can help improve your listing photos dramatically.
8. Create a Video Walk-through
According to Zillow, video walk-throughs can triple the number of views your listing gets. Not only are people drawn to the image of the play button, but adding video content can help your listing rank higher.
To create your own walk-through, download the Zillow 3D Home Tour app, create a tour using your smartphone, and then easily upload it to your listings and profile from the app.
9. Leverage Open Houses for More Zillow Views
For maximum exposure, always remember to add your open houses to Zillow at least a few days before they’re scheduled. To do so, navigate to the listing for which you will be holding an open house. Click the “More” button in the top right, then select “Add/edit open house dates.” Once you add this information, your open house details will appear on listing images, as showcased in the example below.
To make the most of your open house, see our article on 35 real estate open house ideas people love. You can also check out the top sign-in sheet templates for your open house to be sure you’re getting your prospective buyers information for follow-up.
10. Follow Up With Leads Quickly
To maximize your return on advertising spend (ROAS), be sure to follow up on leads quickly. You can do so easily with the Zillow CRM—either via email or text message. You can also call leads directly to discuss their needs and interests. The best part about Zillow CRM is that it includes a mobile app so agents on the go can stay connected to leads and make sure their follow-up is timely.
Pros & Cons of Zillow Premier Agent Advertising
While Zillow is widely used and offers free services and tools for agents—including a website, CRM, and home tour app—there are some downsides to using this platform.
Here’s a breakdown of the pros and cons of advertising on Zillow:
Pros of Advertising on Zillow
Cons of Advertising on Zillow
Excellent exposure to motivated leads
Leads are non-exclusive
3D Home Tour app
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Do you have to advertise on Zillow to claim a listing?
Claiming a listing is free. To claim a listing, create a Zillow Premier Agent account. Then, search by address for the property and click on the “Claim Listing” button. Find out more about how you can claim a listing on Zillow without any advertising.
Does it cost extra for the Zillow CRM?
The Zillow CRM is included in the free agent account and does not cost extra to use. Zillow knows that tracking leads through the pipeline is important to increase sales and closure rates, so this tool is available to all agents.
What is the cost for the Zillow website?
Creating a website through Zillow is free. Having a website is an important part of a real estate agent’s lead generation strategy. Although the free Zillow website will have limits, it’s an easy and effective way to drive traffic to property listing pages and connect with leads.
Advertising on Zillow most frequently involves promoting claimed listings. With a free profile, agents can add home descriptions and features, virtual tours, and photos to attract potential buyers to your listings. To be the exclusive agent on their listing, it costs approximately $20 to $60 per lead. To get started, visit the Zillow Premier Agent (ZPA) homepage, click “Join,” and set up your profile and properties.