[Case Study] I used this five-minute hack to generate 13 buyer leads from Zillow last week (while spending $0.00)

Here at Guerilla Realty we test new lead generation methods CONSTANTLY.

We are always on the lookout for lead gen methods that are free or inexpensive and generate real business. When we find them we share them with our readers.

Here’s an idea we discovered recently that will blow you away.

I used Zillow to generate 13 new buyer leads in one week.

We will update this guide as we collect more data. But for now I consider this to be one of the best kept secrets in real estate.

The Basis of This Case Study

Five years ago we created a free photo branding tool. We got tired of seeing giant companies like Zillow and REALTOR.com use OUR listings to generate business for our competitors.

Don’t get me wrong. We love the additional exposure that Zillow brings to our listings. But Zillow displays their “Premier Agents” in such a way that it makes it confusing who the listing agent is.

When we created freephotobranding.com, our goal was to make it abundantly clear who the listing agent is and maybe generate a few extra leads per month from it (if we’re lucky).

Back then Zillow was a fledgling startup. Today they are the #1 home search in the world. Zillow generates so much traffic that we started wondering, “Is it possible to get real business from Zillow without becoming a paid member?”

So we tested the following method, and our results were umm… well, let’s just say they exceeded expectations.

I ran this test for seven days and generated 13 authentic buyer leads (some will also be seller leads, but we don’t have numbers on this yet).

I feel pretty comfortable saying that is probably more leads than a Zillow Premier Agent in my zip code received during the same period — and they are paying $500+ per month.

All right, enough introduction. Here is the basic method.

Step 1: List your own home FSBO on Zillow.

You could also use a listing. However, I want to demonstrate that you don’t even need a listing to use this method.

Anyway, take your own home (if you don’t own your home, you could ask to use a friend’s) and post the home as FSBO.

Keep in mind, you don’t have to actually sell it. When the leads start biting, you could say that you are on the fence and you haven’t made up your mind. But I think it goes without saying that we would all sell it for the right price.

Here’s a <1:00 guide to posting a home FSBO.

Step 2: Acquire a photo of your house.

You’ll need a photo of the house. You can take one with your iPhone. However, I grabbed one off of Google Maps to save time.

There is a common myth out there that you need amazing photos of your property to generate leads. In fact, professional quality photos will actually drive leads away.

Why? Simple. If you post 27 beautiful high definition photos of the property from every angle, you have satisfied the buyer’s curiosity and they’ll move on to the next Zillow listing.

In my Zillow listing, I post only one photo. And it’s not a particularly nice photo either. I stole it from Google Maps.


Step 3: Run the photo through freephotobranding.com.

You’ll want to brand the photo with a simple call to action (CTA). This part is VERY important in determining whether you get leads or just a bunch of lookers.

Here’s a quick and dirty guide to creating a great CTA.

  1. Ask yourself what the view wants the most. It’s pretty simple. They want more info about the listing. You could offer current pricing, interior photos, or whatever. Personally I like video tours because what gives more info than an actual live showing of the house?
  2. Give them a no-pressure method to get it from you. Don’t ask them to call or email you directly. They never will. Instead use an automated capture system that can deliver the bait to them.
  3. Make sure your CTA is clear and easy to read

Here’s what my main photo looked like after I dropped it into freephotobranding.com.



Step 4: Finally, submit the listing.

That’s it. Now sit back and wait for the leads to roll in.

Now in the first couple hours you’ll get a bunch of cold calls from eager agents who think you are an easy FSBO target. Ignore those.

After that you’ll begin receiving a steady flow of buyer leads by text. I received a total of 13 leads in 7 days. My total expenditure was $0.00.

The best part about this method is that it’s not limited to only one listing. Imagine how many leads you could generate if you had 3 listings, or 10?

There is lots of low hanging fruit in real estate, but this is about the lowest hanging fruit I’ve ever found. I can’t wait to see other agents implement this method and share their own results.

If you like this method please click the share button. It means a lot to me.


Quick word of disclaimer

The legal geeks are going to come out of the woodwork to tell me it’s against Zillow’s Terms of Use to use branded photos.

Yep, you’re right. However, that rule is targeted at spammers, not at agents. Freephotobranding.com has been shared hundreds and hundreds of times and used by thousands and thousands of agent, and I have never heard of a single story of a branded photo being taken down.

In the end, I don’t think you’ll experience any problems with Zillow’s Terms of Use. But frankly, I’m not interested in paying Zillow $500/mo for weak leads so if this method is the end of my relationship with Zillow, I’ll be okay.

Freephotobranding.com is free (duh). If you want to use the method exactly like I do, then you’ll need a text capture service. You’ll get it with my Ultimate Website system along with a bunch of other tools. Altogether it only costs $100/month.

The only thing that might stop you from getting it is if we’re sold out in your market. It only takes about 10 seconds to find out. Just click this link to check.

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I give away about 99% of all my technology and digital training content, completely free of charge, because I want to see other agents have the same kind of success that I've had. But one thing I charge for is my Ultimate Website technology. This is the web technology I created for myself that turned my real estate practice around overnight, and now I license it agents everywhere. But right now it's too popular and is currently waitlisted. Click here to get on the website as soon as possible and I'll notify you as soon as new invitations become available.