Zoodle – establishing a strong customer base and growing audience

We launched Zoodle just less than 2 months ago and the site has been hailed a great success by consumers and agents alike. We are regularly having over 3,000 search queries per day for property information. The most popular activity on the website is the single free report on an individual property. In total over 100,000 individual addresses have been searched on the site so far.

In case you missed the details around the launch here is a summary of the site I have written for the next REINZ RE magazine due out next month which not only highlights the strategy behind Zoodle but also shares some ideas as to how Zoodle can help you in your day to day business.

The first question when people see the Zoodle website is “what does it mean?” – the fact is there is no meaning, it is a unique name designed to be remembered and recommended. Based on the first few weeks since the site was launched that is exactly what is happening. Property owners and buyers alike are beginning to recognise Zoodle as the simple answer to the question “so where can I find out – all about property”

Zoodle is the most comprehensive source of information on property and neighbourhoods the length and breadth of NZ. Not simply property for sale or rent. Zoodle provides information on every one of the 1,500,000 individual properties across the country. It is designed to be an invaluable tool to provide buyers and sellers with information to help them in the property market.For property owners, to provide them with statistics on recent sales and up to date online valuation, for buyers, to provide rich information and reports on prospective properties and for vendors to verify the information on their property together with an online valuation.

Free reports are available on every one of the properties, complemented by paid reports ranging from $24.95 for local sales records up to $69.95 for a 20+ page comprehensive property report.

Zoodle is a joint venture between realestate.co.nz and Terralink International and is targeted to appeal to the ever growing appetite for rich information online enabling buyers and sellers to make informed decision in the real estate market.
Latest research from Nielsen Online shows that over half of all respondents had accessed or purchased property information online and the type of information they were looking for is varied as the chart below shows.


Top of the list is a rating valuation followed by property statistics and property sales information, clearly highlighting a more informed audience eager to enter the market prepared for that critical buying decision.

The rich and varied content within Zoodle gives it its unique appeal and that content will continue to grow over time. The heart of it is around local information about neighbourhoods and communities – specifically designed to help people better answer the question of “where should I live” as opposed to simply “what is the facts around this house” – this is the key difference between Zoodle and other property information websites that simply sell reports.

At the moment Zoodle provides comprehensive information on schools and school zones. Individual suburb profiles have been written for over a quarter of all suburbs in the country not by paid journalists but by locals, specifically motivated and passionate local real estate agents; this speaks to the ambition of Zoodle to be very collaborative with its audience, seeking content from a variety of sources and sharing it in a single place on the web.

When it comes to factual information on properties, the partnering with Terralink establishes the required credibility of key property data. Terralink have integrated a lot of their Property Guru subscription service and thereby powered the paid reports on Zoodle to provide the automated online valuation and local sales reports.

Mapping as with all real estate websites is central to Zoodle which uses the ubiquity of Google maps (including of course “street view” image from the street of each property), together with high resolution aerial images of properties complete with boundary markings courtesy of Terralink. The Google maps also allow the integration of other points of interest in a neighbourhood – recently adding the location of restaurants and cafes through a partnership with menumania.co.nz . However the information most actively sought out by prospective buyers is the location of schools and this is what Zoodle does brilliantly helping savvy buyers better understand the critical locations best aligned to school zones.

Zoodle has been established ahead of any other similar competitor community and property websites of which there are many around the world – any one of which may well have had their eyes on starting in NZ. As with realestate.co.nz Zoodle maintains an ownership within the real estate industry and with the partnership with Terralink with a strategic industry partner. Zoodle seeks to capitalise on the growing demand for online information and aims to be a profitable business returning dividends to its shareholders. In the case of realestate.co.nz that income will supplement the other income streams of subscriptions and advertising and thereby provide another means by which the cost of subscribing to the website can be held at the current level of $200 per office per month now and into the future, far below media owned competitors.

Advice

Many in the industry have asked – so what can Zoodle do for my business? – Here are a couple of pointers:

  1. Review all new listings using Zoodle – that way you have a great tool to confirm the basic details on every property you list or prospect
  2. Print off free reports of every property you have on your books and have them available at open homes or better still send the pdf version to interested enquirers or attach to email newsletters.
  3. Review the key suburb stats on property prices, new listings and viewing to see the trends of activity for your suburb
  4. Offer a comprehensive property report to all new listings as an incentive
  5. Contribute a suburb profile if one is not written yet – you will get an acknowledgment and link to your listings.

Most important of all do not see the rich access to information on Zoodle as a challenge – use it to demonstrate to clients your local knowledge, more than that use it to better understand the trends in your local market so you can more clearly be identified as a local expert.

Most important of all check out the website www.zoodle.co.nz and tell others – we are delighted to welcome new users – they are coming in by the bus load every day!

March 09 2009 10:04 pm | News and Online marketing

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