Mark Thomas, co-founder and CEO of Reesio, has a dream. He wants his 14-month old start-up to become a one-stop marketing shop for real estate agents.
To do it, he’s made Reesio’s core product, a transaction management platform that counts dotloop and DocuSign’s Cartavi as competitors, free. You read that right: Any agent can use Reesio’s platform at no charge, forever.
That’s because Thomas has changed his strategy about how to monetize Reesio. He wants agents to pay for leads generated from Reesio’s platform — and that’s the hitch. You need to pay to play.
Instead of charging a monthly subscription for the company’s transaction management services, he plans to charge $99 a month for a lead generation package that will deliver buyer leads to agents.
The secret sauce in Thomas’ calculated strategy is what he calls public marketing pages. These pages are generated from each listing an agent manages using Reesio’s transaction management platform.
Reesio’s public marketing pages are optimized for organic search and are designed to be shared on social channels. Agents can choose what to publish to these pages as they manage their listings in Reesio.
Video Highlights • New Features 00:56 • New Leads, Offers, Photos Tabs 04:02 • Public Property Page 04:25 • Buyer Inquiries 08:06 • Making an Offer 11:37
Big Plans for Expansion
Since every listing in Reesio automatically gets a public marketing page, Thomas figures that if he can get 750,000 to a million listings on Reesio, he’ll have enough listings momentum to capture the attention of consumers and search engines. Thomas foresees a day when Reesio’s individual listing marketing pages will appear in organic search right up there with results from Zillow and Trulia. Then, consumers will naturally inquire about them using Reesio’s tools, creating leads for Reesio’s subscribers.
It might be a tall order given Thomas’ aggressive timeframe — he wants to get there in just 12-18 months. He has just more than 2,000 listings today on Reesio.
About 1,800 brokers are on the platform now. But Thomas says the product has an enormous viral appeal, and he expects that making the transaction management portion of the platform free will result in an immediate uptick in users.
“That’s what we’re going to use our additional funding for — to get more agents and brokers, and then consumers,” Thomas says, noting that the company closed $1.1 million in a Series A round on October 1. Investors include Digital Garage, MicroVentures, Hiten Shah and other angels. This followed a seed round of $205,000.
Thomas says the company will begin to aggressively market Reesio’s transaction management platform to agents to acquire listings. Then he plans to begin focusing on consumers. But first, he needs to sell agents who may be resistant to transaction management platforms, or who are already on board with one of his competitors.
“Making the platform free is a strategic decision,” Thomas says. “Our mission is to build the largest database of listings possible. That’s why making Reesio free makes so much sense — it takes away at least one hurdle for folks who either aren’t with us, or are on the precipice of making a decision to manage their transactions online. We think it gives us an edge.”
While it’s true that Reesio is a full-featured platform, it doesn’t offer forms integration and some of the robust and secure document sharing functionality of Cartavi. Nor does it have the enormous footprint or social ecosystem of dotloop. However, the latest iteration of Reesio does include the ability to make, accept and counter offers, as well as a mechanism to manage inbound leads from new buyers. You can also publish documents to the public marketing page (disclosures, for example). The public-facing pages even include a live recap of exactly what’s happening with the property. (Skip to 3:44 in the video to see a demo of how these new features work.)
Our listings are even more accurate than even the MLS, because what agents update in their transactions is published simultaneously to the public marketing pages.
That means that there is no lag between an agent updating a status in the MLS and when it ultimately posts to a portal, like Zillow or Trulia.
Thomas sees this as an enormous competitive advantage, because he believes that consumers are concerned about listing accuracy on the big portals. He reasons that if Reesio can deliver more accurate listing information via public listing pages, consumers will ultimately come to trust Reesio and the company can deliver more qualified leads to agents who participate on the platform.
Agent Centric Lead Process
Finally, Thomas says that Reesio is poised to deliver better quality leads to agents because of the way his team has configured the lead acquisition process.
“First and foremost, we don’t put other agents on your listings,” Thomas says. “It’s your listing, and you should get all the juice from it. Then, we make it easy for buyers or buyer’s agents to ask questions or even submit an offer.”
The caveat to this is that if you’re not a paying member of Reesio (meaning that you haven’t signed up for the lead service), you will not receive inquiries made on your listings directly. Instead, Reesio will let you know that there’s been an inquiry, but you’ll need to subscribe in order to see the client’s information and reply.
If you choose not to subscribe, Reesio will contact the buyer and inform them that you have chosen not to publish your contact information with your listing.
In my book, this seems a bit awkward, although I understand that Reesio needs to stay in control of the lead flow for non-subscribers. But it does seem that consumers could become disappointed if they cannot contact agents directly, regardless of the agent’s subscription status.
All in all, it’s an interesting shift for a company that is constantly tweaking its focus.