DENVER, CO - Lane Hornung, founder of Boulder-based 8z Real Estate, has launched a new venture aimed at helping residential real estate brokers along the Front Range digitize an age-old real estate practice.
Hornung launched zavvie, a social media system that allows brokers to market themselves as experts in a given neighborhood directly to home owners in that area.
Brokers have long worked to position themselves as dominant in different neighborhoods using flyers and direct mail and sometimes walking neighborhoods and going door-to-door in a practice called "farming," Hornung said.
But zavvie gives real estate agents a way to make a name for themselves in a chosen submarket and share content, data and analyze directly with people living in those areas, he said.
“Traditional farming, when done right, is the best kind of local marketing a real estate agent can do – until zavvie,” Hornung said. He described zavvie as “the nation’s first digital power farming platform: a place where savvy, trusted, local real estate agents gain an exclusive territory – their neighborhood – and lock it down as the local expert.”
Real estate agents must subscribe to the service, and when they do, they can choose a neighborhood in which they have expertise.
If that neighborhood is available and if the broker has a proven connection to it - for example, a broker who only does business in Arvada could not claim to be an expert in downtown Denver real estate - he or she will have the exclusive ability to use zavvie's platform to communicate directly with residents in that area using existing social media like Facebook.
Neighborhoods are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis, Hornung said, as long as the broker has a proven connection with the area.
Once a broker has been approved as an expert in their chosen farm territory, zavvie creates a super-local website featuring that broker and a customized Facebook page that reaches people in the neighborhood.
“The consumer benefits from getting the freshest, most reliable information about real estate in their neighborhood,” says Hornung. “Agents get direct access to seller leads through their local social presence, they attract more homebuyers through our unique listing review system, they get to showcase their expertise and build credibility with their neighborhoods without doing the heavy lifting, as zavvie does that for them.”
So far, 186 brokers have signed up to use zavvie, Hornung said, including both experienced brokers who have worked in Denver for decades and younger brokers who are trying to make a name for themselves.
The platform has been used among 8z brokers previously, he said, but at the end of last year, he decided to open it up to brokers from other companies on a beta-testing basis.