The ActiveRain Hit-Router
Feature Your Listings, Get More Traffic and Get Paid to Participate.
On Tuesday October 28th, ActiveRain we launched a new service called ‘Hit Router’. As the name implies, it's ActiveRain's initial move into the Property Listing aspect of online real estate search, albeit with a twist. Instead of trying to disproportionately aggregate listings directly into the network, we are instead going to route visitor traffic to our member's existing IDX sites in a Pay and Get Paid Click Campaign.
*Warning* I write long posts and this one is no exception :-) My style is to address as much and be as thorough as possible. To break up the reading, as a team we are going to release information regarding Hit Router in multiple stages and formats, beginning with this post. Brad Andersohn posted 'how to' tutorials as well as screen shots of the new service and Bob Stewart has a 'white board video' explanation of the new release.
Before I get into the nuances of Hit Router, allow me to first offer some basic explanations as to how most consumers find ActiveRain, and what they typically do upon arrival…
Google and the other search engines love fresh relevant content, granting a high degree of authority to sites that produce such and ranking them accordingly on given search results pages.
Google also grants authority to websites that have other like websites linking to them. The more linkbacks a website receives, the higher the authority of that website through Google's goggles.
These last two paragraphs very generally encapsulate what is called Search Engine Optimization (SEO) or ‘Google Juice’. The better a website's SEO for a given term, phrase, topic, question etc. the higher Google will rank that site when someone (a consumer) types in a relevant search query, thus increasing the likelihood a given site (or page within a site) will appear on the Holy Grail of search results: The First Page.
ActiveRain’s community members produce a TON of fresh relevant real estate related content. AR also has an incredible amount of other relative sites linking back to a multitude of pages within the community. As a result, Google can’t help but consider ActiveRain and the content its community members generate as an authority for a myriad of search topics when it comes to real estate. Proof of this resides in the fact that 80% of ActiveRain's 2M+ unique visitors a month come from Google and other search engines.
Google is very smart, however, it’s not perfect and cannot read someones mind. Google knows when people are searching for a specific type of real estate information that ActiveRain is a highly authoritative resource for that information. What Google doesn’t know is that the next logical step in a consumer’s journey, after they find information on ActiveRain, is a Search for property Listings.
Although many AR members have been extremely successful with generating business from AR, we believe the success found to date is just the tip of the iceberg, so the question we posed to ourselves was:
‘How does AR further leverage its valuable Google Juice to turn prospective traffic into MORE business for our members?’
The answer became this little but powerful property search tool called 'Hit-Router'.
What is Listing-Router and How Exactly Does It Work?
For a visitor, it’s a new header that will permanently reside at the top of every page within the ActiveRain network. It will feature a search box preceded with phrase “Find Homes for Sale in: _________”. Once a user completes the search box and hits enter, “Hit Router” will send the user directly to an ActiveRain members existing IDX (or other property listing) site.
Hit Router Property Search Bar
The idea here is that the prospective homebuyer now has a clear option to continue along in their home buying journey.
For an AR member, Hit Router is effectively a Pay Per Click account campaign that allows AR members to buy traffic from other member’s sites and pages, with one major additional member benefit that I will share with you right after the example below.
Jane is a AR member who works in Bellevue WA and likes to write about equestrian property. Bill is a horse breeder near Lawrence, KS and stumbled upon a blog post by Jane after doing a search on Google about equestrian property. Bill found the exact answer he was looking for in Jane’s post and is now more excited than ever to start his search for a new home. Since Jane is not licensed to sell real estate in Kansas, Bill would normally at this point leave ActiveRain in search of real estate listings from a website that served Kansas.
At the same time, Todd (also and AR member) would love for Bill to come to his site and would gladly pay for his delivery or ‘click through’ for the increased potential of converting him into a client.
Using the Hit Router search bar, if Bill, on Jane’s site searches ‘Lawrence’ via Hit Router, he will be routed to Todd’s IDX site and Todd will pay approximately $2.00 for Bill's visit.
And Now for the Really Cool Part!
Hit Router will credit Jane’s account a percentage of the $2.00 click to route the visitor to Bill’s site! Jane may use these credits to purchase traffic of her own from other member’s pages in the same dynamic fashion.
This is worth repeating:
Any time a visitor uses an AR members Hit Router search interface to locate listings outside that agents area of service, that member receives credit to buy clicks from other member’s visitors.
How many credits do you earn?
How much you earn depends on a number of factors including how much someone pays to have traffic delivered to their IDX site. The easiest way to track how much you'll earn is to sign up and opt to run Hit Router on your blog pages, then check your Account Billing page.
In the Account Admin and Billing section you can purchase credit that can be used to buy traffic from other member’s sites and monitor the 'Click Credits' you receive.
Keeping Visitors in Your Market for Yourself!
No ActiveRain member wants to send visitors to their own blog, searching in their own market away to someone else. To insure this doesn't happen, there are two ways that a member can capture visitors in your own market and insure they get delivered to you FOR FREE.
1) Pre-select as many cities as you woud like to direct to your own IDX site.
In the My Markets section of the Hit Router admin panel, you may add as many city markets as you wish. When someone searches for any of these cities while on your blog, your blog posts or your profile, they are routed directly to your IDX site's page for that city. Again, this insures the traffic interested in your market is routed to your IDX listing pages.
2) Opt out of the program completely.
Simply unclick the checkbox you see below.
If you choose to opt out of the program, the toolbar will default to a hyper-linked text message of your choice.
While opting out is certainly your choice, doing so prohibits you from accruing credits from traffic that would otherwise leave your site and pages anyway, so why not get paid for it?
As always, your feedback is vital and greatly appreciated.
Here are links to tutorials and the 'whiteboard video explanation'