Are you looking for a complete Market Leader Review that doesn’t shy away from some negative aspects?
Then this article will be for you.
You will learn about what Market Leader is, what products it includes, Market Leader’s pricing, how its lead generation is likely performing, complaints there are, and how and if you can cancel your subscription to the service.
By the end, you will know why I unfortunately can’t recommend it with a clear conscience.
What Is Market Leader and Who Is It Owned By?
Market Leader is a marketing software one-stop shop for real estate agents and brokerages with a CRM at its core.
Besides the CRM, the software offers premade real estate websites, lead generation, marketing automation and a mobile app.
The owner situation is a bit complex.
It was founded in 1999, and purchased in 2013 by Trulia. Then Zillow and Trulia merged and Zillow now being also Trulia sold Market Leader.
Then, in 2015, it joined with Perseus, which is an operating group of Constellation Software (source).
So, it is safe to say that Market Leader is now owned by Constellation Software.
Market Leader Products
During my research, and as already mentioned above, I found that Market Leader offers 5 different products namely real estate lead generation, customizable real estate websites, a customer relationship management software (CRM), marketing automation, and a mobile app.
Well, strictly speaking, it’s only four products, but they count the mobile app also as a product.
I don’t count this as a separate product, since a mobile app is just another way of accessing the same products in a user-friendly way from a mobile device.
Now, let’s dive a bit into what these four different products can do for you.
1) Real Estate Lead Generation
Market Leader can provide you with two types of leads: seller and buyer leads.
Home Seller Leads
To generate home seller leads, they use a website they own called housevalues.com.
Their strategy is to collect seller leads by offering them a free personalized comparative market analysis of their property in exchange for their contact information, which is then forwarded to you.
You can own a particular ZIP code exclusively, and get additional seller lead insights such as property details and listing timeframe.
So, their promise is that the same lead won’t be sold to more than one agent.
The generated leads are then directly sent to your Market Leader’s CRM.
I also checked on their website if they indicated somewhere how potential sellers would find the housevalues.com website, but wasn’t successful in finding further information.
So, I checked one of my go-to tools to analyze website traffic sources, which is similarweb.com
And according to similarweb, 55.12% of the total traffic comes from search engines, and the rest (44.88%) from paid search traffic.
They rank well for organic search terms such as “what is my house worth” and others.
Home Buyer Leads
The home buyer leads are generated with a slightly different approach. Here, the main method is pay-per-click advertising on Google, Bing and other search engines.
These campaigns direct the potential buyers directly to your real estate website offered by Market Leader.
According to the company, you only pay for leads not the visitors. Generated leads also integrate with their CRM.
2) Customizable Real Estate Websites
The next product Market Leader offers is customizable real estate websites.
These websites integrate IDX and according to the company, they are search engine friendly.
You can customize many different widgets and add content without having to be a web developer.
Additionally, it also features an image library with hundreds of licensed photos, and a drag-and-drop editor.
I also checked several of the already existing real estate websites there are for real estate agents.
It might be a small detail, but I found that none of the websites I checked had an individual favicon in the browser tab visible. The only one visible there was the Market Leader logo favicon.
You know a favicon is basically the icon or small tiny logo you can see right on an individual browser tab (here you can find the Wikipedia definition).
So it might be that you can’t customize this or that users wouldn’t know how to do that.
The IDX MLS integration looks good to me, and I suspect that they use Zillow’s application programming interface to get the property listing data for that.
If you take a look at the two screenshots below you will find some resemblance between the two.
3) Market Leader’s CRM
Basically, the place where all other products are coming together in terms of integration is Market Leader’s CRM.
Seller leads generated by housevalues.com and buyer leads generated on your real estate website are funneled into the CRM.
From the CRM, you can also use the fourth product I will discuss in the next section – the marketing automation tool.
So, you can say that the CRM is Market Leader’s core product.
You can use it to respond with automated texts and email alerts. It also tracks contacts visiting your website, and which properties were viewed or saved.
It also features filters so you can focus on certain leads when it comes to following up.
Also, you can configure automated listings alerts that are sent to the right contacts.
In terms of integration possibilities, you are not limited to Market Leader’s lead sources. You can also integrate leads from Trulia, Zillow, and Realtor.com
4) Marketing Automation
Market Leader’s Marketing Automation helps you promote each new listing individually.
Therefore, for each new one a single property website, a listing email, one-click social media posts for Facebook and LinkedIn and ready-to-print flyers and postcards are automatically generated.
In terms of direct mail or print marketing, you can get special rates with Shutterfly.
Further features are the following:
- Monthly newsletters
- Multi-channel (print, media, and phone) campaigns
- Scheduled birthday and anniversary cards
- New leads can automatically be assigned to a campaign
- One campaign can be connected to the next
- A library of pre-made designs for flyers, postcards, greeting cards, guides, business cards, and mobile-responsive emails
Market Leader Pricing
Unfortunately, there is no pricing information disclosed on their website.
The situation here is similar to what I found with my quest to review BoomTown.
I contacted Market Leader to get current pricing for the different products, but up to this day, I haven’t heard back from them, but will include their pricing information once I do.
Until then, I need to use secondary sources.
So, what I found from secondary sources with regards to pricing is that you pay $129 per month for Market Leader Pro (the CRM), and between $20 and $30 per lead (source).
The source didn’t mention which kind of leads; however, it also mentioned that you can buy out an entire market when it comes to leads.
This indicates that you pay $20 to $30 per lead for non-exclusive leads and you will likely pay more if you want to get exclusive ones.
According to the same source mentioned above, the individual costs for the author were $100 per month in paid leads plus the $129 for the CRM. So, we are talking about a total monthly cost of $229.
This budget resulted in 6 closings in the first year. The author advises that these results may have changed today, since lead quality has been declining over the years.
This is not because of the company doing a bad job, but because it has been generally declining.
With this information, I can work in the next section to approach an estimated calculation of what to expect in terms of marketing performance.
How Market Leader Real Estate Leads Is Performing (Crunching Numbers)
From the priory mentioned costs, we now know that you could expect 6 closings within a year of paying $229 per month.
This would mean a cost per closing of $458 ($229 x 12 months divided by 6 closings).
Now, we have to factor in several things to determine a percentage for a declining lead quality.
There are overall real estate market factors, such as, for example, lower inventory, and fewer potential sellers that want to sell which makes it harder for seller campaigns to convert.
On the other hand, there are many buyers that may click much more on campaigns, and also convert into leads.
But there was a phenomenon in pay-per-click campaigns during the pandemic.
Many people being more at home not knowing what to do with their time tend to click more on ads and even convert into leads, but being less serious about their intent.
So, how do we get these vague factors in a number so we can approach the percentage the costs per lead might have increased?
Not much, actually.
But you can determine the average cost per lead of 2019, 2020 and 2021, and get an average increase or decrease (unlikely) of the cost and apply that to the numbers we have already.
This is by far not exact, since ideally I would have data from more than 10 years, but taking these three years into consideration, we see an increase of 17.8% from 2018 to 2019, and a 0% increase from 2019 to 2020. This makes an average of roughly 9%.
The author hasn’t used Market Leader since 2015, so we can apply an average increase of 9% per year.
On average, he paid $25 per lead that year. Applying the 9% per year would mean that you may pay roughly $42 per lead on average today.
This wouldn’t be bad because it fairs well with the overall real estate conversion prospecting rates I analyzed in this article of mine.
Yes, it’s higher than most other methods I mention in the article, but still better than cold calling FSBOs for example.
Should you be able to select lead generation without using their CRM software, the picture would be much different.
But I doubt it, since all products and features are channeled through their CRM.
So, to continue with the calculation.
Since he paid $100 per month for leads, this means he likely generated 4 leads per month at an average cost of $25.
Four leads including the estimated cost increase would mean $168 (4 x $42) today, and a total monthly cost of $297 ($129 CRM + $168$ leads).
All things being equal, meaning you also have the same sales skills as the author (this one is a huge factor), this would mean closing costs or costs per sale of $594 ($297 x 12 months divided by 6 closings).
Market Leader Complaints
Now, let’s get to the critical part. During my research, I also came across some complaints people have about Market Leader.
This information from Better Business Bureau got me a bit worried:
“On August 10, 2020, Better Business Bureau recognized a pattern of complaints from consumers regarding purchasing programs from Market Leader, Inc. that are designed to generate listings and customer service leads in the Real Estate market.
Consumers claim the leads they are provided with are outdated and they are unable to produce the business that was promised by the company. Consumers further allege they are unable to opt out of the contracts with the business.”
On August 10, 2020, Market Leader, Inc. responded to Better Business Bureau stating the following:
“Market Leader, Inc. reviews and investigates all of the customer complaints and responds to the customer within 7 days.”
So if this information is true, then this would further increase the costs per closing and it may be that earlier, when the author of the article I mentioned above had good experiences, the lead quality was still higher and it declined over the following years.
Now, let’s also see what’s with the problem of canceling the contract.
Can You Cancel Market Leader?
In theory, you should be able to easily cancel your contract with Market Leader. Unfortunately, in praxis, it is often stated that it is complicated to cancel the subscription with Market Leader.
According to this source, canceling Market Leader seems pretty much straightforward, or so it seems at least in theory.
Unfortunately, as already provided by “Better Business Bureau”, in praxis, this seems to be more difficult.
This difficulty to cancel the subscription is confirmed by other user experiences.
There is even somebody who made a whole blog because of the suboptimal experience with Market Leader, which you can find here.
The author also states that it was quite difficult to cancel the subscription.
Additionally, several other user experiences confirm complications with regards to canceling the subscription here.
I would have loved to recommend Market Leader.
At first glance, you seem to get a great one-stop job for real estate marketing with a CRM, marketing automation, lead generation, and real estate IDX websites.
Even when crunching some marketing numbers, the cost per sale looks decent.
Unfortunately, due to the many negative user experiences mentioning bad lead quality (despite the fact the lead quality went down over the years in general), and more importantly, their often complicated process to get out of their subscription, I couldn’t recommend it with a clean conscience.