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The Zap network is a large, interconnected network of company and agent websites within your brand. Instead of existing in isolation, your website leverages thousands of other websites to drive traffic and get you online leads. New online leads can start searching on your brand or company website and get routed to you, after which they'll remain in your website experience. Existing customers that you've referred to your website or created accounts for in Zap will start out in your website experience, and stay there as long as they’re within the area you cover. You and your broker can define the boundaries of your particular piece of the network – essentially, how far you're willing to go to work with clients, or in other terms, where your customers can search and continue to see you as their servicing agent for the area. When customers search outside of your boundaries, they'll see a different company – one that services that area and has access to the MLS in that area.
For example, say that you work primarily in Chicago. You can receive online leads from your company in Chicago, and expand your piece of the network to allow your existing customers to search in the surrounding areas and continue to see you marketed and send you requests. However, if your customer changes their mind and starts searching in Miami, the website will place them in a different part of the network, and they'll see a company that can help them find a home in Miami.
The Zap network effect makes it easier for new customers to find you. As a member of the Zap network, you get a huge search engine optimization boost without a ton of extra effort on your part. Instead of burying your individual, non-networked site deep under dozens of pages of search results, search engines group your website in with all of the other websites within your brand. This makes it much easier for your website to compete with giant portal sites like Zillow and Trulia. Plus, as the network continues to grow, those SEO benefits will increase.
Not at all – the network is meant to get you more business, not less. The Zap network is designed to allow you to service any client you reasonably can service within the area you cover. If your piece of the network seems too small to you, you and your broker can expand the search areas you cover.
There are some necessary limitations: because your website is provided through your brokerage, your customers won't see you as the servicing agent in an area if your brokerage doesn't actually cover that area (whether that's due to the brokerage having insufficient MLS coverage or simply not having a particular location enabled at the brokerage level). It also doesn't make sense for us to brand you as the servicing agent in a neighboring state that your company doesn't cover and that you aren't licensed in. Generally, you can ask your broker to help you expand the area within which you'll receive leads and be marketed to existing clients, so that your customers only see another company when they venture into an area that's truly out of range for you.
The goal for the network is for customers to only ever see another company when it's genuinely necessary. For example, if you mainly cover San Francisco, but are willing and able to take your existing customers to see homes in Berkeley and Oakland, Zap lets you and your broker make sure you are able to service them in those cities. However, if you cover San Francisco, and your customer starts searching in Seattle instead, we want to allow them to get what they need – a company that knows the Seattle area, and can work with them in that local area. It's a better user experience for your customer than hitting a wall and getting no results. It's better for the network overall. And it's better for you – instead of losing a lead entirely when that customer gets frustrated and abandons your networked site, you maintain your status as the assigned agent within the area you cover. That means your relationship with the customer is still active in the background as they browse in Seattle. It means you still can have them on email campaigns and Follow-up Plans. And it also means that as soon as that customer comes back to San Francisco, you're prepared to pick up where you both left off.
We know that referrals are a part of many agents’ business models. When your customer searches outside of the area you cover, we'll send you an email notification so that you have the opportunity to make a referral.
We’ve set up the website to avoid boxing your customers in whenever we possibly can. Because there is such an abundance of real estate information available out there on the Internet, customers generally don’t like to hit walls or be told that we can’t show them listings or property information in a particular area. When they’re in the information-gathering stage of their transaction cycle, they’re unlikely to sit on their hands when they’re blocked off from search results, and more likely to do a quick Google search or leave the network for a portal site that does offer them what they’re looking for. In order to combat this and keep your customers within your site’s larger network, we continue to give them search results (and, as a result, access to other companies) even when they’re no longer in an area where you can help them.
We’re always working on ways to improve the network, and we do that by learning from users like you. If you have suggestions regarding the Zap network, post them in our Zap Suggestions board, and our team will have a look!