One of the things I’m most proud of at Union Street media is our client retention rate. Year-over-year, we have retained well over 90% of our clients. As a result, after 18 years of partnering with real estate brokerages, we have over 60 clients we worked with for more than 10 years.

That being said, every once in a while clients move on. Whenever that happens, we always ask “Why?”

Sometimes a client moves on to another real estate specific website developer. That’s an understandable move. Our competitor might offer a different set of functionality then we do, our client may have been wooed by their sales team… there are all sorts of reasons that people might engage with one of our “frenemies”.

That being said, not all real estate specific website competitors are created equal.

We decided to look at three clients none of whom had ever been on a digital marketing package with us. We simply developed, supported, and maintained their websites.  One of these clients has stayed with us and is pro-active with their website, one that left us to go to a “frenemy” (they provide a similar quality service to Union Street Media) and a third left us to go with a much less expensive real estate specific website solution.

(Note: We have removed the client names for the sake of confidentiality. One of the things that we take a lot of pride in here is not disclosing information about our clients’ performance.)

I reached out when we got the cancellation request from the client that went to the cheap solution to encourage her to take the leads off of the site and refer them to other brokers.  She had a very successful career and was moving into semi-retirement (everyone knows a good broker never really retires). 

My back of the envelope math had a 5+ figure annual return for her. I was so confident that the lead machine we had created would continue to crank out leads that I almost thought of buying the website from her myself. While I took the class to become a licensed real estate professional in Vermont, I don’t have a real estate license, so I can’t really monetize referrals (although I refer work to our clients all the time).

Here’s the data since her departure – she’s the yellow line.

What blows my mind, however, is when a client decides to leave us for a “local shop” or someone who has built a number of different websites, but not a lot of websites specifically for real estate brokers. Building real estate websites is not the same as building other websites. An integrated IDX, lead management, agent management, real estate specific software platform is not the same as a Joe Schmo WordPress website with pretty pictures of houses.

Another way to put it is that working with a local provider that does not provide a real estate specific website solution is like taking your BMW to an appliance repair shop because they know how to fix broken machines.

We recently learned of one client who made the decision to move ahead with a “local shop”. As my cross country coach in high school, Rick Beattie, said: “the clock doesn’t lie”, so we decided to take a look back in history to find a few examples of different clients who had made a similar move.

The graph below shows three Union Street Media clients in the greater Boston area: one has been with us since 2015 and is very pro-active in their digital marketing strategy, one has been with us for a long time and has a “set it and forget it” digital marketing package. The third is a former Union Street media client who left and went to a “local provider”.

Can you guess which one is which?

We strive to treat all of our clients like partners, not like we are simply their vendors.  Our most successful clients reciprocate that sentiment. When they provide the resources, yes, their money but really their time, that is when we are able to take things to the next level.

So if you are a real estate professional and you’re looking to develop a website, please, please, please choose somebody who builds websites for real estate brokerages and agents, not a “local shop”.

Interested in working with us? Let’s Chat!