CMM recently did an SEO workshop for the awesome REALTORS at Keller Williams in Naperville IL and were presented with a question that we weren’t sure how to answer.
“What’s the difference between Placester and Creative Marketing Media?”
You see, Keller Williams recently signed a deal with the popular REALTOR website company and KW was pushing for their agents to get a Placester site. Since we weren’t really familiar with the company, we weren’t sure how to answer the question. Since then, we’ve done some research and we thought we’d take a moment to highlight the main differences between the two so that REALTORS may be able to make a better decision for their businesses.
Both Creative Marketing Media and Placester offer a similar end product to a specific niche market, websites for REALTORS. Not only do both companies offer websites, but they both also claim to grow your web presence. On the surface the companies may look virtually identical, however, upon close inspection, you may see that there are quite a few differences in their business models.
Let’s begin with Placester. All of Placester’s pricing begins with a reoccurring monthly subscription. Here’s a screenshot of their pricing:
Please note that deciphering some of these options may take some speculation. We’ll do our best to be fair.
Creative Marketing Media
Contrasted with Placester is Creative Marketing Media (CMM). CMM offers website creation for REALTORS along with SEO services for REALTORS, but the two services are counted as distinct and therefore priced separately. CMM’s website design service is for the purchase of a website, not a rental like Placester, and is offered in two separate packages. The first being $750 which includes the installation of the website, the setup and design, and the installation of an SEO plugin. The second is $1500 which includes everything from the first, and the addition of on-site SEO and keyword optimized pages. On-site SEO is crafting every part of your site to perform well in search. It requires careful planning around keyword phrases prior to implementing the design.
CMM’s SEO packages, like Placester, come in three different tiers. Here’s the breakdown:
Package A – We do a little – $150/mo
Package B – We do more – $225/mo
Package C – We do it ALL – $350/mo
The takeaway from this is:
Placester offers 3 tiers of service:
They recommend their Premium tier so, for the sake of time, we’ll focus the majority of our comparison on this tier. The following is quoted directly from Placester’s website.
This is a lot of info, so let’s try to break it down into layman’s terms.
Design – Placester offers a responsive design (you can read our recommendations on responsive designs here) with IDX capabilities. Please note, at the bottom of their pricing page there is an * that states “Additional MLS fees may apply.” In our experience, that’s code for “there will be an extra setup fee for you to have the IDX on your website.” We could be wrong, but that’s our best guess.
Drip Email Marketing – This is simply their proprietary email marketing system that sends out emails to your email list (which you have to have and have to import). This same task can be done for free (and probably better because it’s all that they do) through companies like MailChimp.com.
Lead Management System – This essentially does the work of a contact form on any website.
Advanced Website Features – Undoubtedly this is a feature that already comes with the IDX plugin.
Monthly Content Updates – The claim is that they’ll add “localized content” to your website to increase traffic. But is it really localized? And is it good quality content? We’ll cover this in more detail later in the article.
Lead Nurture Configuration – Same as Drip Email Marketing. This can be accomplished by using any free email marketing service, and with the same amount of legwork.
Website Reporting & Configuration – Analytics taken from free services such as Google Analytics & Google Search Console.
Quarterly Website Refresh – Self explanatory.
Creative Marketing Media Inc.
Now let’s see how CMM stands up to, what seems like a whole lot of bang for your buck.
For the comparison, we’re going to use our top tier since it most closely resembles that of their Premium tier. Notice that with CMM you’ll save $50 per month from that of Placester’s middle tier.
You may notice that CMM does not include the IDX feature. Why is that? Well, while most REALTOR website companies are going to advertise that as a main feature, it is of our opinion that the IDX isn’t a major contributor to you having online success as a REALTOR.
Let us explain. When a searcher goes to Google and searches for a term like “homes for sale”, the usual suspects are going to be Trulia, Zillow, or Realtor. That’s to be expected. They are large companies, with large SEO teams, and millions of backlinks. When it comes to those search terms, a small business can’t win. But what if the searcher is looking for “realtors in Yorkville, IL?” That’s a keyword phrase that isn’t likely to be targeted by a large company. This is where a small business can win in search. In addition to this, when a searcher types in anything related to REALTOR, or real estate agent, they aren’t searching for a house to buy. If they were, they’d just go to Trulia, Zillow, or Realtor. They’re searching for a local REALTOR. It stands to reason that if they’re searching for a local REALTOR, they don’t need your site to provide them with a bunch of house listings. Instead they need a site that is going to tell them which REALTOR they need. It this is true, the IDX is going to be a big waste of time and money.
Creative Marketing Media Inc.
Website REALTOR Owned
Site Monitoring Done Monthly
Lead Generating Contact Forms
Custom Content Creation Best SEO Practices 3/mo
Additional Content via ReBlogs
Monthly On/Off Site SEO
Tracking & Site Maintenance
Monthly Listing Posts
Monthly Site Refresh
Monthly Content (re-blogs, not custom to REALTOR)
Quarterly Website Refresh
Notice how the Placester content is only local in the sense that they used the city Chicago in the title and the first sentence of the post. This REALTOR is actually based in Downers Grove. That’s not really local. Also notice that the content never mentions the REALTOR.
In contrast, the CMM blog post mentions the local terms that it’s targeting numerous times, with mentions of the REALTORS numerous times. Over time, this post will far outpace the Placester post guaranteed.
If you’re one of the few REALTORS that has recognized the importance of SEO for their business, we encourage you to take some time to think about the many choices that you have for website design and SEO. Do a quick search in your area for a REALTOR and see which ones, if any, are coming up. We know that you’ll find, there aren’t many Placester sites ranking well. If they are, it’s because the REALTOR has put a lot of work into their own site. Which, consequently, if they decide to go with another company, they’ll lose all of that work.
CMM is different, in that, we do the work for you. You own your site, we do your work. That way you have more time to focus on the things that matter most to your business, like meeting with clients. Not only do we do the work, but we customize it to your business. No cookie cutter blog posts here.
Check out the ranking increase from just one of our satisfied clients: