CMM vs Placester

Placester or Creative Marketing Media, Which is Right for Your Real Estate Business?

Creative Marketing Media vs Placester

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.

Business Models

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:

Creative Marketing Media vs Placester

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

  • Content creation (two posts monthly)

Package B – We do more – $225/mo

  • Content creation (two posts monthly)
  • Reblog RELEVANT articles
  • Monthly Site maintenance
  • Google analytics and webmaster tools tracking
  • Quarterly Reports

Package C – We do it ALL – $350/mo

  • Full on-site SEO optimization
  • Monthly site monitoring
  • Monthly Content creation (includes blog posts & location based priority pages, up to 3 posts per month combined)
  • Reblog RELEVANT articles
  • Monthly on/off site SEO (includes social media posting & link building)
  • Google analytics and webmaster tools tracking
  • Backlink Tracking
  • Quarterly Reports
  • Weekly site maintenance
  • Monthly requested listing posts

The takeaway from this is:

  • Placester: Rented websites + $250 setup fee. (when you stop paying, your site goes away.  All of your hard earned SEO is gone.)
  • CMM: Owned website. (You pay more up front for your website but you own it.  If you cancel the SEO service all of your previous SEO remains with you.)
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Placester offers 3 tiers of service:

  • Essential
  • Premium $400
  • Brokerage/Team

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.

  • Responsive, IDX Website with Natural Language Search
  • Drip Email Marketing
    • Stay in touch with your leads by adding them to preconfigured email drips or add a personal touch by creating your own.
  • Lead Management System
    • Manage your leads and their activities with this powerful feature. View a leads site activity, add notes & tasks and get reminders when activities are due.
  • Advanced Website Features
    • Wow your visitors with map based and pre-filtered listings pages
  • Monthly Content Updates
    • Each month we’ll add two pieces of localized content to help you increase traffic and engagement
  • Lead Nurture Configuration
    • We’ll make sure you stay top of mind with prospects and clients through automated drip marketing
  • Website & Reporting Configuration
    • Our experts will make sure your site is set for success and proper reporting and monitor measures are put into place
  • Quarterly Website Refresh
    • We ensure your website is fresh by adding your newest testimonials and refreshing images
  • Requires a $250 one-time setup fee

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

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.

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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.

  • Full on-site SEO optimization
    • Every part of your website is crafted around strategically selected keyword phrases to ensure that your website gets found in Google’s search results.
  • Monthly site monitoring
    • CMM tracks and targets all of your keyword phrases and to ensure that your search ranking is constantly growing.  In addition to this, CMM monitors your sites health and corrects any broken pages or errors.
  • Monthly Content creation (includes blog posts & location based priority pages, up to 3 posts per month combined)
    • We create high quality, keyword optimized, local articles three times a month to ensure that your website is being found on Google.
  • Reblog RELEVANT articles
    • We target relevant, high-quality articles to make sure Google notices that your site is current and to provide your visitors with articles that they love to read.
  • Monthly on/off site SEO (includes social media posting & link building)
    • Your SEO optimized pages and posts will be sent to all of your social networks.  These include Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Tumblr, Path, and Google Plus.  We also begin a natural link building campaign which is necessary for any website.
  • Google analytics and webmaster tools tracking
    • Every quarter we send you a detailed report that shows your websites progress and growth.
  • Backlink Tracking
    • Included in your report is a list of linking domains so that you can track which sites are showing you some link love.
  • Weekly site maintenance
    • Complete maintenance package to make sure your site is operating at it’s best.
  • Monthly requested listing posts
    • As you get listings, we create keyword-rich blog posts that boost SEO and Google credibility.
  • Lead Generating Contact Form & Call Buttons
    • When a new visitor contacts you by filling out your form, an email is sent to you for response.  In addition to this, the phone number is clickable for mobile and will directly call your cell.

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.

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Comparison of Services Breakdown:

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
Backlink Tracking
Monthly Listing Posts
Monthly Site Refresh


Website Rental
Lead Generation
Email Marketing
Monthly Content (re-blogs, not custom to REALTOR)
Website Reporting
Quarterly Website Refresh



Let’s Compare Content

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.

Total Investment Over 2 Years Comparison

$250 Setup Fee
$400/mo for 24 Months $9600
Total: $9850
Creative Marketing Media Inc.
$999 Website Design w/6 month SEO commitment)
$350/mo for 24 Months $8400
Total: $9399

Final Thoughts

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:

Creative Marketing Media vs Placester


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