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Did Dallas Agents Just Give Up On Digital?

By Phil Butler | July 1, 2016

New shifts in how real estate businesses reach their clients show us that "old school" advertising and marketing are still valid. However, branding and the so-called "billboard effect" in the digital space still hold great sway for converting leads. This is true for every market, but even more so for dynamic and competitive cities like Dallas, Texas. Online branding, the mobile-centric home buyer, and experience marketing are the latest variables impacting agency successes. Here is a rundown of the best competitors in Dallas. Compare these online billboards to your own, and discover where your missing sales revenue may be.

The Dallas arts district

The Dallas arts district

Technology provides all businesses with unlimited connectivity to current and potential clients. We all know this since years. However useful the internet and mobile tech have become though, there are still those who fail to take advantage. Here are a the five most visible real estate businesses in Dallas. See if you agree with my assessment of their digital prowess. As a point of departure, I have eliminated the agencies that have gained search engine positioning solely by virtue of placing ads. This is what I would call "lazy" real estate marketing, which is self explanatory. I have also left out the SERPs where national entities like Trulia have usurped local agencies by virtue of sheer SEO power. The reader should understand, an organically excellent digital presence, could easily outweigh a "paid for" solution, by purchasing the same ads etc. Now that his is out of the way, here are Dallas' best.


InTownDallas landing page is from the early days of the internet

Revelation: Dallas Gives Up On Internet!

Two search engine pages full of ads, and endless cookie cutter national entities like and Coldwell Banker sites, and I finally found a Web 1.0 web listing for Intown Properties of Dallas. My first reaction was a ceremonial, "wow". Then I thought, "This is the best Dallas has to offer?" It's so apparent that Earl and Charlene Hoppenrath founded Intown Properties in early 2000, and slapped up this website, and then went about the business of sticking signs in yards and waiting on Yellow Pages calls. I won't bother to offer suggestions, but here is a rundown of the company's digital footprint.

  • Estimated visitors per month – roughly 1400 - at Alexa 4 million, there is not enough data to measure
  • Facebook Fans – Unknown
  • Twitter Engagement – Joined 2011 – 106 followers - tweets a few times a month
  • LinkedIn – Unknown - I did find Charlene Hoppenrath's however
  • Google "Mobile Friendly Test" - Failed miserably

To be honest, I find this Dallas revelation unbelievable. It's as if America's 4th largest city has rolled up the sidewalks and abandoned property business. I hate to be so negative, but Intown Properties of Dallas is a 1 on a scale of 10 (and this is generous).

DFW Realtors

DFW Realtors landing page shows a minimal effort - Social buttons present

DFW Urban Realty sits just beneath the "Intown" search result. The Dallas-Forth Worth company has a similarly archaic website, but one that offers some hope for at least social media effort. Again, I'll move straight into the numbers.

  • Estimated visitors per month – 17,300 and climbing - the broker has even hired SEO work done
  • Facebook Fans – 1000 - The company knows absolutely nothing about posting
  • Twitter Engagement – Joined 2009 – 546 followers - tweets every day or two
  • LinkedIn – 500 + connections - The broker's profile, fairly nice, a positive engagment
  • Google "Mobile Friendly Test" - Yes

Owner/Broker Kenneth Cox has not turned over heaven and Earth in order to develop internet marketing channels, but its clear he is aware they exist. The LinkedIn presence, in particular, attests to his digital business acumen. A mobile friendly site does not hurt either. Still, the agent could be beating the competition with more "user friendliness" and marketing. DFW rates 3 on a scale of 10, based on the hundreds of websites and digital presences I have analyzed.

Knox & Associates

Knox & Associates website is mobile and user friendly - for the few who see it

Knox & Associates can be found on the third page of Google search. The company even got  Real Estate Webmasters to create a stunning, image-centric, and modern website. Sadly, few people ever see it.

  • Estimated visitors per month – 759 (Compete as of April) - the broker's web team did a nice job
  • Facebook Fans – Unknown
  • Twitter Engagement – Yes - Broker, Jeff Knox has a Twitter profile with 1476 followers
  • LinkedIn – 174 connections - The broker's also has a profile with 500 + connections
  • Google "Mobile Friendly Test" - Yes

Jeff Knox has made some effort here. I do not applaud these efforts further because they have availed his business minimally. His team has done some good work, but even the great articles on the company blog show a lack of enthusiasm. Posts by Knox are not even shared on the LinkedIn or other presences. Knox & Associates rates 5 on a scale of 10.

Briggs & Freeman reflect the luxury Sotheby's is noted for

Briggs & Freeman reflect the luxury Sotheby's is noted for

Briggs Freeman is a Sotheby's sporting a nice, if typical website for the luxury real estate genre. Lots of social media buttons up top, made me optimistic as to the digital effort, as did drilling down to find real social engagement. The apparent digital marketing effort made me wonder though, at just how the company slid down to page 3 in search?  The company started back in 1960 shows real prowess and investment in channel management. They even have a hot Instagram presence too, as illustrate in this beautiful share below.

So what gives? I wonder. The it hit me, the the company did their homework SEO wise as well. Briggs Freeman does not want to rank for general real estate queries, and they do not. Search "luxury real estate Dallas", and there they are, in the middle of the page underneath ads.

  • Estimated visitors per month – 17,699  (Compete as of May) - and engaged users too
  • Facebook Fans – 4936 - perfect posting schedule, aesthetics in place
  • Twitter Engagement – Yes - 1505 followers with ample tweet frequency
  • LinkedIn – 306 connections - ample aesthetics and brand presence
  • Google "Mobile Friendly Test" - Yes

The long and short here is, Robbie Briggs has touched all the bases on the digital side of his firm's business. While any concern can expand or improve on capability, compared to the other Dallas Realtors, Briggs & Freeman can only serve as the benchmark for emulation. I was pleasantly surprised to find out all of Dallas had not surrendered to ad-centric easy ways out. Briggs Freeman  rates an enthusiastic 8 on a scale of 10. 

Mathews Nichols Group website

Mathews Nichols Group website

Mathews Nichols Group got their "luxury" search placement the easy way, by buying it. Searching luxury real estate to consider keyword stuffing and other SEO magic, I discovered many Dallas Realtors just putting up the dough and getting on the first search page. The firm is indicative (for me) of those that succeed in gaining revenue, who then fail to capitalize on their brand's prowess. The fact the company abandoned Twitter altogether in 2015 says  a lot about complacency. The same goes for Facebook, except that social channel is not dead yet.

Interestingly, even buying Google ads has not been so effective for the company, as the site traffic below indicates. It's a shame for a company with resources, and the know how, to lose revenue share like this.

  • Estimated visitors per month – 1281(Compete as of May) - this should be many more with ads
  • Facebook Fans – 346
  • Twitter Engagement – Stopped in 2015 - 1346
  • LinkedIn – 27  connections - a placeholder basically
  • Google "Mobile Friendly Test" - Yes

This company rates  4 on a scale of 10 on the strength of what "could be". Almost all of the correct elements are in place, and there is clearly some revenue for placing ads, so I cannot understand why the company does not fully engage. I guess they did give up when a genie did not pop out of the WWW and reward them?

Summary: A Lone Star in Dallas

I'll admit, discovering Briggs & Freeman caught targeting keyword search supremacy had me doubting my own digital expertises for a moment. "Have I misunderstood the Dallas real estate marketing online?" I wondered until I searched collateral terms like "prime", "luxurious", and "high end" properties there. Nope, Briggs & Freeman cornered the market on new age marketing channels in Dallas. But here's the real dig.

The Dallas Morning News just reported that the city's "boom" market may soon slump over regulations and other features of the economy. What this means for Dallas agencies is more competition. Boom or bust, revenue can only truly be optimized by optimizing the businesses engaged in commerce. Lost revenue over lost leads and conversions, is the same in either market situation. I'll not even get into the cost of ads versus other marketing and PR strategies. "Set it and let it" digital strategies only work to a point, and Dallas agents have just plain "left" the game. Factor in innovators like Dallas's Alex Doubet establishing a flat free agency called Door, and the scene in Dallas is about to get edgy.

Now that I have scared the pants off Dallas brokers, I'll try and get Doubet for an interview later on. Stay tuned for more Dallas, Texas stars. Meanwhile here is Door's Instagram feed up and running...

Summer is coming. Find a pool. Find a home with a pool. Let us help. #thisisdoor

A photo posted by Door (@thisisdoor) on

Phil Butler is a former engineer, contractor, and telecommunications professional who is editor of several influential online media outlets including part owner of Pamil Visions with wife Mihaela. Phil began his digital ramblings via several of the world’s most noted tech blogs, at the advent of blogging as a form of journalistic license. Phil is currently top interviewer, and journalist at Realty Biz News.
  • 2 comments on “Did Dallas Agents Just Give Up On Digital?”

    1. My website does quite well for first page ranks against Zillow and other high PR sites when it comes to long-tail. I after reading this article, I realize it is already ranking well for luxurious. Now will work in other good suggestions found here. Thanks!

      1. Hi Jason, I hope I am not bursting the bubble here, but at Alexa 14 million and 400 something visits a month, your site is not busting down the digital trail to Fort Worth property of any kind. The social links on the landing revert back to your own site, the aesthetics will ensure anybody who comes, leaves, and the contact form went out 20 years ago. I don't know what all else is wrong, but a cursory SEO review indicates the site does not even have a sitemap in place for Google. Am I on the wrong site?

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