A few days ago, Marketing Moves was able to speak with Bryan Bowles, a serial entrepreneur out of the St. Louis startup scene, about his most recent venture, Transactly. In particular, we were interested in getting to know about his inspiration for the company, his marketing strategy for it, and some of the challenges he has faced with it.
Speaking on his motivation for starting Transactly, Bryan told me it spawned from a real estate brokerage he owns, Worth Clark Realty, which has been ranked #89 in Inc. 500. The industry is huge. Residential real estate, as an asset class, is a $29 trillion market after all. His inspiration was from witnessing a total lack of transparency in the residential real estate industry. When buying or selling a home, today’s consumers have no way of knowing what’s going on without having to text, call or email their agent. There is no central reference point – no application – that guides them through each step of home sale transaction. So he set out to fix that. Transactly is meant to be a dashboard for the real estate process. Because of this lack of a central point of communication in the home buying process, Bryan’s company adds value to both buyers and sellers by providing a better experience. He told me Transactly eliminates a lot of confusion, ambiguity, and communication issues that often arise in this process. This gives buyers and sellers peace of mind knowing where they are in the process and what the other side of the transaction is thinking. They are able to connect to top real estate agents over the internet, just as consumers have come to expect with so many other services. It benefits agents by freeing up a lot of their time by automating most of the communication and task management.
Next, we spoke about their go-to-market strategy. I was interested because Transactly is one of those software companies that seems to exist in an odd space. It needs both agents and their customers to be successful, buyers and sellers. Who should pay for it? How should it be advertised? Bryan told me that Transactly is a platform that anyone can use, so they actually pursued a number of different ways to get to market. The teams’ first thought was to make it a SaaS product for real estate agents, emphasizing that it will provide a better experience for their clients. However, Bryan knows the industry and figured that would be a tough sell, since most agents prefer not to pay for anything unless it’s guaranteed to add more business to their pipeline. They knew agents wanted new clients more than anything else, because of course, that’s where their money comes from. So instead of an SAAS model Transactly has gone to market by generating home buyer and seller leads across the US, and then pairing them with agents willing to use the platform. Bryan says that it has been working.
As a platform technology, they have a supply and a demand side. The supply side is the home buyers and sellers looking to buy and sell homes. The demand is the network of agents they’re building. Bryan says the more challenging side is the supply side, so that’s where the majority of their marketing efforts are. They’ve had good initial results with PPC, but their largest effort at the moment is creating content to help educate home buyers and sellers in every aspect of the real estate transaction – it’s a long-term play, but they’re already seeing the results. Bryan says the key is ensuring they create good, relevant content others are willing to share. This has always been the key in content marketing, and something that Marketing Moves has spoken on before. If you can’t get others to organically share your content, you aren’t going to be successful.
In addition to their digital marketing efforts, Transactly is also beginning conversations to create partnerships that help with their supply-side challenge. Bryan says they are close to striking a deal with a nationwide lender. It’s a deal that will not only help Transactly, but also help the lender with closing more loans because of the transparency the platform provides.
Transactly is definitely a startup to watch. Bryan is an entrepreneur with the experience to really shake up the industry, because it’s an industry that he knows. Transactly could eventually do to the housing market what Uber and Lyft have done to the taxicab market. By providing a useable tool that helps level the playing field, customers will be empowered to make what is usually a long and painful process much more easy and straightforward.