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Boomerang – the mechanics (Video)

See how Boomerang works and the steps needed to set it up

What’s in the video?

Great news, you’ve decided you want to go ahead with the Boomerang!

This email will look at how Boomerang actually works, and the steps we need to go through to set it up.  Don’t worry, when you sign up our customer service team will take work with you to identify the best approach in your instance, and to talk you, or your team through it.  It’s normally a trivial process (and we can be set up in a day or two).  It works on almost all agent websites and software systems.  However, we do need to confirm we have the necessary pieces to make the product possible on your site.

The video also explores the three different options we have for ingesting your Rightmove and Zoopla leads within minutes of those applicants enquiring, in order to fire the auto-response.  Below the video we include some more specific technical instructions which your technical team may need to help setting up on your mail server, etc…


(A)  Access to your property data

First of all we need to have a feed of your property data, from your software supplier.  This is so that we can analyse the incoming enquiries and match them to the correct property from your available stock.  Having made this match, we can reconstruct the links deep into your website, and we can also run smart matching, to produce the suggested similar properties.

Getting the feed set up is very easy to do, we do dozens of them each week, and our customer service team will walk you through the process, step by step, giving you the emails you need to send.

(B)  Checking we have a uniquely addressable URLs for your Property Pages

If you are a Homeflow website client Boomerang will work seamlessly, so you can skip this step.

However, if you have an existing website the system normally works fine, we’ll just need to make a quick check on your site.  The main thing we need to ensure is that we can recreate the URLs for the specific properties on your site, using your property reference numbers from your software feed.  This is so that the links in the Boomerang email can take the applicant directly into your site onto the correct property.  So long as your website is well built, and has uniquely addressable URLs this should be easy to do.  (And if it isn’t you have more serious problems for SEO, and we should be talking to you about your main website first!).

In some rare cases, it’s possible you don’t have uniquely addressable URLs using your property reference numbers.  In those cases, assuming you have a capable website developer, then it’s a relatively trivial job for them to add a nice simple forwarding URL, which grabs the property reference number from a URL we agree with them, and simply forwards the site visitor to the actual URL for the property on their system.  We’ve done this lots of times with various website builders.  We’re happy to work with them, or chat through what they would need to build for you to enable this (aside: we like talking to estate agent website designers, as we can often end up inviting them into our website designer programme as partners, so there’s something in it for both of us, beyond the initial set up).


Next, we need to be “ingesting the leads”.  There are three ways we can do that:

(1)  Direct API Access

The first and best way for us to operate the Boomerang is for us to connect to Rightmove and Zoopla directly via a computer to computer connection (called an “API”).  In order to access this API, we need to be sending the property datafeed to these portals directly.  We’ll need you to get permission from your software provider to do this, which we can help you with.  Also, before we can use this method, we need to be sure that you aren’t using the API to ingest your enquiries into your software system (if you are, you’ll need to keep this flow going, so we’ll switch to one of the methods below).

Once we’ve got this connection set up (our customer service team will walk you through the simple steps to do all this), we then get the applicant flow returned to us via a direct system interface – so this is the most robust method if we can get it.  You get the Rightmove and Zoopla email notifications exactly as normal.  There are also various other advantages to this method which we can explain as we go through the set up.

(2)  Email forwarding and parsing

The next method we can use is for you to simply forward all of your emails from Rightmove and Zoopla to our lead ingestor.

Our team will talk you (or your technical contact) through the steps to set up a simple forward rule on your email system.  This is best done at email server level, and not on branch or on individual’s computers.  All they need to do is forward copies of all emails to [email protected].

Using this method, you still get the emails from Rightmove and Zoopla exactly as normal, the only difference is that your systems send a copy of them on to us, instantly after the event.  We read those emails, chop the information we need out of them for you, ingest the lead and generate the Boomerang response from there.

This method is slightly less robust than the first method.  But it works in all cases, and avoids the need for us to be sending your property data, or getting in the way of your software system if that system ingests your enquiries directly from the API.  It’s also not as robust as the third method either, which leads us too…

(3)  Email switching

NB:  In the video the third method is listed as in development.  That is no longer the case, we are fully in production operations with this method now, and indeed it is preferable to method 2, for a variety of reasons.  It’s more robust, and is also the simplest method to set up, so if we can’t use method 1, this is the next resort.

With this option we give you an email to send to Rightmove and Zoopla to request switching out your “lead emails” (only your lead emails) with a new set of Homeflow branch email addresses for your branches to send the enquiries to.  They follow the pattern [email protected] (where 1234 is your branch code in our system).  We then get your lead emails directly from the portals.  We ingest them and send the Boomerang from there.  We redirect the original emails to you with two methods – directly from our mail server as they arrive (that’s powered by Google, and is totally robust), but also from our application, which can do a bunch of augmentation to the data for you too, to suggest similar properties, give you links to your own website and a bunch more.

You can choose various configuration options for suppressing the forwards if you want to work from our emails only, or suppressing our emails and continuing to work from the usual Rightmove and Zoopla alerts exactly as you do today.  You can even take both, if you want to route them to a side email folder for belt and braces reassurance.  We’ll talk you through those options on the phone, you can change them at any time.

Want to know more about Homeflow Boomerang?

Get in touch.

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