Whether we all might like to think otherwise, a website is never “done”. if you let it sit, then it will do just that, SIT and do nothing for you. Getting traffic to your site is one thing. Converting the visitors that get to your site is quite another. There are websites that rank well in local searches, but they are not necessarily converting visitors to clients. Keywords and great SEO will go a long way to get visitors, but if you do not have an “Actionable Website” you simply will not convert.
Your website is the cornerstone of your online success. Many people choose to go with the most reasonably-priced web design option out there and end up throwing something online that is not at all effective and does not address the true purpose of your website which is to capture leads through high visitor participation.
Real estate marketing, especially residential, is all about generating interest in your services and capabilities. Capturing that audiences interest from the instant they click on your website, that’s how you achieve high ROI. If lead generation goals aren’t at the forefront and purpose for each and every single page within your website, then you are going to see a lot of people click away from it, and that means you’re losing business.
Many Realtors slap together a website with no strategy in mind. Before you even begin to think about the design or a domain name to use, answer a couple of questions:
- Who is your target audience?
- What does your ideal client want?
- Why do they need you as a Realtor?
- What are your top competitors doing?
- What will you offer your visitors to encourage them to give you their email address?
Create a Unique Website Design
Many of you are using a poorly designed, overused real estate template that is cluttered and has confusing and non compelling navigation. The content is stale and the navigation is poorly designed. You have no say in the layout of the elements on the website, and the effectiveness of generating leads on the website is sacrificed to pretty photos and alluring color schemes.
A well executed web design which incorporates your marketing strategies and manages to create action when visitors find your website is one that will be successful in capturing leads. The caveat here is that, providing that the website is promoted aggressively with timely and valuable quality content that speaks to your target audience on a frequent basis.
If you think otherwise you are misguided. A successful business person in any field knows that a good list of clients will provide a career of repeat business. Make no mistake about it.
Your website has one purpose and one purpose only…. and that is to capture your visitor’s email address. Every page, every post, every video, every landing page, every page title, every sign up form must convince the visitor to sign up to your email list or call you.
While you do want your website to be a great resource for helpful, timely information, keep in mind that your goal on each page is to convince the visitor to contact you.
Calls To Action are a MUST
Decide what you are going to offer as an incentive to get visitors to call you or sign up to your email list. Now create a call-to-action button.
Prominently place the call to action button above the fold of your website’s home page. This call to action button will feature a promotion for something of value you are offering to your visitor in return for their email address.
Many call to actions are overused and non-compelling. Get creative, you know what your visitors would like to receive from you, give it to them in return for their email address.
Here are some examples of “calls to action” or lead conversion tactics that I have seen that still work comparably well against your typical “contact form” or “have questions?”
- Make a prominent button on your homepage that offers people “Automated Email Updates” of properties only within their search criteria. The whole catch here is that this is automated, meaning that they don’t have to ever talk to you if they don’t want to, and they get those free email updates which save them time for searching thousands of different sites.
- Offer useful articles for buyers, sellers, renters, investors, etc. Don’t advertise the typical, “Tips for Buyers” or “Tips for Sellers” articles as those are so boring and overplayed. Instead, feature some specific, useful articles or newsletters about something like “The Top 5 Things to Save You Money When Buying a Home” or “Learn How to Get $25,000 More When Selling Your Home”
A good gauge when creating the offers you want to use to obtain the visitor’s email address is to just ask yourself if you would be willing to provide your personal information for what you are offering. If not, then what makes you think it will make someone else want to?
A typical real estate website has main navigation buttons that look like this:
About I Properties I MLS I Buyers I Sellers I Contact Us
Compare that with the compelling navigation below.
Free Market Report I Today’s Featured Listings I Search The MLS I Buyers and Sellers Tools I About Us
Both navigation menus will take the visitor to the same pages, however only the second menu will compel the visitor to click on the tab.
The positioning of the tabs on the menu bar is just as important as the title of the page. You want your Call to Actions to be prominently displayed in the first few tabs.
Content is King
You have heard me say this over and over again….You must provide quality content on a frequent basis to be viewed as a valuable resource and authority in your field.
Keep in mind at all times that the purpose of your content is to convert visitors to clients. Your content must answer their main question….how can you help me get what I want?
Some good practices when designing your website:
- Emphasize Benefits
- Establish yourself as an authority in your field
- Provide Housing Market Updates, buying and selling tips, Community resources
- Use no more than 3 colors for your website, including background, font and accent color.
- Provide high contrast between the font colors and the background colors to enhance readability using one of the 3 colors as the font color.
- Use a font size that is legible and easy to read
- “KISS”, reduce clutter and don’t confuse the visitor with lots of tabs and ads. Keep it simple and lead the visitor to the tabs you want them to click on to convert them to clients.
- Include client reviews. Have a dedicated page to list all of your client reviews. You can also scatter these on some of your pages if appropriate.
- Publish a Blog2 to 3 times a week
Some bad practices
Keep in mind “It’s Not About You”. The visitor couldn’t give a hoot about you when they are first visiting your website. Website’s that are all about how great you are does not answer the visitor’s question….how can you help me get what I want? Your website’s overall purpose is to get the email address of the visitor, and you will do so when the visitor finds the benefits he/she will derive when using your services.
- Get rid of the headshot of you from when you first received your real estate license.
- Get rid of your vanity URL. No one will be surfing the web looking for a Realtor in Phoenix with the name “John or Mary Smith”.
- Get rid of any animation or music. These will only distract the visitor.
- Check for broken links and “pages not found” errors. When a visitor encounters one of these on your website their impression is one whereby they begin to picture a person who is not detail oriented or reliable or just too busy to take care of their needs.
In summary, all of the above components help build a better lead conversion website. The main lessons to be learned here really come down the importance of a having a clear marketing strategy, and partnering that strategy with effective web design and marketing.
Expand Your Reach
Your website offers you a wonderful opportunity to expand your reach to your target audience through the power of the search engines. However in order to compete for those online visitors and have the chance to convert them to leads you have to decide if you are willing to devote the time to:
- Generating valuable content frequently?
- Create Youtube videos for your website of featured properties and communities?
- Come up with the offers for your Call-to-Actions.
- Manage the follow up with a strong email campaign.
Any less of a commitment will not get the job done. Any part time effort or inconsistent effort will not get the job done.