As a real estate professional you understand the importance of “curb appeal” when it comes to selling properties, but why are you missing the importance of curb appeal when it comes to your website? There are plenty of listings management systems and webpage builders that make it easy to publish a listing online, but once the boilerplate listing is in place, that’s when the real work begins.
Here are some ways you can make your website work for you so that home buyers and sellers want to do business with you.
Speak the same language (or provide translation)
It’s easy to get lost in all the terms used specifically in the industry. Have you considered that your customer might not be familiar with terms like “co-op”, “townhouse”, “10/1 ARM” or “balloon mortgage”? Make sure to view your website from the perspective of the buyer, not a real estate insider. If they know the biz that well, they don’t need you. Understandably, some things can’t be simplified, so in those cases do your best to provide some translation on your site. Maybe this is an opportunity to create an offer for visitors to convert on your site in exchange for a glossary of terms, or a real estate 101 e-book?
Importance of Responsive websites
According to the National Association of Realtors, “Nine in 10 home buyers today rely on the Internet as one of their primary research sources, and most turn to the web as their first step. Additionally, approximately one-fifth of real estate related searches happen on mobile devices, and Google real estate related searches on mobile devices grew 120% percent year-over-year from 2011 to 2012”. This means that not only are potential customers going online to do their research, but also they’re using mobile devices. If your website is not built to automatically adapt to the specific screen size being used by the site visitor, the user experience will be compromised and it’s highly likely the visitor will give up and move on from your site. Have we mentioned that Google will penalize you if your site is not responsive? Yeah, that too.
Your prospects are doing a lot of online research. Why not help them out and send them to resources that are aligned with your business? A list of resources helps educate your visitor, so they’ll look to you as a great source of information and may return to your site looking for more direction.
Guide visitors through the buyer’s journey
Have you gone to a site and not known what to do once you’re there? Help your visitors out by creating some calls-to-action (CTA’s), which translate to lead generation. Using action verbs and very clear descriptions of what the visitor is supposed to do and what they’ll get in return, you can guide the visitor through the buyer’s journey. Things like “Download our checklist” or “Schedule a showing” are just a couple of examples.
Start a blog!
You might think blogs are just a marketing tool and not for real estate, but blogs are a big part of building your personal brand as a realtor. So much of buying or selling homes is personal. It’s not just transactional. People are looking to connect with their realtor. Buyers need to believe that their realtor is a real person who will listen to them, apply their expert knowledge to finding the perfect home, and share their wealth of experience in representing their best interests. So go ahead and share your insights and give some advice on a blog on your website. Show off your unique knowledge of your market. Give them a sense of how you work. Show them how you’re different. Most content management systems provide a blog module, and if yours doesn’t there’s always Wordpress.
Looks DO matter
Sorry to break it to you (although we suspect you already know), but looks do matter. If your site isn’t designed well, if it’s not user friendly, easy to navigate, or it’s just plain ugly, visitors will not stick around. There are just too many options for a visitor to “suffer” through a site. If you can use a template that your listing management system offers, that’s the easiest. But if that’s over your head or if you just don’t have the time to work on your site, shoot us an email. Making responsive, engaging sites that get leads to come to you is what we do!
These are some solid tips to make sure your site doesn’t suck. In fact, following this advice will set you apart from all of the other boilerplate realtor sites in your market. Bookmark this page and once you’ve made changes to improve your site, put a reminder in your calendar for 30 days from now to come back and check through these tips again. As soon as your new, suck-free website nets you just one extra sale, it will have more than paid for itself.