Choosing a Website Solution, Part 2: If You’re Not Driving Leads, You’re Wasting Your Time.
By Colin Ryan
The purpose of creating a website for your real estate business is not just to increase your visibility—it’s also to increase your accessibility. It’s important to drive traffic to your website, but you also have to make sure visitors know what to do when they get there.
First, make sure your site is clear about who you are and what you do. Very few visitors will make it to your site purely by a random accident. The Internet is too big, and the kinds of people who are actually looking to do business don’t have that kind of time. That doesn’t mean, however, that you should assume every hit on your site is someone who knows exactly what she’s looking for. Visitors have to know immediately that you’re a real estate professional looking to help them sell or buy their home. A spiffy banner or flash video introducing your site can be effective, but it better deliver that information quickly and clearly.
Second, make sure your site is clear about where you’re located. The Internet is not a local newspaper: anyone can access your site from anywhere. If you live in a place with a common name (Springfield, perhaps), people halfway across the country may end up on your site pretty frequently. What’s more, if someone searches “real estate agent Chicago” on Google, your Orlando-based business probably won’t be the first result—but that doesn’t mean it won’t be on the list. That said, visitors should know right away what communities or areas you serve. Otherwise, half of your leads will be about as useful as spam emails.
Third, make it easy for visitors to see what you have to offer. It’s all about convenience. Nobody is flipping through the yellow pages anymore. People won’t call you just because you’re a real estate agent, or because your company is in its hundredth year. They want to see that you have what they’re looking for before they pick up the phone, so let them know by making your listings available for them to browse. Furthermore, you need to make sure that those listings match your actual inventory at all times. That means updating them not just on a weekly basis, but whenever they change. If you leave up listings for homes that sold days or weeks ago, visitors may not only see you as lazy or negligent: they may also interpret this as a bait-and-switch ploy to rope them in. That will cost you leads.
Finally, make sure those people who are interested after visiting your site know how to reach you, and that they have more than one way of doing so. Display both an email and a phone number, along with any other contact information, prominently at the top or bottom of every page. It goes without saying that all of this information should reflect a high degree of professionalism; listing firstname.lastname@example.org as your email address or directing users to a personal Twitter account you use to gush about celebrity sightings is probably worse than not listing your contact information at all.
Above all, remember that no matter how bad the market is, your leads are out there, searching for the path to their new home. All you have to do is show them the way.
Published on December 9, 2011