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“Just Be Human”: Placester’s Fred Townes on How to Improve Lead Conversion

By Colin Ryan

Industry News

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During a panel at Inman News’s Real Estate Connect 2012, Placester CTO Frederick Townes discussed ways to maximize real estate lead conversion on the web, suggesting that small adjustments in the look, feel, and messaging on a web page, not a major boost in overall traffic, may be the key to capturing more prospects.

“One of the biggest issues is typically not understanding what kinds of qualities of a landing page contribute to a conversion,” Townes said. “So whether that’s the call to action, the positioning of a form, the elements in a form . . . all these things need to be experimented with.”

Townes pointed out that finding the layout and message that work for you require persistence and, above all, patience. “It’s about understanding that the website needs to be tweaked and measured. Tweaking it on a Monday and expecting to have more insight on Tuesday is not practical.”

Townes went on to suggest that in addition to maximizing your website for the eye and ear, it’s also crucial to let real estate consumers know that behind that button or contact form are real people looking to help them find what they’re looking for.

“Just be human,” Townes suggested. “People use the web today to safely explore, to do discovery on their own . . . What we want to do as real estate professionals is allow them to do that, facilitate it, empower them.” In many cases, that means giving consumers clear expectations about what they’re signing up for. “The headline matters. The field labels matter . . . The one or two lines above the fields, that makes a difference, to say, ‘hey, we’re not going to spam you.’”

Once you’ve created a safe environment for visitors, Townes said, you can find more technical ways to improve your conversion rate, such as adding more fields to your forms to filter out unqualified leads.

Ultimately, though, it’s the human touch of your follow-up that’s going to distinguish you from the competition and make your job easier. “At the end of the day, [consumers] still need a human relationship,” Townes noted. “So the experience that we create through the website and through how we follow up and interact, developing that relationship . . . is what’s going to make the difference, with billions of websites and all these different variables we have to tweak and knobs we have to turn all the time.”

Want to hear more from Fred at Real Estate Connect? Check out all our our video coverage of Fred and the rest of the panel discussion on our YouTube Channel.

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