The Secret Formula for a Sticky Website
Like most real estate professionals, you're probably spending a lot of hard-earned money on your website. It's one of those necessary evils that a small business owner faces. Unfortunately, consumers may not be spending much time on your site – much less using it to communicate with you about purchasing or selling their next home.
If you're completely honest with yourself, the majority of your leads are probably coming from your sphere of influence, past clients and customers, yard signs and of course other agents through the MLS.
True, many other forms of advertising help generate leads to your phone (including your website), but unfortunately you might be losing a lot of business through your current site. In the sales funnel marketing example, as well as in my technology presentations I deliver around the world, I call that a "leak" in your sales bucket.
I have two questions for you. First, how can you capture more leads through your website? Second, how can you make your website more "sticky" for consumers when they visit your Internet storefront? In a new speaking presentation I have developed entitled, "The Secret Formula for a Sticky website," I address seven tips to help make your website more profitable:
1. Keep it simple. Consumers don't want to navigate through a lot of "clutter." A good example is the success of Google compared to rival Yahoo. Yes, Yahoo ranks in the top 10 most visited websites, but Google is number one! Most consumers want your website to be simple, so take a good look at your current site to see how user-friendly and easy it is to navigate for today's busy Internet shopper.
2. Tell your story. This is probably your most overlooked page on your website, and if the truth is known, a page that you rarely change. First and foremost, understand and be mindful that the most visited page on any website for first-time visitors is normally the "about us" page. Think of how many times you have visited a website, curious to know more about it, and immediately clicked on the "about us" page. For your real estate business, this page introduces you to the online consumer and can be a powerful tool. Unfortunately, many agents have a brief bio touting all of their designations and claims to fame and fail to include a story about who they really are.
Use video. Create a PowerPoint that you can upload to SlideShare and embed on your site. There are many creative ways to tell your story with multimedia tools. Click here for the bonus video I created to preview some ideas to spice up your "about us" page.
3. Be innovative. Continuing the theme from our previous point, innovation is another integral part of creating some stickiness to your online office. Video, audios, embeds of properties through SlideShare and other ways to present listing information are on the rise. According to a recent study by Google from their ZMOT (Zero Moment of Truth), approximately 68 percent of consumers watch a YouTube video to find out more about retailers. YouTube also ranks in the top three or four most visited websites. So promoting you, your company, property listings and more through YouTube – and then embedding back to your website – can help drive traffic to your Internet storefront and make your website more sticky.
4. Solve problems. Today's Internet consumer is on the hunt to solve problems and find solutions. If your website is not a place to help consumers solve problems, you're missing out on a big opportunity. Recently, I began creating a two-minute tech tip for my email list at BusinessTechGuy.com. Previously, I had sent a recap of my blog posts via e-newsletter and thought this was helping me grow my speaking businesses.
Finally, I heard someone discuss this topic of helping to solve problems and how to focus more on the "non-selling" communication to my audience. Now, most of my communication to my mailing list revolves around this principle. My tips are short and focused on helping people figure out ways to save time and make more money using today's technology. The results have been overwhelming! Each and every time I send my tip out, I receive many positive responses and, yes, new requests for my speaking services. Plus, I'm adding great content to my website for future visitors to stop, stay and look around for a longer period of time.
The other important point to solving problems for consumers in your marketplace is that it helps elevate you as a community expert and the source to turn to for real estate needs.
Take a sheet of paper and ask yourself what are some problems buyers and sellers might have in your area? You can include first-time buyers, veterans, seniors, people who may be in a financial situation and forced to sell quickly, relocation and more. Trust me, you will have an exhaustive list that you can begin working on. And while you're adding solutions to you site, remember to answer them in a creative way, as our previous sticky website point suggested.
5. Think social. Everyone knows social media is huge, and a great way to drive traffic to your website is to incorporate the appropriate social media tools. Make sure that visitors can share your blog posts and information on your website when they read articles where you solve problems. Including Twitter feeds and Facebook interactions and comments will also keep people on your site longer.
6. Allow for comments. If you're using a WordPress website, you can incorporate the commenting feature much easier than most boilerplate websites. But research and data I've conducted on this topic indicates that comments can help create a sticky website. Think about the last time you visited YouTube in search for a video on a topic. Which video did you look at first: the one with 300,000+ views or the one with 42? We're creatures of habit, and we like to participate and view those items that show activity by others. Allowing people to add comments can be good and bad, but it can also keep us mindful of the ability to stay on top of our game and learn from our consumers about their expectations and desires from our posts and website content.
7. Track visitors' habits. Let's face it, no one wants to spend a lot of time looking at website statistics when we could be out earning more business. True, you might want to delegate this to someone else, but a small amount of time reviewing your visitors' habits on your website can be vital in helping you build and customize content. By making changes to what works – and avoiding what doesn't – you can quickly build a website that is sticky.
By the way, the information you will learn from this exercise will be beneficial for you to know and convey during your listing presentations with possible sellers on where your buyers come from. Having the ability to share this data in a knowledgeable fashion can make you look professional and ready to market their properties.
If you think you might have a hole in your "sales funnel" through your website, you now have seven new compounds to use and incorporate into your bucket to plug those leaks. Develop a strategy to keep your website simple, tell others your story, be innovative, solve problems, think social, allow for comments and track your visitors' habits. By adding these suggestions, you will create a website that is not only "sticky" for consumers, but profitable as well.
John Mayfield, ABR, CRB, GRI, is a licensed real estate broker in Missouri and Florida and travels throughout the U.S. and internationally giving presentations to real estate companies and associations. John was the 2010 president of CRB (the Council of Real Estate Brokerage Managers). John is the author of seven books and creator of the "5-Minute Series for Real Estate Agents." You can find out more about John and discover some free resources for your business at www.BusinessTechGuy.com/wcr.
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