According to NAR research, 83% of all prospective buyers use the internet to search for homes. This number leaves no doubt that a website is a key part of the marketing campaign of a modern real estate agency. Per this article, I’m going to explain what you must do on your website in order to convert your visitors into customers.
Your website’s design must be clean and simple so that a potential customer who enters it the first time does not get lost. Forget about bells, whistles and other stuff that distract your leads from their way on buying a property. They come to your website to see homes, so show them homes first.
Don’t try to impress your website visitors with animation or any sort of “cool-looking stuff” that a guy from a web agency tries to sell you. A lot of your visitors will be mobile users who's smartphones are slower than desktop computers. Trust me — they will find all the “cool-looking stuff” annoying in the first 3-5 seconds and will leave your website.
Pay serious attention to the website navigation system. You ought to clearly show all the routes and directions a prospective buyer can take on your website. Are you providing buying and renting services? Put these two options on the main menu of your website. Do you have offices in multiple cities? Add dropdown navigation in the main menu of your website and call it “Locations”. However don’t overload the website navigation menu, keep there only the primary directions and drop the rest you have in the footer of the website.
Finally, put featured offers in front of the eyes of your leads. Keep them on the home page, not too far from the top of the page so that they are approachable without scrolling. Highlight listings in catalogs and search results. And add a special option in the main menu that navigates directly to the featured offers.
As I mentioned before a lot of your visitors will be mobile users. 73% of home buyers found information online using mobile devices. You should respect these customers and design your real estate website to be responsive. If your website doesn’t look good on the smartphones of your visitors then they will leave very soon.
The mobile version of your website must look seriously different from a desktop version. All UI elements must be big enough for finger tap, the font size of properties descriptions should be larger and listings images must have smaller dimensions for better visual appearance and performance of your website on the slow connection of mobile devices.
But it doesn’t mean that you need a mobile app in addition to the website. With modern technologies, it is not hard to make a website look and perform good on all devices — desktop, tablet, and smartphone. A bit of routine work, and you will be impressed with the result. Most importantly — the website’s code will remain mostly the same across all platforms.
I bet you knew that photos and video is the first thing your potential customers look at. A typical process flow for a visitor of a real estate website is:
So, what it basically means is that no one reads a description or specs of a property. Simply because they do a rational conscious choice at first step while setting up a search request parameters (like the number of bedrooms or location). After that a choice of your leads is subconscious, they click what looks visually appealing to them.
And don’t forget about the video! Video is a rockstar in terms of attracting new leads. It brings a prospective buyer a sense of presence and connection with a real estate property. When done right a video is perceived by a potential customer as a personal story. And of course, from the practical point of view, a video exposes all the benefits of a particular property.
To completely convince you I will show some stats here:
Your website has attracted the attention of prospective buyers — a proper navigation system brought the lead to high-quality photos, he likes the house and now he wants to talk about it. Be there when it happens — put a contact form in the right place of a potential customer’s journey.
It’s useless to fit a huge multi fields form on the home page of a website because when a lead visits your home page he has no questions to ask yet, he first wants to see what you have. Instead of overloading a home page with long forms put a short one-field form on a property details page, right under a photo gallery. A form should talk to your potential customer — “Like this property?”, then email field and a button “Contact us!”. You won’t believe — that’s more than enough! Your customers will love quick forms, and your sales team will have everything they need — an email and the page where this email came from.
In addition to the forms consider adding a real-time chat widget on your website. Some property buyers are impatient and will want to schedule an open house or ask for more details immediately. Put the widget on a permanently visible place of your website, but don’t be annoying.
As another way of communication that brings results in the long term suggest your website visitors subscribing to a newsletter. It works impressively well if you have a great blog content and regular offer’s updates. Nurture your subscribers with quality and relevant newsletters (with news or recent hot deals) and you will be surprised by a conversion rate.
Forms, real-time chat, newsletter, visitors behavior tracking — the data coming from all these sources on your website can and must be collected and exported to your CRM and provided then as raw work material to your sales team. Moreover, a lot of modern CRMs provide their forms and real-time chat widget out of the box. So, you don’t need to hire a web agency to develop them from scratch, they are already there and they are optimized for most use cases.
Some CRM platforms are also capable of analyzing your website visitors. For instance, the Hubspot CRM can tell which company your visitor works for. More advanced software can provide the contact information of a person. Don’t waste this data, find a proper place in your sales pipeline and integrate these identified visitors who came to your website but didn’t use forms or real-time chat to contact you.
When your website is done right and being driven with enough well-targeted traffic, it becomes the most important part of your marketing process. Make sure you provide quality content and follow the recommendations described above. In conjunction with an aggressive ads campaign, your website will become an invaluable source of qualified leads.