How to design a better online experience

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customerexperience POST

Key Takeaways

  • When is the last time you reviewed your main website for consumer experience?
  • What is it like to fill out a request for help?
  • Every consumer deserves a seamless experience getting to know you. Have you removed the hurdles?

This post was originally authored by Rachel Hite at Inman Select.

I have been experimenting with Google cards on my smartphone for over a year now. I have agreed to let Google have access to my GPS and internet search history, and in exchange, it makes suggestions for events, traffic updates, news and even movies, books and TV shows that I might enjoy.

In short, Google has made it easy for me to find the things I love. What does this have to do with converting leads? Everything!

Here lies the responsibility of search engines and cookie laden marketing technology; these “bots” know us so well, but are they showing us a full and fair picture of the information we are consuming?

I feel that our industry has the same responsibility to continue to raise the bar about educating the consumer about the home purchase and home sales process. So what is an agent to do? Hold a mirror up to your current online marketing plan and see what the consumer sees.

Your online experience does not just encompass your personal website — it’s your entire online presence, including websites, social media profiles and industry profiles. Everything including your business cards and your listing presentation — is connected directly to the consumer.

Write a better bio
Who are you? How easy is it to find out who you are and what your niche is? Does your bio include important points about how you ended up in real estate? Does it include some hobbies to humanize you?

If you have designations, have you explained when, why and what they are? Have you talked about what neighborhoods you have recently sold in? Who says you only update your bio when you jump brokerages or win an award? Nevermore!

Make a commitment to update your bio on a regular basis. You grow every month in your career, do not be afraid to celebrate milestones large and small.

Take a hard look at your website
If you have not updated your website in the past five years, chances are it looks like it. If it’s filled with canned content, cheesy stock photos of deliriously happy people jumping in the front yards of their newly purchased home — then perhaps its time for an update.

If it looks like you have never updated the purchased template, clients can tell. Try local photography, a hot list of your favorite stores and restaurants and information on important milestones, and a great squeeze page for wanted contacts.

SEO works very differently than what it did 10 years ago; it is very difficult to compete with the titans unless you have a dedicated content plan that is laced with modern Google strategy. In fact, using old school SEO tactics might actually hurt your Google ranking.

Go mobile all the way
You need to see how your website performs on various smart devices. Mobile friendly sites are a must. If the site is not responsive, you might be missing out on potential clients, both buyers, and sellers.

Many agents assume that their very expensive website packages perform great on mobile, and then they discover that the sites are not mobile friendly.

Working with your webmaster to get your site modernized might be time-consuming, so make sure to have detailed notes of exactly what you want.

Video marketing
Careful kids, this can make or break you! Video has natural organic growth built into it for marketing on most social media platforms.

Things to keep in mind:

  • Lighting is key. Do a quick run through of your thoughts before going life.
  • Make sure to get homeowner’s approval to film their home, especially if it’s currently occupied. Personal possessions and photos in the background can create safety concerns.
  • Remember that your client’s personal information needs to be top-of-mind. I see many agents grabbing their iPhones and going for it, but in the process, they are talking about prospecting and sharing intimate details about their clients that could come back and haunt them.

When you market online, it will be permanently attached to your digital footprint. Make sure you associate your digital legacy with quality high-value content.

Don’t expect miracles from IDX
If it is in your budget, it cannot hurt. But do not expect it to do miracles. Most consumers are starting their search on smartphone applications from Zillow, realtor.com and more.

It is becoming harder and harder to compete with the technology of these search titans. Make sure you have claimed your free profiles on these sites, and don’t stress IDX because honestly unless you have a committed digital marketing campaign to drive traffic to a personal website, the chances of someone stumbling upon it are slim.

Your budget would be better spent crafting Facebook ads and other forms of low budget digital marketing. Your personal site is going to be mainly used as a vehicle for lead capture with direct marketing campaigns on social media.

Make sure people can find you
Are you 100 percent sure without a doubt that your email and phone number are the same everywhere? When I’m working with agents, especially those who have been in the business for several years, I can usually find a chain of confusing emails and phone numbers from previous brokerages.

Make sure things match. I also usually find several cheapo, quick-fix template website solutions that have been abandoned but are still being paid for. Remember to check your business credit card to make sure you are not paying for something you don’t use.

Check your forms
How is your lead capture process? Is the form short and easy to fill out? Have you tested to make sure that the entry is not buggy on all internet search browsers?

Can you fill it out online and on a mobile device? What does the form look like when you receive it?

Make sure the notification is not ending up in your spam or junk mail folder. Almost all the sites have the option to alter the message clients receive after they register on your site.

Make sure it is personal and showcases your personality — this shows you pay attention to details and can catch their attention as opposed to a normal canned response.

There is a shift going on in our industry. This shift is so exciting because I know that it is going to raise the bar for consumers. The shift is toward creating a more robust and vivid experience for consumers, and honestly, this shift is necessary for our survival.

Every homeowner deserves a positive experience with their home sales transaction. It’s not just a sale — it’s someone’s life. Let’s continue to raise the bar, clean up the templates and make some magic.

 

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