The real estate market has hurt most real estate professionals across the country so I thought that there was no better time to reach out to everyone with some free and more importantly, extremely useful, advice to help real estate professionals make their websites more effective.
I am going to kick off this series of useful real estate marketing tips with something that is so obvious and easy that you just might kick yourself for not thinking of this already. This tip will help to make your site more effective in terms of usability, functionality, visitor retention and lead generation.
Real Estate Marketing Quick Tip 1
Grab someone who has never seen your website before. Make sure to get someone who will not be completely creeped out with you practically sitting on top of them and staring at them as they surf the Internet and your website. Once you have this person, ask them to sit down at a computer and go to your site. Are you ready for this mind blowing tip? Here it comes…
Watch how they interact on your site once it opens.
That’s it! No seriously, that is the tip. Bear with me if you are cursing at me for making you read this far.
One of the main things that site owners and marketing professionals neglect is how people actually interact with a website. Most people in the industry and those with websites rely so much on site analytics, data, numbers, etc. One thing we are all overseeing is the simplest of them all – how does someone who has never seen your site interact with it the first time they get there? This golden question might just be some of the best marketing research you have ever invested in.
Don’t get me wrong, I am a huge fan of site analytics and usability trends, but I have learned more in 10 minutes with a couple friends looking at and using a site I created than I have straining my eyes over any set of data for hours. Human interaction and personal observation is so much more telling and useful as it is live evidence of how people actually see and interact with your site.
Some things to observe when they are on your site:
1) Where do they click first?
2) Since you are sitting right there next to them they will probably ask you questions, so – What questions do they ask you first?
3) Listen for comments or sounds of frustration or elation from them (i.e. mumbles, grunts, laughing, smirks, etc)
4) How long do they stay on any given page?
5) Do they seem to be enamored and/or annoyed by any given element?
Some things to collect from them once they are finished:
1) Immediately upon exiting the site, ask them what they remember the most about it
2) If they are willing, ask them to sketch out your homepage. You will be amazed at how helpful this is because it will tell you what really stuck in their mind and if your site’s main page was memorable or not
3) Last but not least, ask them if they would send the site to their closest friends and tell them that they created it. This is a good one, because it forces them to be honest with you. If they are comfortable passing off your site to someone who respects them then that tells you that you just might be on the way to having a great site.
Simple right? Don’t feel bad if you haven’t done this yet. It took me months before this simple observation of actual human interaction fell off the idea tree and hit me square in the head.
DO these simple things and I GUARANTEE you will learn so much more about your site than you thought you knew or any other website expert has already told you.
Remember that traffic, numbers, cpc, stats, and all of those other metrics don’t mean much if they are not producing results for you. Results will not come if people simply don’t enjoy your site.
So get going. This is something you can do right now. We would love to hear your results. As a matter of fact, I am going to be providing our loyal readers with a Real Estate Marketing Tip every week….NO SIGN UP, NO CHARGE, NO OBLIGATION – just really useful, practical advice to make your site more effective.