It should be obvious by now that every real estate agent or broker needs to have a website and that every real estate website needs to have a plan to get people to it. What may not be as apparent to some who have established both of these already is that certain elements of a website can render the most beautiful web design or the most effective online marketing plan completely useless.
One specific, and vital, element of a real estate website that deserves the utmost attention to detail is the web lead form. Basically any form on your real estate website that requests information from your visitors, whether it be a name, email, phone, address or much more, will play a huge role in how well your website generates leads for you. A poorly designed form can mean the difference between 10 leads a month and 100 leads a month.
To kick off the New Year, Real Estate Marketing Blog is introducing a featured guest post / case study from Kevin Kaiser of the marketing team at Military Homes Realty, specialists in military homes, to help explain some useful tips to properly optimize a real estate web lead form. With these simple recommendations, you should be able to see a significant increase in your website conversion rates.
OPPORTUNITY: If you are interested in featuring your guest post on our blog, then please let us know by completing the simple form here. Submissions will be reviewed and you will be contacted if we find that your information is useful to the real estate community as we have with the featured post below.
Why No One Fills Out Your Form
Recently our site was working with a mortgage company as an add-on service for our military realty site. They were having some problems getting people to fill out their forms and asked if I had any suggestions. Taking a look at some of their stats I found that they were getting plenty of traffic to the site and appeared to have a good number of visits to the form page itself. What was stopping people from filling out the form once they got to the page?
It had a great layout, great fonts, and just looked overall appealing at first glance. I decided to start filling out the form so I knew what I was working with. It took me at least 10 minutes to fill out the form! Whenever I go to a site, the only time I’ll spend more than 5 minutes on a form is when I’m buying something and I have to walk to the other end of my house to find my credit card and then enter all those numbers in. Any other form and I’ll quit 2 minutes in and say this is taking way too long. And apparently that is what everyone else was thinking as well.
When it comes to forms on your site, the short lead forms work the best. Keep it Simple, Stupid (KISS). You have to ask this question to yourself for each and every field that you are thinking of putting on your form: “Is this field necessary?” You’re going to call them in a couple minutes anyways, (right? Cause you always call back as soon as possible and if you’re not then you need to start doing that) so why not get the rest of their information on the phone.
The goal of your website forms is to get the lead submitted with the bare minimum necessary to qualify it as a good lead. Then make the follow up call and take the sale from there. Once you take a look at your form and ask yourself that simple question “is this field necessary?”, I’m sure that you will eliminate at least one field and maybe even more.
Change Your Questions
Even if you decide that the information is needed, you could possible ask it in a different way. A great example of this is where the form on the mortgage site was asking for information such as your credit score and SSN. Most people don’t know their credit score off the top of their head. But as a mortgage site, credit score is important, so instead of eliminating the question, I told them they should just have them estimate their credit score.
This still allowed for them to see what leads were high priority (people with great credit scores) and which leads were low priority (the people with low credit scores) and it allowed people to easily fill out the form. I can easily say my credit is great, but it takes me effort to find out that my actual credit score is 750. Then after the prospect fills out the form, the lender can call and get further information to find out his credit score if needed.
Why You Should Experiment
After doing this, I told my buddy who runs a surety bonds website about it. His lead form was about 25 questions long. No one filled it out. After I told him what I had found from working with the mortgage company’s website, he decided to shorten his form drastically and told me it increased conversions ten-fold.
This evidence shows that lead forms hold a universal truth for all fields of business, and certainly transfer into the realty field as we had the same success before we redesigned the purpose of our site. People want to fill out the bare minimum and nothing more and if another site asks fewer questions, they will fill out their form and not yours. With some simple testing using Google website optimizer, your site could start bringing in a lot more leads instead of being essentially worthless to your business.
If you have had any experience, success stories, problems or questions about optimizing your web lead forms, then we would love to hear about them. Conversion optimization and analysis is something that we really enjoy so feel free to put your website under the microscope with us if your real estate website is not converting visitors to leads like you need it to.