During a break between sessions, we were amused by overhearing someone talking to a marketing client of theirs. He was explaining (at great volume, we might add) why it’s important that a site has content that the search engines can read. Bryan Eisenburg (Future Now, Inc.) gave a brilliant speech about persuading consumers to buy when they really don’t want to be bothered. Some key points:
- The old advertising model used to be the equivalent of couch potatoes, people who just sit and watch (the best example: TV advertising). Today’s consumers want to interact.
- Word of mouth about products and services SPREADS LIKE WILDFIRE now. The example he gave was of the awful movie Gigli a few years ago. As people were leaving the theaters, they were texting people about how bad it was. It opened on a Tuesday, and was yanked from theaters entirely by Saturday.
- People want quality content and the ability to interact with it.
- Customers will decide when and how they will want to work with you. They are back in control!
- "Our B.S. Metersa Are Hypersensitive" – That’s why most ‘standard’ marketing copy no longer works. You have to really stand out in every way to leverage your value to potential buyers and listers.
- Marketing surveys show that 7/10 people don’t want to see advertising at all online… but people still want to buy!
- 92.5% of adults use the internet to research BEFORE they buy. This makes it clear that most people are going to have some kind of research phase before they are ready to commit to a realtor.
- Usability of sites is critical to keeping potential clients on your site; make your fonts and images adjustable, have multiple shots for each property, answer questions promptly (within 24 hours), or you’re waving money ‘bye-bye.’
- Most people spend a very small amount of their ad budget on site quality and most of it on traffic generation. It should be re-distributed so that you send fewer people to a better site that will convert more of your visitors into home buying or listing leads.
- Customers desire meaningful and relevant experiences; they don’t care what you think of yourself, only what you can do for them.
- Each visitor has a momentum. They may click multiple links on your site until they find what they want, but if they don’t find that information in the right time-frame, they will bounce from your site. That’s why every link on your site should matter; cut out anything that doesn’t provide value to the visitor.
- Don’t make people work AT ALL to find any promotion you’re running. There should be OBVIOUS navigation that will take them directly to what they came to your site for. So if you’re running a wine giveaway, and place ads for it, make sure your home page has an opportunity to convert via that giveaway placed prominently on the page.
- You have to persuade people to want to work with you. That doesn’t mean they have any stake in your sales process/agenda. So it’s critical that your website directly engage people with the right information and offers so that they can easily get what they want from you when they are ready.
- Different personality types will respond differently to your website. What’s the personality of the majority of people in your area? You can either try to cater to all the major types, or specifically target them, but you can’t ignore it as a critical factor.
- Best Buy and Smart Bargains scored highest on usability/marketing tests run by his company.
Q&A: Any great Web 2.0 (fully utilizing social networking sites) examples of success? Is there something that you’ve written that came across great offline? What is unique about your service that’s going to make people want to talk about it? Any specific recommendations you would have for real estate marketers? Real estate is a really complex sale. People go about things at different angles. Some people want more information than others. They need to be able to find useful information on your site. Home buyers will call you when they are ready to contact an agent, but NOT until they are totally ready, armed with the exact properties they want to check out, or with specific questions. How this directly pertains to real estate marketing: This reinforces the concept that you need to be very patient with internet leads, and prove to them over the long haul that you deserve their business. Home buyers have so many choices now, it rests on your shoulders to prove to them why you’re the #1 expert in your area who will give them the best service and support throughout the transaction. On a side note… you’ll probably see our smiling mugs on his Facebook account soon; he took a couple of snapshots of the audience for his profile!