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Why a Fancy Website Doesn’t Cut It

As an internet marketing professional, I’ve seen a lot of digital marketing efforts take off. I’ve also seen plenty of marketing endeavors fail for a variety of reasons.

There’s a lot involved in starting a real estate business, including financing, licensing, purchasing office space, and—you guessed it—marketing. Unfortunately, many realtors that I’ve come in contact with miss the mark when it comes to marketing their business online. Why? Because they think that a “fancy” website will help sell their services to prospective clients.

Fancy Website Don’ts

Although it’s not always the case, fancy websites tend to be confusing websites that rely heavily on Flash to support large banners, rotating images, and videos that play automatically. While a website with these attributes is a web designer’s dream, it’s likely that a visitor—and a potential client—will be less enamored with all of these bells and whistles. It makes it difficult to obtain the decision-making information they are searching for—how the business (and its owner) defines itself, what services are offered, and what their next step should be.

When on the hunt for a realtor will prospective clients want to sit through a 45-second Flash montage on your website when all they want to do is call you to discuss their specific needs? No. Additionally, not all prospective clients will have
up-to-date software or an internet browser that supports all of the graphics on the website, which means that they will be prompted to install or update software to simply view the site. It’s likely that the information-hungry visitor will move on to a site that he can easily and fully access before taking the time to update and/or install his software. Realtors can read more here about Why Most Websites Fail.

Once you’ve made sure that your site is attractive without being overly animated, think about the content on the site. Does it reek of self-promotion? The bottom line is that visitors to your website are looking for answers, so provide them with this information. If your potential clients want to know more about you, your qualifications, and the history of your company, they will visit the “About” page. This should be full of accurate, persuasive, well written, and easy-to-understand information.

Fancy Website Dos

The internet is ever-evolving. I’ve seen a lot of marketing trends come and go. I’ve also seen a number of practices stick around and yield big results. To make your website as effective as possible, consider the following:

Display your phone number (with a click-to-call feature for Smartphones
when possible), your address, and your hours of operation at the top of every
page on your site.

  • Take care when designing your navigation. It should be clear, easy to use, and available for both computer and mobile users.
  • Have a well-written, motivating call to action, which includes your phone number, on each page. For local products and services, most people will still want to speak to someone so making this as easy as possible just makes good sense.
  • Offer easy-to-obtain information by providing a place for visitors to enter their email address in exchange for valuable information that will help them make an informed decision. Some of your site’s visitors will still be on the research end of the buying continuum.
  • Answer visitors’ questions. An attractive website might draw a visitor, but quality, helpful content will keep a visitor on your site and encourage him to share your site with others. Whether you have an “Information” or an FAQ page, visitors need to be able to find quality answers to their questions quickly and easily.

All about SEO

Just like the art of internet marketing, the rules of SEO are always changing. Because of this, it’s important to identify what terms you want to be found for so that you can make them a priority on your website and within your marketing efforts. For example, if you’re a realtor in Dallas, Texas, you might focus on the following terms:

  • Dallas realtor
  • Realtor Dallas
  • Dallas housing
  • Buying a house in Dallas
  • North Texas realtor
  • DFW realtor
  • Buying a home in DFW

Once you’ve determined the terms you’d like to be found for, you can boost your SEO by filling your website with original, relevant information, building back links that lead to your website, increasing your social media outreach, and keeping up with the latest SEO trends. If SEO seems a bit confusing to you, be sure to read this non-technical description of how search engines work.

It’s impossible to ensure that these internet marketing tips will boost your website to the top of Google’s rankings, but I have seen these practices yield big results during my time in the industry. By taking these tips into account, you’re creating an attractive and effective platform that will help attract prospective clients and convert them by providing valuable information. In today’s day and age, good information often equates to good service, which is exactly what you strive to provide to your future homeowners.

About Scott Metcalfe

The Chief Strategist behind Fetch Local Customers, an online advertising firm that specializes in melding local search, social and mobile marketing, and local advertising technologies and strategies.

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  • Ahh, the ol’ Flash montage. Here’s my favorite example: http://www.atlantahomesatlantarealestate.com/intro.html

    • Scott Metcalfe

      Wow. That montage is really something! Just what every busy person wants to sit thru. A fine example indeed! Thanks Tina… I wonder if our other readers can top that with their favorites?

  • It’s always amazing when I hit a site that has an autoplay video or worse yet background music in real estate. It’s the online equivalent of a guy with a comb-over in a tacky suit running up to you on a used car lot!

    • Scott Metcalfe

      Amen! Now where are those white leather shoes and plaid jacket of mine…

  • Unfortunately it’s very easy to get caught up in the ‘more is better’ mindset when creating a site. Sleek yet functional isn’t always an easy task.

    • Scott Metcalfe

      Thanks Michael. You are correct. Sleek yet functional isn’t always easy but it should be the goal!

  • The links are not showing Why Most Websites Fail and sure to read this non-technical description of how search engines work. Can you hook me up?

  • Jillian Cariola

    I hate real estate websites with lots of fancy-schmancy effects and not a lot of informative content, too; it’s like they’re distracting you from the fact that they don’t really have much to offer. And Flash websites while I’m using a slow internet connection? Don’t get me started…

  • These are some great tips Scott. I know what you mean. When I go to a site and ads are blinking, flashing or moving it just makes me want to leave. Keep it quiet and simple and let me read in peace:)

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