75% of people form their opinion of a website based on its aesthetics. (Digital Apeel)
It’s human nature to judge a book by its cover, a person by their appearance, and a business by its website.
You’ve heard it before: trust is the foundation of every relationship, both online and offline.
That’s why your website needs to reflect a strong trusting factor, or it will not generate enough leads, referrals, and clients to sustain your business growth for very long.
When visiting a website, users decide in 10 seconds or less whether they trust your company, based on the design of your website. (Blue Corona)
Did you know that your real estate website has 3 “instant” chances to start building trust with your ideal prospects and clients, while generating revenue for many months and years to come?
These are what we call Instant WebSite Profit Magnets. Such powerful elements that you can combine in your website design, to stir the interest of your ideal prospects, and start building strong, long-lasting relationships, one prospect at a time.
But more about this later. For now, let’s take a peek at today’s real estate company websites and realtor blogs. Some of them reflect the epic battle of David and Goliath where the younger and less experienced defeats the veteran, fully armed giant.
The secret lies in teaming up with a more experienced ally who can support you, and help you to take your business to the next level.
The biggest website design mistake that real estate companies make, is not working with an experienced TEAM to create a web design strategy that is specific to the vision, target audience, and business outcomes of your brand.
Your website design should look professional, impressive, and superior. Quite expensive you may think, and you may be right.
However, before you invest in website design, you should know that there is no need to go at it alone. More importantly, you should avoid rushing the process at all costs, or you may end up investing more time, energy and money than you should.
Website design is crucial to the overall growth and personal branding strategy of your real estate business, but you should consider that not all website designs are created equal.
Your website’s #1 priority is to build trust with your target prospects and clients from day one…
The best way to do this is by capturing their contact details before they leave and never come back.
Your website Google rankings, along with its revenue and profit margins is directly related to your website design function: its speed, appearance, and effectiveness in transforming visitors into ultra-raving fans and clients.
In order to achieve this, your entire website design, layout, and content have to work in sync and perform at its best.
This means converting the inquiries of complete strangers into business. Otherwise, you will not reach optimal profits, no matter the size of your advertising budget or the ingenuity of your marketing strategy.
What is conversion optimization you may ask?
Conversion optimization or conversion rate optimization (CRO) means that your website should make it super easy and highly compelling for visitors to take action based on what you require them to do, such as filling out a form requesting more information. Responses can take the form of email follow-ups, phone calls, and interactive chatbot messages.
Your ultimate goal is to ensure that each page, link, and action on your website leads to maximum conversions by understanding how your visitors interact with your website, and the obstacles preventing them from completing a certain action. That’s a constant marketing battle that companies of all sizes struggle with.
In marketing terms, an awesome website design that generates traffic without converting its visitors into loyal leads, referrals and clients, is a waste of precious money.
A low cash flow equates to the risk of debt, putting you out of business sooner rather than later.
It doesn’t matter if your website receives a multitude of visitors every day, statistics show that 58% of users leave a site with a poor layout or design, presenting the potential for a considerable loss in revenue.
Therefore, you should combine search engine optimization with website design and copywriting.
Blue Corona has found in a study that 73% of companies invest in design to differentiate their brand from the competition. But not all web design firms have SEO and copywriting skills.
Here’s what you need to do before hiring the person or agency who will handle your web design guy (or agency), whether starting from scratch or doing a complete redesign.
You need to consult an experienced strategic marketing consultant who uses what I call the BAS methodology:
Your consultant should grasp the brand mission, industry trends, and business goals of your real estate company, while correlating these factors with the core (1) problems, (2) challenges, (3) pain points, (4) values, (5) wants and needs of your target audience.
This is the first and most vital part of any website design & SEO project.
Sadly, too many firms don’t spend enough time on this. They rush the process, missing some of the most essential aspects in the process.
Your consultant should analyze your company’s past KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) and ROI (return on investment), while linking this with the expected outcomes and strategy for the following year.
This step requires a significant or complete shift in your mindset and strategy regarding revenue growth, rent prices, tenant turnover, monthly sales results, repair and maintenance costs, and other metrics.
Your consultant should help you create a proven SEO & website design strategy for achieving your outcomes, before implementing any conversion optimization methods. However, this step is often overlooked, leading to low revenue and profit despite a fantastic website.
Here are three vital questions to consider if you already have a website, and want to redesign it to generate continuous profit in today’s competitive market. This applies even if you’re starting a design from zero:
#1. Is my website loading ultra-fast, and is it mobile friendly?
53% of mobile users will leave a website if it loads in more than 3 seconds. (Web Alive)
If your website is optimized for mobile, users will stay longer, and be more inclined to share it on social media, boosting your visitor numbers.
If the loading time of a website decreases from 8 to 2 seconds, the conversion rate will climb with 74%. (Learning Hub)
#2. Is your website providing visitors with what they need, when they need it, and how they need it?
In web design, simplicity refers to the minimalistic design and usability of a website, which should be uncluttered.
A clean design will allow users to quickly find the information they seek. The content will take center stage, presenting the intention of your business without annoying users with unwanted information or clunky design formatting.
#3. Will your website design generate clients and sales or is it a liability?
You’re probably a real estate agent, industry expert or realtor blogger who may be experienced or are just starting out.
You care about your target prospects and want to combine offline with online marketing techniques to address their needs. A professional website presence will help you achieve this and you may even become an industry authority.
You want your website to become your ultimate sales generator, just like other realtors and real estate companies who are generating more revenue by using their website as a lead, referral, and client generating machine.
Like for e.g., here you can read: How She Got 5 Buyer Leads from Social Media…
… and here you can discover how Zillow Is Buying And Selling Lots Of Homes And It’s Almost Half Its Business Now.
However, you’re stuck and confused because you know deep down…
Website design is not an easy walk in the park.
In fact, it’s a painful, time-consuming and energy-draining process, no matter how skilled or passionate you’re about it.
Why? Because design skills and experience are not enough for a website to function properly and generate revenue. You need experts with various abilities, including SEO and copywriting, which are the two most essential technical and creative skills.
Website design signifies the eyes of your business and enables you to ensure that your target audience perceives the essence of your brand and its mission. It also distinguishes you from anyone else in the industry.
SEO denotes the ears of your business, and your ability to listen to the core (1) problems, (2) challenges, (3) pain points, (4) values, (5) wants and needs of your audience, while providing them with a quick fix or complete solution.
Copywriting is the mouth of your business, and refers to your ability to engage with strangers, converting them into prospects, loyal leads, referrals, and clients – for many years to come.
The real estate industry battle is all about getting the attention of your target audience, and bringing them into your marketing funnel.
And here’s what happens if you don’t get their attention faster than your competitors, by employing these 3 Instant WebSite Profit Magnets:
You will probably waste considerable time, energy, and marketing budget hoping to attract your best prospects, and high-paying clients, but end up dealing with bad leads.
Your business is going to lose face and market share.
Here’s what you need to do instead: your team should work in sync with those responsible for your web design, SEO, and copywriting, to ensure the optimal implementation of these five profit magnets:
1. Your home page.
Your website’s homepage should generate instant trust with target prospects, and help them achieve their goal, as fast as possible, or they’ll never come back.
Here’s an example of powerful home page design and structure, which reflects the personality of its owner, and helps to build instant trust with prospects and followers.
Your real estate website design homepage needs to follow a proven strategy to help build TRUST if you want to convert maximum traffic into leads and clients.
First of all, you need ultra-simple and easy-to-use site navigation and website design, which is consistent across your entire website.
It’s unlikely that your site visitors will stick around for long if your website is difficult to navigate.
Use a simple menu that’s accessible from each page of your site. To ensure clarity, you can create and hide child pages under a parent menu topic. When visitors hover over the parent menu item, the links to the additional pages will appear.
Or, you may want to completely remove the menu, using only a sidebar. You can even choose to use no sidebar, links, or distractions at all, since marketing tests have already proven this to be more profitable.
If you’re still not convinced, other companies have also removed their navigation to test this principle — and saw some pretty great results:
- SparkPage‘s conversion rate jumped from 9.2% to 17.6% over the month they ran a test by removing their top navigation.
- Yuppiechef saw a 100% increase in conversion rates (from 3% to 6%).
- Career Point College removed the top navigation, and modified its form layout, increasing the conversion rate with 336%.
- Moreover, some real estate agents and companies have turned their static home page into a more interactive zone where they regularly share blog articles, vlogs, or podcast shows.
“One of the best decisions I ever made in my real estate career, was to start a real estate blog,” ~ Bill Gassett, RE/MAX Executive Realty.
You should consider your blog a 24/7 automatic machine, which attracts and educates prospects to become lifelong loyal clients and referrals.
Kyle Hiscock @ Rochester Real Estate Blog says…
“Blogging provides the opportunity to show others that you’re an experienced professional in your industry, which is the primary reason I began blogging.”
Far too many real estate agents and realtors don’t take blogging, vlogging, and podcasting seriously, or they only publish content because others are doing it.
Too often, they publish content chaotically because they lack a content editorial calendar.
When it comes to blogging, you should follow the KISS principle instead.
Make it super easy and simple for your target audience to access the content and information they need by not overwhelming them with too many options. Satisfied customers translated to a higher ROI.
Your blog design structure and its content should follow a specific strategy, leading visitors from beginner to more advanced topics, just like the index of a book.
Therefore, you need a clear content publishing game plan, deciding in advance which topics and keywords to write or talk about, and which format will best showcase your content.
2. Your “about” page
Most real estate companies feature a standard, “about” page where the information they share is extremely self-centered revolving around their CEO, company, and team members.
It’s OK to boast about your experience and achievements. However, you need to focus on your PROSPECTS and their needs first.
I recommend that you create a “WHY” page instead, where you reveal the most authentic reason why you’re in business:
What are the core values and principles that you trust, and who are your ideal prospects and clients? The more targeted you are, the better.
Next, mention the vision and mission of your personal brand. Explained, in simple, crystal-clear terms.
Stephen FitzMaurice, Real Estate Agent PDX says…
“My clients, especially those buying or selling a home for the first time, needed a lot of advice and education. I felt there was a need in the industry for more education and transparency from local real estate agent, so I started my real estate blog.”
And lastly, reveal your industry press & awards.
When structured right, your “why” page will help your ideal prospects, leads, and clients to better align with your brand. Eventually, they will trust you and your expertise enough to join your marketing funnel, do business with you, and refer others to you.
Those responsible for your copywriting should craft a strong message to reflect your true brand voice, and appeal to your target audience.
3. Your squeeze page.
Any real estate business should embrace list building. Therefore, a squeeze page has only one goal: to collect the email addresses of your visitors and follow-up with them on a regular basis. This allows you to remain relevant to your prospects while educating them about their interests, wants, and needs.
You can achieve this by offering a ‘’lead magnet’ such as a free PDF guide, calculator, webinar, etc., enabling you to attract prospects into your educational-marketing funnel.
The goal is to constantly build and improve relationships with your clients.
Guess what? It’s not enough to have an opt-in offer on the home page or sidebar of your website.
Your lead magnet requires a dedicated page on your real estate website since you should link to it from your other content pages and blog posts, transforming more visitors into subscribers.
You may also want to implement pop-ups to further convert more visitors into newsletter subscribers, helping to grow your mailing list and marketing ROI.
If you aim to be the only local real estate expert or company that clients are interested in doing business with, then you need a web design strategy and marketing TEAM to help your company reach its goals.