Does Your Website Deliver?
There are dozens of ways to to get yourself a real estate investing website. Whether you parted with a fortune upon hiring your own web designer or spent next to nothing on a free “build you own website” service, what do you do if your website doesn’t deliver?
1. You're not driving traffic to your site
“Build and they shall come” does not apply to your website. If you want to generate leads from your website, you have to generate traffic TO your website. If you think that Google will do the hard work for you, your site is going to be a ghost town for the foreseeable future.
To illustrate this point let’s look what you are up against if you solely rely on Google to bring people to you. Right now there are 2.7 billion web pages vying for our browsers’ attention. Search for “stop foreclosure now” and Google will return 12.7 million web pages for you to pick from. The first page of results is taken up by HUD, the FTC and Amazon, amongst others.
Next we changed our search to “i'm a fluffy bunny and I'd like to stop foreclosure now” and were still provided with more 7.5 millions pages to pick from. This might be a tough pill to swallow when your site sees only a few visitors each day.
The websites listed on those results pages are there because they are large sites that deliver great content that thousand, or even millions, of people read. The owners of these sites also invest a good deal of money in extensive search engine optimization, link building, and other practices that are beyond the scope of most independent real estate investors.
The bottom line is that you have to be actively driving visitors to your site. That means creating direct mail and email campaigns, advertising, networking, and getting people to go directly to your site. It’s also worth considering your domain name. While many visitors will click on a link to get to your site, those that have to type it directly into their browser (think direct mail recipients) won’t appreciate plugging in pacificnorthwestinvestingpartners.com.
2. Your site looks like a bulldog chewing on a wasp
You’ve done it, I have definitely done it, everyone’s done it. We have all clicked on a website only to click straight off of it again. Why? Because the site looks terrible. Good old fashioned ugly is still the number one killer of web visitors today, but it’s closely followed by “What’s going on here?,” “there’s just too much happening!” and “I have no idea what this page is about.” If your site is unattractive, outdated, jumbled, text heavy, or busier than a Japanese subway station, people are simply going to bounce.
You can check how many times people hit your website and then immediately bail by looking at your website’s statics, specifically it's appropriately titled “bounce rate.” The number of bounces are less important than the percentage of bounces.
What qualifies as a good or bad bounce rate differs wildly on the type of website as well as who you ask. The realeflow.com site currently has a bounce rate of 22% but anything less than 60-70% may be acceptable. If you are seeing more than 70% you really have to ask what’s turning people off so quickly.
4 Tips for creating a better homepage:
- Create a hierarchy. The key information should be more prominent than supporting content. That means putting it at the top, where people start reading.
- Avoid making everything bigger. If you make everything on the page “pop” - your key content has no emphasis and your page will simply end up being off-putting to the first time visitor.
- Cut your text down. Expecting your first time visitor to read through hundreds of words of text is like asking someone about potential kid’s names on the first date; they won’t stick around and they’ll certainly avoid you again in the future. Explain what your site is in as few words as possible and use menus, sliders, and callouts to guide people on where they need to go.
- Keep the design clean. Expression is great but it’s very subjective and what delights you may horrify the next person. Focus on a look and feel that will work for most people.
The bottom line is your website shouldn’t be designed to tell people everything there is to know about you and your business (at least not on the front page). Nor should it have to act as an extension of your own personality. Clean, simple and concise will always win over too much text exploding inside overexcited rainbows.
3. Your copy needs work
If your site looks great but reads like a confused, rambling six year old wandering around in the middle of the night, your net gain will be zero. You don’t need reams of text (especially on the homepage) but what you do put out there needs to make sense.
In as few words as possible, your site needs to tell visitors:
- Who you are
- What you do
- How you are qualified
- The service(s) you offer
- Why you are better than the competition
- How to contact you
- What to do next (the “call to action”)
If you are tempted to write an autobiography about yourself, don’t do - no one cares. If your qualifications and background are important in your business, include it, but it keep it brief.
In many cases, hiring a professional copywriter for a couple of days will give your site the right tone and voice it needs to convert. If you are doing it on a shoestring, consider checking out a site like fiverr.com that offers up a wide range of creative services at bargain basement prices.
4. Your pages are TOO engaging
Yes, I know we were just telling you about all the terrible things your site may be doing to turn people away, and now we are warning you about the complete opposite. Getting people to visit and stay on your site is a key goal, but what you ultimately want is for them to opt-in to your list. That means filling out that web form and giving you their information. When that’s the goal, a page that’s too engaging can hurt you. At Realeflow we run thousands of websites for real estate investors. Here’s what we have learned.
- Less is more. If the goal of your website (or squeeze page) is to covert visitors into leads, the less the visitor has to the look at, the better. Keep visitors focused on the form by reducing the amount of text, images, videos, and other assets on the page.
- Pretty loses to pretty obvious. The pages with the best conversion are the ones that make it impossible for people to miss the form. Large arrows pointing at the form seem both obvious and obnoxious, but they consistently out-perform more than 75% of other page designs.
- Ask for less to get more. We all want the name, email, phone number, physical address, and DNA profile but settling for just the name and email will garner you far better results. Smart investors cast a wide net and then follow-up with leads to extract the rest of the information they need.
5. You have nothing to offer
We all view filling in web forms with the same amount of delight as we do throwing ourselves off of the top of a tall building (full disclosure: we don’t know that’s how anybody really feels). This means that if you want your site/page/form to covert, you need a solid lead magnet.
What can you give them that they can’t easily find elsewhere? ebooks, reports, and gated videos work well, but you have to sell value on the opt-in page and then really deliver value in whatever it is that you are giving them.
What you absolutely cannot do is offer people something that turns out to be more marketing material or something that can be easily found without giving up up any personal information. Lead magnets with no value might convince someone to give you their information, but they’ll never do business with you.
What makes a good lead magnet?
A good lead magnet addresses a very specific subject or issue. A bad lead magnet is broad in scope.
A good lead magnet provides a detailed set of steps to solve a problem. A bad lead magnet generalizes.
A good lead magnet focuses on the person with the problem. A bad lead magnet focuses on you.
If creating your own lead magnet seems out of reach, look on Craigslist, Fiverr and other sites that list writers and producers than can create something for you.
This is by no means an exhaustive list of factors that might be behind your conversion issues, but it does touch on some key problem areas. If one or two of these areas ring true, it’s time to address them. If all four seem a little too close to home, it’s time to start thinking about a completely new site.
Please share with us what you've done to increase the number of leads that you get from your website by leaving a comment below.