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Does your website need a facelift? Take the test

Even new websites may be missing some basic elements – take the quick test to see if you have any more work to do on your own site.

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website facelift

website facelift

Some sites are good, others are ineffective

Throughout my many years of assisting real estate agents with their marketing efforts, I have seen a number of real estate agents’ websites. Some are great. They have clear call to actions, quality content, an eye-catching aesthetic and they’re easy to navigate.

Others have a website that is, for lack of a better word, ineffective. The site doesn’t have the power of speech that is needed to get today’s consumer interested in finding out more about what they have to offer as an agent.

Take the test

Before deciding whether or not you need to give your site some serious work, answer the following questions:
•    Do you have a blog?
•    Do you have testimonials on your website?
•    Does your site include a community or news section?
•    Is there clear call to actions on your site?
•    Do you have a section of your site where viewers can opt-in to email updates?
•    Do you offer video content?
•    Do you have a mobile version of your site?
•    Does your site encourage feedback, commentary or sharing?
•    Does your home page change often?
•    Do you use analytics to view how visitors use your site?

If you answered “no” to any of the above questions, then I have news for you: your website might need a little bit of improvement. Before you go about making the necessary changes to your site, however, it’s important to understand why you need to make them. I’ll take it one update at a time.

Understanding why changes must be made

The blog. If you don’t have a blog either built in to your website or linked from your website, this is the absolute first thing that you need to change. Blogging will increase your website traffic, boost your rankings in search engines like Google and Bing and give you authority in your industry. If you’re not blogging at least once per month, you need to start. You’ll soon find that you will get more traffic to your website and more leads coming in.

Testimonials. People like to hear what others have to say about your services, so having a testimonials page is crucial. It gives your website visitors the opportunities to find out more about how you do business and hear your success stories. You should be asking your clients for testimonials after you’re finished working with them and always add new ones to your site.

Community information. As a real estate agent, you want to establish yourself as more than just a housing expert. Remember, you’re assisting people as they move to a new community. You should be marketing yourself as a neighborhood expert in your area. That’s where having community pages, all of which are optimized with keywords and hyperlinks, will be helpful on your website. You can market yourself as an expert and boost your SEO at the same time.

Clear call to actions. When you first visit a website and are looking for service, you want to know what it is that makes the business you are looking at stand out from their competition. Whether you offer first-time home buyer seminars or a complimentary coupon book, you need to advertise what makes you special on the front page of your website so people will see it right when they first visit. Once the calls to actions are clicked, there should be the section where your website visitors can “opt-in” to your newsletter and email updates, as well. This will bring you more leads.

The latest technology. There are two well-known facts about today’s consumer. The first is that they’re more visual. People are more responsive to video content than they are to written these days, hence the success of sites like YouTube. The other well-known fact is that people are using their mobile devices and tech tablets more than their laptops. With that in mind, you need to tweak your web content to keep up with the trends. Offer video content that is easily accessible to website visitors and make sure you have a mobile-friendly version of your site or app for smartphone and iPad users.

Switching it up. You should always be adding new content to your website. Whether it’s through updating your blog regularly or creating various monthly promotions, it’s the little changes that will keep visitors coming back for more. One way to monitor the changes you could or should be making is by using analytics programs to see your website’s stats. You can monitor the activity on your site and see what its visitors are really doing. Using these as a guide, you can make certain features of your website more prominent and make the appropriate changes.

Now that you know why you need to make these changes, make a plan, get in gear and start giving your website a little TLC. It will take your site from ineffective to a fully-functioning roadway between you and your leads. No excuses. Now that you know what you need to do, it’s time to start doing it!

Carrie Gable & the Real Estate Virtual Assistant team at RealSupport, Inc. work virtually for many top real estate agents & brokers nationwide, offering marketing campaigns, branding, website & logo design, listing marketing efforts, lead management, technical support, marketing presentations, social media setup & management, copywriting, blogging and much more.

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. genemundt

    July 5, 2012 at 3:40 pm

    Excellent reminders in this article @RBergeronMRED Thank u for tweeting!

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Business Marketing

A personalized daily digital marketing checklist

(MARKETING NEWS) For all businesses, it is not only essential to develop an digital marketing strategy, but also necessary to utilize it in order to gain customers, and ultimately make a larger profit. This app can help.

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clearpath digital marketing

There is no doubt that starting your own business can be overwhelming. Along with promoting your business at events, meetings and in person, digital marketing strategies play a key role in the success of a company. For all businesses, it is not only essential to develop an online presence, but also necessary to utilize it in order to gain customers, and ultimately make a larger profit.

Simply creating a website and Facebook page for your business is not enough. However, software tools can help simplify digital marketing. ClearPath is a tool that organizes and creates tasks to optimize your online marketing. By creating to-do lists for you based on your online marketing strategy, you can focus on the areas of marketing that improve your business, all the while receiving useful tips and advice.

Using ClearPath is pretty straightforward and only requires one prerequisite. Before beginning, you must have a website.

If you are already lost, don’t panic. ClearPath can help you develop an online presence. Once your website is linked up, you get to choose the marketing channels that you would like to focus on. These include Search Engine Optimization (SEO), email, social, content, analytics, local, pay-per-click (PPC) and Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO). Again, if you are lost, ClearPath is there to help you strategize.

After ClearPath analyzes your site, they start sending you customized tasks based they believe can improve your online marketing.

As you finish each task, you can simply check it off and it will disappear. New tasks will appear each day, and some may even repeat as they need to be updated.

Whether you are well-versed in digital marketing or not, staying updated with the newest ways to optimize your business online is a constant struggle. Tools like ClearPath give people a place to start. Although I don’t think it can supplement an active and experienced digital marketer, it is a tool that can help small businesses that cannot afford to add to their team yet. At the end of the day, it aims to save you time. And since time is money, your business will hopefully be more profitable.

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Business Marketing

Simple logo creation tools perfect for any freelancer

(MARKETING) You already know that even if you’re a solo writer, or lone developer, you need a brand in today’s online world. If you’re on a budget, check out these logo creation tools!

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logo creation

Freelancing is a major part of the landscape nowadays. In that capacity, you’re running your own one-person business. As such, you need to brand that business. You know that, but let’s discuss the actionables.

I don’t know about you, but when I hear the word “branding”, I immediately envision logos (which is super convenient because it brings me to my next point). You should absolutely have a logo as a freelancer, even if it’s simply just your name in a rad – but professional – font.

This will be useful on your website, social media, on invoices and beyond. You can even pop that bad boy into your email signature!

Ideally, you should hire a graphic designer that knows what they’re doing – you’ll get the best results. But if your budget is zero dollars, don’t you dare ask a professional for free work.

Instead, if you want to develop a logo for your personal freelancing brand on the cheap, check out five of our favorites below and see what works for you. The best part? These all have some free components.

  1. Picfont: Let me start with personal experience. My freelance logo (which is the cover photo of my Twitter), is literally just my name in a script-like font, and was made using Picfont. You can upload a blank background (or pick from fun royalty-free backgrounds) and choose from a variety of font options. Pick what you like, shape it out, download, and use. Easy
  2. Looka (formerly Logojoy) is also a great, easy-to-use online logo maker. You simply type in your company name/your name and go through a process of selecting colors and styles that you like. Looka then generates a selection of logos based on your choices. For an example, I created the logo for The Tidbit using Looka.
  3. Online Logo Maker: a wonderfully self-explanatory name. This logo maker is almost like a combination of Picfont and Logojoy. You can play around with different fonts, colors, and symbols to make a logo that fits you. This option also features high-quality Vector files.
  4. Canva is a great option because you can design a multitude of material (including flyers, presentations, graphs, etc.) If you’re planning to build a full-on portfolio with supplemental materials in addition to a logo, Canva may be your best bet as you can design everything to have a similar look – which is incredibly important for branding.
  5. DesignEvo: Their website describes it best, “DesignEvo is a free online logo maker with 8,000+ templates that anyone can use to bring to life a compelling, unique logo in minutes.” They have a drag and drop interface and hundreds of fonts.

Take some time to test drive these sites, play around with different logo types, and see which one gels best with you and your freelancing-self. Happy branding!

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Business Marketing

How to use offline marketing to your advantage in a digital world

(BUSINESS) We often become obsessed with new marketing strategies, favoring the internet over some traditional methods that continue to drive traffic timelessly.

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offline marketing open sign for small business

Everywhere you look, people want to talk about digital marketing. In fact, if you don’t have a digital marketing strategy in today’s business world, you’re not going to last long. But just because digital marketing is popular, don’t assume that offline marketing no longer yields value.

When used together, these strategies can produce significant returns.

“Some people will argue that traditional marketing is dead, but there are several benefits to including offline advertising in your overall marketing campaign,” sales expert Larry Myler admits. “Combining both offline and online campaigns can help boost your brand’s visibility, and help it stand out amongst competitors who may be busy flooding the digital space.”

How do you use offline marketing in a manner that’s both cost-effective and high in exposure? While your business will dictate how you should proceed, here are a few offline marketing methods that still return considerable value in today’s marketplace.

1. Yard signs

When most people think about yard signs, their minds immediately go to political signs that you see posted everywhere during campaign season. However, yard signs have a lot more utility and value beyond campaigning. They’re actually an extremely cost-effective form of offline advertising.

The great thing about yard signs is that you can print your own custom designs for just dollars and, when properly stored, they last for years. They’re also free to place, assuming you have access to property where it’s legal to advertise. This makes them a practical addition to a low-budget marketing campaign.

2. Billboards

The fact that you notice billboards when driving down an interstate or highway is a testament to the reality that other people are also being exposed to these valuable advertisements. If you’ve never considered implementing billboards into your marketing strategy, now’s a good time to think about it.

With billboard advertising, you have to be really careful with design, structure, and execution. “Considering we’re on the move when we read billboards, we don’t have a lot of time to take them in. Six seconds has been touted as the industry average for reading a billboard,” copywriter Paul Suggett explains. “So, around six words is all you should use to get the message across.”

3. Promotional giveaways

It’s the tangible nature of physical marketing that makes it so valuable. Yard signs and billboards are great, but make sure you’re also taking advantage of promotional giveaways as a way of getting something into the hands of your customers.

Promotional giveaways, no matter how simple, generally produce a healthy return on investment. They increase brand awareness and recall, while giving customers positive associations with your brand. (Who doesn’t love getting something for free?)

4. Local event sponsorships

One aspect of offline marketing businesses frequently forget about is local event sponsorships. These sponsorships are usually cost-effective and tend to offer great returns in terms of audience engagement.

Local event sponsorships can usually be found simply by checking the calendar of events in your city. Any time there’s a public event, farmer’s market, parade, sporting event, concert, or fundraiser, there’s an opportunity for you to get your name out there. Look for events where you feel like your target audience is most likely to attend.

Offline marketing is anything but dead.

If your goal is to stand out in a crowded marketplace where all your competitors are investing heavily in social media, SEO, PPC advertising, and blogging, then it’s certainly worth supplementing your existing digital strategy with traditional offline marketing methods that reach your audience at multiple touchpoints.

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