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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

Video is necessary for your marketing strategy

(BUSINESS MARKETING) As technology and social media move forward, so do marketing opportunities. Now is the time for video content social media marketing!

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video content

As an entrepreneur, you’ve surely heard the phrase “pivot to video” countless times over the last few years. It’s the path a lot of media companies are on, but even brands that aren’t directly talking about this pivot have increased their video production. This shift stems in part from studies showing users spend more time on pages featuring video content. Social media has also played a significant role, and recently, new social platforms have made the pivot to video even more important.

Snapchat and TikTok are leading the social video sector as emerging social media platforms, but the audiences for these platforms skew especially young. The content on these platforms also tends toward the meme-worthy and entertaining, raising the question: are these platforms a good use of your time and resources? The answer depends on your industry, but whatever your field, you can certainly learn from the pros dominating these new platforms.

The promotional angle

One of the primary ways that businesses use video content across platforms is by creating promotional content, which range widely in style, cost, and content, but there are a few strategies that can really help a promotional video succeed.

First, a great promotional video hooks the viewer within the first few seconds. Social media has shrunk everyone’s attention span, so even if your video is on a longer form platform, the beginning has to be powerful. Having a strong start also means that your video will be more flexible, allowing it to gain traction across different platforms.

Audience matters

What you’re promoting – what your business does and who it serves – plays a critical role in what kinds of video content you make and what platforms you use. TikTok is a lot of fun, and it’s playing a growing role in business, but if your entire audience is age 30 and up, there’s not much point in trying to master the form and build a viewership there. You need a sufficient youth-heavy market to make TikTok a worthwhile investment, but Snapchat, which also serves a youth-heavy market, might be a different story.

Even if you don’t intend to make heavy use of Snapchat, the platform recently made a big splash in the video sector by opening up its story tools to other platforms. That means businesses will be able to use Snapchat’s tools on platforms like Facebook and Instagram, where they may already have an audience. It will also make crossover content easier, allowing you to maintain consistent branding across all platforms. You may never download Snapchat proper, but you may soon be using their tools.

It’s all about strategy

However you choose to approach video content, the fact is that today video is a necessary part of your content marketing strategy. In part this is because, while blogs aren’t going anywhere, and short-form social media is definitely ascendant, both make use of video, but that’s not the only reason. Video is so powerful because it’s deeply personal. It makes your audience feel that much more closely connected with you and your brand, and that alone is enough to change buying patterns.

Another key advantage of video is that, consumers genuinely enjoy well-made videos. Unlike blogs, which most users will typically only seek out if they need information, there are brands out there who are known for their video content. They’ve found a way to hook viewers and make them feel like they have two products: entertainment and whatever it is they actually sell. You, too, can do this with enough creativity and today’s social media tools.

It’s critical that you don’t let your brand fall behind on video right now, because if you even stop for breath, you will be left behind. As TikTok and Snapchat have made clear, video doesn’t stop for anyone. At this point, video isn’t the future of social media or ecommerce – it’s the present.

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Business Marketing

Marketing amidst uncertainty: 3 considerations

(BUSINESS MARKETING) As the end of the COVID tunnel begins to brighten, marketing strategies may shift yet again – here are three thoughts to ponder going into the future.

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Open business sign being held by business owner for marketing purposes.

The past year has been challenging for businesses, as operations of all sizes and types and around the country have had to modify their marketing practices in order to address the sales barriers created by the pandemic. That being said, things are beginning to look up again and cities are reopening to business as usual.

As a result, companies are looking ahead to Q3 with the awareness they need to pivot their marketing practices yet again. The only question is, how?

Pandemic Pivot 1.0: Q3 2020

When the pandemic disrupted global markets a year ago, companies looked for new ways to reach their clients where they were: At home, even in the case of B2B sales. This was the first major pivot, back when store shelves were empty care of panic shopping, and everyone still thought they would only be home for a few weeks.

How did this transition work? By building out more extensive websites, taking phone orders, and crafting targeted advertising, most companies actually survived the crisis. Some even came out ahead. With this second pivot, however, these companies will have to use what they knew before the pandemic, while making savvy predictions about how a year-long crisis may have changed customer behavior.

Think Brick And Mortar

As much as online businesses played a key role in the pandemic sales landscape, as the months wore on, people became increasingly loyal to local, brick and mortar businesses. As people return to their neighborhood for longer in-person adventures, brands should work on marketing strategies to further increase foot traffic. That may mean continuing to promote in-store safety measures, building a welcoming online presence, and developing community partnerships to benefit from other stores’ customer engagement efforts.

Reach Customers With PPC

Obviously brick and mortar marketing campaigns won’t go far for all-online businesses, but with people staying at home less, online shops may have a harder time driving sales. Luckily, they have other tools at their disposal. That includes PPC marketing, one of the most effective, trackable advertising strategies.

While almost every business already uses some degree of PPC marketing because of its overall value, but one reason it’s such a valuable tool for businesses trying to navigate the changing marketplace is how easy it is to modify. In fact, best practice is to adjust your PPC campaign weekly based on various indicators, which is what made it a powerful tool during the pandemic as well. Now, instead of using a COVID dashboard to track the impact of regulations on ad-driven sales, however, companies can use PPC marketing to see how their advertising efforts are holding up to customers’ rapidly changing shopping habits.

It’s All About The Platforms

When planning an ad campaign, what you say is often not as important as where you say it – a modern twist on “the medium is the message.” Right now, that means paying attention to the many newer platforms carrying innovative ad content, so experiment with placing ads on platforms like TikTok, Reddit, and NextDoor and see what happens.

One advantage of marketing via smaller platforms is that they tend to be less expensive than hubs like Facebook. That being said, they are all seeing substantial traffic, and most saw significant growth during the pandemic. If they don’t yield much in the way of results, losses will be minimal, but given the topical and local targeting various platforms allow for, above and beyond standard PPC targeting, they could be just what your brand needs as it navigates the next set of marketplace transitions.

The last year has been unpredictable for businesses, but Q3 2021 may be the most uncertain yet as everyone attempts to make sense of what normal means now. The phrase “new normal,” overused and awkward as it is, gets to the heart of it: we can pretend we’re returning to our pre-pandemic lives, but very little about the world before us is familiar, so marketing needs a “new normal,” too.

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Business Marketing

Advertising overload: Let’s break it down

(BUSINESS MARKETING) A new study finds that frequent ads are actually more detrimental to a brand’s image than that same brand advertising near offensive content.

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Advertising spread across many billboards in a city square.

If you haven’t noticed, ads are becoming extremely common in places that are extremely hard to ignore—your Instagram feed, for example. Advertising has certainly undergone some scrutiny for things like inappropriate placement and messaging over the years, but it turns out that sheer ad exhaustion is actually more likely to turn people off of associated brands than the aforementioned offensive content.

Marketing Dive published a report on the phenomenon last Tuesday. The report claims that, of all people surveyed, 32% of consumers said that they viewed current social media advertising to be “excessive”; only 10% said that they found advertisements to be “memorable”.

In that same group, 52% of consumers said that excessive ads were likely to affect negatively their perception of a brand, while only 32% said the same of ads appearing next to offensive or inappropriate content.

“Brand safety has become a hot item for many companies as they look to avoid associations with harmful content, but that’s not as significant a concern for consumers, who show an aversion to ad overload in larger numbers,” writes Peter Adams, author of the Marketing Dive report.

This reaction speaks to the sheer pervasiveness of ads in the current market. Certainly, many people are spending more time on their phones—specifically on social media—as a result of the pandemic. However, with 31% and 27% of surveyed people saying they found website ads either “distracting” or “intrusive”, respectively, the “why” doesn’t matter as much as the reaction itself.

It’s worth pointing out that solid ad blockers do exist for desktop website traffic, and most major browsers offer a “reader mode” feature (or add-on) that allows users to read through things like articles and the like without having to worry about dynamic ads distracting them or slowing down their page. This becomes a much more significant issue on mobile devices, especially when ads are so persistent that they impact one’s ability to read content.

Like most industries, advertisers have faced unique challenges during the pandemic. If there’s one major takeaway from the report, it’s this: Ads have to change—largely in terms of their frequency—if brands want to maintain customer retention and loyalty.

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