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Realtors can learn from architects and builders’ website designs

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Looking outside the box for inspiration

Many Realtors are currently in the market for a new website or blog and because real estate is a time intensive career, many don’t have time to research trends or be experts in usability, color trends, modern features and the like, and therefore fall back on the least expensive template design they can find on Google and hope the phone will ring.

Obviously, this is tantamount to putting hot pink flyers that say “I’m a Realtor and junk, call me and stuff 813-555-RLTR” on car windows at the mall. Can you say marketing fail? A hot pink flyer on a hood is just as obnoxious as a website that looks like MeeMaw and the crew put it together on Geocities circa 1997.

Therein lies the problem with the typical course of a Realtor who researches real estate wesbites- they look at what their competitors have and there’s a good chance their websites suck, putting the “researching” Realtor in a bad position, unable to stand out, and likely held back by a poor marketing effort they never intended to fail at.

Looking outside for inspiration

The problem with looking for website inspiration outside of the real estate industry is that it can be confusing and overwhelming. There is no need for a real estate website to look like a dating site or an e-commerce site, but to have a similar framework to an architect or new home builder makes great sense- the DNA is similar.

Architects’ websites

First, let’s look at two architects’ sites to see which you like better (click either picture below to visit the live site):


Which of the two is superior? Which are you more drawn to? We assume we can all agree that collectively, we lean toward the large picture as the landing page rather than the tiny, oddly placed crooked pictures.

What are architects selling? Their design, their services, their project management skills, but most of all, an amazing finished product. Architects are often selling to commercial developers and residential homeowners alike and when we see bad web design, it leaves us as consumers asking if their horrible outdated web design is reflected in their architecture?

Architects that have quality websites are a great place to gain inspiration for your own website be it a new site or a next generation site. They invoke feelings of enthusiasm with big pictures, large fonts and a focus on their products rather than their personality. Architects have to be a trusted resource as a Realtor does, so it’s not a stretch to look that direction.

Inspiration from builders

Again, let’s look at two websites and think about which one we are more drawn to from a consumer’s perspective:


One of the above sites is modern and one is outdated. One has a comfortable welcoming feel and one looks a little like a fancy Excel spreadsheet with colors and a few pictures (and a LOT of words). The colors and navigation of Pulte is far more in line with modern web design than the Centex site.

Builders are selling in an extremely similar way to Realtors and Realtors often sell builder inventory. Websites with larger fonts, an emphasis on the homes, and easy navigation without hundreds of words per square inch will perform better as consumers become more educated.

Not only are consumers becoming more educated, smartphones and tablets are making websites look outdated really quickly as developers focus on apps for these devices that are consistently slick, streamlined and easy to use. So take a hint from the Portuguese architect and Pulte builders and focus on large, inviting photos with modern fonts and easy navigation and whatever you do, don’t let your website look anything like this.

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29 Comments

29 Comments

  1. Kris van Gool

    June 22, 2011 at 11:28 am

    Builders and Architects are a great resource for building your knowledge base and learning more about their industry. They are also great for contacts.

  2. Eric Holmes

    June 22, 2011 at 5:03 pm

    Simplic, Magnifolio, Carousel, Auzora, Mephisto, Entrepenuer and Awake. What do those words have in common? Their wordpress themes I've purchased over the last year trying to accomplish this goal. I've spent hours and hours trying to figure out the different themes, sliders, short codes, blah, blah, blah. etc. Portfolio sites don't necessarily translate very well because we also need to be able to add property details and descriptions which can be long depending on the property. The moral to this brief story is that in the end it's infinitely easier (and cheaper when you figure in the cost of time) to let go of the reigns and hire a pro. Go sell houses. Let someone else worry about the kerning of Helvetica Neue and Cascading Style Sheets.

  3. Robyn Schnadelbach

    July 19, 2011 at 9:41 pm

    Lani, I am glad you have brought this up. I too, like Eric Holmes, have gone through countless wordpress themes still not completely satisfied. The architect and builder website approach is something that definitely got me thinking. As odd as it may sound, I came across a wedding photographer website recently that I loved. It was different that any other wedding photographer website I have ever seen. Rather than putting thousands and thousands of her photos, she posted videos revealing her personality and how she works. It has got me thinking if an approach like this may work for Realtors. So much of why people may want to work with a certain Realtor is not only their expertise but if their personalities. This is the wedding photographer website I am talking about. jasmine-star.com I would love to here your thoughts about this approach too! Rather than displaying countless listings, something like this could display who we are and how we work.

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Business Marketing

How a Facebook boycott ended up benefitting Snapchat and Pinterest

(MARKETING) Businesses are pulling ad spends from Facebook following “Stop Hate for Profit” social media campaign, and Snapchat and Pinterest are profiting from it.

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Phone in hand open to social media, coffee held in other hand.

In June, the “Stop Hate for Profit” campaign demanded social media companies be held accountable for hate speech on their platforms and prioritize people over profit. As part of the campaign, advertisers were called to boycott Facebook in July. More than 1,000 businesses, nonprofits, and other consumers supported the movement.

But, did this movement actually do any damage to Facebook, and who, if any, benefited from their missing revenue profits?

According to The Information, “what was likely crumbs falling from the table for Facebook appears to have been a feast for its smaller rivals, Snap and Pinterest.” They reported that data from Mediaocean, an ad-tech firm, showed Snap reaped the biggest benefit of the 2 social media platforms during the ad pause. Snapchat’s app saw advertisers spending more than double from July through September compared to the same time last year. And, although not as drastic, Pinterest also saw an increase of 40% in ad sales.

As a result, Facebook said its year-over-year ad revenue growth was only up 10 percent during the first 3 weeks of July. But, the company expects its ad revenue to continue that growth rate in Q3. And, some people think that Facebook is benefitting from the boycott. Claudia Page, senior vice president, product and operations at Vivendi-owned video platform Dailymotion said, “All the boycott did was open the marketplace so SMBs could spend more heavily. It freed-up inventory.”

Even CNBC reported that Wedbush analysts said in a note that Facebook will see “minimal financial impact from the boycotts.” They said about $100 million of “near term revenue is at risk.” And for Facebook, this represents less than 1% of the growth in Q3. However, despite what analysts say, there is still a chance for both Snapchat and Pinterest to hold their ground.

Yesterday, Snap reported their surprising Q3 results. Compared to the prior year, Snap’s revenue increased to $679 million, up 52% from 2019. Its net loss decreased from $227 million to $200 million compared to last year. Daily active users increased 18% year-over-year to 249 million. Also, Snap’s stock price soared more than 22% in after-hours trading. Take that Facebook!

In a prepared statement, Chief Business Officer Jeremi Gorman said, “As brands and other organizations used this period of uncertainty as an opportunity to evaluate their advertising spend, we saw many brands look to align their marketing efforts with platforms who share their corporate values.” As in, hint, hint, Facebook’s summer boycott did positively affect their amazing Q3 results.

So, Snapchat and Pinterest have benefited from the #StopHateForProfit campaign. Snapchat’s results show promising optimism that maybe Pinterest might fare as well. But, of course, Facebook doesn’t think they will benefit much longer. Back in July, CEO Mark Zuckerberg told his employees, “[his] guess is that all these advertisers will be back on the platform soon enough.”

Facebook isn’t worried, but I guess we will see soon enough. Pinterest is set to report its Q3 results on October 28th and Facebook on the 29th.

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Business Marketing

Cooler temps mean restaurants have to get creative to survive

(BUSINESS MARKETING) In the midst of a pandemic and with winter approaching, restaurants are starting to find creative and sustainable ways to keep customers coming in… and warm.

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Outdoor eating at restaurants grows in popularity.

Over the last decade we have seen a change in the approach to clientele experiences in the restaurant business. It’s no longer just about how good your food is, although that is still key. Now you have to give your customers an experience to remember. There are now restaurants that feed you in the dark, and others who require you to check all your clothes at the door. Each of these provides an experience to remember alongside food that ranges from good to exquisite, depending on your taste.

Now, however, the global pandemic has rearranged how we think about dining. We can no longer just shove people into a building and create a delectable meal. If you’ve relied mostly on people coming into your restaurant, you may struggle to survive now.

The new rules of keeping clients safe means setting things up outside is the easiest means of keeping large numbers of them from crowding inside. Because of this, weather has become a key influence in a company’s daily income. Tents that were a gimmick before, only needed by presumptuous millennials, are now a requirement to keep afloat. People are rushing to make their yards into lawns that bring some in some fancy feeling.

The ties to the sun in some areas are so strong that cloudy days have been shown to drop attendance as much as 14% for the day. This will become the more apparent the colder it gets. For me, I always mention hibernation weight in the winter, when all I want to do is curl up and eat at home. Down here in Texas we are already finding cooler weather, drops into the 70s even in August and September. We are all assuming a cold winter ahead. So, a bit of foresight is finding a means of keeping your guests warm for the winter ahead.

San Francisco restaurants have started with heat lamps during their cooler evenings. Fiberglass igloos have also been added to outdoor seating as a means of temperature control. A few places down in the Lonestar state keep roaring fires going for their outdoor activities. While others actually keep you running in between beverages by encouraging volleyball matches. This is the new future ahead of us, and being memorable is the way to go.

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Business Marketing

Healthcare during pandemic goes virtual, looks to stay that way

(BUSINESS NEWS) Employment-based health insurance has already been through the ringer with COVID-19, but company healthcare options are adapting for long term.

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Stethoscope with laptop, showing healthcare going virtual.

Changes in employment-based health insurance may end up costing employers more, but will provide crucial benefits to workers responding to the healthcare challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to a recent survey by the Business Group on Health, a member-driven advocacy organization that helps large employers navigate providing health insurance to their employees, businesses will increase access to telehealth, mental health resources, and on-site clinics in the upcoming year.

Besides the obvious impacts of the coronavirus itself, the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have also rippled out to affect other aspects of public health and how we engage with medical care. With so many people staying home to reduce their in-person contacts, there has been a significant increase in the use of telehealth services such as virtual doctor’s visits. According to the survey from Business Group on Health, whose members include 74 Fortune 100 companies, more than half of large employers will offer more options for virtual healthcare in the upcoming year than in the past.

The pandemic, resulting economic fallout, and dramatic changes to our lives have inevitably exacerbated peoples’ anxieties and feelings of hopelessness. As we move into cold weather, with no end in sight to the need to socially distance, this promises to be a particularly dreary, lonely winter. Mental health support will be more necessary than ever. In 2019, 73% of large employers provided virtual mental health services. That number will increase to 91% next year, with 45% of large employers also expanding their mental health care provider networks, making it easier for employees to find the right the therapist or other mental health service provider, and making it easier to access those services from home, virtually.

In addition, there will be a 20% increase in employers offering virtual emotional well-being services. Altogether, 9 out of 10 of the employers surveyed will provide online mental health resources, which, besides virtual appointments, could also include apps, webinars, and educational videos.

There has also been a slight increase the availability of on-site clinics that provide coronavirus testing and other basic health services. This also included an expansion of resources for prenatal care, weight management, and chronic health problems such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

These improvement won’t come free of charge. While deductibles will remain about the same, premiums and out-of-pocket costs will increase about 5%. In most cases, employers will handle these costs, rather than passing them on to employees.

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