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Sticky Websites, Keep ‘Em Coming Back

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Strange Looks

Many times when I use the word sticky when talking to people about websites I get a strange look? However, most web 2.0 people know what that means. In its simplest meaning, it means that a visitor to your web site or blog keeps coming back again. As Realtors, we must have our web-sites be sticky. We want those return visitors.

How do we get return visitors?

We provide them with the best information out there of all the sites they are looking at. I have four sites, one is “sticky”, and the others are not. The “sticky” site brings me leads and closings, the others do not or rarely do. If I had to depend on my non-sticky sites, I would be living in the poor house right now.

How do you find out if your site is sticky?

Easy, ask yourself, do you have the same folks returning again and again to look for houses? My sticky web-site is programmed to send out new listings to the buyers who register and save their search. Then when a new listing comes on the market that meets their criteria, they are automatically sent the new listing. I can tell who opens the new listing or not. When they return to the site I get an email notification that they have returned. I have found that those who are using the site the most often are the ones closer to buying a home, usually within 90 days. On my blogs I use sites such as sitemeter or getclicky.

The Net Savvy Consumer

In Real Estate the consumer is looking for information on homes for sale in your area. Consumers want to see multiple photos, virtual tours, maps and satellite images. Where does that house sit on that lot? Are there railroad tracks next door? Is it near a commercial development? Is it close to schools? Is the Realtors description accurate? The consumer of today is not looking for a Plain Jane boring search site, they want information and they want it quickly. They want fewer clicks to get to what they are searching. They don’t like to be taken from one site to another to see the listings.

Search your competition

How do you know how you are stacking up with the competition in your area? I suggest “putting on your buyer hat” and pretend you are looking to purchase a home in your area. Type in your search queries or the words you think a buyer would look for. Some of the things I try to target my site to come up for are: Ann Arbor Real Estate, Homes for sale in Ann Arbor, Ann Arbor MLS, Ann Arbor Realtor, and Search Ann Arbor houses for sale. Next go to the sites that come up under those search terms and check out your competition. Does your web-site match up? Would you hang out and look for homes on their site or yours? Stop thinking like a Realtor and think like a buyer, think like a seller.

I know of a Realtor in my area, that has fantastic positions for his web-site, his wife optimizes his site constantly. I also know the site is not “sticky” and he hasn’t closed a house from it all year. Good placement on Google, bad site? or not good follow up? Most of us, would love to have our sites come up on the positions he holds on Google, but if the site doesn’t give the consumer what they want they will find a site that does and they will return to that site again and again.

People visiting your web sites have higher expectations than they did a few years ago; the competition is tougher to get those returning visitors. A “sticky site” is a must. Keep is simple, easy to navigate, give them as much information on the house as you can with tons of photos, let your visitors feel 100% in charge of their experience while on your site. Remember it is all about them, their time, their needs. They don’t care about your face, your awards, the weather, or all the wonderful things you do.

They care about the information they are searching for, that’s it.

Written by Missy Caulk, Associate Broker at Keller Williams Ann Arbor. Missy is the author of Ann Arbor Real Estate Talk and Blog Ann Arbor, and is also the Director for the Ann Arbor Area Board of Realtors and Member of MLS and Grievance Committee's.

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13 Comments

13 Comments

  1. Jim Whatley

    October 14, 2008 at 9:44 pm

    I realized customer do not care about me until, I give them what the want better than anyone else. My site has been powered by google and searches easier than the MLS. I can put in Destin pool and get all the homes in destin with a pool. search by any term price, map or what ever you can think of.

    We Tell out sellers think like a buyer. Brokers think like a searcher. make it easy for people to use your site. Look at Google there are no pictures of the founders of google. they do not tell you how wonderful they are. Prove your worth. Give the people what the want. You do not need flash you need SEO, either through organic or ad words and phrase. Gen Y will not stand for fluff they will want results. they will shop with the iphones and want it check out your site on the phone.

  2. V Copen

    October 14, 2008 at 10:44 pm

    I am agreement with you about giving the person searching the power of being in control of the experience by giving them the information they are seeking when they find your site. The world is moving at a faster pace but at some point of the transaction the human contact will be made and we must be ready and available by quick follow ups as mentioned or sales will be lost.

  3. Judy Peterson

    October 15, 2008 at 3:33 am

    Good information Missy. You are so on the right path when you stress the importance of thinking from the perspective of your clients experience to entice them to return. Get Clicky looks interesting. Do you use the free or the pro version?

  4. Missy Caulk

    October 15, 2008 at 5:21 am

    Jim, I think most of the MLS searches are plain vanilla and boring. This is why many of us have gone to outside vendors that give the consumers more data and are easier.

    V Copin, giving them what they want is critical, follow up is even more critical, can I say more critical? Yes I did follow up is more critical.

    Judy, I paid for the pro version, more data to analyze and it was not expensive.

  5. Steve Simon

    October 15, 2008 at 6:54 am

    A question, as to what you’all think are the best values in the “outside vendor” areas for god consumer sticky data?
    Who uses what and how happy or unhappy are you with their content and service for their relative cost?

  6. Jason Steele

    October 15, 2008 at 7:58 am

    I am not sure I 100% agree with the sticky concept. Don’t get me wrong you need a web site that is built to get your target audience to achieve your objectives and keep them coming back as much as possible. Whether it be save a search, fill-out a lead form or make a phone call. You mention the NET saavy customer and I think we are moving away from trying to keep people on a functionality driven site longer. I am a strong advocate for creating features that allow the user to consume our Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate content (listings, community information, recent sales, etc.) anywhere they want. Things like RSS and automated emails are a must have option for today’s Gen Y consumer.

  7. Elaine Reese

    October 15, 2008 at 8:51 am

    I heartily agree that the focus should be providing market data and listings, in addition to our blog posts. The highest trafficked page on my blog is the “boring” housing stats. The traffic count always spikes a few days into the first of the month because readers apparently watch for the previous month’s updates. That page also has the most consumer comments.

    I’ve also sold a couple homes this year simply because people were watching for my new listings in a particular subdivision. In this market, it’s WONDERFUL to have a home go into contract so quickly.

    I think it’s also important to remember that not only are buyers using our sites, but sellers are too … if only to judge how we market other listings.

  8. Kim Wood

    October 15, 2008 at 9:26 am

    Lots of work and always new things to keep our sites sticky!

    Thankful for people like you in my life that we can bounce things off of each other and share what is working and what is not. It is important to keep things on your site that does keep them coming back – even after the sale.

  9. Missy Caulk

    October 15, 2008 at 12:21 pm

    Steve, I work with a company out of LA, Tiger. I met the programmer when he lived in Ann Arbor. Brilliant guy, he custom programs according the a raw IDX feed I am able to get from my Board. I know not all MLS boards allow their agents to get a raw data feed. Then we can have him program the fields important in my area. I know KW uses Wolfnet, which with the map function some really like. I think some RSS people use ParkPlace ( I think that is the name and like it) We have people that use our site even if working with another Realtor because it is so user friendly.

    Jason, why would you want to send them off your site to BHG? I guess I don’t understand that? We work hard to get good position and then send them away. Can you explain why this is effective? Curious…

    Elaine, yes the sellers use it for CMA’s and to see how well our other clients homes are being marketed.

    Kim, When clients are past clients, they still receive all my new listings and a monthly newsletter. I tell them in the introduction, that perhaps they have a friend looking to move. I need to send my blogs out to them too. Been meaning to do it for awhile, your comment reminded me to do this asap.

  10. Jason Steele

    October 15, 2008 at 3:51 pm

    Missy,

    I actually don’t want to push them off the site I just want to make our content available wherever they feel comfortable consuming it. Whether it be an RSS reader via outlook that updates them on new/modified listings or on their iGoogle where they can read the latest editorial on staging a home for sale. They still will come back as the content does link back to the site but they don’t have to. Some of my favorite sites I don’t even visit anymore because of RSS and text alerts via my blackberry.

  11. Jill Wente

    October 16, 2008 at 5:33 pm

    Missy, Are you concerned that your competition can look at your stats when you use sitemeter? Wouldn’t using Google Analytics be a better source for analyzing your site traffic?

  12. Missy Caulk

    October 16, 2008 at 5:51 pm

    Jill, I use sitemeter and getclicky on my blogs and google analytics, they all show different results. No I’m not concerned at all. They can look all they want.

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Business Marketing

Use nostalgia as a marketing niche for your business today

(MARKETING) A market that is making waves is found in the form of entertainment nostalgia. Everyone has memories and attachments, why not speak to them?

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nostalgia

Is it just me or does it seem like there is something for everything nowadays? Let me clarify, as that is a rather broad question…

With the way communicating through technology has advanced, it’s become much easier to connect with those who have shared interests. This has become especially evident with interests in the entertainment community.

Entertainment nostalgia

It now seems like there is an event for every bit of nostalgia you can imagine. Autograph shows, meet and greets, and memorabilia collections of all kinds are held in convention halls all around the world. (To give you an idea of how deep this thing goes, there was a “Grease 2” reunion convention sometime within the last five years. Being that I’m the only person I’ve ever met who likes that movie, it’s amazing that it found an audience.)

This idea of marketing by use of nostalgia is something that is becoming smartly tapped and there are a variety of directions it can go in.

For example, the new Domino’s ads feature dead-on tributes to “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.”

What’s your niche?

If you’re a fan of anything, it’s likely that you can find an event to suit your needs.

And, if you want to take it a step further, you can think outside the box and use nostalgia as a marketing tool.

I recently began dabbling in social media gigs that have brought me to a few different fan conventions. One was a throwback 80s and 90s convention that featured everyone from Alan Thicke to the members of N*SYNC. Another is a recurring convention that brings together fans of sci-fi, horror, and everything under that umbrella.

I was amazed by the number of people that came out to these events and the amount of money that was spent on the day’s activities (autographs, photo ops, etc.). I was energized by the fact that you can take something you have a great appreciation for and bring together others who share that feeling. Watching people meet some of their favorite celebrities is something that is priceless.

Hop onboard the nostalgia train

If you’re a fan of something, you don’t have to look too far to find what you’d enjoy – going back to the aforementioned “Ferris Bueller” example, there is a first-ever John Hughes fan event taking place in Chicago next month that will bring fans to their favorite Brat Pack members.

In the same thought, if you have an idea, now is the time to find others who share that interest and execute your vision.

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Business Marketing

5 tips to help you craft consistently high-converting email marketing

(MARKETING) Email may seem too old to be effective but surprisingly it’s not, so how can you get the most out of your email marketing? Try these tips.

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Email marketing

Email marketing might seem archaic in comparison to modern mediums like social media, blogging, and podcasting; however, it actually remains one of the highest converting options marketers and small businesses have at their disposal.

But Why Email?

Hopefully, you believe in email as an effective marketing channel, but in case you have doubts, let’s hit the reset button. Here’s why email marketing is worth investing in:

  • Email is one of the few marketing channels that you have total control over. Unlike a social media audience, which can disappear if the platform decides you violate their terms, you own your email list.
  • Email is considered very personal. When someone gives you access to their inbox, they’re telling you that you can send them messages.
  • From a pure analytics perspective, email gives you the ability to track behaviors, study what works, and get familiar with the techniques that don’t.
  • The ROI of email marketing is incredibly high. It can deliver as much as $44 in value for every $1 spent.

5 Tips for High-Converting Emails

If you’ve been using email, but haven’t gotten the results you’d like to, it’s probably because you’re using it ineffectively.

Here are a few very practical tips for high-converting emails that generate results:

  1. Write Better Subject Lines: Think about email marketing from the side of the recipient. (Considering that you probably receive hundreds of emails per week, this isn’t hard to do.) What’s going to make you engage with an email? It’s the subject line, right?If you’re going to focus a large portion of your time and energy on one element of email marketing, subject lines should be it.The best subject lines are the ones that convey a sense of urgency or curiosity, present an offer, personalize to the recipient, are relevant and timely, feature name recognition, or reference cool stories.
  2. Nail the Intro”: Never take for granted the fact that someone will open your email, and read to the second paragraph. Some will – but most will scan the first couple of lines, and then make a decision on how to proceed.It’s critically important that you get the intro right. You have maybe five seconds to hook people in, and get them excited. This is not a time to slowly build up. Give your best stuff away first!
  3. Use Video: Email might be personal, but individual emails aren’t necessarily viewed as special. That’s because people get so many of them on a daily basis.According to Blue Water Marketing, “The average person receives more than 84 emails each day! So how do you separate your emails from everyone else? Embed videos in your emails can increase your conversion rates by over 21 percent!”This speaks to a larger trend of making emails visually stimulating. The more you use compelling visuals, the more engaging and memorable the content will be.
  4. Keep Eyes Moving: The goal is to keep people engaging with your email content throughout. While it’ll inevitably happen with a certain percentage of recipients, you want to prevent people from dropping off as they read.One of the best ways to keep sustained engagement is to keep eyes effortlessly moving down the page with short and succinct copy.One-liners, small paragraphs, and lots of spacing signal a degree of approachability and simplicity. Use this style as much as you can.
  5. Don’t Ask Too Much: It can be difficult to convey everything you want to say in a single email, but it’s important that you stay as focused as possible – particularly when it comes to CTAs and requests.Always stick to one CTA per email. Never ask multiple questions or present different offers. (It’ll just overwhelm and confuse.) You can present the same CTA in multiple places – like at the beginning, middle, and end of the email – but it needs to be the same call. That’s how you keep people focused and on-task.

Give Your Email Marketing Strategy a Makeover

Most businesses have some sort of email lists. Few businesses leverage these lists as well as they should. Hopefully, this article has provided you with some practical and actionable tips that can be used to boost engagement and produce more conversions. Give them a try and see what sticks.

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Business Marketing

Here’s how one employer was able beat an age discrimination lawsuit

(MARKETING) Age discrimination is a rare occurrence but still something to be battled. It’s good practice to keep your house in order to be on the right side.

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Jewel age discrimination

In January, the EEOC released its annual accounting for reports of discrimination in the previous year. Allegations of retaliation were the most frequently filed charge, which disability coming in second. Age discrimination cases accounted for 21.4% of filed charges. As we’ve reported before, not all age discrimination complaints rise to the level of illegal discrimination. In Cesario v. Jewel Food Stores, Inc., the federal court dismissed the claims of age discrimination, even though seven (7) plaintiffs made similar claims against the grocery store.

What Cesario v. Jewel Food Stores was about

In Cesario, all but one of the seven plaintiffs had spent years with Jewel Food building their careers. When Jewel went through some financial troubles, the plaintiffs allege that they began to “experience significant pressure at work… (and) were eventually forced out or terminated because of their age or disability.” Jewel Food requested summary judgment to dismiss the claims.

The seven plaintiffs made the same type of complaints. Beginning in 2014, store directors were under pressure to improve metrics and customer satisfaction. Cesario alleges that the Jewel district manager asked about his age. Another director alleges that younger store directors were transferred to stores with less difficulties. One plaintiff alleged that Jewel Food managers asked him about his retirement. The EEOC complaints began in late 2015. The plaintiffs retired or were fired and subsequently filed a lawsuit against their company.

Age discrimination is prohibited by the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, (ADEA). The ADEA prevents disparate treatment based on age for workers over 40 years old. However, plaintiffs who allege disparate treatment must establish that the adverse reactions wouldn’t have occurred but for age. Because none of the plaintiffs could specifically point to age as the only determination of their case, the court dismissed the case.

A word to wise businesses

Jewel Food was able to demonstrate their own actions in the case through careful documentation. Although there was no evidence that age played a factor in any discharge decision, Jewel Food could document their personnel decisions across the board. The plaintiffs also didn’t exhaust all administrative remedies. This led to the case being dropped.

Lesson learned – Make perssonel decisions based on performance and evidence. Don’t use age as a factor. Keep documentation to support your decisions.

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