Dear Ginny WTH,
I’m a real estate agent with my own web site and domain. I’m about to revamp my home page and I’m struggling trying to figure out first, what are the necessary components for the home page and second, what to highlight on the page. Obviously property search should standout but how much? Do people want to know about me and the value and service I provide on the home page? How prominent should my lead generation sections be? What do you suggest?
Struggling in Seattle
Recently I saw a news story about a large real estate franchise, let’s call them Best Houses & Backyards, who revamped their one year old site reducing the “amount of amount of space devoted to branding” because consumers were “very confused about what to do on the site.” Now you look at the site and it has completely lost the branding and value proposition and all you see is a great big property search box.
Property search is mainly what consumers are on your site to do, but they also want to know about the area, property values, market statistics and who you are. It has to be evident how to search for property up front, but not to the detriment of your value proposition.
You’ve got lots of examples that are good and many more that are bad. I don’t want to call anyone out, but many brokers have abandoned any value proposition on their web sites. You go onto their sites and as a consumer you can’t tell what they do that’s different than any other real estate company.
Real estate web sites tend to be a commodity in the market. In other words consumers know they can go onto any broker or agent site and see all the listings for sale in their immediate area. In this commoditized market, you need to stand out. Why would a consumer go to your site versus another? It’s going to be ease of use, variety and value of content and layout.
The site must be built on a structure of your brand and your value proposition to the consumer. Up front. Real estate agent Doug Buenz tells consumers in his banner “Real estate in Pleasanton, Dublin, San Ramon and the Tri-Valley.” That’s a value proposition and the consumer understands when they land there what Doug specializes in. Then he has two boxes: Find a home and Explore communities. Simple, direct, perfect.
Contrasting but still effective is Shorewest Realtors web site. Home page says, “Wisconsin’s Largest Home Seller.” Although there is a ton of information on their home page, it is found easily. I can search properties, search open houses, see market activity, search by satellite, get pre-approved, get my property value and more. As a consumer I can forgive the content overload because I would expect that Wisconsin’s largest home seller would have a lot of information to give me. The difference between local and regional, but you can learn from each.
And yet another decent example is Jordan Baris Realtors in New Jersey. I generally like to see the property search on the home page, but Jordan Baris does an excellent job at value proposition with its “Proudly serving New Jersey for over half a century” which tells me as a consumer I’m getting a solid company. I like the MLS Snapshot as a nice lead generation piece on the home page with its friendly copy and graphic layout. And notice the “List your property” button. Genius.
These are just a few of the good examples for you to analyze, but I’ll give you my rules for real estate web site home pages and what I think should be prominent:
- Interactive property search on the home page – not just a link to it
- Value proposition – what do you do or what makes you different
- Something for sellers – what’s my home worth, market snapshot, sold property search, etc.
- Open home search – if you are able to display open houses
- Lead generation – something that gives you the consumer’s contact details, i.e. listing alerts, newsletter, sold alerts, etc.
- Community information – even if you have to link it out to another web site
These are suggestions and I highly recommend you look at web sites outside of your immediate area to get ideas. Look at the simplicity of the Jordan Baris list your property button. Copying, er uh imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, isn’t it? Sorry Ken, but we’re all stealing your great idea!
What entreprenuers can learn about branding from trendy startups
(BUSINESS MARKETING) What’s the secret of focused startup branding, and how can you apply it to large enterprises?
Think of your favorite brand. Is it the product they offer or the branding that you love? Exactly – brand ethos reigns supreme, especially with those trendy, aesthetically-pleasing startups (I never thought Glossier had good makeup, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t visit their website once or twice a month).
So let’s break it down.
Co-founder of Red Antler – a company that assists startups in creating successful branding – Emily Heyward believes in a few branding truths.
Firstly, you have to make sure not to market your brand as a single product or experience. Doing so, she says, will pigeonhole you and thus truncate your ability to expand and offer new products and services (she gives MailChimp, known almost exclusively for email marketing, as an example).
What Heyward does say to do is instead market an idea. For example, the brand Casper (one of Antler’s clients) markets itself as a sleep company instead of a mattress company. By doing this, they kept the door open to eventually offer other products, like pillows and bedding.
Heyward states that this “power of focus” is a way to survive – with countless other startups offering the same product or service, you have to position your company as offering something beyond the product. Provide a problem your customer didn’t know they had and offer an innovative solution through your product.
Ever used Slack, the app-based messenger? There were other messengers out there, so focus of Slack’s branding is that regular messaging is boring and that their app makes it more fun. And customers eat it up.
How can this logic apply to mid-to-large enterprises? How can you focus on one specific thing?
Again, placing emphasis on brand over products is essential – what is it about what you offer that makes your customers’ lives better? It’s more cerebral than material. You’re selling a better life.
Another thing to remember is that customers are intrigued by the idea of new experiences, even if the product or service being offered is itself not new. Try not to use dated language that’s colored by a customers’ preexisting feelings. Instead, find an exciting alternative – chat solutions are desperately trying move away from the word “chat”, which can bring to mind an annoying, tedious process, even though that is in fact what they offer.
Broadening the idea of focused brand ethos to a large company can be difficult. By following these tips and tricks from startups, your company can develop a successful brand ethos that extends beyond your best product or service.
Spruce up your product images with Glorify (just in time for Black Friday!)
(BUSINESS MARKETING) Want professional, customizable product images for your company? Consider Glorify’s hot Black Friday deal.
Glorify, the app that creates high converting, customizable product images for your business, is offering a lifetime deal for $97 this Black Friday. In just a few clicks, you can transform one of Glorify’s sleek templates into personalized, professional-looking content – and now, you don’t have to pay that monthly fee.
Whether your business is in electronics, beauty, or food & drink, Glorify offers a range of looks that will instantly bring your product images to the next level. With countless font styles and the ability to alter icon styles, shadows and other elements, you can access all the perks of having your own designer without the steep price.
In 2019, Glorify was launched – the app was soon voted #2 Product of the Day and nominated for Best Design Tool by Product Hunt. Since then, they have cultivated a 20k+ user base!
Glorify 2.0, which was launched last week, upgrades the experience. The new and improved version of the app is complete overhaul of intuitive UI improvements and extra features, such as:
- background remover tool
- templates based on popular product niches and themes
- design bundles for your website/store, social media
- annotation tool
- upload your brand kits and organize your projects under different brands
- 1 click brand application
- & much more!
“But the most important aspect of Glorify 2.0, is that it comes with a UI that sets us up for future scalability for all our roadmap features”, said CEO of Glorify Omar Farook, who himself was a professional graphic designer.
Farook’s dream was to provide a low-cost design service for the smaller businesses that couldn’t otherwise afford design services. Looking through reviews of the app, it’s evident that Glorify does just that – it saves the user time and money while helping them to produce top-notch product images for their brand on their own.
Glorify is one of the many new design-based apps that make producing content a breeze for entrepreneurs, such as Canva. As someone who loves design but doesn’t have the patience for Creative Cloud, I personally love this technology. However, Glorify is unique in that it is the only product-driven design app. All you have to do is upload your photo!
This new Chipotle location will be fully digital
(BUSINESS NEWS) In the wake of the pandemic and popularity of online delivery, Chipotle is joining the jump to online-only locations, at least to test drive.
A lot of industries have switched to an online-only model in the wake of the pandemic. Most of them have made sense; between abundant delivery options and increased restrictions on workers, moving away from the traditional storefront paradigm isn’t exactly a radical choice. Chipotle making that same decision, however, is a plot twist of a different kind—yet that’s exactly what they’re doing with their first online store.
To be clear, the chain isn’t doing away with their existing locations; they’re just test-driving a “digital” location for the time being. That said, the move to an online platform raises interesting questions about the future of the restaurant industry—if not just Chipotle itself.
The move to an online platform actually makes a lot of sense for businesses like Chipotle. Since the classic Chipotle experience is much less centered on the “dining” aspect than it is on the customizability of food options, putting those same options online and giving folks some room to deliver both decreases Chipotle’s physical footprint and, ostensibly, opens up their services to more people.
It’s also a timely move given the sheer number of people who are sheltering in place. A hands-on burrito assembly line is not the optimal place to be in a pandemic, but there’s no denying the utilitarian appeal of Chipotle’s products. To that end, having another restaurant wherein you have the option to order a hearty meal with everything you like—which is also tailored to your dietary needs—is a crucial step for consumers.
Chipotle’s CTO, Curt Garner, says he is hoping this online alternative will offer a “frictionless” experience for diners.
As a part of that frictionless experience, consumers will be able to order in several different mediums. Chipotle’s website and their mobile app are the preferred choices, while services like GrubHub will also be available should you choose to order through a third-party. The idea is simple: To bring Chipotle to you with as little fuss as possible.
For now, Chipotle is committing to the single digital location to see how consumer demand pans out. Should the model prove successful, they plan to move forward with implementing additional digital locations nationwide.
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