I’ve been writing my little fingertips off lately, but you wouldn’t know it by checking here or over at my regular blog. Mostly, I’ve been cataloging my city and hunting down good resources online for my website re-do.
It seems the whole world is having some web work done – there’s a name for that effect that slips my mind at the moment. Occasionally, someone will tweet the announcement of their web re-do, and I like to check out what other folks have done.
But for all of the slick features or social media tie-ins and whatnot that I’m seeing recently, it seems to me to be really all the same. There’s the big 4 categories: buying, selling, about the area/neighborhoods, about the agent, and we’ll throw in relocation as a 5th.
The more similarities I draw between real estate websites, the more I look at them, I wonder: who is this for?
It’s like watching your favorite TV show and noticing that every commercial is not aimed at you. Have you ever done that? Pay attention to the commercials and decide who the target audience is for every commercial during your favorite show. It’s an interesting thought exercise.
So I’m looking at these sites and thinking, who is this for?
In my own online re-do, I’m trying to target a more specific audience. The hyper-local stuff that’s been discussed elsewhere, yes to a degree, but not only where, also the who. Is this a first time buyer? Is this a relocating person? Is this a move-up buyer? A foreign national? A vacation or investment property purchaser?
I can look at those different audiences and decide what that person wants to see, and then I need to present it to them in the proper manner at the proper time. There’s a lot of overlap of information, but presentation is completely different.
For example. The first time buyer and the vacation home buyer are both going to want to know about the areas. The first timer and the vacation home buyer may need to learn about cost of home maintenance, as one has never owned and the other may not be familiar with homes in the area. They both need financing information, but the first timer needs some hand holding, while the vacation home buyer has most likely been to that rodeo a couple of times.
One more example. If I want to break into the luxury market, then I know that buyer is most likely a baby boomer and I need to emphasize lifestyle, I need neighborhood descriptions and amenities, not a huge section on schools. I also know that the high end market tends to pick their agent largely from referral, and that’s not going to be easy for me to tap into – but – something like 9% of that group find their agent online. And that 9% are most likely new to the area because they don’t have a network of people here to get an agent referral from: they are luxury relocaters and vacation home buyers.
I can’t have the same website for my luxury relocating baby boomers as I do for my first-timers. Totally different audiences need a totally different presentation of information. And not only do they want to see different things at different times – if you’re really targeting a specific market segment, you’ve got to tailor to that segment. I’m talking fonts, colors, navigation, not just the information itself.
It’s not just a website, anymore. Not really. It’s a whole conglomeration of platforms and themes and domains, specifically targeted to who I want to influence.
So that’s where I’m headed. Will it worth the effort? Only one way to find out.