This week in our website redesign saga, we try to answer the question: Who are these people and what do they want from me anyway? (You can catch up on Part I here)
I came across a theory that says people will do business with me if I can be the resource that finally answers the questions that visitors can’t get answered anywhere else.
Running with that for a bit, I decided to categorize web visitor types, and investigate what each category would want answered that they couldn’t easily find elsewhere, building off of four major personality types.
Site visitor categories would be things like Relocation Buyers, First Time Buyer, Those Just Looking, Move-up Seller, Investor, and so on. We’ll stick with 4 personality types, calling them Methodical, Spontaneous, Humanistic, and Competitive.
Let’s look at a Relocation Buyer – someone who has probably bought a home before, is moving to the area but is not very familiar with it. In my experience, this person is usually already convinced that they need an agent, and usually comes to me already pre-qualified for a loan.
We follow this with a big brainstorm list of things that category of site visitor might like to see, just to get all our ideas out in one place. For our Relo buyer, it’s things like examples of typical costs and who pays them, explanation of local real estate taxes and auto registration, how to finance a home here if the existing house hasn’t sold, local attractions, more specific items like that. These are items that span many personality types and categories.
This was a more difficult exercise than I had anticipated. For example, I don’t get those Spontaneous types, those fast, emotional decision makers. I’m a Methodical. I understand the Competitives, and somewhat less so the Humanistics, but for the life of me, I can’t wrap my mind around what the Spontaneous-es want. Which means I probably won’t easily attract or work well with them anyway. It’s okay. I don’t want a site that sets expectations that I will be one way and then I’m totally different in person. However, I’m not going to neglect that personality type as we’re all most likely at least a little bit of each.
So now we know the various types of information and features that I need, and how to present it in different ways to attract a larger audience. Now, I can start framing paths for these various scenarios. I know that on a market stats page, I don’t need a big link to testimonials. I know that anytime I offer or describe a service, I need to quickly and clearly describe the advantages and link back to a guarantee.
This would be the framing of the site – figuring out how someone might enter the site, what information they want and how it should be presented, and eventually presenting them with a call to action that is a tangible reason to return to the site, to build a trust relationship with me, and want to work with me.
Man. It’d be a lot easier to come up with some fantastic feature list and pass it off to a developer! I am convinced this is time well spent, however.
What about your website? Who is your clientele and what do they want? How do you answer the WIIFM for them?
I’m running with the idea that answering questions that can’t be answered elsewhere will make people want to work with me: an implied quid pro quo. Does this make me a useless bag of information? Am I really adding value, answering a need, becoming useful? Or was Mom right about not buying the cow if the milk is free?
October 22, 2007 at 1:38 pm
What a great way to approach a site… We are in the process of developing a master-planned community website, and one of the challenges is breaking up the audience into segments and targeting each effectively. Good way to brainstorm.
October 22, 2007 at 2:05 pm
geez, your site is going to be awesome…
October 22, 2007 at 3:06 pm
thanks guys – we’re aiming high on this one.
October 22, 2007 at 3:20 pm
I think you have to, it’s a very expensive task.
November 1, 2007 at 8:40 pm
“I’m running with the idea that answering questions that can’t be answered elsewhere will make people want to work with me: an implied quid pro quo. Does this make me a useless bag of information? Am I really adding value, answering a need, becoming useful? Or was Mom right about not buying the cow if the milk is free?”
I’m constantly wondering about this. Since I started using a website, it’s always been my opinion that it should provide information…lots of it. I try to put relevant, useful info. too, not the canned, keyword stuffed crap you find on many RE sites. I also provide this information in hopes that the consumer will see that I’m providing something that others aren’t, and doing so in a “real” voice.
I do get comments, occasionally, from clients that they like my site, and find it useful. Those comments keep me working on my site, but I do often wonder…am I providing too much and not asking enough in return??
November 2, 2007 at 3:31 am
Hi Nicole – that’s the question I’d love to have answered too! I’ve been reading a lot about online marketing and persuasion, and the recurring theme is to keep providing the right information, at the right time, to keep someone moving forward to take an action: to register, to email or call, to do whatever it is that you want them to do. We’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about the various types of visitors, what I can give them, and then taking it a step further – define what I want them to do. Only one way to see if it works, eh?
February 24, 2008 at 5:46 pm
I have been trying to figure out how to market ME. I’m a bit different than the “typical realtor” in that I sold new homes for over 10 years and that my personal is “owl, bull, tiger” quoting Charles Clark? I am almost equal parts to the tee with NO lamb.
How do I attract people that will appreciate my thorough, scientific and numbers approach to real estate. I believe that my main asset is being able to take the emotion out of the listing price or buying price using data. I do also agree that buying or selling is an emotional experience but help the numbers take precedence. I also have an extensive psychology background that helps diffuse this. I work well with engineers and creative types, not so well with nice church ladies who must ask everyone they know before they make a decision. I have several types of websites right now & have taught myself to create & maintain them however am not very successful at increasing the page rankings. There are services you can pay but my budget is tight & I’d at least like to know how they do it so that I can make sure I am getting my money’s worth.
I work great with email, text, google searches for info & more but need to get my site seen. Any ideas?
February 24, 2008 at 7:04 pm
Kelley & Nicole,
I have done this with my site. It features an integrated blog where I write only for consumers. Since I’m in San Diego where distressed sellers are the rule, I started doing a series on HR 3648 from its introduction to its passage and becoming law. I then wrote an overview of the new law.
The response has been far more than I expected.