In a relationship business like real estate, first impressions really do matter. The truth is, you have a very short time to create a good impression on the Web, just like in person. Since many website visitors enter your website through your home page, you’ve got to make the most of it! Build a great home page that speaks directly to your customers needs – and in return you’ll capture their contact information.
In this issue:
- Give Searchers What They Are Looking For… And Get the Lead
- Your Other “Customer”: Optimizing for Search Engines
- An iHOUSE “How To”: Add Links to Your iHOUSE Website
- Customer Poll: Wish List for 2007 – Home Page Lead Generation Feature
- iHOUSE Announcements
- Free Upgrade: New File Manager and Documents Page
- New Program: Share Your Story with iHOUSE and win an iPod Nano
- Special Offer: Spotlight Single Property Website – Buy One, Get One Free
Give Searchers What They Are Looking For… And Get the LeadReal estate clients are turning increasingly to the Internet for house hunting. If your prospects are doing their research online, you can capture their interest by highlighting the information they seek clearly on your home page. To stand out from their competition, Internet-savvy agents have moved past simple webpages that have a bio and strong sales pitch. Successful agents hook prospects right on their home page by providing the information that searchers want in tandem with a lead-generation vehicle, in a simple, clean, easy-to-navigate layout.
Offer Useful Information in Return for Asking for Contact InformationFor visitors looking for: Sales Trends & Statistics for Their Area
- Show Your Local Knowledge – Whet their appetite with a few key current local statistics and offer a custom home evaluation with a link to your Market Valuation Form.
- Create a Story Around a Recent Success – Bring statistics or a market trend to life with a brief client success story. Link to your Contact Me Form to learn more information.
- Do You Write a Newsletter? Advertise It! – Build your network with regular monthly updates on key trends and events. Then, be sure to advertise this newsletter on your home page, with a link to newsletter archives. Offer a free subscription using a custom form or a contact me form.
- Hot Property of the Week – Create an ad for the property on your home page and link to your Hotsheet page to learn more. You can choose to ask for contact information upon opening the Hotsheet page.
- Home Page Slideshow – Engage users with a slideshow of your freshest listings to motivate prospects to click into your website to learn more.
- Direct Traffic to Your Most Popular Search Page – Let people know right away that you offer a local search right in your home page text, and provide a link directly to it. Add a link to your Dream Home Finder as well.
- Promote IDXPro (if you subscribe to it) – IDXPro MLS Search solution is a proven lead generator – if you’ve got it, flaunt it! Advertise the IDXPro and HouseTrack email update service right on your home page with a link to the Search MLS page.
- Let Visitors Know About Free Brochures – If you subscribe to iHOUSE Free Brochures, advertise the service directly on your homepage to increase traffic to the Sign Up form and unleash this powerful lead generation tool.
- Offer a Moving Guide or Checklist – Create a Moving Guide or Checklist and offer to email it to anyone who contacts you by linking to your Contact Me form or a custom form. When the new File Manager and Documents Page feature is launched in December (see below), you can direct traffic to the Documents Page to download all different types of files – from helpful guides to photos and more.
Your Other “Customer”: Creating Keyword Rich Copy for Search EnginesThe copy on your home page will greatly determine your website’s relevancy to a search engine query, so it should contain your major key words and phrases. Keywords are the terms that people type into the search windows when trying to find something on the Internet. It’s safe to say that everything about Internet marketing begins with keywords. So the first thing to do is make a long list of every possible keyword and phrase that someone might use to find your website. Here are some things to keep in mind:
- Keywords should include the cities, districts, and region that your services cover.
- The more “niche” your market, the better chance for higher search engine rankings because you will have less competition for your specialty keywords.
- Capitalization does not matter with keywords.
- Many words should be listed in both singular and plural versions.
- San Francisco real estate agent
- Cap Cod homes for sale
- Orange County apartment rentals
- Pensacola beachfront home
- Pittsburgh mls listings
- Idaho new home
- Read through your current text, and see where you can add them, while keeping the content flow and readability.
- In place of “we” or “us,” use your company name whenever possible – your company name is a key search term.
- Search engines will give more weight or importance to words that appear near the tops of pages, headlines, and words in bold. Using keyword-rich copy to open paragraphs is important.
- Bulleted lists are a good way to keep things from sounding awkward.
Add a Keyword-Rich Paragraph at the Bottom of Your Home PageWhile the top of the page is an important place for keywords, your copy also needs to make sense to people visiting your website, not just search engines. If you find it challenging to use all your keywords in copy intended to convert website visitors into leads, try placing a small keyword-rich paragraph at the bottom of your home page.
An iHOUSE “How To”: Add Links to Your Home Page CopyWe highly recommend promoting and linking to key features of your website on your home page to increase the lead generation power of your website. If this is new to you, here’s a quick review of how to add links on your homepage copy. If you have additional questions, we are here to help – just call us toll-free at 866-645-7700.
Linking to Your Website Page ButtonsAnytime you enter a button name in brackets within a text field, the text will automatically transform itself into a link that goes to that page on your website. For example, if Search for Homes is a button on your website, add the text [Search for Homes] anywhere in the text to automatically create a link to that page.
Create a Basic Text Link to Any URLYou can create a basic text link to any web page by entering the website address (URL) after the text. For example, if you type the following: [See A Sample;http://www.sampleonly.com], you will create a text link that looks just like this: In full detail:
- Open the code with an opening bracket “[“
- “See a Sample” is the text that you wish to link
- The semicolon “;” separates the text from the actual link
- “http://www.sampleonly.com” is the actual link
- Close the code with a closing bracket “]”
Targeting LinksLinks can also be prefixed by special codes ^, +, -, *, ! to determine how the link will open in the web browser.
- ^http://www.sample.com – will open the page in a pop-up window.
- +http://www.sample.com – will open in a new window.
- -http://www.sample.com – will replace the current window.
- *http://www.sample.com – will open in the current frame.
- !http://www.sample.com – will open in the frameset.