Oftentimes, we see things in a completely different way than others do when it comes to our websites. That’s why it’s always a good idea to have someone outside your daily scope of work take a look.
Subscribers of my Marketing Words Newsletter get the chance to submit one page of their site into a monthly drawing. Each month’s winner gets their page reviewed by my team of experts who offer insights, suggestions and point out issues that might require fixing in an effort to bring about improvements. This month’s winner is May Real Estate Group.
Comments from Justin Deville, Receptional Digital Marketing Agency
One of my favorite marketing quotations is an old one. Very old.
“Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted. The trouble is, I don’t know which half.” The quotation comes from John Wanamaker, who founded Wanamaker’s department store in Philadelphia, back in the 1870s. He was a marketing pioneer. His point – that it was almost impossible to track marketing activity accurately – remained true for over a decade. But, within the last couple of years, new software has emerged, which makes it possible to track much more of your marketing activity – and in particular inbound calls to your business.
The reason I mention the emergence of call tracking is because I suspect that inbound calls are your main source of leads. Certainly my online estate agency clients get most of their business via telephone calls.
At the moment, there’s no immediately obvious way for visitors to your home page to get in touch. Yet, there’s a big gap where you could place a telephone number.
Here’s what I’d suggest. Add call tracking software to your site. The result: everyone who visits your site sees a different telephone number. This is useful, because it allows you to track each call to your business in your Google Analytics account.
In Analytics you’ll be able to see which of your marketing activities (which may be PPC, SEO, email, social media, or even printed ads) generates calls. Over time, you can then invest your marketing budget in the activities that are generating the most calls. And you can save money by spending less on the marketing channels that aren’t generating leads.
For one of our clients, we were able to generate five times as many leads for the same level of marketing spend. This may be a simple tip, but it’s one that can make a huge difference to the effectiveness of your marketing.
My online marketing agency, Receptional, is based in the UK. We use Mediahawk’s call tracking software. I’m afraid I haven’t used call tracking in the US. But, maybe readers can give their opinions of the services they’ve tried – in the comments below?
Suggestions from Kurt Scholle, WebsiteSuccessCourse.com
MayREGroup.com is a clean site with an attractive slider dominating the Home page. The slider is wide enough to accommodate current monitor resolutions, however it is not mobile-responsive. Just over 50% of Internet traffic comes from SmartPhones and tablets, so my first recommendation is to revise the site as mobile-responsive. (I have some of my own sites to convert too!)
I still like sliders, especially to develop a picture in your prospect’s eye, but some of my colleagues report that site visitors find them annoying. One knock is that they can be slow to load, which can affect Google’s ranking. Some sliders are not viewable on Apple products, so you need to test that.
Adding benefit statements to slider images, such as “Find Newly Listed Homes” helps messaging, but I think “The May Advantage” seems to be related to golf with the image you’ve used, unless that’s used to promote golf community properties. You use “Find the Right Realtor” twice. I would delete the slide with the image of the strip mall. I’m not sure what the connection is.
The green header, NAV bar and slider take up too much screen real estate, which pushes the rest of the content down the page. On my laptop the fold comes right below your headline and “Quick Real Estate Search.” You will benefit from showing more content than that; perhaps by using three “paths,” such as Sellers, Buyers and Quick Real Estate. Select the 3 paths that are the most important elements of your site.
The Home page headline “Your Best Resource to Florida Real Estate Starts Right Here” is OK, but a little generic. A stronger headline that is more benefit-rich would help. Visitors decide if they have found the solution they are looking for within 5-8 seconds. You need to communicate the May Advantage quickly.
I don’t think “A Unique New Partnership” is the right message to lead with. I wouldn’t put that on the Home page. Maybe the About page.
The Winning Formula is much better, but I’d try and use bullet points and a shorter paragraph.
Your Home copy needs to link to other pages on the site. That helps site visitors but also helps search engines. Also consider adding XML and HTML sitemaps.
Finally, the opt-in email list is one of the most important ways to continue an engagement with a customer. I think you’ll get more people to sign up to your list by offering to send them a list of recent sales by neighborhood and some tips on buying or selling a home. That information should be good, but lead them to contact you to follow up with questions, a market analysis or staging ideas.
Good luck with the site! I think if you tweak it a bit, you’ll have a better experience.
Recommendations from Me, Marketing Words Web Copywriting & Online Marketing Consulting
When I first arrive at your Home page, this is the view I get on my laptop.
From all the research I’ve done and many others have done, rotating banners (also called sliders or carousels) don’t covert. In fact, they can actually cause decreases in conversions and tank your page load time. Here are just a couple of the reasons:
- It’s new technology and people don’t know what to do with these yet. They don’t understand that the little, faint, gray dots in the corner are actually controls.
- When they see something they like in the slider, they almost always end up someplace they don’t want to be which is frustrating. As an example, when I clicked the image of the home in your slider, I did not go to a page that told me about that home… I went to a page that told me about your company. Not what I was expecting. You get the point.
Since the top portion of your Home page is the most valuable acre of virtual real estate you own, I’d remove the slider completely and replace it with an enticing and customer-focused headline or rework the slider to offer pictures, benefit statements and calls-to-action that the site visitor can understand and be compelled to act on.
The number one reason people go online when it comes to real estate is not to look for a Realtor. It’s to find property listings and community information. After they’ve found good quality content and MLS listings on your site then they might think about contacting you for more information or poking around the rest of your site.
Your current Home page copy is all about May. You want your copy to speak to your site visitors and what they are interested in (whether residential or commercial), not strictly about your company. As it is now, the Home page copy reads a bit like a corporate bio rather than a page designed to attract and entice prospects. Here are some great examples of copy that might spark a little inspiration.
While you have an excellent UCA (unique competitive advantage) in that you actively seek out buyers for the homes you list, it is phrased in such a way that (in my opinion) is difficult to understand. My concern is that site visitors are missing the importance of this benefit.
While I understand that you have a limited window to work within (buying/selling a home is a process that most people only go through a few times during their lives) you want to have every opportunity to connect with prospects while they are hot.
You could consider offering a downloadable real estate buying/selling kit filled with checklists, worksheets, ideas, tips, etc. that site visitors could download in exchange for their names and email addresses. This would allow you to keep your name in front of them throughout their buying/selling process (because the kit would be branded) and would hopefully impress them enough that they’d want to share your valuable resource with others they knew who were looking for homes.
That free offer combined with a follow-up series of emails could effectively convert prospects who were just casually looking into buyers/sellers who engage your services.
You could do something similar for your commercial prospects. It would all be automated (I use Aweber for this) so that you simply set it up once and it works for you behind the scenes 24/7/365.
As I describe in my Kindle book “SEO Copywriting Flow: Creating a Steady Stream of Rankings & Conversions,” it is important to create a pathway for searchers to follow from Google to your site.
In order to do this, you have to (1) incorporate keywords in strategic places and (2) entice visitors at every step along the way starting with your title tag.
Currently, your title tag has a keyphrase and your company name. With all the other title tags consisting of the same, weak information, you have a wonderful chance to stand out in the crowd and earn more clicks than other sites.
Your meta description tag is OK, but not great:
Unlimited search for homes and condos in the Northeast Florida area including St Augustine and St Johns areas courtesy of May Real Estate Group.
Practically every site offers unlimited searches. What can you tell me to get me to click your listing instead of (or in addition to) other Realtors? What will I find at your site that I won’t find at others?
Is your site brand new? I’m not able to get it to come up in Google for any searches I’ve done including “May real estate St. Augustine Florida.” Only when I type your URL into the query box can I get your site to show in the listings.
Let us know if you have follow-up questions and good luck with the updates!