According to a study by The National Association of Realtors (2012), 90% of people are searching for houses online. When roughly 40 million people move each year, that’s about 36 million people looking for homes through the internet.
Most home buyers start their search by the area in which they want to live, and typically narrow that search down to specific communities. At this point, shoppers are typically looking at builders in specific communities, and that is when your website needs to make a lasting impression.
Here are 4 tips for creating a website that will make a profound impression on potential home buyers:
1) Video Testimonials
Video is hands down the most effective tool for communicating your value. It consistently out performs all other mediums by a factor of 10! You want to convince your visitors that you are reliable and committed to building a home they will love. The most effective way to establish this trust is through customer reviews and stories. Here is one way of doing this:
Written testimonials are not quite convincing enough. They are easy to dismiss or overlook and frankly they’re boring! Here is a better testimonial:
A quote along with a video testimonial is far more engaging! However, with the long stationary shot, it’s a little difficult to pay attention through the entire video.
Grayson Homes in Raleigh hired us to produce a testimonial video in 2015. This is what a high-quality, personal, and engaging video testimonial should look like:
2) Professional Photography...and a lot of it
People like pictures. It’s that simple.
As a home builder you spend a great deal of time crafting beautiful homes for your buyers. Your attention to detail is what makes you successful - you need to show that off!
When it comes to showcasing the details of your work iPhone photos do not cut it. It’s time to hire a professional photographer. This is a small cost to endure for a major return. It is important to remember you should not simply throw a bunch of pictures on a page. Create a pleasing gallery of images. Remember, you create custom designs, mirror this effort on your website.
For instance, Plath & Co. uses a mosaic layout for photos of their work. Each image then links to a separate page detailing a specific project. This is a great layout for high-quality photographs.
Goldmark Construction Group uses a similar gallery for their photos, but instead of links they use thumbnails that open to a lightbox, magnifying each image. This is another great layout for professional photos.
3) Positive User Experience
Many times, the website is the first exposure a potential home buyer will have with your brand. Their experience on the site will set the tone with their expectations of you and your homes. In creating this positive experience there are some basics you need to know:
Navigation → This starts with your sitemap. Is it massive and complicated? Simple and intuitive menus is key. Think of the top 3 reasons why someone might visit your site. The content relevant to these reasons should be clearly identified in your menu and homepage.
Readability and clarity → Don’t have massive blocks of content. Let's be honest - no one is reading through websites. Break large ideas into smaller, more digestible, segments with plenty of visuals.
Creating a clear, consistent brand → Having clear messaging through your website (and offline) is vital to making a lasting impression on your site visitor.
Interactive Elements → Use interactive maps of the specific areas and communities you are developing in, and allow for preview of homes you’ve built. Not only does using a map allow for you to rank higher in searches for homes specific to location, but you are using spec homes to create a demand for presale homes.
4) Lead Conversion
Most websites rely on the visitor to call or fill out a “Talk to Sales” contact form. It’s great when this happens, but you’re likely missing out on a lot of good leads. Many visitors are not ready to speak with sales. Consider offering valuable content in exchange for information - we call this a “soft conversion.” Even though this person is not yet an opportunity, you now have the ability to send them follow up content to nurture them from a cold lead into a sales opportunity. For example, offer them a downloadable guide for modern interior color schemes in exchange for an email address.
With 90% of home buyers looking online, your website plays an important role in attracting and converting new leads. By following these 4 guidelines to creating a website, you’ll find that you are not only reaching a segment of those millions of online home buyers each year, but creating lasting customers out of them.