Effective Real Estate Websites

The real estate industry is vast and competition is steep. Across the board, there is an extensive amount of companies all aiming to accomplish similar objectives.

In an increasingly digital age, the need for an engaging and effective website design is critical to staying one step ahead of the competition. A recent study from the National Association of Realtors suggests that 94% of millennial’s and 84% of baby boomers conduct an online search during the process of buying a home.

Building trust online among your potential customers is paramount for brands in the real estate business. Perhaps more than any other industry, brand credibility is essential. As noted above, most real estate customers begin the search for a home online, so your digital presence is ultimately the first real impression they have with your company. Without a strong sense that your company can provide the customer with all they need and with the best service available, you’ll find it difficult to convert those users and bring them into your funnel.

With that being said, how can your real estate website design instill a sense of trust that satisfies users and encourages them to select your brand for their real estate needs?

Below I’ve outlined a series of web design tactics that can improve any site’s performance, and can be implemented to offer both a pleasant and engaging user-experience with your brand:

Content Layout
To engage customers, content must be interesting and relevant to user needs. The first mistake a lot of brands make within the real estate industry is bombarding the user with too much copy. And for the most part, this holds true across all industries.
Visitors don’t want to read paragraph after paragraph of text—they want content that is much easier to digest.

It’s critical that your onsite content reflect the journey the user takes on the page.

Particularly with this niche market, visually compelling content is essential. High-quality, professional photographs of the homes available are critical to engaging the user and providing them with the best indication possible of what to expect when working with your company. Imagery should show intricate details about the home, or features that are important to your buyers.

For example, if a waterfront view or a new kitchen with state-of-the-art appliances are selling points, be sure to have imagery that showcases those elements. Video content can also be highly effective at capturing user interest and offering an inside glimpse at your offerings, with minimal effort needed from the user. “Virtual” tours of the home, or video content from sales representatives can be incredibly valuable to customers during their research phase.

Ultimately, it’s important to think about what types of content that customers searching for a home would value. Aside from visual content, features like testimonials, agent profiles, or any additional elements that you could share with users and offer value should be considered.

Enticing Email Captures
Email marketing can be an incredibly efficient way to garner contact information, and re-engage interested users once they’re already familiar with your brand. In a lot of ways, this marketing channel is an essential component in helping convert users and move them further down your conversion funnel. However, before you can start marketing to users, you need to collect their information first.

Having several opportunities to capture user emails on your website is definitely an important design feature to think about. Once you have their email, you can continue marketing to them, serving them with special offers, important updates, and ultimately staying top of mind. For most real estate brands, providing an incentive for signing up for emails will result in the highest subscription rates. Whether is a promise of the latest industry news, or a truly valuable and relevant newsletter, if customers know they can expect something of value in their mailbox, they’ll be likely to sign up.

Also, it’s important to note that the ‘sign up’ button itself should be designed with the user in mind. A vibrant and prominently displayed button, with brief messaging surrounding it, and a simple and easy-to-use interface will only improve the rate at which users subscribe to your emails.

As seen on some Websites, the “SIGN UP NOW” button is vibrant and thus easy to find and click on. Simple messaging about the exclusivity of signing up for The Agency’s email newsletters is likely to drive registrations and provide the company with an opportunity to engage users when they aren’t actively on the website.

Mobile Is A Must
According to the National Association of Realtors, 50% used a mobile device or tablet in their search during the home buying process. With numbers so significant, having a strong mobile presence is indispensable.

Generally speaking, a responsive design is the best option for brands looking to improve their mobile website design. This type of website design ensures that regardless of the platform users are accessing your site from (whether that is mobile, desktop, or tablet), the site adapts to fit the size of the screen.

When your website is presented to users as intended, without any excess scrolling, zooming, or usability issues, the customer is much more likely to engage with the site and return again. A poor user-experience on mobile can result in high bounce rates, and customers choosing to not use your company and its services for their respective needs. If you take a look at the above example, the search option is completely optimized for users on their mobile device, ensuring that there is no barrier to connect with the brand if a customer is accessing the site from their smartphone while they are on-the-go.

Prominent Contact Information
Specific to this unique industry, the ability to easily get in contact with a company representative is an important element. Customers looking to buy or rent a home are likely to have questions prior to deciding to pursue a particular listing. Keeping contact information as prominent as possible for either the company or a particular real estate agent should be a strong focal point of your landing pages.

In the example below, there are several ways for the user to get in touch with the agent. An office phone number is prominently displayed, an email address is listed, and as an additional bonus, there is an easy-to-complete form to submit a query and get in touch with this particular representative.

Custom Search Options
Search functions that are easy to navigate and customized to meet the unique needs of your target audience are a key component to any successful real estate website. Whatever factors are important to your potential customers should be incorporated into the search option or built into a filtering selection. For real estate customers, factors such as budget, geographic area, and special amenities are important during their buying process. By creating customized search buttons that are easy to navigate and use, you’re able to provide potential clients with an experience that is simple and gives them everything they’re looking for.

On the Zillow website, immediately when you land on the homepage, you’re presented with a vibrant search bar that urges the visitor to input an address, neighborhood or zipcode. Above the search bar are 4 separate buttons labeled: buy, rent, sell, and zestimate. These buttons are unique to the Zillow website and likely to be the most commonly sought out service. Not only is this designed beautifully, it’s incredibly user-friendly and easy to make the experience personalized to meet customer needs.

Building Trust through Website Design
Ultimately, the experience you offer your users online is the first impression that you leave them with. The website design that you use is how you craft that impression.

Through a series of design tactics that are tailored to your unique customers, you can effectively engage these customers while helping to build brand credibility. By applying the right techniques and following the best guidelines throughout your website design, your brand will find it far easier to capture interest and convert those potential customers into existing customers.

This Article was first published huffingtonpost.com

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