If you’re reading Geek Estate then I’ll assume you’re familiar with the idea of conversion rate optimization. It’s the process of turning more visitors into leads and eventually money in your pocket. Upping your conversion rate is absolutely, guaranteed the quickest business boost you can imagine. Building out a great PPC campaign or earning high organic rankings are valuable but they take time and money to implement.
Conversion rate optimization, on the other hand, is free, easy, and immediate! For some reason a lot of tech savvy people, who preach the value of online marketing at the top of their lungs, don’t actively engage in conversion testing. Something about it is just scary for newbies. Here’s 7 easy tips to get you rolling and put more dough in your pocket!
1. Always be Testing
You probably use Google Analytics on your personal site. Being the nice interweb czars that they are, the folks at Google created a free tool to help little guys like us optimize conversion rates called Google Website Optimizer. I highly recommend signing up for it and tying it to your Analytics account. Google has created tons of tutorials and here’s a little tour to give you an idea of how robust it is.
2. Make Forms EASY
DO NOT ASK FOR ANY MORE INFORMATION THAN YOU DON’T ABSOLUTELY REQUIRE! I can’t capitalize and italicize that enough. I swear I’ve seen real estate inquiry forms that ask me for three phone numbers (including a fax number), multiple email addresses, my home address, where I want to move, and so on. Visitors are going to see that form and bounce all day long. Nobody wants to write a book just to have the privilege of sending a message. Do be sure to include enough info to qualify prospects and protect yourself from wasting tons of time on poor leads.
3. Make Forms EASY to Find
What’s the point of having a website if you make it tough for potential customers to contact you? Answer: There isn’t one other than feeling cool because you own YourName.com! I’m rather proud of my buddy’s surety bond site and how we are able to funnel leads to fill out his form. Traffic numbers have stayed steady but lead volume is way up all because the form is linked to in a few different, compelling ways on every page on the site.
4. Use an Auto-responder
Research always agrees, the quicker you follow up with a lead = the more likely that person will use your services. You’re not going to make much money, or have much fun for that matter, if you sit around calling all of your leads right when they fill out the form on your website. That’s where the beauty of an auto-responder comes in. Keep leads warm by sending a nice follow up email a few minutes after they reach out to you. One of the most popular solutions is Aweber.
5. Offer Contact Options
Lots of prospects will flake out no matter how user-friendly your form is. Be sure to clearly list your phone number and email address at the top of your contact form. Making yourself available easily in the beginning will speak volumes to your potential clients about the services you will provide them in the future. ‘Nuff said!
6. “Hide” Filler Content
We’re all guilty of producing content just to make search engines happy or to get some easy links. It’s not wrong per se but it’s definitely not a long term strategy. If you have some blah content on your site but don’t want to completely remove it, try and make it so users aren’t going to find it. Obviously I’d never recommend doing anything shady that is not search engine friendly but you can hide something in plain site if it just detracts from conversion. Bottom line: leave non-essential items out of the main site navigation.
7. End Blog Posts with a Call to Action
Don’t waste prime real estate on your blog just because it’s a more colloquial communication medium than the rest of your site. I know for lots of agents, their blog is the highest traffic part of their site and all they’re doing to take advantage is linking to some about page somewhere that users will never see. I recommend slapping a big call to action right at the bottom of every post with a link to your contact form. Test different images and see what gets the best reaction. See this in action on a recent post on foreclosures affecting credit scores at the MLP blog. Even though blogs are all about content, I wouldn’t worry much about angering your readers because you have an ad on every post. Something has to pay the bills!