Put Your Best Foot Forward on Your Web Site
By Donna Sechrist
Web sites make a strong statement about your company to a geographically diverse audience of potential buyers. They are an essential ingredient in any successful marketing plan, and for a relatively small investment can establish a professional presence on the Internet appealing to an ever-increasing number of Web-savvy home shoppers.
In fact, 71% of prospective home buyers now say they are visiting Web sites at some point in their search for a home — making this the first year on record in which more than half of all home buyers are using the Internet, according to a profile of home buyers and sellers by the National Association of Realtors®.
Your customers can read all about you, your qualifications and your experience, as well as view homes that you have built in the past and new homes you currently have for sale. Effective Web sites also provide other content of interest to your visitors, such as tools to evaluate the cost of relocation and the quality of local schools.
However, to take advantage of marketing opportunities on the Web, you first have to direct customers to your site. That’s why it’s imperative to advertise your Web site address everywhere you advertise your company name to drive traffic to it. Consumer destinations offer services that let you advertise yourself and include a link to your site.
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And once they arrive at your site, you need to give buyers the information they are looking for as effectively as possible.
Here are 10 tips from HomeBuilder.com™, NAHB’s official new homes listings Web site, that are easy to implement and that will ensure your Web site is cost-effective advertising driving more traffic and sales your way:
- Less is more — your site should be clean and easy to navigate so that buyers can quickly locate the information they need. Also, be sure to use quick-loading graphics. Slow-loading Web pages are a universal frustration for Internet users.
- Update your Web site regularly. There’s nothing more counter-productive and irritating to consumers than incorrect, incomplete or outdated information.
- Was that "i" before the "e"? Proofread your site for errors in spelling and grammar that can destroy your credibility.
- DON’T TYPE IN ALL CAPS. It is visually unappealing and, in Web-speak, it is the equivalent of yelling.
- Toot your own horn. Post company news, awards you've won, upcoming events and links to your business partners.
- Post photos, elevations and floorplans. Better-informed consumers can shorten your selling cycle.
- Post warranty FAQs. Think of the questions home owners ask most frequently about warranty issues, and answer them on your site.
- Ensure that you are available to your customers. Provide contact information — your e-mail address and telephone number — for answering questions, and respond as soon as possible.
- Add links to local areas of interest, the chamber of commerce and your favorite sites. This provides potential buyers with a sense of the community.
- Advertise your Web address wherever you advertise your company name and mailing address. Many home shoppers like to conduct their research outside of normal business hours, so offering your Web address allows them to learn about you and your services, and contact you via e-mail 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Do the math: A Great Web Site + Qualified Traffic = More Sales.
Remember, your Web site is more than just a simple advertisement. It’s your digital calling card. Make sure you’re making the right impression.
Donna Sechrist is vice president of product management, Web sites and directories for HomeBuilder.com™.
Subscribe to NAHB's Sales & Marketing Ideas Magazine
For additional cutting-edge sales and marketing information, subscribe to NAHB’s Sales & Marketing Ideas magazine. Call 800-368-5242 x8192 to subscribe or order a copy. Visit www.nahb.org, keyword: NSMC to learn about membership benefits of the Nationals Sales and Marketing Council and the Institute of Residential Marketing.
BuilderBooks.com Has Sales and Marketing Publications
BuilderBooks.com offers a variety of sales and marketing publications online. To view or purchase these publications, click here.
University of Housing Offers Sales and Marketing Designations and Courses
The NAHB University of Housing offers designation programs and courses specifically for sales and marketing professionals. For more information on these programs, click here, or call 800-368-5242 x8EDU.
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