Using Heatmaps to Blow Up Your Real Estate Business
As a Realtor®, you should absolutely have a website. Real estate websites are increasingly the best way to attract new real estate business, since more and more people begin their real estate search on their phones or laptops.
“Over 90% of Canadians start their home buying search on the Internet.”
However, there are a lot of bad real estate websites out there, and a bad website won’t do you much good when it comes to new business. There are many facets to an effective real estate website, such as having a strong Unique Value Proposition (UVP) and maintaining a blog. But when it comes down to it, the key to a good website is user experience. Having a goal and then designing your website around that goal will make it more likely that your website will accomplish what you want it to.
If you’re a Realtor®, your website’s goal is simple: get visitors to the website to contact you about representing them. One way to more effectively build your website around this goal is to use heatmaps, a technology that tracks what visitors pay attention to.
Heatmaps Help You Design to Your Audience
You can’t change human nature, so the more successful approach to web design is to alter your site to match the instincts of your visitors. Heatmaps create a graphic representation of where a user’s mouse goes when they visit your website, and where they tend to click. By paying attention to your user’s natural impulses, you can alter your website to more successfully match their expectations, which will translate into new business for you.
For example, you might discover that there is some image or text on your website that users tend to click on. If that image or text isn’t a link, then users are confused and might give up on your website—never underestimate how short people’s attention spans can be! You can improve your website by making that image or text a link to the page you determine users are trying to reach. If you have a call to action, such as “Contact me,” you should make it a link to your contact information, or even a form that allows users to contact you directly through the website.
Another factor that you will notice using heatmaps is what users tend to ignore. If you have important text, such as your Unique Value Proposition, and users aren’t moving their mouse over it or clicking on its links, then you should move the UVP to somewhere where users do tend to look. Hint: people tend to focus on the left side of a website, and generally don’t scroll down very far.
Use Heatmaps to Increase Engagement
One of the reasons to have a blog on your real estate website is to encourage visitors to engage with your site for longer. If they see an interesting post, they will click on it and spend time reading it, giving you and your website a larger presence in their mind. Therefore, users will be more likely to choose you when they decide on a Realtor®.
You can use heatmaps to create a similar effect. If you design several pages such that users are more likely to click from one to the next, then you encourage users to spend more time looking around your website.
You might use an image of a particularly nice home you’re selling to guide users to a page of your current listings. You can include short summaries of recent blog posts to guide users to your blog. You can include calls to actions with links to contact information in prominent places on every page. By optimizing each of these pages using heatmaps, you will create a website that draws users in and leads them to learn more about your achievements.
Placing Calls to Action
One of the most useful tools for increasing conversions—that is, encouraging visitors to become clients—is the call to action. You don’t want to place calls to action all over your website, because that would make you seem desperate, intrusive and confusing. Instead, you want to identify the places where users tend to linger, and place calls to action in those places. This strategy ensures that it feels natural to the user to contact you—they feel that it is their decision.
Sometimes, you’ll discover a place to put a call to action that isn’t obvious. For example, users will tend not to pay very much attention to the content on your main page that requires them to scroll down. However, heatmaps show that many users will quickly scroll down to the bottom, and pay attention to the lowest piece of content on your site. This makes the bottom of your main page an unexpected but useful place to include a call to action.
An Ongoing Process
Heatmaps can help you to improve the effectiveness of your real estate website at achieving your goal of attracting new real estate business. However, don’t expect to perfect your website overnight. You, or the professional web designer you hire, should plan to regularly experiment with new design elements, and then to use heatmaps to see what works.
The process will take time, but you will gradually develop a unique website that meshes perfectly with your readers’ needs. And a website that does that will put your real estate business on the map.