Marketing

A little water please

Author
Jessica Swesey
No.
938
Date
06/16/15

I like headlines.

A headline is the first thing people read when they hit your homepage.

It is an opportunity to be bold. To speak directly to your customer. Flex some personality. Be human.

During some recent research, I went on a hunt through about 30 brokerage websites and examined their headlines, or lack thereof.

By the looks of it, no one’s writing serious copy in real estate. There are a few, sure. But statistically speaking, my sampling told me it’s rare.

Sad because it seems so obvious:

If you’re not talking to your customer, then who is?

If you’re not talking to your customer, you’re leaving them in front of your brand in silence. Forming their own impressions. Wondering who you are.

Buying a home is the most expensive transaction of most people’s lives. And yet, very few brokerages are greeting people at this critical door.

It’s the equivalent of shoving a brochure in a customer’s face when they walk in your local office without even talking to them first. No Hello, may I offer you a seat? or What do you need help with? Can I get you anything before you sit down?

A little water please.

You can see why it’s critical to at least try to talk to people hitting your website. And not just on the homepage.

Every high-traffic page is an opportunity to say something to your customer.

Every word is a chance to build trust and make the case for your value.

Writing copy isn’t easy. (I’d be selling my profession short by saying otherwise.) But it’s important for your business to be able to articulate value and feeling to your customer. Like it or not, copy is an important tool that impacts leads and conversions on your website.

So, if you don’t have a headline on your homepage, this is a great starting point. At a minimum, you need a simple and descriptive sentence that positions you as a credible, local real estate service.

But it doesn’t always have to be so formulaic. Here are some tips for taking it to the next level:

1. Remove the chest-beating.

I saw a headline in my research that no joke used the phrase, “the best” four times – three of which were in the same sentence. This brokerage reportedly is the best at everything in life, except telling me anything specific about themselves.

Saying you’re the best is not a good way to open a conversation with your customer. There are other phrases by which chest beating rears its head – “most”, “highest”, “number 1”. Try to remove these and similar phrases from your headline.

2. Answer a very frequent question or concern.

Nailing a good headline usually takes getting inside your customer’s head a little. One way to do this is to answer a question that they’re already thinking about when they land on your site.

A couple of examples:

  • Showings, financing, closing. We help with all of that.
  • Let us take care of the details on your way to home.
  • There’s a lot to do when buying or selling a home. We get it done.

3. Say something unexpected, but contextual.

Headlines definitely afford creativity. If you’re feeling saucy and have some interesting value points to play with, you can go a bit outside of direct and veer more into the aspirational.

Examples:

  • It all starts with a daydream.
  • Life’s too short to not have enough closet space.

4. Be bold.

Redfin is one of the few brokerage sites that has a headline on its homepage. Of course, what stands out right away is the boldness and uniqueness of the statement they’ve chosen:

redfin headline

Redfin’s fulfilled the cardinal rule of marketing by saying what their competitors won’t say. And they’ve done it in a pretty bold way.

The good news is you don’t have to like Redfin to do the same on your site. You could feature some recent customers and say something equally unique and bold like:

“We never worried about a thing.”

Remember: headlines don’t always have to follow a formula.

5. Test.

I wrote about A/B testing awhile back. Headlines are the perfect candidate for this type of testing.

It may seem like a minor thing – a line of copy on your site. But do not underestimate the power of copy to significantly alter your site conversions. Plenty of research proves this is a huge mistake.

The best thing about copy is it’s easily changed. And therefore easily tested.

Now, it’s time to buck the trend and start writing.