Stop leaking leads

So much of the talk in our industry focuses on online lead generation. Nothing new there.

But lately, our minds have been deep in the “converting more of the audience you already have” camp. Part of this is because we’re working with some excellent startups whose products are focused on this very thing. And part of it is because conversion optimization and testing is something we like to obsess over in the process of doing what we do as an agency.

Unfortunately, though, very few brokers give online conversion optimization much thought. Even fewer have an ongoing A/B testing optimization process. And that’s a shame given the mounds of evidence showing how powerful this can be.

Remember how Obama raised an extra $60 million back in 2007 just by changing his call to action button text? Yeah, that significant.

Luckily, in 2015 there’s a SaaS solution to pretty much every business problem known to man and woman. And companies like Optimizely and KISSmetrics make it simple and affordable to get more from the technology you’ve already invested in, and the audience you’ve already built.

If you’re not familiar with A/B testing, here’s how it works (in simplified terms):

You have an existing page on your website and you want to see if you can increase the number of conversions (for example, a form submission, registration, showing request, etc.) it produces. You formulate a reasoned hypothesis of how to do that and create a second version of the page (the “B” version) that reflects that hypothesis. You then serve 50% of site visitors this B page and 50% the original A page. You let this test run until you reach a level of statistical confidence, then adjust accordingly.

Then you do it again. And again. Conversion optimization is a process, not a box to check off.

Coming up with the right hypotheses to test requires analysis of your existing analytics, but here are five common A/B tests ideas:

Your listing detail page (LDP) call to action (CTA)

Regardless of your political leanings, follow Obama’s lead and test the language of your CTA buttons on your LDPs — the “money” pages on almost all real estate websites and apps. Try a few variations in which you’re being more specific. Try longer copy. Try shorter copy. Leave all assumptions locked up in another room. Does “Get more information” generate more leads that “Contact agent now?” You don’t know… until you test.

Your homepage headline/value proposition

Do you have one? Many real estate brokerage sites don’t.

Perhaps you do have one. But does it work? Is there something that would perform better by reducing home page bounce rates? Something more tailored to your brand’s unique value? Something more directly rooted in your local market?

Write a few and start testing them today.

Your newsletter sign up offer

What is your user getting for “signing up”? And are you fulfilling your promise?

Can you be more specific? Is the benefit compelling enough?

Are you addressing objections to signing up at the point of conversion? I think it’s safe to say that many people on real estate websites fear becoming a lead who will be stalked aggressively upon giving up any personal information. Have you tried addressing this in your copy?
Try a variation in which you change only the wording of the offer. Then try a variation in which you change the actual value or end benefit of the offer.

Also, try splitting your offer to appeal to buyers vs. sellers, which allows you to be more specific in describing what you get for signing up.

Your typography

I won’t kid you: typography is a vast and complex topic. It’s extremely difficult to say with certainty which typefaces are “better” than others because it depends on your goal, your brand’s personality, your target customer’s personality, your medium, your overall design and a host of other things.

But studies have shown typography impacts conversions – which therefore makes it a prime candidate for A/B testing.

Button placement

Where are you prompting your visitor to take action? It matters.

We can make assumptions about the best placements for calls to action. But testing will give you actual data on what works best on your site for your visitors. Who wouldn’t want to know that?

What’s next?

After you run a few tests and start to see results and draw conclusions, you can take the data and use it to guide some simple changes to your website. This is what’s great about A/B testing. You pretty much have your marching orders upon looking at your results.

But don’t stop there. Testing ought to be a part of your routine. A muscle used often in to keep the body from losing shape and function.
There’s a serious lack of industry data about conversions specific to real estate websites. With that in mind, we’re excited to see the results of some new tests we’re conducting with broker clients over the next few months.

We’ll share those results whenever possible.