Have you heard this story?
The sun and the wind were hanging out watching a man working in a field. They were bored so they decided to see who could get the guy to take his jacket off first.
The wind steps up and says “I am strong … you watch this”.
He blew as hard as he could. He huffed, puffed and gusted, but the guy actually zipped up his jacket and wrapped his arms around his body to hold the jacket tighter.
The sun smiled and said “I’ve got this.”
He pointed himself right on the man in the field and started shining brightly. Within a minute, the man wiped sweat off of his forehead. Then, a few minutes later, he unzipped his jacket. Soon, the jacket came off.
The wind is like facts and figures and the sun is like a story.
When you use facts and figures to try to convince somebody to do what you want, it often causes them to cling to the very belief you wanted them to shed.
When you tell a story that offers a different context, the listener doesn’t even realize you’re persuading them to see it your way; Their defenses come down and the jacket comes off.
Humans are not rational. We want to believe we are rational, but we are emotionally driven beings.
This is where the majority of real estate investing websites fail … and fail badly.
As an investor, you probably feel like much of your decisions are rational. The result is that you believe your website needs to speak to a rational person. That makes your website incredibly boring and like all the other boring real estate investing websites out there.
The problem is you’re trying to influence others by being the wind, when you need to be more subtle and persuasive like the sun.
So what else are you doing that makes your real estate website suck – and what you can do to make it stand out in the minds of your visitors?
Real Estate Website Mistake #1: Being Everything to Everyone
Too many real estate investing websites try to cater to a ton of different target markets. Your website shouldn’t be trying to attract JV money, home sellers and tenants all on the same site. Besides the fact that your tenants are probably not going to be too thrilled to see how much money you make off of their rent, it’s not going an effective marketing strategy to be everything to everyone.
Make your website focused and specific.
Yes, this means you’ll probably have to create three different websites – one for each target market. Or, maybe you don’t need a website at all. If the choice is a confusing website that tries to cater to everyone and no website at all, choose no website.
Real Estate Website Mistake #2: I am SO Frickin’ Wonderful
Your website should be about one person … that person, however, is not you.
Too many websites seem to cater more to the ego of it’s creator than to it’s prospect. Your website should be focused on what’s in it for your website visitor and what you want them to do when they arrive – not telling the world how great you are.
Take a look at your website and see if it’s first page is all about YOUR PROSPECT or ABOUT YOU. If it’s about you, it’s time to make a change, right now! You are great – I am sure of it – but the visitor is most interested in what you can do for them. Make it clear on the first page what you are offering to them:
- On a rent to own website, instead of saying: “We have 7 years of experience helping tenants become home owners.” say: “Bad credit? Banks said no – again!? Home ownership is still possible for you – let us help!”
- For a property management or your rental website, instead of saying: “Two time award winner of cockroach free rentals” say “No more dirty basement suites for you – beautiful well maintained homes with landlords that care at prices that fit your budget.”
- On a website to attract investors money, instead of saying: “We own $6 million worth of real estate, have been investing for 10 years and have a track record we’re proud of” say “Sick of stock market roller coaster returns? Want predictable double digit returns on your investment capital in an asset you can actually drive by and see?”
There is a time and a place for talking about yourself, but it’s not the front page of your website.
Figure out what is important to the ONE prospect you’re focused on with your website, and speak to the pain they are feeling and how you can help them.
Real Estate Website Mistake #3 – Bad Pictures
There’s nothing funnier than a picture of a house for sale or a rental ad with a living room shot showing a hairy leg hanging off the couch or dirty dishes all over the counter. But, it is only funny when it’s your competition.
If those are the pictures on your website or the only picture of you was taken at a party with a drink in your hand and your arm around someone you’ve cropped out, it is not sending a professional message about yourself or your business.
You can hire a professional to take a great headshot for less than $100 in many markets. Get a professional headshot.
For your property, you can take amazing photos with your smart phone these days … just make the effort to get the property cleaned first.
It’s not about perfection, but it is about professionalism.
There’s also a fine line between showing that you’re into your family and making your website look like a family photo album. A photo here and there of your dogs and kids is fine, but if that is all your visitor sees, they may miss out on the important message you want them to take away from your site (see Mistake #1 – the website is not about you, it’s about the person you’re trying to help!).
Mistake #4 – Having a Website Just Like Everyone Else
There are a lot of rent to own and home seller attraction websites around that all look the same.
Sometimes they have a few different colours, but even the text used is similar. The only real difference is phone number and URL address. My guess is that a bunch of people took a course that sold website templates. It’s a lucrative business opportunity for the guy or gal at the front of the room selling the website. It is, however, not the best option for you as an investor. It seems like a simple way to get a website, but it’s not effective and it’s actually expensive compared to your options.
How are you ever going to stand out and be remembered if you look like everyone else online?
Hire someone to design your website. Get it set up on WordPress with your own hosting account. Spend a day writing some content. Now, you have your own original website.
If you have to pay someone to add your blog posts or post pictures, you’re on the wrong platform. These days, most investors are wise to hire someone to set up the design and template, but from there you should be able to do the updates yourself and hosting shouldn’t be more than $12/month. You don’t need to know any code with programs like WordPress. Writing posts and adding pictures is as easy as doing it in a Word Document.
Original content goes a long way with Google and with your leads. If you’re not sure where to start check elance.com or odesk.com for some good options on the website creation side.
Mistake #5 – Who the Heck Are You?
What is with the anonymous Canadian Rent to Own websites? The website is about your potential rent to own tenant, yes, but who are you? That should be on your website somewhere (this is what the About Us page is for).
Too many real estate websites are done anonymously or are made to look like you’re this huge corporation. Most real estate investors work from home – it’s part of the appeal of what we do. I am proud of the 16 stair commute that I have. Do you think my tenants care? No. Nor do my investors. If anything, most of our investors are happy that we run a lean operation. It shows we care about the bottom line.
Personally, I don’t want to do business with a company that hides who they are.
The About Us page is your chance to talk all about your self, build credibility and make people want to work with you. It still should be focused on what is important information for your prospect to know though (our About Us page differs on every website because, for example, our JV Partners probably like to know that I have an MBA in real estate and finance and Dave used to be a mortgage broker and market researcher for Scotiabank, but our tenants could care less about those qualifications. They are more interested in the fact that we have a great reputation and our past tenants recommend us).
What you should NOT have on your About Us page is an anonymous BS statement like “Our company has been working with investors for two years and continually find great properties to invest in. We make our partners a great return on their investment and can help you too. Contact us today.” Seriously – what website couldn’t say that?! Make yourself stand out.
If you’re making any of these mistakes, today is a great day to make some website changes! Remember, your goal should be subtle persuasion like the sun.
And if you have a website and just trying to build your audience, here’s some tips you’ll be able to use:
And, if you don’t have a website, and are wondering if you need one, this video just might help you:
Second Image Credit: © Masezdromaderi | Dreamstime.com - Messy Bathroom Photo