The Science of Online Marketing (Part 3)

By now I think we’ve come to understand that there actually is a science to online lead capture, and we’ve identified the methodology where we can actually test and measure resulting in the ability to produce much more bang for our Internet marketing buck. From here we will examine and discuss at great length a number of different crucial elements of the online lead capture process.

First we’ll examine advertising copy.  That means the actual words to use as well as the words not to use for your online advertising to result in the highest interest.  Let’s not forget that even the best capture device in the world will not produce any meaningful results if no traffic every comes to it.  While we are on the subject of advertising, ad placement is similarly important, so we will discuss it in detail.

Where should you advertise?  How should you advertise?  Should you hire an agency to manage your traffic or should you do it yourself?  Finally, I’ll address the topic of search key words.  What words pull the best traffic?  How can you know what words produce the best results?

After covering the entire category of online advertising, we’ll move to the actual website.  We’ll discuss the all-important website landing page, or the page that people come to when they click on your ad.  We’ll look at the value proposition or value propositions you’ve included on the page.  What do you offer that customers are interested in?  From there we will move on to the graphic and visual appeal of your website and particularly of the landing page.  I’ll share some of our findings regarding fonts, sizes, colors, icons, etc.  Most people don’t realize that people tend to judge a book (or website) by its cover so the visual appeal of the site is critical as we will discuss.

From there we will move on to some of the more abstract elements.  We’ll discuss site abandonment (the people who come to your site and then for whatever reason leave it).  I’ll share some of the tricks we’ve learned about how to minimize abandonment.   That will lead us to the form page or as some refer to it, the registration page.  What information should you ask for?  What should you not ask for?  Where should the form page be in the customer path?  Does having a form page or registration page put your website into a different category with regard to DOJ/NAR compliance?

Finally, we’ll discuss some very important technical concerns.  Is there any difference in online lead capture depending on how your website is programmed?  The short answer is absolutely.  Where it is hosted is very critical as well.  Page load times effect abandonment and the capture rate.  We will discuss processing, both client side (on the web page being served up to someone’s browser) and server side (how fast the actual hosting server processes the various requests for information).

For example there are programming languages, programming scripts, form validation, and programming architecture used on agent websites that have very slow processing times and actually dramatically effect the site’s efficiency in capturing customers.   How can an agent who is not a geek make sure his site is meeting the technical requirements so that it works well?   And last but not least, we’ll discuss the importance of integration of your website to your contact management  platform.

Clearly that is a lot of ground to cover, and I want to take the time to cover it in enough detail that it is valuable to the average agent who is not a geek but simply wants to maximize his online results.  Because everyone is at a different place, technically speaking, I want you to feel comfortable asking me questions.  Please post your questions in the form of comments to this blog post.

Believe me, if you are having the question there are probably dozens of others with the exact same question.  I would like to answer the questions on the blog so everyone can benefit from them.  Remember, over a million viewers a month read this blog on or in one of the other sites where it’s syndicated.  I promise that I will not embarrass you when you ask questions, so please, for the sake of the entire online real estate community, ask away!

Next time we will cover the entire gambit of online advertising, from advertising copy, to ad placement, key words and so forth.  You definitely won’t want to miss it.  Just knowing how to advertise online could save you thousands of dollars over the next year.  In the mean time, please share this series with your fellow agents.  Remember, there is plenty of business for all of us, if we just learn how to go get it!

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