Here’s an unpopular view I’d like you to consider. What if the branding on your website doesn't matter as much as you think? What I mean by this is that your logo and what your logo represents doesn’t mean much to the average online consumer. Keller Williams, Berkshire Hathaway, Century 21, which ever brokerage – it’s all the same. To be fair, Gary Keller is an amazing salesman and marketer and his book The One Thing is one of my favorites, and Warren Buffet is a brilliant entrepreneur and investor plus who doesn't love Dairy Queen? - but that doesn’t really matter to the average online consumer.
In this article I will examine NAR’s 2018 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers report and share information from the report that shows the branding on your real estate website doesn’t really matter to the average online consumer.
- What Matters to the Average Online Consumer?
- The Consumer Buying Process
- Why Does Less Website Branding Matter?
1. What Matters to the Average Online Consumer?
According to NAR’s 2018 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers report, the top ten most popular website features that home buyers valued were:
- Photos: Very Useful (87%), Somewhat Useful (11%), Not Useful (1%), Did Not Use (1%).
- Detailed Information About Properties for Sale: Very Useful (85%), Somewhat Useful (14%), Not Useful (1%), Did Not Use (less than 1%).
- Floor Plans: Very Useful (52%), Somewhat Useful (32%), Not Useful (7%), Did Not Use (9%).
- Virtual Tours: Very Useful (46%), Somewhat Useful (34%), Not Useful (10%), Did Not Use (11%).
- Real Estate Agent Contact Information: Very Useful (42%), Somewhat Useful (31%), Not Useful (16%), Did Not Use (11%).
- Detailed Information About Recently Sold Homes: Very Useful (41%), Somewhat Useful (42%), Not Useful (9%), Did Not Use (7%).
- Neighborhood Information: Very Useful (39%), Somewhat Useful (44%), Not Useful (9%), Did Not Use (8%).
- Interactive Maps: Very Useful (37%), Somewhat Useful (33%), Not Useful (13%), Did Not Use (16%).
- Pending Sales/Contract Status: Very Useful (36%), Somewhat Useful (35%), Not Useful (15%), Did Not Use (13%).
- Videos: Very Useful (25%), Somewhat Useful (35%), Not Useful (16%), Did Not Use (24%).
As you can see, photos, detailed information about properties for sale, and floor plans topped the charts while contact information ranked fifth. This tells me that the listings page is the by far the most important page on your website. If you’re able to include and optimize these top website features on one listing page, you can compel more website traffic to want your contact information and convert them into a lead.
2. The Consumer Buying Process
The statistics above paint a picture that is reflective of the consumer buying process. The consumer, for whatever reason, realizes it’s time to buy a home, then they look for homes online (photos, property information, floor plans, virtual tours), next they look to see who they can contact to help them learn more about the home or see it in person (your contact information), then they look for relevant information about you (your past sales), and/or the home (its neighborhood).
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3. Why Does Less Website Branding Matter?
In digital marketing, the most successful websites focus on the consumer’s experience and their needs. By focusing more on the consumer and less on your branding, you can provide the best experience possible. Making the most important features of your website clear and easy to access with minimal distractions will increase your conversion rates. How? When a consumer enjoys your website, finds it easy to use and navigate, they tend to spend more time on it, view more pages, and use more tools. They tend to trust the website if they find the information valid and valuable also. Do not forget to add lead capture forms to your most valuable content, the information should be valuable enough to make a consumer want to exchange their contact information for your content.
Less branding doesn’t mean no branding on your website, it just means it’s not as important as you may think because it’s not a priority for the consumer – the listing is. When a consumer wants to learn about you and your brand, they will, but it’s not their primary focus..