A couple of weeks ago I received a direct message through Twitter from a local colleague who wanted a list of iPad apps that Realtors use or can use on the job. He wanted a list of at least 10.
The list was too long to send through Twitter and I could not find his email address in my database because we have never communicated by email.
I went to his Twitter page and followed the link to a website. Once on the site I looked for an email address and found none.
I followed the links on his sidebar and found several other sites, including sites like flavors.me that are designed to be a home page, with links to everything. There were no email addresses on any of those sites.
Eventually, I gave up and sent him a message through Twitter asking for his email address. He later explained to me that if I had visited the third site listed when I used Google to search I would have found the site with his email address. He considers that third-ranked listing to be his official home page. Apparently, I was just supposed to know that.
The people who find me on the Internet because they are looking for a Realtor or a home are not going to spend much time looking for my contact information. It is more likely that they will move on and find one of the zillions of local agents who currently have nothing to do.
There are people who will have trouble finding contact information no matter where it is placed on a website. There is a woman I do business with on a regular basis who can never find my contact information.
She calls me and I send her an email. She can always find my phone number but not my email address. My goal is to place it where most people can find it.
There are real estate agent sites that do not identify a brokerage, or that aren’t clear about which communities the agent serves or how to get in touch with the agent. Finding contact information on a real estate blog can be even more challenging.
My friend thought his information was easy to find and that I should just know that his main website is No. 3 in the search engines. It is obvious to him but not to me or anyone else who needs to find his email address. People do not do what we want them to do or what we expect them to do on our websites.
When I set up a new website or blog, or change designs, I send a link to various friends and family members asking if they can identify my location, what kind of business I am in, and easily find my phone number and email address.
Choose five or six people and send them a link to your website or blog and ask them to find your contact information and answer some simple questions based on the information on your websites.
People do not use an agent’s name to search for real estate, but they do search on an agent’s name when they are looking for contact information.
Search for yourself using search engines, and have your friends do the same. Sign out of your Google account before doing a Google search.
What comes up first? Is it the first thing that you want potential clients to see? Does your contact information come up? How many mouse clicks does it take to reach you? Can you make it even easier?
Do people need a list of phone numbers or will one work? Answering the calls to that single phone number gets results. People are so used to slow responses from a business that they are blown away when a real person answers a phone or an email quickly.
Technology and mobile technology are all the rage, but consumers still need basic contact information if they want our help. If they are forced to search for it, or if they have to fill out a form with more than two or three required fields, they will bail on us and move on to the next agent.