- SEO still matters so consumers can find your pages.
- Remember your mobile consumers when it comes to page layout and interface.
- Solve problems and soothe pain points, which will help lay the groundwork for a habit.
I’m in the process of closing on a house, and when people want to see what it looks like, and I pull up the listing on my phone’s browser to show it off or text it — or email or Facebook it from my laptop or desktop — I always use the same listing landing page. It’s become a habit.
How it started
I started using ColdwellBankerHomes.com website semi-regularly to ogle homes when we put our first bid on a house (one we ended up not buying — the seller went with another offer). I found it because it was the third hit on Google for that home’s address, after Trulia.com and Homes.com.
And I saw something on the site that kept me coming back: a mortgage calculator.
I’m not sure how many brokerages have tools like this one — I have seen them on real estate portals, but not with fields for annual insurance payment and property tax in addition to the mortgage rate/down payment information you see on other listing pages.
Insurance payment in particular was important to me. The area where we were looking experienced wildfires a few years ago, and home insurance rates are catching up to the natural disaster. Major carriers are declining to cover homes in the mountains, and my agent warned me that I might expect to pay double or more what it would have cost to insure the same home last year, and advised me to spend as much time as I could shopping for a good rate.
Why I came back
When I started getting quotes from an insurance agent, I wanted to see what kind of overall monthly payment I was facing. I’m not renowned for my math skills, so I navigated my way back to the Coldwell Banker landing page where I remembered seeing the calculator. After plugging in the numbers and considering what the insurance agent had said about packaging in an auto policy, I was able to clear one thing off my task list.
That home didn’t work out, so I had to make that decision again. Where do you think I went to make it?
By this point, my browsers were becoming familiar with the page. I’d pulled it up on my desktop, laptop and smartphone more than once to check some math as I asked more questions about my expenses and as mortgage rates shifted.
And after a while … well, it was simply easy. I could start typing the first numbers of the address into the browser instead of dealing with the search field at all.
At this point, SEO became moot. This brokerage’s page has become the place where I visit my new house online, even though it’s neither a portal nor the listing’s brokerage.
What you might learn?
SEO still matters. I can’t remember why I went searching for the home that I ended up not buying in the first place. But I do remember that I couldn’t find the information I was looking for in the first two hits. It was easy to find on the third.
Remember your mobile consumers. I don’t need to calculate a mortgage payment anymore, so why should I keep visiting a site that helped me do that? I started using the listing brokerage’s site to show off the soon-to-be new digs; however, the gorgeous hero image that renders so beautifully on my retina display desktop and laptop is a distraction on my smartphone. I keep swiping it to try to slide through the photos, forgetting I need to scroll down to see them. That’s a small annoyance, but after it happened twice, it was enough to keep me away for good, heading back to what I knew worked well.
Entice consumers to form habits. Make some tedious part of their life much easier. “Pain point” might be a buzzword by this point, but pained is exactly how I feel when I’m trying to calculate percentage rates and factor in insurance premiums.
Is any of this traffic that it’s generating by focusing on SEO and providing a tool like a mortgage calculator doing any good for the franchise? I don’t know — maybe not. It’s not listing the house I’m buying, and my buyer’s agent isn’t affiliated. By the time I formed my habit, I’d already found an agent. The company won’t be making money from this particular sale.
But I have sent and showed that page to dozens of friends and family members, and I’ve visited it again and again after it helped soothe my pain point. What kind of value does that have?