Wednesday, May 26, 2010

There is Nothing Virtual About Your Web Presence

Decisions are being made by your Web shoppers.

Here is a quote from Wikipedia about what virtual means; “The term has been defined in philosophy as "that which is not real" but may display the salient qualities of the real.” When I think virtual I think no consequence, just an experience. When I hear someone describe the internet as a virtual space I can’t help but cringe. Do you actually believe this has not consequence?

Your web presence is very real and has real consequences, good and bad. The Internet is often compared by many as a brochure-like space. I look at websites everyday that are nice looking and have neat graphics. The questions I ask myself when looking at a site are simply these; “Is what we think the consumer wants, or is that what the consumer wants and the site answers a need”, and “What’s the call to action?” These questions require digging into data, looking at the web shoppers’ behavior. Explore click paths and see where to they go inside the site you have designed. Understanding your web traffic will help you make your site more relevant.

Anonymous web shoppers will decide whether you make their “list” by their online experience. It is important to take a step back and look at your site through the consumer’s eyes. Too many sites have way too much information and no logical way for a consumer to only get the information relevant to them. If a web shopper cannot get to what they want to know quickly they will go somewhere else to find it.

Too many customers go online to start their search for you to not take these matters very seriously. Whether it is what your blog says or says about you, how convenient your web-site is or how good the video/ pictures displayed in ILS platforms are. All these factors will drive a choice, the consumer’s choice to take action and reach out to you or not. That choice is made in a matter of seconds and because web shoppers can remain anonymous you will probably never find out you missed an opportunity.

A website has to be about the consumer and their expectations versus what we think they should know. It is a matter of weaving a site in such a way that their visit provides them with what they want and insert information that we feel is important for them to know. Acquiring knowledge about what consumers do once they are inside your site is a key factor in learning enough about what they go to look at.

Leveraging that knowledge to make that information readily available will enhance your web shoppers’ experience and help yield more out of your web traffic. Your website is an extension of your sales centers; you have a great opportunity to connect with more prospective residents online by simply making it easy for them. There is nothing virtual about that opportunity, yes it will mean investing into strong analytics, spending time reviewing them and making changes to your site. Try different things then find the optimal solution. Once you get that done then get ready to start all over again, consumers change and your web presence has to follow suit. Internet years are like dog years, they go 7 to 10 times faster .If you are serious about leveraging the internet to increase your marketing reach then the first step is to become aware about how real that space is and then know that you will have to continuously make changes.

It is worth making the effort to make you Internet presence effective because it works! Your next clients have probably seen something about your community online before they decide to make their first visit. Do you want to increase the odd in your favor? Then keep these three simple facts in mind:

  1. 1. Your website is not about you, it is about your consumers’ needs.
  2. 2. Track your web traffic in depth and modify your site according to the goals you have defined.
  3. 3. Be ready to change parts of your site on an ongoing basis, create long term partnerships with your service providers and question the efficiency of your Web marketing strategy regularly.
This is a guest post by Frédéric Guitton of activSalesAgent. Frédéric moved from France in 1996 and joined activSalesAgent in 2009 to introduce a live chat solution for the real estate industries. Frédéric's expertise is in Internet engagement processes, Web analytics and customer follow-ups.

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