7 Ways Real Estate Investors Can Build Trust On Their Websites
After all, getting motivated sellers to your site is only half the work.
So, you finally got your bright, shiny, new website up and running. You’ve decided on some traffic channels to invest in, and motivated sellers are beginning to hit your site. Congratulations! Now time to do the other half of the job.
See, you know as well as I do that you can have 1,000 visitors a day, but if they never end up filling out a lead form or calling you, it’s not really worth very much to you. Seth Godin (who I quote frequently because he’s so brilliant) says that as a business owner, you need two things:
- You need people to know about you. That’s awareness. They need to know that you exist, and what services you offer.
- You need them to trust you. Their awareness of you does no good if they don’t trust you enough to hand you money, or in your case, let you hand them money.
And in case you haven’t noticed, people are slightly skeptical of the services you offer.
I mean, it does sound too good to be true, right? A company that will actually buy your house in less than 30 days, pay cash, and they don’t have to lift a finger with repairs or showings? Come on.
Well, the truth is, it is too good to be true! You’re not a perfect solution for everyone. Yes, you might provide all those things, but the homeowner (usually) isn’t going to earn the same amount of money as with a realtor, right? That means that you’re a great solution for a handful of people in tough situations, and you can provide them a great solution. So part of your job, is to remove skepticism, and do things to build trust, since this industry has somewhat of a bad reputation.
Don’t believe me? Just go searching for “we buy houses scam”, and see the other queries Google suggests to you. You’ll find forums on Zillow, Trulia and the like, with homeowners asking if what you do is actually legit, or if they should beware.
So the bottom line is, you need to build trust, after they’re aware of you.
So just a note before getting into the practicals. This article wasn’t written for investors who want to try and coerce every potential seller who comes to their site, to use their services, whether they’re a good fit or not. This is for investors who realize that, of the 50 visitors each month who come to their site, maybe 25 can’t be helped by a realtor and need the unique solution they provide. Once the homeowner has decided, “I need this solution,” these tips are to come into play to help them trust you and be more likely to send you their information.
A stock website doesn’t inspire trust.
I can’t tell you how many clients I’ve seen launch a Carrot or Lead Propeller site (if you’re not familiar, they’re out-of-the-box websites popular among investors), and then just leave the pre-written pages and text fully intact, without making any changes.
So if you’re someone who has a website, has pushed the “publish” button, and now thinks that your work is done, think again. Just because you’re getting traffic to your site doesn’t mean that they’re going to trust you enough to send you their physical address and information. Or, if they are in small numbers, don’t think that number (or conversion percentage) couldn’t be increased if more people trusted you.
That said, here are 7 things you can do today on your website, in order to improve trust in your company:
1 – Build out a robust “About Us” page.
This one is really simple.
If your website doesn’t have an “About Us” or “Our Company” page, create one! It doesn’t take much. And if it already has one with some stock content, then make sure you write something custom, and really get personal on it.
Again, I can’t tell you how many “about” pages I’ve seen with some generic copy written, that doesn’t really tell you anything about the owner, the business, or why they’re any better or different than any other buyer the seller could choose from.
Here are a few things to talk about on your about page:
- Who you are
- Your heart for the community & helping homeowners
- Why you got started
- Your mission and goal
- Introduce any team members, specifically if the homeowners will meet those people at some point (e.g. “Meet Chris, he’ll be the one inspecting your home”)
- Your involvement with the community
- What makes you different than other buyers out there
It doesn’t need to be super wordy or long, but it should be unique. Imagine if a motivated seller is searching Google, and is just visiting site after site. If they hit the Our Company page, what does it say if yours says the same thing that the last 5 sites did?
2 – Add testimonials.
They can be written or in video-form, but add something. It would be really good if every page that you’re driving traffic to would have at least 1 or 2 testimonials.
Not sure how to get them? Here are a few ideas:
- Go to Facebook or Google Reviews, and copy and paste them over
- Email past clients you’ve worked with and ask them for reviews
- Pay clients $50 if they take a cell phone video of themselves talking about their experience with you, not to buy reviews, but just to incentivize them to get on camera. Or, you could just set up a time (if they’re willing) to record them yourself.
I can’t stress enough that the video doesn’t have to be perfect. People are used to gritty, raw, uncut videos these days. It’s better to have something than nothing.
3 – Add videos to your site.
Here are a few videos you may consider adding:
- A “How It Works” video, introducing yourself and explaining in 1 minute what the homeowner can expect if they fill out the form. Place this video on any landing pages you have (pages you’re driving traffic to).
- An “About Us” video. Introduce your team, or if it’s just you, talk about the things highlighted in the first point: who you are, why you got started, what makes you different, how you want to help people, etc.
- A “What to Expect Now” video: detailing what the homeowner can expect after submitting a lead form. This video can go on the page they are directed to after sending in their info to you.
Do one of them, or do all of them, or think of some I’m missing. Again, this doesn’t need to be complicated. You can spend tons of money having a professional video created, using a DSLR or some other camera, but you don’t have to. Most of you have pretty powerful video cameras right in your pockets, and if you look up some YouTube videos (like this one) outlining basic filming techniques with smartphones, you’ll be sure to find some good ideas and come away with a great video.
The most important thing is that they see you, and get familiar with you or your team. Your goal is to help take away some of the fear, or mystery of who is actually behind this website offering them cash for their home.
4 – Add some sort of badge.
If you have reviews piling up somewhere, you can take your cumulative review rating (say, 4.5) and grab an image of a 4.5 star graphic, and add it to your site. Simple, but it looks nice.
Or, if you were featured on a podcast, in a major article, etc., you could display that podcast’s or publication’s logo, and say “featured on”.
5 – Add a “chat app” to your site.
Make it easy for potential sellers to talk to you. Besides making your phone number visible, clickable and accessible, you can find various chat applications where homeowners can leave you a message, or send you an email. There are undoubtedly a ton of options out there, so pick what you like price-wise and what works. Sumo is a great tool that works on every site, no matter what platform you’re on, that you could try out. I haven’t tried any others out to know.
6 – Add custom photos.
This one is pretty straightforward. Add custom photos from places you buy from: cityscapes, skylines, downtown intersections, homes (if you have permission to post them), and pictures of yourself and your team.
If your website comes with any stock photography, replace it with custom photos so that when people land on the website, and live in the area you’re claiming to serve, they see images that they recognize and that resonate with them.
If you’re a home buyer in Rhode Island, but people are seeing stock photos of a home in the south, something’s just not gonna look right.
7 – Tell the truth in your copy.
You aren’t for everyone. Not even Starbucks is for everyone. So in your copy, communicate who you’re a good fit for, and who you aren’t. Don’t try and sell anyone, and don’t lie. Communicate what you do, who you serve, how you’ve helped homeowner in the past, and how you can help the visitor if they fit a certain situation.
Think about it this way…
If you were looking for a new mechanic (and everyone feels like they may be getting ripped off by mechanics), and you found one who told you – “you know, you could have me do the work, but if you buy these parts, and follow this video, you could do it yourself and save $700,” do you know how much you’d trust that person?
You’d probably recommend them to friends, and be blown away by the experience. And next time you had car trouble you couldn’t solve, guess who you’d go to?
So be honest, and clear, about who you’re a good fit to help, and who you aren’t.
I’m tired of seeing all this copy on REI websites about, “save on commissions!” or “we don’t charge fees!”, and cite that as the main reason why you should go with them over realtors. That’s true, but for most people, they can pay realtor commissions and still walk away with more money. So just communicate what kind of person you are there to help.
If they’re the right fit, they’ll see themselves painted throughout your website. It’s like, “oh, they don’t work with anyone really, except the kind of person that’s in my exact situation.”
Build trust now, before the traffic comes.
So if you’re sitting here reading this and haven’t yet started your website, do each of these things as you launch. Devote a few hours, or a day, or a week to adding these to your site – and then you’re done! You’ll be glad you did.
And if you’re currently driving traffic to your site, see if you can improve any of these areas. It will make you more trustworthy, more relevant, and more human, to an audience who is already a little suspicious of what you do.