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Although there are a lot of creative ways to make your website a lead-generation and lead-capturing machine, there are also some things you might be doing that could totally thwart your plan of attack. Certain website elements are imperative for any online success strategy, and without them, you could be flushing money down the toilet.

Here are five mistakes that could be hurting your website sales:

1. Your site is too generic. People want information that relates to them. They want to land on a site that answers the questions running through their mind. They want to get real information that relates to their needs. A site that gives cookie-cutter information will result in cookie-cutter leads. Have specialized buttons like “Rental Properties,” “Waterfront Homes,” “Foreclosure Deals” and more to give consumers what they really want. Also, sell the vision. Change the photos on your home-page to relate to their needs and the markets they are interested in.

2. Your MLS search is broken (and you don’t even know it!). I can’t tell you how many times I come across websites that, when I test the MLS search, have no lead capture components built in to grab the lead, and actually link out to a competing listing agent. To make sure your system is foundationally strong, pretend you are an active buyer. Put yourself in their shoes. If you were the buyer and asked for more information, who would get the lead? Are there ways to schedule an appointment? Map the property? Email to a friend/spouse or partner? You are only as strong as your weakest link.

3. Calls to action are missing. To get the highest engagement with folks, you need to give them compelling reasons to want to learn more or take the next step. Every page in your site should have something of value that entices visitors to ask for more. Calls to action, such as, “Know the 14 Costly Mistakes When Selling Your Home. Get the E-book now! Free!” will kick up lead generation and start the relationship process.

4. Your follow-up is lacking. Studies have shown that 68 percent of sales are lost due to lack of follow up. If you have an MLS search and call to action, but are missing the piece where those leads funnel into an automated email campaign, then you will lose the connection and they will move on. It is imperative that you are positioned in front of prospective buyers when they go to the next step. If you are not staying in front of them during the home-selling or home-purchasing processes, they will not engage.

5. You have no lead management/tracking. It’s great to generate a lead, but when it comes to understanding your potential buyer or seller, you need insights into what they are searching for and how long they are engaging. Your IDX (MLS search) should have tools in place for you to be the “FBI profiler” so that you know how many leads are coming in, what follow-up plan they are on, what listings they are saving in their searches, and what they really want.

It’s all about understanding your target market and connecting with them differently than your competitors do. Have a system that effectively generates leads and connects and follows-up efficiently so you can streamline your hours and maximize sales.

Tricia Andreassen is the CEO/founder of Pro Step Marketing.

For more information, visit www.prostepmarketing.com.