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Resolution: Make Your Content Experience Work for Your Future Buyer

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By Jackie Berg

online_real_estate_contentAs we begin a new year, no doubt you are experiencing new hopes, wishes, and dreams when it comes to getting the most out of your web presence. The blank slate of a January calendar is a refreshing chance to hit the pause button and begin anew in all aspects.

Throughout this past year, it has been encouraging to see a growing crop of real estate brands serving consumers with the information they need to answer their buying questions: what is the area like? Are home values growing? Which school will my daughters attend if we buy this home?

In 2014, one of the biggest challenges we hope to see RE brands answer this year revolves around consumer experience. A simple question all real estate interactive brand managers need to ponder is: are web visitors (potential and future buyers) receiving the right content experience to match where they are in the buying cycle?

Lots of content – lots of ways to differentiate
All the content in your arsenal should face scrutiny. As brands face questions around how to differentiate, the refreshing part of this inventory process is that there are many ways to reach the consumer using the same content. In turn, one set of information can be utilized by 10 brands in 10 different ways. Today, we’ll isolate a single content set to demonstrate this process.

If you’ve invested in content already, why not make the most of it? Doing so serves two purposes: getting the most consumer touch points while optimizing content to meet your web goals.

Let’s use a single content set such as School Attendance Zones, as an example of how to do this. This data set is one part of the larger school info that the 40 percent of homebuyers with children need to best understand their investment.

Generating new traffic: Suppose one of your goals is to increase organic search traffic. A huge opportunity exists to get people to your site by using search terms like a school district or school name (hint: these terms are way less competitive than high-level geographies). Building landing pages for schools or districts with a refreshing feed of properties could lure in someone who is very early in the search. As my colleague Charles Panoff pointed out in our recent webinar, “schools play a major role in the home search. Sometimes, they even spark the home search.” Finding those buyers when they are searching early on can set your brand apart.

Keeping traffic engaged: Once they’ve arrived on your site, you want to keep their attention on the site to boost key engagement metrics. There are over a dozen ways to do this with school content alone. You could build a map interface to show properties that fall in matching consumer search criteria. A more advanced rendition of this includes search functionality to let parents with multiple children find properties that overlap their needs (“I have a child in 1st grade and 6th grade and want schools with a GreatSchools rating of 8 and above.”)

Get them to return and reach out: Since we know buyers spend several months in the consideration and research phases, you may not hook them on their first visit. You can be proactive in getting them to return by sending out alerts when new properties go on the market in their desired school zones.

Of course, you may not ready to tackle every goal today. If you want to start small, here are some suggestions:
1. Identify areas in your web strategy where you need the most growth/improvement
2. Inventory how your content is displayed and how it is delivering on these needs
3. Pair shorter-term enhancements with a long-term strategy that rolls all your content together

May all your content resolutions come true in 2014.

For more information, visit www.onboardinformatics.com.

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