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Although real estate professionals understand the importance of having a website, there is a huge opportunity to develop a website more specific to a niche market. If you are working with the short sale market and speaking with distressed homeowners, you know first-hand how different this scenario is versus the traditional real estate listing process. By developing an extremely targeted website focused on the needs of distressed homeowners, you will be able to help them look at their options and, at the same time, generate leads for your business. Here are seven steps to developing a short-sale website.

Use visuals and graphics that relate to how distressed homeowners feel and buy a domain name that reflects the message of the site. Don’t make the homepage graphics all about you—focus on your target group’s emotional mindset instead. For example, homeowners will relate to the picture of the woman at and they will say to themselves “that is how I feel.” The homepage sets the stage for your site visitors to feel comfortable in taking the next step.

1. Have content that relates to the questions a distressed homeowner may have. They may be hearing the word “short sale” more often but many homeowners still do not understand what that may mean. Provide information that explains what a short sale is, how a short sale is different than a foreclosure and what effects a foreclosure can have on their job or credit.

2. Place calls to action (clickable engagement points) on every page in the site. Have buttons like “Know your options, click here” or “What is HAFA? Click here” or “Free reports” (reports about short sales) to generate their interest.

3. Make sure you have an email follow-up campaign so that when visitors click on the calls to action you can start building rapport with them as well. Remember, the homeowner may want information but then shy away from contacting you just yet. By having an email follow-up plan in place you stay top of mind while they research and look at their options. You want to be the focal point for when they are ready to ask for help and you want to make it easy for them to reach you.

4. Put a language translator element on your site. Not every distressed homeowner in need of help speaks English. Give them the ability to read the information in their language so they can learn their options.

5. Social media is an easy way for those visiting your site to share information. Whether it be an email, a post on Facebook or even a tweet, make it easy for folks to spread the message about what options are available.

6. Add video messages, testimonials and blog entries to your site. A personal video from you about how you help homeowners facing foreclosure will allow the visitor to understand why it’s important to ask for help. Testimonials from homeowners you’ve helped will encourage site visitors to reach out to you for help. Blogging allows distressed homeowners to see your thoughts on what is happening in the real estate industry as well as how knowledgeable you are on this topic.

Tricia Andreassen is CEO/founder of Pro Step Marketing. She is a leading industry Web strategy expert, a nationally recognized speaker with Broker Agent Speakers Bureau, and one of RISMedia’s Real Estate magazine’s monthly columnists. For more information, please visit or call 1-866-799-9888.