Making a great first impression online for real estate pros is critical. What does yours say about you?
As tech-savvy homebuyers and sellers look to the web as a research tool, establishing an online presence that says WOW rather than “woah” is not something real estate pros can afford to overlook. In fact, a study by the Missouri University of Science and Technology found that it takes less than two-tenths of a second for an online prospect to form an opinion about you and your personal brand. From the functionality of your website to your active (or non –existent) presence within social media, consumers are making snap determinations long before they pick up the phone and connect with you.
So how can you pump up your online presence and make a great first impression each and every time? Below are three steps you can immediately take to spruce up your online image and add the power of wow to your efforts!
Make Your Online Bio Sparkle
Do your online bios or about section read like an eulogy; dull, boring and lifeless? Or worse yet, are they blank and devoid of any valuable information? Potential clients want to engage with you on a personal level, but if they walk away knowing more about what you had for breakfast than what it is you do for a living, you have missed an enormous opportunity.
While I am a huge advocate of blending personal and business into a bio that serves as an insightful piece into the authentic you, I do not advocate using this space to discuss immaterial or otherwise irrelevant topics. Give prospects the information they are looking for: what are your credentials, how long have you been in the business, what do you know about the community and who are you passionate about serving?
Whether it is your Facebook profile or the bio on your website, information shared should present a balanced summary of who you are and how you can help buyers and sellers achieve their goals. Keep your profile upbeat, educational, fun and engaging. It should also be consistent across all of your profiles. While Twitter might not give you the room that LinkedIn will, you want the overall message and tone to be the same.
- Knowledge about your state and community
- How you handle client privacy
- Your communication strategy
- Transaction expectations for buyers and sellers
The keys to creating a great first impression are sharing your story in an authentic way, allowing prospective clients a sneak peek into who you are and what they have to look forward to when working with you. Also keep in mind how important it is to keep your eye on your target market. No matter if it is first-time homebuyers or move-up buyers, catering to their particular needs is an important part of crafting the perfect online profile.
Clean House on Your Website
Your website should be a seamless integration of your offline and online persona. This includes meshing your look and feel with the quality content you have come to be known for. Unfortunately, an unkempt website and one that hasn’t been updated in months (gasp, years) is sending a message you don’t want to send.
Your first step is to perform a thorough website review. Take a good hard look at the functionality, usability, and quality of content on your website. Now evaluate it from a user’s point of view. Does it provide the information they are seeking in an easy to navigate format? If your answer is no, then you have some work to do.
Dr. Hong Sheng, assistant professor of business and information technology at Missouri S&T puts the importance of a clean and user-friendly website like this, “As more people use the Internet to search for information, a user’s first impressions of a website can determine whether that user forms a favorable or unfavorable view of that organization.” In other words, it can mean the difference between newly earned business and business that you have sent running to a competitor.
Ask yourself a few questions to determine what updates you can make:
- Is your theme and plugins up-to-date?
- Has your content been updated recently and is it still relevant?
- Have you created categories and sub-categories that make it easy to navigate?
- Is your “About” complete and easy to find?
- Is your website responsive and mobile friendly?
- Do you have subscriptions set up so prospects can keep up with fresh content as soon as it is posted?
- Have you offered alternative ways to connect with you such as social media channels?
Get Your Profile Picture to POP
I’m not sure when it became acceptable practice for real estate professionals to use pictures of their dog, ones snapped in front of the mirror or a blurry cropped shot from last year’s vacation, but anything but a professional headshot is a major don’t.
If any of the above describes you or you recognize that your hairstyle has changed multiple times since your last picture was taken, it is time for an update. Portraying yourself in anything but a professional light is one of the fastest credibility killers.
As you consider a new picture, keep these important factors in mind:
- All natural light is very becoming. (get outdoors)
- A vibrant background that doesn’t fight your outfit of choice is always best.
- Disconnect with the camera and then reconnect so you don’t get fixated and your smile grows stale.
- Avoid a rigid posture – have fun!
- Talk to the photographer. It will bring out your true personality.
- It’s all in the eyes. A picture without smiling eyes is lifeless.