Many appraisers assume that if their website isn’t getting any orders, then it’s never going to; and if their website isn’t getting any orders, then it isn’t bringing them business.
Both assumptions can hurt your appraisal business if you start to neglect your online opportunities. When we talk to customers about to give up on the web, here are the top things they say:
1. My website isn’t getting any hits.
Unfortunately, just having a website doesn’t mean you’re going to get top ranking in a search engine and millions of hits. Sites with low rankings may have template, generic text on the home page and nobody is linking to their site. It’s critical to customize your web page content so the words on the page are unique to your business, your area, and your specialties. Then, contact your associates and real estate people in your area and ask them to link to your website as a form of referral. List your website in all your marketing materials such as business cards, flyers, invoices, voicemail greetings and any other media with which your clients come into contact. The more unique the content, and the more inbound links and traffic you have, the higher your search engine rankings will go. (pq)
2. My clients won’t place orders online.
You have a website to make your client’s life easier, not your own. If your customers would rather fax or phone in orders, don’t feel like all is lost. First, there’s not that much data that would transfer to your forms. Second, any good website is going to let clients manage orders online – even if you entered them. (For example, WinTOTAL automatically syncs orders with XSites so you don’t have to type things twice.) Order management is just one piece of the puzzle. Your website is also where all the supporting materials for your marketing efforts go. This is where customers see your qualifications, read your commentaries on real estate issues, see staff profiles to get to know you and more. As we mentioned in item #1, your website is the central point for your marketing materials.
3. Isn’t a website just for new clients?
For appraisers who have regular repeat customers, your website can be one of your most valuable customer service tools, allowing clients to check their accounts, download reports and use the resources you offer online. Good customer service builds customer loyalty and keeps those repeat customers coming back again and again. If you’re not constantly making an effort to provide top notch service, your competition is!
In summary, your website is much more than a yellow page ad. While useful for getting your name out there, don’t forget the valuable customer service aspects that can not only help you get new customers, but also reinforce your marketing with everybody that comes to your online home.