It's becoming increasingly more important for an appraiser to serve one or more niche markets these days. It's quite possible that you've been doing a little non-lender or specialized work all along, but now you may be finding yourself more actively soliciting consumers, attorneys, accountants and others to use your services.
So, once you've made the decision to really go for it, don't forget to tune your website to highlight your services. All to often, we find that our customers are using too much of our pre-made content or haven't customized it to talk about themselves or haven't really organized it to match the message they want to get across. For example, if your marketing materials to attorneys mention your website, we recommend making sure your website actually talks about what you can do for attorneys, whether it's expert witness, estate work or a divorce appraisal - and making it easy to find that information once someone hits your home page.
Start by finding and creating pages that talk about your niche markets. Your XSite has a lot or pre-made content that you can use as a starting point. But, by all means, customize it to match your audience. Examples: If your promoting tax assessment appeals, be sure to state the process in your county and talk about how you can help the process. If you're targeting attorneys, be sure to list references as they'll certainly want those. If you provide services for consumers selling their own homes, provide guidance on other matters such as how to make their home attractive, and don't forget the property presentation wizard built into WinTOTAL.
Next, be sure to group together pages that target a specific audience. In an XSite, all of your pre-made content pages are listed alphabetically, and by default, they appear on your XSite navigation in the order you chose them. So, after you checkmark the pages you want in the My Content step, you'll definitely want to rearrage them when you get to the Organize Content step. Here are some different strategies for organizing site content on an XSite:
* When organizing content, there's a link on the page that says "Click here to add a new button separator". When you click it, a blank spot is added to your site's navigation, creating a nice gap between sections. (See Fig. 1) You can then move that blank space around just like a menu item as well.
* Another strategy for organizing content is to indent subtopics under a main topic in your site navigation. In XSites, you do this in the Organize Content step of the wizard by first clicking the indent arrow shown right next to the web page title you want to indent. (See Fig. 2)
Figure 1: Blank space in menu Figure 2: Indented menus
Figure 3 : Nested menus
*Finally, another way to keep your site content from being overwhelming is to use nested menus. When the site visitor hovers over an item, another menu will fly out. (See Fig. 3) To implement this in the XSite Organize Content interface, simply drag one page title over another. The downside to nested menus is that a site visitor may not immediately recognize your site has info they're wanting because they didn't know to hover the main item.Once your site is organized and it's easy to find information, you also may want to include samples of your work that pertain to that audience. Many potential clients that don't use appraisals like a mortgage broker may not know exactly what an appraisal is or what it should look like. Likewise, the product you produce for a consumer should be different than what you'd produce for a mortgage. To accommodate more non-lending appraisals, we created the GP series of forms in WinTOTAL. Click here to learn more about them.
In summary, today's market demands more than a one size fits all approach to your clients and your website. Put yourself in your customer's shoes when creating and presenting your company's image to get the maximum benefit from their visit to your company's online presence.