house selling, conversion optimization, websites, feedback

5 lessons in feedback for websites (and home sellers)

No matter which business you’re in or how many people come to your website, there’s nothing more important than understanding your visitors and what they want you to know. Here’s the secret to using feedback from an unlikely source: real estate.

Regardless of your industry, here is the secret to user feedback from an unlikely source: real estate.

Now, I’m not a Realtor. That being said, a hot housing market combined with an intense desire to move into a bigger home meant one thing for my family – it was time to sell our modest 40-year-old split-level house.

We were…ambitious…to say the least.

New bathroom counters? Check!
800 pounds of fresh mulch? Check!
9 gallons of trendy, neutral paint? Check!
1200 square feet of new carpet? Check!
200+ collective hours spent working on improvements? Check!

The moment that “for sale” sign went up in our front yard, we held our collective breaths as an endless stream of potential buyers toured our house. Most houses in our area were selling within 48 hours, so we happily left the house and awaited that offer.

As the hours rolled by, so did our hope. Why weren’t visitors biting? What were we missing?

The Website Conundrum

Real estate isn’t the only hot market today. The digital world is hotter than ever before! Last year, U.S. online retail grew faster than it had since 2011, representing 13% of total retail sales.

That being said, both real estate and websites have a lot in common.

Think of it like this:

BOTH rely on visitors turning into buyers.
BOTH hope to make a lasting impact on visitors.
BOTH usually face a relatively low conversion rate of first-time visitors.
BOTH hope to figure out what’s stopping from visitors from converting before it’s too late.

Oh, and of course:

BOTH require insight from visitors that can only be gained using special tools.

The capabilities of websites are expanding faster than ever before, opening the door for incredible opportunities for businesses to see more visitors turn into customers.

That doesn’t mean it’s easy though.

Putting up the proverbial “for sale” sign in the digital world just isn’t going to cut it. Conversions aren’t just that simply.

Feedback to The Rescue

One thing helps both home sellers and websites: feedback.

It’s one thing to know that people are coming and going, but what about the middle? What is driving away these visitors before they can convert?

For home sellers, that means feedback from Realtors who take prospective buyers through the house. Of course, it could take hours to receive the information.

For websites, the answer can be found virtually instantly through conversion optimization tools. These tools provide valuable insight into a visitor’s journey through a website by way of dynamic heatmaps, visitor recordings, conversion funnels, chat, polling, form analytics, and more.

In both situations, the underlying issue could be relatively simple to solve. Understanding WHY visitors aren’t making the decision to buy is the first step to figuring WHAT the issue is and HOW to fix it.

Here are five simple lessons any business – or home seller – can use to improve their conversions:

1. Some things are easy to understand.

Visitor recordings can easily show that a popup or broken link stopped visitors from checking out, and the fix would be relatively easy to implement. The same can be said about dynamic heatmaps.

For example, if your website were to run a scroll map and click map, it may be clear that visitors aren’t reaching your call-to-action!

If only it were that easy to sell a home! Sure, we anticipated that the paint color and worn carpet would be an issue, but we didn’t anticipate one group of buyers tracking mud through out once-clean white floors.

Alas, recording buyers in our home is typically frowned upon, and the dirty floors became an issue for two groups of buyers. Had we known, we would have made a quick stop between showings to clean up the mess.

2. It isn’t always something you can change.

As a home seller, we could change a lot but not everything. For example, our location or layout of the house couldn’t be easily changed. Some people even complained that three bedrooms wouldn’t be enough, but we had to accept that we couldn’t change that quickly or economically.

For websites, the feedback from visitors could sound very similar. It may be simply that your product or service just isn’t right for their needs.

Many of our users have found that running a poll such as “What other product would you like us to offer?” have helped re-evaluate the current issues and take feedback to realign the website with customer needs and wants.

3. Feedback isn’t easy to see.

Look, let’s not sugar coat this. Sometimes feedback just hurts.

Websites aren’t normally managed by one person or department. At the end of the day, there could be a client or someone else in the company making the final decisions.

If dynamic heatmaps and visitor recordings make it apparent that visitors are getting fed up with an auto-played video, it may seem like an easy fix to end auto-play. However, if your client thinks it’s a great feature, it’s not going to be as easy to convince him/her to make the change.

Implementing live chat on your website may help solve your feedback issues and allow visitors to expand on their feedback. Or, in cases when the feedback is built on confusion, live chat can also be used to guide visitors to specific pages and answer questions quickly.

In my case, it was difficult to stomach feedback from buyers.

Some feedback was comical (like the couple who said they weren’t looking for an in-ground pool despite the pool being a main focus of our marketing), while others were just too brutally honest, such as the sub-basement was a waste of space.

4. One visitor still matters.

For most websites, somewhere around 99% of first-time visitors won’t turn into customers.

In the end, even one conversion still matters. That one conversion, whether it’s on a website with 13 million or 1,300 monthly visitors, is still worth your time and effort.

Obviously, an average conversion rate differs in the real estate world, put that doesn’t mean it’s any less vital. Instead of seeing more prospective buyer turn in an offer, for home sellers, all it takes is one buyer.

5. There are tools to help you!

Whether you’re going it yourself or advising a client, the truth is that there are plenty of tools at your disposal to help learn everything you can.

For websites, that means turning to a product like Lucky Orange to give you next-level insight into what your visitors, leads, and customers are really doing.

For agencies, that means playing a visitor recording to validate changes or showing a dynamic heatmap to explain why a specific field in a drop-down menu isn’t working.

In real estate, Realtors aren’t necessary but are certainly to make the process as seamless as possible.

Realtors also bring a home scheduling service, which makes the home showings easy to approve. That service also provided incredible buyer feedback which gave us a good idea of how our pricing, home cleanliness, and updates were resonating with buyers.

What’s Your Excuse?

By now, you know that feedback can make all of the difference. Even so, I’ve met countless businesses who either aren’t aware of the technology that can help them or don’t think they need it.

It doesn’t how big the company or how popular the website, there is simply no excuse not to use the analytic insight available today to learn everything you can about visitors and obtain their feedback, whether they are asked directly or not.

As for me, the good news is that we sold the house. On Day 8, the feedback paid off as we accepted a fair offer on the house. In truth, there was nothing “wrong” with our house per say. It’s simply tough to sell a home with a pool, especially when the Kansas weather was unseasonably cool and rainy.

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