Thursday, April 5, 2007

Designed for Show or Designed for Dough?


If you want to increase your online mortgage sales; you have to begin at the very beginning.

Your home page is literally 90 percent of the sales battle. If your home page doesn't perform; your visitors won't be enticed to venture deeper into your site - and you will make very few mortgage sales.

Having a poorly designed home page is a disaster because there is no sale. And that means that the marketing budget, creative effort, and time you invested to get those visitors is wasted. We advise our corporate clients strongly NOT to drive visitors to their home page; until their site is ready for commerce.

Download Fast... And Earn Quick Cash

So what are the key things your home page has to do to "do it right"? First and foremost, it has to download fast. How fast? Eight to ten seconds is ideal. More than that and your visitors start to leave from impatience. Beyond 20 seconds and you have turned your web site into a conduit leading directly to your competitor's site. Web Designers might be very talented people and typically live in a world of high speed connections (DSL, Cable, T1) and large monitors. What they may not know is that only around 5% of Internet users have high speed access. The big reality is that most customers surf at 56k or LESS. And the majority of people (roughly 60%) -- still surf at only 28.8k; on 15" or smaller monitors.

So when we are talking 8-10 seconds, we mean at 28.8k. Yahoo and Amazon do it; as do many other top sites. This means your entire home page should be around 35K or less in size.

True, most home pages are bigger -- a lot bigger. But that's precisely the problem. More specifically, your problem. These web sites take so long to load that the visitor is gone long before the designer's creative talent can even be seen.

If you want to maximize sales (as opposed to having a beautiful design showcase that actually discourages sales) then the web designer's challenge is to develop a great 'look and feel' within the constraints of a fast loading site.

Titanic or the Love Boat?

Fast download times are just the tip of iceberg. You do not want your site to sink before you even leave the harbor. Equally important is what the visitor will view after the page has loaded.

You want your visitor to fall in love with your sites. And to do so; here are some of the more critical elements to also follow:

  • Is your unique selling proposition (USP) clearly stated and strong? (If you do not even know what is a USP, then you might want to stay away from the Net entirely).
  • Is your site navigation clear and simple? (You confuse... you lose).
  • Is your web site professional looking (i.e. a million dollar look)? (Many mortgage sites look like the summer intern designed them).
  • Do your graphics integrate well with the entire site? (No flashing mailbox graphics or scrolling text).
  • Does the home page utilize expert sales wording (i.e. compelling content) that encourages a buying decision?
  • Does the home page inspire trust and build rapport? (Be aware that security is more of an emotional issue than a technology one.)Is your contact information easy to find (1-800, address, email, hours of operation)?Are the smallest details (such as fonts and colors) chosen to maximize sales?
  • Does the home page compel your visitors to go deeper into the site?
  • Does your navigation or wording actually compel your visitors to want your product?
  • Does your web site view on all browsers?

  • AIDA - Tropical Disease or Marketing Acronym?

I'd like to share a powerful tool from the "real world" of sales because it is just as powerful in the virtual world -- and perhaps even more so. It's known by the acronym throughout all marketing textbooks as "AIDA" (attention, interest, desire, and action).

Every successful sale incorporates these critical elements at every step. These steps drive the process of turning visitors into buyers. So apply the AIDA test to your own home page and analyze your results:

1. Does your home page grab visitors' attention -- in about eight seconds?

2. Does your home page stimulate customer interest and reinforce that they are at the correct web site?

3. Does your home page inspire the desire to take the action of clicking deeper toward a sale?

4. Is "how to take action" obvious and easy?Once you've tested for AIDA on your home page, test every other page on your site. Are your visitors moving comfortably from your home page, through your entire site, and to your application form?

If you can't answer yes to all four questions; then you've got some work to do. But taking this extra time to do it "right"; will make your web site one of the few that makes money on the Net.
And just like investing your Internet marketing dollars (dough) into achieving high search engine rankings. You also need to invest some dollars (and time) into a well designed/researched home page.

The Net is a powerful opportunity to make mortgage sales, you just have to do the "right" things in the "right" sequence.

For online mortgage leads please visit our mortgage leads page.

Originally published October 2001


Labels: , , , , ,

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home