Archive for April, 2012
Craigslist is by far, the biggest classified site in the world, serving over 20 billion page views per month, putting it in 10th place among US websites (per Alexa.com). Many agents have used this FREE lead generation tool to showcase listings.
While it’s common place for REALTORS® to advertise homes for sale, can agents capitalize on the huge reach of Craigslist to get their message of hope and solutions out to distressed homeowners and capture seller leads? I knew this was a topic I had to explore.
I’ve put together some sample verbiage to use when tailoring Craigslist ads to struggling mortgage holders. » View four samples here.
While these are examples of some verbiage you can use, the real magic to Craigslist happens when you go beyond basic text and creating image ads that link to your landing page, where homeowners can learn more about their options to avoid foreclosure and ideally, volunteer their contact information in order to download a free report. In fact, it’s been estimated that when you use images in your Craigslist ad, the response is 300% or better when compared to purely text-based ads. You don’t have to be an html wizard to insert an image in your post, and then have that image linked to your landing page.
Both the anchor and image within anchor are supported on Craigslist. This means that you can include an image in your ad, and the visitor can click on that image to be directed to any website you specify. The code for this is:
<a href=”http://www.yourdomain.com”><img src=”http://www.yourdomain.com/yourimage.jpg”></a>
The first part of the code – the a href tag – specifies which website you are directing the reader of the ad to. The second part of the code – the img src tag – is the link to the image you want displayed on your ad. In order to be displayed in your ad, the image has to rest somewhere, or in other words, be hosted on a server. This can be your website, or it can be on popular photo sharing site like flickr.com. If you need any help with this process, certainly reach out to me at email@example.com.
I’ve perused Craigslist for some examples of linked images that other real estate professionals have used to advertise to distressed borrowers and shared them below. You can glean other examples by searching for “foreclosure” or “short sales” in the real estate services section of Craigslist in your market and others.
More than providing early, accurate and exclusive pre-foreclosure data, we are now offering turnkey tools to get your message out to delinquent homeowners that need your help. This includes designing custom Craigslist ads with images, starting at only $39. Short sale marketing has never been more affordable.
Want to bounce some ideas around? Call me at 866-490-3459 or write to firstname.lastname@example.org. I look forward to help growing your pipeline of listings.
A subscriber to our pre-foreclosure data has seen an uptick in traffic to his landing page after mailing to distressed homeowners, but wanted a higher percentage of those visitors to actually convert to leads that pick up the phone to call for a consultation, or at minimum fill out a form with their contact information. It’s not enough to drive eyeballs to a website where homeowners can learn about their alternatives to foreclosure. Once there, they have to experience an emotional connection and be galvanized to continue the conversation. I knew this was a topic that had to be studied, so I took some time to visit several dozen sites over the course of several hours, including the examples of competitors that offer turnkey solutions to short sale agents. From this excersise, I’ve gleaned four questions to ask when optimizing web pages made for distressed homeowners.
Some sites are cluttered with calls to action. Download this ebook. Visit a site on HAFA. Click to find out what a short sale is. Contact me. And so forth. There’s a saying in marketing that if you give prospects too much to choose from, they are crippled into complete inaction. I believe that distressed homeowners need to be “spoon fed” and not be enticed to click on too many things. What are one or two courses of action you want the homeowner to take while on your page? Is it to find out what the first 3 steps they can take right now to take back control of their life? Or is it a free report? You can make these elements bigger, bolder, surround it by white space, and use varying color to bring attention to them. » Read an article about the best practices of calls to action. It is better, in my view, to have one or two clear calls to action that stand out, than to have a page sprinkled with 10 calls to action. The homeowner should not be overwhelmed or confused.
Are there links on your page that don’t apply to distressed homeowners?
I’ve seen some sites that have links to tips on buying a home, how to buy a short sale, searching the MLS, and other links to resources that do not apply whatsoever to homeowners that are in distress. It’s important to have a one on one, “heart to heart” conversation with struggling homeowners by having pages that speak directly to their needs. There are other resources you may have that belong on your general home page and should not be included on a foreclosure help site.
Are you providing too much information without anything in return?
You don’t want the homeowner to go to your page, become educated on avoiding foreclosure, then leave your site. You may have a wealth of information that the visitor finds helpful, but it’s all for naught if the distressed homeowner gets the information, says, “gee, that was helpful” and never makes contact with you. You do not want the homeowner to close themselves – you are the real estate expert, not them. By providing too much information, you run the risk that the homeowner comes to their own conclusions and not consult you. The remedy? Provide smaller bits of information and prompt the homeowner to fill out a form to access more information. Once you have their contact info, you can overwhelm them with information all you want. The key is to provide a “teaser” and offer more information, in exchange for their phone number or at least their e-mail address so that you can get back in touch and continue the dialogue your page started. This is the first rule of negotiation – a give and take which says, “I’ll give you X in return for Y”.
Here’s a couple applications of this. Let’s say you have a page that outlines the many options to foreclosure, be it a loan modification, deed in lieu, forbearance, short sale, etc. Rather than getting too detailed on what these options are, you can provide a brief explanation on your page that provides a general definition. In order to learn more and get a full discussion on what the advantages and disadvantages are with each option, they can fill out a form to download the full pdf report. Or, in the paragraph which explains loan modification, you can throw in a link, “Has your loan modification been denied? Now what? Download this free report on what to do next”….
Let’s say you have a report entitled, “Five mistakes you should never make if you fall behind on your mortgage payment”. You can entice the homeowner to fill out a form to get the entire report, or you can be more creative by spelling out the first four mistakes the homeowner should avoid. Having piqued their curiosity, you can hook them by stopping at the fourth mistake and say, “What’s the fifth and most detrimental mistake you can’t make?” You guessed it, they have to fill out a form to have that fifth mistake e-mailed to them.
By having multiple devices to capture the homeowner’s contact information, you ensure that the homeowner doesn’t close themselves or dissipate into never never land.
Are your forms asking distressed homeowners for too much information?
I’ve seen forms that prompt the homeowner to volunteer entirely too much detail into their situation. They ask for the percentage of equity, monthly income, purchase date, what they paid for the home, how many loans they have, how far behind they are, what cereal they eat for breakfast, if they golf right or left handed. Many homeowners are gun shy and they will not share such personal information with you. Besides that, they have short attention spans and if you ask them to do much, they will hit the back button.
At Homestead Data, we practice what we preach…. I can offer additional tips on creating pages that make an impact on distressed homeowners, but almost as if to show these principles in action, you can get the all-inclusive checklist by going to http://www.preforeclosuredata.net/optimizing-pages-for-distressed-homeowners.html. This report can serve as a springboard of ideas when creating and revamping landing pages that increase your web traffic among struggling homeowners that need your help.
For experience driven advice and a free critique of your pages, you can also call us at 1-866-490-3459.
Till next time, A-B-C… always be closing.