Picture this: You’re a real estate company with a beautiful website that gives homebuyers detailed information about your houses including pictures, videos, and virtual tours. Yet, visitors keep bouncing off your website after just a few minutes and you don’t know why or how to make them stay longer.
Well, we’ve got some good news and some bad news for you. The bad news is that your visitors are probably bouncing off to other websites, where they can fill in the information gap your website leaves them with. The good news, however, is that there is an easy solution to the problem, but first, let’s dig into why they leave your site.
The search for a home happens online
Millennials make up 66 percent of the market for first-time homebuyers and 99 percent of those looking for a home search for a property online. The same goes for 89 percent of the Older Boomers and 77 percent of the Silent Generation. In other words, the - by far - greater part of homebuyers search for properties online, where they’re used to finding the answers to all of their questions.
Not surprisingly, photos and detailed property information are ranked most important by homebuyers, but it’s also the bare-minimum of what you should offer your website visitors. Think about it, what would a real estate site without pictures and information be? An extended contact us-page? Of course, realtors make sure to meet homebuyers needs for photos and information, but what about their other needs?
Buying a home is about much more than a house. It’s buying a safe place for your kids to grow up in. It’s moving into a neighborhood that offers day care centers, schools, commute, supermarkets, gyms, and more. It’s settling down in a place that matches your needs and dreams. The house is important, but so is the neighborhood.
Are you just scratching the information surface?
Forty-four percent of homebuyers find information about the neighborhood very useful. Yet, most real estate sites only scratch the surface when it comes to this kind of information. I understand why: What’s important to one homebuyer may not be important to another and you don’t want to limit a house to just one segment of homebuyers. On the other hand, you don’t want to add an endless list of information about the neighborhood to make sure you include all buyers. So, instead you add the basic information not giving any of your potential homebuyers what they’re looking for, and that’s why they bounce.
They find a house they like on your website, but unless they know the area very well, they have to open another tab to search for day care centers in the area. Then, they have to open another tab with Google Maps to get an idea of the distance between the house and the day care. They also have a child at school age, so now they search for schools. Again, they find a school and then turn Google Maps to locate it. But what about supermarkets? Is there a supermarket on the way home, or will they have to take a detour to shop the hour before dinner? Chances are, they need more than a daycare, a school and a supermarket nearby, and every single time they need information about the neighborhood, they have to go through this procedure. So, what started as a search on your website, ended up in 10 different tabs with maps and information about the district.
Just reading this out loud can make you short of breath, so think about the homebuyers who have to go through this every time the find a house fit for their family. If you’re lucky, they’ll take a break and come back to you, when they have the energy to continue their search. If you’re unlucky, their searches will have led them to another site that offers more of the information they need.
Give them the information the need
So, what do you do to keep visitors on your website? You give them all the information they could possibly need in a clear and simple way. And the best thing is, it’s easier than it may sound.
Forty-one percent of homebuyers find interactive maps very useful, and that’s exactly what you need to improve your site. By integrating Google Maps into you site, you allow visitors to easily search for and find all the points of interest they need plus see their location and distance to the house they’re interested in without ever leaving your site.
You can even create predefined links that allow visitors to click on “day care centers”, “schools”, or “supermarkets” and Google Maps pulls them a map with the desired information. Of course, not all of your homebuyers are families with kids, so why not add predefined links to crime, commute, restaurants, floods, or demographics. With Google Maps you can even offer them a virtual walk around the neighborhood, so they can picture themselves living right there even before booking a showing of the house.
So, picture this, you’re a real estate company with a beautiful website that gives homebuyers detailed information about your houses including pictures, videos, and virtual tours. However, you know buying a home is a big and important decision that’s about so much more than just the house. Therefore, you offer your website visitors a dynamic map, where they can easily get an overview of the neighborhood and all the things that matter to them. As a result, visitors browse your website for 30 minutes - maybe more - when they explore your houses and picture themselves in one that’s perfect for their needs and dreams.
Google Maps also applies to housing associations and other businesses in the real estate industry. If you want to optimize your website, reach out to one of our Google Maps experts, Samuel Lindgren, Toni Selvli-Buch, Jesper S. Holdensen, or Fie Hovalt Christoffersen here.
You can also read more about how Google Maps can help your business rank better in the blog post below.