The days of flipping through ads in a phonebook are over. Sending a pamphlet through the mail gets placed in the junk pile without a second thought. If a customer is going to find you, it’s going to be online. And in a highly competitive Commercial Real Estate market, your online image can go a long way. With so many search results available, it takes just seconds to diagnose whether you’ve found what you’re looking for or not.
So the question is, “What is it going to take for people to stop, take a breath, and realize that your building is a step above the rest?” Unfortunately, there is no simple, straightforward answer here. However, if you can employ a combination of awareness, appearance, and usability to your own website you might just have something that will do the trick.
First and foremost, people need to be able to find you and your website. Most people won’t go too far past the first page or two of their search engine results, so it’s important your business ends up around there. Some corporations pay large sums of money to appear at the very top or have advertisements appear, but there are other ways to become relevant in your market without breaking the bank. This starts with a tool called Search Engine Optimization (SEO). You can research this topic to find best practices, but the main point is to include common and/or specific key words and phrases in your website’s titles, pages and metadata. Think about your target customer and any special niche markets your company resides in and be sure to pepper in related words throughout your site. This will bring the truly interested, targeted customers to your brand.
After the potential customer makes that anticipated click to visit your site, your next job is to make them stay. The initial appearance of your home page can go a long way into ensuring this. This opening page should be clean and include relevant, meaningful information. The use of a high quality picture or two, a scheme of 2-3 colors that blend well, and an easy navigation will keep their interest. Customers should be able to learn about your company, what properties or buildings you operate, and how they can become a customer or tenant with no more than one click. Yes, you can always include more in-depth pages, but customers need to make sure you have what they want before they spend time looking at the rest.
Finally, your website visitors need consistency as they browse your site. Keep your pages layouts the same, and make sure they appear correctly regardless of what browser someone may be using. As long as the user is confident they can find what they are looking for in the matter of a few clicks, they will stick around to get the results they came for.
Building Engines makes it easy for our clients to create a one-stop service center for tenants, prospects and staff. Included free with our Software, BuildingConnect provides CRE organizations with a simple way to self-manage and extend their online tenant services and brand through a visually stunning website that connects tenant handbooks, service requests, leasing information, photo and video galleries, building services, visitor access, resource scheduling and more.
Some examples of BEI clients who are executing superior websites through our BuildingConnect tool include:
And for an inside look at one of our clients not using BuildingConnect but featuring an exceptional website, check out 101 Tremont, managed by Paradigm Properties, here.
All in all, take your time and have fun with this process! The Internet is a tool that can really take your business to that next level. If you put in the quality thought and effort, success will surely follow.