Navigating the High C's
Successful mortgage web sites just don’t happen. In fact success rarely happens if these nine important web elements are not followed. There are thousands of mortgage of web sites, most of which have the company CEO wondering, “Does this Internet thing really work?”
In order to have a web site that is of service to your customers and actually produces revenue, you need to organize your web site development, at every stage, from creation through commerce.
Here are the necessary C’s to success.
A successful web site starts with your company’s products or services. In the real world, price and service are important. On the Net, your price (interest rate) is exceptionally important because your customers can shop numerous mortgage sites in a single session.
What is do you want from your web site? Your vision for a web site begins in a conception stage. This is where the ‘blueprints’ for your site will be developed. A poorly planned web site is a burden on manpower and financial resources. You need to analyze what makes your company so different and unique from your competition (what is your unique selling position?).
Concentrate: Are you specializing in construction loans or VA loans? Then make all the necessary loan information available, because if you don’t, your customers will find the information elsewhere on the Net. Do not be too broad in your scope unless you can fully service each area. On the Net, niche sites that concentrate on their specialty tend to perform better than generic sites that try to sell everything to everyone.
Commitment: A successful web site initially
starts with the president or owner of the company. Top management commitment to a strong web site presence is
needed. A CEO needs to recognize the myriad of web site elements required
for success and then weaving these competing and seemingly disjointed
important way to conduct mortgage business over the Net. Top management needs to a long-term perspective to effectively compete on the Internet. It is not, “we have a web site, where is all the new business?"
Too many web sites are created with the mortgage company in mind. You must spend time first in customer analysis, then in competitor analysis.
Customer analysis: Many mortgage firms think ‘WWW’ stand for ‘world wide web.’ It doesn’t; it stands for ‘what we want.’ And you better deliver what the customer wants. Your potential mortgage customer controls the mouse, and they decide if they will visit you or not, how long they will stay and if they will buy. You must have information the user wants; in a way the user finds easy to navigate and written in a manner to allow cause your customer to take action.
Competitor analysis: Some of your competitors are very smart and talented. Visit their sites, learn from what they have done, to determine what to do, and more importantly what not to do.
What to do: An example, has a competitor installed a ‘mortgage rate watch’ to automatically email customers when interest rates hit a certain level?
What not to do: Has your competitor placed a full picture of your building on your main page and the company’s mission statement on the first page? Don’t do this; your customers are looking for loans, not ego’s.
Selecting your domain name is probably the most overlooked aspect of the Internet marketing process and certainly one of the most important components of obtaining rankings and creating an easy to spell, easy to remember name that customers can type in. A mistake in name selection can cost a company hundreds of thousands of lost revenues.
You must have a *.com domain name because if you say I am lowcosthomemortages.net, your customer may type lowcosthomemortages.com, sending business to your competitor.
The creation of your web site is the most visible aspect of your effort. This is what your customer views and it should include the following design elements.
Conform: Web surfers have come to expect certain elements in a web site. If you have a navigational bar, it needs to be at the top or on the left hand side; not on the right hand side.
Clarity: Clear navigation is a must for a successful site. If you confuse, you lose.
Clean: Do not have flashing images or inconsistent looks.
Your ability to create compelling content is what will cause your customers to use your service. No matter how pretty your site looks or no matter how many dancing graphics you have, it is your content and your skill in communicating the written word that will determine the success of your site.
Confidence: Your potential client must have confidence in your company in order. A poorly written site with sparse information will cause your visitor to go your competitors.
Comprehensive: Your site must be comprehensive and answer the questions your viewers want to know.
Clear: The content of your site must be clear and communicate what it is you have to offer.
Contact: Provide numerous ways for your customers to reach you; e-mail, fax, address, direct dial phone number and toll-free phone number.
Mortgage companies that create a web presence do so to engage in commerce. This is what allows the company to be of service to the clients and thus earn revenue. In order to conduct commerce, you need clicks and customers.
Clicks: Your online and real world marketing efforts will determine how many clicks you receive to your site. High rankings in the search engines are a tremendously valuable source of leads, as well as any media advertising you do to drive traffic.
Customers: Customers are what happens when you have done everything right. Create a clean design with compelling content and a good product and you will capture customers.
Having a highly functioning web site is a never-ending project. You must constantly critique your web site and keep it current and competitive. Your best source of critique is from customer e-mail’s and phone calls. If you receive many customer questions such as, “Do you do loans for people with bad credit?” Then you must include this information on your site, whether you do or don’t. It will save you and your customer time.
And once you have accomplished all the above, that will make your web site very, very.... Cool