Landing Page Makeover Clinic #11: RealEstateClientReferrals.com

Landing Page Makeover

I know I wrote that I was closing this landing page series with #10, but due to email issues and because I don’t like to louse up my generally good karma, I’ve added just one more to the series before we close it for good. Cool?

Sherice Jacob and Real Estate Client Referrals, like other real estate-related businesses, has been hard hit by the ongoing downturn in the housing market. Verified/qualified leads are the lifeblood of any business, of course. But in a down housing market edging into recession, they’re even more so. Too much housing inventory chasing too few buyers. That means even their best prospects—top performing agents—are struggling with their own cash flow and aren’t super eager to part with cash, especially when:

  1. the referral service is small and relatively unknown; and
  2. they may have been burned by more well-known companies that didn’t deliver the goods on promises made.

So let’s see what we can do for Sherice and RECR to help them pump up the volume on their current subscription rate.

Here’s the background:

  • The Goal
    Increase service subscribers by 50%.
  • The Problem
    Tough housing market, prospects cash poor and gun shy about this kind of service, company is not well-known
  • The Current Landing Page
    http://www.realestateclientreferrals.com/home8.php
  • Page/Ad that Generates the Click-Through
    This is sent as a direct email to prospective subscribers from a database of US/Canadian subscribers.
  • Subscription Cost
    $990 to $9900 for X number of qualified referrals

The Maven’s 10-Point Critique

Real Estate Client ReferralsClick image for larger view

It’s a tough market out there. Acknowledge your prospect’s pain upfront before you start selling anything.

Taking a quick read of your copy—just like your prospect would—I see copy that could have been written any old time. This isn’t any old time. The market is tough and your prospects are feeling the pinch and the pain. Address it, acknowledge it and have your copy flow from a colleague to colleague, smart solution standpoint.

Go for a stronger, more dynamic look and format. Show me your company name and logo in the first screen.

This page isn’t bad looking but it’s dull. You have a big solution to offer that has not been specifically requested, so don’t be afraid to go a little dramatic with the presentation. Also, tell me who you are with your name, logo, and even location. Let me know you’re a real company.

Standardize your use of images/components and fonts/sizes/colors.

There’s a lot of visual clutter going on here that could be cleaned-up and streamlined. Be consistent in your applications. It will make your overall presentation more professional and lend credibility and authority to the message.

Real Estate Client ReferralsClick image for larger view

If you have a compelling story to tell, tell it up front.

Your letter starts off with a story about Geoff—I don’t see a picture of Geoff in the first screen or anywhere for that matter. I do, however, get Jeremiah’s story several screens down. Testimonials are sweeteners and credibility boosters but are not the core of your message. So get J’s story upfront and with a wealth of testimonials to choose from, choose and reference those for whom there is a photo, story and some attribution. (And find a new photo of J. He doesn’t project authority and he doesn’t engender confidence with the current image.)

Think about 2 different approaches, one for prospects in tough markets and one for prospects in stable markets.

I don’t think in this market one message fits all. Since it appears you’re cold emailing, you have the opportunity to slice/dice your prospects more precisely with a message that better fits their particular situation. From your headline to lead to body copy, recognize that agents in a strong market will view themselves and their situation in a different light than those struggling. However, you can pitch to the strong market agent with the anxiety whisper of bad times happen to all of us. Will you be ready when it happens to you?

Reorganize your copy then edit, edit and when you think you’re done, edit some more.

The organization of the piece is haphazard and there’s just way too much of everything here, including copy, components, and images. Rework the structure of this piece—What’s the Big Idea/Promise and get it in the head … meaty, benefit-rich subheads that can tell a story without reading the body copy at first … a strong, attractive offer … supporting data – charts, testimonials … calls to action … etc. No kitchen sink, throw everything we can on the page here. Peel away everything EXCEPT what will help a prospect make a comfortable, confident decision in your favor.

Real Estate Client ReferralsClick image for larger view

Simplify and test your offers.

Whoa, there’s just way too much going on here. 3 different packages and price points and I’m still not sure about who you are and why I should trust you with the little bit of marketing budget I have. I’d present one slam-bang introductory offer with a great price with a shorter time frame: XX leads, 3 months for just $XX – guaranteed. Once they sign-up, you can upgrade them to a different kind of package with a longer time-frame. You want prospects to try your service as easily asd possible and with the least amount of risk. You may need to “loss-leader” them in but once they’re in, you have them.

And by all means, test your price points. Ultimately, your sales will be made when the benefit/risk ratio to responding works in your favor.

Make your copy more believable. Put your guarantee upfront and visible.

Copy seems over-the-top and too focused on making a fortune. Even if true, it sounds unbelievable, especially in a tough market. I’d recommend a different kind of pitch—one that focuses on helping you thrive as an agent, no matter what your local housing sales situation. You’re selling hope/comfort enough to ride out the current storm to calmer climes. Smooth your prospect’s journey to YES with a strong, unconditional guarantee. Tell them that you will deliver on your promise to help them do better than tread water or their money back.

Tailor your testimonials to make your company credible and your offer more believable.

You have a ton of terrific testimonials, but since your company isn’t well known and we’re dealing with a prospect base that is struggling, I’d really focus on the success stories of those who are making it—with your help—even when others aren’t.

Real Estate Client ReferralsClick image for larger view

Don’t use sales aids from 2006—that was several hot markets ago.

All your call-outs, examples, charts, etc. have to reflect your prospect’s current reality. Even when you have a great control piece, you’ll need to update the essentials to have it ring true today.

My thanks to Sherice Jacob for her patience and support of Heifer International.

Launching February 2008 – The New Copywriting Maven “Creative Plan” Makeover Series

As you can see here, many of my suggestions/recommendations really should have been made at the creative plan level BEFORE word one of a landing page was written. That’s why my new series is all about the plan before the page. Makeovers will be done in a similar fashion. Complete a form, make a donation to Heifer.org for the equivalent cost of one product/service purchased and submit and wait to be scheduled. In return, you’ll get a 10-point Maven critique that is published on Copyblogger … and honestly, how cool is that? Watch this space for complete details by Valentine’s Day—and just so you know, I like my chocolate dark and bitter. :-)

But Roberta (:: wrenching sob ::), what about the landing pages?

Oh, I’ll still be writing about them from time to time, but no need to wait on me. If your creative plan is practically “Maven-Perfect” and you just want to craft the best landing page ever, I promise you won’t go wrong when you crack open your own copy of Marketing Sherpa’s Landing Page Handbook 2008 (aff). It’s the most comprehensive treatment on the subject and the one to own if you’re ready to do more than just dump prospects off at your homepage. (If you’d like a private Maven landing page consultation, please email me for details.)

Roberta Rosenberg is The Copywriting Maven at MGP Direct, Inc.

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Comments

  1. Great article! Thanks.

  2. Just wanted to take a moment to thank Roberta and Copyblogger for giving us many excellent new ideas and suggestions to work with!

  3. Roberta,

    Ever think about a Landing Page Makeover Membership Site? Initial membership fee goes to Heifer (whose websites I used to code btw); continued membership then goes to you. Your members and their sites are your content. Content is hard to come up with, but in your case, it’s a limitless supply where half the work is already done for you and will grow as your member numbers do. Use TS as a guide. Can’t think of a better candidate.

    Just my two cents.

  4. Great analysis as usual.

    It always amazes me how much meat is embedded in your point-by-point analysis.

    My fave advice: “Peel away everything EXCEPT what will help a prospect make a comfortable, confident decision in your favor.”

    I always enjoy reading your analysis, which always point to the same conclusion:

    * The ultimate success factor of a given landing page can be found by looking at the detail

    * Each piece of information presented plays a crucial role in the overall effectiveness.

    Thanks for sharing!

  5. I don’t see much wrong with the layout. Bob Bly and other top direct marketers use similar layouts and sell millions of dollars worth of product. The first place I would focus my attention is on the headline.

    I agree that the offers are far too confusing. Great post.

  6. As a realestate broker thanks for saying you need to reference todays market and make it risk free. My brother and I are much more apt to try something if we can try it for a smaller cost before the big bill. If the service works we have always upgraded.

  7. I’m a real estate investor and online entrepreneur based out of Las Vegas, NV (a hard hit area), so I found this article particularly interesting. There is A LOT of stuff on Sherice’s page. I didn’t read all of it because there’s just too much there. When I saw my scroll bar shrink to a small square I thought to myself, I’m too busy to read all this, I’ll just skim. I think Roberta is right on with the comments made above.

    When I clicked over to your page I was left wondering who you were (your company)? And after reading the first headline I got the feeling that this was like one of those late night infomercials, I’m not sure if that’s what you were going for?

    My eyes then skipped to the headlines only – so make those count (like mentioned in the post). Try skimming down your page and just read the headlines and big print. When you’re done, what have you learned about your site? I saw one headline that stopped me and grabbed my attention – “How Does Real Estate Client Referrals Compare to Other So-Called “Lead Generation” Services?”

    But . . . I was let down. The answer is, “There is no comparison,” and that’s it? That tells me nothing about your company. Tell me why I should trust you other than showing me testimonials.

    Also, it’s not immediately apparent who this is all for. I assume Real Estate Agents, but it doesn’t say for sure. Would you supply this to real estate investors as well? I invest but am not an agent. Is this something I could use?

    Anyway, I wish you success in your ventures. I’m just offering up a perspective from a site visitor.

    Good post.

  8. What a terrific analysis of this site. Real Estate is a such a dynamic business that changes all the time depending on economic times. Your advice to keep the sales page current and to situations in todays market is spot on.

    I will have to bookmark this site and check back oftern for great copywriting advice.

    Thanks

  9. That was AWESOME! Thank you so much. Landing pages are new for me but you really made it look easy. Great makeover! Give someone an AWESOME day!

  10. Thanks for the article. We’re not in real estate but we’ve taken a lot of tips on this landing page. Keep up the good work!

  11. This article is so good that I wished i had enough money to have her to write mines.

  12. Thanks for the post, I’ve just begun researching landing pages and this has been a great help. I will take all points into regard.

    Thanks,
    Neil.