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Branded vs. Less-Branded Websites

Branded Website - CraigProctorSite.com

Wherever you attract them from, there are essentially only two types of leads: those who are ready to work with an agent and those who are aren’t. Both types respond differently to the amount and type of branding on your website.

A Branded website prominently features you on every page: your name, photo, logo, company, bio, team members, and so forth. It’s all about you and your business. Branded websites are designed to encourage leads that are ready to work with an agent to choose YOU. This includes not only new buyers and sellers who are ready to get started, but also your existing network of clients and business contact.

A Branded website allows people to find YOU. You should use it whenever you’re promoting to people who already know you, and in ALL your follow-up materials with past clients and leads you’ve established a relationship with. The idea is to get them to associate the information on your site with you, positioning you as the expert that they’ll want to work with, or refer to their friends and family. And when that referral business comes looking, they’ll expect to find you.

You should include your name in the domain for your Branded website, eg. CraigProctorSite.com. This allows people to refer you by name to others, and in most cases people tend to remember a name more easily than a more generic website name like YorkRegionHomeInfo.com.

The problem with a Branded website is that your name and image are “selling flags” to the other type of lead. These people may or may not be looking to buy or sell, eventually, but at this point they are looking around for information, and not a sales pitch from an agent. Fearing that they’ll be harassed by the agent whose picture they see, these leads won’t leave their name on a Branded website.

Less-Branded Website - YorkRegionHomeSales.comA Less-Branded website overcomes this problem by minimizing references to you, thereby removing the obvious selling flags. (Your local regulations may require you to place your name and contact information on the page, but you place it in a less-conspicuous area, most often at the bottom. This is why we call these “Less-Branded” instead of “Unbranded”.) The site looks much more like a neutral “Consumer Information” website than a real estate agent. As a result, people are much more likely to leave their name.

Our research shows that removing the branding from a website can double or triple the response rate. Better response rates lead to more appointments, more closings, more deals, and increased profits. As a result, you should use your Less-Branded website in ALL your advertising, to increase the value you get for your marketing efforts.

Your Less-Branded site should use an unbranded, neutral domain name, eg. YorkRegionHomeInfo.com. The domain should also imply a benefit that makes people want to visit the site, or tells them what they’ll find there. The idea is to make the website seem like something that your local Chamber of Commerce might have created. Avoid using your name or company in the domain for a Less-Branded site - this is another selling flag that will cut your response rate.

Another benefit of a Less-Branded website is that because it’s not attached to you, it can become a saleable asset in your business.

One key mistake that many agents make is forgetting that every page on your site should be either Branded or Less-Branded. Mixing pages is not effective because less than half of your website visitors arrive on the home page, and they don’t necessarily stay there. Search engine traffic, ads targeting landing pages, and other factors can put a new visitor on any page of your site, where branding can become a factor in their response rate.

The bottom line is, you need BOTH! Having a Branded AND Less-Branded website is the best way to capture the most leads by positioning yourself the right way to attract both types.