Everything I Needed To Know About Web Sites
I Learned At The Movies
Movies can provide a bit of fantasy and adventure in our lives and sometimes even educate us a bit. And as you already know, not everything that happens in the movies is true or really occurs in the real world.
We have all heard the line, "If you build it, he (they) will come," from the Field of Dreams. And we have all found it not to be true. Here are a few more movie quotes that can also apply to your web site.
"We're on a mission from God." (The Blues Brothers)
Initially, when starting to build your first web site, the entire company becomes immobilized and becomes obsessed with the web design… nothing can stop you from 'getting on the net.'
"It's Alive! It's Alive!" (Frankenstein)
When a mortgage site is finished, and then uploaded to the net, we feel an empowering sense of creation. We have created our own monster... or so we hope.
"Do you feel lucky?" (Dirty Harry)
The next problem presenting itself is getting found by our potential customers. The most common method is via the search engines and directories. If we don't achieve a top ranking, we will not be very lucky.
"You're shaggidelic, baby!" (Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery)
Once our web site is on the net (and being found), we expect our potential customers to all be very impressed; to be swept up in our visual prowess and easily submit applications to us. The problem is that often our web site can be easily compared with hundreds of other mortgage sites in just one click. If our site isn't 'shaggidelic' then with the next click our customer will be gone.
"Are you talking to ME?" (Taxi Driver)
Total personalization ('Welcome back, Mr. Farris') can't always be accomplished until after people register at our site. But mortgage sites need to be written in a friendly, informative, casual tone that makes our guest feel at home; as if we are actually chatting directly with our visitor.
Web sites that are composed by stiff corporate drones just don't do well. Try and put a little personality into your content and 'talk' to your potential customer.
"I will NOT be ignored!" (Glen Close in Fatal Attraction)
Sometimes we do things that make it hard to ignore our site, like putting flashing, twirling, spinning or glowing graphics pulsating everywhere. But much like the Glen Close character, customers do their best to ignore them and try and get away. Don't overpower your visitors with too much pizzazz; they are at your web site for information,…not exploding fireworks.
"Take me to bed or lose me forever." (Charlie to Maverick in Top Gun)
You have about 10-15 seconds to impress your first time visitor. Your site needs to load fast, be visually appealing (and within the very first screen view) state "what is in it" for the visitor.
You can not just put an application form on a site and expect people to fill it out. Customers like to be romanced a bit; with quality information, great rates, and hand holding customer service.
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"I do wish we could chat longer, but I'm having an old friend for dinner." (Dr. Hannibal Lecter in Silence of the Lambs)
If you have site statistics on your web site, be sure to review how long your visitors stay on your site. A rough rule of thumb is if you average less than two and half minutes per visitor, then you either have uncompetitive interest rates or written content that does not meet your customer's expectations.
"I'll be back..." (Terminator)
Furthermore, most mortgage site owners think that people will somehow be compelled to return... again and again. If your site is CNN or Disney, the customer will be back. If you have a mortgage site, you only get one chance to impress your potential customer. They are not coming back. Because once they find a new loan, they won't need you for quite a few years.
"In (net)space no one can hear you scream." (Promo for Alien)
Many mortgage site owners find it hard to figure out why they are not getting the business they anticipate. You have spent considerable time and money and yet visitors and closed loans just aren't occurring as fast as you anticipate.
"I'll make him an offer he can't refuse." (Marlon Brando, The Godfather)
When a homeowner visits a mortgage site, the single fact most are seeking is the interest rate. These rates need to be easily found and predominantly featured on your site.
"Well, I don't think there is any question about it. It can only be attributable to human error." (HAL 9000 in 2001: A Space Odyssey)
The sad reality is when a web site doesn't perform well it is management's problem. Upper management must then correct and improve the web site so it meets the expectations and needs of their customers.
"I see dead people..." (Sixth Sense)
In the movie the Sixth Sense Bruce Willis is told a secret by his 10 year old patient; "I see dead people... they are everywhere." It seems the dead people just didn't know they were dead. It is the same on the net. Everywhere you look, you can see dead mortgage sites. They just don't know they are dead.
The Box Office
As you can see there are many similarities between the movies and the Internet. However, many current mortgage web sites are living in a fantasy world and will never make a profit. Don't expect big profits without a cost-effective Internet marketing budget. It costs money to capture new customers, just like at the box office.
Next month we will turn our ears to the radio for more tips on mortgage web sites. When we asked Spock what he thought about this article, he replied, "Fascinating," (The Search for Spock).
Rod Aries and Robert Farris are co-founders of MortgagePromote.com, a leading Internet marketing provider to corporate mortgage clients. On request, they conduct nationwide training seminars covering Internet marketing strategies, lead generation, web site development techniques and more. Web site: www.mortgagepromote.com.