Jul. 30, 2011 - A Game-changing Opportunity for MLS Survival
A July 29 article in E-Commerce Times addressed some issues that have been on a lot of minds since the MLS Domains Association announced its intention of seeking a top level domain (.MLS) which will be used only by certified MLS organizations (imitators and MLS wannabes need not apply!)
The question being asked by MLSs is, “Will new domain names really work? Everybody knows .com, .gov, and .org—the existing top level domains. The consumer will never understand this stuff.” And the unspoken conclusion is, “So let’s not join this movement right now. Let’s wait and see.”
The E-Commerce Times begs to differ with that attitude. . “The gTLDs (new top level domains) are not just about trademark filing and battle posturing or cybersquatting. They are about the potential to create unusual global intellectual properties offering multiple opportunities for rapid image expansion and -- most importantly -- the achievement of market domination via name identity.”
That’s pretty heady global thinking from experts on this topic. The Times goes on to say that the ICANN’s new domain name program is about “massive customer acquisition and the creation of intricate layers of customer access.”
Translate the rhetoric of this article into layman’s terms: “Yes, internet users will respond to ICANN’s far-reaching relabeling of information and products. And if you participate, you’ll find seismic new ways to reach your audience and draw them into your world.”
However, the Times article cautions, not everyone will successfully navigate the complicated process that goes with obtaining a TLD. To begin with, there’s the money. The application fee per name starts at US$185,000, and each new name can cost up to $500,000 to integrate. The Times observes: “This investment is no more than the price of large single-highway signage over a 10-year lease. However, it permits thousands of such luminous cyberstructures over high-density information highways.”
Done correctly, the article says, a TLD offers the fastest way to create hypervisibility and global presence, and a game-changing opportunity to depart from traditional marketing and branding.
In the US, the MLS Domains Association is working hard to spearhead the TLD effort in the world of real estate sales. Association chairman Bob Bemis says, “We know that consumers recognize the term “MLS” as a source of accurate and reliable information. We want to capitalize on our name recognition and protect it from the many imitators who use the reputation of ‘MLS’ to draw traffic to websites that are neither owned by nor operated by MLSs. Only recognized MLSs will be able to use the top level domain administered by the MLS Domains Association.”
The MLS Domains Association is a non-profit corporation founded by some of the largest MLSs in the US. Over the past two years the members have been actively soliciting new members and building start-up funds. The Association has formed bylaws and operating policies, commissioned legal infrastructure work, and studied the massive ICANN policies. “We’re confident in the work we’ve done,” said Bemis. “We’re finalizing our contracts with our funding partners now, and we’ll be ready to make our application in early 2012, when ICANN opens up the process.”
In my last two blog entries, I've mentioned the importance of having an MLS which can act decisively and knowledgeably, if in fact the MLS organization is to survive and serve our members and their customers. One of the AEs who contributed insight to my last blog specifically mentioned this opportunity of supporting the MLS top level domain program. You'll find a list of organizations which have joined the MLS Domains association as well as the domain names they've already reserved. Visit the association website: if your MLS isn't there, now is the time to act!
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Saturday, July 30, 2011
Thursday, July 28, 2011
Jul. 28, 2011 - Another voice heard from...
I have this friend, a Realtor Association exec, with whom I share an important personal habit: we both get up very early in the morning. So early today when I staggered over to my desk, clutching my iPad to my chest and gripping my coffee, there was an email waiting--no surprise. My AM pen pal had already been at it, thinking about my blog post from last night.
He had written the following:
When an MLS does innovate—such as the launch of a public website—some large brokers become very angry because in their words “Once again, you are leveling the playing field.” Since no brokerage has all of the listing data—nor will they ever---the MLS provides the vehicle for brokerage collaboration but the large brokers do not want MLS providing a way to make the smaller-than-them brokerage look large to the consumer. They assume incorrectly that consumers do not already understand that fact.
Another area to which the large brokers are currently blind is their inability to understand that collaboration with consumers is the new normal. Listing information is ubiquitous. Brokers should be improving the consumers experience with the listing information while driving them to experts who understand what it all means and where to get the best information.
I go to a physician’s assistant for check-ups. We were talking about real estate websites and I was explaining why some had great looking tools but bad data. He laughed and said too many patients were showing up with “medical” advice garnered from a website and a list of prescription medicines that must be prescribed to cure them. He was spending more time with patients explaining what the site they visited was--a university where they were doing research—and why the drugs could not be prescribed—because the drugs were not approved for the use in treating a particular disease—the university had permission to conduct trials but doctors could not prescribe!
My AM penpal's letter was written in confidence, but I asked him if I could share it anonymously because I think it makes some important points that we all need to think about:
1. The consumer public is well educated--sometimes much more so than we imagine. They understand and value accurate and complete information, and when they don't receive that information, they will go find it in some other way.
2. Witholding information, or making it difficult for a consumer to find and access, is not the answer. Consumers want complete listing inventories, valuations, and sales histories. They want to know about the quality of service they will be receiving for the dollars they are paying to the Realtor. Consumers expect to be answered when they ask: they've been trained by websites like Amazon.com and Ebay to expect compete information, and to share their experiences with others.
Often, Realtors shoot themselves in the foot by thinking that they can change consumer behavior or ignore the need for convenience and completeness. "Let's not have a cooperative public website," they say. "Let's not even mention that there are quality issues and/or differences among our salespeople." "We don't want to level the playing field," they say. Have they not shopped at one of Amazon's 'partners' or clicked on a 'Buy it used' feature of the bookstore? There's a reason why consumers begin their shopping experience at Amazon--because they go for the transaction satisfaction, not the product itself.
3. But having researched and discovered the information, consumers still need an experienced guide to help interpret and analyze what they've found, particularly as the product gets more expensive or the purchase process more complex.
Let's face it: there are things which we can do more successfully in cooperation, than we can do alone. One of them is to create a satisfactory transaction environment for real estate buyers and sellers. As my morning correstpondent says, "Collaboration is the new normal." When MLSs recognize that it's collaboration, and not competition, that creates a comfortable environment for buyers and sellers, and that its the consuming public which will judge our success, we will be able to move forward with confidence.
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
Jul. 27, 2011 - Let There Be Lions
Kim Prior created a bit of a buzz last week in the MLS world. Kim, who is the Director of MLS Market Operations at Onboard Informatics and has had a ten year career in real estate sales, posted a blog titled “MLSs Taking Control of Destiny—a Plea, an Observation, a Call to Arms.” The post was reprinted and commented on at some length: let’s examine why.
Prior’s premise is that change is happening on the outside of the MLS world much faster than it’s happening on the inside, and ‘we’ (I presume that word encompasses MLS managers, leaders, and vendors) are facing a crisis: the end is in sight.
The main reason for Prior’s statement: “We are reticent (and at times nearly obstinate) to lead survival-level change.” Ultimately, Prior says, “We avoid game-changing decisions…leaving our destiny in the hands of outsiders.”
In her mind, there are four strategies in developing a solution and regaining control of the future of the MLS: (1) regaining full control of our product (including distribution, terms, usage and price), (2) appropriate dissemination of external power and appropriate control of outside relationships, (3) eliminating the middle man from our relationships with our consumers, and (4) enabling opportunities, innovations, and job growth.
Doom is ahead if we don’t grapple with these issues, she tells us. And she ends with a call to action: “We can tip the scale of change, but the time is now.”
OK, I am curious about Prior’s post. People who have been listening to me for the last 15 years know I’ve been predicting the imminent demise of the MLS; my not-so-secret nickname is “Chicken Little.” The sky is falling:! My early whispers became shouts, and still the sky didn’t fall—the storm moved on through, and the lions were still snarling on the other side of the hill.
Well, I thought, Kim Prior must know something I don’t know. I think I’ll ask some people I really, really respect about their response to this post. What’s your reaction to Kim’s observation and call to arms? I emailed.
Marilyn Wilson posted her own call to action on the WAV Group Blog : “Enough Analysis Paralysis! Time for MLSs and Associations to make it happen!” The problem, Marilyn says, is that the real estate industry is focused on the needs of agents and not consumers. “Any company that worries more about its own margin and sales commissions more than the long term satisfaction of its customers is writing its own death sentence. “ And that attitude of protectiveness means that third party vendors offer more information to consumers than the real estate industry does. The industry hasn’t, Wilson claims, evolved property search methods in 20 years, for example.
And then she hits on MY personal hot button: “The governance structure of MLSs and Associations makes it even more difficult to get things done quickly and decisively. “ Governing boards made up of brokers and agents hunkered down in a survival mode are simply too risk-adverse to think broadly and act creatively.
I asked a prominent MLS administrator what she thought about this lack of leadership and she agreed with Marilyn. She wrote, “As a side note, I have (and still am) been on the road this week speaking to brokers about their data, about syndication, about other issues -- many are shocked, more are exactly as Kim said – reticent – not overly concerned, just hoping for that one (BIG) lead…… “ And a recently retired AE of a large Realtor and MLS operation says, “We won’t be able to deliver what the consumer wants until we transform…(ourselves)…into true, well-educated, fee-based, professional advisors. The ‘bar’ that should be above our heads is instead firmly lashed around our knees and nobody seems willing to make the first move to raise it—not the Realtors, not the big brokers, not the state licensing agencies.”
My wise friend Bob, who manages a giant-sized MLS in the Southwest, chimes in, including even more culprits in his analysis: “I don’t know of an MLS executive anywhere who is willing to put his/her job on the line defending a course of action that may be right but that will get him/her fired,” he writes. MLS executives do exactly what the title implies – they execute. “
Bob comments further on the governance issue: “(MLS Executives) executives execute on the wishes of their association owners that hopefully reflect and are based on the business interests of their broker participants. That’s the difference between a ‘corporate success’ which for a business usually is measured by return on investor’s equity and the non-profit world…. Failure in a corporate environment usually is followed by a change in management. Failure in the MLS business puts thousands of brokers and their agents out of business.”
In the end, Bob concludes, “the measure of success according to the brokers is, ‘Did it make the phone ring?’ Even if the decision of where and how to distribute listing data is a bad one, it will seldom be seen as such if the (broker’s) phone is ringing.”
When I ask one of the NAR staff to comment on Kim Prior’s article, she grumbled, “Not much substance, and (Prior) criticizes more than she advises.”Of course she does! As they say on Facebook, “it’s complicated.”
So what to do? How does the MLS sector respond to Prior’s call to action? Here are some suggestions, culled from those who responded to Kim Prior’s article:
1. Jim (a seasoned Realtor exec and consultant) says: Get over the turf wars and politics. This is a world of collaboration and listing syndication. If your MLS is unwilling to share data and support initiatives like RPR and other collaboration efforts, someone else will build a nationwide—or even global—property database. That’s what the consumer wants.
2. David, the CEO of a megaMLS, observes that Prior’s ‘call to arms’ “is about listing syndication and compliance. Kim is right. We need to understand where the content is going and make sure the recipients play by the rules….This is simply about ensuring that the brokers’ content goes where it is supposed to go. If someone profits from it, then the broker wants to know and if appropriate, be reimbursed.”
3. The retired Realtor CEO I mentioned earlier says that maybe the problem is a little more far-reaching and encourages MLSs to take leadership and decision-making to a more professional and business-like level. To me that suggests not only ‘raising the bar’ on our own members, but perhaps expanding the MLS decision-making body to include non-members who bring needed skills to the table—people who understand technology, investments, education. Develop a leadership pool of skills, not just a glorified users group.
4. This CEO also observes that “One small step the industry COULD take right now would be to wholeheartedly embrace the .mls domain idea. “At least,” he says, “That might hold the wolves at bay for a little while.”
5. Choose your business partners wisely. Bob says, Sometimes MLSs need ‘middle men’ because “Most MLSs don’t have the resources (money or staff) to determine what the consumer wants, or to deliver on that challenge effectively. All facilitators (middle men) should not be lumped into the same category and condemned because of their position or their profit motives.” But, he cautions, it’s important to carefully select your partners, because ‘a poor selection can damage your reputation for years to come.”
6. Finally, as Marilyn Wilson so eloquently writes, base your MLS organizational decisions on the demands of the people who purchase homes, not the people who sell homes. “Until we address the needs of consumers in real-time (getting over our own insecurities), the industry will continue to be dominated by outside parties who will ultimately take it over.” Marilyn reminds us that third parties already offer more in depth information to consumers than most brokers and MLSs do, and these same third parties offer consumers information about agent performance and property valuation, and they extend user-friendly and innovative property search tools. “It’s the people that give us checks for real estate who need to be at the center of every decision,” she concludes.
When I work with clients on strategic plan development, I teach them how to use a ‘strategy screen’. Not all decisions can be anticipated and incorporated in to a long-range plan, I tell them--you need a tool to use in order to evaluate your leadership actions and judge them in light of your organizational mission.
How about if our mission, as MLSs, were to give our members the tools which would enable them to best serve their customers, the consumers who pay money for real estate? If every tool we offered, every service we provided, were carefully evaluated in light of its contribution to the success of that mission of satisfying consumer needs, would MLSs increase in value and usefulness?I think so.
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
The Nonprofit Quarterly | @npquarterly | Destroy Your Executive Committee, Part 2: 5 False Rationales
June 10, 2011
Simone P. Joyaux
First, read my previous column. I’m on a worldwide mission to destroy all executive committees. Staff – and yes, even board members – are joining me in this mission.
Here’s the rationale. Here’s the response to every one of the reasons people say.
1. The executive committee meets in case of an emergency, in lieu of the board. Because it's hard to get the full board together.
Excuse me? It's an emergency, something vital to the organization. And you disregard the full board and bring together the executive committee. Ask the rest of your board members how they feel, giving this emergency power to a subset of the board. And in this day and age with conference call capability and email? Please. A true emergency belongs to the board.
2. The CEO needs a small group to talk with about very confidential items; a kind of think tank or kitchen table cabinet.
Stop right now! Nothing is confidential to a subset of the board. If any committee of the board knows something, it's the right and responsibility of the full board to know it. Governance is the legal and moral authority of the board. The board cannot delegate that to any single individual or entity.
If a CEO wants a smaller group to chat with first, and then of course chat with the full board, pick the people who have the expertise. If the issue doesn't fall within the purview of any committee, e.g., governance, finance, fund development. (Because if it fell within a committee's purview, you'd take the issue to that committee.) So you bring together board members who have expertise and particular insight about the issue.
Or, let's say you have a personnel issue. It's actually a management issue and you won't take it to the board since it isn't governance. But you want to chat with a couple board members. This isn't governance work so it isn't board committee work. Call (or bring together) a few board members (and outside experts, too, if you wish) to chat with you.
Remember, the CEO can chat with any board member she wishes. The CEO doesn't need to get permission from the board chair. The CEO doesn't need to pass everything by the board chair.
3. The executive committee includes the officers and committee chairs and sets board meeting agendas.
Seems to me that's a waste of time. (Wow, lots of time. Imagine you are the treasurer. You chair the Finance Committee and go to those meetings. You serve on the Executive Committee and go to those meetings. And you go to board meetings. Ugh.)
I recommend that the CEO and Board Chair together develop board meeting agendas. The CEO should know what's happening in every single committee. Either the CEO is the staff person for a particular committee. Or another staff person staffs the committee (e.g., the chief development officer staffs the Fund Development Committee) and keeps the CEO informed.
4. The Executive Committee does the performance appraisal of the CEO.
You don't need an executive committee to do that. You need an ad hoc task force that
includes the right people. For example, someone with experience in personnel / human resources.
Perhaps a couple of board members who chair committees that have worked closely with the CEO recently. The current board chair. Perhaps the immediate past board chair or the incoming board chair.
Put together a task force that lasts for the few months of the appraisal process. Then terminate the task force.
5. Processing information over and over till you lose the edge
So a committee discusses an issue. Then refers it to the executive committee. Then the executive committee takes it to the board.
It would be great if the issue deserved lots of discussion. And sometimes, issues do, indeed.
But beware. Repeat discussion may not add value. And by the time the issue gets to the board, some people have already talked themselves out. They're kinda bored. They're kinda impatient. They act like that. So the full board - some of whom were not on the previous committees - feel like the discussion is getting short shrift. There's nothing quite like trying to have a discussion when others say, "Oh yes, we already talked about that and . . . " Exclusionary!
Executive committees are just too dangerous.To me, their danger far outweighs any particular benefit. There's nothing an executive committee does or might do that cannot be done by another existing committee or an ad hoc task force.
(And by the way, an executive committee by any other name... If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it's a duck! I worked for an organization that used its Finance Committee as an executive committee. I know an organization right now that is using it's Governance Committee as an executive committee.)
Most of what an executive committee does should be done by the board itself. Quit disempowering the board! Quit creating a shadow board. Join my worldwide mission to destroy all executive committees. And start with your own.
Absolutely correct! Just one more layer of delay...
Thursday, July 21, 2011
IRC section 280F(d)(4) states the "listed property" includes any passenger automobile and any other property used as a means of transportation.
Explicitly, this means that your vehicle is listed property; therefore, you do not need a receipt for a vehicle expense that is less than $75.
Keep one key point in mind: Tax law requires proof even when the law says you don't need a receipt. So, always think proof. If you don't have receipts, do your gas expenses help prove your mileage and does your mileage help prove your gas expenses? Do you jot down the cost of gas on a timely basis? The IRS gives you up to one week for this timely test.
W. Murray Bradford, CPA
Tax Reduction Letter
Tuesday, July 12, 2011
Jul. 12, 2011 - Measuring Website Success
“Ok”, you say,” I am getting the message. Websites are about building customers. Social media works because visitors become followers. I am building my personal or association brand. My website markets content and interactivity with my brand.”
“Yup”, I reply, “You’re catching on. You’ve got a blog now and a place for your readers to leave questions and make contents. Good job!”
Of course, now the job is to measure the effectiveness of your social media strategies. You can toss up a website for a few bucks and make some pithy remarks once or twice a week in your blog titled “The Specialist Speaks”, but are your efforts really paying off? How do you know? How does one measure the effectiveness of what we term ‘Content Marketing’ and ‘Social Media Channels?’
In yesterday’s world, techniques for measuring return on advertising investment were pretty standard: we looked at a publication’s readership, the ‘drive time’ of a radio ad placement, or maybe an answer to the question “How did you hear about us?” In our associations, we counted the number of newsletters sent or the number of reservations for the training seminar we announced on page one.
But that was then, this is now. What should be doing to measure the ROI on our websites? How do we know not only how many visitors our site experienced, but can we measure how meaningful their experience was to them? Or to our organization or business?
A good website is more than an electronic brochure: it is a dialogue. As website owners our job is to create the conversation, to involve a visitor, to strengthen our bond with the member or customer. How will we know if we’ve achieved those goals with any degree of success?
Website success measurement is more than counting visits. In the world of social media website design, here are some tools which are good indicators of your website success:Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE
- Facebook ‘likes’: "Like" is a way to give positive feedback or to connect with things you care about. About a year ago (April, 2010) Facebook introduced the ‘Like’ button for non-Facebook websites, so that visitors anywhere on the internet can indicate that they are fans of a particular site or of a content article. Their support is then shared with their social network on Facebook and their name associated with the site they like. Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE
- Share on Linked In: LinkedIn.com is another social network, perhaps with a more professional intent. Relationships, user groups, and content are built on occupations or business specialties. This is typically how a user will experience the LinkedIn Share link on a blog or website: a user reads content on your site and wants to share it; you provide a Share link on your website article; your user clicks that link and shares the content with her network of professionals.
3. Tweets and Re-Tweets: Twitter is one of the 10 most visited sites in the world. Its users comment in short statements to their followers (called ‘tweets’ or ‘micro blogs’). Their tweets are also re-tweeted by others who see them and wish to share the original tweets. When a user identifies website content through a tweet, she is sharing that content to her followers who may, in turn, retweet the content to theirs. Tweeting is an important means of leveraging content support. A twitter icon on your website content makes it easy to share, and it will count the number of times the item is shared by your site visitors.
4. Backlinks: Backlinks are incoming links to a website or web page. The number of backlinks is one indication of the popularity or importance of that website or page (for example, this is used by Google to determine the PageRank of a webpage). Outside of Search Engine Optimization, the backlinks of a webpage may be of significant personal, cultural or semantic interest: they indicate who is paying attention to that page.
5. Reblog is just what it sounds like: the reader of the original blog may want to share a part or all of a blog with her readers. Blog sites like Wordpress have a reblog feature making it easy to share blogs, again expanding the readership of the original post. How many times is your blog re-blogged? The answer is a sign of your popularity.
6. Comments: blog comments are what make a blog interactive and social. The most popular blogs have a very interactive community where members frequently voice opinions on posts—an important conversational component of a website. There are, of course, tools allowing control of content and comment writers to protect your blog from spam and slander—but the important lesson here is to encourage blog comments whenever possible.
7. Followers: developing and retaining followers is an important component of social networking and provides the tools which allow readers to follow a blog writer, a website, a Twitterer, or a blog conversation. RSS feeds are an important tool to add to a website. How do you sign up and track followers for your blog? Most blog hosts like Blogger and Wordpress provide what are called widgets, which enable readers to become your followers. “There are apps for that,” as they say.
8. @Mentions: A Mention is any Twitter update that contains @username anywhere in the body of the Tweet. (Direct replies to Tweets are also considered Mentions.) On the homepage of your Twitter account, you’ll be able to easily track the comments that Mention you. Make the process easy with the easily available Twitter gadgets.
The important message in this article is not that you are taking away a specific number of direct ‘hits’—social media measures aren’t based on the number of superficial glances you get from the audience eyeballs--but on the depth of the relationship that audience has with the content on your website. Do visitors care enough to leave a comment or to sign up for further conversation? These measures are called ‘proxies’—indication of the use of tools which deepen the relationship between website and visitor.
Good websites provide the tools to continue the conversation, both blog comments and applications for sharing content. Measuring the use of those tools by your site visitors, particularly the growth of aggregate trend data (how many more tweets-reblogs-comments-followers are you finding in July than you found in April?) is an important and meaningful measurement of the increasing momentum of your website.
Tuesday, July 5, 2011
Jul. 5, 2011 - A Crash Course in Landing Pages
A landing page? Say what???
We’re talking internet marketing here. No matter whether you own a website as an association, MLS, or brokerage, if you don’t know about landing pages for your web site, you’re missing a huge marketing opportunity!
Here’s an example: your association has taken a position on a local political initiative—let’s say the county wants to establish a new real estate transfer tax. Realtors agree this is a very bad idea and will bring great harm to the real estate business, so they’ve issued a position paper which analyzes the impact of the proposed destructive legislation on homeowners and businesses in the community. The paper is available on the association website: the question is, how does is the public directed to the website so they can easily read and download the whitepaper?
The organization can do one of two things: it can direct the public to its website homepage and let the visitors find and click on the appropriate link, or it can create a landing page. Simply put, a good landing page will be targeted to a particular stream of traffic – in this case from an email campaign advertising the whitepaper - and, because traffic is targeted, and because the page contains an interesting offer (leave your email address to receive the informative whitepaper as well as further updates on the progress of the legislation) the association will convert a higher percentage of website visitors into interested members of the public (leads) with whom it can follow up for this or future public campaigns.
The secret question in using this technique is —as always—“What do you want the consumer to do?” Many associations (and brokerages, for that matter) never ask this question as they design their web pages. “Well, that’s a nice site,” I tell them. “Lots of information on ethics, reasons to use a professional, and why your organization is great. But what do you want the visitor to DO as a result of knowing all of this?” Too often, the answer is a blank stare.
“Well, if you don’t know what you want them to do, how do you measure your effectiveness?”
There are two general types of landing pages—one is a reference page, and the other is known as a ‘call to action’. In either case, the landing page shows the visitor how to do what you want them to: in our example, we want the visitor read the legislative impact study and become informed about our position on the topic. (And leave her contact information so we have a database of interested local residents for future use.)
The association not only advertised the landing page, it asked all of the members to provide a link on THEIR websites, thus leveraging the interest and cooperation of the member community.
What’s the recipe for a good call-to-action landing page? A few simple ingredients:
1. Have a compelling product or offer. “Become informed about how this new legislation affects you and impacts our community! Read this complimentary two-page, clear analysis!” (Or, receive an invitation to attend this exclusive champagne open house for this luxurious residence. Or whatever.)
2. Make it easy to share. This rule is, of course, a necessary component of a blog, a newsletter, a flyer, an article or press release: always add the buttons for Facebook, Twitter, email, and other sharing options. Again, leverage your efforts by making it easy for others to spread the word.
3. Limit the options for the reader to navigate away from your landing page. Direct them where YOU want them to go—to your homepage, to your listing inventory, or wherever seems logical. But don’t confuse them: keep the attention on what you want them to do (leave your email address—that’s called ‘capture the lead’).
4. Be simple and direct. The best landing pages focus on the task at hand, perhaps adding a relevant and dynamic graphic and – again – ask the visitor for a simple, effective action like “leave your email address and we’ll tell you how to get complete information on the properties for sale on this lake as well as a ticket for boat tour to see these listings from the water.”
5. Make sure you have a statistical analysis component to your page. A visitor who takes the desired action is referred to as a ‘conversion’ and the efficiency of a call-to-action landing page is measured by its conversion rate (the percentage of visitors who complete the action). The conversion rate is easily tracked because the desired action is isolated to a single page. It’s also simple to find out where your visitors came from, how long each one spent on the landing page, and where they went when they left the site.
“Ok, you’ve convinced me: landing pages are important to web marketing. How do I get one?”
A simple landing page isn’t difficult for an experienced web site designer: you might even try making one yourself. There are excellent informational videos on YouTube: one is by an organization called NextLevel Profits. Google also has some easy to follow instructions for creating mobile phone landing pages .
And, going back to our opening example, the association found that adding the landing page to its arsenal of mobilization tactics really worked by uniting members in a common strategy, creating an informed voting public, and leveraging the social media communications tools.
Not a bad return on investment.