What Trust Signals Do Real Estate Customers Want To See
To some extent, every industry in the world is built on trust.
You don’t shop with a store you think might be trying to steal your savings. You don’t eat at restaurants that have one-star health ratings. That email that links to dead social pages and a website with no physical address on it? You’re probably not going to give them the details they’re looking for.
Real estate is no different. Whether it’s a coffee or a house, people want to know they’re getting a fair deal and being treated with respect. Most people have certain trust signals they look for when visiting a website for researching a company for the first time.
So, what are these signals and how can you implement them as a business working in the housing industry?
Active social media
As much as we all would like to spend less of our time on social media, a healthy and active social page can be the difference between a customer trusting your business or not.
Activity on social media tells audiences a few things. It suggests a company that understands the importance of digital marketing and creating an online presence. It shows they care about the reputation of their brand and understand that many people will use platforms such as Facebook and LinkedIn to search for companies to work with.
It also suggests they’re legitimate. Consumers have been burned too many times by high profile scam websites where a limited social media profile is a red flag. So activity on these platforms is often the sign of a legitimate business you can trust.
Finally an active social media presence generally includes frequent interaction with their audience. The real estate industry may not have the same amount of customer queries as an ecommerce store or a travel agency, but it’s vital you are seen to be answering questions on these platforms. A sequence of unanswered questions from frustrated customers is a bad look on any company’s social page.
Ever seen a movie because it had a good audience rating on IMDb? That’s social proof in action. It’s one of the most powerful tools on offer to modern businesses, especially so when there’s a significant financial investment.
House hunters want to make sure they’re working with the best at every step of the way. The average person doesn’t know the industry insight out though, so they judge the best options by a couple of key social proof triggers.
Customer testimony can come in a number of different forms. It can be presented solely as star ratings using a trusted independent review website such as TrustPilot. Crossing the Atlantic, British estate agents Keatons do just that, giving their score pride of place on their website homepage and encouraging new visitors to read their reviews before anything else.
Alternatively, you can follow the same tactic digital mortgage broker Breezeful use on their website, making the experience of the customer the focus over a rating system and adding photographs of them for an extra personal touch. This gives the comment more legitimacy and helps the customers relate to it.
Evidence of listening
The early days of a customer relationship are the most important. You need to impress early on to earn customers in the long term and win a positive review at the end of the process. Within these early days, you need to position yourself as a company that doesn’t just take a customer down the route it wants to travel, but listens to their opinion and builds upon it.
Of course, a huge part of this is down to the attitude and application of your team. However, the appearance and structure of your website can also play a significant role.
It may seem trite, but imagery that puts a focus on the customer rather than the strength and authority of your team is much more inviting to someone new to your brand. People want to visualise an experience. If your business comes across as something that feels like they have all the answers it won’t put your audience at ease, it’ll make them question whether they’ll get what they’re looking for.
Similarly, the copy on your website can be used to achieve the same effect. Make the reader confident that you want to help them find the best home. Position yourself as more of a guide, rather than someone who is looking to offload property to whoever works through the door. Creating a guide where you walk readers through your sales process can help achieve this.
Local area knowledge
Put yourself in the mind of a young buyer moving to a new location for the first time looking for someone to guide them towards the perfect new home.
Most of all, you’d want them to have a strong understanding of the local area right? If your website and brand presentation suggest you’re winging it when it comes to your patch you won’t just come across as incompetent, but potentially untrustworthy.
A real estate website can’t afford to lack crucial information, or the promise of sharing said information, about different districts, proximity to schools, and crime rates among many other factors.
If you blog about unrelated issues and focus on other areas of the country your website content isn’t just useless but actively offputting to people interested in a certain area. You come across as someone who doesn’t care about the area, but wants to quickly move property within in. Use your blog to discuss local issues and provide updates about the state of the market.
Your website, social profile, and branding all come together to give an overall impression of your real estate business to customers new and old. More than the feeling they’re getting a great deal or finding a hidden gem, customers want to feel they can trust brands and businesses. If you can’t give off that impression, your business is a non-starter in this sector.