Scarcity and Abundance

There’s a theory in this book that, while too little of something may be a bad thing, too much of that thing may also be bad. That more is not always better. It’s only better to a point, and then the benefit may not only level off, it may actually decrease.

It’s a U shaped curve. Benefit rises as you climb out of scarcity, and then benefit decreases as you head into abundance.

An example might be class sizes. 50 kids in a classroom is too many – the teacher is spread too thin, you can’t pay attention to everyone, people get left out, chaos ensues. On the other hand 5 kids in a class is probably too few. There may not be enough difference of opinion to get any real discussion, there’s not enough diversity of thought.

Another example – income.

If you’re working multiple jobs to make ends meet, you simply can’t afford to give your kid anything they ask for. You likely end up teaching your child that they can put in hard work and earn the thing they want – they learn the value of effort and reward.

But at some point on that curve, the parent has plentiful income and can easily provide whatever thing is desired by their child. Here’s where things get difficult again. You have to say no because of your values, not because of a lack of resources. It’s easier to say no when you don’t have the ability. It’s harder to say no because of your principles.


It made me think about scarcity and abundance and my own values at work. When we have an abundance of time, do we still live our values?

If you don’t really have to complete a task until the end of the week, but you say you can get it done on Tuesday – do you really do it on Tuesday? Or do you let it slide because you can, given the abundance of time?

Do you tell a client ‘no’ for an early scope creep item that is small, when you still have an abundance of time and budget, based on the principle? Or do you agree, sidestep the difficult conversation, and allow it to slide?

Abundance allows us some generosity, but scarcity can forge your values. Are you living the same values when times are easy, as when they are hard?

On Motivation

I have this little cube on my office desk. It’s a timer. You flip the cube over so that a number is on top, and then it beeps after that many minutes have elapsed.

This is useful in many ways.

Got a meeting in 15 minutes? Flip the timer to 10 min. You can ignore the clock and safely work on whatever you’re working on for 10 min. When it beeps, you have time to save your work, get a bio break, open your calendar, and get to the meeting on time.

Need to get up and stretch every hour? Flip the timer to remind you to stand up and walk around every so often.

My favorite use is sorta like the Pomodoro technique. When there’s something I’m dreading – answering a stubborn client email, writing ridiculous status reports, cleaning the house – I set the timer for 10 minutes and I just… start. How bad can 10 minutes be? Surely you can endure 10 minutes. Just start the stupid thing. You can quit in 10 minutes.

Usually, 10 minutes is enough to make decent headway into the task – as a project manager, I do a ton of smallish to medium tasks. Usually, 10 minutes is enough to prove to myself that this task wasn’t so bad after all. And usually, I’m done shortly thereafter.

The problem comes when you’ve already reached into your bag of tricks a dozen times, already pulled out the cube and every other tool you’ve got to get stuff done, and you still come up short in the motivation department. When you’ve exhausted your resources, and you don’t feel any better after your 10 minutes is up.

What then?

You put your head down and you slog through.

It reminds me of shoveling snow. (As if this post needed more tangentially related stories.)

In Rochester, you ain’t driving anywhere until the snow gets shoveled. And it’s no fun. And you’re tired of it after 10 minutes. But it’s got to be done if you want to eat something other than mayo, a jar with 2 pickles left, and snow for dinner.

And then the slog method fails. It’s not sustainable. You start to lose pieces of your soul, forcing yourself through the motions with no heart.

Something has to change.

Will it be you? Or your situation? Or both?

Is stress time over yet? I feel like it should be over now.

I think we are defined by who we become in a crisis.

When we are under stress, when things go wrong, when you’ve made a mistake, when the unexpected happens. Our reaction in times of trouble can be telling.

Do you take action to fix things, or do you just talk about fixing things?
Do you figure out what went wrong, or do you try to forget it ever happened?
Do you own up to your mistakes, or do you sweep them under the rug?
Are you interested in solving problems and fixing things, or are you only interested in who’s to blame?

Stress strips away all the pleasant veneer of interactions, and you get down to the center of who you are. It’s not always pretty what you find there, but I think it is an important place to visit occasionally.

But only occasionally.

I feel like I’ve been operating from that crisis stress center all week, raw and angry and frustrated. It has been a challenge to temper reactions to events that normally I would handle in stride.

How do you heal over-stress? How do you put back the protective layers of normality, of things going as planned, of occasional wins and compliments?

And more so, how do I ensure my team gets those things?

Accountability, responsibility, and trust

One of the fascinating things about agile team structure is the delineation between responsibility and accountability. While I may be in charge of making sure something gets done, I may not actually be the one to perform the work. I am accountable to a task without being responsible for actually doing it.

As a scrum master, I may be accountable for explaining and improving the team’s velocity, but I do not directly impact the velocity – I am not responsible for the work done that creates or alters the velocity. Only the development team can be responsible for the estimation and volume of work that is completed.

It’s an interesting paradigm, to separate who is held to the fire for something from who will actually do that something. That takes a huge amount of trust within the team – to trust the responsible party will do what they say they will do.

And if there is no trust? That’s a huge problem if a team member doesn’t fulfill their responsibilities. Which gets exacerbated if there are no reciprocal dependencies between us – if mutually assured destruction is not an option, albeit a last resort, clearly.

If I am accountable for things that you are responsible for, and you never fulfill your responsibilities, then there is a problem. A foundational breakdown of trust and responsibility, fracturing a team from the inside.

Be on the lookout, team leader, for small breaches that may lead to larger collapses. Defend your team vigilantly against actions that erode trust.

We can’t all possibly be the expert, all the time.

This video has been making the rounds via social media:

It’s painful and hilarious at the same time.

The thought that niggles at the back of my brain is how everyone identifies with the expert – and we can’t all possibly be the expert.  Surely, there are times that we play each role in this little spectacle, to some degree or another.  We aren’t all experts at everything.  We can’t possibly be.  At some point, we must all say something incredibly backwards and painful to real experts, and cause in them the frustration and disbelief portrayed here.

Our reaction as ‘expert’ when we come across these situations is important.  Are we able to gently teach and clarify without making another party feel dumb or – worse – attacked?  Can we speak plainly and communicate well?  That’s such a vital skill. It is well worth our time to focus on developing and nurturing this skill in ourselves, and in our teams.


I’ve been wrangling my feed reader today – culling, adding, focusing, absorbing. Admittedly, recently, the only category of feeds that were read with any regularity was the “entertaining” category. Followed by the “crossfit” and “paleo” categories. This may explain my exuberance for my workouts, and my general sense of malaise at work. I’ve been uninspired.

And that’s no fun for anyone.

So it’s time to feed my brain some new information. I cut several older real estate categories. Trimmed the entertaining feeds to those that I enjoy most. And I beefed up my agile, analytics, and CRO related feeds. I added far more than I can reasonably consume, but I’ll spend the next few weeks evaluating which I enjoy, and will unsubscribe individually to those that are more noise than signal.

Let’s see what happens if I soak my little brain in some new voices.

What do you do for inspiration?

ask not what your website can do for you

I was talking to an agent friend the other day, and she was asking me about her site analytics, wanting to better understand bounce rate and page views and whatnot.  Like many in the industry that consider themselves tech-savvy, she has a Google Analytics account for her business site and faithfully checks those numbers – having no idea how to get any value out of them.

So my first question is always the same: What’s your goal?

You get mostly the same answers – to get more registrations or blog subscribers or have them fill out a contact form.  Something along those lines.

And you can certainly maximize those things.  If your goal is as many IDX registrations as possible, we can cram everyone down that funnel.  We can make our goal to increase the number of registrations per 1000 visitors, or some such easily identified figure from our analytics.  I mean, hey.  Only a small portion of the visitors to your site are there to search properties.  Some want information, or the value of their home, or community data, or are checking out photos of a home their friend is purchasing.  But we can cram ’em all down that registration road. 

But I’m guessing that’s not what you really want.  Or ought to want.  Because what I hope you want is to deliver such a delightful experience for that visitor that they happily register, or email you, or download your market report with glee. 

So to approach your analytics with an attitude of whats-in-it-for-me gets you to the wrong conclusions, especially in a service based industry like real estate.

Because it isn’t about what our website does for our company.  It’s about what our website does for our customers.

When I look at a section of my site, first I want to think about who is using it, and what they want to accomplish.  And then I make those things easy to find and do.  And then I can identify and monitor metrics that measure those things.

We can discuss bounce rates and page views and whatnot, but that’s such a small part of the bigger picture.  Without the context of what those things mean in terms of our consumers’ needs and wants and goals, we’re operating in a vacuum.  We optimize for our consumers. And happy consumers take care of us.

the answer is always more data

I’m convinced the answer is always in the data.  At least, as far as generating business is concerned.

There’s a whole treasure of answers, just sitting there waiting – you just have to have the analysis cycles in place to take advantage of it. 

Do you know what people are searching for most often in your particular vertical?  Have you figured out which keyword battles are worth fighting?  Do you have a strategy in place to fight those battles – and a system in place to keep you informed and accountable to your progress?

Can you tell me, right now, without researching your analytics for an hour – which source of traffic to your site converts most often to business?  Or which keywords convert best?  What’s your most highly trafficked page, and does it support your business goals?

Are you talking to your customers using the kinds of words they prefer?

Have you checked, recently?

And if you have, what did you do about it, and is it working?  Do you know?

how to ensure you’re always worse than you could be

I’m a little OCD. 

I’m a little exacting, and precise.

I blame it on my background.

I’ve got an engineering degree where I was taught to define and measure systems.  To improve performance, reduce risk, to evaluate alternatives and measure results.  I spent a quarter century in a ballet studio, perfecting the nuances of both small and large movements, where every tiny detail counts, from the specific lift of a pinky to balancing your entire body weight perfectly centered on a single toe.

It made me an awesome software tester.  Quality assurance and me are like peas and carrots.  It’s part of who I am now.  I can’t visit your site without automatically thinking about ways to break it.  I can’t look at your form without wondering how much testing you’ve done to improve conversions. 

And I get a little frustrated when things don’t work.  Especially stuff that I consider pretty basic. 

I get even more frustrated when I see you trying to fix those things without any regard to testing, or to quality.  Just code the fix, cram it in, and move on.  And when I run into the exact same problem after you’ve told me it’s been fixed?  Lather, rinse, repeat, I guess.

Testing has always been the red-headed step child.  No one likes it, no one wants to do it.  No one wants to implement testing systems at the same time they start development.  So by the time anyone starts testing and running any kind of quality control, it’s already too late.  Your testers will find problems you should have fixed years ago.  And while your dev staff wants to move on to the next fun new feature, those pesky testers keep shouting about the same old stuff that still doesn’t work.

If your development staff is running your testing?  If they’re checking the same code they just wrote?  You’re screwed.  Not only does your developer hate testing, but they’re not objective anyway.

I used to test the software that runs traffic lights.  I did that for 5 years, banging away on the same thing, running through the same battery of tests over and over and over again.  And then I’d do it all over again on multiple operating systems.  For each iteration of the software.  Because if the developer missed something, and I didn’t catch it, there was potential for huge danger.  Putting an entire city of street lights into flashing red, simultaneously.  Not making the light at a railroad crossing change fast enough when there’s an oncoming train.  Some major safety issues.

Now, maybe it isn’t life or death if your little widget doesn’t go blinky-blinky at the right time when I enter a properly formatted phone number.  But if you haven’t implemented independent, iterative, consistent testing for whatever it is you’re doing?

Then you’re creating a sub-par product.  Simple as that.

does anyone really get any mobile traffic on their sites?

I keep hearing how mobile is the next big thing.  And I don’t disagree.  More and more, I do everything I want and/or need from my Blackberry.  So when I hear consistent chatter about an ever increasing wave of mobile users, it makes me think:

How do I, as a business, prepare for and capitalize on these mobile visitors?

First, I wanted to see if I even had any mobile traffic.  And then I asked other real estate agents about their mobile traffic, just to compare.  I had 9 responses in this oh so scientific study.  Here’s what I found.

On average, mobile traffic accounts for 3.46% of a real estate agent’s site visitors.  Answers ranged from 0.55% to 5.98%.

For most, that mobile traffic arrives via a search engine – most answers were 50% to 80% search engine traffic.  And you know what those users were searching for?

The same random stuff they search for on their laptops.  Lots of long tail type keywords mixed with those nice juicy real estate type of phrases.  And while only one person I asked had an individual property address in their top 10 overall site keywords, nearly everyone had an address (or subdivision search) in their top 10 mobile keywords.

There were, however, 2 people that had half or more of their mobile traffic from direct visitors – people who came to the site directly by either typing in the URL, navigating to the site via some kind of saved bookmark, or possibly those who clicked on a link within a document or email.  It’d be interesting to look at those two further, to look at the behavior of those direct visitors, confirm they already have a loyal mobile user following.  Perhaps not coincidentally, those two have the least traffic by far of all the agents I asked, they target the smallest areas, and tend to cover more community type events rather than the larger ‘real estate in your area’ kind of stories.  Food for thought, anyway.

So my mobile traffic pretty much falls within the averages mentioned.  Nearly a quarter of my mobile visitors are direct traffic – Google sends the most mobile traffic, followed by direct visitors, and a distant 3rd are my RSS email subscribers clicking through from those emails on their phone.

The vast majority of my mobile users are iPhoners and Androiders.  No surprise there, as those have the best browsers on mobile devices, IMHO.  People on iPads and iPods account for twice as many visitors as those on Blackberries. 

I didn’t have a single property address in my top 10 mobile keywords, but my mobile keywords and my regular site visitor keywords were pretty much the same.  But bear in mind, these are my blog visitors.  My property search (and quite honestly, the site where I target the juicier real estate type keywords) and my indexable IDX bit live on a different domains and different analytics profiles.  So that makes sense for me.

Other than making sure my site loads quickly for mobile visitors, is clean and easy to navigate on mobile devices – what should I do?

My gut tends to think that mobile users will turn to apps to search for property and get neighborhood information, and not to individual agent sites via browser search results.  And Lord knows I don’t have the resources to compete with the larger real estate app vendors out there.

So what can I do as an individual agent?  Make sure my site is easily readable and navigable via mobile devices, certainly.  But what are my chances to capture eyeballs that lead more directly to sales if I’m competing with really slick national mobile apps, and what’s the best way to do so?

What do you think?  Comments are open, below!

(oh, and we’ll look at how to find these numbers in your analytics in the next post.)

fun with google analytics

Two cool things some folks don’t know about

  1. You can have Google Analytics email you when you have odd patterns in your analytics
  2. You can create advanced segments to look at specific groups of site visitors.


First.  Creating custom email alerts.

Ever had a day when your traffic went crazy?  Someone linked to you from a high traffic site, or an influential person retweeted your link?  Or maybe something bad happened, and all of a sudden, you have no one on your site?

You can set up Google Analytics to email you when those kinds of things happen.  Which is cool.  I don’t look at my analytics every day, but I’d certainly like to know sooner rather than later when something out of the ordinary happens, whether good or bad.

So.  In your analytics, there’s a beta section called "Intelligence" over on the left hand side navigation.  When you click on that, it looks at the history of your traffic and identifies any days (or weeks or months) where something out of pattern happened.  Maybe your bounce rate went way up, or you had crazy referral traffic, or a whole bunch of new visitors.

Spend a little time looking at what triggered those automatic alerts.  It’s kinda cool to go back and see where the anomalies happened.

Now.  Click on "Create a Custom Alert," on the right hand side underneath the two charts.

You can create any number of custom alerts, use nearly any parameter.  I’d like to know when the number of visitors to my site either goes way up or way down. 

So now I can create a couple more alerts, and anytime something goes wonky with my site, I get an email.  Super convenient.

Now.  Let’s talk about advanced segments.

Go back to your analytics dashboard.  See in the upper right hand corner, it says "Advanced Segments" and there’s a drop down?  It probably says "All Visits" for you if you’ve never touched it.

Now’s the time to touch it.  If you click on the drop down, you’ll see you can select different options.  And you can select more than one segment, by the way.  Go ahead and play with it for a bit.

An advanced segment basically filters your analytics.  So you can look at only analytics for new visitors, or returning visitors, or mobile traffic, or search engine traffic.  Instead of looking at everyone, it filters to only those kinds of visitors you select. 

This is kinda cool.  You can look at just your mobile traffic, see how much you have, what kinds of content they’re looking at.  If you select both new and returning visitors, you can compare and contrast how new peeps to your site behave compared to those that have been there before.

Now then.  I’m trying to target local people – people in Tucson.  So often, I want to just look at their behavior on my site.  I want to make sure my local people are finding the information they need, they’re spending some time there, various whatnot.  So I created an advanced segment just for Tucson visitors.

Over on the left hand side navigation, down near the bottom, click on "Advanced Segments" and then click "Create new custom segment" up in the upper right hand corner.

You drag and drop the dimensions and metrics from the left hand side into the center to make your segment. 

So now, when I look at my analytics, there’s a "Tucson Visits" option in my Advanced Segments drop down.  So I can look at just my local traffic and see how they behave.

You can create all kinds of advanced segments and combine several parameters.  So you could just have new site visitors from Tucson as a segment.  Or people that looked at more than 5 pages.  Or you could just look at the people who visited a specific page on your site, or that found your site using one or more certain keywords.  The possibilities are endless.


your contact form sucks

I’m tempted to just end this post right here.

But let’s dive deeper, just for sport.

First of all, I’m probably looking at your contact form because you haven’t published your email addresses in a prominent manner.  I hunted around for your email address.  I tried hard to find it, and I’m good at finding things.  That’s really really *really* how I wanted to contact you.  But alas.  None to be found.

Instead, I found this "Contact" link, and clicked on that.

And now I’m staring at your form.

I hate your form.

It sucks the life out of me to even be sitting here looking at it.  But you leave me no option.

You’ve probably got too many fields on there.  I’m tired just thinking about filling out all those fields.  You don’t need my phone number.  Or my company name.  And why is the message box so narrow?  And then I have to "submit?" 

Pbthtt.  You submit.

And where’s the feedback loop?  I just filled out your "form" with my valuable "message" and clicked "submit" and….


Did you get it?  I don’t know.  Should I fill it out again?

You know how people push the crosswalk button five million times to make sure that the button really got pushed?  Yeah.  You only need to hit it once.  Thing is, there’s no feedback so you don’t know that the traffic controller really knows you’re there, and so you hit it again.  And again.  I know you do.

But now they make those buttons so they beep when you push it.


Message received.

One push.

So when I click your little passive-aggressive "submit" button and everything I just spent 5 minutes typing into those tiny boxes just disappears, I’m a little concerned.  I have no way of knowing if that just sent you a message.  Can’t you pop up some kind of success message?  Whee!  Yes we got that!  Or maybe use form software that sends me a copy of the email I just sent to you, so at least I know something was generated and sent.

Beep at me, for crying out loud.  Be better than the mindless button I push to cross the street.

Or, you know, just tell me your email address up front and we’ll avoid this whole mess.


(and yes, i hate mine too.)

Tags, Magic, and Hell Bunny

I was doing some site consulting for a friend of mine today, helping her get more people to the site and purchasing items – it’s a retail clothing store, a basic WordPress site with an eCommerce plugin.

In the online store, she had fastidiously added tags to each item for sale because several people had told her tags could help it be found online.  So she spent hours adding 5-8 tags to each product: dress, polka dot, hell bunny, rockabilly, punk, halter top, red.  And so on for each item. 

Yes, Hell Bunny.  It’s a brand.  I’m in love.

But back to the tags.

So she very proudly shows me her efforts, asks how much that will help with her search engine optimization.

Um. Not at all. 

Because not a single one of those tags is being used.  Not in the URL, not in the description, not anywhere that a search engine can spider.  As far as I can tell, the tags aren’t even being used to find related products, and the shopping menu is arranged by categories, not tags.

That took about 30 seconds to figure out.  To look at her tags, view the source in the browser, and search for "punk."  Doesn’t appear at all. 

All these people had told her tags help with your SEO.  And not a single person could explain to her why.  They just knew – "it works."

Ya’ll, the web is not magic.  Things happen for a reason.

And if you’re taking advice from someone who can’t provide a valid, solid reason and demonstrate it to you easily on your site?  Run.  Run away.

Rethinking Fancy Flyers

So I had this idea the other day.

Being a data geek, I want to be able to track what does and doesn’t work in my marketing, I want to put as many numbers behind my marketing plan as possible.

Take the humble in-home flyer, for instance.  They’re usually a showy display of photos of the house with some basic information on there.  When I represent buyers, they nearly always pick one of those up, even though they have a copy of the listing in their hand from me.

And then those flyers end up abandoned in the back seat of my car with the other fourteen flyers and rejected listing printouts.  Once a flyer is gone, you have no idea if that buyer is still interested.  All you know is that the stack you gave your seller is gone, and you need to go pony up for some more fancy printing.

So I tried something different this time around – and was a bit surprised at the result.

Instead of putting flyers in the home, I made little tent cards.  It’s the size of a business card, it folds over, it fits easily in a pocket or purse.  The front is a picture of the home, the back is my name and brokerage disclosures, and inside is the address, price, and vital home facts.

And then there’s a single URL that I can track that says:

"For complete information including disclosures and recent upgrades, visit"

(You didn’t think I’d give you a real URL did you?  What, and mess up my tracking???)

People actually take that thing home and look up that URL.  I know.  I didn’t think it would work either.

By creating a BudURL, I can track how many people visit that link – and there’s IP address tracking even on the free version so I can see how many are new visits and how many are repeat visits.  And with BudURL, I can create a custom alias so I can make the link include the street name so it is easy to type in.  There are lots of other link shorteners, maybe even others that do custom aliases.  I just found BudURL first and stuck.

And then the BudURL link redirects to the single property page on my blog, which gives them the goods as promised.  More pictures, more description, and a file they can download with disclosures and whatnot.

And – side bonus – it drives people back to my site.  Which is always a good thing, in my humble opinion.

So someone took that little fold over card, and held on to it long enough to take it home and look at that link.  They were clearly already in the house, already seen what it looks like in person.  But now they want more information.  Which probably means they’re at least somewhat interested in the property. 

And that’s a whole lot more information than I ever got out of a silly fancy-schmancy home flyer.

And then I started thinking about my new listing.  It was purchased as a foreclosure last year and the owners put $50k of love into it, only to be transferred to a new city.  Since the home sold just last year, I have to have a pretty good justification for setting the list price higher than what they bought it for.

Basically, I want to arm any potential buyer’s agent with all the information that I have – the upgrades, the receipts, the inspection reports – I want to put my price justification, my marketing into their hands so that I get to influence them first as to price and condition.

But how do I make sure they get it?  I’ve got limited space in the MLS description and sure, I can upload documents to the documents section, but no one ever looks there.

Behold, the agent comment section.  And once again, BudURL to the rescue.  I made a document with all the information a buyer’s agent could ever want, uploaded it to my blog, and then made a BudURL link to that file, typed it into the agent comments with a note that says full information, disclosures, and inspection reports are all at that link.

Heck, I can’t even make it a clickable link in the agent comments.  But those agents, they copy and paste it into their browser and I have proof that I put a fabulous defense of the house and its price into a potential buyer’s agent hands.

What seller wouldn’t love that?

Overcoming Fear of the Click – And Learning Curiosity

I was at a conference last week, participating in a discussion about search engine optimization for real estate agents.  The target was to cover basics – an introduction to the concept of being found online. 

It never matters how basic you attempt to make something – there’s always someone who needs it even simpler (and those that will tell you it was too basic as well).  There was one gentleman, clearly overwhelmed by the many options available to him to be found online. 

Someone suggested that one of us leading the discussion should sit down with that gentleman and walk him through, step by step, how to establish himself on a network.  And certainly, we can do that.

But then what?  What happens when he’s ready for the next network?  Who’s going to hold his hand for that one?  And the one after that?  We can walk him through every step – or we can help him understand the concept and encourage him to explore and learn, so that he develops those skills for the future.

There’s an element of fear to overcome – and a healthy dose of curiosity that needs to be added.

Every time we click on a link, navigate to a site, submit a form online – there’s an element of the unknown, a small amount of fear.  We really don’t know what is going to happen on the other side of that click. 

And some of us have more fear than others.  Fear that we’ll ruin everything.  That we’ll get a virus, or lose all of our data.  Fear of a task of indeterminate length.  Fear of the results and repercussions of that click.

But at some point, if you think that click will get you to your goals, you’ve got to have the curiosity to overcome the fear.

I see a large lack of curiosity, the desire to explore and learn.  Agents don’t need to be web experts, certainly, but to continue to grow and develop a business in this ever increasing web based world, they need the curiosity and desire to explore in order to create a profile on a new network.  To submit a video to a site.  To post a photo, answer a question, or publish a review.

So how do we overcome that?  How do we instill the desire to explore, to have a child-like curiosity about how these things work, an awareness of our fears and risks, but the desire to push past them?


For another day if people using your site have excessive fear of the click, you’ve got crappy design and usability.

it’s not about you. it never was.

An agent emailed me the other day and shared her site with me, frustrated that it didn’t get her any business because – in her mind – it lacked enough information.

Her site, in a nutshell:

find the link

If I were a consumer, a potential client, I’d be gone in a heartbeat too.  I’m sure she’s a lovely lady.  I just don’t care about her.  I’m looking for homes, not pretty smiling faces.

Eyetracking studies tell us where people look for information.  And this site fails on all levels.  Big pictures and clear faces draw attention.  Tiny fonts in low contrast colors do not.  Links placed in low attention areas – get low attention. 

All of the fast decision makers are out of there in 2 seconds flat.  There’s no clear, quick opportunity to do anything else.

The slow decision makers will hang around a bit longer.  The slow emotionals will watch the slide show for a bit, but they don’t want to "search the MLS."  They want to find a home, to see neighborhoods, to feel take care of.  The slow logicals will read every word on the page – but by the time they’ve moused over everything on the first 2/3rds and discovered not a single link, they’re frustrated and ready to move on.

A full 2/3rds of my browser window was pictures of desert scenes with her face superimposed on the corner.  And not a single link until you look at the bottom 3rd of the page.  If you took the time to *find* the links and clicked around a bit, she had plenty of information – lots of nice neighborhood pages, school links, house searches.

But of course no one ever finds that information.  Nothing is presented in a manner that addresses a consumer’s needs.

And in the end, it’s all about the consumer.  It’s not about you.  It’s about them, their needs, their concerns, their expectations, hopes, fears, dreams, and wants.  Give them what they want, and they’ll reward you for it.

relentless follow-through

i love this post from The Marketing Minute about relentless follow-through.

it is the concept of ‘relentless’ that i appreciate. to do something continuously and conscientiously, in a planned and systematic manner. to demonstrate that you care enough to keep trying, to keep doing what you said you’d do, until a proper end point is agreed to.

and this:

Relentless follow through happens when it is planned. When it’s part of your sales cycle. That’s the head part of the equation. But it also has to be part of your culture. That’s the heart part. It’s about caring enough.

follow-through is head and heart. caring and system. both a plan and a relationship.