When many mortgage firms have their web sites built, they get excited whey they hear that business is just a “click away.” These mortgage companies wonder how much money they will earn from their web site. In reality, these companies should be asking how much lost opportunity revenue they are losing from their site, because, unfortunately, for many owners, they are right… visitors do just “click away.”
Internet users do “judge a book by its cover.” They have seen hundreds, or thousands, of web sites and they know what they want and they expect your site to INSTANTLY communicate that you have what they want, or they simply leave.
If you could hover above your web site and watch as visitors enter, hear what they are thinking, watch how their mouse moves, time how long they stay on your page, and follow them how they flow, if at all, through your site, most site owners would be very, very, very, very disappointed.
You would be asking yourself questions such as: “Why did they leave after just a few seconds?”, “Could they have really read all my wonderful information on my main page in seven seconds?”, “My web site is so perfect, how could they not go to the ‘About Us’ page?”, “What is wrong with these people, can’t they find the online application, it is right in front of them?”
We have performed numerous usability studies on client sites. And in this article we are going to share with you what visitors are thinking when they visit your site.
Your web site is costing you closed loans (much more than you think possible) and you don’t even know it.
To get a visitor to the “Closed Loan” stage, it is a series of perfectly executed “Moments Of Truth” steps. If you break the sequence, you will not get the loan. Here are ways mortgage owners break the chain and lose loans — from the visitor’s perspective:
We have heard all heard truism, “Time is money.” When you own a web site, you have to alter this axiom to “Their time is your money.” Your visitors value their time, more than they value your content and information. Make it easy for your prospective customer and you will get a call or an online application; make it hard and you have just lost the opportunity for $2-5,000 in profits.
Read the following comments, and try to understand them from a visitor’s perspective, and apply them to your site and see how many potential customers will “Click Away.”
After watching the word “Mortgage” spin and gyrate with exploding “Loan” words, the visitor thinks, “Why would I want to watch a “movie show” on a home page when I came to get a loan? And this music just sucks. Don’t these guys value my time?”
Upon arriving at home page that says “Click HERE to enter the site” on your home page, the visitor says, “Why should I have to click again to see what I want? Bye.”
“I didn’t come to a mortgage site to download Flash (or Adobe to read a .pdf file) software to my computer.”
Having typed the url http://MyHomeLoanCompanySite.com the visitor gets a “page not found” error. Little did the visitor know that your site only works if you have the full URL, ie with the www. included – http://www.MyHomeLoanCompanySite.com. Try it on your site, you will be surprised at how many sites are not “www – enabled”.
“Where is the interest rate, that is all I want to see. I am not going to scroll or go to another page to find your rate. Everyone else shows today’s rates at the top of the page.”
“I clicked on this “California Home Loan” at this Pay Per Click site seeing the mortgage company is spending $0.80 for that term and they send me to their main page, instead of the “California Home Loan” page I really wanted to see. Gawd, I wonder how much that move is costing them a month?”
“I am looking for loan info on the home page, not a president’s message about customer service.”
“Why can’t I easily find the toll free phone number or contact email?”
“I want a quote, not an autopsy, these chumps want me to register just to receive a loan quote… NO WAY!”
“This loan form looks like it will take longer than a minute to fill out. Why is all this required just to get started?”
“I wonder if they will sell my email address? Don’t they have a privacy statement?”
“Look at that, ‘Copyright 2002.’ If they can’t even keep their site current what about their rates?”
“I think I first saw that mailbox graphic that opens and closes over and over in 1997. I can’t believe it is still in use.”
“What is this pop-over window doing on top of this mortgage page?”
“Geez, this is a slow site. Next…”
“I bookmarked the application form, but the home page comes up and I can’t easily find the form. How am I supposed to know this site had frames.”
“Look at all those colors and fonts and different sizes and bolds and italics and small print… I have eye strain.”
“Wow, I am visitor number 2,109. Why would this mortgage company tell the world that no one comes to their site. Idiots.”
“I wonder if the link I really need is in one of those drop down boxes? They expect me to go to each drop down? Guess I will never know.”
“What does this banner at the top of the page have to do with a loan site?”
“This top graphic is so big, I have to scroll down to get to content.”
“It seems everything that is underlined is not hyperlinked, and the links on the pages that are not underlined are hyperlinked. Pretty dumb.”
“Look at this page, the navigation is totally different than the last page I was on. Guess they want me to relearn their navigation every time I click.”
“Why is this site set up in the order they think is important, instead of the order that I think is important?”
After reading this article, and making the necessary changes to your site, a visitor arrives at your site and thinks, “Hmm, CaliforniaHomeLoan.com sounds like they do what I need. Fast loading. Ahh, there is the interest rate, a little less than I thought, and look at this arrow, it says, ‘Free online application, complete the form in less than a minute.’ And they say, ‘We respect your privacy, we will not share your information with anyone.’ Look, I can go from the main page to the application in a single click. I will fill out this form.”
Ahh, success can be just a “Click Away” if you make it easy to click.
Originally published January 2004.