When it comes to small business websites, things change often.
As the business environment changes, your content (and often your whole marketing approach) needs to change as well. A REALTOR friend of mine up in Fort McMurray Canada is experiencing this level of change and we are helping her to adapt her content. Even though it is just in process right now, I thought I would show you how to approach those times when the competitive environment (and sometimes the physical environment as well) shifts.
Fort McMurray in 2016 experience a catastrophic fire that covered vast amounts of the area. For real estate agents this meant that many homes burned completely and where there once was inventory, now there was simply NOTHING. But real estate websites typically display results by location (neighborhood / or community if you will.)
So for my friend Jennifer, this affected her site in some areas, while leaving others untouched. Take a look at the number of homes available for areas such as Timberlea and Thickwood. Lots of homes. That area did not burn. Then check out the number of homes for sale in Waterways. Seriously. Go to the site and see what the page looks like!
So what do you do. I mean, people are still going to search for homes that neighborhood. Over the next year or two it will be rebuilt. But in the meantime there is no content. So how do you overcome it? Well, here is what we are going to do over time on Jennifer’s site.
Step One: Create Content that Explains the Lack of Content.
We are going to create a paragraph of content letting the visitor know WHY there is no content there. And it will be flexible to show the visitor when there are only a couple of listings there, why there are only a couple vs what they are expecting.
Step Two: Create links to other potential content that might be useful.
This is crucial. If you follow Google’s recommendations for 404 pages, sending the visitor towards potentially OTHER useful content, is key to a great user experience. So we are going to send a couple of links to nearby neighborhoods that did NOT burn in the Fort McMurray fire. These are the best alternatives for someone who is looking for housing.
Step Three: Create a Call to Action
The final step is to create a call to action. Someone coming to the Waterways page and seeing that there are no houses (or few houses), and even when they see the suggested other alternatives, may STILL have questions. That’s why we put the ability to connect with Jennifer in place.
“Need help finding houses near Waterways? Let Jennifer help. Call today at 780 555-5555”
Something like that is the FINAL step in creating transitional content.
You may not have a fire like Fort McMurray did to alter their real estate market. Maybe your “natural disaster” is economic and there are no longer foreclosures on the market. Maybe certain price ranges of products or types of widgets are not available. Take the time to create transitional content. You will be glad that you did!