Canceled and postponed trade shows continue forcing many homebuilders to change their regular marketing plans for 2021. The demand for digital marketing has exploded as businesses attempt to stay connected with past, present, and potential customers. Digital marketing is a broad term. Here are some specific digital marketing strategies for home builders to convert those trade show dollars into new revenue streams.
1. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
More than 90% of potential home buyers start their research online. Search engines are the first stop on the path to new homeownership, and if your homebuilding website doesn’t appear on the first page of Google, you may be missing out. According to SEO GURU, Neil Patel, 75% of searchers don’t go past the first page of search engine results. SEO is an ongoing process of identifying keywords relevant to your audience and creating a strategy to rank as close to the top of the first page of search engine rankings as possible. So, if you are a home builder in Nashville, you’ll want to rank for keywords such as “new home construction Nashville” or “new home builders Nashville”. There are hundreds of elements involved in this process such as Onsite SEO, page load times, content development, and user experience.
Keep in mind, ranking for keywords is a marathon, not a sprint. It can take 3-6 months to gain traction in the rankings and direct people to your website. If you are already using an SEO strategy, consider moving into new markets or targeting different keywords.
A well-managed PPC campaign can produce immediate exposure for your home building company. Unlike SEO, Pay Per Click (PPC) is more like a sprint. By incorporating a PPC campaign, you can get your homebuilding website at the very top of search results immediately. Essentially, you buy specific keywords, such as “new home builders Nashville” and you will only pay if someone clicks on your text ad. These results will appear as paid ads (see below)
There is an expense involved with this strategy too. These accounts should be created and managed by a seasoned expert. Also, always use a custom built landing page to capture data and increase your conversion rate.
3. Customer Relationship Management/CRM
CRM software is a centralized database to organize all the details from your leads and customers. CRM usage has accelerated in the last few years. In 2018, CRM usage was at 56%. That number jumped to 75% in 2019. Some homebuilders mistakenly confuse Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software with CRM software. ERP software stores a database of clients and some have the capability of sending out email campaigns. But CRM systems are much more sales friendly with features like: automated contact input, automated business card input using smartphone technology, saving all email correspondence, email templates for regularly scheduled campaigns (e.g. New Builds This Month, Monthly Market Data, Newsletter, etc.), notification when prospects read your email, chat features, and sales pipeline with analysis. These features are standard on most CRM systems. Pricing for standard CRM versions can range from $45 – $150 a month. According to Martech Research, CRM’s can boost sales by 29%, productivity by 34%, and forecast accuracy by 42%. So, if you don’t have one, Power Marketing is happy to help guide you through the many options out there.
4. Email Marketing
Typically, a well-designed email marketing program will provide the best ROI for homebuilders. If you haven’t considered incorporating an email marketing campaign into your homebuilding marketing plan, now is the time. The simple fact a potential customer provided you with their contact information means they are waiting to hear from you. This is called permission-based marketing—undeniable proof a homebuyer is eager to learn more about your new homes and communities.
If you have a CRM system, there is most likely a section for email marketing. Included in this area should be: templates, examples, and tips (e.g. email campaigns have the highest open rates on Tuesday, subject lines should be a maximum of 9 words or 60 characters) If you don’t want to take this on, or you don’t have a CRM system, you can turn to companies like Mail Chimp and Constant Contact. Although, if you outsource, there are additional costs involved.
In our experience at Power Marketing, email marketing is the most cost-effective way for home builders to create leads, nurture potential customers, and collect feedback and reviews from their current customers.
Video content is going to become more and more important each year to homebuilders. In 2019, the number of businesses using video as a marketing tool was 63%. Last year, that number jumped to 81%. Video is much easier to process and retain. Studies show viewers retain 95% of video information as compared to only 10% of people who read the same information in text form.
Virtual Tours can be a quick, inexpensive way to start a video program. Virtual tours are the #2 item a potential buyer wants to see on your website behind floor plans. Although I highly recommend using high-end equipment, some of the smartphone technology such as the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Max can do a great job if you are starting a virtual tour page. So, if you don’t have a virtual tour page on your website, take the trade show money and have one designed.
Explainer videos are another option for video content. Potential home buyers want to understand the process of building a new home. Create a video called Our Process and add it to your website or email it to any potential customer expressing interest in your company. Again, I highly recommend using a professional video company to shoot these videos. It will give a better impression of your company.
Losing the face-to-face interactions trade shows provide can be a big hit in your overall marketing plans for 2021. Incorporating these digital strategies opens you up to a new pool of potential customers that might not have otherwise heard of you. Trade shows will be back. By adding these tactics into your marketing mix, you can have a more effective marketing strategy.