Are You Using the Right Platform for Your Online Marketing?
Are your online marketing dollars building your business, or someone else’s? If your current home builder online marketing strategy relies on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and other social media as your primary tools for reaching home buyers, you are essentially building your business on leased space. It’s called digital sharecropping, and it can be a big risk to your business.
Marketing tools (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube) are an important part of any online strategy and can be used to drive engagement, awareness and traffic to your website. A platform (blog, self-hosted video, landing pages, campaign-specific website) is used to convert and nurture leads to appointment and sale.
A platform is a better foundation for using online marketing to build your business for several reasons, including:
- You own all of your own content
- You choose the format (long form, short form, size of photos, etc)
- You do not share your platform (no dancing cats or pending friend requests)
Although social media tools can be leveraged to drive traffic to your platform, your platform will do the heavy lifting in terms of converting traffic and nurturing leads.
So which platform is right for you? Will you create a video series that you will host on your website? Will you write a blog? Will you create a separate landing page, or an entirely new website for a specific campaign? Will you use a combination of platforms? Which ones?
Here are a few factors to consider when choosing a platform for your home builder online marketing:
Choose the platform that is the best fit for your message: If your message promotes a new plan that features an open concept kitchen, which platform is most likely to inspire buyers to take action: a 300 word blog post or a salesperson touring the home on video and discussing the features and benefits? The goal of your platform is to inspire home shoppers to take the next step. Choose a platform that is the best fit for your message and business goals.
Choose the platform that best fits your resources: Don’t have video, photos, or renderings of the new plan yet, but want to drive excitement to pre-sell the plan? A 300-word blog post (or series) may be what you need to work with. If you’re a small builder working on a limited budget, it may be difficult to compete in big markets if your platform relies on continually spending for new video, new professional photography, or other resources. The time and money required makes it difficult for builders to act quickly. Start with what you’ve got.
Choose the platform that best fits your available talent: Whether you use an in-house team or outsource, what strengths does your team have? If everyone in your organization finds writing and/or proofing written content tedious and time consuming, chances are that your content marketing program will not last. If you have someone who loves to shoot video, start there. Whatever you are passionate about will translate to your audience. If video is more fun, shoot a video series. It’s more important to start today with what you can be doing than to wait until you have the resources to do what you think you should be doing.
Choose the platform that matches your audience: The best platforms are audience appropriate, meaning that most audiences would relate to them (blogs, websites, video). The tools that you use to promote your content (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter) may vary depending on your audience, but your platform should be easy to use, easy to understand, and easy to access.
Choose the platform you can test: Your platform is your online sales presentation, and like every sales presentation it needs to be continually tweaked, modified, improved and refined. If your platform is a blog, you may want to test different opt-in forms. If it’s a series of videos that are hosted on your website, you may want to test different lengths or video calls-to-action. When you commit to a platform, commit to ongoing testing as well. Your blog is like your free focus group and buyers are constantly giving you feedback. Testing gives you the ability to better serve your buyers, shorten sales cycles, lower cost per lead, and improve ROI.
Choose the platform that you can commit to long-term: Choosing your platform is like choosing a life partner for your content. Platforms should be proven technologies that have a long shelf life and are not subject to trends or fads. This is another reason that we advocate for WordPress blogs as a platform for home builder online marketing.
Although marketing tools such as Facebook and Pinterest can be a great way to leverage high traffic websites to build traffic, a well-chosen platform will build your business.