How to Fix a Broken Home Builder Sales Funnel
Are you spending a lot of time, money, or both on a digital marketing strategy with no sales to show for it? The bad news is that your sales funnel may be broken. The good news is you can fix it.
What’s a Sales Funnel?
There are four stages of the new home sales funnel that lead up to the sales contract. Three of these take place before a home buyer ever arrives at your Sales Center:
- Website traffic
- Convert website visitors to web leads
- Convert web leads to appointment
- Convert appointments to sale
Although buyers may find your company through a variety of sources (word of mouth, signage, drive by, online) most home shoppers will go to your website to find out more about your homes. This is your online Sales Center.
Simple, Yes. Easy? Not Exactly.
Although the digital sales path of a home shopper is the same regardless of market, price, or product, not all home builder sales funnels are the same. What works for another builder may not work for you. Every builder has different marketing strengths and weaknesses. Some builders have thousands of website visitors but no leads. One builder may have a large email list but none of his leads are converting to appointment, while another builder has no email list at all.
Every builder has a different challenge. Every builder needs a different strategy.
Here are 3 of the most common sales funnel fails and how to fix them.
Fix #1: No Website Traffic
This is the most expensive of all sales funnel problems to fix. It requires both a short-term and long-term strategy.
The short-term strategy is to invest in paid online advertising. This includes search marketing (also known as PPC or SEM) and social media advertising such as Facebook ads. Keep in mind that paid ads typically drive lower quality traffic to your website and that means fewer visitors will convert to leads. If you have a decent social media following you can also post content with links back to your website (high quality product photos work well). Keep in mind that while social media and social media advertising will increase traffic to your website many of those visitors may not be active home buyers. This is why you also want a long term strategy.
The long-term strategy is to build higher search engine rankings for your content. It may take 30, 60, or 90 days before you see results but this strategy has several advantages. First, it drives organic traffic to your website. Organic traffic is the result of someone typing in a search term into Google such as “Naples custom homes,” finding your content in the search engines, and clicking through to your website. These visitors are more likely to be active home shoppers that convert to a web lead.
Create a long-term strategy that attracts high quality traffic by publishing fresh, relevant blog content at least twice per week.
Fix #2: Lots of Website Traffic, No Web Leads
Some builders have thousands of visitors to their website every month but very few web leads. The most common reason for this is that most home builder websites have a “contact us” form as the only reason for a potential buyer to register with an email address.
Most home buyers complete 60-90% of their research online before they ever make contact with a home builder. That means that as home builders we have very little influence over a buyer’s decision. If a buyer perceives that your homes are overpriced, you don’t get the opportunity to explain how the quality of your homes can actually reduce the cost of ownership with fewer repairs, greater energy efficiency, more included features, and longer lasting materials.
The goal is to connect with potential home buyers early in their search. To turn more website visitors into web leads, think about the value that you provide to someone who is just starting a new home search (neighborhood comparisons, needs and wants, amenities), and someone who is narrowing their search (floor plan selection, lot selection, upgrade budget). Create downloadable tools that buyers can register for such as a builder comparison checklist, a budget worksheet, a community brochure, a first-time buyer guide, a design guide, and other resources.
Like website traffic, turning website visitors into web leads requires a short term and long term approach. Attract buyers into your sales funnel that are likely to buy this month as well as buyers that will purchase 3, 6, and 12 or more months in the future.
Fix #3: Web Leads But No Appointments
Now that you have a list of web leads, how do you convert those into appointment?
Many home builders have an email list but have not been able to maintain consistent lead nurturing by the sales team or through email campaigns. The result is a list that is outdated and stale. When an occasional email campaign finally does go out to prospective buyers it rarely results in new sales. Builders, discouraged with the results, often abandon email marketing because they feel that emails just don’t work.
Email marketing is a relationship. Have you ever had a friend who only called when they wanted something? For prospective home buyers, home builder email marketing can feel like that. Sending emails to your prospects only when you need to meet a sales quota or you need to move standing inventory homes feels, well, icky for home buyers.
A consistent email schedule (we recommend twice per month) that includes valuable information that helps home shoppers research a new home purchase will build trust with prospective buyers. Include content from your blog, market news, testimonials, and other high value information. Then include a clear call-to-action that shows prospective buyers how to schedule an appointment (call, Live Chat, web form). Consistent content wins over clever campaigns every time.
A focus on one (or all three) of these areas will keep your pipeline healthy with new website visitors, web leads, and in-person appointments.
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Need help creating more traffic, leads and appointments? Contact us for more information about our digital marketing services and consulting for home builders.