How to Set Up a Home Builder Digital Marketing System
Are you happy with your home builder marketing? Are you getting the kind of results you want? Do you ever wish someone would just hand you a roadmap to help you navigate the digital landscape and increase sales?
If you are not achieving the sales goals you set for your business the problem may not be your product, your price, or your brand. It might be a lack of a solid digital marketing system.
The Risks of Marketing Without a System
Just how important is a system to your digital marketing? Think about what it would be like to try to build a new home without a blueprint or a schedule. Chaos, right? Working without a digital marketing system works the same way.
Without a digital marketing system, builders can experience:
- Website traffic that does not produce many (or any) web leads
- Inconsistent web leads from month to month
- Leads that “fall between the cracks” and are never followed up on
- Warm leads that go cold for lack of repeated follow up
- Web leads that do not convert to on-site appointments
- Stale lists of email addresses for buyers that were once interested, but have gone to the competitor
- A “leaky bathtub” of ongoing marketing costs with little to show for it
- Feeling a lack of control over your sales results and your ability to grow your business
If you can relate to any of these challenges you’re not alone. Many builders face the same struggles with their marketing. And it’s easy to see why. Digital marketing has many moving parts – SEO, social media, email, blogs, mobile – and it can be easy to feel overwhelmed.
To make matters worse, every digital marketing “expert” has a completely different approach and recommendation for your business. “SEO is everything.” “Run a social media contest.” “It’s all about engagement.” “Blogging/email/Facebook is dead.”
A digital marketing system cuts through the noise and creates a simple, easy to manage, repeatable process that you can implement in your business regardless of your size, sales volume, or budget.
Digital System = Marketing Asset
One of the ways that home builders can immediately improve results is to shift their marketing mindset from spending on marketing to investing in marketing. A marketing spend is something you have to continually pay for to get results (Adwords is a good example.) A marketing investment is something you invest in once that continues to produce new sales for months or years after your initial investment. These are your marketing assets. Blogs and email lists are good examples of marketing assets.
Your most important marketing asset, however, is your system. A digital marketing system is an asset that home builders can invest in to create a repeatable selling system that consistently produces new leads, appointments and sales. The most successful systems leverage technology and automation to create a digital sales path that brings in new leads 24/7.
How the System Works
So what does a home builder digital marketing system do? It is designed to move prospective home buyers through the first three stages of the home buying process.
- Website visitor
- Web lead (registers on your website)
- Appointment in your sales office
- Close (homeowner referrals)
A successful digital marketing system creates a better experience for buyers and more sales for you.
Just as every home you build requires the right tools, your digital marketing system requires the right tools as well. Here are the essential tools you’ll need to achieve results at each stage of the buying process.
#1. Website Visitor
Digital marketing is not like the movie Field of Dreams. Just because you build a website does not mean that people will come. The first step of the digital sales path is to get prospective home buyers who are researching a new home purchase to your website as early in their search as possible.
Basic tools for success:
- On-page search engine optimization (SEO)
- Fresh, frequent, high quality blog content that is relevant to home buyers
- Facebook advertising that is targeted to your buyers
- Online advertising
- Analytics (to measure your most effective marketing efforts by traffic quality)
Although there are other ways to drive traffic to your website, we recommend a focus on targeted website traffic that produces higher quality leads.
#2. Web Lead
The average number of unique visitors that register on a home builder website is typically between 1% and 3%, or 10-30 leads for every 1,000 unique visitors. Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) focuses on increasing the number of people who register on your website. Even a slight increase from 2% to 4% can double the number of web leads every month and have a dramatic impact on your sales — without increasing your marketing budget.
Here are some essential tools for converting more web visitors to leads:
- A website that offers multiple reasons to register based on persona, buying stage, and plan preference
- Landing pages and A/B testing to improve conversion
- High quality downloads and buying guides that buyers can sign up to access
- A CRM (even a basic one) to organize web lead follow up and tracking
- Retargeting (Facebook and Adwords)
- Analytics (to measure your most effective marketing by conversion)
There are advanced tools that you can use to improve your CRO even further but these are a few of the essentials for setting up a basic system.
Once a visitor has registered on your website the next goal is to move that buyer to an on-site appointment with your sales team. If you are a larger builder, you may have a dedicated Online Sales Counselor for this. If you’re a small or medium-sized builder, you may have your in-house sales team or outsourced brokerage handle this. However, not everyone who registers on your website will respond to a follow up call from your team, and not every team will follow up with each new web lead.
Email marketing gives builders the peace of mind that each new web lead is being contacted frequently and consistently. Email marketing reports provide builders with objective data about which web leads are most engaged.
Basic tools for success:
- RSS-to-email campaign to deliver new content to subscribers
- 7-point auto-responder series to automate follow up efforts
- eNewsletter template updated and sent every other week
- Facebook list retargeting
- Segmented email marketing messages by persona, plan, or prospect rating
No amount of automation will ever replace a good salesperson with a strong follow up system, but it can support your sales team’s efforts and ensure that no lead falls through the cracks.
Tips for Getting Started
There are two ways to set up your digital marketing system. You can hire a marketing partner to set up and manage your system or you can do it yourself. If you choose the DIY option, the good news is that you don’t need to have all of these tools in place at once to start seeing results.
Create an action plan for setting up your system.
- Make a checklist of all of the essential items you’ll need in your toolkit
- Check off the items you already have in place
- Prioritize the remaining items
A good strategy for prioritizing is to start with the area where your current marketing is weakest. For example, if you have plenty of traffic but no web leads you’ll want to focus on building web leads. Then build your system from there.
A good digital marketing system can give small and medium builders leverage to compete against big builders with deeper pockets. For larger builders, a digital marketing system can increase efficiency and create a better buyer experience. Regardless of your company’s size, sales volume, or budget you can use a digital marketing system to achieve – and exceed – your sales goals.
Need help with your marketing? Contact us to learn more about our digital marketing services for home builders.