5 Home Builder Marketing Hacks to Compete with National Builders!
After thousands of Ads & Hundreds of Marketing Tests we’ve become quite good at advertising on behalf of home builders
There are only three ways to grow your business.
- Get more customers
- Get more from each customer (buy more or market on your behalf)
- Get each customer to come back more often (thoughtful marketing & relationship management)
In this blog post we’ll go over how to get more customers, turn your customers into advocates, and share with you strategies you can adopt to immediately increase website traffic, generate more leads, and convert them into paying customers! All the while increasing your bottom-line by adopting a versatile marketing strategy filled with FREE & PAID advertising techniques!
Before we begin, our agency, Captive Nest, located in Austin, Texas works with home builders, home service companies, franchises and other fun business segments. While this post is for home builders, many of the marketing strategies we cover are applicable to any business model! So don’t go just yet, otherwise, we’re as certain as “Dollar” Bill Stearn that you’ll miss out on marketing hacks guaranteed to boost your business!
If You Build it They Will Come (If They’re “Smart“)
Considering the fact that owning a home in 2018 is less expensive than renting, buying a house should be a no-brainer, right?
According to LendingTree, an average homeowner spends 14.84% of their monthly mortgage payments. At the same time, Urban Institute conducted an affordability analysis study that showed renters who earn a median income allocate an average of 28% of their income toward monthly rental payments!
The figures vary state by state but the point is, buying a home is more affordable than you’d think! Of course, buying a home may not be for everyone. It requires saving & discipline!
This blog post is strictly dedicated to shedding light on modern home builder marketing tactics you can use right away to generate and convert more “Smart” leads!
Don’t Waste Money Like the National Builders Do!
Just like many of the renters who don’t grasp the concept of budgeting, a lot of national home builders spend far more than required! Kind of like the Congress…
Why do the whales spend so much money? The answer lies in poor oversight & “max budget” allocation. Many home builders will have a maximum advertising budget and they’ll happily meet it, so long that the homes are being sold.
Imagine that you’re running a billion-dollar home building corporation and you have to sell a lot with 500 homes to sell. Your budget allows you to spend $10,000 per home on advertising because your profit on each home is $40,000. So you hire a marketing agency, write out a check for 5,000,000 with a guarantee of selling your 500 homes.
A decent marketing agency should be able to sell each home using less than $2,500 per home. However, this doesn’t really matter to the builder. All the builder cares about is that the budgets and targets are met!
Now the fun part…
Use These 5 Home Builder Marketing Hacks to Compete with National Giants
While this post is targeting local and regional custom home builders, our valuable insights and tips can apply to any of the larger home builders as well. Many home builders on the Top 100 & Top 200 U.S. Home Builders List can apply these methodologies to jump up a few, several, or a dozen spots (depending on how high you’re currently ranked). By no means if you’re a local low-volume producer will you become D.R. Horton overnight, but you can definitely dominate your existing market up to a level of your maximum operational capacity!
Download Top 200 List Here -See What It Takes to Get on This List! You May Be Closer Than You Think 🙂
Full Disclosure: Not Every Home Builder On This List Spends like Congress…in fact, we make sure that our clients don’t!
So let’s dive in so I can explain exactly how you can get more out of your marketing spend, show you how to compete on a Local and Regional level and effectively run a bulletproof end-to-end home builder marketing campaign.
#1: Increase Organic Traffic by Blogging
Now we know that Blogging is Time Consuming and for many smaller producers it may not seem like a priority. However, these statistics may change your mind:
- 40% Of Home Builders Achieve Higher ROI with Inbound Marketing (Incoming Organic Traffic)
- Only 10% of home builders generate more than 50 leads per month from their website.
- More than half of home builders get less than 500 visitors to their website each month
- According to HubSpot, blogs
Why is this data so important? Well, because more than 50% of Home Builders receive higher quality leads with inbound marketing.
So, if you’re not yet blogging, then you should start IMMEDIATELY!
According to HubSpot, active blogs draw 6.9 times more organic traffic and double the amount of referral traffic! A study of 2,168 HubSpot customers shows that businesses that published at least 5 blog articles in the last 7 days draw 6.9 times more organic search traffic and 1.12 times more referral traffic than those who don’t blog at all. Check out the results of their study below.
Why Does Google Reward Businesses That Blog?
Simply put, Google Indexes your website, the more often you post quality content the more your content will show up. The idea is that the more often you blog, the more chances you’ll have to target KeyWords and be in alignment with exact search queries. Moreover, when you focus on quality content delivery, your target audience (if content is relevant) will spend more time on your blog post, this is called Dwell Time – one of many content-engagement signals Google tracks.
How to Succeed at Blogging?
Position Yourself as the Expert!
Blogging isn’t just a tactic to get Google’s attention. It’s also a great way to position you as the expert within your industry. When you focus on quality and consistency you’ll naturally build trust with your visitors and subscribers!
What should home builders blog about?
By now I hope that you’ve set your mind on blogging! So where should you start?
First, we recommend that you find out what your audience is interested in. Yes, you want to target certain KeyWords, but at the end of the day, you’re not writing for Google, you’re writing for your ideal customers.
Let me give you a breakdown
Tract Home Builder
If you build communities of homes, then you should blog for three audiences.
- Investors – e.g. how to find the best lots for homes
- Builders and contractors – e.g. what materials work best for modern framing
- New home buyers – e.g. how to save $50,000 on your new home mortgage
Custom Home Builder
If you’re not a high-volume builder and specialize in custom home design-build then you should focus on your ideal customer. This would probably be older & more sophisticated people.
- Blog about how you can use your self-directed IRA to get a tax break on building your new home.
- What to look for when they choose their custom home builder.
- What ROI a custom home can give them.
- How to leave their assets, like their home, to loved ones tax free.
The possibilities are really endless.
Before you give up…we challenge you to write 4-5 Blog Posts this month, or if you’re already actively Blogging, increase your rate by 10%, then come back and thank us 🙂
#2: Fuel Your Growth with Content Marketing
Now that you have a blog producing high-quality content for Google and your target audience, it’s time to heat things up!
There are several ways you can rapidly spread your content around the internet, both Paid & Free.
Free content marketing method
You are probably thinking that this is the way to go, but what you save might be outweighed by time and effort.
- Develop a List of Influential Bloggers in your Industry
- Create a HARO (Help a Reporter Out) account & send them your blog posts if their requests fit your topic
- Leave comments on other relevant blogs, linking back to your content
- Send your blog posts to your email lists in a Newsletter (this is one of the best ways to continue showing your audience that you are indeed the expert)
- Link your blog posts to your Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn accounts. This is especially useful when you have a solid following. If not, the easiest way to build your audience is by inviting everyone in your network to Like or Follow your page.
- Create a Medium account. Copy & Paste the Blog Post then Link back to your blog post. Work on getting more followers on Medium. Backlinks from Medium have some serious juice!
P.S. a great way to gain followers is by having your social media accounts always visible in your emails, your website, especially your Thank-You pages!
Paid content marketing method
Paying to have your content distributed is much much easier. I recommend using a service like Outbrain or Cision to have your article featured on websites like TIME, USA Today, New York Times, Mashable, Techcrunch, Forbes, Bloomberg, etc.
Consider Promoting Your Posts on Facebook. You can spend $5 per day for a month and get some serious targeted traffic!
You have to make sure that your content is top notch! If it’s not, then you’re wasting your time. You want to be precise, reaching people that are most likely to be interested in your content, otherwise, they’ll bounce! Again, you want your visitors to dwell on your site and send positive signals to Google, a high bounce rate will just hurt your SEO rank.
PRO TIP: Anytime you release an article, share it everywhere organically. That’s on Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Medium, and most importantly your email lists. Then immediately run a low budget campaign to gain additional paid traffic to your blog post! Mix-it up!
#2 – Use 3 Simple Lead Generation Techniques
Blogging and content marketing will take care of the traffic for now. Before pursuing any other traffic generation strategies, you should optimize your website to capture leads.
In order to capture leads, you’ll want to create what we call a Lead Magnet
A lead magnet is a freebie like an eBook or a Brochure that you offer in exchange for a visitor’s contact information.
Here are three lead generation techniques, plus what you need to do with those leads.
Technique One – get their email
Write a detailed eBook or a whitepaper which will give your web visitors an incredible amount of value. That means giving them something which is practical and easy to implement. For people looking to buy or invest in homes, it should be geared towards saving money, or making money.
Here are a Few of Our Own that We’ve Used to Generate over 1,600 Home Builder leads!
We typically have at least one lead magnet on every landing page! The key is Placement!
We thought that this would be a great area to place a lead magnet to show you how it works! Go ahead, submit your email address and get access to our Top Remodeling KeyWords (for smaller home builders) & also the Google Home Builder Report (for larger home builders) – full of exclusive insights that you won’t get anywhere else!
Technique Two – up the engagement with an email sequences
The second technique is about improving the engagement once you have collected the email address. By engagement, I mean the user taking action to contact you.
By just sending them your blog articles every week it will help to remind them of you, but you can be even more successful in pulling them in by creating an email series. That is a series of at least 7 emails in which you give them even more value, above and beyond the eBook.
Each email needs to have a specific purpose. The first few will simply lead them to look forward to the next one. The last few will start prompting them to take action, and the very last email will be an outright sales letter.
This achieves a number of things:
The whole purpose of getting someone’s email address (by offering the eBook) is because they may not be ready to engage in a serious conversation about your product. The reason for emailing them your blog posts is to keep your company in the forefront of their thinking when it comes to homes. The reason for the email series is to push those who are ready, over the fence and into your arms.
#3 – DOMINATE ON SOCIAL MEDIA
Here is what you should be doing as a home builder
Create a Google+ business account, a Facebook fan page, Instagram, YouTube and a Twitter profile. Don’t worry, the upkeep will take you less than 30 minutes per day. I’d suggest you hire a professional designer to match the theme and & message of your posts & Social Media Ads. Don’t go for the cheap & generic look. This will only make your business look amateur and understaffed.
Adding content to your social media profiles
Every time you add a new blog post to your website you need to feed the content to your email lists, and all of your social media accounts! Giving your content much more exposure & bringing content-clickers back to your website 🙂 This is a great way to improve your SEO & overall exposure!
Getting fans and followers to your social media profiles
If you are a small business owner, then paying for Ads on Facebook to reach your target demographic is not a good answer. In order to truly get in front of potential customers you’ll want to target them when they’re looking for a new home or a custom home on Google. Google Pay Per Click (Google Ads) is far more efficient at reaching your interested buyers. Any money you’re going to actually spend on marketing should mostly go towards advertising on Google.
So how do you get more followers?
The reason why social media works is because of brand advocates – people who rave and rant about you and your business to anyone that would listen (in a positive way of course). These are the kinds of followers you need on your social profiles.
Best of all, you can harness your brand advocates for FREE. And here is how:
- Every time someone signs up to your email list, you should direct them to a ‘thank you’ page which prompts them to invite others
- Every time someone buys a home or books a tour via email, encourage them to share with their followers about where they are in their buying journey. People love sharing things like this because buying a home is very exciting (seems obvious but this is rarely done)
- Make it easy for your customers and prospects to share, add a share buttons and links!
- Add a call to action at the bottom of every email.
- Add another call to action at the bottom of every blog post.
- Finally, tell your customers to ask you questions on your social networks.
By following the above steps, your efforts will be compounded over time! As more and more and more people share your content and expose your brand to their networks! This will not only improve your SEO but overall brand presence and authority!
Just know that any time John or Jane Doe share a new home they purchased that pretty much everyone who sees their post will naturally interact! Call it curiosity or…noseyness? Either it’s a win for you and your business!
Social Media is the most important because it achieves three things:
- It increases the activity in your social media account, which keeps search engines interested.
- It provides more social proof for your business. By solving problems quickly, and in the open, you are showing potential customers how easy it is to get customer support.
- Every time someone posts on your social media account, all of their friends and followers see it too. Yes sir, that is called a free brand awareness campaign.
Imagine all your customer service questions come in through a free platform that promotes your brand in the process? Isn’t that the best kind of social media utilization you can think of?
So which social media account is best for home builders?
We recommend Facebook & Instagram over everything else!
Facebook is the most popular platform with over 214 million users in the US alone, and over 2 billion monthly active users worldwide!
Good thing about Facebook & Instagram is that they’re both owned by Facebook! So you can link content from one platform to the other and seamlessly share posts from either platform!
We’d suggest not spending money on Social Media profiles until you’ve grown enough to spend at least $5,000 on your monthly campaigns. Until then, we recommend that you only run a social media campaign when you have an event or an opening for a big project!
Eventually, when you become a gargantuan company because you’re using these marketing tactics, you can invest more money in social media marketing, but for now, if you’re small stick to Google Search.
#4 – YouTube – the EASIEST FOR SEO
So by now, you’re generating tonnes of organic traffic to your site, positioning yourself as an expert, and you’re maximizing your exposure on social media. So now what?
Now things will get really interesting. Let’s go deep into the rabbit hole for a moment! By properly using YouTube, you’ll not only add another layer of social proof & generate a ton of traffic but you’ll also dominate your market in organic search results! Why? Well, because home builders never use YouTube, and if they do they’re not doing it right so you’ll be able to one-up your competition!
Look, let’s be honest. You can’t expect to succeed on YouTube unless you’re willing to hire a professional videographer to do a shoot. No iPhone videos please! Save that for Tail Lopez and everyone else who’s trying to sell you Get Rich Quick training manuals!
So what kind of videos are we talking about?
Ideally, you’ll want to show off some of your projects and of course, show the world how much your customers love you! Below are a couple of my favorites that nailed it!
A Sense of Community by Edward Andrews Homes
A house is built of walls and beams,
a home is built of love and dreams.
A Short & Sweet Testimonial
Promoting your video on YouTube to get to the top of Google
That’s right, you can make your video appear at the top of Google search results! Statistically, it’s 52X easier to rank for a YouTube video than a web page! This is one of the best tactics to use if you’re looking to looking to rank for especially competitive KeyWords that you would otherwise not rank for in your market.
Here are a couple of examples.
- New homes Houston
- Texas home builders
- Home builders Houston
These are just a couple of examples. Obviously just replace ‘Houston’ with whatever city you’re targeting. Just make sure you’re doing a proper KeyWord analysis and target relevant KeyWords that people who convert would actually search!
#5 – REACH YOUR CUSTOMERS WHEN THEY’RE LOOKING TO BUY
There are tons of ways you can use paid ads to get traffic to your website, but you need to focus all of your attention on the ones that generate the highest ROI. Luckily for you, I have already done the research for you.
I know everyone rants and raves on about Facebook and Twitter ads, but in the end, search engines win out, and here’s why.
Social networks are just that: social. If you were sitting in a bar, chatting to your friends, and someone shoves a flyer in your face about a new home development, you will take one look at it and be pissed off – even if you were interested in buying a new home. It is not the time or the place.
Search engines are different. If you were actively searching for a new home, and you come across a flyer with information about new homes for sale, you are way more likely to take action.
Paid search includes Bing Ads and Google Adwords. When you take into account all the moving parts of these ad platforms, it can get very complicated, very quickly. So think about hiring an external company to handle your PPC campaigns. You will save a ton of money and time in the long run.
Retargeting is an awesome form of advertising because your ads are only displayed to people who visited your website. So if someone visits your site, they will see ads for your website all over the internet for 30-90 days. It might sound annoying, but it has an incredible ROI!
Plus you can sequence your ad copies the same way you sequence your nurturing & sales emails!
Win more business with location-based advertising!
Some of the things that show up when a potential customer looks for new homes in their city & area are:
- Advertisements (most of the Google page will be filled with ads)
- Businesses in the Area (On Maps Section – usually there will be someone advertising on that too)
- Your Reviews (can’t stress it enough how important it is to collect reviews)
By doing this right, you will be showing up on people’s maps if they search for businesses in a specific location. You’ll also be shown on Google Maps results if your businesses is inside the “searchers” searched territory.
While advertising on Google, keep in mind that in order to be profitable you must have a bulletproof campaign strategy and targeting. Of course we’d love to earn your business, we are still going to show you some tips and tricks here in a few…
Make Sure You’re Collecting Reviews!!!
Make sure that your customers write as many reviews as possible on your Google My Business Listing. Not only do reviews make you stand out and give potential customers a glimpse into what they can expect from your business but also because Google rewards your business and shows you higher in search results if you have more reviews!
Not to mention, at the end of the day if you’re a custom home builder, the customer will most likely compare your business to your competitors! Today, more than 90% of Google users rely on reviews for local businesses. Having more positive reviews than your competitor will help you out when a customer is comparing your business apple to apples!
In fact, most people after clicking your ad will run a Google search on your business name, so you’ll definitely want to stand out when that happens!
BONUS TIP: A/B Test Everything for Conversion Optimization
If you have implemented everything in this guide into your marketing strategy, then you’ll be getting more leads than you know what to do with!
One of the great things about Google Marketing is the ability to make informed decisions based on the performance of your campaigns.
All of the big players are continuously split testing their Ad Copies (text you see in Google Search Results), their Landing Pages(where the conversions happen), KeyWords (which searches drive profitable results), Markets (best-performing sub markets), Demographics, Websites and so much more.
You can test pretty much anything, from the color of a button, text on a contact form, text on the page, images, and so on and so forth. You can run these split tests on everything. All the way down to your email nurture sequences and the email subject lines! At the end of the day if you want to have the best performing ad campaign from A-Z this is exactly what you want to do!
Here is an illustration of an A/B Test:
A couple of things to keep in mind
- It is important that the software you use can track your performance.
- You need at least 30 conversions to determine whether the test was a success or not. (sometimes less, depending on your industry)
- The easiest wins are your Headlines & Images
How small home builders should use conversion optimization
If you’re marketing & advertising correctly, then you should be receiving thousands of visitors every month! However, if you’re just now starting out with A/B testing before implementing our previous suggestions then you’ll want to keep in mind that in order to make data-driven decisions you’ll want to follow these steps:
- Run your tests for at least 3 months.
- Test micro conversions, like the click rate from your home page to your contact form.
- Test one page at a time. Do NOT run split tests on all of your pages at once, you’ll be overwhelmed. Also in order to make permanent changes, you’ll need to know the exact effect each variation has on your conversion rate.
If you’ve made it this far, CONGRATULATIONS! You are a businessman who understands the importance of online marketing!
Now that you have some of the best tips and tricks to increasing your online traffic, optimizing your website for conversions, and selling more homes you are qualified to succeed!
A Parting Thought…
You’re Ready! Now that you have a comprehensive marketing guide to help you build more homes, all that’s left is implementation! Our doors are wide open for you if you need assistance so please don’t hesitate to get in touch!
We offer a FREE 30 Minute Consultation, so click here if you have specific questions, we’d be glad to help!