Digital marketing in the building world is the easiest way to gain leads, but it’s not a field of dreams. You can’t simply build a website and will prospective buyers to come. In the age of COVID-19, walk-in traffic is waning and nearly 100% of homebuyers begin their search online. Savvy home builders know the importance of digital marketing and have been investing in these marketing strategies for over a decade.
The key word is strategy
You need branding and a plan. You wouldn’t build a house without a solid blueprint. The same goes for digital marketing. From a simple lead generation form on your website to slick marketing campaigns, the internet gives builders a broad field to peddle their wares. But without a strategy in mind and implementing it with intention, your marketing can quickly turn into a yard sale online.
Most people think a brand is a logo, a set of colors, or design. But it’s much more than that. It’s who you are, the feeling you create, and how you wish to be perceived. The first steps in creating your brand are knowing who you are, what you stand for, and who you are targeting as you sell. Who is your audience? What are your principles?
Once you define your brand and know who you are, you can bring your brand to life and begin to target the right people and generate leads. But where do you place your messaging?
It starts with your online model home
There are a variety of marketing channels across the internet, but ultimately you need to drive traffic back to your website. Just as a model home is where we used to drive our buyers when walk-in traffic was king, now our website is our digital model and needs to be as clean and easy to navigate as walking through an actual model home.
After years of working with builders across the country and auditing their lead generation process, there are two major pitfalls that I see. Some home builders sacrifice usability for design. Others put the wrong person in charge of their website.
In the first scenario, a builder may pay top dollar for a slick professional website that looks great on the surface but misses the mark in providing the information a homebuyer needs. New-home buyers know what they are looking for and if they can’t find it quickly, they will leave your site and never return.
In the second scenario, many smaller builders delegate their website design and marketing to someone in-house who is not a marketing professional. Joey may have built his grandmother’s homemade cookie website and Jenny may use Instagram all the time for her foodie pictures, but putting them in charge of website design and social media marketing is a recipe for disaster.