There is an increasing overlap between what we call marketing and traditional sales. The change in how buyers shop – online searches, browsing your website, talking to one another (i.e. with your current residents and other prospects) on social channels – requires that you begin ‘selling’ before you ever have the chance to speak in person to a prospect.
True, marketing has always been (or at least should be) sales in print, but it is in that area between marketing and sales where you have the highest potential to capture the attention and hearts of your buyers. The trouble is that most builders, retailers or communities are often unaware of these online prospects, and so believe that we can’t sell to those we can’t see. Well, just because you can’t see them does not mean that they can’t see you, or that they aren’t paying keen attention to what you have to show and say.
They are there. They are watching, avidly consuming what information you give them. Give them the right message and content, delivered in the way they want to consume it, and you’ll eventually see them pull into your parking lot or picking up their phone to you to engage with you in person.
How are your buyers searching, shopping and making decisions, and how do make sure you are dead center in their search corridor? The methods continue to change, but below are some cutting edge techniques that every company needs to be aware of to attract, engage and convert more buyers:
On April 15, 2015 Google made a serious and potentially crippling change to how they rank websites, They now give much greater weight to websites that are mobile responsive, that is, that are built to be comfortably viewed on mobile phones and tablets. What that means to you is that if someone searches for “new homes in [your town]” and your site isn’t optimized for viewing on mobile devices, chances are you won’t be included in the search results, at least nowhere near the top.
Mobile viewing is rapidly overtaking browsing from full size computers, and may have already passed it. The website Shopify, one of the largest online retail stores, reports over 50% of their sales are from mobile devices. Yet, far too many of our websites haven’t been updated recently, some not for years. If your website traffic has taken a nose dive in recent weeks, this may explain why. If you want to be found by online shoppers, then there’s no way around it: it’s time to update your website to make it mobile friendly.
Text messaging is instant, and has become the favored method of communication for a growing segment of society. And it’s not just younger buyers. My 50+ wife rarely uses her phone for anything else! Text messages get opened, read and responded to more often and more quickly than email, and are considered more personal. If you’re looking for “the next big thing” in marketing communications, this could be it.
And texting isn’t just for words – you can share pictures, videos, even links to your website or to download documents in text messages, making it extremely effective in delivering your marketing message.
Text can also be used to capture incoming leads. For example, a site sign or billboard can include, “Text ‘MHHOME’ to 87000 to receive our complimentary new home planning kit.” The incoming text goes to a special number that give automatically sends back a link for them to download the materials – and you now have the prospects mobile phone number and an invitation to use it.
Sound expensive? To the contrary, a complete text marketing system can be set up quickly for just pennies per text. More importantly, it is effective because it is gives an instant response to prospects in the way they prefer to communicate.
Have you ever searched for a particular product online or visited a product’s website, then logged into your Facebook page only to find an ad for that very same product? If so, you’ve experienced the power of retargeting.
Here’s how it works: When someone visits your website, they receive a ‘tag’ or piece of script that they carry with them when they leave. When the ‘Internet’ sees that tag it knows someone is interested in a new home and will continue to show your ad to that person whenever they visit other ad-enabled pages. This reinforces your initial message and builds interest with the prospect that has just become aware of you and your offering, and increases the chances they will engage with you by 3-5 times.
Less than 2% of everyone that sees your advertising will engage with you the first time they see you. But when they do, they expect an immediate response. Not tomorrow, not in a few hours… NOW! In fact, if you wait just 30 minutes to respond to an email or phone request, 56% of prospects are no longer interested in hearing from you – they’ve already moved on to your competitor.
Auto-Responders are instant, pre-programmed messages that immediately send a response message back to your prospect, thanking them for their interest, giving them additional information about your company, and setting an expectation for your follow up. Combine that with a series of messages that can be delivered through multiple channels (email, direct mail, phone, text, etc.) and you have a conversion process that can more than triple the amount of onsite traffic you generate into your sales center.
And while autoresponders aren’t exactly brand new, the processes that we’re using to create opportunities to deliver your message in new and engaging ways continue to develop and remain cutting edge.
So there you have 4 cutting edge marketing strategies guaranteed to increase traffic and conversions. If you’re not using any of these, then you’re missing sales opportunities. And really, what excuse do you have for not at least trying some of these? They are all relatively inexpensive, and when used together they can have a powerful draw and a surprisingly attractive ROI.
Scott Stroud is Business Development Manager for Power Marketing & Advertising, a full-service marketing firm working exclusively with housing companies and communities. Scott is an Infusionsoft Certified Partner with over 30 years of exceptional results in marketing factory built homes, and can be reached at [email protected] or at 240-420-6343.