Canceled and postponed trade shows continue forcing many homebuilders to change their regular marketing plans for 2021. The demand for digital marketing has exploded as businesses attempt to stay connected with past, present, and potential customers. Digital marketing is a broad term. Here are some specific digital marketing strategies for home builders to convert those trade show dollars into new revenue streams.
1. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
More than 90% of potential home buyers start their research online. Search engines are the first stop on the path to new homeownership, and if your homebuilding website doesn’t appear on the first page of Google, you may be missing out. According to SEO GURU Neil Patel, 75% of searchers don’t go past the first page of search engine results. SEO is an ongoing process of identifying keywords relevant to your audience and creating a strategy to rank as close to the top of the first page of search engine rankings as possible. So, if you are a home builder in Nashville, you’ll want to rank for keywords such as “new home construction Nashville” or “new home builders Nashville.” Hundreds of elements are involved in this process, such as Onsite SEO, page load times, content development, and user experience.
Remember that ranking for keywords is a marathon, not a sprint. It can take 3-6 months to gain traction in the rankings and direct people to your website. If you already use an SEO strategy, consider entering new markets or targeting different keywords.
A well-managed PPC campaign can produce immediate exposure for your home building company. Unlike SEO, Pay-per-click (PPC) is more like a sprint. By incorporating a PPC campaign, you can immediately get your homebuilding website at the top of search results. You buy specific keywords, such as “new home builders Nashville,” and you will only pay if someone clicks on your text ad. These results will appear as paid ads (see below)
There is an expense involved with this strategy, too. These accounts should be created and managed by a seasoned expert. Also, always use a custom-built landing page to capture data and increase your conversion rate.
3. Customer Relationship Management/CRM
CRM software is a centralized database to organize all the details of your leads and customers. CRM usage has accelerated in the last few years. In 2018, CRM usage was at 56%. That number jumped to 75% in 2019. Some homebuilders confuse Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software with CRM software. ERP software stores a client database, and some can send out email campaigns. But CRM systems are much more sales friendly with features like automated contact input, automated business card input using smartphone technology, saving all email correspondence, email templates for regularly scheduled campaigns (e.g., New Builds This Month, Monthly Market Data, Newsletter, etc.), notification when prospects read your email, chat features, and sales pipeline with analysis. These features are standard on most CRM systems. Pricing for standard CRM versions can range from $45 – $150 a month. According to Martech Research, CRMs can boost sales by 29%, productivity by 34%, and forecast accuracy by 42%. So, if you don’t have one, Power Marketing is happy to help guide you through the many options.
4. Email Marketing
A well-designed email marketing program will typically provide the best ROI for homebuilders. If you haven’t considered incorporating an email marketing campaign into your homebuilding marketing plan, now is the time. The simple fact a potential customer provided you with their contact information means they are waiting to hear from you. This is permission-based marketing—undeniable proof that a homebuyer is eager to learn more about your new homes and communities.
If you have a CRM system, there is most likely a section for email marketing. This area should include templates, examples, and tips (e.g., email campaigns have the highest open rates on Tuesday, and subject lines should be a maximum of 9 words or 60 characters). If you don’t want to take this on or don’t have a CRM system, you can turn to companies like Mail Chimp and Constant Contact. However, if you outsource, there are additional costs involved.
In our experience at Power Marketing, email marketing is the most cost-effective way for home builders to create leads, nurture potential customers, and collect feedback and reviews from their current customers. Tools like Frill can help with collecting and prioritizing ideas from your customers
Video content will become more and more critical each year for homebuilders. In 2019, the % of businesses used video as a marketing tool was 63%. Last year, that number jumped to 81%. Video is much easier to process and retain. Studies show viewers retain 95% of video information compared to only 10% of people who read the same information in text form.
Virtual Tours can be a quick, inexpensive way to start a video program. Virtual tours are the #2 item a potential buyer wants to see on your website behind floor plans. Although I highly recommend using high-end equipment, some smartphone technology, such as the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Max, can do great if you start a virtual tour page. So, if you don’t have a virtual tour page on your website, take the trade show money and have one designed.
Explainer videos are another option for video content. Potential home buyers want to understand the process of building a new home. Create a video called Our Process and add it to your website or email any potential customer expressing interest in your company. Again, I highly recommend using a professional video company to shoot these videos. It will give a better impression of your company.
Losing the face-to-face interactions at trade shows can be a big hit in your overall marketing plans for 2021. Incorporating these digital strategies opens you up to a new pool of potential customers who might not have otherwise heard of you. Trade shows will be back. Adding these tactics to your marketing mix gives you a more effective marketing strategy.
If you’d like to discuss the best investment for your unused 2021 trade show dollars, call (615) 257-0057 or email us.