When it comes to the home building industry, the importance of properly marketing your firm cannot be overstated. Competition for home buying customers is fierce, and making sure that your company is a known and trusted commodity in the marketplace is essential to your continued success and financial growth.
Another truth is that for most builders who don’t know a KPI from a two-by-four, the mere thought of developing a marketing plan is enough to make them break out in hives. But fear not—by following these simple steps, you can develop a marketing strategy that will have your name on the tip of every local buyer’s tongue in no time.
- Identify your target audience Before you start trying to sell your homes, you need to know as much about your likely buyers as possible. Are they first-time buying millennials or downsizing baby boomers? Are they looking for a large home with an open floor plan in a neighborhood that offers lots of bike paths and walkable eateries or are they looking to downsize into a cozy “tiny house”? Successful builders are turning to psychographics — an area of research that moves beyond who will buy your home into why they’ll buy it. Top builders are using psychographic survey data—including details about age, gender, family status, profession, lifestyle, and income—to not only help determine a home’s floor plan and aesthetic, but also to price it and advertise it. In short, getting to know who’s living—and who wants to live—in the neighborhood where your home is built will help you develop the successful imagery and message to hook that key and most profitable demographic.
- Develop your key objectives Before you launch a marketing plan, make sure you have a clear vision of what you want it to accomplish. Consider factors such as sales, leads, starts and profit margin, and put those down on paper. Once it’s finalized, share it with your team and review your progress monthly so you’re sure everyone is on the same page. Are your strategies helping you meet your goals? If so, great! If not, then it’s time to regroup and retool.
- Determine your acceptable cost per qualified lead. Deciding how much you’re willing to spend on marketing and advertising will help you develop your acquisition budget. On average, companies with over $5 million in annual gross sales spend 6-8% of that income on integrated marketing and advertising efforts, while smaller companies spend roughly 3-5%.
- SWOT your competition SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. You’re going to need more paper for this step as you take a long, hard, honest look at your company in comparison to your competitors in preparation for developing your marketing plan. What are your company’s strengths compared to your competition? What are your weaknesses? What opportunities are waiting for you in the marketplace that you should be leveraging? And what are the threats to your success? For example, this is a great time to do an online search for your company and see what turns up. How are your reviews? Do you even have any reviews? Take a look at your competitors’ websites—how does yours compare? A successful marketing strategy will address all of these issues and help ensure that your business continues to grow and move forward rather than remain stagnant or—yikes—move backward.
- Learn to love social media Having a strong social media presence is crucial in today’s competitive marketplace. It provides you with an opportunity to develop a following with whom you continually engage in the online spaces where they dwell. Channels such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Snapchat allow you to share both your brand story and your product in fun, engaging ways. Pictures of your homes; client testimonials; walk-through home tour, neighborhood drone flyover, and animated explainer videos—this is the type of content your audience craves. And speaking of testimonials, there’s nothing more valuable than positive word of mouth, so you’ll want to utilize them everywhere you can, including on your website, in your sales presentations, in your email marketing campaigns, and on social media.
And when it comes to content, visual—not written—is where it’s at! The more imagery (especially video!) you can provide, the longer your followers (i.e. potential clients) will spend with your brand. It’s also important to know which channels are being used by whom. While Facebook is still hugely important, it skews older, with baby boomers, Gen Xers and Gen Yers making up the majority of users. Meanwhile, millennials are more interested in channels with more bite-sized content such as Pinterest, Instagram, and Snapchat. With this in mind, you can be sure to share the content that will appeal to your target audience in the right places and garner cost-effective leads.
- Find an experienced professional to handle your digital marketing You wouldn’t hire a subcontractor to work on your homes who wasn’t an expert in his field. When it comes to digital marketing, the same approach should apply. You need someone who knows all the ins and outs of what is a constantly evolving field. Someone who understand the understand the alphabet soup of SEO, SEM, DMAs and KPIs, and will know where to best spend your digital ad dollars to guarantee the highest ROI (now THERE’S an acronym with which you’re familiar!)—and by that, we mean the most cost-effective way to deliver you the most qualified leads.
By following these 6 steps, you should be able to implement a marketing plan that will help your company rise to the top of the heap in your area (or cement your position if you’re there already!) But if the thought of creating a plan still feels intimidating, CBUSA offers services that can you strategize and implement an effective marketing plan in no time. If you’re interested in learning how a partnership with CBUSA can help take your company to the next level, contact us today.