With new tools and technology to rely on, marketing has come a long way in the past ten years. Here is how home builders can grow their list of leads and close deals faster.
1. Start Marketing Before Construction is Complete
The importance of a well-rounded marketing strategy for home builders can’t be overstated. Traditionally, many builders wait until completing their project before listing it for sale. The rationale for post-construction marketing is that potential buyers need a physical structure to see and touch, as visualizing the space from two-dimensional floor plans can be difficult.
We’re in a different age today—technology has made pre-construction marketing so easy and affordable that home builders simply can’t afford not to market before a project is completed, or even started.
2. Create an Engaging and Valuable Website
Think of your website as your virtual office and showroom. Just as your physical presence must make a positive first impression, so must your website. It's important to make sure that your website is:
- Easy to find. Most buyers find websites through search engines by entering keywords describing exactly what they want. Your website must be designed for maximum SEO (Search Engine Optimization).
- Simple to navigate. Internet users have brief attention spans. If your site is slow to load or hard to explore, you’ll quickly lose your viewer and a potential sale.
- Mobile-friendly. Much of today’s audience accesses the internet through their mobile device. If your website design is not optimized for a small screen, you could be missing a huge potential audience.
- Informative. Make sure your content is valuable and interests your viewer. Keep the “about us” part short and sweet.
- Visual. Show potential buyers what you have to sell instead of telling them. Use visuals like 3D renderings, virtual tours, and pre-staged imagery.
Unless you’re proficient with web design, you’re more likely to achieve an optimized internet presence if you have a professional build your site. You can find talented and affordable web designers on sites like 99designs.com and upwork.com.
3. Use High-Quality Photography and Aerial Imagery
Photography equipment gets more sophisticated every year—and your images say a lot about your product and professionalism. Make sure that what you are visually presenting has been captured professionally.
Drones are an amazing addition to real estate marketing. Aerial photography used to be expensive and difficult to accomplish in urban locations, but today, you can hire a professional drone operator who will produce images from all sides of your project. This is a remarkable way to display what’s for sale, helping potential home buyers appreciate not only the building but also the entire surrounding area.
4. Commission 3D Architectural Renderings
Photorealistic architectural renderings are one of the biggest marketing breakthroughs for home builders. It’s no longer impressive to present two-dimensional floor drawings or a flat artist conception of a future building’s façade. Now, three-dimensional renderings are phenomenal at taking lifeless images and turning them into something a buyer can visualize.
5. Create Pre-Construction Virtual Tours
Traditional video tours are like online open houses. Marketers use a video camera (or the camera on their smart phone) and walk from room to room, perhaps narrating as they go.
But video cameras don’t work for pre-construction marketing, as there’s nothing yet to see. That’s where computer-aided modeling comes in. For a small investment in your marketing budget, you get a big payback in having a virtual tour organized. It’s just a step beyond going from a 3D rendering to make your project virtually come to life. A talented producer can walk potential clients from front to back and from top to bottom.
6. Set Up Virtual Staging
Every real estate agent knows that furnished homes sell easier and bring higher prices than cold, empty houses. That’s why builders invest in properly staged or appointed show homes. Builders and realtors often spend thousands of dollars on furnishings, fabrics, and artwork to make these staged presentations as attractive as possible.
Did you know you can do the same thing in a virtual show home? It’s possible to stage a virtual 3D presentation that can pass as the real product. Advanced software lets you choose from a wide variety of pieces and colors so you can show your pending project in a perfectly staged setting. And the best part—other than convincing a buyer to close early— is that you won’t have to dispose of expensive, actual staging once the sale is done.
7. Blend Virtual Reality Into Your Website
The beauty of computer animation is that it’s entirely website-compatible. You can easily make 3D renderings, virtual tours, and animated staging as accessible downloads on your site. The effect of experiencing a home before it exists, in reality, is enormous. It’s one of the leading sales tools in a home builder’s marketing kit and it’s readily available to you.
As a home builder, you appreciate the value of good tradespeople. You respect their talents and appreciate that the best sub-contractors use the finest tools. Consider your marketing team as one of your valued trades. Web designers and virtual producers are highly skilled at their craft. They’ll take your building concept and build it into a virtual reality on your website as a part of a well-rounded marketing strategy.
8. Nurture Word-of-Mouth Advertising
So far, we’ve talked about using today’s technology to display your upcoming projects for potential customers. That’s the reason you’re in the home building business—to prosper by creating value for others.
Satisfied customers who have previously bought one of your homes can be one of your best marketing tools. It’s called word-of-mouth advertising. You can’t buy advertising like this—you need to earn it. But once you have a customer’s trust, they’ll be happy to share it and reach out to tell others in many ways.
9. Embrace Telemarketing—in a Smart Way
There are right ways and wrong ways to do telemarketing. Approached wrong, telemarketing can work against you and cause an annoying interruption to the wrong people. Telemarketing is all about targeting the right audience. It can be incredibly productive to contact interested parties and provide them with a reason to consider your product or services. Here is the best way to deploy a telemarketing campaign:
- Make a plan. Know exactly which prospective buyers you want to call and what your message is. It might be an announcement of a new project with an opening date. Or it might be a final offer before a deadline closes and prices increase. Narrow your list to the right target groups.
- Qualify leads. Make sure you qualify potential leads. You can ask questions surrounding objectives, budget, and more. This step ensures you won’t waste further time with people who don’t have buying ability.
- Arrange a personal meeting. Once potential clients are qualified, it’s time to schedule a personal meeting to fortify the relationship and close the deal.
10. Send a Highly-Targeted Email Campaign
Email marketing campaigns are highly effective sales and marketing tools. Emails reach a mass of people with minimal effort and cost. Here are some email campaign best practices:
- Create a list. This is key. The more people—and the right people—on your list, the better chance you have of activating a potential client. Use an email service provider to manage your list and provide a sign-up incentive on your website. Offering something of value in exchange for an email address is an effective method of growing your list.
- Make a clear offer. Your email message has to state clearly what value you’re offering. It should start with a well-crafted headline that grabs the reader’s attention, causes them to open the email, and then click through to the message.
- Follow up. Your email campaign should be designed as a series of purposely spaced messages that build out on your offer and cause a potential client to contact you or your sales force. It’s all about opening and closing a deal!
11. Stay Active on Social Media
Social media connects people and products in new and exciting ways. In-person networking and email campaigns are highly effective marketing tactics, but social media connections take these marketing campaigns to an entirely different level because of their relationship-building potential.
The best social media platforms for home builders are the time-tested ones—a Facebook business page and an Instagram account are mandatory. Be sure to link to these accounts on your website and in email marketing.
Active engagement is a critical part of social media effectiveness, providing continual contact with your past and future clients. It also attracts search engines and raises your rankings on search engine results pages (SERPs).
In addition to general social media websites, you should also have an online presence at real estate specialty sites like Zillow. Consider networking with realtors both online and in person. Good realtors are excellent sources of qualified leads, so treat them as a customer and educate them on the way you build and the value your homes offer.
Take everything one step at a time.
Just like how Rome wasn't built in a day, your marketing strategy will take time to optimize and reach its full potential. Focus on deploying one marketing tactic every week, or every month, and you'll start seeing results in no time.
If you need help, we offer a blend of services for home builders, from design to pre-construction marketing. Feel free to reach out today!