Good market, bad market or great market? For home builders, 2020 was a fantastic market and 2021 started the year off with a bang. Is this momentum sustainable? I’ll leave that answer to you, but one thing is for sure, it is a highly price-sensitive market and it is important to focus on tried and true marketing tactics even in good times.
January started strong and then interest rates ticked up half a percentage point and both new construction and resale homes took a hit in February. MarketNsight shows this volatility in the attached chart. Understanding the four Ps of marketing becomes most important in times like these: product, price, place and promotion. Price is affected by lumber costs, price increases (in an attempt to slow sales pace) and yes, even a half percentage increase in interest rates.
No argument, the market is great. Builders are selling homes like hot cakes. But does this mean they can or should cut back on marketing? Absolutely not! However, it does mean that it is a good time to look at marketing a little differently than when we are working so hard to feed the sales funnel. Dollars can be moved around, and basics like branding and awareness take more of the focus than advertising and tactics that create leads.
Here are 5 things to focus on in the current market:
Revisit branding, do an audit, review the brand promise, look at all assets to ensure that brand is consistent. This is a good time to review and revise your USP (unique selling position) as well. For instance, I realized the other day that part of the USP for Denim is that our account managers handle accounts fully. By this I mean, they handle the client relationship and do the actual hands-on work. This is highly unusual for an agency, but clients love it because nothing is lost in translation. As a small business, we truly provide boutique-style, personalized service to our clients.
2. Search Engine Optimization
Search engine optimization (SEO) forms the foundation of what attracts organic traffic to websites. This tactic is unfortunately often overlooked, and home builders spend extraordinary amounts of money on Google pay per click (PPC) ads. Organic traffic is not only more qualified, but they are more interested, making these leads way more valuable than PPC leads. Hire an SEO firm to review the company’s website, shore up the on-page and off-page tactics. You’ll be happy you did when the leads slow down.
Content is mission critical. Take time to write a series of evergreen blogs on community locations, the building construction process and other trends. For example write a 1,200- to 2,000-word article on each of the five cities where you build homes and all of the reasons people love to live there.
Take a giant step back and audit marketing assets. Take a deep dive into website, blogs, social sites and email marketing. Make a list of things to improve and create a plan of attack. Things change frequently and social channels change items all the time. Click through all the tabs on Facebook, check to see if header images are optimized for mobile, literally click on all sites and audit as if visiting them for the first time from the visitor or prospect’s point of view.
5. New Technology
Focus on what else can be added to the marketing mix. Is there new technology that can be implemented? There are so many great tools to use including Matterport and other 3D tours, video, online chat and chat bots, texting tools, self tours, etc.
Regardless of current marketing efforts, it is best to look ahead to the future. By focusing on the core or foundation of your marketing program and these tried and true marketing tactics, your homebuilding company will be set up for success today and in the future. Reach out to us at Denim Marketing if you need help. Call us at 770-383-3360 or contact us.