Digital marketing isn’t new. It’s been around almost as long as Google, and it’s continued to improve and expand over the years. Today, you can even market on social media sites like Instagram and Facebook. So why are some custom home builders late to the party? It might be because you feel like word of mouth is still the best way to drum up business, or it might be because you don’t think you have the time for a digital marketing strategy.
The truth is, quality digital marketing is one of the simplest ways to generate qualified leads you legitimately want to work with. There’s a lot of information swirling around out there about custom home builder marketing, and not all of it is true. That’s why we’ve decided to debunk five of the most common myths out there about digital marketing for custom home builders, so you can have a clearer picture about how digital marketing might work for you:
Myth #1 I don’t have time for it
Since digital marketing is one of the top methods to generate qualified leads in a way that offers massive ROI, this myth is just silly. Digital marketing really doesn’t take all that much time, compared to the leads you have the potential to generate when you do it right. You can start your company’s digital marketing strategy as easily as setting up and regularly posting to a Facebook page. Really, you can put as much or as little time into digital marketing as you want to, it’s just that the more time you put in, the more you’re likely to get out of it. You can have a quality beginning digital marketing strategy by just posting one blog a month to your website, and interacting on your company’s Facebook once a day.
Now, if you want to see serious results from your digital marketing strategy, sure, you’ll need to put a bit more time into it than that. But if you’ve been considering digital marketing, and the only thing that’s holding you back is the time commitment, you’re leaning on an unfounded myth. If you truly don’t have time to manage any aspect of your home building company’s digital presence, then you should at least consider hiring someone to do it for you, whether they’re an intern or a digital marketing company.
Myth #2 I have enough leads
Let’s be honest. This one is just weak. No company has too many leads. If there actually comes a point where you have more jobs than you can handle, that just gives you the opportunity to start picking and choosing which jobs you actually want to do. The more leads you have, the greater your opportunity to break into a higher priced market. And ask yourself this: how many of the leads you have right now are exactly the types of projects your custom home building company wants to be working on?
When you have more leads than you can handle, you have the power to choose the projects that you genuinely want to do, and you can start to tailor the work you do to the higher price point your home building company is looking to break into. Digital marketing, when done properly, works to generate qualified leads, those leads you actually want to work with, rather than leads you’d rather not. And when you’re picking and choosing which projects you’d like to work with, you’re guaranteed to have the freedom to move up in the market.
Myth #3 No one uses email marketing anymore
Take it from anyone in business today, email is so far from dead. In fact, most people would rather have you contact them by email than phone these days. Strategic email marketing definitely has a place in your digital marketing strategy, especially when you know how to do it effectively. A great way to get people interested is to send out a monthly newsletter with some before and after photos of recent projects. It’s also the ideal platform to showcase different types of homes you’ve built recently.
This sort of regular email marketing provides those on your email list with content they’re genuinely interested in, and it reminds them who to go to when they finally decide they’re ready to build that custom home. Best of all, emails are a great place to ask for five star reviews from previous clients you know you’ve satisfied. The more reviews you have, the better your online ranking, which also works to boost the number of qualified leads you draw in.
Myth #4 Professional photographers aren’t worth it
When it comes to custom home building, image is everything. Your entire business is founded on the idea that you can build someone the dream home they’ve always wanted. Showcasing that is too important to gamble on a sub-par photographer or someone’s iPhone camera. One of the absolute best things you can do for your digital marketing platform is hire a professional photographer who can go out and take pictures of some of your best projects, both before and after they’re completed.
Those high resolution, quality photos speak volumes about your ability to create a home that’s above and beyond your client’s expectations. What’s more, you can use those professional photos in a variety of ways. Whether you want a gallery on your website, quality background photos for your home page slider, or just some decent photos to send out on your monthly newsletter, a professional photographer is well worth it.
Myth #5 It’s free
This last one is a bit different from the others. One of the biggest pervading myths about digital marketing for custom home builders is that it’s free. It’s not. No form of marketing is ever free. Anyone who tells you that you can market your custom home building website for free isn’t being honest.
While digital marketing is truthfully far less expensive than traditional marketing efforts like paper ads, radio ads, and tv commercials, it still costs a little bit. Even if you end up doing all your digital marketing yourself, it takes up time. There are a lot of digital marketing aspects you can complete on your own, but you’re still spending at least a small amount of time writing those blog and posting to your company Facebook account, and time is money. So, don’t let anyone tell you digital marketing is free. When done right, it provides massive ROI, which means you have to spend a lot less to get a lot more, but it’s still going to cost you at least a little time and money.
If you’re not sure how much you should be spending for a quality digital marketing strategy that works, get in touch with us here at HA Digital Marketing. We’ve worked with a number of custom home builders, and have cracked the code to digital marketing strategies that deliver the leads you want. Check out the custom home building case study below to see how we market differently for better results, and then get in touch if you’d like to see how we can tailor our strategy for you!
Anyone with a website wants to be on the first page of Google search engine rankings. And while that’s an amazing goal, most of us know that it’s easier said than done. It takes a great deal of keyword research, regular publishing of quality, original content, and more than a bit of inbound marketing strategy. If you really want to optimize your site for the web, know that you’re going to need to do some regular maintenance. Any site requires a bit of upkeep to ensure it’s totally optimized at all times, so if you’ve been looking for a checklist you can look at every once in a while to make sure your site is firing on all cylinders, then this is the blog for you. Here’s a short checklist you can use to complete an easy, regular SEO site checkup every month or so:
We’ve done a few posts on metadata, but a basic definition of it would be: the data that tells search engines what your site, and your website pages are about. If you’re looking for a quality page ranking, it’s worth it to make sure each and every one of your pages has three important pieces of metadata:
This piece of metadata is responsible for the page titles that show up in the very top of a browser window, which work to remind users what content is on each tab they have open. It’s also one of Google’s first steps to ranking your page, as it tells search bots what the content on the page is going to be about. When you do your SEO site checkup, make sure each of your pages has a title tag that reflects the keyword for each page, so both search engine users and bots know what they’re getting when they click on a link to your page.
Those little explanations that show up below the page title on Google search results pages are more important than you’d think. Most search engine users read them to see what they’re going to get when they click a link to your page, and they’re another great place to make sure your keyword shows up. In completing your SEO site checkup, you’ll want to double check that you’ve got custom meta descriptions for each page. What’s more, make sure those descriptions are under 160 characters, so Google doesn’t cut them off.
The last of the metadata components we’ll talk about, while the <meta name=”keyword” tag isn’t really used anymore, there are some other helpful tools to help you know if your page is optimized properly. If you use an SEO tool like the Yoast plugin, it’s easy to set a keyword for each page, and determine whether it’s strong enough to get the quality ranking you’re looking for. It’s also easy to tell which pages have not had a keyword designated when you’re going through your SEO checkup.
While it’s best to develop a habit of including this metadata every time you add a new page or blog post to your website, it’s easy to get busy and forget every once in awhile. That’s why a regular SEO site checkup can help ensure your website is always on track for a high ranking.
Check ALT tags
ALT tags on images are a great way to boost your SEO ranking. Not only do they give you another spot to include your keyword (if it’s relevant to the image) but they also help tell search engine bots more about what’s on your page. Since bots can’t “see” pictures, they need words and descriptions to give them an idea of what’s going on in the image. That’s where the alt tags come in. When you do your SEO site checkup, be sure to go through and make sure each image has relevant alt tags, and include keywords where you can for better rankings on searches that are relevant to you.
Check for broken links and redirects
One of the easiest ways to lose site viewers and get bumped down in search engine rankings is to have a bunch of broken links and redirects. That’s why it’s good to make sure you check to make sure all your links and redirects are working at least once a month, if not every week. If a site viewer clicks a link to your page, only to be met with a 404 error, they’re less likely to return. If search engine crawlers spot broken links, that’ll also have a negative effect on your rankings.
The best way to check your site’s redirects is to use a free tool like Check My Links, which saves you the time of checking every single page and link to make sure they’re working. If and when you find a broken link or redirect, it’s in your best interest to fix it ASAP. One great way to do that, which can work for most situations, is to use a 301 redirect. 301 redirects help maintain the ranking power from the original page, ensuring your viewers get to where they need to go, without losing any of your keywords or metadata.
Have you looked at recent Google updates?
An SEO site checkup doesn’t have to be limited to small, backend updates. If you want to ensure your checkup is thorough, you need to make sure your site is in compliance with all of Google’s indexing trends. Google makes regular updates to their indexing algorithm to ensure their results pages are offering the best possible options for users, and some of these updates can have a serious effect on your ranking if you’re not paying attention.
If you’ve missed some of those new algorithm updates, and haven’t made changes accordingly, your site could be penalized for something like a large pop-up ad on the mobile version of your site, or the lack of mobile responsiveness. There are many good ways to avoid Google penalties, but it’s a great best practice to check on recent changes through sources like Moz’s website to make sure your site is always in compliance.
Track your progress—for free
Finally, the best way to make sure you’re doing everything you can to boost your SEO ranking is to track your progress. It’s good to know that you don’t need to buy a whole bunch of fancy technology to do that effectively, either. There are a whole host of free SEO tools out there, each one offering unique capabilities that can show you where your site is lacking, and could use a bit more work. The easiest place to start is Google Analytics, since it offers pretty much all the basic information you need to know to boost your ranking, from how much traffic your site is getting to how well your paid ads are converting, but know that’s not your only option.
An SEO site checkup doesn’t have to be a big, daunting thing you need to put off continuously. In fact, the more often you do it, the easier your checkups will become. By simply remembering the most basic components of SEO: setting a keyword, including relevant metadata, and ensuring your site doesn’t have any broken links, your site will do relatively well for any low-competition keywords you’re looking to target. That said, we know SEO isn’t always the easiest thing to get the hang of. So, if you have questions about how you can improve your site’s general search engine optimization, or if you’re just not quite sure how to implement SEO best practices, feel free to get in touch. HA Digital Marketing has a team full of SEO experts, and we’d be happy to help you work to get your site the rankings you’re looking for.
With shows like Property Brothers, Fixer Upper, Love it or List it, and pretty much anything on HGTV, it’s obvious that today’s consumer is very interested in homebuilding. Even when it’s not their own home, people love to look to at before and after photos, and imagine their own home looking that spectacular. The innate human interest in home building gives real estate developers like you a real leg up when you’re working on marketing your development. Even luckier is our society’s current fascination with social media, which makes marketing your development a breeze, if you just know how to engage that key buyer who loves home building projects, and is interested in buying in your area.
If you’ve been doing any digital marketing at all, you know that Facebook is a remarkably successful outlet for marketing your real estate development. The question is though, how do you build on the existing following you have? Well, it’s a lot easier than you might think. You’re selling something that a lot of Facebook users already want. Here are a few ways you can tailor your content for super engaging Facebook posts that are sure to boost your following:
There’s nothing people love more than looking at before and after photos. From infomercials on the newest ab machine to finished houses, it’s one of the easiest ways to get people engaged in any product. If you’ve finished a development, or are completing the interior design of your model homes, have a professional photographer come over, and post those new home photos in an album. By labeling the album, your followers will be able to figure out which development the home is in, and where it’s located, which gives them a better chance of picturing themselves in the home itself. What’s more, good before and after progress photos typically generate a lot of engagement. If you have a really outstanding album, it’s likely to be shared by some of your followers, which ensures it gets more new eyes, expanding your Facebook following.
Share community news
As a real estate developer, you’re selling more than just houses. You’re selling a community. So whether you’re marketing a sustainable living community, or a housing development that’s set up for retirees, be sure to share community news that will get your target buyers excited about the community. Whether you’ve got a block party going on for Labor Day weekend, or you’re opening the community greenhouse, the more you can share with people about the goings on of your housing development, the better they’ll be able to see themselves fitting in that fun, happening community.
If you thought photos got a lot of engagement from your followers, wait until you post a quality video tour. People are inherently curious, and everyone wants to know what the house down the street looks like on the inside. Video tours are a cool, updated way to show off your handiwork, and they get people interested in both the projects you’ve completed, and the floorplan you’re showcasing. In addition to drawing in quality leads, video tours are highly shareable, and when yours start circulating Facebook, they’re sure to start drawing in more followers.
The best way to boost your following is to get people involved with your company’s Facebook page. If you’re putting out quality content that they like to look at, that’s awesome, but your page will do even better if your followers are engaged. Ask your followers questions! You’d be surprised at how controversial home design can be. Consider throwing out a photo with a uniquely designed aspect of one of your recent projects, and ask your followers what they think. You might just spark a lively online discussion. Open vs. closed floorplan? Master bedroom on the first or second level? These sorts of questions are sure to get people involved, and the more people who get involved, the bigger your following will get.
Facebook contests are very low risk, and they do a lot to boost your Facebook following. For example, say you want to do a giveaway for the holidays. Post a photo of the prize you’re offering to the winner, whether it’s a Kitchen-Aid, a mini-fridge, or just a set of pots and pans. Then, tell people what they have to do to enter in your contest: like your page, share the giveaway post, tag one or two friends, or even post their favorite holiday cookie recipe! Then, you can choose a winner at random.
When the contest is over, someone goes home happy with the prize, and you end up with all of those additional followers and shares. Over the course of the contest, you’ll have gotten a ton more likes, more followers to show your amazing content to, and a lot of shares that connect your housing development to a new crop of potential buyers. Not only have you boosted your Facebook following, you’ve increased your chances for more qualified leads.
Share company birthdays and important events
These days, consumers want to work with businesses they trust and feel invested in. If you regularly post employee birthdays, anniversaries of your company’s founding day, or breaking ground days for new projects, you’re reminding your followers that your company is made up of a bunch of people just like them. When your business is personal, people feel like they know you better and can trust you, which makes them more likely to work with you. The more people who want to work with you, the bigger your Facebook following.
The more active you are on Facebook, the more followers you’re going to get. Be sure to comment and reply back to followers who ask questions or comment on your posts. What’s more, try to actively repost and share interesting content from other accounts that are relevant to your current followers. By sharing content you didn’t write, you expand your Facebook base to the followers of whoever you reposted. The more active your account, the more legitimate you look to ranking bots, which means your Facebook page will pop up higher in search engine results pages. So like and share when you can, and you’ll be sure to see that Facebook following expand.
Facebook is one of the most powerful digital marketing tools out there for real estate developers. If you’re active on your page, and combine those organic marketing efforts with a solid Facebook Ad Campaign, you’ll grow your following and see the high number of qualified leads you want. But if you’re still not sure how to optimize your real estate development’s digital marketing strategy, don’t hesitate to give HA Digital Marketing a shout. We’ve cracked the code to real estate development marketing, and can deliver the qualified leads and high conversion rates you need to fill your developments in no time at all.
To see just how the HA Digital Marketing strategy delivers real results and fills housing developments, check out the case study below:
If you’re new to digital marketing, the costs involved can seem a little overwhelming: pay-per-click ads can rack up the $$, as can banner ads and website redesigns. If your digital marketing budget is stretched a little thin these days, there are still plenty of ways to reach your ideal clients online, for free. Here are some of the best free digital marketing tools that you can take advantage of, right now:
Home service pros have always relied on word of mouth, and even in the digital era, customer reviews are the best way for you to get the word out to new potential customers about the quality of your services. When potential customers search for service providers, they’re going to look at your reviews, on Google, Yelp, Yellow Pages, Facebook, etc. In the same vein, the five-star rating system has become a popular way to evaluate businesses and has been integrated into most online review platforms. Getting your satisfied clients to leave reviews of your service—even just a 4 or 5 star rating—is crucial to attracting new clients.
Google+ is the new Yellowpages listing you used to pay for, before the internet. If you’re not actively managing your business’s Google+ profile (i.e., the entry for your business that shows up on the right hand side of the Google results for a search of your business) or don’t have one, you need to get on that. It’s free, and it’s often the first thing people will see when searching for your business or the service you provide.
If you want repeat customers, you need to keep your company and the great service you provided in your customers’ minds. A great way to do this is with regularly scheduled email or email newsletters that keep your clients informed on your seasonal service offerings and relevant topics related to their home and home maintenance. MailChimp and similar platforms offer you the ability to design, create, segment and automate email to your client list, for free.
We love Houzz and we talk about it all the time but it’s worth reminding you all about how useful a tool it can be. You can set up a profile for your business for free, add pictures of your work, get client reviews (reviews are important! See above!), interact with future customers, and get found by people looking for your services in their service provider directory search.
One of the great things about the internet is the proliferation and availability of free tools and resources across all industries and areas of interest. Digital marketing is no exception. Don’t let a small (or nonexistent) marketing budget keep you from cultivating a strong digital preference; make use of the free tools available to you such as Houzz, MailChimp, and more.
If you’d like more information on how to implement these tools into your digital strategy, or would like to talk about other ways to bolster your online presence, we should talk. The HA Digital Marketing strategy is tried, and tested, and we’re proven to deliver exceptional results for home service pros. See exactly how our strategy works for clients like you in the case study below:
B2Bs have often done advertising wrong, from mimicking B2C techniques to not doing any marketing, at all. But now, digital technologies and greater, widespread access to information has changed the way businesses across all industries, especially B2Bs market their products and services.
Why cold calling is out
The difficult task of selling rather unsexy products is a constant problem in the B2B world,, and traditional marketing and sales rhetoric stipulated hard sells with direct, loud, interruptive messaging. Think: radio commercials, direct mail, cold calls. The truth is that these tactics were never the most effective for B2B products, which are in some cases compulsory purchases for the customer (like screws needed to assemble their product) and in other cases large, expensive, once-every-ten-years kinds of purchases (like heavy machinery).
This is why many B2Bs, especially those with steady customers, perform very little marketing at all, instead relying on the necessity of their product within its niche and their company’s industry reputation. When recessions hit, however, B2Bs who rely on such methods often find themselves losing income from struggling loyal customers and without the strategies in place to replace those revenue streams.
How to update your B2B marketing plan
Instead of essentially shouting at potential clients to buy a product, inbound marketing uses soft sell techniques to educate potential clients about the value of a product or service, how to use/implement/integrate said product or service, and other topics related to the product, service, or industry that will be of interest to the person responsible for sourcing, purchasing, or approving purchase of said product. No longer do you sell your product, you sell future clients on your company by providing high-quality information that addresses the needs of your target buyers and building trust and brand recognition.
Inbound marketing and modern technology
The transition to inbound marketing has somewhat coincided with the advent of wifi and smartphones; consumers have access to information, and they’re using that information to research products and services before making purchase decisions. This applies to people buying consumer goods, but it applies also to buyers for industrial and manufacturing companies. Buyers and component sourcing specialists at the companies who are B2Bs’ ideal customers are performing online research to compare suppliers and products and find the best product, and deal, for their application. Salesmen are no longer the arbiters of information regarding their products; clients can and do educate themselves and make informed decisions.
If you’re ready to transition from traditional B2B marketing and advertising techniques to a more buyer-centered inbound marketing approach, HA Digital Marketing can help. Contact us online now, or give us a call at (616) 841-9082. Our inbound marketing strategy is proven to produce exceptional results for B2B clients just like you. Check out the case study below to see exactly how HA Digital Marketing delivers for B2Bs: