Creating a content calendar that fills houses and sells lots:
If you’re a housing developer, you know that any marketing strategy you use has to be time-efficient. You need to fill homes and sell lots quickly to see quality returns on your investment. If you’ve been considering content marketing as a part of your digital marketing strategy, but aren’t sure if it’s an effective use of your time, we hear you. It’s not always easy to write blog posts regularly, get them posted, and then promote them. That said, content marketing is one of the easiest, most cost effective ways to get eyes on your site. All it really takes is time.
But, if like many housing developers, you’re a little short on time, know that you can still have the best of both worlds by creating a content calendar. Content calendars help take some of the work out of creating a regular blog posting schedule by outlining the topic, description, and keyword for each upcoming post. We develop content calendars for each of our clients at the beginning of the year. We outline exactly what it is we’re going to write about and when, and then we give the calendar to the client for approval. That way, once it comes back approved, all we have to do is write the posts for the year. There’s no guesswork or question about what we’re doing, and when it needs to go out.
Content calendars outline the topic, description, and keyword for each month’s upcoming posts.
A content calendar is a great solution for busy home developers, because it allows you to stick to a schedule, and it makes it easy to hand off the blog writing to whoever has a little extra time that month. Since the topics are already created, any decent writer can write the blog. So, how to create a content calendar that draws in qualified leads?
First, think about who you’re writing to
This goes back to that target market we’re always talking about. To whom would you like to sell your homes? Are you developing a community that’s largely centered around seniors? Or are you building homes for young, growing families? It’s important to pinpoint who your target buyer is before you start developing your content, because the age range and general lifestyle of that buyer will influence the types of content that you put out.
Then, pick three categories
After you’ve identified your specific target buyer, it’s time to start creating content, or at least topics to write about that speak to your buyer. To make sure your content calendar doesn’t become stale or boring, we recommend picking three or four categories to center your content calendar around, and alternating between categories each month.
For example, one of our developer clients is working on filling a sustainable mountain living community near Asheville, NC. Our content calendar revolves around three major topics: things to do in Asheville, home ownership, and lifestyle blogs that focus on the activities that their target buyers most enjoy. For them, that’s biking, hiking, kayaking, and backpacking—outdoor activities that encourage appreciation of the natural world.
By segmenting our content calendar into these three categories, we’re able to reach the client’s target buyer in more than one way. We’re appealing to the sense of place that their development offers, we’re drawing in potential buyers who like to do activities that the other residents like to do, and we’re also targeting the thing that’s most relevant to the development, which is home ownership.
Your content calendar can focus on similar topics.
What is interesting about the location of your development, and what’s happening in nearby cities?
What content will homeowners in your area want to read about?
What activities are your target buyers interested in?
By filling your content calendar with topics that aren’t always the same, you’ll have a number of different, interesting blogs that will work to draw new people to your site. By writing content about your area, you get the added bonus of identifying your location for both search engines and consumers, making it more likely that you’ll pop up in local search results.
Remember that your content strategy is never about you. Rather, it should be a resource for your target buyers. You want them to love the content you’re putting out so much that they subscribe and never miss a post. The only way to do that is to create content they care about, which isn’t going to be monthly updates on how the development of your community is going.
While creating the topics is definitely the hardest part of any content calendar, don’t just stop when you have the right number of ideas. A content calendar should also include a keyword, title for the post, and description of what you meant when you came up with the topic. To save yourself extra time, consider adding in your call-to-action.
Save yourself additional time by writing your CTA into the content calendar.
This is often a tedious part to write at the bottom of your blog post. It talks about how great your community is, and where people can find you if they’re interested in one of your homes. Add that right into your content calendar now, and you won’t have to worry about it later.
Once you’ve got the calendar fully filled out, create a publishing schedule. Put a date on each post, both to give yourself a deadline, and to make sure you don’t have any long gaps between posts. With a posting date, it’ll be clear when you need to start writing, and you’ll have something holding you accountable to get that content out into the world.
When your content calendar has a posting schedule, topics for every month, descriptions, keywords, titles, and CTAs, you’re done!
Well, done with the content calendar at least. You’ll still have to write the posts themselves if you’re looking to draw in those qualified buyers, but you won’t have to worry in the future about deciding what to write, and getting it out in a timely fashion. With a schedule and plenty of topics already set to go, writing a blog post is easy.
Content calendars are a seriously handy tool for any housing developer short on time. If you want to create one, but still aren’t sure what to write about, or how to go about getting started, get in touch. We’re sort of content calendar experts, and would love to help you optimize your content marketing strategy for success. To see how we’ve helped other housing developers boost revenue and sell homes, check out the case study below:
If you’ve been working on the website for your housing development, and just don’t seem to be filling homes or lots at a rate that seems right, landing pages can help. They’re an ideal way to get hold of the contact information of qualified leads, and when done right, they can move a site viewer who was just looking, to a site viewer who’s legitimately interested in your development. So, how do landing pages increase conversion for housing developers, and how can you make sure your landing pages are working for you? Let’s start with a refresher course on landing pages.
Landing Page Refresher
A landing page is a page other than your homepage, where site visitors first land when they click to your site from another website (typically this is a search engine like Google, but it can also be social media sites, or a website where you’re promoting an ad). It’s also possible to have landing pages that site visitors can get to from your own site. We have a contact landing page that people can click to at any point if they’re interested in seeing how we can help them. Landing pages work to softly direct your site visitors into giving your their contact information, usually in exchange for an offer, like a guide on becoming an awesome homebuyer, or pictures of your housing development.
How a Good Landing Page Generates Leads
Now, there’s all sorts of landing pages out there, but not all of them are good. A quality landing page does the following things:
Provides relevant information: It tells people who you are, and what you’re about in a way that’s relevant to the link they clicked to get there. If you have a paid ad that says “spacious 2 bedroom apartments with vaulted ceilings and hardwood floors” don’t send people to a landing page about the development’s adjacent golf course and restaurant. That will confuse and frustrate. A good landing page provides content the viewer expects to get after clicking on a certain link.
Offers content or access potential clients want: The best way to capture contact info off a landing page is to make them an offer they can’t refuse (sorry, couldn’t help it!). But really, people are far more likely to give up their email address if they’re going to get awesome pictures, drone footage, or floorplans of your development in return.
Gets you contact info of qualified leads: Probably the best part of a great landing page is its ability to get you qualified leads. If your page is relevant, provides the right information, and adds value for the site viewer, it should get you contact info that you can use to further pull those potential leads down the sales funnel.
How to Make a Landing Page that Converts?
Now that you know what a great housing development landing page does, it’s time to make one of your own. We’ve got a ton of resources on creating killer landing pages, but for a crash course, make sure your housing development landing page follows these 6 key guidelines:
Take away the navigation menu on your landing page. This works to “squeeze” people through, and softly push them to convert. When there’s no menu, there’s less distraction, which means site visitors are unlikely to navigate away unless the offer really isn’t something they’re looking for. Then, you’re only really losing traffic that wasn’t qualified in the first place.
Keep your content short and sweet. Try to limit yourself to just a few sentences that tell site viewers who you are, and what you can do for them. You know that your development is awesome, but don’t just tell people that, show them why it’s awesome, and why they’d be lucky to live there.
Viewers shouldn’t have to wonder about what they’re going to get when they click the “submit” button. Make it obvious what they’ll get when they fill out your form, whether it’s pictures, blueprints, or information about your development.
Studies have shown that people actually do care what the button that says “click” looks like. First of all, “click” and “submit” might not be the best choices. Choose something that’s more relevant to your offer, like “Sign up now” or “get access to photos.” This will remind viewers what they’re getting, and provide incentive for following through and clicking the button.
Don’t make your forms too long. The longer a form is, the less likely you are to get conversions. Only ask for what you actually need, like name, email, and maybe zip code. Sometimes it makes sense to have a longer form for landing pages that target people who are almost ready to close, and want a price estimate, but other than that, keep your forms short and sweet.
Finally, remember that today’s consumer is highly visual and has a short attention span. Your landing page should be eye-catching, easy to read, and feature high-quality photos. You’ve got a beautiful development, right? Use photos of it to your advantage on your landing page.
In the end, any quality landing page is almost guaranteed to increase conversions for housing developers, so long as they have traffic coming to the site. They’re a great way to capture information about potential clients, while also providing an incentive for people to come back and consider your development.
If you’re still struggling to perfect your landing pages, know that Evenbound can help. We’ve worked with a number of housing developers, and have cracked the code to creating marketing strategies that fill developments and sell homes. To see just what we’ve done to deliver results for our housing development clients, check out the case study below:
There’s a lot of jargon that comes with the world of online marketing. Terms like SEO, inbound marketing, digital marketing, online marketing, PPC, conversion, and calls-to-action can be tricky if you’re not used to the industry, and even if you are, there are some vocab words that don’t seem all that different. One really confusing one is the difference between digital marketing and inbound marketing. Many people use these terms interchangeably, but in fact, they refer to different types of marketing, and do different things. So, if you’ve been wondering what the difference actually is between digital marketing and inbound marketing, we’re going to break it down for you:
The term digital marketing functions as a sort of catch-all for any marketing tactic that’s done on a digital medium. So, things like search engine optimization, website banners, social media campaigns, are all examples of individual digital marketing tactics. While there’s a lot to be done with digital marketing, the term itself doesn’t imply any sort of strategy. Think of it more like a toolbox that contains all of the marketing tools you can use to increase brand recognition, get more traffic, and be seen online.
Unlike digital marketing, inbound marketing is a clear, defined marketing strategy that has precise steps and best practices. While an inbound marketing strategy does make use of a lot of digital marketing tactics, like blogging and improving SEO, it’s a set methodology that works to draw in qualified visitors, and generate leads. It’s an ongoing, holistic strategy that encompasses a number of specific steps. We think of inbound marketing as a philosophy that works to put customers first, and digital marketing tactics help them to achieve that philosophy.
Digital Marketing Vs. Inbound Marketing: Which is Right for You?
Now that you know what the differences are between digital marketing and inbound marketing, how do you know which option is best? Well, it depends on your goals.
Brand Awareness + Short Term Goals = Digital Marketing
If you’re simply trying to grow brand awareness, and get any old visitor to your website, a few different digital marketing tactics might help. Digital marketing tactics on their own work to solve short term goals, like boosting your Facebook page’s reach, or increasing traffic to your website. On the other hand, if you’re trying to generate leads that convert to legitimate, qualified customers, an inbound marketing methodology is probably a better choice. While you can run a Facebook like campaign, or start pushing banner ads, those techniques by themselves will only produce results limited to those initiatives. A like campaign will certainly get you more likes, and banner ads might get more people to your site, but that’s about it.
Qualified Leads + Long Term Goals = Inbound Marketing
An inbound marketing strategy takes each of those digital marketing tactics, and folds them into a larger strategy that does something with the results of each tactic. With an effective inbound marketing strategy, you create content that draws in qualified leads, you develop landing pages and calls-to-actions that capture the contact information of people who are interested in what you’re offering, you deploy email campaigns relevant to those specific contacts, and in the end, you’ll have created a full strategy that makes each of those digital marketing tactics work together to create a whole that’s greater than the sum of its parts. Once you have a complete inbound marketing strategy in place, it works long term to continue to deliver you qualified leads, and boost your conversion rates over time.
Choosing inbound marketing is like playing the long game; it leads to more solid, consistent results. Digital marketing is playing the short game, where you get immediate results, but they’re not often worth as much in the long term.
In the end, it’s up to you to determine what your goals are for your business’s marketing strategy, but when you decide, know Evenbound is here to help you implement! We’re a Hubspot Gold Agency Partner, which means we know every digital marketing tactic through-and-through, and we know how to combine those tactics for an inbound marketing strategy that produces long-term results.
If you’d like to see what that might look like for your company, schedule a free consultation, or check out the case study below to see what our proven strategy has done to produce results for others:
When you’re building out your local contractor website, it can be tough to set yourself apart from the competition. First of all, there’s the business of actually building the site, from deciding on a design and a color palette to putting the thing online. Then there’s the problem of making sure it’s visible. Once you’ve got all of those things taken care of, you have to make sure you’re still standing out from the competition.
All in all, building a contractor website that stands out from your local competition can seem like a tedious, monstrous process, but know that it can be done, and it can be done well. Once you know what to do to make your site stand out, it’s just a matter of implementation. So, let’s get to that recipe for success right away: When it comes to creating a contractor website that stands out from local competition, you need to be clear about who you are, and you need to be technically solid. After that, it’s just about making sure the right people find you. So, let’s break those initial steps down:
Be Clear About Who You Are
The best way ensure your contractor website stands out from the competition is to be absolutely clear about who you are, and why you’re different. What makes your contracting company better than your local competition? Do you have a hyperfocus on customer experience? Are you really great at communication? Do you offer the best prices, or the best quality? Whatever it is, it should be clear, and it should take a site visitor less than 10 seconds to figure it out. Put the heart of your contracting company at the front and center of that new website, and make it easy for potential clients to see who you are, and what you do best.
Let’s say there’s three major contracting companies in your local area. They all quote competitively, and do the same type of work. However, one of those contractors regularly posts blogs that demystify some of the more confusing aspects of the contracting industry, and they share them to their social media pages. That contractor, all other things being equal, is going to be the contractor who pulls in more, bigger jobs. Why? Because they’ve positioned themselves as an educator, and a resource for potential clients who are looking into hiring a contractor.
Remember that the modern consumer is research-driven and educated. The modern consumer wants to gather as much information as possible before they even consider talking to a salesperson or asking for a quote. By offering up the information they’re already looking for, you become that resource that they go to when they have questions, and you’re more likely to be the first contractor they call when they decide it’s time to start collecting bids.
It’s not enough to just write those educational blogs though, you gotta post ’em too! And not just to your website. You should be sharing your tips, as well as helpful information from other industry leaders to your Facebook, Linkedin, and Twitter accounts, because if no one sees what you’re writing, there’s not much point in writing it. Sharing useful information gets you followers, and it gets more eyes on what you’re putting out. Active social media accounts are also a great way to set yourself apart from contracting competition just by sheer numbers. Most social media platforms prefer users who post regularly, so if you’re posting every week, and your competition posts just every month, you’re likely to have a bit of a leg up when it comes to visibility.
We should caution: don’t use your social media accounts just to talk about you. That’s probably the fastest way to lose followers. Make sure you’re putting out content that’s relevant to your target audience and your ideal buyer. Whether you wrote it, or another industry expert did, the content that you’re sharing should be engaging, interesting, and answer some question your clients often have.
Address Specific Pain Points
Finally, when you’re writing content and developing your contractor website to stand out from local competition, it’s important to remember to address specific pain points. Sure, you finish projects and meet deadlines, but what pain points do your ideal buyers have, and how—specifically—do you work to fix those?
The more you can do to assuage common concerns that your target market is likely to have when it comes to finding a contractor that’s right for them, the more likely you are to get their business. How do you ensure their project is completed to their specifications, and how do you work to maintain a tight schedule? Specific answers to questions that worry consumers the most is a surefire way to set yourself apart from local competition.
While all of the soft skills above will set you apart from the competition when it comes to consumers, you also need to know how to set yourself apart from the competition when it comes to search engines. Anyone building a contractor website would be wise to remember that it’s not only consumers who are looking at your site and its quality—you also have the internet and its bots to contend with. What exactly do we mean here?
Well, on any search engine like Google, spiders, or bots, crawl websites on the internet to search them for information. It’s these bots that decide where on results pages a site will rank, and it’s these bots that tell Google what your site is about. So, when you’re building your contractor website, you also have to make sure you’re building with search engines in mind, and that means taking care of a few technical details.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the first step to ensuring that your website ranks well on search engines. There’s a lot you can do to optimize your site but start by implementing keywords relevant to your contracting business. These keywords should focus on the specific type of contracting work your company does, your location, and terms that your ideal client might be searching for on the internet. Start with keywords, and once you’ve got a handle on those, implement some of these more advanced strategies from our SEO Site Checkup, to make sure your site is ranking as well as possible.
Google My Business Page
One great way to make sure you’re really standing out from any local competition online is to claim your contracting company’s Google listing. If you have a website, Google has probably already made you a stock listing that tells people who and where you are when they search “contractors near me.” To stand out from the crowd, you’ll want to claim that page, which is actually pretty easy to do.
From there, you can customize your Google My Business page any way you want. Add high-resolution photos, office hours, and information about your company that’s optimized around relevant keywords if you want to stand out from the crowd.
Don’t Hate on Ads
Google search and Facebook ads are a sort of brave new world for those in the contracting industry. Since they’re so new and different, many contractors shy away from them, at a loss to themselves. If you want qualified leads in your area to see your contractor website before anyone else’s, the easiest thing to do is invest in Google search and Facebook ads. These two very powerful programs work to make sure your company is put in front of the right people, at the right time, ensuring ROI and new leads.
Though they’re a little bit more complicated than the old standard YellowPages ad, it’s not by much, and the ROI you’ll receive makes them well worth your time. It’s in your best interest to at least check them out because when done properly, they’re guaranteed to put you ahead of local competition.
In the end, a successful contractor website that stands out from local competition is achieved by optimizing the content you create on that website and the tech that supports it. If you can focus on both aspects of your website, and you optimize for keywords your clients are out there searching, you’re sure to see a marked improvement in your contractor website’s ability to draw in and convert new leads.
If you’re excited about boosting your contractor website’s potential, but you’re not sure about implementation, know that Evenbound can help. We’ve worked with a number of small businesses in your industry, and know just what to do to ensure your site stands out from local competition. The best way to see how we can help your contracting company improve is to have a conversation with our President, John Heritage.
Here at Evenbound, we use WordPress for our own website and blog, and we almost always recommend our clients do so as well. For the purposes of digital marketing, WordPress really can’t be beat, and as an all-around website building tool, most of the world agrees. More than 74 million sites on the internet are built through WordPress, making it by far the most popular content management system (CMS) available to anyone. In case you’re still not buying it, think about your favorite big-name websites: CNN, The New York Times, Ebay, BBC America, Bloomberg America, and even Facebook Newsroom. They all use WordPress. Oh and we forgot one: Beyoncé. That’s right, Queen Bey herself uses WordPress to host her content, post recent updates, and keep her millions of fans informed.
All of these major players didn’t just choose WordPress willy-nilly, either, they chose it for a reason. WordPress is easy to use, affordable, and already optimized for SEO, making it an obvious choice for a number of businesses, celebrities, and news stations looking for a comprehensive CMS that’s totally customizable. But we don’t want you to just pick up WordPress because it’s what Beyoncé uses, so we’re going to give you all the reason why WordPress is the right choice for us, and for our digital marketing clients:
One of the most obvious benefits of WordPress is that it’s free. While there are costs and fees associated with using WordPress if you choose to host with them, or upgrade to a higher-level template, anyone can create a WordPress site for free if they want to. What’s more, WordPress offers two versions of their services: WordPress.com for those of us who need something that’s easy and functional for a personal blog or something that’s relatively small, and WordPress.org for people who plan on hosting their website, purchasing a domain name, and running a business through their website. Either way, a WordPress site can be designed and built for little to no money at all.
Simple, Easy Hosting
Another benefit of WordPress is total hosting flexibility. Almost every hosting service out there supports WordPress, and if you have your own server space, you can self-host easily. There’s no trouble with finding a compatible server or host, because it’s built on free, open-source code that’s easily hosted anywhere.
Optimized for Search Engines
One really attractive benefit that’s made WordPress the obvious choice for us is that Google loves WordPress sites. WordPress uses exceptionally clean, easy-to-read code, which makes it simple for Google to index and crawl their sites. WordPress also features a number of plugins that help you optimize your site yourself. The Yoast SEO Plugin is sort of the gold standard for search engine optimization. It allows you to customize your site title, meta description, title tag, and keyword, and then gives you an indication of how well that page will rank. Best of all, it’s free too.
Easy to Maintain and Update
WordPress is a foolproof CMS that anyone can handle. We often have clients who would like to have control of their sites to be able to post their own company updates and make changes to content when it’s necessary, and WordPress makes it easy for them to do so. It’s easy to pick up and understand, and you don’t need to know any code to make updates or post new content. WordPress offers us a great option to hand over to our clients, as it’s not intimidating, and empowers them to be able to use their own websites however they see fit. You can also set security updates and maintenance updates to occur automatically, so you know your site is always well-protected and technologically up-to-date.
Tons of Beautiful Design Options
More than just functionality, WordPress offers a ton of beautiful, clean design options. In a world where appearance and design can make the difference between you and the competition, WordPress makes it easy to stand out. They offer a number of customizable templates to best display your content, whether it’s a weekly blog or an e-commerce site.
Fully Responsive Themes and Mobile Support
WordPress is up on each and every one of the Google Algorithm’s preferences, which is why they offer a number of responsive themes that scale to fit the size of any screen. What’s more, all WordPress sites are supported on mobile devices, meaning you won’t miss out on traffic anywhere.
Flexibility and Customization
WordPress offers more than 50,000 free plugins, which means if there’s anything you want your site to do, that you can’t do as-is, there’s probably a plugin to help you along. Whether you’re looking to embed PDFs or add in another feature, like landing pages or calls to action, WordPress plugins are the solution, ensuring you can always shift or change your site’s capabilities to fit your unique needs. Again, no coding necessary.
WordPress actually started out as a blogging platform, which means content marketing is in the CMS’s blood. It’s one of the best content management systems for blogging out there, which is why you’ll see a ton of big-name news sites using it for their content development. WordPress not only supports blogs, but makes it easy for you to update and change them, schedule them into the future, and share your blog posts to your social media accounts and regular followers.
Easily Connects to Social Media
When it comes to content marketing, promotion is equally as important as development, and WordPress knows that. They make it easy to link each of your company’s social media accounts to your WordPress site, so you can easily share content and updates, and your site visitors can share, comment, like and otherwise engage with anything they really like on your site.
Analytics and Tracking
As digital marketers, analytics and tracking are our end-all-be-all. Analytics tell us where we’re doing things right, and where we need to improve, so we love that WordPress offers those numbers freely and easily. Any WordPress site comes with an analytics panel that will tell you how many people have visited your site, and how often. With the addition of one or two easy plugins, you can also track the success of your calls-to-action and landing pages, to see which of those are performing best, and which need a few tweaks. If you’re looking to optimize the traffic to your site, WordPress is a powerful, free tool to take advantage of.
For us, WordPress makes our lives easier by making site migration a breeze. A number of our clients come to us with a clunky, older website that has content they’d like to preserve, but isn’t updated, user-friendly or built in a modern CMS. WordPress makes it really easy to migrate that old site onto their framework, and give it an immediate facelift and boost in usability, without losing any of the content or authority of the old site.
Offers Familiarity for Consumers
Consumers love a website they don’t have to think about. Since WordPress has been around for so long and is so prolific, most internet users intuitively know how a WordPress site functions, even if they don’t know the site is built in WordPress. The menu placement is familiar, it’s easy to navigate, it loads quickly, and consumers will find content where they expect it to be, which means people will be at ease on your WordPress site. They’ll be comfortable there, and more likely to remain on the page if they already know how the site works.
The ultimate benefit of WordPress is its longevity. It’s already shown that it can adapt to changing consumer and internet demands, and with more than 74 million sites, WordPress has asserted itself as a CMS that’s here to stay. You don’t have to worry about it going out of style, or becoming irrelevant. WordPress regularly updates to maintain current code standards and will continue to do so, making it a safe, long-term investment for your website. It’s easily customized for any new thing you’d like to do with your website, and best of all, it’s Google-approved.
In the end, when we talk about WordPress, the first description that comes to mind is easy. It’s easy to use, easy to implement, easy to change, easy to track, and easy to update. And if you’re considering digital marketing at all, WordPress is definitely the first CMS to consider. It comes with a ton of SEO benefits built-in, and you’ll be able to integrate any and all content marketing best practices with the touch of a button.
If you think WordPress might be the right CMS for you, but you’re not quite sure how to get started, get in touch. We manage our own website on WordPress, as well as most of our clients’ WordPress websites, so we can give you the help you need. Check out the case study below for more information about how a great website can help you move to the top of the market.