SEO vs. Social Media Marketing

SEO vs. Social Media Marketing

When it comes to digital marketing, you’ve got a lot of options to choose from to drive sales. There’s paid advertising on engines like Google, there’s paid advertising on social media sites, there are ways to drive organic traffic through your website, and there are equally as many ways to drive engagement through social media. With all the options, it’s tough to figure out which methods might be right for your company, and how much time and money to invest in each.

For this blog post, we’re going to focus primarily on SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and SMM (Social Media Marketing), the two free ways to drive traffic and boost sales. We get the most questions about these two digital marketing methods, likely because they’re the cheapest ways to get eyes on your site, and they’re the two methods that are the most proven.

The Breakdown

Most often, people want to know which method is right for them: SEO or SMM. And it makes sense. You don’t want to spend time or money on a digital marketing method that won’t produce the best ROI for your company. But unfortunately, a solution isn’t as easy as picking one or the other. No matter what it is you’re selling, a quality digital marketing strategy makes use of both SEO and SMM strategies. Think of it like this:

SEO is the bones of your operation. First and foremost, you’re catering to the robots that run the Google algorithm, because without their favor, your site will never see the light of day.

SMM is the skin, hair, and makeup. It’s what gives your company a personality, and it’s ultimately what attracts actual people to your website when they trust you as an authority in your industry.

Unfortunately, one can’t exist without the other. If you think about it, when you offer deck repairs and someone types in “deck repair near me” into Google, it’s quality SEO that’s going to make sure your website pops up on the first page of search results. But if you’re looking to get the word out about your deck repair company, social media marketing is what is going to build your following, and let people know that you exist in the first place, before they even head to Google.

So, it’s important to remember that the question isn’t “which one should I use”, but “how should I combine my SEO and SMM efforts to produce the greatest results for me?”

And that question isn’t as easily answered.

Getting Started with SEO

If you’re just starting out, we always recommend you focus on basic SEO. Make sure your site is at least visible to Google, because if Google can’t see your site, no one can see your site. For more info on SEO basics, be sure to check out our Complete Guide to Inbound Marketing. Again, SEO is the bones of your operation, and you need to have quality SEO to have a foundation where you can drive your social media marketing finds. Make sure your website is functional and up-to-date. It should be responsive and user-friendly, so people who make it to your site don’t just bounce right off.

Then focus on creating content that will help you rank for a number of keywords important to you company. Again, you have to rank for people to see your site. Social media marketing is an awesome way to raise awareness about your company, but it’s important to remember that it doesn’t contribute to positive rankings in any way, and it doesn’t typically get more eyes on your site. SEO typically draws fewer people in, but it’s more effective at converting the people who do make it to your site to customers. So developing SEO content means developing content that solves pain points, and targets keywords. With a base of quality content like this, you can begin to start SMM.

Adding in Quality SMM

Remember that SMM doesn’t mean just creating a Facebook page. Facebook is a graveyard of well-intentioned business pages that no one ever posted to. Just because you have a Facebook page doesn’t mean you’re going to get followers. SMM means creating a Facebook page, and creating community around that. Focus on generating content that makes people want to interact with you, rather than buy something from you. If you build or remodel homes, post pictures of your projects and invite people to comment. If you’re a lawyer, consider posting fun infographics that breakdown complex legal concepts into easy bite-sized pieces of info, and ask for people to tell you if it makes the concept easier for them to understand. Remember that the primary goal of SMM is to create a community, rather than sell things.

SMM is quick and fleeting. Someone sees your social media post on Facebook or Twitter, and they share it or like it. Most often, SMM doesn’t actually send many people to your site. It functions more to create a community around your company, increasing your reach and alerting this online community that you exist. The goal of SMM is to build a presence that can later be harnessed for sales. Search engine optimization has a much more transactional approach of getting eyes on your page. SEO is focused on converting people who do eventually wind up on your site, while SMM works to make sure people know your site and your business exist, even if they don’t go to it.

SEO + SMM = The Ultimate Win

SMM functions as a sort of long game. You’re developing a community around your company’s social media presence, and once that community comes to trust you as an authority in your field, and someone they genuinely enjoy interacting with, they’ll convert to clients when they eventually need your services.

SEO ensures that when there are people who need your services right now, your site is discoverable. A combination of SMM and SEO ensure you’re playing on both fields: the immediate, right now leads, and the long-game: that social media community who will eventually become lifetime clients.

Any quality digital marketing strategy combines both search engine optimization and social media marketing, to ensure you’re catering to both the robots who shape the digital platform your site lives on, and the actual people you need to buy your product and service.

We get that digital marketing strategies are complex, often confusing concepts. If you have more questions on properly harnessing the powers of both SEO and SMM, don’t hesitate to reach out. Evenbound has been in the game for years now, and we’d be happy to help you figure out how to best combine your search engine optimization with your social media marketing strategies.

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Why Mobile Traffic is a Home Builder’s Bread and Butter

Why Mobile Traffic is a Home Builder’s Bread and Butter

Mobile traffic is any home builder’s bread and butter. Why? Well, we’re about to tell you. Suffice it to say that if your home building company has a website, it needs to be mobile responsive. The general reason is because almost everyone is searching on their mobile devices these days, but there are a ton of benefits to having a mobile responsive website, especially for homebuilders. Here are a few more reasons why you should care about mobile traffic, and why it’s in your best interest to ensure you’re optimizing your site for those mobile viewers:

Everyone is on Mobile

The most obvious reason that mobile traffic is important to home builders is the fact that mobile searches now account for more than 60% of all web traffic out there. That number is only going to grow. Studies have shown that the average web user heads to their mobile device the minute they think of something they might need. They conduct an initial search, do a bit of research on the product, and then finally switch to their desktop to make the final purchasing decision. While desktop traffic will never go out completely, most users are more likely to pick up their smartphone to gather initial information about whatever they’re searching.

What’s more, today 77% of all adults now own a smartphone, which means that more and more of those mobile searches are going to happen. Smartphones are convenient, they’re right in your pocket, and they can get you answers in under a second. Your home building company should be interested in mobile traffic simply because it is the largest portion of all traffic on the web today.  

Sets You Apart From the Competition

If we keep in mind the regular web searcher’s methodology: starting a search with their phone and transferring to a computer once they’ve made a decision, it’s obvious that having a mobile responsive site can do a lot to set you apart from the competition. Sure, no one is going to buy a house on their phone. However, most people are going to start the search for a new home on their phone. And if you have a mobile responsive site and your competitor doesn’t, then you’re going to be the one that gets the first chance at those clients. A mobile responsive site gives you the leg up, ensuring your site is the first one your potential clients see.

Google, always Google

It’s very rare that we post a blog that doesn’t have something to do with Google, and this blog is no different. Because Google is the all-powerful gatekeeper to internet search results, it makes sense that they’ve weighed in on the mobile vs. desktop situation, and have come down on the side of mobile traffic. In December of 2016, Google introduced their mobile-first indexing update, which essentially told web owners that they were going to start indexing mobile sites before desktop sites.

This basically means that Google analyzes and ranks mobile sites before anything else, which gives more ranking power to mobile sites over desktop sites. So, if you only have a desktop site, or you have a desktop site and a pared-down version of that for a mobile site, you’re likely to get a bump down in rankings. If you’re looking to rank well as a home builder in your area, it’s important to have a mobile responsive site that caters to all those mobile users, as well as Google’s indexing algorithm.

Mobile Users Share

Finally, mobile traffic is any home builder’s bread and butter for the express reason that mobile users share. If you think about your own web use, are you more often looking at social media on your phone, or your computer? If you’re like most people, you look at sites like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter primarily on your phone. Those sites are the places people most often share content, from photos they like to articles they found interesting and useful.

So, another reason to optimize your home building site for mobile is to take advantage of those high sharing numbers that mobile traffic brings. Homebuilders are especially great for mobile traffic because you do have such shareable content. If you post before and after pictures of projects or showcase the insides of some of your model homes or recently designed projects, you’re setting yourself up for a lot of sharing. That sort of content is exactly what the average web browser loves to look at, and is likely to share with their friends. If you make that content available to them on their mobile devices, you’ll be able to capitalize on the sharing nature of mobile users, ensuring your content reaches more and more people and grows your home building company’s reach.

Getting Started

There’s no questioning the fact that mobile traffic can do a lot to boost a home builder’s digital presence, but where do you start? If you know you need a site that’s mobile responsive, but don’t have one or aren’t sure how to optimize the one you’ve got, don’t worry. It’s actually a lot easier than you might think to get a mobile version of your site up and running. Most web templates, especially if you’re using WordPress or SquareSpace, are already set up for mobile responsiveness. Just make sure yours supports multiple screen sizes, and you’re probably good to go.

While just making sure your site supports multiple browser sizes is the biggest concern, you’ll also want to check that your mobile pages load quickly and that you’re providing a quality user experience by eliminating large pop-ups and streamlining your site’s menu. 

Optimizing your home building website for mobile traffic doesn’t have to be difficult, and once you do it, you’re sure to see a marked improvement in your site’s overall performance. If you still have questions about boosting your digital presence or qualified lead generation, be sure to get in touch. Evenbound has cracked the code to digital marketing for home builders, and we’d be happy to help you optimize your website for mobile traffic and qualified leads. To see how our unique digital marketing strategy delivers impressive results for local home builders and construction professionals, be sure to check out the case study below.
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Link Building – Should You Care?

Link Building – Should You Care?

There’s always a lot of swirling opinions on the internet about what Google still uses to rank websites, and what they don’t. While only Google’s algorithm knows exactly what it’s measuring to rank your website, there are a few things SEO experts have come to agree on as key factors in search engine results page rankings. And yes, one of those things is still the number of quality links that exist to your page. While it’s great to have links to external sites within your own pages, Google still uses the number of legitimate websites who are linking to you, to determine how worthy you are of a higher page rank.

In the past, SEO experts and webmasters alike have attempted to hack this factor of page ranking with various “link building” techniques, some of which worked, and some of which really didn’t. It’s good to know that while you’re researching link building, you should really only trust blogs and content about link building that have been published in the past year. Google always updates their algorithms regularly, but the past few years especially have seen massive, internet revolutionizing updates that also affect how you should go about link building.

Because of those updates, it has become really tricky to link build in a way that doesn’t end up in a Google site penalization. Older tricks like posting links to your page in the comments section, guest blogging, and most definitely link-building schemes, will only result in the penalization of your site by Google. So, since link building still matters for page rank, how can you do it in a way that’s above-board, and will get you the links you want, without a Google penalization?

Have Something Worth Linking To

The absolute best way to get legitimate links is to first have something people want to link to. Whether you’ve got an e-commerce site with cool products, or your site has a number of interesting, informational content pages like blogs posts and how-to’s, the only way you’ll get people to link to those pages is if they like what you have to offer, and if it makes their lives easier in some way. So, if you’ve got a basic website with no blog, and nothing to make it interesting to others in your industry, it’s unlikely that anyone will organically link to you. On the other hand, if you’ve established yourself as an authority in your industry, and offer a great deal of helpful content on your website, you’re more likely to get some quality links.

Build a Community Around Your Content

The best, easiest way to build links is to have people organically link to your pages of their own free will. When you have quality content that speaks to your target audience, you’ll start to build a community of followers. Those followers will check in regularly to read any new content you’ve got, and the more they do, the greater the opportunity that someone will link or share your page.

When someone likes your website and your page content, they’re more likely to link to your page when they create their own content. That sort of linking is the best you can get: people who genuinely like what you have to offer, and want to tell their own followers about it. Unfortunately, it’s not that efficient, and it requires a great deal of relying on other people. While it’s possibly the best way to get links, there’s no guaranteeing when or if it will happen. So, if you’re not comfortable relying on just organic links, the following steps might help:

Ask Nicely

Once you’ve got content on your site that people might actually want to link to, go ahead and ask people nicely! Reach out to other website owners in your industry who hold a bit of authority to ask if they’d consider linking to a certain page or blog post on your website. The best way to go about this efficiently is to follow these three steps:

Set up Templates

It’s not wrong to have a general template that goes out to each person you ask to link to your website. There’s no point in reinventing the wheel twice, so draft a really great email that talks about your company and why the page you’re requesting they link to should mean something to them. What’s more, offer to link to their site in return. People are more likely to agree when there’s something in it for them. Be sure to include your contact information, along with a sincere thank you.

Personalize

While it’s great to have a standard template, it’s important that you’re still personalizing each email according to who you’re sending it to. At the very least, each email should be addressed to one specific person in the company, and ideally, your email’s intro paragraph should mention something specific about them that drew you to their website. The more general your address, the less likely you are to get a response. People get millions of emails a day, and if it doesn’t seem like your email was meant specifically for them, they’ll probably delete it.

Don’t Mass Email

Finally, once you’re ready to send out your request emails, be sure you don’t mass email. There’s nothing worse than getting an email asking you to do someone a personal favor, only to see that 25 other people also got the same exact email. It often comes across as rude, and most people won’t respond when they realize your email wasn’t meant just for them. What’s more, try to send your requests to just one person in the company, especially if you’re using a template. People in the same office do actually talk, and if multiple employees get the same exact email, they’re likely to think it’s some sort of scam.

Never Buy Links

As a final, cautionary note, we’d just like to remind you that it’s always, always bad practice to buy links. No matter how legitimate the company seems, if you buy links your site will face penalties. Google constantly updates their algorithm to sniff out link-buying activity and will flag your site almost immediately if you do buy links. The best way to build links is to do it organically, either by building a community around your site’s content or by asking others in your industry to link to your site.

We get it, link building is a tricky subject. It always has been, and it probably will continue to be, so long as Google uses it as a ranking factor. That said, there are good, white hat methods to go about link building, that can work to get you those links you’re looking for without danger of penalization. If you’re feeling wary of link building, or you’d like a little advice on how you could boost your site’s search engine rankings, get in touch. Search engine optimization is kind of our job, and we’d be happy to help you figure out how best to boost your rankings.

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5 Myths about Digital Marketing for Custom Home Builders

5 Myths about Digital Marketing for Custom Home Builders

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!

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Real Estate Developers: Boosting your Facebook Following

Real Estate Developers: Boosting your Facebook Following

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:

Post photos

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.

Video Tours

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.

Ask questions

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.

Contests

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.

Get active!

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:
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