Market Your Housing Development with a Sense of Place

Market Your Housing Development with a Sense of Place

When you’re marketing your housing development, you’re not just selling homes. The key to getting buyers interested is selling them on a place and a community. A physical home is just one aspect of purchasing a house, and for most buyers, it’s not even the most important. Sure, any buyer wants a roof over their head, but in most cases, it’s not actually the house you’re selling—it’s the experience of home.

More than anything, buyers are looking for a place to call “home.” A place to raise their kids, a place to grow old, and a place to start a life. If you’re building a housing development, that sense of place is your strongest marketing tool. Use content that speaks to your housing development’s story and sense of community to bolster new homeowner’s confidence in your development. The best way to get eyes on your site and pull homeowners through the buyer’s journey?

Blogging

If we’ve said it once, we’ve said it a hundred times. You need a blog. That’s all there is to it. Without a blog you’re in the same boat as every other Joe Shmoe out there with “new homes for sale” signs stuck on every street corner. A blog not only helps you define your community vision, but it helps you reach qualified buyers more quickly. Think about it:

If you were going to buy a new home, would you drive around looking for “for sale” signs, or would you Google available properties near you?

Unless you’re really stuck in the 20th century, you’re probably going to pick the second option. It’s quick, it’s easy, and you can do it while you’re sitting in your pj’s eating breakfast. Since that’s what the majority of your housing development’s qualified buyers are going to do, it’s important to make sure you come up on that list of search results while they’re looking for a new home. How do you do that? Blogging. 

So, start your blog, and consider posting about the following topics to create an alluring sense of place sure to draw in buyers:

Talk about local events and activities

We’ve already established that your target market is going to Google your area for new homes. They’re also going to want to know what’s happening in your town. They’ll want to know what community activities and events go on regularly, and they’ll be looking to see if they can get a feel of the town before they actually scope out homes or make a move.

If you’re regularly posting about those activities, whether they’re festivals, farmer’s markets, outdoor concerts, or any other sort of community gathering, you’ll start popping up in those search results. The more you post about local happenings, the better you’ll rank for local searches, which means you’ll start to become a go-to source of information for those people who want to know what’s going on in the area. That means you’re also the first place they turn to when they do decide to move.

What does a weekend in your town look like?

Like we mentioned before: when you’re selling a home, you’re really selling potential homeowners on a place and a feeling. They want to know what their life is going to look like if they move to your development. So, post about what life is like in your area. A weekend itinerary is a really popular blog style that consumers love:

Imagine you were visiting your development’s area for just the weekend. What would you do? Where would you eat? In a blog like this, you can highlight both activities and restaurants, giving people a more holistic look at what it’s like to live in your town. Is there a block party going on? Are local breweries hosting live music on Friday night?

Writing a post like this is another great way to drive relevant traffic to your website, while simultaneously creating that sense of place that draws new homeowners in. If you think about it, if you were visiting a new area for a weekend, wouldn’t your search query read like “what do do in “town name” for the weekend”? By answering that question in your blog, you’ll get more eyes on your site, in addition to helping some newcomers learn more about your town and your housing development.

Consider making regular “best of” posts:

What are the best restaurants, breweries, bars, ski hills, hiking trails, etc. in your community? Whether someone is new to the area or thinking about moving, these types of blog posts are the most searched, and the most helpful. They work to position you as an authority on the subject, and as more and more people come to you for their weekend suggestions, you’ll probably also be the one they look to when they finally decide it’s time to purchase a home.

Don’t be afraid to talk about what it’s like to live in your community!

All anyone wants to know before they move somewhere new is what life will be like. If your area or community has local quirks, share them. If there’s something really great about the people in your community, share that too. The more knowledgeable a person feels about your community, the more confident they’ll feel when purchasing a home.

In the end, marketing a housing development really means marketing a community. While a home buyer certainly wants a nice house, it’s intangibles like a welcoming environment and a warm community that really seals the deal. Show your potential residents what your community —not just your floorplan—has to offer, and you’re sure to be at the top of your target buyers’ list.

More questions about marketing your housing development? We’re here to help! We’ve worked with a number of developers, and know what it takes to fill homes and sell lots. You don’t have to take our word for it though: check out the case study below about the results we produced for a previous development client.

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How to Address Negative Reviews Online

How to Address Negative Reviews Online

Testimonials have always been an important source of advertising for home service providers, and most professionals in this field cite referrals and word-of-mouth as major sources of new leads. In the digital era, testimonials haven’t disappeared—they’ve moved online, in the form of online reviews. If you’ve ever looked up a new restaurant on Google, you know how influential reviews can be in deciding whether to eat there and just how catastrophic for business a negative review can be. If you get a negative review of your service online, how can you recover?

Determine Authenticity

The first step is determining the authenticity of the review. There are people out there who will post false, negative reviews, and most places where users can leave reviews, Google, Facebook, Yelp, etc., have means for reporting and removing reviews that are not legitimate. If you can’t get the reviews removed—which is often the case, as it is difficult to impossible to prove, with anonymous usernames and all that, if the reviewers were actually clients or had any experience with your company at all—there are other ways to respond.

Respond Professionally

One way is by posting on your social media about the fake reviews; it’s an experience that others can relate to and can ever be a source of humor, especially if the spammers have awful fake names. Another is by responding to the negative review—in a comment on that review, if possible—politely asking for the reviewer to contact you to clarify and rectify their experience. If the review is fake, the person will never get in touch, but other people reading the reviews will see that you take customer service complaints seriously and will follow up with them.

If the review is real, the first step is seeking to rectify the situation. Respond to the review publicly, as described in the last paragraph, and get in touch with the client directly to ask them how you can make good on the situation. In some cases, if you fix the problem, offer a discount on future services, or offer an apology for the error or poor customer service that compelled them to write the review, the client may choose to delete or amend the review.

What If There’s Nothing I Can Do?

If there’s nothing you can or will do to satisfy this negative reviewer for whatever reason, whether because they can’t be satisfied or the issue was monumental, you’re not doomed to sit in one-star purgatory forever. The thing about reviews is that the more you have, the less each individual one counts in the average, just like with grades in school. If you get a C on the test and it’s the only grade in the class, you’ve got a C in the class; but if you got a C on the test but all your other grades were As, you might make out with an A or B in the class. Same applies to reviews. So, solicit positive reviews from other clients, ones you know are satisfied with your service.

Bad reviews suck, and they can have a negative effect on potential customers, especially now that so many people are researching home service pros online, but they aren’t the end-all, be-all. If you get a negative review, determine its authenticity and respond accordingly by addressing the review itself and bolstering your rating with good reviews.

Online reviews are just one part of a strong online presence and digital strategy for home service providers. If you’re ready to improve your digital presence and marketing efforts, it’s time to talk with Evenbound.

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Topic Clusters: The Future of Content Marketing

Topic Clusters: The Future of Content Marketing

In case you haven’t noticed, the machines are getting smarter. And while we’re not at Terminator levels of intelligence yet, some of the tools we use to search and market every day have begun to understand search context and speech semantics.  As Google’s search capability improves, search engine users are able to submit queries that are more natural. The average user these days feels totally comfortable asking Google a complete, complex question, because the search engine can now parce semantics, and is able to provide results that answer those questions directly. What does that mean for inbound marketers?

Basically, it means that our content can be more intuitive. As Google continues to make user-focused improvements to their algorithm, their search bots are favoring content that’s written for people over content that’s written to rank well. That means that keyword-stuffed content is definitely out, and it also means repetitive, keyword focused content isn’t going to be as valuable as content that’s genuinely helpful. Search algorithms have reached a point where they can understand what keyword your content is centered around, even if you don’t use that specific keyword anywhere in your blog. This is where topic clusters come in.

What’s a Topic Cluster, and How Can it Help Inbound Marketers?

Topic clusters are a new method of content marketing designed to capitalize on newer consumer search habits. Created and announced by Hubspot—a leading inbound marketing authority—topic clusters work to boost your website’s ranking power, and help your site users reach your content more easily. Topic clusters take note of new search algorithm behaviors, and propose a more effective way of tailoring your content marketing strategy for higher SERP rankings and better readability for search engines and human users.

If your company has a blog, implementing topic clusters can help you improve the authority of your website, as you simultaneously improve the user experience of your blog for your clients. Essentially, topic clusters are dedicated clusters of information that all relate to one central “pillar page.” Let’s use the Evenbound website as an example. We’ve been optimizing our blog to take advantage of topic clusters lately, and at this point, have our blog centered around 7 major topics, or pillar pages:

  • Inbound marketing
  • Content marketing
  • Lead generation
  • PPC and Paid Advertising
  • SEO
  • Social Media
  • Website Design

If you’re familiar with Evenbound, you’ll know that each of these topics is a service that we provide for our clients. Each one of these topics also has a dedicated top-level page on our website, that answers all of the basic questions a consumer might have about the topic. For us, each of these pages is a separate pillar page, forming the central point for each content cluster. The rest of our blog posts are linked to the pillar page they’re the most relevant to.

For example:

Inbound marketing is the pillar page. Cluster content would be any blog that’s related to inbound marketing, but gives our audience more in-depth information about a specific aspect of content marketing. Some cluster content for inbound marketing would include:

  • Content Creation Tools
  • How to Write a Content Calendar
  • An In-Depth Guide to Inbound Marketing
  • Why Blogging is Important
  • How to Shift Your Sales Team from Outbound to Inbound

Each one of these blogs then links back to our pillar page: Inbound Marketing

This method of organizing our content strategy helps search engines catalog our site. Since each cluster topic links back to the pillar page, we boost the authority of that pillar page. This organization strategy also helps search engines better categorize our site. Since each blog that’s related to content marketing links back to the content marketing pillar page, search engine bots can more easily crawl each of those pages, understanding that each blog that links to that pillar page will offer more, in-depth content about the topic of content marketing.

Implementing Topic Clusters

The point of topic clusters is to help you rank highly for keywords you have the most authority on. Before topic clusters, you may have chosen a keyword, and then written a number of blogs about that same keyword. While this used to work well in the past, with today’s algorithm, you’ll just end up with a bunch of blogs that are competing with each other for the same keyword. This makes it confusing for search engine bots to decide which of your pages deserves the higher rank, and it doesn’t do much to collectively boost the power of your website. With topic clusters, you can essentially pool all of the authority gained from each of your blog posts and content-rich site pages, for a higher rank overall. But, how do you do it?

Start with Pillar Pages

The best place to start building your content clusters is your pillar pages. These are going to be pages that provide a lot of information, but have a very general keyword. Don’t pick a page with a long-tail keyword here, go for something more generic that speaks to your target audience.

For example, one of our pillar pages is Inbound Marketing. The page provides a ton of content, and answers basic questions that anyone would want to know about inbound marketing, like what it is, how it works, and who uses it. If you’re not sure what a pillar page would look like on your website, think about the services you provide. Do you have a page for each of those services, explaining what it is, and how it works? If you’re a home services contractor, you might have separate services pages for roofing, decks, and kitchen renovations. Each of those pages would make a great pillar page to center the rest of your topic clusters around.

Brainstorm Cluster Topics

Cluster topics should be related to your pillar page, but should each be focused on a different, more specific topic. If you chose roofing for a pillar page, potential cluster topics might be: “how to fix a leaky roof,” “when it’s time to replace your roof,” or “10 ways to choose the right roof for your home”. These topics are all about roofing residential homes, but they offer your site viewers more information that’s relevant to their everyday questions about roofing.

Write, and Link

Once you’ve got some solid topics for your topic clusters, it’s time to write and post that content to your website. Don’t forget to link to your pillar page! The most important part of topic clusters is proper linking, because that’s what tells search engines that a blog is related to your pillar content, and helps ensure that the authority each blog gains is passed onto your pillar page. This is the best way to build your site’s authority, and make sure you’re ranking as highly as possible for the keywords that are most important to your company.

Pro Tip: Choose the same anchor text to link to your pillar page in every topic cluster post. For example, when we write subtopics for our Content Marketing pillar page, we always link to that page with the words “Content Marketing.” This helps your readers, and search engine bots, identify where the link will take them, and it can boost your ranking for those keywords.

Reorganizing an Existing Blog

What if you already have a blog, but you want to take advantage of this new, totally helpful, very powerful way of content marketing? Do you need to delete all of your content and start over?

Thankfully, no. But you will have to put a little time and effort into restructuring your content so that it all links together in a logical way. The more straightforward your internal links, the easier it will be for search engine bots to crawl and categorize your site.

Start With One Pillar Page

Decide what just one of your pillar pages will be. Then go through your blog’s existing content, and be sure to link any blogs that are relevant to that pillar page. If you have multiple blogs on the same topic, consider combining them together for one longer, more helpful blog that’s easy to find and offers a wealth of information to your readers. When you’ve made it all the way through your blog by combining similar posts, deleting duplicate information, and linking relevant content to your pillar page, then you can start on another pillar page!

Once you get the hang of it, topic clusters are actually surprisingly easy, and they can do a lot to help you boost your blog and website’s overall ranking power. It’s a new method of content marketing that capitalizes on current consumer search trends, and new search engine categorizing technology. By implementing topic clusters, you’ll be providing your site viewers with an easy-to-navigate content strategy that simultaneously boosts the search engine ranking of each of your pillar pages.

If topic clusters still seem a little intimidating, check out the helpful diagrams provided by Hubspot for a visual explanation of topic clusters, or get in touch with us! Inbound marketing is kind of our thing, so we’re always happy to help if you’ve got questions about your blogging or topic cluster linking strategy. If you’re looking for help with your inbound marketing strategy, see how we helped this company rise to the top with our unique strategy:

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HA’s Inbound Marketing Vocab List

HA’s Inbound Marketing Vocab List

Whether you’re new to inbound marketing or have been in the game awhile, it never hurts to bulk up on your inbound knowledge. The inbound marketing industry has a ton of terms and vocab words that aren’t used anywhere else, so if you’ve always wondered what ROI or PPC stand for, we’ve got answers. Let this be your ultimate Inbound Marketing Vocabulary list, with simple definitions to some of the most common inbound marketing terms:

A/B Testing

A method of testing different variables of your marketing materials to see which option encourages a better response from site viewers and users. A great example of A/B testing is trying out different colors on your call-to-action button to see which color gets a better response rate.

Analytics

When it comes to inbound marketing, analytics are the numbers we monitor to see how our site and inbound marketing strategy is working. Site analytics tell you how many people have visited your website, where those visitors are coming from, and what pages they’re looking at. Analytics on social media posts and digital advertisements tell you how many people have interacted with your posts and ads. We monitor analytics to see which inbound marketing efforts are successful, and which could use a little bit more work.

B2B

B2B stands for the words “business to business.” This refers to a business that provides a good or service for another business, rather than for the average consumer. Manufacturers who create materials that other companies use to build a bigger object, like a car, are a good example of B2Bs.

B2C

B2C stands for the words “business to consumer.” This is the type of business that provides goods or services directly to consumers, like a clothing or grocery store.

Bounce Rate

A bounce rate is a type of analytic that measures how long a site visitor stays on your webpage. A short bounce rate means that people aren’t staying on your website for very long, and are “bouncing off.” We use this analytic to tell us which pages of our website could use a little bit more work to draw more viewers in for longer.

Call-to-Action

Also known as a CTA, a call to action is a button that encourages a site visitor to take an action, and become a lead. Usually a CTA comes along with a form that captures a visitor’s contact information. The CTA will encourage visitors to download a content offer, subscribe to a newsletter, or call a company for more information.

Click-Through Rate

A click-through rate or CTR is the analytic used to measure how often people click through to your website or landing page from an ad or search engine. A higher click-through number means more people are making it to your site from your ad, and marks a more successful ad or landing page.

Conversion

In inbound marketing, a conversion happens when someone who’s just casually visiting your site fills out an information form, clicks a call to action, and becomes a lead. They become a lead once you have their information, and the fact that they were willing to convert means they’re likely more interested in the product or service you have to offer.

Content Calendar

A content calendar is a calendar that outlines your blog topics or content ideas for a certain period of time. Typically, a content calendar will include a post title, a description, a keyword, and a date that the content should be posted.

Content Clusters

A newer term, content clusters are a way of organizing your content marketing strategy for optimal linking and client understanding. You start with a pillar page of content, which provides a general overview of one topic that’s important to your target buyer. Then, you link other, more in-depth content pages about that same topic to the pillar page. That way, visitors can choose what they want to know more about, or they can opt for a simple overview. It’s an easy way to organize content that makes sense for search engines and human readers.

Content Marketing

Content marketing is one of the key ways to support a strong inbound marketing plan. It’s a way of putting helpful content out on your blog, your social media platforms, and in your emails that solves pain points of your target audience, and draws them further into your website, increasing the chances that they convert to leads.

Evergreen Content

Evergreen content is any kind of content, whether it’s a photo, blog, or infographic, that’s always relevant to your key buyer. This is content that doesn’t have a season and is always true and helpful. Evergreen content is a big part of an effective content marketing strategy because you can use it any time. It’s highly shareable, easy to link to, and the perfect content for when you need to get something out in a pinch.

Keyword

Keywords are probably the most well-known inbound marketing vocab term, but they’re simply words you want to rank well for on search engines. For example, if you’re a local roofer, keywords like asphalt roof, GAF shingles, and roofers in MyTown, USA, would be relevant words you’d want to rank for. For an effective keyword strategy, you’ll want to do some research to make sure you’re ranking for words your target audience is searching for.

Landing Page

A landing page is the page site visitors “land’ on when they click through from a search engine or advertisement. Effective landing pages usually have a form and a call-to-action button so that they can easily convert site viewers to leads.

Lead

A lead is a site viewer that has converted by submitting their contact information. Typically, leads are established after they sign up for a newsletter or download a gated content offer, and have to submit their email address in return for the content.

Mobile Optimization

Mobile optimization refers to the practice of ensuring your website and digital content show up attractively on mobile devices. It also refers to making your mobile site more indexable by Google’s search engines. Since more and more consumers are using mobile devices to search the web, mobile optimization is increasingly important.

Organic search result

An organic search result is one that shows up naturally on search engine results pages based on Google’s algorithm ranking. Organic results are not paid for, and organic results that show up on the first page of results are the most desirable, as they’re the most likely to receive clicks.

PPC

PPC stands for “pay-per-click,” a style of Google advertising in which businesses create ads, but only pay for the advertisement if someone clicks on it. For pay-per-click ads, you can bid on certain keywords that are relevant to your products or services.

ROI

ROI stands for “return on investment.” A relatively simple ratio, your return on investment is the money you net, minus the money you spend on your inbound marketing strategy. Inbound marketing offers a notoriously high ROI when implemented properly, because it doesn’t cost much, but can be leveraged to boost your revenue exponentially.

Target buyer/audience

Your target buyer or target audience is essentially your ideal client. They’re the person who definitely needs your product or service, and has the funds to pay for it. Most inbound marketing strategies are formed around the pain points and lifestyle of each business’s target buyer or audience.

We hope this vocab list helps figure out some of the more difficult industry terms. If you’ve got any more questions about inbound marketing, whether you want to know how it works, or how it can work for you, be sure to get in touch.

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How Landing Pages Increase Conversions for Housing Developers

How Landing Pages Increase Conversions for Housing Developers

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:

No nav

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.

Short content

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.

Clear offer

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.

Quality button

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.

Reasonable form

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.

Clean design

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:

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