Pay-per-click ad campaigns are one of the best ways to generate immediate, qualified traffic and leads for home builders. They’re a top outbound marketing method because they’re amazing at getting your name out there, especially for keywords you know your target buyer is searching for. The only problem is, PPC isn’t inherently geared for local sales.
If you bid on the keyword, “quality custom home builder,” it’s likely that your ad shows up in the search results pages of a searcher in Texas, which doesn’t do you much good if you work in Michigan. Many home builders have started to combat this by bidding on keywords that include their location, like “custom home builder Grand Rapids,” but that’s just the start of a quality PPC campaign that targets local leads. To make sure you’re getting the biggest number of qualified, local leads, here are a few tips to optimize your home building PPC strategy:
Pick the right city
If you’re in home building, you know that for many builders, the city they advertise in isn’t always the city they actually build in. For example, we’re centered in Grand Haven, but many of the builders out here advertise themselves as Grand Rapids builders because Grand Rapids is a bigger city with a bigger pool of potential homebuyers. So before you even start your local PPC strategy, you need to decide which city names you want to bid on. It’s a good idea to do some keyword research first, to figure out what people are actually searching, and what your competitors are bidding the most on.
For example, if you specialize in bigger, urban homes, it probably does make sense for you to target those searching for home builders in GR. But if your niche is smaller family homes out in the country, then it might make more sense to advertise your building company in smaller area cities, like Hudsonville, Coopersville, Spring Lake, and Grand Haven. So, do some testing to see which cities get the most qualified traffic for your company, and go with those.
Choose low competition, high search volume keywords
In the same vein, you want to choose keywords that have low competition, but high search volume, as you’ll have to pay less to run those campaigns. If every builder in the area is bidding on general terms like “Builder in Grand Rapids,” you’ll have to pay a lot of money for leads that might not actually be that qualified. Whereas if you pick a long-tail keyword like, “affordable custom homes Spring Lake” you’ll pay for less clicks, but you’ll get more qualified traffic. Sure, less people are going to search for that long tail keyword, but the people who do are going to fit right into your niche clientele, and they’re going to be closer to making a purchasing decision than someone who clicks on a very general, “builder in GR” search result.
Location-based ad extensions
Google, in its infinite wisdom, continues to improve search results in favor of user experience. In their work to make searches turn up the best results for searchers, they’ve implemented location-based ad extensions, so local businesses with Adwords campaigns can display location information like address, business hours, and even how long it will take the searcher to get to your office. By implementing location-based ad extensions in your Adwords campaign, when someone searches “custom home builders near me” or some other location-related keyword you’ve bid on, your search result will come up similar to the one below, one of our own clients in the GR area:
As you can see, below the desktop ad itself, Google has placed the location of the Whitmore Homes office, as well as their phone number and their hours. This extension works even better on mobile, because each piece of information becomes clickable. So, clicking on the address would take users to a map, clicking on the phone number would dial up Whitmore Homes, and clicking on the information button would give a potential client necessary information about when the company is open, and what it is that they do. This is easily one of the best ways to get your company more local traffic from paid searches. Check Google’s site for more info on how to implement location based ad extensions in your PPC campaign.
Make your landing pages mobile-friendly
An insane amount of all internet traffic these days is conducted on mobile devices. If your PPC ads take visitors to a landing page that isn’t optimized for mobile, you’re going to lose money. By optimizing a landing page for mobile, you make it faster, more user-friendly, and better fitted to a smaller screen. This means that mobile users can navigate to, and around, that page easily, ensuring they’re more likely to convert. If your landing pages aren’t optimized, you’re going to lose leads as soon as that page doesn’t load in 10 seconds on their smartphones.
Have multiple landing pages
In addition to having mobile-friendly landing pages, you should have different landing pages corresponding to different PPC ads. Remember that not all of your visitors are going to come to your site ready to buy, so it’s a good idea to have landing pages that address each step of the buyer’s journey. Obviously, you’re looking to find people in the decision making stage, but some of the long-tail keywords you’re bidding on might target visitors who are just in the awareness or consideration stages. Make sure you have landing pages that address each of these visitors as well, so you can capture their contact information, offer them quality content that pulls them through to the decision making stage, and improve the number of leads you’re generating over time.
Landing pages should match ads
In the same vein as the above point, you want to have multiple landing pages, but they have to match the ad they’re put with. You can’t have an ad that promotes a really awesome coupon for local clients, and then lead them to a landing page where they can download an ebook on how to perfect their ideal floorplan. This will only frustrate the visitors who do follow your PPC ads, and deter them from coming back to your site. So, in addition to having multiple landing pages, make triple-sure that each of those landing pages match the ad they’re attached to. You’d be surprised at how often these sorts of mistakes happen, but double-checking is a key way to make sure you’re not accidentally losing potential clients.
Another very successful way to run paid local ads is to implement a remarketing campaign. If you’ve ever gone online shopping and ditched your cart, remarketing is the reason ads keep popping up on Facebook and Google for the exact things you had in your cart when you ditched. For homebuilders, remarketing can also be successful, especially if you link your remarketing campaigns to your “Contact Us” or “Request a Quote” page. This way, whenever a visitor seems ready to convert to a lead, but leaves the page before filling out your contact form, they’ll be reminded later of that decision when your remarketing ad pops up on their social media page.
It’s a great way to keep your company fresh in clients’ minds, and it’s also a good practice for targeting local leads, because it’s likely to be locals who were researching your website in the first place.
If you’ve got more questions about optimizing your home building company’s PPC strategy to generate more local leads, don’t hesitate to get in touch. We specialize in inbound marketing strategies for custom home builders, and would be happy help answer any questions you’ve got. To see how HA Digital Marketing has generated massive results for other home builders, check out the case study below:
When you’re working to market your home building company, you’re looking for the right kinds of clients. In general, most home builders are looking to break into a market at a higher price point, and that’s not always easy to do. There’s so much competition in the housing market these days, and it’s tough to compete with builders who’ve been serving that particular market for years. It comes down to establishing yourself as a quality builder in the market you’re looking to target, and getting the word out about your home building company to exactly the types of home buyers you’re looking for. So whether you’re looking to build in the $1 million price point or the $500,00, here’s how to make sure you’re creating content that targets the right people, and pulls in the right jobs to set your company apart in your desired market:
Set a Buyer Persona
To create content that reaches your ideal buyer, you first have to know who your ideal buyer is. This is perhaps the most important step when it comes to content creation for home builders. If you create content for the wrong buyer, you won’t get the jobs you want, and you may be forced to fill your schedule with projects that don’t really fit your company’s niche. So before you do anything, do some research.
What does your ideal buyer look like? Are they a young couple looking to start a family? Or maybe the buyer with the money to build one of your homes is an empty-nester who hasn’t yet retired. You may end up with more than one buyer persona, but we recommend you limit yourself to three, for now. This is because your buyer personas need to be thorough. You have to know what that buyer makes, what they do for a living, what they do in their free time, how many kids they have, and have a general sense of what they’re looking for when it comes to their new home.
It’s also important to figure out who the decision maker is. Even if you typically work with couples, it’s likely that one of them has a bigger say when it comes to who they want to hire to build their home. Once you’ve figured out who’s most likely to be searching for your business online, you can start to create content that directed towards them.
Creating Content that Works
After determining your target buyer persona, it’s time to actually create the content. Whether your website hosts a blog (which we highly recommend) or you’re just creating content for your social media or Houzz accounts, it’s important that you’re putting out content that has legitimate value for your target buyer. What sorts of questions are they likely to ask, and what information might help them get closer to choosing a home builder? You’re looking to create content that’s thorough and shareable. Thorough content answers people’s questions in a way that’s satisfying, and shareable content ensures that your name gets more and more visibility on the internet.
Remember that you can’t just create quality content whenever you feel like it. We know you’re busy, and content creation is something that’s likely to get pushed to the wayside. But when you’re only posting once every two or three months, it doesn’t give clients a lot of confidence in your communication abilities, and it will hurt you when it comes to search engines. Google likes websites that post regularly, and social media platforms prefer users who keep up their presence at least on a weekly basis. So if you’re going to create content that truly gets the attention of your target buyer, then make sure you’re putting it out on a regular basis.
Post that Content at the Right Time
In addition to ensuring that you create the right content, regularly, it’s a good idea to put some thought into when you post that content. There are definitely times when more people are on social media sites, like at lunch time and in the late afternoon when work hits a lull. But it’s important to determine when your target buyer is online. For this, you might have to do a bit of research, but just knowing your ideal buyer’s daily routine might help as well.
For example, if your target buyer is a high-powered businessman, you might be best served putting out content early in the morning, when he’s reading the news or going over emails, or late in the evening, when he’s finally getting home from work. Oppositely, if your ideal buyer is a stay-at-home mom, you’re probably going to get more engagement in the afternoon after she’s finished a lot of her daily errands, and the kids are still at school.
Put a bit of time into researching when your ideal buyers are online, and make sure you’re posting content when they’re sure to see it. With so many people online and on social media these days, it’s easy to get lost in the sea of everyone posting and sharing content. When you optimize the times that you post through research, you have a better chance of making your content visible, and pulling in some of those ideal buyers with your quality content.
Engage on Houzz and HomeAdvisor
Home service directories like Houzz, HomeAdvisor, and Angie’s List are the ideal place to interact with people who already want to learn from what you have to say. These directories are full of people gathering ideas for their new home or renovation, and it would be a shame to miss out on such an ideal audience. If you don’t already have an account, make one! Then you have an easy secondary platform to share your quality content with people who will genuinely want to read it.
What’s more, it’s easier to get your home building content shared on sites like these, where the users are all looking for information on home building tips and tricks. By increasing your engagement on home service directories, you’re likely to start building relationships with more and more users who fit your target buyer persona.
Keep up on Social Media
We mentioned that posting regularly was a good way to make sure your content gets read, but keeping up on your social media is just a best practice for any home builder. If you regularly engage on your social media platforms, even if it’s simple things like sharing other relevant content, or posting a few before and after pictures, you’re more likely to get more followers, and keep them. The more followers you have, the wider reach your content will get. That means more people sharing your content, which means more eyes on your content from legitimate potential clients. It’s in your best interest to keep up your social media engagement, even if you’re just sharing one thing a day, and posting new content once every other week.
By following these content creation best practices, you’ll be able to reach your ideal buyer and begin to draw in more qualified leads. Targeted content is a great way to help you break out of your current market, and start scheduling the jobs you really want. If you have more questions about targeting your ideal buyer or creating quality content, don’t hesitate to get in touch. HA Digital Marketing works with a number of home builders and home developers, and we’d be happy to help answer any questions you have about the powers of inbound marketing.
To see how we generated a massive number of sales leads for lakeshore custom home builder Bos Homes, check out the case study below:
If you’ve started developing any kind of digital marketing strategy, keyword research probably isn’t a new term for you. The term is pretty self-explanatory—it’s conducting research to see what keywords will be most effective for your company to increase search engine rankings and conversions. But how many of us actually do the keyword research? As a home building professional, you already have a busy schedule, and wading through lists of keywords probably sounds like the last thing you want to do. Though keyword research can be a bit of a hassle upfront, the payoff from just a few hours of research can be massive.
When you know what your target audience is looking for, it’s very easy to serve that up to them on a silver platter of engaging content. You simply have to write content and develop ad campaigns that center around those keywords. The key though, is doing the research. A lot of us are guilty of just assuming that what we think consumers are looking for is what they’re actually searching. But as a home builder, there are likely a lot of industry specific terms that you use every day that the typical consumer doesn’t know, and isn’t going to search for.
That’s what makes research so important. A little bit of research can show you a wealth of terms that are easy to rank for, and that will get more eyes on your site. But if you’re still not convinced about the benefits of keyword research, here are six specific reasons why keyword research can immensely improve your home building marketing strategy:
Attract an audience that cares
One of the biggest benefits of keyword research is your ability to target an audience that genuinely cares about what you have to say. When you research keywords, you’re looking for words and phrases that consumers are searching regularly, which means when your website pops up for one of those searches, that consumer is already interested in what you have to say. There’s no convincing, and it’s much easier to get them to stay on your page, because you’re providing information about exactly what they were looking for in the first place.
This is one reason why blogging around those keywords you researched is a great thing to do—it gives that target audience content they care about and want to engage with, which keeps them coming back for more.
Increased conversion rates
Keyword research does a lot more than get people to your website. It makes sure the right people are coming to your site. And when you have the right people coming to your site, who legitimately need your home building services, that means more conversions. More conversions mean more money and a bump in ROI. The more strategically you implement keyword research into your website and marketing content, the more qualified traffic you’re going to get.
Consumer behavior insight
The obvious benefits of keyword research have to do with your ability to draw in qualified leads. But what is perhaps a more subtle benefit of keyword research is that it gives you insight into consumer behaviors and trends. When you’re working to see what your target audience is searching for, it’s easier to see what types of content they like, what they’re likely to click on, what’s important to them, and what sorts of content are popular in that target group. With all of this information, it’s a lot easier to stay ahead of consumer trends, and make sure you’re keeping relevant to that target audience.
Organize your time
Keyword research helps you identify what areas of your marketing strategy are improving your bottom line, and what areas of your company consumers are most interested in. Are you getting more conversions from people searching “best homebuilder Grand Rapids” or do you see better results from “how to design your dream home in GR?” When you know which keywords are working the best for your company, you can develop more content that functions alongside those words, because you know they work. This means you’re spending less time developing content you hope will work, and more time creating content that’s guaranteed to get you those conversions.
Spend money wisely
Along the same lines, when you know which keywords are more effective for your homebuilding company, you can save money on your PPC campaign. Paid ads can be cheap, but only if you’re bidding strategically. If you’re bidding on expensive short-tail keywords, like “custom homebuilder,” or “new home” you’ll be paying a lot of money for words that probably won’t get you the traffic you want. By conducting a bit of keyword research, it’s easier to see what longer-tail keywords draw in the most conversions.
For example, “Grand Rapids custom home builder,” and “custom built Grand Haven lakehouse” will cost less per click, and might have a lower search volume, but the people who click on those likes are more likely to convert. After a bit of keyword research, you’re better able to pool more of your PPC budget to those less expensive words guaranteed to get you a better conversion rate. When you go into your paid ad campaigns armed with some solid keyword research, you’re sure to bump your PPC ROI.
Better organic ranking
The final benefit of strategic keyword research comes in those all-important Google search rankings. You’ve always wanted first page results, right? Well, keyword research is just one of the ways to get your website up there. When you implement those strategic keywords into your website, Google’s search bots will recognize them and categorize your website accordingly. The more relevant keywords you have, the better your organic search ranking is going to be. For homebuilders, it’s most important to make sure you have appropriate local keywords incorporated into your website. Keywords like “West MI Homebuilder,” “custom home builder Grand Rapids,” and “Lake Michigan custom homes” indicate to Google both what you do, and where you are. When your site makes that clear, you’ll begin to rank better in those local search rankings, which gets more eyes on your homebuilding website overall.
Check out these three tools:
If you want to implement more keyword research into your home building company’s marketing strategy, but aren’t quite sure how, check out these three free tools that make it pretty easy:
Google is kind of the main authority when it comes to SEO, so it’s no surprise that their keyword tool is at the top of our list. Super handy for anyone working with a PPC budget, or even if you’re just getting into keyword research, Google Keyword Planner is very user friendly, and easily links to your gmail or Google+ business profile. It’s a free Adwords tool that makes planning your paid ad campaigns a breeze.
If you’re looking for a few more research options for free, SERPs has just about everything you can imagine. Their free tools allow you to drill down on results based on location or domain, and even suggests possible keyword alternatives if you get stuck. This is a great one for developing a content strategy because you can see the top 250 search results for any keyword you select, and you can save your research to your desktop in case you want to return to it later.
This is another great free tool, but know that if you want in depth statistics, like search volume or CPC, you’ll have to upgrade the Pro version. Even if you don’t upgrade though, Keyword Tool lets you research keywords on all of the big four search engines, and generates results for both short tail and long tail keywords: which isn’t as common as you’d think. For basic level keyword research, this can be a very convenient free tool.
Now that it’s clear why thorough keyword research is so important, it’s time to get working! Implement those keywords into your website, and you’ll start to see an increase in qualified organic and directed traffic in no time. And if you’re looking for more ways to improve your home building website’s SEO, check out this handy SEO checklist specifically for home service professionals. In it, you’ll find all the steps to getting your site on that first page of Google search results:
As a home builder, you probably spend a lot of time juggling all kinds of moving parts. When you’re dealing with clients, contractors, and realtors, there’s not always a lot of extra time left over to manage things like your website. But if you’re looking for more leads, your home builder website is probably the answer. So how can you devote enough time to your website to get the leads you want, without running yourself into the ground?
Check out these three easy ways to improve your website and get more leads! Each of these changes is relatively low maintenance, can be implemented fairly quickly by yourself of a hired professional, and will undoubtedly help you get those leads you’re looking for. Let’s get started:
#1 Site Plan and Pricing Requests
Your potential clients might not always be certain that they’re ready for a new home. If that’s true, they’re probably in the researching phase of their buying cycle. This means that they’re considering a new home, but they haven’t decided if building a home is right for them. At this point, site plan and pricing requests are your best bet to getting a foot in the door. It’s low pressure, doesn’t require a commitment, and provides the information they’re looking for. If you offer potential customers the option to either request more information, or request a quote, you’ll bump up the number of leads your website is generating in no time.
But how do you implement these requests?
Well, in the digital marketing biz, we call them calls-to-action. Basically, they’re brightly-colored buttons on your website that offer your site viewers a service that a legitimate client would want. For home builders, this tends to be an offer for more information about site plans, or for an estimate. This is a great way to weed the windows shoppers from the potential clients who are actually considering building a home.
Why do they work?
By putting calls-to-action in visible locations on your site, you’re making it very easy for people to contact you. Most often, calls-to-action appeal to two types of people:
Those who are on the go, and don’t have time to sit down and talk to you, but are considering building and legitimately want more information.
Those who don’t like to talk on the phone, but want to build.
It’s true that people are busier and busier all the time. Many people surfing the web are on their phones between meetings or on lunch, and while they don’t want to talk on the phone at the moment, they do have the time to put in a simple request for more information. So make sure you have these requests readily available for your busy clients, and more importantly, make sure you respond. Someone filling out a request isn’t doing it to waste your time. They’re a legitimate lead, so make sure you treat them that way.
#2 Landing Pages
Another one of the easiest ways to boost your lead generation is to incorporate landing pages into your website. They’re a top converter, and get you the contact information of potential clients right away. But let’s start at the beginning. What is a landing page?
A landing page is a unique page of your website that lets you capture contact information, like name, email address, and phone number, through a conversion form that site visitors voluntarily fill out.
It’s pretty easy to see how landing pages get you leads: you get the contact information, and can then call or email the potential client. But how do you get site viewers to fill out the landing page conversion form in the first place?
It sounds like it might be a tough task, but actually, if you’re offering that viewer something in return for their information, landing pages can be one of your biggest lead generators. Say you have a content offer, like “How to Design your Dream Home.” A qualified client really wants that content, and since it’s free, they won’t have much of a problem putting their email address in as collateral if it’s something that will genuinely help them.
It’s a lead generation best practice to direct site viewers to relevant landing pages whenever they’re coming to your site. If you’re sending out emails to potential clients, and especially if you’re running internet ads, it’s a waste of your time to direct site viewers to your home page. While this does get them to your website, you’re not actively converting potential clients. Instead, make sure that those links take site viewers to a relevant landing page. You’ll start to see the results in no time.
If you’re looking to generate leads, there’s no better platform for home builders than Houzz. It’s an entire website created by home service professionals for those seeking home improvement and home building inspiration.
Houzz is super useful for you, because everyone on Houzz is a potential client. The majority of Houzz users are looking to either build or renovate, which means that your target market is literally at your fingertips. Simply having a Houzz account and linking it to your website will bump up your online presence exponentially.
If you’re active on Houzz, which you should be, your presence and lead generation opportunities increase that much more. Thousands of people use Houzz every day to find inspiration, and more importantly, to find home building professionals in their area. To optimize your lead generation potential, your Houzz account should display pictures of your previous projects, and link over to your website.
We hope these tips help you modify your website to generate more leads for your home building company! If you’re looking for more information about improving your website, make sure to check out our Home Services Website Design Guide, created specifically for home services professionals like you. Get it here:
If you have any more questions about improving your website, or implementing digital marketing best practices to increase your lead generation, make sure to get in touch. We’re always happy to help!
David C. Bos Homes designs and builds luxury custom homes for primary residences and second homes along the West Michigan lakeshore and throughout West Michigan. In addition to developing residential communities, Bos Homes also builds on Lake Michigan and other stand-alone sites.
When David C. Bos Homes came to us, they were working with a large, expensive and unproductive agency in Grand Rapids. They had a website that was not mobile-responsive and did not provide any search engine exposure. To make matters worse, the existing website did not display their projects and developments well.
In order to ensure that the Bos Homes website was receiving the online visibility that they wanted, they first needed a website that adequately conveyed the beauty and luxury of the custom homes they were building. With our complete website overhaul and the addition of quality professional photos, the new website now accurately reflects the quality of work they do when designing and building a custom home.
After the website overhaul, our digital marketing team was able to implement a comprehensive search engine strategy to improve Bos Homes’ standing in both paid and organic search results. Our website redesign, combined with our intuitive digital marketing best practices, converted website viewers to potential leads, and those leads converted into sales.
These new marketing strategies have transformed marketing and sales for this client. This is best represented by the significant amount of sales leads that we have generated and by the 175% growth rate the company saw as a result of our strategies.
The great thing about our digital marketing strategy? It’s proven. The results show that our practices, our SEO tactics, and our comprehensive optimization strategy really work. For custom home builders and residential developers looking to increase website traffic, sales leads and overall revenue, HA Digital Marketing has the marketing solution guaranteed to produce results.
Here we are at the end of November. With the end of the calendar year quickly approaching, marketing decision makers are assessing how well they did in 2015 and starting the plan for 2016. At HADM, we’re analyzing how we provided value to our clients in 2015. We focus heavily on ROI for our digital and inbound marketing clients. That means delivering qualified traffic, engagement, conversions, leads and sales. So how did we do in 2015? Here is our tally of measured and converted leads so far:
Real Estate Development Leads: 2783
Professional Service Leads: 879
B2B Manufacturing Leads: 213
Total Leads Generated in 2015: 3761
*We still have a little over a month to go. Internet leads come in every day.
What is a lead?
In the B2B world, a lead can be defined as web form submissions. When a visitor asks a question or downloads a content offer, they are entering your sales process or “funnel.” If a visitor opts-in to your email news or likes your company page on Facebook or LinkedIn, they are opting-in to your marketing process. Each stage is extremely valuable. A sales lead may opt-in to your marketing and remain a prospect even if they don’t convert on the original cycle. And a prospect may graduate into a sales lead once they have found a trigger through email and social media.
How to plan and budget
How do you plan and budget to do more of this in 2016? The first place you should start is with goals and objectives. What is your sales goal? What is your revenue goal? When we look at where we’re going first, we can then draw a map and mission plan of how we will get there. Typically, businesses can plan on spending about 7% to 10% of their revenue on marketing. So, if you want to reach a sales goal of $1MM, you should be budgeting around $70,000 to $100,000 to get to that goal. While this isn’t always a hard, fast rule, it can be useful when planning.
Here is the essential point that most marketers don’t understand: What else are you going to spend your marketing dollars on that will place your product or service directly in front of an audience who is actively searching for it? Tradeshows? Print? Direct Mail? None of these even come close. Digital and Inbound Marketing is the most efficient way to generate qualified traffic, prospects and leads.
So you want to implement Inbound Marketing to generate more prospects and leads in 2016? Awesome. Get in touch to have us help you with that. If you want to run some of your own calculations in order to determine your marketing budget, we can offer you our Digital Marketing Budget that produced all of the leads we generated in 2015.