Real estate developments are a bit unique when it comes to digital marketing. The interesting thing about a development’s website is that it doesn’t stay up forever. You get your real estate development set up, you fill lots and sell homes, and once you’re done, so is your website. Compared to most websites out there, a housing development website has a relatively short lifespan, maybe a few years at the most.
As you likely know, you need a website and a solid web presence to sell lots in your development, but because of the short lifespan, you also need to get a website up, get it out there as quickly as possible, and then take it down as soon as you’re done with that particular development. This presents some unique SEO challenges. Since your real estate development website will only exist for so long, here’s how to make the most of your digital marketing efforts by putting out a quality website that attracts the right clients, quickly:
Laying the framework
Before you can get into any serious SEO or technical improvements to your website, you have to actually come up with a website that features quality content. To do that, it’s paramount that you answer the following questions:
What makes your development different?
These days, there are developments popping up on just about every corner. How does yours stand out? Are you offering special, no step floor plans for older residents? Is your development set in a location like no other? We’ve worked with a number of real estate developers, and we’ve always found that the ones with a special niche––sustainable mountain living communities, for example––tend to do better than those that are generic or seem cookie cutter. It’s important to have at least one major selling point that helps you stand out from your competition, whether that’s your quality of building, or the amenities that your housing development offers to residents.
What benefits does your development offer to potential buyers that your competition does not?
It’s easy to get caught up in the awesomeness of your own development. Many real estate development websites fall into the trap of shouting their greatness to the rooftops. While we know you’re great, and we’re certain you’re offering your clients top-of-the-line service and quality, it’s important to focus more on what benefits you’re offering potential buyers, rather than all of the positives of your company. You need to determine what it is exactly that you’re offering to your residents that others are not, and you have to explain how that benefits them.
Maybe that’s a peaceful lifestyle in the mountains, or maybe it’s a sustainable living community where residents work together to curate a community garden or implement backyard farming techniques, but whatever it is, make sure that the benefits to the buyer have more emphasis than your general greatness. Consumers are already wary of the “hard sell”—businesses telling them that they’re the best in the world or the country—so you need to show them exactly why your development is right for them.
Who are the right buyers?
To be able to highlight your benefits effectively, you need to know who your ideal buyers are. That doesn’t just mean knowing what price point they’re willing to pay, or whether they’re male or female. While those are important considerations, it’s more prudent to have a comprehensive idea of exactly who your real estate development is targeted to. Are you looking for younger families who want to move into a long term home? Or is your development more geared towards older, empty nesters who want a housing community that’s a bit quieter, but near a city where they can take in arts and culture at their own leisure?
Once you determine exactly who your ideal, target buyers are, and what they’re looking for in a home or community, you can create content that addresses their specific questions and concerns, and you can begin to put together ad campaigns that are directed towards that unique demographic. This ensures that your marketing techniques are created and implemented with purpose, and towards someone specific. In the long run, this will help earn more qualified leads, and fill up your real estate development faster.
Boosting your online presence
After asking those three positioning questions and determining your answers, you’re ready to put that information into your real estate development’s website. You’ll want to ensure that your website addresses those questions mentioned above: talk about how your development sets itself apart from your competition, and make sure you highlight the benefits that your specific, target buyer is likely to appreciate. And once you’ve got those three questions written into your site content, begin to optimize the site as a whole, and boost your web presence with these four major SEO methods:
High quality imagery
You have a beautiful housing development, show it off! You want to give potential buyers the ability to truly picture themselves living within your unique community. High resolution photos that clearly show the development, as well as some of your already completed homes, offer that possibility. What’s more, studies have shown that site viewers are more likely to stay on a webpage longer if it has multiple relevant, high quality images. The longer site viewers remain on a page, the better your search engine rankings, and the more likely those viewers are to contact you regarding that development.
So, invest in a reputable development photographer who can capture the essence of your real estate development, both outdoors and indoors. The more images you have, the better. If you’re not sure where to put some images, create a gallery. Then, site viewers can scroll through to get a better idea of what their life would look like if they chose a home in your development. You’ll keep them on the site longer, and you’ll entice them to come looking for more information.
Keyword rich pages
If you know anything about digital marketing, you know that keywords are a big deal. Keywords are the number one way that search engines like Google and Yahoo categorize and rank web pages when a user searches for something. A good way to ensure that your site is ranking for keywords that will boost your site’s visibility is to determine what your clients are searching for. Is it “real estate development in North Carolina”, or is it “new home, Grand Haven MI”? Do a bit of keyword research to see what you need to be ranking for, and where your website is currently falling on search engine results pages for the keywords you find are most relevant to your industry.
Then, implement that extensive keyword research into your website’s pages. While you don’t want to keyword stuff, by putting one word in a web page 20 or more times, you do want to make sure you’re using relevant keywords and their synonyms organically and in a way that sounds normal to your potential buyers. Sprinkle those important keywords into your content naturally. Soon, you’ll begin to see your site pop up higher in search engine results pages in no time.
Regular blog posts
Another way to boost your online presence is to regularly create blog posts that address the questions and concerns of your potential buyer. For example, if you were selling lots on a development that emphasized a “sustainable community” you might offer some blogs on the benefits of sustainable living, or how to successfully grow a community garden. These are topics that your target buyer is certain to be interested in, and that are also highly shareable. Though their topics may not be directly related to the process of selling homes and lots, these blogs are sure to draw in viewers who are interested in living in the type of development that you’re providing. Once they read one of your blogs, they’re likely to read more. By addressing these target buyer’s interests, questions, and concerns on a regular basis, you’re more likely to draw them in, and get them interested in your real estate development.
What’s more, when you’re blogging regularly about topics relevant to your target buyer, using some of those researched keywords you implemented into the rest of your site’s page content, you’ll begin to see more improvements on search engines. Websites like Google prefer sites who regularly update, refresh, and put out new content, especially content that is keyword rich and useful to their searchers. The more regularly you blog, the more of an online boost you’ll begin to see.
Targeted Facebook and Adwords campaigns
The final, perhaps most effective SEO tool for any real estate development is paid ad campaigns. Like we mentioned before, your site goes up quickly, and it comes down just as soon as you fill your lots. That means it’s important to get the word out about your development as quickly as possible. There’s no more effective way to target your ideal buyer than through Facebook and Adwords campaigns. These advertisers have the most advanced demographic targeting software, and can get you a very high number of qualified leads in a very short amount of time.
One of the best ways to get your new site out in front of target buyers is through Facebook ads. Facebook has the power to group users according to age, gender, geographic location, personal likes, and even professional position. That makes it a powerful tool on which to market your real estate development. You can create ads that link to your new website or blog full of helpful content, and put them out to only the people who genuinely care about the information. This increases the number of qualified leads you’re getting, ensuring you’re only spending ad money on legitimate potential clients.
Adwords works much the same, though it targets based on keywords rather than user demographic. You can create adwords campaigns around the extensive keyword research that you’ve already done. These campaigns ensure that your site shows up at the top of the list when someone searches, “new homes for sale in Spring Lake, MI”. By creating highly targeted ad campaigns, you’re only spending money on web users who are likely to convert to leads. This seriously increases your ROI, and boosts your web visibility in a way that’s cost effective.
Real estate development websites can be tricky to market. They need to be aesthetically pleasing and relevant to target customers, but they need to generate a ton of visibility right off the bat. If you’re having trouble getting eyes on your real estate development’s website, get in touch with the crew at HA Digital Marketing. We’ve successfully worked with a number of real estate developers across the country, and we’d be happy to help. For a look at how we generated 41 unit sales for developer Sovereign Oaks in just 12 months, check out the case study below: