An effective email marketing strategy is very important for home developers looking to sell lots and fill developments quickly. Email marketing functions for developers in two ways: 1) you can let consumers know about your development before you even break ground, making the selling process much smoother for you, and 2) it allows you to hold on to consumers who may not have been ready to purchase a home in one development, but who may be perfect buyers for the next.
When done properly, email marketing has wonderful potential to get your company in front of the right consumers, at the right time. It’s a wonderful addition to any inbound or outbound marketing strategy because it speaks directly to your target buyer. Here are a few key things to know about starting an email marketing campaign for your real estate development company:
Know Who Your Ideal Buyer Is
The first and best way to email your subscriber list effectively is to know who they are. It sounds basic, but you’d be surprised at the number of weird spammy emails the average consumer gets in a day. Know a little something about who you plan on sending that newsletter to, and you’ll see better results all around.
Create buyer personas. For most real estate developments, buyer personas are actually pretty easy to pin down. You already know most of the information: the average income of your typical buyer, the average age, marital status, etc. Pool all of that information into two or three buyer personas, and then segment your email lists accordingly. That way you’re always sending out relevant content to the right buyer persona. That will help keep your number of “unsubscribes” low.
Remember that you can’t make everyone happy. When you start sending newsletters out to a list of email addresses, you’re bound to get a few “unsubscribes”, and that’s okay. Not everyone is a perfect fit for your real estate development, and your goal should be to keep the ones who are a perfect fit on your email list. If you’re selling a real estate development for empty nesters, you shouldn’t be upset about a 20-30 year old unsubscribing. They weren’t a good fit anyway. Instead, focus on creating emails that speak directly to those empty nesters your community is built for.
Speak Solutions, Not Services
Email marketing campaigns that get ignored often have almost nothing to do with the buyer. If you’re just talking about how wonderful your development is, most consumers are going to hit the delete button before they even make it through the headline.
Successful email marketing campaigns are ones that consumers actually want to read, and choose to stay subscribed to.
Yes, you build wonderful homes, and your developments are gorgeous and highly exclusive, but think of that from your buyer’s perspective. Why would they want to move into your development? What problems do they have that your developments solve? Do you offer maintenance-free living? A community center? Close proximity to a golf course, lake, etc?
Instead of talking about your development directly, think about the problems your development solves for the people who live in it. Put those solutions in your email campaigns, and you’ll start to see better subscription and bounce rates.
Though your email marketing campaigns are meant to convert people to make a purchase, you have to talk about something more than the homes you have for sale if you want to convince people. Your homes might be beautiful, but so are a lot of others — what makes your development or community stand out for the residents? How do your homes improve their quality of life?
Keep it Low-Key
Don’t email too much, and don’t email too often. Keep emails short, sweet, and helpful. Play your email campaign casual. It’s no surprise that the decision time for purchasing a new home is long, and for most consumers, no manner of persuasion will get them to buy a new house before they actually have the money to do it. Instead, keep yourself on their radar by continuously providing helpful content that they actually care about, in a way that’s not pushy.
Definitely keep your CTA at the end of every email and newsletter you send out, but try not to send out more than one email a week to regular subscribers. If you’re following up on a lead, that might warrant a few extra emails a week, but if they decide they’re not ready to buy, don’t continue to harass them.
Instead, add them to your regular newsletter, where they will occasionally receive delightful content about choosing the right home, decorating a new home, or knowing when it’s time to purchase a new home. When they do decide to buy a home, you’ll be the first person they call, because your name will be fresh in their minds from your consistent, but casual, emails — emails they genuinely liked!
In the end, an effective email campaign is all about being pleasantly persistent, but not pushy. Keep offering up content that your buyers genuinely want to hear, and they’ll know that you’re truly there to help them — rather than just sell them something.
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?
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.
Creating a content calendar that fills houses and sells lots:
If you’re a housing developer, you know that any marketing strategy you use has to be time-efficient. You need to fill homes and sell lots quickly to see quality returns on your investment. If you’ve been considering content marketing as a part of your digital marketing strategy, but aren’t sure if it’s an effective use of your time, we hear you. It’s not always easy to write blog posts regularly, get them posted, and then promote them. That said, content marketing is one of the easiest, most cost effective ways to get eyes on your site. All it really takes is time.
But, if like many housing developers, you’re a little short on time, know that you can still have the best of both worlds by creating a content calendar. Content calendars help take some of the work out of creating a regular blog posting schedule by outlining the topic, description, and keyword for each upcoming post. We develop content calendars for each of our clients at the beginning of the year. We outline exactly what it is we’re going to write about and when, and then we give the calendar to the client for approval. That way, once it comes back approved, all we have to do is write the posts for the year. There’s no guesswork or question about what we’re doing, and when it needs to go out.
Content calendars outline the topic, description, and keyword for each month’s upcoming posts.
A content calendar is a great solution for busy home developers, because it allows you to stick to a schedule, and it makes it easy to hand off the blog writing to whoever has a little extra time that month. Since the topics are already created, any decent writer can write the blog. So, how to create a content calendar that draws in qualified leads?
First, think about who you’re writing to
This goes back to that target market we’re always talking about. To whom would you like to sell your homes? Are you developing a community that’s largely centered around seniors? Or are you building homes for young, growing families? It’s important to pinpoint who your target buyer is before you start developing your content, because the age range and general lifestyle of that buyer will influence the types of content that you put out.
Then, pick three categories
After you’ve identified your specific target buyer, it’s time to start creating content, or at least topics to write about that speak to your buyer. To make sure your content calendar doesn’t become stale or boring, we recommend picking three or four categories to center your content calendar around, and alternating between categories each month.
For example, one of our developer clients is working on filling a sustainable mountain living community near Asheville, NC. Our content calendar revolves around three major topics: things to do in Asheville, home ownership, and lifestyle blogs that focus on the activities that their target buyers most enjoy. For them, that’s biking, hiking, kayaking, and backpacking—outdoor activities that encourage appreciation of the natural world.
By segmenting our content calendar into these three categories, we’re able to reach the client’s target buyer in more than one way. We’re appealing to the sense of place that their development offers, we’re drawing in potential buyers who like to do activities that the other residents like to do, and we’re also targeting the thing that’s most relevant to the development, which is home ownership.
Your content calendar can focus on similar topics.
What is interesting about the location of your development, and what’s happening in nearby cities?
What content will homeowners in your area want to read about?
What activities are your target buyers interested in?
By filling your content calendar with topics that aren’t always the same, you’ll have a number of different, interesting blogs that will work to draw new people to your site. By writing content about your area, you get the added bonus of identifying your location for both search engines and consumers, making it more likely that you’ll pop up in local search results.
Remember that your content strategy is never about you. Rather, it should be a resource for your target buyers. You want them to love the content you’re putting out so much that they subscribe and never miss a post. The only way to do that is to create content they care about, which isn’t going to be monthly updates on how the development of your community is going.
While creating the topics is definitely the hardest part of any content calendar, don’t just stop when you have the right number of ideas. A content calendar should also include a keyword, title for the post, and description of what you meant when you came up with the topic. To save yourself extra time, consider adding in your call-to-action.
Save yourself additional time by writing your CTA into the content calendar.
This is often a tedious part to write at the bottom of your blog post. It talks about how great your community is, and where people can find you if they’re interested in one of your homes. Add that right into your content calendar now, and you won’t have to worry about it later.
Once you’ve got the calendar fully filled out, create a publishing schedule. Put a date on each post, both to give yourself a deadline, and to make sure you don’t have any long gaps between posts. With a posting date, it’ll be clear when you need to start writing, and you’ll have something holding you accountable to get that content out into the world.
When your content calendar has a posting schedule, topics for every month, descriptions, keywords, titles, and CTAs, you’re done!
Well, done with the content calendar at least. You’ll still have to write the posts themselves if you’re looking to draw in those qualified buyers, but you won’t have to worry in the future about deciding what to write, and getting it out in a timely fashion. With a schedule and plenty of topics already set to go, writing a blog post is easy.
Content calendars are a seriously handy tool for any housing developer short on time. If you want to create one, but still aren’t sure what to write about, or how to go about getting started, get in touch. We’re sort of content calendar experts, and would love to help you optimize your content marketing strategy for success. To see how we’ve helped other housing developers boost revenue and sell homes, check out the case study below:
If you’ve been working on the website for your housing development, and just don’t seem to be filling homes or lots at a rate that seems right, landing pages can help. They’re an ideal way to get hold of the contact information of qualified leads, and when done right, they can move a site viewer who was just looking, to a site viewer who’s legitimately interested in your development. So, how do landing pages increase conversion for housing developers, and how can you make sure your landing pages are working for you? Let’s start with a refresher course on landing pages.
Landing Page Refresher
A landing page is a page other than your homepage, where site visitors first land when they click to your site from another website (typically this is a search engine like Google, but it can also be social media sites, or a website where you’re promoting an ad). It’s also possible to have landing pages that site visitors can get to from your own site. We have a contact landing page that people can click to at any point if they’re interested in seeing how we can help them. Landing pages work to softly direct your site visitors into giving your their contact information, usually in exchange for an offer, like a guide on becoming an awesome homebuyer, or pictures of your housing development.
How a Good Landing Page Generates Leads
Now, there’s all sorts of landing pages out there, but not all of them are good. A quality landing page does the following things:
Provides relevant information: It tells people who you are, and what you’re about in a way that’s relevant to the link they clicked to get there. If you have a paid ad that says “spacious 2 bedroom apartments with vaulted ceilings and hardwood floors” don’t send people to a landing page about the development’s adjacent golf course and restaurant. That will confuse and frustrate. A good landing page provides content the viewer expects to get after clicking on a certain link.
Offers content or access potential clients want: The best way to capture contact info off a landing page is to make them an offer they can’t refuse (sorry, couldn’t help it!). But really, people are far more likely to give up their email address if they’re going to get awesome pictures, drone footage, or floorplans of your development in return.
Gets you contact info of qualified leads: Probably the best part of a great landing page is its ability to get you qualified leads. If your page is relevant, provides the right information, and adds value for the site viewer, it should get you contact info that you can use to further pull those potential leads down the sales funnel.
How to Make a Landing Page that Converts?
Now that you know what a great housing development landing page does, it’s time to make one of your own. We’ve got a ton of resources on creating killer landing pages, but for a crash course, make sure your housing development landing page follows these 6 key guidelines:
Take away the navigation menu on your landing page. This works to “squeeze” people through, and softly push them to convert. When there’s no menu, there’s less distraction, which means site visitors are unlikely to navigate away unless the offer really isn’t something they’re looking for. Then, you’re only really losing traffic that wasn’t qualified in the first place.
Keep your content short and sweet. Try to limit yourself to just a few sentences that tell site viewers who you are, and what you can do for them. You know that your development is awesome, but don’t just tell people that, show them why it’s awesome, and why they’d be lucky to live there.
Viewers shouldn’t have to wonder about what they’re going to get when they click the “submit” button. Make it obvious what they’ll get when they fill out your form, whether it’s pictures, blueprints, or information about your development.
Studies have shown that people actually do care what the button that says “click” looks like. First of all, “click” and “submit” might not be the best choices. Choose something that’s more relevant to your offer, like “Sign up now” or “get access to photos.” This will remind viewers what they’re getting, and provide incentive for following through and clicking the button.
Don’t make your forms too long. The longer a form is, the less likely you are to get conversions. Only ask for what you actually need, like name, email, and maybe zip code. Sometimes it makes sense to have a longer form for landing pages that target people who are almost ready to close, and want a price estimate, but other than that, keep your forms short and sweet.
Finally, remember that today’s consumer is highly visual and has a short attention span. Your landing page should be eye-catching, easy to read, and feature high-quality photos. You’ve got a beautiful development, right? Use photos of it to your advantage on your landing page.
In the end, any quality landing page is almost guaranteed to increase conversions for housing developers, so long as they have traffic coming to the site. They’re a great way to capture information about potential clients, while also providing an incentive for people to come back and consider your development.
If you’re still struggling to perfect your landing pages, know that Evenbound can help. We’ve worked with a number of housing developers, and have cracked the code to creating marketing strategies that fill developments and sell homes. To see just what we’ve done to deliver results for our housing development clients, check out the case study below: