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The Lasso Blog

We are back with another edition of our popular “Top New Home Sales & Marketing Tips” for the new year! This year we had insight from so many industry thought leaders that we needed two blog posts!

Here we focus on top marketing tips for new home communities. Our experts touch on an array of topics ranging from artificial intelligence to the power of human emotion.

For sales insight, check out the article, Top New Home Sales Tips for 2019.

Cheers to a successful year ahead!

Lucy Wohltman ZillowLucy Wohltman, Zillow Group
Measure What Matters

In digital marketing, it’s easy to get bogged down with all the metrics. Strip it down to what actually matters to your business. In the new construction world, that’s how many appointments are set and how many homes are sold. Allocate your marketing budget to those channels and only those channels that produce those results. Yeah, it’s not that simple: you have to do a lot of work to know which campaigns actually produce your desired ROI. Align your marketing and sales teams so they can consistently and reliably capture customer data in your CRM, then monitor, measure and adjust. As you work on budget planning, metrics like lead to appointment, appointment to sale and cost per sale will guide your understanding of what channels and campaigns to cut or amp up.

Matt RileyMatt Riley, Builder Designs
Back to the Future, and Back to Basics

For several years, the cost of labor, materials, and land have risen. These increases have been passed onto prospective homebuyers, leading to the highest home pricing since the housing peak in 2007; 2019 needs to deal with the challenge differently.

They say that sales cover up a lot of mistakes or shortcomings in our day-to-day activity. That couldn’t be a truer statement for us as homebuilders. We have achieved huge successes with less effort, and that has led us to form some bad habits. 2019 will be the year we get back to the basics. Execute on those things that we know we should be doing, but haven’t done in a while because we got by without it. Focus your Sales and Marketing efforts on differentiating your homes and your company through emotion, experiences, and what your customer actually values (not your latest promo).

We know that our biggest competition is used homes, so get back to showing every customer why they should pay more for a brand-new home and not settle on that used home just because it is cheaper today. Clearly communicate the value and you will close the perceived price gap between new and used. Focus on “Why Buy New” and “Why Buy You!”

Andrew PeekAndrew Peek, Do You Convert
Test, Learn, Adapt
Us marketers have a difficult job. We need to generate results – and we need them now. It can be difficult to decipher what new features, products or strategies to use and what to ignore. Keep reading the headlines to stay current with what is new, but skip the hype. Use a consistent process to test these exciting new changes that promise results. Test first, then learn from the results and finally adapt your current marketing based on the results.

Meredith OliverMeredith Oliver, Meredith Communications
Let Data Tell the Story
How closely are you reviewing your Google Analytics and CRM reports? Do you know what traffic sources are your top lead conversion sources? Make 2019 the year of data! We recommend looking at your reports on a monthly basis and compare not only month over month performance but also year over year performance. Look for website traffic patterns to predict slow months where you need more marketing and high-demand months where you need more inventory. Compare marketing campaigns to website traffic and lead spikes to determine what marketing channels work best for your target audience. All of the answers to your marketing and sales quandaries are in the data. You just have to dig in and let your data tell the story.

Kevin OakleyKevin Oakley, Do You Convert
Let A.I. Do the Work
This is the year for marketers to really begin putting artificial intelligence (A.I.) to work. Instead of spending countless hours trying to build the perfect target audience, segment, or list for your digital channels let the robots do it better than you ever could. A.I. lets you turn ad targeting into a simple math problem: X + Y = Better Ad Results. X = Your broad audience boundaries (geography, price point, age, etc). Y = what behavior(s) you want them to take once they get to your site.
Once you tell the A.I. those two parts it will work continuously and tirelessly to refine your targeting for you and focus in on only those most likely to have the desired behavior, and it will get smarter after each click on your ads. We’ve seen this method drive down costs by up to 35%! Equally as important, is that it will free more of your time and energy to focus on creating more amazing content to help every aspect of the buyer’s journey improve.

Dennis O'Neil, O'Neil InteractiveDennis O’Neil, O’Neil Interactive
Expect More from Your Data

As we enter 2019, many sales and marketing departments are grappling with a higher sales goal, zero additional staff, and the prospect of a softening market. To increase productivity, expect more from your marketing data and use it to make faster, more profitable decisions.

It’s nice to know your website’s average pages-per-visit, but that doesn’t tell you much about your market. Unlock the insights in your website traffic to tell you about your visitors’ interests – popular price points, square footage, communities, trends, and more. Leverage your CRM data to tell you about the trends in your lead conversion sources. Identify not just what sources are converting more or less, but segment it with community price points to learn how some lead sources may perform differently among market segments.

Consider the kinds of questions you’d like your data to answer. What insight would make a difference in your business? In many cases, the data can provide what you need to be more effective.

Carol MorganCarol Morgan, Denim Marketing
Stop Publishing Crappy Content
It is time to have a plan for your content. Yes, ALL of it! Whether it is going on your website, in a blog, email or on social media, it needs to be part of your overall marketing strategy and plan. And, it must be quality, original content not something that could run on any builder’s site in the industry and “be just fine.” Make it unique and fun by relating it to your business. People visit your sites because they want to know about you. Mix it up too. Post videos, images, graphics and written content.
David MilesDavid Miles, Milesbrand
You Are What You Eat

Most of the things we do at work are focused on helping others and it’s a full-time job. Because our work is so interesting and challenging, it can become all-consuming. As a result, many of us don’t make time to take care of our own health and wellbeing. Without knowing it, we diminish our cognitive, emotional, physical and spiritual capacity. We work on improving our individual performance, our team’s performance and the performance of the organization, but we don’t eat well, get enough sleep, or spend time rejuvenating our souls. Sure, we can maintain this pace for many years, but sooner or later, our bodies break down.

So, perhaps the most efficient thing you can do to improve your overall performance in 2019 is to learn how to fuel your body with high octane foods. Evolving science is uncovering a stunning link between how our dietary and lifestyle choices directly affect our ability to focus, learn, remember, create, analyze, communicate, and fight disease. It’s true, we really are what we eat. I recommend two books to get you started: Genius Foods, by Max Lugavere and The Autoimmune Solution, by Doctor Amy Myers. Both books offer a 30-day program you can do at home. If you follow either one, I promise you will experience greater clarity and energy, not to mention the weight that will naturally fall off.

Here’s to the best you, you can be in 2019. And pass the blueberry’s, please?

John LeeJohn Lee, Rendering House
Raise Your Glass – and Values – for 2019! Cheers!

Real Estate in 2019 is expected to be challenging. But don’t be distracted by things beyond your control. Focus on the things that you can control. Specifically, assess your values. What unique traits make you invaluable to your team and your customers? Can you create even more value?

Most importantly, don’t abandon, but instead prioritize, your core personal values. That’s who you are and what got you here. Tough times will test your values. Those that can retain and even build on them will not only survive, but actually come out better for it. Bring on 2019!

Ben Keal, Private CommunitiesBen Keal, Private Communities
Bridge the Gap Between Sales and Marketing

Sales and marketing need to communicate! Synergy between sales and marketing teams results in better tracking of the buyer journey and drives greater ROI. Marketers choose lead generation sources based on engagement data, but often fail to inform the sales team how leads are engaging. Countless sales reps tell me that their best leads come from their own website, but have no clue which lead source brought the leads to the website, e.g., search engines, referral partners, or email campaigns. As a result, these reps place all leads in the same sales funnel. Don’t do that! Especially if you’re not using online sales coordinators to manage your digital leads.

Different lead sources generate leads in different phases of the buying cycle. With knowledge of buyer behavior and how it differs among lead sources, sales is properly equipped to evaluate the quality or buying stage of leads and determine how to best approach them.

Kimber GabryszakKimber Gabryszak, AtlasRTX
Embrace Technology in a Changing Communication Landscape

More younger buyers are entering the market every day, and they don’t respond well to traditional communication (emails, phone calls, and mailers). Older buyers are also changing communication habits to better keep in touch with their children and grandchildren. And everyone now expects information and service around the clock, 24/7! On top of all that, if/when the market tightens, we need to get the most value out of every prospect, and a 15% email open rate just won’t cut it, at least not alone.

EMBRACE THE CHANGE! Engage with more prospects using text messaging (60-70%+ response rates!) and channels like Facebook Messenger and webchat. Add texting to your drip campaigns. Lean on Artificial Intelligence chatbots to answer FAQs and give simple information in these messages around the clock. Integrate these conversations with your CRM.

With more consistent and accessible communication, your human team can more efficiently identify which buyers on which to spend their time and effort, and step in to build personal relationships and increase sales in any kind of market.

Mollie Elkman, Group TwoMollie Elkman, Group Two
Build Your Passion
As an industry we have been talking about earning trust with buyers for years. We all know that it’s the most important emotion to evoke in new home sales.  However, many companies are still missing the mark.  Trust actually starts internally with you and your team. Does your team trust you and your vision? Do you communicate it effectively with them? Are they excited about the direction of the company and their opportunities for growth?
You can’t fake your company morale and culture. In 2019 it’s important that we all recognize that YOUR CORPORATE CULTURE IS THE VOICE OF YOUR BRAND. It’s impossible to hide passion. It’s also equally impossible to hide indifference. When you as a leader evoke passion and excitement from your team, you position yourself for successful years ahead.

Will DuderstadtWill Duderstadt, M/I Homes
Supercharge Your Social Media with Emotion

In 2019, it will be increasingly hard to generate content for social media that stands out. It requires strategy, planning, teamwork. Most important, you must make your audience feel something. Everyday, marketers are fighting against information overload of our customers. They are inundated with cat videos, advertisements, post from friends, posts from their friends friend, the list goes on and on. In the infinite scroll of social media news feeds, is you content worth stopping for? By humanizing your brand online, you can achieve greater engagement, convert more visitors to leads, and make happier customers. Going viral can’t be left to chance. Bring authentic and real emotions into your content for 2019.

Greg BrayGreg Bray, Blue Tangerine
Trim the Fat

In 2019, it’s time to “trim the fat” on your marketing. The last few years have been very good to builders, but with rising construction costs and interest rates, there are some storm clouds on the horizon. The best time to prepare for the next market downturn is while things are still performing well. When times are good, even mediocre marketing efforts can have a decent return, but all campaigns are not created equal. This year, start holding your marketing campaigns more accountable. Ensure that you have clearly defined campaign goals and objectives, that you are tracking performance with the correct analytics, and that you actually review those reports regularly. Trim the underperforming campaigns and reallocate those funds to run tests in new areas that you may not have tried yet.

Looking for some new tactics to consider? Try investing in some A/B testing on your website’s primary conversion path, take a look at Geofencing Marketing, explore what Look-a-like Audiences on Facebook are all about, or expand your Paid Search campaigns to include Microsoft Bing in addition to Google AdWords. Making sure that your marketing investments are generating the best return possible will not only prepare you for a future dip in the market, but also skyrocket you to new heights of lead generation and sales right now.

Alpana AroraAlpana Arora, BDX
Bridge the Online and Offline Experiences

We know that the home shopper journey is becoming more complex with hundreds of potential touch points along the way. As buyers are researching one of the most major purchases they will make in their life, they have high expectations. How do you make sure your brand delivers?

Builders need to understand the importance of bridging online and offline worlds to create a seamless experience for their buyers. From the moment a buyer finds you online until the day they move into their home, you must ensure consistency in design, content and messaging across all channels. This means that your website, online marketing, sales centers, design centers, and model homes need to tell your brand story and work together to wow your clients.

David AllisonDavid Allison, Valuegraphics
What motivates prospects in a post-demographic world?

This enormous shift in best-practices for sales has been underway for some time, but 2019 is the year it comes roaring to the front of every conversation. We are officially entering a post-demographic era. What does that mean? It means you can’t assume what anyone will do, or what they want, based on their age, gender, income, marital status or education. It’s official – nobody acts their age anymore, gender roles have continued to morph, marital status doesn’t reflect how people live, and your income isn’t going to predict the way you look at real estate (beyond the obvious issue of what you can afford).

What works better than demographic profiling? It’s a fact: what we value determines what we do, so focus on what your prospects value; what they care about the most. If they care about family, talk to them about everything as it relates to their family. If they care about relationships, or self-improvement, or authority, or any one of a long list of other personal human values, use those as the starting point for every interaction. Research proves this simple change in the way you look at the world can increase your effectiveness as much as eight times over traditional methods!

David Allison’s bestselling book, We Are All the Same Age Now,  includes a free values profiling tool. Find it on Amazon! 

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