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With the new year approaching, what marketing programs will you be focusing on? Read some of the tips from the top new home marketing experts in the industry to get some fresh ideas for 2020!

For sales insight, check out the article, Top New Home Sales Tips for 2020.

Cheers to a successful year ahead!

Lucy WohlmanLucy Wohltman, Zillow Group
Build the Digital-Physical Bridge

The next few years are going to be a critical time in our changing real estate landscape. Much of the housing journey, from move to move and over the long term, now takes place in the digital realm. Looking across your business, what steps are you taking to build that digital-physical bridge? To ensure new construction stays competitive with, and even gains an edge on, existing home sales, you’ll need to work hard to align your marketing strategy to this transformation.

To blend the digital and physical worlds, start thinking about your marketing strategy in new ways: How do you bring data and digital experiences — such as buyer journey information, readiness and tour booking — into your physical arena, and how do you incorporate physical aspects — like model options, lot availability, community attributes and sales center activity — into your digital tools so you can offer buyers a single, unified experience?

 

JoAnn WilliamsJoAnne Williams, JWilliams Staffing
Does Your Marketing Content Provide Value?
Educational and transparent content is your key to promotional success in today’s market. It’s time to stop looking at your marketing efforts as transactional and determine whether it provides value to your customers. Your marketing content should appeal to your current and potential customers, even if they are not currently in the market to buy. Informative and highly relevant content will keep them engaged until they do need your product or services.
Encourage your sales leaders to share their ideas for educational content on all of your platforms. Customers want to know what the costs are, what problems they might face, how you compare to your competitors, what other customers have to say, what it’s like to be part of your community, and what makes you the best. Make sure you’re the one who answers those questions. Setting yourself up as an informational leader creates trust and value with your audience while keeping you at the top of their mind. Make your company their go-to brand!

Matt RileyMatt Riley, Group Two
Content and Data are the Currency of 2020

In 2019, about half of all home builder website traffic came from paid sources like Google Ads and social media. However, knowing where your traffic is coming from is no longer good enough. In 2020 you must be able to identify what to adjust and how to correct it. You have to be thinking about your creative (aka, content) like a puzzle and find the right pieces that complete the entire picture.

It’s no longer good enough just to run an ad and watch its metrics. You should be tweaking copy, graphics, pictures, and audience to ensure you are meeting your customers where they are in their buying process.

For those of you that have invested in great content over the years, you are ahead of most. If you haven’t, all isn’t lost. You have some ground to make up, but it CAN be done by creating a plan and budgeting for it. You need to make sure you know WHAT to measure and how each of those metrics impact the others. You can’t know where you’re going, if you don’t know where you’ve been.

Rick PhillipsRick Phillips, Graphic Language, Inc
The Builder Website: Why Image is Everything.

It’s no surprise, home shoppers make immediate value judgments within seconds of seeing your online presence. And like any shopping experience, your branded elements (like your logo and website) instantly establish credibility buyers will use to decide if you’re the right fit, or not.

Fact is, engaging home shoppers starts with the right image. Most home shoppers will judge you by the look of your website well before navigating to your homes. Your look is your hook; it is how you persuade home shoppers to dig deeper into your brand, website, new home communities, homes, and ultimately, how you convert them into sales leads.

There are compelling reasons why the top companies worldwide take their online brand and image seriously. So make 2020 the time you rethink how your business looks online.

Stuart PlattStuart Platt, Outhouse
Online Lovers

Did you know many couples who meet online say they fell in love before they met? There are countless lectures, blogs, tips and tricks on how to nurture an emotional connection with a home buyer after they walk in the door of your sales office, but what about before you meet? Today’s advanced online digital marketing tools like interactive floor plans and renderings, virtual reality and online chat technology can nurture a homebuyer’s emotional connection with the home they are considering.

Purchasing decisions, even big ones like a house, are heavily driven by feelings. Do not underestimate the power of emotional connections, and begin this beautiful relationship on your website, not in person. Connect with a home buyer before they physically shake your hand and they are already yours.

Andrew PeekAndrew Peek, Do You Convert
Context is Now King
Marketers have a near endless supply of data, advertising choices and reporting capabilities. Understanding the fundamentals of each metric, unique features, abilities of each advertising channel, and what data is important for each person who receives your reports is critical for not only your own success, but the success of your builder. Understanding the context or “why” of each metric will allow you to better apply and tell a story about the data that you have available.

Meredith OliverMeredith Oliver, Meredith Communications
How Well Do You Know Your Numbers?
How well do you know your numbers? Not your starts or your profit margin, but your marketing numbers? Marketing in 2020 isn’t only about the creative aspects-it’s about your organization’s ability to collect, analyze, and synthesize marketing analytics. All the answers you are seeking about how to sell more homes are in the numbers – you just need to know where to look, what numbers to care about, and how you compare to others in the industry.

Kevin OakleyKevin Oakley, Do You Convert
Analyze and Communicate Stories Around the Data
Getting leads for your sales team should no longer be your biggest challenge. You have more high-quality channels to pull leads from at incredibly low prices, and you have A.I. working alongside you to make quicker and better decisions on items that you used to take a lot of your time. Now, your biggest challenge likely comes from the land department, warranty, costing, and purchasing, or any other group that affects the optimal workflow and results that customers expect. What’s a marketer to do?
You need to be serious about analyzing and communicating stories around the data generated within your organization. Using tools like Google’s Data Studio, Microsoft’s Power BI, or Tableau to visualize huge amounts of data from different sources in ways that force every department to understand their impact on the customer is a great start. A big differentiator between good marketers and great ones is their ability to use data to tell interesting stories that give those around them an excuse to change.

Dennis O'NeilDennis O’Neil, O’Neil Interactive
Design Your Difference

It’s nice to have a consumer say they like your website, but there’s real value in having them fall in love with your homes or your company. Every aspect of your website design communicates your company values. Decisions on the content you include, or not, and the placement of that content communicates to a consumer what you value and what you think should be important to them. Look at your website with fresh eyes and consider what it’s communicating. Hint: It shouldn’t be communicating the same message they see on other builders’ websites.

Carol MorganCarol Morgan, Denim Marketing
Focus on the Goal for 20/20 Success
Posting on multiple social media platforms for the sake of putting something out to the masses is passé. Take a hard 20/20 look at your sites, conduct a social media marketing audit and revisit the goals of each channel. Are you successful? If not, take time to put a plan in place. Having a marketing plan that includes quality content that resonates with the target market will result in success. When it comes to posting, less is more as long as it is creative, original, quality content that entices consumers to interact. Better yet, encourage raving fans to do the heavy lifting, create a fun hashtag and encourage its use. Make user-generated content a goal for 2020.

Ben Keal, Private CommunitiesBen Keal, Private Communities
Did They Make a Move?

In 2020, take some time to evaluate your pipeline of leads generated from previous years. Hopefully, you are tracking leads in your CRM for sales, but what are you doing with all the other leads that stopped engaging? Take marketing attribution another direction by running all captured leads through the National Change of Address database to verify if a move has occurred. Once you have the data, consider using a mapping tool like Mapline, MapAnything or even Google to help visualize relocation patterns. By tracking relocations, you can: quantify how many of your prospects have moved; see if the prospect decided to stay closer to home; visualize how many consumers in your leads database chose a competitor in your area. Knowing where leads decide to relocate can help marketers communicate success and opportunities to the sales teams they are supporting.

Chris HartleyChip Johnson, Builder Designs
Destination Marketing

When it comes to successful digital marketing, often times we forget that everything revolves around your content strategy. Content is central to your SEO, social, website performance, and most importantly, your voice. You have to give consumers a compelling reason to look at your product and become emotionally engaged with your brand. Today’s browsers are prone to spending as little time as possible actually researching product at the top of the funnel – they just want it in an easy to consume, macro format. As marketers, we’re fighting to get as much traffic to our sites as possible. And when we do get them on our sites, if the content isn’t top notch (i.e. better than your competition) don’t be surprised when lead performance suffers.

So for 2020 my advice is simple: develop a content strategy you can execute around. And start with amazing photography.

John LeeJohn Lee, Rendering House
Remove Obstacles That Block our Vision

“20/20″ symbolizes “clarity and vision”. To achieve this, we need to remove obstacles that block our vision, focus on our priorities, and enable us to see both near and long-term.

In an ever-changing competitive landscape, to get a clearer view, we may also need to change our perspective. This may require a concerted effort to move to a better position, re-evaluate our priorities, and even change our vision.

The New Year is the perfect time to “review”, our views, of our businesses. Happy New Year and may you see your future clearly in 2020!

Chris HartleyChris Hartley, Trendmaker Homes
Budget for Testing New Concepts and Technology

As we approach 2020, we start to strategize and evaluate business concepts we wish to execute in the new year. 2020 should be the year when you significantly increase or introduce a research budget into your business plan—take a portion of your current sales and marketing budget to try test concepts and technologies throughout the year that just may be that next big thing that separates your company from the competition.

Over these past eight years our research budget has allowed us to try new things before they became mainstream–drone videos, video emails, and animated educational videos. We created walk-through videos of our spec and model homes using Segways and motion-proof vests with Hollywood movie cameras attached. Some of our favorite research budget success stories include unassisted entry locks into completed inventory homes and a text messaging platform that drastically cut down on contact to contract times. In all, I couldn’t encourage you more to embrace change, embrace technology, and be the FIRST to adapt to the ways that your prospects wish to do business with you or view your homes.

You will never be the trendsetter you wish to become by sitting on the sidelines watching other companies test the things you wish you had the money to test. Set aside the money up front and have fun researching!

Mollie Elkman, Group TwoMollie Elkman, Group Two
Your Voice Matters

Today, 90% of business owners view company culture as an essential aspect of a thriving business, yet only 15% feel their own company culture is where it needs to be. Wow. That’s a huge opportunity for all of us. As a sales and marketing professional, you cannot undervalue the effect that team morale has on the buyer experience at every touch point. Take a moment to ask yourself if your company is set up with the basics for success. Do you have a mission statement? Is it something that’s incorporated into your work environment on a regular basis? Is there an established brand voice that aligns with that mission? Does every team member have access to it?

In 2020, it’s time to own the fact that marketing is about so much more than getting in front of people. If you don’t have an established brand identity, you can’t communicate effectively. Today’s buyer is savvy enough to tell how your team really feels and whether your marketing and sales presentation is an authentic reflection of that. We all have the power to positively affect the culture and brand of our organizations in our day to day interactions and relationships. We can all show up with a smile and feel empowered to know that engaged team members perform 20% better and are 87% less likely to leave. Investing in your team is good for you, your company, and the buyer.

Will DuderstadtWill Duderstadt, M/I Homes
Tending to Your Lead Garden

As an avid outdoorsman, I recently realized there are several parallels between lead generation and gardening. First, always plan ahead. To ensure a constant harvest, plan out a year-long calendar with tactics and messaging that ensures your online sales team never goes hungry. Second, nurture all your regular marketing campaigns. Daily monitoring of key metrics, watering and fertilizer when needed, and the agility to prune under performing sources. Finally, time your harvest. Too soon and you will have a small, undeveloped and low-quality yield. Wait too long, and you risk rot. Use appropriate CTAs that align with the customer’s journey. Always remember, “relationships, careers, flowers (and now lead generation) reflect the kind of care that they get.”

Greg BrayGreg Bray, Blue Tangerine
Get Your Digital Foundation in Order

Home builders, more than most, understand the importance of building on a strong foundation. If your digital strategy has been neglected and you’re not yet taking care of the basics–a mobile optimized website, an active SEO program, engaging content such as interactive floor plans, web integrations with your CRM, and other systems, etc.–you are already behind and are losing sales to your competitors.

2020 is the year to get your digital foundation in order. As builders continue to move toward a greater integration between the online and offline customer experience with virtual and augmented reality tools, lot reservations, home purchases online, and expanded customer personalization, just to name a few, you will need that solid digital foundation on which to build.

Sometimes it can be overwhelming to know where to even start. There is a real fear of making a mistake by selecting the wrong technology or partner. As the old saying goes, “measure twice, cut once.” It’s important to do the measuring, but don’t let the fear of making the wrong cut stop you from making any cut at all. Push through that fear and take the next step, because the consequences of not trying are much higher.

David AllisonDavid Allison, Valuegraphics
Make Them Feel at Home

This year, I’ve learned a very global lesson, and it applies to the home building industry as well as any other industry, anywhere in the world. I want to share it with you.

We all crave, more than anything, to feel at home…and companies that satisfy this craving in everything they do will thrive.

A can of soup gets plucked off the shelf and rung-through the checkout in a grocery store in Dubai because something about that brand made it feel like the right choice. A car gets driven off the dealership lot in Regina because it attracted their attention, it spoke to the buyer, it fit like a glove. The new home contracts in Phoenix are signed by an excited newly-married couple and keys change hands because the buyers saw the potential experiences on offer, the opportunity to be more truly at home.

On conference stages around the world, in client boardrooms on multiple continents, with hedge funds, technical sportswear, condo towers or office supplies…it inevitably comes back to helping people feel more like they belong, part of something bigger, more accepted, more right, more at home.

We live in a big scary confusing ridiculously complex world that we all must navigate every day. Give your people some respite and make them feel at home.

Bassam SalemBassam Salem, AtlasRTX
Leadership is not About Being Popular

I wish I could say that I had perfected it; I haven’t. In fact, it continues to be a lifelong pursuit of mine to hone my leadership skills as the person responsible for the success of a work family at AtlasRTX. I see my role as their team coach as being responsible for:

1. Modeling the corporate culture I’m trying to develop: I must be as happy, humble, and hungry as I’d like my team to be: I can’t expect my team to work harder than I’m willing to or be kinder than I’m willing to be;
2. Communicating clearly and consistently what our unifying objective is, who is responsible for each aspect of that objective, and how these aspects support one another to ensure our achieving it. True leadership cannot exist without communication;
3. Making the tough and unpopular decisions (arguably the most difficult). On occasion, there are decisions that must be made that, while right for the team and business, are uncomfortable or inconvenient for all or part of the team…yet someone has to step up and make that decision.

Because of the aforementioned points, leadership is often a very lonely proposition; it is frequently and incorrectly confused with popularity. Being popular is much easier. Being a leader is a long-term journey filled with failure, insecurity, discomfort, and struggle. Because of this, it’s such a fulfilling and rewarding pursuit.

Angela McKayAngela McKay, ECI Software Solutions
Be Respectful

Statistics show that email marketing is still a viable means to communicate information; and, while texting is becoming the preferred one-to-one method of communication once someone is engaged, email is still being opened and clicked on. Even Millennials are checking for and opening email throughout the day.

Getting an email address or phone number from someone is a privilege and we need to treat it with the utmost respect. 2020 is a year to reflect on permission and to revisit email marketing strategies. Data privacy and anti-spam laws are no joke and while many can shrug off that it doesn’t impact their jurisdiction, being respectful and mindful of what you send and who you send to is more important than ever before. Email marketing is about providing your prospects with the information THEY want and creating a valued, trusted relationship. Think like a retailer and how they tailor the images and the content to your preferences … and do the same. Segment your lists. Ask yourself the following questions before you send? Did they ask for these emails? Is this providing value to them? Are they engaging in my email? Look beyond open rates and measure your calls to action and engagement with an email.

Email continues to be an economical and fast way to communicate to your database. It’s important to create and send with care!

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