Let’s Get Visible, Visible

Let’s Get Visible, Visible

Mar 11, 2024 | By Jackie Lipinski

I recently took a road trip vacation, and while I was heading home, I decided to swing by a home builder’s community to get some mud on my boots. I knew this builder wanted to improve its sales and traffic numbers to the community and that the homes they built were stunning. So why not check it out and see what I could find? 

But there was a problem. Driving towards it, I could hardly find any hint of its existence. On top of that, once I got to the community, I looked at the community landing page to compare its information and content against what I saw with my own eyes, and there were obvious inconsistencies. 

The Biggest Issues: 
  • The Website Was Outdated: The community landing page said, “New phase coming Fall of 2023!” The copy would have been fine, except it was now winter, meaning the website lost its credibility that its information was up-to-date and reliable.
  • Photos Don’t Match In-Person Experience: 90% of the images were outdated drone shots from the early stages of construction. The other community images were exterior model home photos that were also a few seasons outdated.
  • Signage Information Had The Wrong Contact Information: The signage on the model home had contact information for the sales agent, not the Online Sales Specialist. All leads should funnel through the Online Sales Specialist, including community signage, so the calls from the sign weren’t being tracked properly. 
So why am I sharing this story with you? It’s because this story is far too common from builders all across the nation. Marketing teams can get so busy creating ads, analyzing communities, and tackling the additional responsibilities of their roles that they might forget to double-check what information the community landing pages have on them. The marketing team might not even know what the community looks like in person. 

In 2006, Princeton psychologists discovered that it takes a tenth of a second to form an impression of a person. The same might be said of the first impressions of your website and community pages too. Each Home Builder spends a significant budget on marketing to attract the most qualified new home shoppers to your website, so we don’t want to lose them on their first visit because of outdated information. Ensure your website content and information are updated and engaging and each landing page has a clear CTA (Call To Action). If you need inspiration for CTAs, check out Bryce Baker’s previous article about how to think about your website CTAs here.

How to Make Sure Your New Home Communities Can Be Found Online AND In Person.

Online Presence Must-Haves for Your New Home Communities:
  • Create Accurate and Up-To-Date Community Landing Pages
    • Be sure you or your team regularly check each community page to verify that it is up to date. Create a weekly/bimonthly calendar event to review all website content to make sure your landing pages are updated and accurate. I used to bookmark all my community pages to check them as quickly as possible at a glance each week. Work with your teams to create a notification checklist for when you need new content or should plan to create new content. 
  • Establish a Google Business Profile (Previously Known as Google My Business)
    • Your free Business Profile on Google is crucial for maintaining local visibility. It ensures that your new home community will appear in various ways on Maps and in Google Search results.
  • Facebook: Build Ads to Create Awareness 
    • Facebook ads are best used as a marketing tool to create awareness of coming soon or available new home communities. They can inform your audience of your community's existence and create brand awareness in a specific location for your home builder. Facebook ads are designed to capture the attention of users who might not be actively searching for a particular product or service.
  • Google Ads: Target Users with Intent
    • Google search ads are tailored specifically for users who are actively searching for something specific, such as a home in the location you’re building. This approach allows you to actively target users with clear intent, ensuring your ads reach people who are actively in the market for a new home. 
  • Google Display Ads: Reach a Larger Audience 
    • Display ads help reach a larger audience beyond those actively searching on Google. They are shown to people while browsing websites, watching YouTube videos, checking their Gmail, or using mobile apps within the Google Display Network (GDN).
  • Google Remarketing: Re-Engage with Previous Website Visitors
    • Remarketing ads are one of the better ways to digitally re-engage with users who have previously interacted with your website and shown interest in your offerings.
  • Syndication: Expand Your Digital Reach
    • If the above resources aren’t driving enough traffic and sales, you could diversify your digital reach by utilizing syndication on platforms like Zillow, Redfin, NewHomeFeed, and others. 
In-Person Presence Must-Haves for Your New Home Communities
This isn’t a full list of all the things your new home community needs, but it is a list of all the signage that should exist as a checklist item for your builder at a minimum. 
  • Community: 
    • As soon as your community is under contract, the best way to gather leads organically over time is to have, at a minimum, a large sign installed that clearly states the name of your community, the name of the builder, and the website. We usually see signs about 4’x8’. If you include a phone number, it should funnel through a tracking system and lead to your online sales representative.
    • Also, remember if you have any featured “call out” signage installed on top your signage like “Coming Soon” that it is also updated when your website swaps to “Now Available”.
  • Model Home Signage: 
    • Make sure your model home has obvious outside signage highlighting it as the model home. Any phone numbers on the signage should funnel through a tracking system and lead to your online sales program.
  • Directional Signage 
    • Use directional signage if your local area allows it and it makes sense for the community and its location.
  • Homesite Signage 
    • People driving through a neighborhood don’t want to guess which lot is which, so make sure homesites are clearly marked. Some builders will occasionally note homesite features, floor plan highlights, and other home details on the lot signs as well. 
  • Optional Signage:
    • Sales Office Signage: Ensure that the environmental graphics inside your sales offices align with the online messaging about the new homes and communities and reflect your brand consistently.
    • Flags: Flags serve as quick identifiers for visitors looking for the community or model home.
    • Billboards: Just kidding! You can invest more efficiently in digital ads targeting genuinely interested and qualified individuals who are likely to buy a home, which is often more cost-effective than traditional billboards. 
My visit to the home builder's community highlighted common marketing challenges faced by Home Builders nationwide. This article serves as a reminder that every builder needs to establish a community-level checklist for their teams to work together to bring awareness to items like outdated online information and inconsistent on-site representation. New Home Marketers also must recognize the necessity of physically visiting projects periodically, as community-level human-centered experiences cannot be neatly displayed and analyzed on a spreadsheet. You can enhance the overall effectiveness of your marketing strategy by incorporating community visits as a human-centered first impression analysis layer. Remember, first impressions in your new home communities matter both online and on-site, so make them count.

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