The Goal

So, you have a broken community. Welcome to the club! You’re not alone, all home builders have at least one. Don’t worry – you and your problem community are not doomed. This article will offer a few DYC-proven marketing solutions to reignite interest, and therefore conversions and sales.

Backing up a bit, the first step in identifying the issue is to analyze your broken community’s funnel from top to bottom. For a detailed guide on how to do this, read Kevin Oakley’s Professional Builder article, How to Fix a Broken Community.

If you’ve identified that the underlying issue is awareness, your main priority from a marketing perspective is increasing quality traffic to this community’s website. If you are familiar with the 5 P’s of Marketing, this “P” is for “Promotion.” Essentially, you are trying to correct lack of interest in the community by increasing the number of page views or users to the community page of your website. More page views mean more qualified leads, more lead conversions, and more sales.

Pour Your Marketing Foundation

Before you spend additional budget and time on fixing a single community, make sure you have your “Foundational Campaigns” set up properly. These campaigns are the most budget-efficient and drive the highest quality of traffic to your site – and can oftentimes fix those broken communities.

Google Adwords

This can be an entire blog series, but to quickly analyze the effectiveness of your Google Ads account, review the list below:

  • 80%+ of your spend should be on “new home” related keywords.
  • 85%+ of your spend should be on the Search Network – not display ads.
  • Your ad copy must contain the price and city name.
  • Ideally, use “broad match modified” or “phrase match” keywords.
  • Do not use landing pages.
  • Paid Search bounce rate should not be more than 20% “worse” than Organic Search.

Facebook Ads

The following Facebook Ads set-up will result in more quality leads:

  • Use Conversion objective campaigns. Conversion will depend on how many leads you generally receive. Facebook needs data to work best. More often than not, optimizing towards page views results in the highest quality of traffic.

  • Create ads that provide choices. We call these “General Market” ads. As in, “New homes throughout Atlanta, GA. Choose from 10+ new home communities…” Offering choices provides a higher likelihood of matching a community to a buyer.
  • Run ads that are NOT focused on single communities.

Now that your foundational campaigns are up and running, how do we reignite this broken community?

1) Google Ads – Existing Home Keywords

Ninety-nine percent of the time, we choose to bid ONLY on “new home” keywords. However, there are two exceptions:

  1. If you have plenty of quick move-in homes that would allow you to “compete” for existing home buyers
  2. If the population/density of the city where the community is located is on the lower end

If either of these scenarios is true, then test adding in keywords that do not contain “new.” Start with a low bid as there is typically 2 to 10 times the amount of search volume for existing home keywords compared to new keywords. You will need to track the quality of these visits in Google Analytics to make sure the cost is worth it.

2) Facebook – Community-Specific Ads

Usually a community-specific ad is not ideal, but sometimes we have to bend the rules. First, let me explain why these ads less than ideal. If you track the results of sending someone to a map/market page vs. a single community, you will see the community ad has a much higher bounce rate, lower time on site and will have higher advertising costs (CPC). Unless we have to run community-specific ads, we don’t. With that said, you’re reading this post because you have a problem community; so let’s get that resolved.

For a community-specific ad, create a Conversion objective campaign (see example above) and choose a “page view” conversion when you build the campaign. These campaigns are best run with a strong budget ($1,000+) and a shorter duration – two to three weeks. Make sure you can visibly see the increase in page views/users in Analytics and then have meaningful conversations with the sales team about the impact. If you were to spread the same budget over a longer time period, the conversation (and results) will be much more difficult. Remember, you are solving a math problem. This community NEEDS more page views to generate the same number of leads as successful communities; therefore, you need a bigger budget.

3) Facebook – Increase Budget on Foundational Campaigns

“A rising tide lifts all boats.” As we just discussed, the foundational campaigns are the most efficient way to bring quality traffic to your website. Typically, community-specific ads can be 1.5 to 5 times the cost per click of foundational campaigns. Another solution (that almost feels like cheating) is simply raising the budget for your foundational campaigns that support the area in which your broken community is located. You’ll have the added benefit of total page views for all of your communities rising – not just the broken one.

4) Facebook – Expand Targeting on Current Campaigns

The last quick tip will depend on how your current Facebook Ad targeting is set up. If you have any detailed targeting options selected – such as “interested in Zillow” or “Kohls” or “some other random interest” – remove it. The best Facebook Ads performances use the broadest targeting available.

If you’ve gone through the analysis process and determined that you simply need more leads to fix that broken community, these quick tips can help make that happen. Just be sure you have the rest of the process in place to capture and convert them: an optimized website, an Online Sales Specialist, CRM sales processes, and a smooth hand-off to the onsite team.

For more broken community resources, please read below:

Repair That Broken Community: 3 Marketing Tactics to Boost Traffic & Leads
Market Proof Marketing Episode 4: Fixing That Broken Community
How to Fix a Broken Community (Professional Builder)

Have questions? Let us know below!