Marketing new homes developments are at a vital point in which mind shift is happening at a velocity not seen before. If you are stuck in the old mindset way of marketing your new homes…then you are missing out on real revenue growth.
When we set out in the web design business 20 years ago we would pretty much take any business that came our way. However, it soon dawned on us that we would be better off concentrating on a particular niche. So a few years later we decided to focus on the property sector. It was something I personally knew an awful lot about, having come from a family of three generations of house developers, and something that has always interested me.
So in about 2003, we started helping house builders and estate agents with their websites and with online and offline promotion of their new homes developments and property services.
Of course in the early days, this was reasonably straight forward. With a nice new website, a few keywords and a little bit of money for some online advertising, we were getting visitors to websites and enquiries coming in regularly. Many house builders that we were working with took over the running of their website and started running their own ads, and coupled with the demand for new housing this worked out just fine.
However, nowadays things are not so straight forward. There are so many reasons why house builders are getting frustrated with the marketing of their website. Not only is there increased competition and higher customer expectations, but marketing campaigns are becoming more costly and time-consuming to set up. And the most frustrating thing is that the results are not what they used to be. Visitors might be going up…but enquiries are going down.
To highlight the frustrations house builders are having, we were in conversation with a house developer recently who had a number of apartments that were just not selling fast enough. The conversation went something like:
Customer: We are selling units but just not quickly enough… we need to double our sales
Me: OK, so how many are you currently selling a month? And where do most of your leads come from?
Customer: We are currently selling 2 to 3 month and we need to get to 6, and we think most of our leads come from the website?
Me: OK, that’s quite a big increase. So if the leads are coming from the website, do you know what got people to the website in the first place?
Customer: Well we are running some newspaper ads and run some events every now and again. Oh, and we have tried some Google advertising… and some leaflet drops and Rightmove ads. But it does cost us quite a bit at the moment, so we are thinking of cutting back on the Google adverts
Me: OK, cool. So do you know the breakdown of which of those tactics have brought the most leads to you? And which leads have converted into sales?
Customer: Well we’re not sure. We just need a new marketing campaign to get these apartments sold.
Me: OK. So why do you think you need a new marketing campaign?
Customer: We just need to increase sales.
Me: Do you have an idea of who would be most likely to buy your apartments?
Customer: We can sell to anyone, but probably young people and investors
We ended up going round and round in circles for a while. The house builder was frustrated, they didn’t know which way to turn and was clutching at straws, hoping that by just throwing a new marketing campaign together was going to solve all his problems. In fact, a random new campaign would have just magnified the problems and would have led to much greater frustration
The reality is this is not uncommon, and we hear this more and more often.
When we looked deeper into what was going on, there was so much wrong with how the website had been set up. Below is not the full list, but gives you a flavour.
- The imagery did not reflect the target audience – we did manage to drill down in the end and found out the most likely buyer of the apartments
- The website did not work well on mobile phones from a user experience point of view. Everything was there, but it the most important ‘call to action’ seemed like a bit of an afterthought (interestingly the target audience we ended up identifying, 9 times out of 10 would have been browsing on their mobiles)
- There was a top slider containing about six big images, which may have been fine on a desktop, but was pointless on a mobile phone
- The website was hosted on a really slow server. It took a long time to load on a desktop computer… on mobile on 4G it was pretty hopeless.
- The Google adverts were poorly set up.
- There were way too many keywords
- The ads just linked to the homepage (no specific intention or relationship with what the adverts said)
- The form had far too many fields for a user to fill out (the number of people getting to the form was reasonable…but the drop-off was massive).
Everything about the way the website was built, and how the campaigns were set up did not surprise me that nothing was really working.
It was NOT a new marketing campaign that was needed…it was a well thought out strategy and marketing funnel that needed attention. This is the difference between online marketing today, and what was being done only a few short years ago
Today, it is imperative to be specific and intentional. A small amount of time spent upfront defining the exact target audience, and working out the campaigns, as well as being intentional about measuring success will go a long way, to not only stop frustration but to save an awful lot of money.
Make sure you are not the one just throwing a pretty looking website together with a pot full of money for advertising and hoping for the best. Save yourself time and money by really thinking carefully about who might actually buy your apartment or new home, and make sure you have a well-thought strategy of how you are going to appeal to your target audience.
It’s not easy…but it more than makes up for it in sales, and at the end of the day that is what everyone wants to achieve.
Think you might be stuck in the old mindset way of marketing?
We would suggest you document where you are. If you would like a little help, we can run you through our unique road mapping exercise. This will give you a good overview of where you are, and where you could be.
Contact us today to see how our solutions can take your New Homes lead generation and conversion strategies to the next level.