11 Proven Methods to Maximize Your Home Builder Marketing Budget
As a new home builder, marketing is an essential part of your company’s success. No business can exist without customers, and in markets with a lot of strong competition you need to be able to stand out from the crowd.
But how do you know if you’re spending enough of your resources on marketing? Too little and you could be left behind in the marketplace even if you have a superior product. Too much and you could waste valuable time and money that might be vital elsewhere.
We’ll take you through 11 tried-and-tested methods of maximizing your home builder marketing budget, so you can be sure you’re getting the most out of every penny you spend.
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- Have a Plan
- Don’t be Afraid to Experiment
- If It’s Not Working, Cut It
- Don’t Be Afraid To Reuse Material
- Find the Right Audience
- Use a C.R.M.
- Automate Your Marketing
- Turn Your Customers Into Promoters
- Have a Streamlined Social Strategy
- Use Your Marketing to Drive Your Marketing
- Trust The Professionals!
One useful way to think about your home builder marketing budget is to treat it as an investment. Some investments will yield more returns or pay out more quickly than others, and, just like investments, some will be effective only in the shorter term while others will be better for long-term growth. The end goal is to be sure you’re getting the best return on investment (ROI) possible so every dollar you spend on marketing brings in more money in the form of customers.
Some home builders are willing to spend whatever it takes to acquire a customer. While this is effective, it’s not a very efficient use of a marketing budget. The solution isn’t always to throw more money at the problem, but rather to spend the money in a smart and efficient way.
To know if your marketing efforts are working properly, you’ll first need a plan. Try laying out a map to grow your marketing in a way that’s achievable and beneficial. This will vary depending on the specifics of your unique home builder brand, but it could be something along the lines of, “grow our total number of qualified leads by 50% in the next three months” or “double our amount of email signups over the next month.” The key to a good plan is to be specific.
If you are a more established company with lots of data to draw on, you'll probably already know the Lifetime Value and/or the Cost to Acquire for each customer you bring in as well. This can be an important factor in maximizing your budget. By bringing the cost of acquiring a customer down, you're making more money on each sale without having to spend more or raise prices!
2. Don’t be Afraid to Experiment
When it comes to making your marketing budget work as hard as possible, one of the most important things you’ll need to do is to identify under-performing areas in your plan and improve them. There’s no boilerplate method for doing this that will work for everyone, so this is where experimentation comes in.
For example, say your analytics show your home page and landing pages are receiving comparable amounts of visits, but only 20% of the people who visit the landing page are converting to leads, whereas it’s around 65% for the homepage. This suggests that there’s room for improvement on the landing page, so it’s time to experiment.
To avoid confusion, it’s better to run only one experiment at a time. If you change three things at once and the conversion rate improves, great! But how do you know which one worked? And how do you know it wouldn’t have been even higher if you’d only changed the one thing? You’ll want the experiment to ideally be replicable so you can use it to improve other areas too.
One good way of achieving this is with A/B split testing. This essentially means that when you want to perform an experimental change on a page, you create two versions of that page and direct an equally-sized, randomly-chosen section of your audience to each one to see if one outperforms the other.
This is another instance where having a plan is beneficial, as "outperforming" means different things to different people. Before you run a test, decide what improvement you'd like to see, and what would constitute success. Spending a lot of time updating all your landing pages for an extremely small increase in traffic, for example, is not a cost-effective way to proceed.
There are many things you can try, so be bold! Even some things you’d never expect like the colour or copy text of the ‘submit’ button can have an impact. An experiment carried out by Hubspot found that red buttons outperformed green ones by 21% when nothing else on the page was changed!
3. If It’s Not Working, Cut It
Of course, not every experiment is going to work. Even the things that do work may change over time as styles and preferences change. In this case, the best policy is to try something new. Even if you personally like things a certain way, or if an approach has historically worked but is now flagging, be ruthless and try replacing it with something else.
When it comes to maximizing your home builder marketing budget, a good ROI should be the primary focus. If something is not providing a positive return on your investment, your best bet is to replace it with something that will. Be wary of the sunk cost fallacy.
4. Don’t Be Afraid To Reuse Material
As a corollary to the above tip, if you identify something that's working, keep doing it! There’s nothing wrong with reusing the same piece of content if it’s getting results and, after all, a good ROI on your home builder marketing is all about efficiency.
Nowadays people online consume information in all sorts of different ways. If a blog post is getting a lot of attention, consider repurposing the content for an infographic or a video. You might be able to attract the same amount of people three times, for the cost of one piece of content!
5. Find the Right Audience
Another common source of inefficiency is in trying to cast a wide net to indiscriminately catch as many people as possible. While this can have positive results, it also means you’re probably spending a lot of money and effort trying to reach people who aren’t interested or aren’t ready yet. This is going to increase the average cost to acquire a customer and, in turn, increase your budget.
Fortunately, there are solutions to this. The most common one is to create buyer personas based on real customer data to guide you on whom to aim your marketing efforts to. Another is to know where a potential customer is on their home buyer’s journey. For example, if someone has already signed up to receive your newsletter, has read up on a few home models and is considering purchasing, you don’t want to be sending them the same marketing material as someone who’s just beginning to look around. Similarly, you also have to be careful not to send out emails too frequently. You don’t want to annoy someone who’s not ready to buy!
6. Use a C.R.M.
A CRM (Customer Relationship Management) is a software that helps a company keep track of all of its leads and customers, and all the interactions they’ve had with them. Rather than storing a customer’s contact details in one place, and having to search through email inbox histories and multiple departments to find a customer’s history, with a CRM this is all stored in one location, making it much faster and easier to determine how ready someone might be to buy from you.
Some CRM systems will offer additional features, such as real-time alerts when leads perform specific actions. This could be anything from signing up for an email list, to clicking a specific link in an email, or when they download a piece of content. Having access to all this information in one place will help you determine the best timing and content to send a lead. For example, say you have a lead who's shown interest in a specific community and they're looking for a front-attached garage home. When you open that brand new show home, sending them an email with information on the grand opening event is a perfect fit.
7. Automate Your Marketing
In addition to keeping a comprehensive list of all your contacts and interactions, you can also use software to automate your home builder marketing. For example, using marketing automation you can allow you to send out thank-you emails to anyone who downloads an eBook, then a few days later, have the software send them a follow-up email with offers based on what they downloaded.
As well as saving time, this helps your home builder brand look good - by allowing you to avoid avoiding sending your customers irrelevant or impersonal emails. Instead of just sending messages to everyone in your email list at once, you can target people with offers they’ll actually want when they’re ready to receive them.
8. Turn Your Customers Into Promoters
Once you’ve built up a good customer base, experimented and refined the customer experience on your website and your CRM is doing what it’s supposed to, it's time to start working on turning some of your existing customers into promoters of your brand! It’s crucial you do this after you’re sure these home buyers are getting the best experience possible - you don’t want to ask an unhappy person for a referral.
Think about setting up a referral program to make it easier for new homeowners to pass your information along - perhaps offering rewards or incentives to those who do refer. This is also something that can be tracked and automated by a CRM and/or automated marketing system. Happy customers who do your marketing work for you are one of the most efficient (and cost-effective) ways possible to bring in leads!
9. Have a Streamlined Social Strategy
Keeping up-to-date with social media is a full-time job in itself. By the time you check and update your company’s LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Pinterest, Instagram, Youtube and so on, you could easily use up a large part of the day. Not to mention the amount of content and upkeep you’ll need to see to, and the extra cost of boosting posts and buying ads just to be seen.
Much like the focused approach to acquiring customers, in a lot of cases, it's much more effective to just pick one or two social areas and focus on doing those really well (as opposed to trying to run them all at once). Which ones should you focus on? Well, which sites do your buyer personas prefer to use? This is another area where buyer personas come in handy.
The most effective social sites will vary from case to case, but also consider which ones would suit the needs of your home building business. If you market mostly towards working professionals rather than the general public, networking through LinkedIn could be your best bet. And, since home builders rely on a lot of visual selling, an image-based social channel like Instagram or Pinterest is a no-brainer.
10. Use Your Marketing to Drive Your Marketing
Certain marketing methods will naturally feed into others, and you can use these to your advantage when it comes to making your home builder marketing budget as efficient as possible. For example, an effective referral program will encourage current homeowners to bring in new customers, who will feed into the referral program, generating even more customers and so on. Try to identify where these areas are in your home builder marketing strategy and try applying your budget there so it can feed back into itself and help your ROI.
Search engine optimization (SEO) and content marketing is another good example of this - the more content you have, the more relevant and effective your SEO terms will be, which will bring more visitors in and improve your content overall.
11. Trust The Professionals!
Ultimately, one of the most cost-effective ways to use your marketing budget can be to simply hire a team of professionals to do it for you. Specialized home builder marketing agencies like Marketing Ninjas have tried-and-tested methods of driving showhome traffic and delivering a substantial ROI.
It all starts with a conversation!
For more information on how to improve your home builder marketing program and boost R.O.I., download a free copy of our eBook "Home Builder Strategies to Drive Revenue and Increase Profits".