4.5 min read
Being a home builder or developer is a major accomplishment. It’s an even bigger accomplishment once you’ve completed the construction of an entire community. You’re proud of your completed master-planned community and now need to sell some houses. In this article, you’ll learn digital community marketing strategies for you to increase your sales.
Community marketing has a different strategy than marketing for a single-family home. With community marketing, you need to feature all aspects of the community and not just the houses for sale. For example, focus on the bigger picture of your community such as the lifestyle of your residents, the culture of the location as well as your amenities.
With community marketing, your goal should be to engage and attract prospective homebuyers on a local and regional level. Keep this goal in mind while I discuss the many digital marketing strategies you can utilize to do so.
There are many community events happening nearby your master-planned community. For instance, look for local sports teams for kids, school-run holiday parties, art and music festivals, and even summer camps. You can either sponsor these events with your home building organization or participate in them in some way.
You or someone from your team needs to be present in some manner during these community events for you to gain brand awareness. The more events you can add to your schedule, the more people will be exposed to your brand.
Participation invites you to learn more about the neighboring community, grows loyalty and helps maintain your authenticity. You can find these local events through school calendars, Facebook groups, and community signage. As well as online local websites taht have calendar of events you can review.
The second strategy you have is to send out a direct mail campaign. From my personal experience, every time one of my home builder clients sends out a direct mail pieve, we see a notable increase in traffic coming to their website. From the audience’s perspective, they receive a postcard and learn more about the company by going online.
There are a couple of important strategies when you are considering a direct mail campaign. The first is to acquire a qualified mailing list of all the prospective homebuyers and those who are already interested in your community. The next step is to create a list of neighboring zip codes to target. These two steps are critical to the success of your direct mail campaign. Developing an accurate list of qualified recipients is essential.
After knowing who to send your mailers to and where to send them, then you need to create the campaign. Like I mentioned earlier, be sure to include a link to your community’s website and phone number. Be sure this link has been shortened. According to Neil Patel, noted strategist, people are more likely to remember and share shorter URLs than longer ones.
The next strategy you can use to market to your new community is to create captivating collateral materials. Collateral can include any of the following: beautiful brochure featuring your community’s features, a handmade illustration of your community site plan, infographics about how well-built your new homes are, amenities and other relevant information and pamphlets about your team.
Although all of these examples are physical collateral which a homebuyer can hold in their hands, a more digital approach would be to produce a video brochure, 3D rending tours of your homes or even custom email newsletters discussing local events and development advances to your community.
Creating well-thought-out traditional and digital content takes time. I recommend working with an advertising or PR firm to help you with content creation. Once the content is complete, you will have more information to give to prospects when you leverage local events in strategy one.
Billboards and community signage are great strategies too. In fact, recent research suggests that 71% of Americans take note of the messages on roadside billboards. Billboards have been around for a long time because they produce results.
Other benefits of utilizing a billboard include it being a constant touchpoint for your audience, geo-targeting by location of your specific community and the ability to be trackable. Contrary to popular belief, billboards can be trackable.
Furthermore, billboards can be tracked by a shorten URL or custom phone number. For example, you create a unique telephone number for your billboard which automatically forwards to your sales team. This way you can not only gain consumer insights, but you can also measure the effectiveness of your billboard and signage.
Onsite signage is also a very powerful tool to promote your community. Tis can include banners, lot signs, flags, and way finding signs to guide potential buyers to your sales center.
Another great way to increase brand awareness of your community is by creating social media for it. Even though creating a social media profile for your community is initially easy, maintaining the conversation and increasing your engagement rate is a common challenge I see amongst home builders and developers.
The most successful social media accounts are relevant, authentic and are reciprocating. In other words, you must reciprocate the “likes” and “following”. You must follow a prospective homebuyer first for them to be aware of your account. Social media has become more challenging so consider hiring an agency to help you succeed.
Other social media tips include staying relevant and keeping up with the trends. Now and then, there’s a viral social media challenge. Do you remember Planking? What about Tebowing or the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge? Others in the past include the Cinnamon Challenge, Running Man and the Mannequin Challenge. Do a similar trend and maybe you’ll go viral too!
A guaranteed way for your community to gain online expose is to run a PPC, pay-per-click, campaign. A PPC campaign is when you pay Google to post your ad on their SERP (search engine results page). You create a series of text-only ads that link to a custom landing page on your website to help facilitate sales and conversions.
Running an effective PPC campaign takes time and experience so don’t start running with the idea before conducting any prior research. Before you get started with PPC, you will need to have a comprehensive keyword strategy and audience analysis in place.
This way your campaign has a specific direction for the desired result. Again, if you are not comfortable with tackling PPC on your own, consider hiring experts to assist you.
All six of these marketing strategies are strong, but together they provide you with a more comprehensive strategic plan to promote your community. If you need extra assistance or help in any one of the above strategies, don’t hesitate to reach out to an experienced marketing or advertising firm for expert guidance.
Which strategy have you found to be most effective?
About Terry Zelen
Creative Director | Consultant | Author | President of Zelen Communications
Terry Zelen is a seasoned Creative Director with more than 35 years of experience in Home Builder advertising and marketing.
He is the founder of The Punch List, which is an online blog to help inform home builders and developers on strategic marketing insights to fuel their firm.
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