COVID-19 or Coronavirus has negatively impacted the housing market by shocking homebuilders, developers and their consumers. Many builders and developers are struggling to connect with homebuyers in this new environment. In this part one article, you’ll learn six digital marketing strategies for how to sell your homes and properties online.
Before you begin your shift from selling homes in person to online, you must first familiarize yourself a bit with the COVID-19 situation. COVID-19 is something we cannot change, and this short-term disruption is causing a shift of making sales into an online purchase process. All industries are facing this tectonic shift to online sales and many are struggling.
“How to adjust from COVID-19?” is the number one question right now. Those who are struggling to get back on their feet from COVID-19 are not planning ahead nor looking into their loans of credit and cash flow. Be sure to have a realistic financial plan in place before you initiate these new digital marketing strategies to pivot online.
The number one recommendation for selling homes online is with SEO. SEO is what informs search engines like Google, Yahoo! and Bing on what your company is all about, such as who you are, where you build, your products, etc. Content marketing fuels SEO because without good content, there’s no SEO.
SEO’s main goal is to rank your website in the top positions on the search engine results page (SERP) organically. By doing so, you have a higher probability of receiving more website traffic, which in turn can provide you with new leads and prospects. Traffic can vary depending on the environment of the consumer and with this current environment, are people even visiting your website?
The behavioral analytic data from a compound collection of 443 builder websites, 300 virtual servers, and 15.9 million unique website visitors. He found the following macro data during the COVID-19 pandemic:
Numbers from top performing builders and showed the following:
Essentially, this data tells us home builders and developers should focus on their mobile efforts, which leads me to my next point.
It’s no question that people are browsing for homes more so on their phones, tablets than desktop during this quarantine. But how can you capitalize on this consumer trend? By updating your website to become compatible and appealing to mobile users. Below are more strategies you or your website development team can implement to favor mobile.
Load times are not only important for mobile devices, but it will also strengthen your SEO. In fact, speeding up your site can lead to as much as a 20% increase in organic traffic and improves your ranking by an average of two positions in the search engines. Even a website with a one-second delay can mean an 11% loss of page views.
PPC or pay-per-click is a paid digital marketing strategy where you pay Google, or other search engines, to display your ads to someone searching for specific keywords and phrases about your products and services. It favors mobile because you can add a call-out extension to your Google ad campaign that allows people to easily click to call your business.
Don’t get PPC confused with SEO. The biggest difference between PPC and SEO is that the traffic coming from PPC is paid for and the traffic coming in from SEO is organic. Cost is another difference, PPC’s cost depends on the keyword you wish to rank for.
It’s normal for home builders and developers to have large media files on their website for their videos, virtual tours, professional photography and other gallery images. Contrary to popular belief, people don’t spend more than a few seconds of time viewing your images and are even less inclined to view them on mobile. Resize and optimize your images for a better experience and much faster load times.
The Federal Government is beginning to mandate how websites deliver content and have guidelines to make the playing field even for everyone. For example, you need to be sure all of your promotion graphics, images, and videos all have alt text and alt tags so the visually impaired can understand all of the content found on your website.
While being ADA compliant is a fairly new implementation, it actually has SEO benefits. For example, by adding alt tags and text, it gives another avenue for people to find your products and services online. Your audience might even find you through searching on Google Images.
I hope this part one gives you a running start on what you can do to sell more homes in this new environment. If you have any additional ideas, please comment below and share them with our home building and development community. Stay tuned for part two on how to sell homes online…
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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