Recent research suggests that 88% of consumers in the United States, research products online before they purchase. This makes sense considering with any good purchase, consumers want to learn more about their desired product, and homebuyers are no different. In fact, research from 2016 suggests 44% of all buyers looked for properties online as their first step.
The data doesn’t just stop there, but it increases and differs from each generation. For example, 99% (nearly all) of Millennials search online compared to 89% of Older Boomers and 77% of the Silent Generation. There’s no question that people rely on home builder websites in order to start their house hunting search. This is only the beginning to why your website is the center of your marketing universe.
When you think about your website from a marketing perspective, think of it as your online Universe. Your target audience is using your website to not only begin their house hunting search, but to also learn more about your company, your values and your culture.
Also, your website is the center of where almost all marketing insights stem from. For example, most (if not all) of your marketing initiatives link or reference back to your website in some way or another. This is because you want a prospect picking one of your homes over the competitors. Continue reading to learn why your website is the center of your universe.
According to the National Association of Realtors, the percentage of firms with websites actually increases with the size of the office. They noted that 99% of firms with five of more offices have websites in their 2017 report.
This compares to the only 5% of home builder and development firms which do not currently have a website. Those companies who don’t currently have a site in place are losing out on significant sales simply due to the fact that no one knows they exist outside of their physical office location.
You see it everywhere – young people on their phones, communicating and interacting with anyone online. 2019 data from the Pew Research Center claims that 93% of Millennials own smartphones, can you imagine how many Gen Zers have smartphones in comparison? Probably more than 93%.
The speed at which the new generation is evolving to technology is extremely fast, which in turn puts high demand on having an easy to navigate, captivating website. Real estate and home builder firms actually find keeping up with technology as a major challenge. In fact, 48% of all firms cite technology is one of their biggest challenges in the next two years.
Referring back to my previous point of how all marketing links back to your website, it’s way more than you initially thought. All email newsletters, direct mail postcards, TV commercials, new listing flyers and all collateral features your website, if created correctly.
You want your target audience to take action from a marketing piece and not just count for another impression. Keeping your website URL on the forefront of all marketing – digital and traditional – is also a way to measure traffic, increase conversions and raise awareness for your company.
Every great brand has a story. For instance, New Legacy Homes, a successful home-builder in the Tampa Bay Area, portrays their story on their website: “Building a new legacy of excellence, innovation, and quality for you and your family.” When you create a website, you are the narrator for your own story.
Even though this point is simple, it’s important consider how much information found online is inaccurate. According to a report from the Pew Research Center, only 49% of the respondents agreed that in the next 10 years, the information found online will be improved by changes that reduce the spread of lies.
Also consider that without a website, you are leaving your brand’s story in the hands of Google, Bing! or even Yelp. With construction businesses getting only about seven reviews on Google, that’s not a great ratio for wiggle room in case someone leaves a bad review.
The purpose of your home builder website is to serve as a passive lead generation tool. In other words, most people probably won’t purchase a home without viewing it online first. Let your website be the driving force for your consumers to come see your product in person, schedule a tour, or visit your design center.
Like yourself, your competitors also have a website with the same goal in mind. If you are not updating your site appropriately by adding your new listings, then your competitors are. A well-crafted website keeps your company competitive in a very bloodthirsty, digital world.
Being an experienced home builder, you’ve seen many homes transform from the ground up. Your website is the center of your marketing universe because it gives you an opportunity to show off your skills, past projects and all you can do for an interested homebuyer.
You need to consider the importance of hiring a professional photographer, specialized in homes or multi-family units, when showcasing your work on your website. This is because homes with high quality photography actually sell 32%faster! Homes with more pictures sell faster too.
Never underestimate the power of what a professional photographer can bring to your home builder website. Overall, your website is the center of your marketing universe because of the unworldly potential it can bring to your conversion rates.
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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