Home Builders Should Market Properties Throughout the Building ProcessJune 12, 2018
The digital age offers a multitude of ways to reach out to prospective buyers before you even break ground, and many forward-thinking home builders have begun leveraging these tools to develop relationships with target audiences at every step of the building process. If you’re waiting until your homes are built before you start marketing, you could be missing out on precious sales.
“Technology has made pre-construction marketing so easy and affordable that progressive home builders simply can’t afford not to market before a project is completed or even started,” says Designblendz, a 3D visualization firm that specializes in real estate marketing. “These dramatic changes in software and social media reach have revolutionized pre-construction marketing.”
In the early stages of a construction project, builders have a valuable opportunity to create brand awareness among prospective buyers who are similarly in the early stages of their home search. More than half of buyers consider new construction when looking for a home, and 86 percent conduct much of their initial search online, consulting an average of four online resources. Market research has shown that buyers are three times more likely to purchase from brands they consider early in their search than those they encounter later.
“At this stage, brand awareness is critical,” says Zillow real estate writer Nancy Robbers. “Consumers can get overwhelmed with options and are likely to cling to the few brands whose messages rise above the noise.”
So what are builders selling if they don’t have a physical house to show yet? For starters, home builders can market:
- Their services as a reliable home builder committed to delivering a quality product on time
- Their reputation as a trusted and respected brand
- The new community’s unique value proposition
- The joy and excitement of owning a home
Social media is an excellent forum for drumming up excitement for an upcoming community. Through social media outreach, builders can highlight the quality of their homes and the strength of their brand while sharing details that will generate interest in the community’s launch.
“When there is nothing to buy, you have to sell the joy of the home, not the price of the house,” says realtor and general contractor Myers Barnes. “Deliver the experience and share the magic—and the commitment of quality service and on-time delivery.”
He recommends sharing details sparingly at first, then building interest with more savory news and special incentives as the launch date approaches. The key is to be consistent. Since buyers often don’t settle on a brand until the moment of purchase, maintaining relevant messaging throughout the building process is crucial.
Building a winning website
Too many builders still have outdated websites that function as little more than an online brochure. These days, a website needs to provide a rich experience for buyers, who will often visit a builder’s home page before ever stepping foot in a sales office or model home.
First and foremost, a website should take advantage of responsive web design to deliver an optimal user experience across a wide range of devices—especially mobile. Google serves more searches on smartphones and tablets than desktops, and more than one in four buyers search for homes while waiting in line, sitting in a restaurant or hanging out at other people’s homes.
Builders should also consider incorporating new visual technologies to enhance the buyer’s online experience. Photos and video tours are must-haves, but they’re no longer the only options. Architectural 3D renderings help buyers visualize an unbuilt home much better than two-dimensional floor plans, and aerial drone photos can give them a sense of how the community is shaping up.
Creating engaging content
Companies with active blogs draw 6.9 times more organic search traffic and twice as much referral traffic—not to mention the fact that 62 percent of millennials say online content drives their loyalty to a brand. Builders can cultivate that loyalty by providing helpful content aimed at helping buyers navigate the home buying process. For example, builders can use their website or blog to provide:
- Consumer guides
- Case studies or project spotlights
- Launch updates
- Design and decorating tips
Content does more than just foster loyalty. It also allows builders to influence which criteria buyers use in making their final decision—a prime opportunity to nudge the conversation away from price and toward bigger issues like the quality of their homes.
“If you give prospects no other criteria by which to evaluate you, they are always going to make a decision based on price,” says the web marketing firm Contractor Dynamics. “If price is the only criteria that they have, that is going to be their default mode of decision-making.”
By marketing their builder’s home warranty, for example, builders can reinforce the quality of their homes as well as their reputation as a trusted member of the community. Since not all builders qualify to offer structural home warranties, joining a home builder’s warranty program distinguishes builders for their focus on quality, customer service and financial soundness. In addition, a builder’s warranty on new homes can help persuade buyers who are on the fence about buying new construction and help them feel protected against any thoughts of construction defects or structural issues.
Builders who choose PWSC for their new home builder’s warranty get more than just an exceptional warranty partner. We can also serve as a builder’s marketing arm, with customized marketing tools aimed at educating buyers about the benefits of a reliable, third-party administrator of builder’s home warranties, both insurance-backed and those integrated into a builder’s general liability insurance program. We offer brochures, signage, logos, videos, blog posts and even in-house trainings to help builders market their homes at every step of the building process.
Demand for new homes is high, and competition is fierce. By marketing their homes as early as possible and delivering consistent messaging that highlights the value of a home warranty, builders may gain a competitive edge in today’s real estate market.