If you’re a home builder, educating people on why they should build with you can be a challenge...
Not only do you need to explain the benefits of your design and construction process, and highlight what sets you apart from your competitors, but you’ve also got to prove that you can be trusted with what is (for most people) the biggest and most important purchase they’ll make in their life!
It’s also important to be mindful of the longer buyer journey of your potential customers.
Some will be ready to make a decision within a few weeks, while others may be a year (or more) away. Keeping them engaged and showcasing your expertise during this time is key.
If achieving the above feels like mission impossible, you’re not alone—but the good news is, with the right strategy it can be done.
So if you’re looking to educate, engage and win over your potential customers, check out the proven tips and strategies the home builders we work with use to great effect.
Why is Marketing for Home Builders Different from Most Businesses?
For any business, it’s crucial to understand your customer and how they buy.
As a home builder, you’re not selling something small like a T-shirt, where a person might see an ad on Facebook, click on it at 11pm after a couple of beers, and next thing you know they’ve bought a T-shirt they’ll probably never wear.
A home is something people take months, or even years, to plan out and get perfect.
The larger the purchase, the more time they’ll spend making sure their money is well spent, and that there is very little chance of anything going wrong.
The part you may not realise is, they’re usually around 57% of the way through that process BEFORE they actually start talking to builders.
57% of the purchase decision is complete before a customer even calls a supplier.Forrester Research
The good news is, there are several ways you can enter the conversation earlier on in the process, enabling you to get the jump on your competitors who are focusing all their efforts on the last half of the journey.
This is not a new idea, writer Robert Collier spoke about it almost 100 years ago when he said “Always enter the conversation already taking place in the customer’s mind.”
But how do we do this?
Create the Right Content
You’ve likely heard how important content is for your SEO — and if you’re a high-ticket business like a home builder, it’s also the primary way to educate potential customers and position yourself as an expert in your field.
A strategy that works well for our clients is to publish a weekly or fortnightly blog, with the focus for each article based around one of the following three areas:
- “How-to”/factual information on home building and design
- Explainer articles that unpack different aspects of their process
- Project focus articles that showcase the highlights of recently completed homes.
When you share knowledge, tips, and information that helps your audience create a vision of their ideal home, you start to build a captive and loyal following.
Now you’re joining that conversation that’s already going on as your customers are just doing research, looking around at options, and not yet ready to talk to a builder.
By creating topical blog articles alongside practical and informative downloadable guides and case studies that showcase your expertise, you position yourself as the go-to trusted source for relevant information. This keeps your audience interested, and puts you in the box seat to be their builder of choice when the time is right.
You can then use this content to not only attract new potential customers, but to keep communicating with potential customers who’ve already signed up previously. There’s no point spending the resources required to capture a lead if you then leave them dormant for 3-6 months and they forget you exist. Sending them helpful articles every one or two weeks at least will help build the relationship and remind them you’re still there.
Get Your Content in Front of the Right People
It’s one thing to create amazing content, but it’s another thing altogether to actually get anyone to read it.
There’s no use publishing a great blog article every week, then sitting back and hoping someone will stumble across it and find it useful. If you want results, you need to be proactive and get your content in front of the right people at the right time.
There are a few different ways to do this, and we generally use a combination to achieve the greatest reach for our clients. Social media is an obvious one, and is a great place to promote both your new and older content to show people your business is active.
The truth is though, organic reach on social media is very low, so we often turn to paid traffic to get the right eyeballs on our clients’ content. Paid ads are a very effective way to get your content seen by potential customers, just be sure you have a way to measure how effective it is, so you can keep an eye on ROI.
Regular emails to your subscribers are another great way to educate and connect with potential clients. You can build your mailing list over time via gated content on your website, which could be in the form of a downloadable ebook, handbook, guide or brochure. For example, one of our home builder clients set up their price list as a gated download, and their mailing list has grown from a few hundred people a few years ago, to over 25,000 subscribers today (and it’s still growing).
Time and time again we see the same pattern with our home builder clients: people want information, but they are NOT ready to speak to a salesperson yet. You can help them by giving them something of value to download, even if it’s just your “info pack” or similar.
Stay in Touch Throughout the Buyer Journey
Once you’ve got the attention of potential customers, don’t stop there! Keep publishing relevant content and promoting it in the right places to ensure you are engaging your audience at each stage of the buyer journey.
We did exactly that when we worked with boutique home builder Habitech Systems and the strategy resulted in a 48% increase in web traffic, 3700 new contacts and $2.5m in new business in just 12 months.
To do this effectively, a content strategy is a must, as it allows you to map out what you’ll talk about, as well as where and when you’ll promote and share your content with your audience. Structuring it in advance sets you up for success, as it allows you to be organised and consistent.
Include a mix of platforms and methods in your content calendar to be sure you reach as many people as possible. A good place to start is with a weekly or fortnightly email that shares your latest blog post and/or news about current or recently completed projects.
With social media, it’s a good idea to focus on one or two platforms and do those well, rather than trying to have a presence everywhere and be stretched too thin. For home builders we typically see Facebook as the most efficient way to reach large numbers of potential customers for a low cost.
When it comes to frequency of posts, find the right balance for your customers. This may be one or two posts a week, or more if you have lots of valuable and engaging content to share.
The Right Content in the Right Place at the Right Time
While good builders can often survive quite well on word of mouth alone, if you’re ready to take your business growth to the next level, content marketing can be a game changer. Creating and sharing valuable content about building a new home with the people who are preparing to embark on that journey is a win-win. You help them envision their dream home while also positioning yourself as the right builder to partner with them to make it a reality.