Brian Flook, MIRM
Are you sitting down? I’m about to share with you an industry statistic that, as a new homebuilder, you absolutely have to acknowledge. No more pretending it doesn’t apply to you. Forget about thinking it’s an over-inflated number. And if you believe ignoring the significance of this statement really doesn’t play into the bigger picture you’re dead wrong. Are you ready?
90% Of Every New Home Sale Originates Online
This is just the honest truth. There is no other tool in your arsenal that is more important than your website. I can hear you some of you now—“Brian, that’s just not accurate! Our model homes sell our properties better than anything else!” Really? Well how do you think those buyers initially found your beautiful models? That’s right…
Your website is like Grand Central Station for the overwhelming majority of your online activity. It is the place where they either choose or eliminate you. Sadly, prospects will judge the quality of your product based on the design and intuitiveness of your website long before they consider the actual craftsmanship that goes into your homes. To put it directly, your website really is the sales portal and you simply must get it right!
Based on 28 years experience marketing new homes, I’ve assembled a checklist of mandatory items every builder must consider when it comes to their website.
Is Your Homebuilder Website Guilty Of Any Of These Sins?
#1. Does Your Website Look Older Than You?
Remember, prospects are shopping online, all the while eliminating builders from their list! A dated, inadequate website reflects an out of touch, antiquated home building company. Don’t be eliminated! Make sure your website behavesbased on current user behaviors and practices!
#2. Is Your Photography Subpar?
Good photography, let alone poor photography, doesn’t sell anything. Only great photography sells homes. Invest in a great photographer for your website. You don’t need 50 images , 5 amazing images will really help. Here’s a bonus hint: Try to show people actually enjoying your homes whenever possible rather than just bland pictures of rooms.
#3. Can Users Find Everything They’re Looking For?
A great builder website is one that has intuitive user interface and navigation. Browsers tend to become impatient when they have to go on a treasure hunt for the information they need.
#4. Are You Getting Viewers To Your Home Plans Quickly?
Prospects are headed first and foremost to your plans. You must be certain your home plans are intuitive, getting viewers there within 1-2 clicks. Once there they can see your plans without downloading them. Never, ever, force your prospects to download plans in order to see them!
#5. Is Your Contact Information Easy To Find?
Make sure the means you choose for contacting you is evident on every page. You want them to reach out to you, so make it clear and simple.
#6. Is Your Website Mobile Responsive?
Significant online activity today takes place on phones, iPads and tablets. Your website must automatically respond to these devices, displaying all of your information clearly and appropriately. If it doesn’t, you can count on them seeking out a competitor!
#7. Don’t Make Building Your Database More Important That Showcasing Your Product.
It is crucial to gather prospect information, but under no circumstances should you lose sight as to why your audience is there. Always allow your visitors to view floor plans and elevations in an HTML environment first, giving them the option to even download them. Gathering information for your database should be a secondary expectation.
#8. Are You Properly Utilizing Lead Magnets?
You never want your website visitors to leave without giving you some data (email, phone number, name, etc.) A well-named lead magnet will help you achieve that. Here are two examples: “5 Floor Plans That Conserve Energy” or “Our Top 7 Best Selling Home Plans”. Create a white paper or brochure they will receive in return for their valued contact information or they will quietly bounce away!
#9. Is Your Website Utilizing Google’s Tracking Code?
“Tracking Code?” Relax; it’s a good thing! Every website needs Google’s tracking code—and maybe even Bing’s—in order for you to properly measure key performance metrics. You can’t improve what you’re not aware of!
#10. Your Site Is Search Engine Optimized, Right?
I can’t stress the importance of SEO enough! It’s crucial that your audience is able to find your website quickly. If you’re currently showing up anywhere other than the first page of search engine results you’re business will suffer.
#11. Are You Utilizing Engaging Content?
In today’s world your website must contain relevant, well-crafted copy. No longer can you use cheesy copy or poorly writen content. Did you know redundant copy, which is using the same wording on more than one page, negatively affects your organic search results? Make sure you’re using original phrases when describing your homes!
#12. Are You Using A CRM And Marketing Automation Tool?
The typical closing ratio for a builder is 4-6%. That means on average 19 out of 20 leads are vanishing into thin air. A powerful CRM coupled with Marketing Automation software like Easy LeadLocker ™ is crucial to capture and nurture leads towards greater closing ratios.
#13. Certainly You’re Not Disregarding Your Target Audience
Too often websites are built without the consumer in mind. Before you build any website, make sure you have discussed the target audience with your Webmaster so they understand who you are intending to reach. This way your site can always use the most compelling messaging to get your consumer’s attention and keep it!
Friends, simply put, there is no acceptable reason to have an inadequate website. Your building company’s success depends largely on the design, navigation, ease-of-use, copywriting and photography found on your website. You also need a powerful CRM used in tandem with a robust marketing automation service.
To learn how your builder website can generate the best results, please feel free to contact me directly at 301.416.7861.