Home Builder Marketing in a Shrinking Market
We’re starting to see the headlines everywhere… “New home sales drop 5.5%,” “Home Sales Slump for 4th Straight Month,” “Builder Sentiment Posted Steep Decline,” etc. As a home builder in times like these, what do you do with your marketing?
While it appears the market has crested the hill and we’ll be in for a moderate slide, most experts contend the fundamentals are far different than in 2008. The smart money says we won’t be repeating that disaster this time around. Still, everyone’s radar is up as we look into that crystal ball.
As a builder, the feast and famine modes are all too familiar. But with a properly designed and executed digital marketing plan, you can get a leg up on the competition and insulate the downside risk. Here’s what you can do now to better position yourself for a market slide.
- Invest while you can – Done properly, digital marketing has a great ROI. But it does take some investment, especially upfront if you haven’t laid the ground work already. If you want to turn on the spigot when home builds are fewer and farther in between, you have to have the plumbing first. So while profits are still relatively good, invest some of those profits in a marketing ‘insurance policy’ of sorts, to set up a digital funnel you can crank up when you need to.
- Review the big picture – If marketing dollars get tight when times get lean, you best know where to put those dollars for maximum return. Take some time to evaluate now what you’ve done in terms of marketing the past few years, and ascertain where those dollars are most effective, so you have a game plan in place. If you’re depending mostly on word of mouth, nows the time to talk with marketing experts and establish a plan.
- Get social – For most home builders, the potential customers are a matter of geography, and one of the best ways to get your name out in front is to use social media like Facebook. If you don’t have an account, set one up. If you do and you’ve been busy, it’s likely received very little attention. Start posting new builds, home owner tips, etc. to build a following. It’s a long term strategy that will get you better top of mind positioning should the market continue to tighten.
- Consider paid ads – PPC, or Pay-per-click advertising is one of the easiest ways to turn on instant traffic to your website. With a properly designed campaign, you can turn it on and start driving leads to your door in pretty short order. And when the queue gets full, it’s easy to turn that volume back down. It’s one of the best ways to even out the ebs and flows of the market.
- How’s your website – Digitally speaking, prospectives that search for home builders are going to route through your website (if you’re getting decent search results). How’s that website looking? Does it need attention? Are photos current and professional? Does it put your best foot forward. Now is the time to invest while cash flow is still good.
With a little planning, you can go into any market downturn better positioned than your competition, garner more of a shrinking market and avoid downsizing and losing some of your best personnel. Now is the time to take a good hard look at your total marketing picture.