You’ve done the hard work.
You have researched and found the right location, you’ve designed the perfect development and house types.
You’ve been given the green light to bring your new homes to market.
Don’t let your property marketing let you down.
Instead use this following guide on how to make your marketing a tool.
Working with house builders for over 10 years, including North West based Eccleston Homes, Oakmere Homes, Chipping Homes and Edgefold Homes.
We have helped house builders become expert marketeers too.
By developing their communications strategies to hit the ever-changing audience landscape, we ensure they stand out from the competitive crowd.
Differentiate your housebuilding prowess from the rest with these 7 steps to property marketing success in 2020.
1. Identify your audience
Whether you’re a national firm or setting out on your debut development, knowing who you are building a new home for is vital.
It’s worth doing your homework to understand the area you’re building in because your communications will need to speak your target audience’s language.
Talk to your local estate agents to find out the demographics of the city, town, village you are building in.
Are they young, elderly, commuters, retired? Is the area a growing or established economy?
And who are your other house builder competitors in this area?
What’s their offering and how are you going to stand out from that offering? All these questions are shaping the target audience profile and helping you cast the right sized net.
An online presence (Rightmove, Zoopla) is also important to raise brand awareness with your prospective customers.
We will talk more about how these platforms form an important part of your digital communications in this guide.
The point here is, you need to be proactive on the ground and online to field every type of potential customer so that your strategic property marketing works hard for you.
It’s important to engage your local estate agents and build strong relationships with them, they have the area market knowledge that will support your own marketing plan across all your communications channels.
From your website to your brochure to your community partnerships to your social media messages.
2. Property Marketing Strategy
Developing a solid marketing strategy is key to creating appropriate channel communications that engage with your target audience in a meaningful way.
An online brand presence is a given however each new location will provide a unique media landscape for you, to create the perfect communications balance.
Digging deep and understanding what media opportunities there are will enable you to create relevant messaging that cuts through to the consumers you want to target.
From radio press and PR, through to targeted digital communications for specific audiences.
Historically a typical approach to property marketing may have been the What Who Where:
What… do you want to say ?
Who… do you want to say it to?
Where… do you want this message to be heard ?
This approach doesn’t cut through now and consideration needs to be given to what do the consumers want to hear.
Crafting your offer into something that people want is always going to be more effective than keeping with the brand messages of old that may not resonate in the present day.
Localised supply chains, green credentials and low carbon approach to build are now all key agenda items on consumers wish lists.
Marry this with the political and economic changing landscape and the communications need to be more persuasive than ever.
Changing technologies also need to be high on the agenda and Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality and Video Content need to have prominent presence.
These have moved from being perceived as technologies of the future to an expectation of the modern marketing mix.
Consumers want to see, hear and experience the brand far more than ever before.
It is projected that following the pandemic more and more people will be working remotely so the media approach needs to be adapted to reflect the consumer journey and a digital first strategy put in place.
From finding a unique territory for your development to creating a compelling identity and positioning that reflects the essence of what you want to project.
It is essential that each part of the creative plays a part in telling the story of the brand.
Research insight and planning are imperative to ensure that the brand and the story it has to tell are going to connect with the audience.
How are other brands connecting, through what channels and hat unique opportunities does the local area you have that will help project your creative.
From brand identity and fonts, to colour palettes and photography style, each of these help project how the brand is viewed by the target audience.
Starting with Moodboards and scamps to develop the identity, but never underestimating a digital first approach to ensure your creative communications disrupt the digital landscape and are seen by the right audience at the right time.
4. Digital – An online property marketing strategy
You know the audience, and you have some great creative.
In England, interest in the housing market and especially new homes is sky rocketing.
This means you’ll need an effective strategy to reach these potential customers.
It all begins with your website.
Home buyers expect to see house type specifications, site plans, pricing and availability all from their smartphone or tablet.
The majority of paid search is from mobile, so a great mobile experience is essential.
Your site needs to be kept up to date with current offers and availability.
At House our clients use a customised WordPress CMS which gives their internal team the power to quickly update content and images with ease.
Image quality needs to be high, but large file sizes can slow down even desktop sites.
A slow website is penalised in the SERPs (search engine results pages) so this can negatively impact your SEO efforts.
Image optimisation is a good habit to get in to when updating listings. This should aim to keep file size low while retaining quality.
CRMs like contact builder will connect to the website collecting form enquiries from potential home buyers.
These events can be tracked in Google Analytics to track effectiveness of campaigns.
We also track brochure downloads and pricing requests to gain insight into each development’s popularity.
PPC (Google Ads) can be a great way to bring customers to your website. For modest budgets, campaigns can be geographically targeted to your development locations.
You can also target demographics like age, sex and status.
But interests in certain topics can really help you in making sure your ads are clicked by potential homebuyers.
In-market Audience types like ‘Property’ and ‘New Houses For sale’ provide you with a ready-made list of active customers.
You can also re-market to homebuyers who have previously visited your site (or even a certain page on your site).
This can be effective when communicating offers or incentives to customers even when they have left your website.
Social channels are another ideal way to reach homebuyers.
If you don’t have a large social following you may have to think about paid for advertising.
This can be very effective with relatively small budgets.
Facebook’s Ad platform allows us to schedule ads across Facebook and Instagram and messenger.
While you’ll always need some form of paid for advertising to reach new customers, your website should have a good proportion of organic traffic.
This can be improved by SEO or the practice of ensuring your website appears before others in the search engine rankings.
SEO can be broken down into two parts. On page and off page.
On page involves the site structure, content and any technical issues that may be harming your performance such as load times or duplicate content.
Off page refers to work done off site such as, links to your site, directories, Google my Business, social channels etc.
A firm basis to start from regarding on page, is to have a good site and URL structure.
WordPress is still the best performing CMS in terms of SEO in our opinion.
The blog aspect of WordPress is crucial for building content assets but your development pages can also be optimised for location specific searches. How these sections work together is the key to helping Google view your site hierarchy and its relevance and ultimate search ranking.
The biggest factor in SEO is your domain authority. If search engines see your site as a trusted source of content, they will be happy to send customers to it.
Domain authority is determined by many factors, but the age of your domain and the quality and relevance (to search terms) of the websites linking to you are among the most important.
Links from social platforms help to give signals to google about your websites authority so it’s important to include links to your website in your social strategy.
5. PR for property Marketing
PR is important for your brand and your new development.
It will help give your new homes both established and future credentials in the media and public domain – be it online, in print or demonstrated through live events.
Buying a house is an emotive decision and public relations is all about building a story about your brand.
It personalises and underpins your key selling points through the content you create. For example, case studies, events and initiatives your firm has been and is involved in.
There may be particular themes and key selling points of your new development to promote in your online and print communications.
As an example, sustainability. How might you engage with the community to demonstrate the green credentials of your new homes and building techniques?
Part of finding out who your target audience is, is understanding what their interests are and how to get their attention.
What do they read and where do they go to read this content?
And remember, your audience is not always your direct customer – consider who are the influencers in your customer’s journey – employers, schools, community, hobbies and media and how to weave your messages into the communications and initiatives through them.
Online media has rapidly changed how property professionals need to communicate with their audience.
House buyers have so much more information to hand and can make much more informed decisions by themselves, which is why you need to be ‘present’ at all times, part of each stage of a house buyer’s journey.
Consider your call to action at strategic points in your customers’ journeys.
Build up your ‘story’ with smaller campaigns with press advertising, editorial, community partnerships and events to achieve a sense of ‘urgency’ and ultimately sell your new homes.
6. Printed material
Takeaways – of the printed marketing material variety – are traditional and current fundamentals for any property marketeer.
Never to be underestimated, the value of the ‘touchy-feely’ direct marketing, brochures and print advertising is still an important aspect of profile raising and credence.
Print material underpins your digital strategy, creates continuity and helps reach new audiences.
The quality of your print material speaks on behalf of the new homes and properties you are selling, as well as your customer services. It adds the finishing touches to someone’s experience viewing a home or a site plan.
Printing marketing materials can be a minefield, the options are endless – inner, outer covers, weight of paper, foils, colours, embossing.. the list goes on.
Your marketing team and/or agency has experience in this and can advise on what suits your company’s identity and tone of voice.
The final but arguably most important step.
After all, whats the point in making all this effort if you don’t know what’s working?
Accurate reporting is crucial. So Google analytics is one tool every Property marketer needs to be familiar with.
This free analytics software from Google is great for gaining an understanding of each channel bringing traffic to your site. Paid, organic, direct and social. But where Google Analytics is lacking is SEO data.
The Search Console (also Google) goes some way to address this, however for a better understanding of your websites ranking tools like AHREFS are indispensable.
When running social campaigns each platform has great reporting tools.
But as a busy marketer, do you have the time to login and check several reporting platforms every day? maybe not.
This is why we pull together all of this reporting data in to one easy-to-use dashboard.
Our clients love being able to see everything at a glance all in one place. It’s also great for sending top line reports to other stake holders or directors.
So, with these 7 steps we hope you can master your property marketing this year. And, If you need any help with the steps above, get in touch with House to see if we can help.