Whether business is steady as usual or your bottom line could really use a boost, there’s one thing we always want more of, and that’s home sales.
When it comes to selling homes, today’s market calls for builders to bolster their strategies and step up their game.
This sink-or-swim mentality isn’t meant to scare you - rather, it should excite you. Why? Because your competitors are failing to integrate the most innovative digital marketing strategies into their home building businesses.
This gives you a huge opportunity to gain an edge on your competition and sell more homes. Today, we’re going to explore the benefits of a tool that's turning the home building industry upside down: the digital marketing funnel.
Reading time: 12 minutes
- Learn what a digital marketing funnel is.
- Discover how your funnel can help you acquire more qualified leads.
- Why a funnel is more efficient and effective for your company.
- How a funnel makes you and your customers happier
If you employ smart strategies that other builders aren’t using, you’re going to get better results than they are. As famous Chinese military strategist Sun Tzu once said:
“Better to be a Warrior in a Garden than a Gardener in a War.”
The way people buy homes is changing and many builders are failing to adapt, throwing away more of the market share to forward-thinking companies. Consider the failures of brick-and-mortar businesses Toys R Us and Sears - they didn't go digital properly and Amazon was more than happy to step in and pick up the slack.
Don't be like Sears - be like Amazon; just because your business isn’t inherently “online” doesn’t mean you’re off the hook. These days, even “offline” businesses need to be using online marketing.
A big reason for this is the majority of consumers research products online before making a purchase decision and the larger the purchase price, the more research they do. This is especially true for those tech-savvy millennials who are gearing up to buy their first home. They make up a huge piece of the market (and growing) you can’t afford to miss out on. They're digitally-native and expect to find what they're looking for online.
Digital Marketing Funnels: The Future Is Now
What you’ve got to do next is to build up your digital marketing funnel.
Wait... what the hell does that mean?
We’ll get there. But for now, bear with me.
Traditionally, the job of a home builder marketing team was to generate leads through the process of coordinating billboards, radio ads, and signage in an attempt to drive people out to showhomes and sales centres. If you want to sell more homes in today’s world, the best way to accomplish this is by having a digital marketing funnel.
You already know what a funnel is in the world of sales. A new prospect enters the funnel, you engage with them and qualify them, and then you work to close them. But the concept of a marketing funnel is foreign to many.
A funnel maps directly on to the home buyer's journey. That is, the stages a prospect goes through before they finally make a purchase decision. These stages include:
- Awareness Stage: The prospect begins experiencing symptoms of a housing problem and gives that problem a name.
- Consideration Stage: They begin researching different solutions to their problem and weighing out the pros and cons of each.
- Decision Stage: The prospect is ready to buy and is choosing between a short list of solutions.
And of course, there's that extra special bonus stage where the newly acquired customer becomes a loyal promoter of your brand. Who doesn't love referrals?!
Whether or not you realize it, you already know what the buyer's journey is. In fact, you've embarked on your own about a million times before. For example, you've certainly experienced this classic scenario when you're trying to decide where to eat; you think to yourself, "I'm hungry," (awareness stage); "Greasy food or something healthy?" (consideration stage); "I'm watching my weight, so it's going to be Pita Pit or Subway," (decision stage).
A marketing funnel is the set of tools and strategies that automatically identifies what stage of the buyer’s journey a prospect is at. Then, takes the appropriate actions to move them closer towards a sale.Did you know that you’ve been using some form of a marketing funnel all along? In the real world, this could be in the form of a billboard or radio ad alerting your prospects about your company (an awareness phase action).
Now let’s go back to the digital world, because we all know these traditional tactics aren't working so well anymore. What do marketing funnels look like in this context?
In a nutshell, digital marketing funnels employ a combination of content marketing ( i.e. blog posts and videos), website design and navigation, social media, and e-mail marketing, to guide prospects along their buyer’s journey. One of the best parts about digital funnels is you're able to properly segment your prospects into the appropriate stage of their buyer's journey. And, with a comprehensive CRM tool such as HubSpot, tracking your prospects' online behaviour and ensuring prospects don't fall through the cracks is easier than ever before.
This allows you to know a thing or two about your home buying prospects before a point of contact with a real person is established. Such knowledge is extremely powerful for your Sales team.
Another outcome of this information is you can use it to direct a contact through your funnel and determine what the appropriate next step to take is. This can be done automatically with the right marketing automation software, as long as it's been set up correctly. For example, you could instruct the funnel to send subscribers a list of your available townhomes after they've downloaded content about that particular housing style. How cool is that?!
This automation saves you time, money, and human resources. Why waste these if you don’t have to?
Let’s dive deeper and find out how incorporating a digital funnel can significantly benefit your home building business…
How a Funnels Can Revolutionize Your Business
1) More Qualified Leads, More Sales
If you want more home sales, you need more leads. And to get more leads you’re going to need two things: the opportunity to reach many people and the ability to optimize your campaigns.
Let's start with reaching people - the more the better, right? Well… not exactly.
Yes, we do want as many eyes on our advertisements as possible. In a perfect world, everyone from your uncle to your best friend’s dog would know about your beautiful show homes. But paying for attention can be expensive and unless you're getting the attention of the right audience, your advertising budget can go through the roof.
The best marketers know lowering your customer acquisition costs means paying for the attention that converts. The laser-focused targeting capabilities of platforms such as Facebook and other pay-per-click advertising platforms online can allow you to target specific audiences or even people who've already been to your website before.
A proper funnel ought to direct your marketing material at the right people: that’s people who are either taking the first steps on their home buyers journey or are ready-to-buy ( aka, “marketing qualified” versus “sales qualified” leads).
An approximate 98.7% of North American adults (educated guess) who are considering home ownership are also active online. Spend your advertising dollars right, and your promotions will be targeted to these people.
Not only are you showing off your show homes to those most likely to convert, but once they've downloaded one of your premium content pieces or subscribed to your newsletter, they have successfully entered your funnel! This means they've given consent for you to share more information with them. This is a very powerful technique in terms of lead nurturing - remember, no one decides to buy a home overnight.
The sky is the limit when it comes to digital marketing funnels. Your advertising space is near-unlimited and if you produce the right content in the right context, you draw a lot of visitors to your website and you win big.
Another big part of getting more leads is optimizing your processes. When you run campaigns, it's always a good idea to look at what worked, what didn't, and how you can improve next time.
As business people, we're always focused on increasing our bottom line and digital marketing funnels are one of the best tools to help us do just that because they create a consistent and reliable "system" of getting more quality home buyer leads.
You can’t say the same about traditional marketing methods.
Focus too much on these and you really pigeonhole yourself. For instance, let’s say you put up a billboard and thousands of people drive by it every day.
Your marketing team analyzes the data and observes a boost of interest (website visits, show home traffic, etc.) that occurred during its duration. But therein lies the problem. What really caused those boosts?
Even if more show home visitors stopped by during the campaign, how do you know it was because of your campaign and not in spite of it? You wouldn’t play a game of darts blindfolded - so why do it with your marketing budget? That’s the huge problem with traditional marketing approaches: the lack of measurability.
In the modern marketing world, we are able to optimize our campaigns like never before. Whether it’s your goal to build up your home builder brand, generate more leads, convert those leads into sales, or increase customer loyalty, you can measure everything online and improve your digital marketing funnel as you see fit.
And with the data you can pull from digital marketing campaigns, you can know without a doubt how many new leads were captured as a result of that campaign, and how many new customers you gained. And once you know this, you can calculate a return on investment (ROI) for that campaign. How awesome would it be to know that for every $X,XXX you spent, you sold another home? Takes a lot of the guesswork out of marketing, doesn't it?
With a digital marketing funnel, you can also measure (and improve) key performance indicators (KPIs) such as:
- Inbound links
- Cost per lead
- Conversion rate
- Website visits
- Social media engagement
- Ad performance
And much more...
You can even look at an individual person's journey through your website and see what content they consumed and downloaded - identifying your buyer personas and where they're at in their home buyer's journey is easier than ever before.
Modern marketing is more science than art... Can you say the same about your billboard?
Happier Customers, Happier Builders, More Sales
Put yourself in your customer’s shoes for a moment. You’ve just begun to think about buying a new home, but you’re not quite sure how to go about it. You have so many questions, such as:
- New or resale home?
- Where are the best communities? How are the schools? What other amenities are there nearby?
- What square footage do I really need? What layout would be best?
- How do I apply for a mortgage? Or how do I get a mortgage on a new home when I already have one on my current home?
- What’s really affordable for me?
The list goes on and on - but who could blame you? After all, a home is one of the biggest purchases you'll ever make in your lifetime; it’s no wonder it requires some serious consideration. It can take a person months, and sometimes even years if they’re a move-up buyer, to finally sign a contract.
There are several ways a digital marketing funnel helps you solve this problem for your customers.
First of all, it delivers helpful content in an appropriate context to your prospects. With blog posts, premium content, email marketing, and automation, you’re able to anticipate your customers’ common questions and make them feel as though a content piece was made “just for them”.
Second, it puts your customer in the driver’s seat. Nobody likes a pushy salesperson. Since funnels allow you to identify when it’s appropriate to reach out to your prospects, you won't seem “needy” in their eyes. Plus, this is way more efficient for your sales reps! Why waste time reaching out to someone who just stumbled upon your website when you could be talking to another person who is ready to sign a contract on one of your quick possession homes?
If you still feel a little confused about digital marketing funnels and how they work, you’re not alone. Reading one or two blog posts about this revolutionary concept in marketing isn’t enough to fully grasp its complexity and power.
In fact, one could write an entire guide about digital marketing funnels (like this one!) This article is only the tip of the iceberg.
Setting up a great digital marketing funnel requires time, expertise, and a strategy for measuring and optimization. Not only that, but you're also going to need a great CRM tool if you want to be efficient with your time and money.
Also, keep in mind just having a funnel isn't enough - it's got to be good. There are two main ingredients in successful funnels:
- They must be technologically seamless. You can't have problems such as e-mails not being sent at the right time, CTAs not working properly, or any issues with posting or promoting on social media.
- Your funnel must follow the philosophy of inbound marketing. That is, they absolutely have to offer valuable information and resources to your prospects at exactly the right time - remember, no spam!
Too often, overzealous and naive marketers think boosting a social media post with a "download now" call-to-action is going to produce huge conversions - it's not that simple. Your marketing funnel has to put their prospects in the driver's seat. And your content needs to make your prospect think "These people GET me." As our team always says: People love to buy, but they don't like being sold to.
Whatever you do, do not miss out on this revolutionary tool in internet marketing. Nothing in life that's worth pursuing is easy. Setting up a proper digital marketing funnel can be a bit of work, but once you do it you’ll be amazed at just how prehistoric the traditional marketing methods really are. You'll discover that keeping your company top-of-mind is easier than ever before. With a great funnel, you're able to build brand awareness, stay top-of-mind with prospective buyers, provide helpful education, and position yourself as the go-to builder in your market. It's awesome!
If you have any questions, give us a shout today - we love what we do and would be happy to talk about how a digital marketing funnel can help you sell more homes.
Digital marketing funnels employ a combination of content marketing ( i.e. blog posts and videos), website design, social media, and e-mail marketing, to guide prospects through their home buyer’s journey.
One of the best things about digital marketing funnels is they're automated and consistently help you generate more qualified leads, which ultimately results in more home sales.
With digital marketing funnels, improving your bottom line is easier than ever before. This is partly true because they have an uncanny ability to segment your prospects into appropriate stages of their journey. Another reason is they allow you to track prospects' behaviour online which helps you optimize your funnel for higher conversion rates.
Finally, digital marketing funnels make for a better experience for home builders and buyers alike. Marketers are able to save valuable resources such as time and money and home-shoppers are able to weigh out their options without high-pressure sales tactics getting in the way.
About Paula Morton
Paula may have "junior" in her title, but there's nothing junior about her! Working on social media, content posting, and heavy-duty proofreading, editing, and writing, Paula is an important player on our team, operating heavily in a support capacity to all areas.