4 Shady Agency Tactics Home Builders Must Avoid
Have you been burned in the past by an agency who couldn't deliver? Maybe you just want reassurance that you're working with the right home builder marketing agency. Avoid the following shady tactics in your search for a great agency and you'll be able to create a memorable marketing partnership (in all the right ways).
Reading time: 5 minutes
- why package prices matter and there is no such thing as SEO "secret sauce"
- how to protect your website from shady agencies by reading the fine print
- a very bad, no good email marketing mistake to avoid
- ask where your leads are coming from and if you own them
Don't have time to read everything? We've got you covered. Click here to read the summary.
Part of being a savvy marketer is being able to tell when someone can walk the talk so-to-speak, especially if you've been thinking about bringing an agency in to compliment your new home marketing team. This, however, is easier said than done.
There are some great agencies out there who have a proven track record for impressive results in helping builders sell more homes. The best way to separate the fake-its from the make-its is by crossing any prospective agencies off your list who are guilty of these unethical tactics:
1. Ooh! Shiny SEO!
No. Shitty. Don't fall for anything that sounds too good to be true. Some SEO agencies will sell you on crazy results like guaranteeing you'll rank on the first page of Google for your most important keywords within days. Sorry, but that is not going to happen. The days of manipulating search results are over and you'll get hit with serious penalties that can lead to years of online recovery time - or worse, being deindexed by Google.
A good SEO agency needs certain and specific information from you in order to start delivering their services. If they don't reach out often or are "ready" to get started within minutes of your first meeting, you know they're not who they say they are. A good SEO service provider values their client relationships and will show you proof of the search results you're actually receiving. They don't bother with any "secret" methods because they'll help your website rank the right way so you can generate more organic traffic for long-term success.
Price point is another way to tell if a "magic SEO formula" sucks. Finding a crazy deal on a SEO package for $199 a month if you sign on for a year says everything you need to hear. These businesses are focused on volume and hope you won't notice a small charge every month so they can do next to nothing and still get paid.
2. Sorry, You're Not On The List
Some agencies outsource lead generation help from other agencies, where they have no ownership or exclusivity. As a result, this means any leads they generate for you are essentially leased out to you for however long you decide to work with them. That's just crazy.
With email laws getting stricter, the last thing you want is a steep fine because you aren't compliant with laws and legislation around communicating with your contacts.
When you invest your new home marketing budget into the right agency, you'll never have to worry about the status of your funnel. You will own every single lead that enters it and have total control in your agency-builder relationship.
A common theme here in the tactics you want to avoid is the selling of services you don't own (i.e. your leads). That's the biggest red flag to watch out for.
3. The Website Hostile Takeover
You should be able to have backend access to your website. Your partnership with a good home builder marketing agency should be easy and not feel like a hostage-taking.
Don't fall for any agency or web developer who has a proprietary website framework. That just means all changes you want will have to go through them. More importantly, it means they have all the leverage if you ever decided to part ways. In the fine print of their contract, they aren't obligated to send you any source code or files and can claim copyright. The end result is they have ownership of your site because of how they package their services.
There are enough horror stories of website takeovers out there of agencies refusing to cooperate and release the work they've done for this to be something to avoid ALWAYS.
4. "We're Going to Email EVERYONE."
That sounds like a terrible idea.
Any agency who sends mass emails (often referred to as 'email blasts') to everyone on your list doesn't get the importance of context in marketing and should be avoided like the plague.
When someone signs up for your newsletter, they shouldn't be bombarded with a bunch of promotional emails and information on your latest Quick Possession homes a few days after. The home buyer's journey can take months, if not years. Nurture your leads the right way, sending them content that is appropriate depending on where they are in your funnel.
Newsletter subscribers should get just that - newsletters. You're waiting for them to take action with those emails first. If they download a community guide from one of your newsletter emails, then you can move them into a list segment and send them more information on the models you build in those communities.
Now you know which tactics to avoid in your search, look for an agency who "gets" home builders, operates with integrity and lets their experience speak for itself in the form of impressive results.
Your search for a reputable home builder marketing agency who has your best interests in mind is easier if you know which shady tactics to avoid. Being cautious is a good thing because it means you want to get the best result with your new home marketing budget.
Avoid any SEO agencies who claim to have secret ways to boost your rankings. If their promises sound too good to be true, they most likely are. Especially if they offer packages for rock-bottom prices. It takes time and some upfront investment to rank the right way.
If an agency outsources lead generation help, ask if they have ownership of the leads. If they don't, run away fast. When you work with an agency that knows what they're doing, they will ensure you own every single lead that enters your funnel.
Read the fine print. Some agencies will set you up with a brand-new site and use their terms and conditions as leverage to make sure you never leave them. They own all the source code and files, even though it's your website! It doesn't get much shadier than that.
Lastly, make sure the agency you hire knows what effective email marketing is and aren't sending email blasts to everyone on your list. You want to nurture your leads until they're ready to buy, not piss them off.