The real estate industry can no longer rely on print ads and billboards to sell homes. More and more home builders are taking advantage of digital marketing tacts. In fact, the top digital trends for home builders reflect increasing consumer reliance on Internet-based data. .
1. Responsive Web Design
The fifth generation of website HTML coding welcomes mobile devices. Yesteryear's dual-presentation approach— one website greeting desktop machines with a companion (butchered!) version inflicted on mobile devices —now feeds only the history bins. An often-cited November 2016 headline tells the tale: "Mobile and tablet internet usage exceeds desktop for first time worldwide". Modern web designers target mobile devices first, including tablets. Visible changes accompany this seismic shift in design approach, among them: larger buttons,pages designed to respond to finger-stretching zooms enlarging text, and new menus (i.e. the multi-horizontal-lines "hamburger").
2. Marketing Automation
A visitor to your home builder site uses the contact form to convey a concern or question. Another may call the phone number provided to arrange an appointment. Software captures the contact information, including an email address.
Astute home builders also provide food for automated contact. Example: a free ebook offer, presenting details about lumber grades, graces the site. Because that information appears valuable and unique, the visitor enters the email address. That email input triggers automatic responsive actions including, at the very least:
- —sending the requested information within minutes
- —adding the address to a marketing list
- —sending periodic emails to the list, each filled with more helpful information
This technique performs a two-step dance. The home builder waltzes with the current customer. The builder also guides the prospective customer around the home builder's dance hall.
Search engine optimization (SEO) requires phrasing the website message in a manner friendly to search engines. The goal: appear high within the results on a topic relevant to the home builder. But several factors render an SEO-only approach a dicey proposition.
Building, buying, finding, and renting homes witness overlap in terminology. That translates into intense competition within the search results listing.
Google and others change the search engine algorithm without notice or fanfare. The algorithm dictates who appears in the results list and where.
Those factors underscore the need for alternative here-I-am marketing methods. Pay-per-click (PPC) looms large as a viable marketing component. ROI (return on investment) becomes an easy calculation— PPC cost compared with sales. When the subject turns to SEO costs, figures prove elusive.
4. YouTube versus TV budgets
A smartphone lives in the pocket, purse, or bag of 77% of Americans. Meanwhile, the number of television owners continues to dwindle, doubling within the 6-year period ending in 2015. Alexa provides its top 500 websites listing on a monthly basis. Its most recent statistical summary awards the #2 spot to YouTube. Only Google surpasses YouTube.
The numbers confirm: television still lives, but it flirts with life support machines. The machines maintaining television's last-gasp breaths include Roku, Apple TV, and xBox. Note: each of those small boxes comes preconfigured with a YouTube channel.
When 3/4 of online adults spend considerable time on video-sharing sites such as YouTube, home builders join the virtual party. Tweaking ad budgets with YouTube awareness maximizes the number of eyeballs. Creating high-quality video delights the eye, increasing receptiveness to the home builder's message.