6 Ways Custom Home Builders Can Digitize Their Marketing
There’s something uniquely special about a custom built home. Not only does it reflect the character and personality of the buyer, but it’s also a calling card for the design company behind it. As a custom home builder, every home you design and build should attract more business, both through organic word-of-mouth advertising from the buyer and from the inescapable curb appeal your homes deliver to passersby.
However, you can’t expand your market quickly if you only rely on word-of-mouth and “in plain sight” advertising. That limitation will become glaringly clear if you custom build homes in rural locations, or in comparatively small housing developments.
To better expand your business regionally, you need to a wider set of advertising. You could blanket the streets with postcards promoting your business, or go old school with highway billboards. However, many potential buyers interested in custom builds spend more time online and are more likely to trust companies that offer an interactive online presence.
Here are a few digital avenues you should explore to help expand your reach to new customers interested in custom built homes.
Google is a difficult monster to navigate, but online marketers have learned something about how Google operates over the years: content is among the most important tools you can use. We’re not just talking about a few landing pages, either.
If you want to expand your digital presence, you need high-quality content that solves problems and answers questions.
There are a few ways to go about developing must-read content for potential clients. The tried-and-true method is to develop an active and engaging blog section on your business website to help drive traffic. However, that’s only a small part of an effective content strategy.
You’ll also want to consider marketing your content through social media platforms and through guest posting to other, related websites that have decent traffic and audiences who may be interested in what you have to say on custom built homes.
Additionally, note that consumers are particularly sensitive to sales materials. If all of your content feels like a sales pitch, potential buyers will probably lose interest. You can deliver an effective call to action in your content, but make sure the meat of the content you deliver answers questions consumers have about custom built homes. Your content should provide information that gives potential buyers genuine help in some kind of way.
SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
Great content is important, but if nobody can find your educational blog posts about the cost of custom homes versus production homes, you’ll be spending money on content that isn’t actually serving a purpose. This is where SEO or “search engine optimization” comes in.
Google is constantly changing its ranking algorithms in ways that can make it difficult to get your content on the first or even second page of a Google search. However, you can optimize your website and your web content to make them more competitive, more appealing to Google’s algorithms, and more likely to get listed on the first page.
SEO is a bit of a guessing game sometimes as Google keeps its algorithm pretty secret. However, the search engine giant acknowledges there are a few SEO rules that every site must follow to even stand a chance of ranking. Those include:
- Developing a mobile-friendly website
- Implementing secure Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTPS) on your website
- Actively removing any malware on your website, which can lead to Google blacklisting
- Getting quality backlinks for your website and pages
To note, there are dozens of different SEO tweaks you can make to your website. This is why many small, medium and large businesses either hire SEO specialists or SEO agencies to help regularly monitor website traffic, rankings and other factors and to implement regular SEO tweaks and strategies.
Backlinking, in particular, is still among the most important SEO tools your business can use, but quality backlinks are also the most difficult to obtain. Developing and marketing high-quality content is one of the best ways to build those backlinks.
You should consider basic site tweaks followed by a solid content strategy as your best starting point before diving into a backlinking strategy.
Wouldn’t you know it, Google sells advertising space in its search engine results, as well as on-page advertisements through its Google AdSense service.
Even if you’re a small custom build designer, you can get listed at the top of Google searches for specific keywords by purchasing the rights through Google. If you want to target searches from a specific geographic area, Google lets you do that as well. How much you spend depends on the volume of the keyword and the number of other custom builders also trying to purchase the rights to that ad space.
Consider Google Ads to be just one part of your marketing strategy. If you have the money to spend on Google Ads, it’s a good way to get your brand name right at the top of a Google search, or on websites where it makes sense for your ad to appear. Combine that with quality content, and you may be able to drive more traffic and sales to reap some good ROI.
Google has tools in place to help companies manage their ad spending as well. If you have a tight ad budget, you can easily avoid overspending. In many cases, the best way to navigate Google Ads is to hire an agency that specializes in digital ads and other forms of digital marketing.
YouTube has over 1 billion users worldwide. You can work this amazing video platform to your favor in a few ways.
First, you can start up your own YouTube page and start delivering unique, shareable video content to help drive leads. As a custom home builder, there’s a large amount of interesting video content you can produce that consumers would love to see: behind the scenes in custom build design, how custom builders develop sketches and models, interviews with architects, and more. Authoritative and informative content more easily leads to sales.
You can also hedge your bets on YouTube by creating and selling advertising on other people’s videos. YouTube has a cost-per-view model, and you can run your ads on videos related to your business. Because YouTube is owned by Google, you can create video ads to run on YouTube using the same Google Ads platform.
Finally, if you’re developing a YouTube content strategy, make sure it’s integrated with your social media channels. Many YouTube users never go directly to YouTube these days. Instead, they view YouTube’s content through social media platforms, like Twitter and Facebook, or on website articles.
If you’re developing a written content strategy, you can pair those articles with your video content for better engagement, or share your content directly to audiences and encourage social media shares.
Custom builds are all about the visual impact. To better increase the visual impact of your business, you’ll find a presence on Instagram makes perfect sense.
Instagram began as a social media website purely for sharing artistic pictures. It’s currently owned by Facebook, but still maintains an image- and video-centric approach. And as you might expect, heavily-curated and artistic content still does best there. As a custom builder, that’s a great match.
You can set up an Instagram page that highlights your unique designs, and encourages others to like and share. Because it’s owned by Facebook, you can easily share your Instagram posts to your Facebook page as well.
As with Facebook, YouTube, and Google, you can also run ads through Instagram. You can purchase ads through Facebook and run them across both platforms. Facebook has fairly strict standards for image- and video-based ads. You may need to do a fair bit of tweaking to get it right before Facebook approves your ads.
As we stated in the beginning, a great custom built home will get buyers talking without any extra effort on your part. But you don’t have to settle for just organic word-of-mouth advertising. If you have past buyers who loved your designs and build work, ask them to share their testimonials on your website via a dedicated testimonials section, through other content on your site, in your advertisements, or on review sites like Yelp, Houzz, and Angie’s List.
There’s a lot of power in testimonials. Consumers are often skeptical of sales copy, but testimonials strengthen your trust with them. As long as potential buyers believe the testimonials are real, unscripted, and not paid for, they’re likely to be far more interested in exploring your custom builds.
Keep in mind that those three points—real, unscripted, and not paid for—are incredibly important for successful testimonials. If consumers exploring your business suspect you’ve created or paid for inauthentic testimonials, you can actually do more damage to your brand than if you had no testimonials at all.
Fake independent reviews on websites like Yelp can do your business real damage and can even cause Google to lower your rankings or de-list your website. In some states, it could also be illegal and get you fined.
Great testimonials can significantly boost your business, but don’t dive into the dark side of fake reviews, either on your site or on review sites. If you build a great brand and do exceptional work, you’ll have no problem getting testimonials from happy clients. In most cases, all you need to do is ask.
If you’re ready to enhance your brand and expand your business with a strong social media presence, Google ads, and optimized web content, Madison Ave Media’s team of experts is here to help! Contact us today for a complimentary consultation.