It's often said that the secret to selling is showing up. This is especially true online. So how do you ensure your website is showing up and showing you off?
It's often said that the secret to selling is showing up. This is especially true online. If you want your website to sell your capabilities as a home builder then it must do two things:
- provide an attractive showcase of your work and
- show up in search results when home buyers are looking.
Statistics show that home buyers start their search online. According to a 2017 National Association of Realtors (NAR) survey: "The most used information source for buyers 70 years and younger was online websites. Ninety-nine percent of buyers 36 years and younger used online websites."
When it comes to online marketing, build it and they will come is not an effective strategy. Yet, so many people think that way about websites and other online marketing tools. So how do you ensure your website is showing up and showing you off? Start by fixing these five key elements of your home builder website.
1. Your Website is Not Mobile
It's a fact of life; people are doing online searches on their mobile devices. This is especially so for today's home buyers. When they're in their cars visiting new housing developments, home buyers want to see listings, floor plans and every possible scrap of information that will help them decide which builder to go with and which home to buy. Someone may even be parked outside one of your homes right now reaching for their phone to learn more about you.
Google recognized this trend and now gives higher search engine rankings to responsive websites optimized for mobile devices. So grab your cell phone or tablet and take a look at your website. Does it scale to fit the different sizes of these devices? Is the navigation menu easy to access? Do all the features work, or are there videos or fancy animations that load as a blank screen? Do images load quickly?
2. Your Website Was Not Submitted to Search Engines
Google, Bing, and other search engines need to know you exist to show your home builder website to potential home buyers. This is especially important for home builders as, according to a NAR Generational Trends Report, "Over 50 percent of buyers from all generations frequently used the internet to search for their home". Yet, many website builders don't submit your website to search engines when the site is first launched. The thinking by some web industry pros is that it's no longer necessary to do this. After all, search engines have their "bots" which crawl the internet and index websites, and they will eventually find yours.
While this is true, the internet is a very big place, and it may take time for search engines to find your website. You can speed up the process rather than waiting for this to happen. What's more, if you update your website regularly (and you should be), re-submitting to search engines ensures new content gets indexed quickly. And Google likes new content, so you'll be doing yourself a favour when you submit your website.
3. Your Website is Not Optimized for Search Engines
Getting found by search engines is only part of the equation for online marketing success. Are you ranking well for relevant keywords, search terms, and content? This isn't about keyword-stuffing your website. Most search engines now skip over those keyword lists in favour of your actual website content. This means you actually need to have content providing home buyers the information they need. Writing and formatting content for both search engines and website users is a skill. You need to decide if you can do it yourself or if you're better off investing in having it done by someone else.
A growing trend, and one that's important for home builders, is local search. Unless someone's actually planning to move half-way across the country, there's little value to you in showing up in search results for people outside of your local region. Within your local area, though, you need to rank well to reach those new home buyers.
Understanding how well your website ranks can be as simple as searching online for the keywords you want to show up for. But that won't tell you what needs to be fixed. Thankfully, there are a variety of online tools and knowledgable professionals to help identify how well-optimized your website is and key areas where improvements can be made.
4. Your Website Lacks Relevant Content
Yes, it's true, content is important for search engines. It's even more valuable to home buyers searching online. Providing relevant information about your developments, communities, home styles, and home options may keep you from losing potential buyers to competitors who do a better job.
Remember, as well, the importance of visuals in your online content. There are times when "show, don't tell", is a powerful approach for selling your homes. According to the NAR Generational Trends Report: "The most important website feature was photos for 9 out of 10 buyers under the age of 62." So, make effective use of high-quality images (photos and renderings) plus floor plans and site maps that showcase the homes you build.
5. Your Website Lacks Clear Calls to Action
Finally, keep in mind why you want home buyers to visit your website. You want more quality prospects and leads resulting in sales! Of course, no one's expecting to sell a home directly from their website on the basis of a single visit. The average length of time for a home buyers' home search is 10 weeks. So there are a few steps involved in each customer's journey as they go from awareness to purchase.
This makes it important for you to establish and maintain a good relationship with prospective home buyers to remain top of mind. One of the ways you can do this is by asking website visitors to take the next step with you. As often as possible, you should encourage home buyers to book a viewing, contact a sales rep, download an info package, or sign up to an email list for notifications about the availability of new homes. Your home builder website needs to use these "calls to action" effectively if your goal is to convert more prospects into buyers.
A Plan Only Works if You Follow It
Knowing all the ways you can improve your home builder website is a good start. Taking action and following through is the critical step. Sure, there are plenty of online tools to help you do it yourself. But is that really the best use of your time?
If you want to increase your success rate in converting leads to sales, then working with a professional team make sense. Ready to sell more homes?Contact us to get started