When you arrive at most home builders’ websites, you don’t typically find a modern, up-to-date site with useful content and beautiful design. If this is your situation, it doesn’t have to be. Having a website that increases traffic—and therefore, business—doesn’t have to be a hassle, and all of the work you put into creating and maintaining a best-in-class website will pay off big time. You’ll get more customers, present yourself as an authority in your field, and prove to clients that you care about excellence both at the construction site and on your web site. Prioritizing digital and web design will lead to better search rankings, wins over your competitors, and the ability to reach new customers early in the sales cycle.
Marketing Challenges for Home Builders
Gone are the days when home builders could do a quality job on a custom home and maintain their business through paper marketing leads or word of mouth. Unfortunately, most home builders aren’t experts in digital marketing, so their online presence has fallen by the wayside or is non-existent, and they are losing potential clients to their competition daily. Below are some of the most common marketing challenges for home builders today.
Content Is Rarely Published
One of the best ways to boost your SEO and increase organic traffic to your site through search engines is by publishing quality content—like blog posts or articles—and doing it often. But for many home builders, writing is not their strength; building beautiful homes is.
You may find that you aren’t getting new business because potential customers aren’t coming to your site. That has absolutely nothing to do with your skills as a builder, but it has everything to do with the fact that your competition is practicing SEO techniques that are boosting their rankings and getting traffic to their site. The lack of new content on your site isn’t just a neutral decision that doesn’t affect business. It is allowing your competitors to actually snatch up your business because eager customers are landing on their site instead of yours.
Most homebuilders are not experts in social media marketing—or social media in general—because they spend their time designing and building homes and running a business, as they should be! If you fall into the same camp, you’re not alone, but you aren’t doing your business any favors.
Thirty-eight percent of home builders never publish to their business’ social media accounts, or if they do, it’s rarely or maybe once per week. But in B2C marketing, social media is an extremely effective (and free) way to get your business in front of the eyes of hundreds and thousands of potential customers.
Your Focus Is Your Craft, Not Your Website
If you do a quick search of home builders in your area or region, you’ll see that most of their sites are generic and uninteresting. That’s because builders are home builders, not website builders, and they haven’t invested in a professional marketing and site-building team. When potential customers arrive to a site that looks haphazard, outdated, and unattractive, they automatically assume your quality of work is the same.
It’s Hard to Stand Out
In an industry where you have a ton of competition vying for the same jobs, you want to stand out as a company that provides the best service, the highest levels of skill and integrity, and the most beautiful final product. However, it’s hard to communicate that you truly are the best without sounding cliché. Plus, if you haven’t invested in your site design or social media presence, you’ll fall right alongside most of the other home builders out there who have done the same.
6 Essentials for a Best-in-Class Home Builder Website
In the past, home builders could rely solely on word of mouth to acquire new business. While this is still an important aspect of your marketing, word of mouth isn’t going to drive loads of people to your site or cause them to read reviews. These days, increasing jobs for your home building business is done largely through having a best-in-class website that is appealing, provides value, and boosts your SEO. Below are six essentials for a website that will stand out and attract new customers.
Design with the Customer in Mind
You know why you should be the obvious choice for people looking for a home builder. You want to show them that you are trustworthy and operate your business with integrity. You want to explain how you use “X” technique to accomplish “X” purpose when you’re building a custom home. You use top-quality building materials, and you want customers to know you don’t take any shortcuts on their project.
While all of these things are important and make you a great home builder, your customers aren’t necessarily concerned with them. They expect you to bring all of these things—and more—to the table when they’re consulting with you for their project.
The thing that will set you apart from other home builders is designing your website with your customer in mind. Instead of telling them why you think you’re the best choice for them, remind them of what they care about and show them that they should choose you; appeal to them on an emotional level. And the only way to do this is to get to know your clientele.
A good way to find out what appeals to your customers is simply to ask. Below are some questions you can pose that will help you learn your target customer:
- What do you like most about our homes?
- What do you like/dislike about our customer service?
- What do you think we do better than our competitors?
- Why did you choose us instead of our competitors?
Asking these questions will not only help you know what to put on your site, but it will ultimately help you better serve your clients.
Update Your Site Regularly With New Content And Projects
As a home builder, you are always creating and finishing new projects. By the very nature of what you do, you constantly have new material to show your web audience. Take advantage of this opportunity to add to your site often. Nothing communicates a lack of professionalism like a website that hasn’t been updated in months or years. You want to show that you are striving for excellence in every area of your home building business, and that includes your website.
Keeping fresh content on your website can be accomplished in a few ways. Because your work can be captured with pictures and video, a great way to be constantly updating your site is to add project albums of finished homes. This not only shows that you’re mindful of your online presence, but it gives people a chance to see your work—both recent and from the past.
It’s also important to your SEO that you are adding new, original content. This commonly looks like articles or blog posts (both are places where you can also showcase images of your homes.) When you post written content online, you can strategically include keywords that your customer base is already searching for (e.g., “home builders near me,” “custom home builders,” “best home builders that do ‘X’”). This strategy will increase your rankings on search results pages and get your site in front of your customers more frequently.
Stand Out by Providing Value
One way for your site to stand out from other home builders is to provide real value to your customers. If you do a quick search of home builders on Google, you’ll see that many sites are outdated and have a short list of generic services and maybe a few pictures of old projects. When customers come to your site looking for a home builder, they want someone who can answer their questions and provide solutions for them in an aesthetically pleasing way.
Think about the questions your clients are asking and answer them. Create articles or blog posts that engage and help your customers as they wade through the ins and outs of searching for someone to build their greatest investment: their home. Or if you don’t feel capable of this kind of content creation, hire a writer who can do it for you. Investing in someone who can connect with your customer base in an investment that will pay off big time in the long run.
One of the many things that you have going for you as a home builder is the “personal touch” that is consistently important to customers. You want to be as transparent and authentic as possible in your personal interactions, but you want that to carry over into your site design as well.
Be yourself. It’s important to use plain speech that your customers will understand; stay away from industry jargon. It’s great to talk about why you’re a home builder and how you love creating spaces for people to make memories and spend their lives. It’s very important that you stay away from stock photos on your site. People can tell when you’ve pulled a one-dollar stock image off the internet versus when it’s a photograph from an actual project you’ve worked on.
Include a Call to Action
Once you’ve got customers on your site, don’t squander the opportunity to reel them in with a call to action. Call to actions have been used for years in marketing, and the basic concept hasn’t changed. But now on your website, you can take a more active role in getting customers to actually respond to your calls to action. Using concise, strong verbiage, you can strategically place buttons on your website’s home page—and other pages—to draw customers in to learn more, get a free estimate, or schedule a consultation with the home builder from your company.
Call to action buttons with those imperatives entice customers to click on them, effortlessly beginning the sales process without consciously doing so, resulting in more opportunity for conversations and contracts with new clients.
Design for Mobile
Having a site designed for mobile users is no longer an option. In 2018, over fifty-two percent of all web pages were served to mobile phones. Add tablets and other mobile devices to that list, and you’ll see that the majority of your customers aren’t searching for you on their desktop but on a mobile device of some sort.
Mobile optimization of your site makes navigation easier, makes images and your layout easier to see on screen, and gives users a better experience overall. If your site isn’t optimized for mobile, you are missing out on new business daily. Make that change as soon as possible.
As a home builder, you have a lot on your plate. Long hours of physically and mentally demanding work plus actually running your business leaves little time or energy for you to spend on website design. However, as we’ve reviewed, having a less than stellar web design simply isn’t an option these days.
The longer you wait to optimize your web site, the more days you go losing jobs to your competition. But when you’re aware of the marketing difficulties of home builders and then take steps to optimize your web site, you’ll see that you’ll win out over the competition, attract a larger customer base, and ultimately get more jobs.