For many of us, Albert Einstein’s definition of insanity really hits the nail on the head: “Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” Unfortunately, many of us are a little “insane” when it comes to developing our marketing plan for the new year.
If the results from your home builder marketing efforts this past year were a little lackluster, now is the time to think about what you are going to do differently in the coming year to change that. If you continue to take the same approach to marketing as you always have, why would you expect different results?
It is not a matter of throwing more money at your lack of leads or sales. Simply adding 15 percent to your home builder marketing budget is not going to generate 15 percent more leads or sales. Throwing more dollars at a problem generally does not work; you need to be smart and strategic in your planning. What does that look like? Here are three areas to focus on as foundational elements for a strong marketing plan for the coming year.
Who exactly is your target audience? Not every person looking for a new home is a candidate for your services (obviously). Because we all have limited marketing dollars, we want to make sure we hitting our target using a rifle instead of a shotgun. There are several ways to define your target market.
The first and most obvious in home building is geography. Get out the map and outline the areas that you are willing to work in. Many times, this is defined by drive time – if your lots are too far from home base, it becomes difficult to manage. Sometimes we are tempted to pick up a piece of dirt outside our market area because of price or some other factor, and then it becomes a difficult project to manage.
Once you have defined your geography, take a close look at who your buyers are. First-time buyers? Baby boomers looking to downsize? Middle-income? High-income? Analyzing your sales and customer data over the last 5 years can help you with this. Once you have your buyer defined, do a little homework, and see how many of those folks are in your market area. Are they a deep well to draw from? Or do you need to focus on a different demographic that may be in more abundant supply in your market area? Is there a group that is underserved? Make sure that you and your competition are not all chasing the same customer that might be in short supply.
Once you have confirmed who you are targeting demographically in your market area by age, income, presence of children, and so on, take the time to write out a “marketing persona” of your different targets. Describe a day in the life of your buyer, “Joe” or “Josephina.” This will help you with your messaging.
Once you have defined your buyer(s) and their demographic and psychographic profile, its time to put together your value proposition. Your value proposition is simply the “bundle of benefits” that you are offering. For instance, you may have a project that is ¼ mile from an interstate interchange. The benefit there might be “easy, quick access to downtown.” Large lots can equate with “room for the kids to run and play” or “privacy.”
Zero your message in on solving the problems that your target customer is experiencing. It may be around affordability, lack of community, availability, and so on. Put yourself in your prospect’s shoes and then answer those questions. Out of those answers flows your value proposition.
As you hone your message, take the time to talk about it to past customers that fit your target. Ask them if your message is “on point” and appeals to them. Often, they can point out ways to make your message more powerful by adjusting phrasing. Or, more importantly, they can identify messaging that is off target in some critical way that will hurt your ability to connect with them.
What media channels and platforms will get you in front of your audience? Where do they like to hang out? All buying journeys begin with need awareness and then an information search. You must be in the places where your prospective clients are looking for information. That means taking advantage of online opportunities since that is where most searches for information begin. That means understanding if your target audience is looking for the benefits you provide through Google searches, Facebook or Instagram. And, if you engage with them initially in this way, knowing how to move them to a conversation with you.
To wrap up, start with defining your target market area and target audience within that area. Understand your best customers, their needs and wants, and the messaging that addresses those, your “bundle of benefits.” Make sure that the messaging is in the correct places, where your target audience looks for information, so they will see it and engage. The work you put into this now will lay the foundation for the success of your marketing efforts in 2021.