At this point, it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise to you home builders out there that digital marketing is the best way to get new clients and sell homes. That’s old news. You’ve likely heard all about how you need to have a high-quality, mobile responsive website that features high resolution photos; how you need a blog that offers quality content; how you need to get in on conversations on Houzz and Facebook and other social media platforms, etc. And that’s all still very true — if you want to get consumers’ attention, and if you want to get Google’s attention, you need to complete all of those key SEO activities. But if you’re a results driven person — that might not be enough for you.
It’s also no secret that the homebuilding industry is exceptionally competitive. Even if you’re implementing all of those great, whitehat SEO techniques, it’s possible that you’re still in tough competition with a number of builders in your area, and some big national names who have overarching clout online. With all of the noise, how’s a local builder to get ahead?
One of the answers is digital advertising.
It’s an attractive answer for a few reasons, but if you just made a face and thought “ew, I’m not paying for online advertising” just stick with me for a second.
Digital ads sell homes. There’s no getting around it. (We wrote a whole guide to digital advertising and outbound marketing, it’s that serious.) If you’re hoping to cut through the noise and put your home building company above the competition, you’re going to want to give digital ads serious consideration. Here’s why:
Benefits of Digital Advertising for Home Builders:
Easy to Use, Easy to Turn on And Off
When it comes to digital ads, whether you advertise on Google, Facebook, or even Bing, you have total control. This means if you’re trying to fill a development or a spec home, you can put the ad up for only exactly as long as it takes to sell. As soon as the homes are gone, you can take down the ads. That’s a lot easier than making a total website for your development, and then having to adapt or take it down after the development is full.
That control also means that if you need to save a little money, you can stop your ads from going out. If you know your ads don’t perform well on the week days, stop them Monday through Friday, and turn them on for the weekends. With digital advertising, you have total control.
Spend Only What you Want
In the same vein, you only spend what you want with digital advertising. You can create budget limits on each and every ad you create, no matter which platform you’re choosing. Daily limits are great if you only want to spend so much per day, or you can set overall campaign limits, and just let an ad run until it’s used up all of its spend.
The key benefit of digital advertising spend is that you’re only paying for the people who click on your ad. So, unlike traditional print ads, you’re not paying just for exposure. You’re paying for people who make the conscious decision to click on your ad, and are taken to your website, where you can gather their contact info.
Beyond the fact that you’re only paying for people who click on your ad, targeting options on digital ads are exceptionally specific. You can choose who gets to see your ad, based on age, demographics, interests, likes, even crazy things like job title and occupation. This means you can set your digital ads to go out to the people you know will be interested in, and can afford your homes.
This increases the success rate of your ad campaign, and decreases the money you have to spend to get qualified leads. Best of all, your digital ad campaigns put you ahead of your competition. Your houses, and your ad will show up above all the other homebuilders who aren’t advertising, meaning you get the first look from your target buyers.
How to Create Digital Ads that Sell Homes
At this point, it should be pretty clear why digital ads sell homes. They’re a cheap, effective, and precise method of advertising that sets you above your competition, and can target your key buyers. So now, how do you create effective digital ad campaigns that actually get the clicks?
The first choice to make is where to advertise. You can create digital ads for nearly any digital platform these days, but some will always be more effective than others. At this point, Google and Facebook seem to be the best bets for home builders.
Facebook Paid Ads
Facebook has one of the most intuitive targeting options available. You can so specifically choose the target audience for your ad that anyone who clicks on it is guaranteed to fit your target buyer’s profile. This seriously bumps up the effectiveness of your ad campaign.
What’s more, Facebook is highly visual, giving you the chance to show off your beautiful homes in an ad experience that seems relatively organic to the users. Most Facebook users are already looking for photos and visually appealing content. If your ad has great photos of your homes, you’re likely to see a lot of engagement, and photo ads do tend to perform best on Facebook.
Google Paid Ads (PPC)
Google is obviously the most well known platform for digital ads. It’s a great place to find those end-of-cycle buyers, who already know they want a new home, they know what they want it to look like, and they just need someone to build it for them.
Google is also a great tool in your toolbox because of the advanced metrics it provides. You’ll be able to tell which of your ads are doing well, and which aren’t, and most importantly, Google can help you discover why. As a result, you’re able to tweak and optimize each of your ad campaigns to ensure you’re spending the least amount possible for the greatest number of qualified leads.
Target to End-Of-Cycle Buyers
The best way to boost your ROI with digital ads is to write and deploy ad campaigns that target end-of-cycle buyers. These are the people who have already made the decision to buy a home. They’ve done research, they’ve decided how much they’d like to spend, now they just need to choose a builder.
Building ad campaigns that target these buyers is easy, if you know your target buyer well. Generally, end-of-cycle buyers are going to search for home builders in their area, and they’ll be looking for reviews of each candidate so they can make an educated guess about which builder is the best fit for their dream home. Bid on more specific keywords like “best custom home builder in Grand Haven, MI” or “craftsman-style homebuilder near me.” These are searches that will only be done by someone who’s legitimately looking to build a home in your area.
Use Demographics to Target your Ideal Buyer
We mentioned earlier the exceptionally advanced targeting options that both Google and Facebook offer. Use these as fully as you possibly can for effective, high ROI digital ad campaigns. You should know who your ideal buyer is first:
Do you build smaller, lower cost first homes for young couples just starting out?
Do you build custom dream homes for doctors and surgeons on the lake?
Do you build something in between, or something totally different?
Imagine the person you most often sell homes to. Are they young? Old? Female? Male? Employed at the local hospital or nearby manufacturing plant? Answers to each of these questions are demographics you can target when building your ad campaigns. The more specific your ads, the more qualified leads you’re likely to get. Remember though, if you exclude too many people from your ad campaigns, you might shrink the amount of engagement you see from that particular campaign.
Make Sure Your Ads Lead to a Landing Page
The final component of a successful ad campaign that gets you the qualified leads you’re looking for is a quality landing page. We won’t go into the nitty gritty details here, (we’ve already got a blog about perfect landing pages) but what’s most important is that each of your ads send leads to a landing page. If you don’t have a landing page for your digital ads, you’re basically wasting money, because it’s your landing pages that will capture email addresses and other necessary contact info.
You use information from your landing pages to reach out and close deals, and without it, your ad will do little more than raise awareness for your brand — which is great, but not really the goal of a digital ad campaign that’s supposed to convert leads. Not every ad you create needs its own unique landing page, but each ad should connect to a landing page that’s relevant to whatever you’re advertising. Again, for more info check out this blog.
Digital ads sell homes. There’s really no question there. If you create intuitive digital ad campaigns that are well targeted to people who want the homes you’re offering, you can reach a wide range of qualified potential leads, using very minimal funds.
That said, digital ad campaigns can be easier said than done, so if you’re worried about building a successful campaign, or you’d like a bit more help getting started, don’t hesitate to get in touch with the team at HA Digital Marketing. We’re digital ad experts, and we’re happy to offer a few getting-started tips, or even help handle your ad campaigns for you — just let us know what you need. And if you’re not sure where you’re going with your digital marketing plan just yet, check out this Smartass Guide to Inbound Marketing. It’s got the information you need, and it’s not boring: