“Where do I start?” That’s a question I hear from retailers, community owners and clients from other industries alike. And it’s the question most likely to need an answer from a professional like myself.
Here is the key thing to consider before even calling a professional in. Because without an answer to this question, a campaign cannot be properly planned and executed.
What you expect your online marketing campaign to do?
For sake of discussion, a campaign could be a website, an email campaign, a social media campaign or a combination of all of them.
So let’s use an example and sketch the beginnings of a build-out to suit that example.
You’re a Community owner and you need an online marketing campaign to sell homes in your community. We’re assuming that these are homes already in place on homesites within the community and ready for immediate occupancy.
So the answer to the question of what you expect your online marketing campaign to do? is “bring in some leads of qualified buyers who would like to live in a community.”
In my experience, the best way to do accomplish this goal is to build an easy-to-update website that serves as the campaigns base of operations.
It needs a way to list homes that allow for a complete description including photographs that have a Search Engine friendly (SEF) URL. The URL is the complete address that would need to be typed in or linked to the access the page and is one of the most important keys to Search Engine Optimization (SEO). And it needs to be done automatically by the software. I have always said “If it doesn’t get done automatically, there’s a good chance it won’t get done.” We are all busy people. Automation helps us get things done reliably and efficiently.
The list of available homes is the key to the website’s success, but it is just one facet of a successful campaign.
At minimum, the website also needs to convey enough information about the community and it’s surroundings to make the home listings attractive to buyers.
So some pages on the website should be devoted to such things as the ‘look and feel’ of the community itself, any amenities offered and the advantages of the lifestyle offered by the community and it’s surroundings.
Potential homebuyers also need a way to contact you so your phone number should be on every page and a contact form should be on a contact page that gives them the name of the community, the mailing address and location (location with a map could be a separate page) and the phone number.
Don’t underestimate the importance of these basic pages in attracting potential homebuyers that want to live in your community.
A few years ago, a static website with the above pages would have been enough for the community owner, prospects and the all-important search engines, but today the need for engagement using social media is a paramount consideration.
Homebuyers tend to be deliberate in the homebuying process, taking a much longer time period to make a decision is keeping with the size of the investment. Staying in their field of vision over the life of this process can be the difference between the sale going to you or to your competitor.
Social media can help keep you in front of your prospects over this period without turning them off by overly aggressive marketing. Social media in this case includes blogging, email and social networking using Facebook and Twitter.
These don’t haven’t be painful or overly time-consuming. Again, automation can can help conserve your time and energy. But these are critical steps. The Return-on-Investment (ROI) figures for online marketing are staggering, but there is an effort that has to be made. But automation can greatly reduce the effort involved.
Packaged together, the 1-2-3 process of website, email and social media can have an immediate positive impact on all of your marketing efforts.