Why Internet Leads Are So Important for Homebuilders

“Internet leads are garbage.”

“They never respond.”

“They aren’t qualified.”

Sound familiar? We talk to and work with homebuilders around the country, and for some reason, we keep hearing comments like those. In this article, I want to breakdown why this simply isn’t true. Let’s start at the top.

How People Research and Buy Today

The way consumers shop and buy products and services has changed enormously in the last decade. Yes, this includes buying a home. Think about what you do when you’re trying to buy something. What do you do?

You go online and start Googling.

You might be on your phone at lunch researching. Then you might continue on your PC at work. And finally, you might do more research on your iPad at home in bed.

Consumers jump all over the place in their research process. And it’s not just the device that changes. It’s the topic. In terms of looking for a home, the list of research topics is nearly endless!

1. What part of town is the best to live in?

2. What activities are near the community?

3. What floorplans are available?

4. Which builders are reputable in town?

5. How long will it take to build my home?

6. What options do I get to choose?

7. How can I find a lender?

8. How much can I afford?

9. What school district is this community in?

10. What features are standard?

11. What features are upgrades?

12. How much are those upgrades?

13. What kind of people live in this community?

I could continue, but I think you get the idea. And the tough part is that people don’t look for these answers in the same order. Some might start with location, others might start with price, and others might start with the builder.

This makes marketing and capturing these people a little more difficult. So what do we do about that?

How to Capture Leads in Research Mode

Today, you need to adopt the mantra “always be helping” on your website and in your marketing efforts. On your blog, you should be answering the questions I listed above and more. You should have information on your website about your company, your homes, your floor plans, your pricing, etc. Give it all away.

This might sound scary, but now I’m going to show you how to capture these people while they are in research mode. It’s a strategy we’ve been using for our own business and our clients for quite some time now.

We use what we call “premium content” to capture leads.

This strategy works by leveraging a few different components:

1. A Compelling Call to Action

2. A Landing Page (Conversion Page)

3. Premium Content (this could be an e-book, checklist, or guide – something that provides extra value to your website visitor that can’t be found on the website for free)

Here’s what a call to action looks like:


See the Free New Home Buyer’s Guide on the right? This is a call to action. When a visitor clicks on that, they are taken to a landing page.

Photos Courtesy of Liberty Homes, a Poconos Home Builder

Here, the visitor will fill out the form to access the guide. And now, you’ve capture a lead!

This is usually where the comments roll in:

- “These leads are garbage”

- “They are just looking around.”

- “They’re tire kickers.”

So, let’s talk about what’s necessary now that you have their contact information.

Phone Follow Up With a Twist

Now that we have a name, email and phone number, it’s time to follow up. The obvious step is to log a phone call. However, you’ll need to take a different approach than you’re used to. I recommend something like this:

You: “Hey Bob, I saw you downloaded our New Home Buyer’s Guide on the website. I hope it had everything you were looking for. Just curious though – what were you trying to find?”

Bob: “Oh, just some information on buying a home.” (he initially tries to be vague)

You: “That’s great! There are a lot of things to think about when buying a home. I just wanted to let you know that I’m here to help you throughout your research process. What questions can I answer for you today?”

Bob: “Well, I was wondering about…” (Now Bob opens up because he sees you aren’t going straight for the sale)

And now you’ve started a conversation.

However, let’s pretend the prospect doesn’t answer their phone, and you try two or three more times in the next week with no luck. Now what?

The Power of Building a Relationship through Email Marketing

If the prospect doesn’t answer your calls or return your voicemails, then they are a perfect fit for a strategic email nurturing campaign. Today, with all the email we receive, it’s important you continue to earn your way into their inbox with every message.

Our philosophy is to send as many helpful emails as you can. Here’s what a campaign might look like:

Email 1: Introduction + some links to helpful blog posts about the home buying process.

Email 2: Links to various floor plans and options available.

Email 3: A video testimonial from a happy client + a link to another piece of premium content

Email 4: A soft push to schedule a call with a New Home Advisor

Email 5: A link to subscribe to the blog for more helpful updates and letting the prospect know the emails will be slowing down.

After the campaign, the prospect should continue to get your monthly email newsletter, along with occasional blog update emails, new pieces of premium content, and/or open house invitations.

The goal is to keep 80%+ of your emails helpful so that you build a strong relationship, gain their trust and pull them towards you.

Takeaway

At the end of the day, anyone willing to give up their information for a piece of premium content is interested in some level. He or she might be 12-24 months away from a purchase, but it doesn’t mean they are a bad lead. Stay in touch by using the automated tools available to you today, and be helpful. It will pay massive dividends down the road.

Spencer Powell is the Inbound Marketing Director for Builder Funnel, a marketing agency specializing in helping builders generate more leads and sales from their websites. Spencer helps progressive builders install automated marketing systems that work 24/7 online to produce more home sales.

When he’s not generating leads for builders, you’ll find Spencer playing doubles volleyball, at the gym or at Chipotle.

Connect with Spencer on LinkedIn or Twitter or send him a note via email: spowell@builderfunnel.com