Identifying potential homebuyers using online technology

August 04, 2013 At Blue Sky Marketing, we spend more than a fair share of our time focused on marketing to potential homebuyers.  We have both home builder and developer clients and are fortunate to have three top 20 best-selling master planned communities in our client marketing portfolio. We recently attended the PCBC (Pacific Coast Builders Conference) in San Diego to see if we were missing any new trends in marketing to homebuyers. It reinforced what we already knew at Blue Sky Marketing, 90% of people start their home search online and good marketers help them sift through a lot of online information to find the right answer. According to the 2012 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, TV, billboards, and print channels play minimal role in research and decision-making process for home shoppers so please get your online marketing plan in order. 2012 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers

Top 10 Things You Need to Be Doing in Your Online Marketing

  1. Pay Per Click (PPC) - Yes, you have to do PPC. Unless you are really phenomenal at #4 below, you won't unseat the big aggregators from the top search positions. Expect to pay $60 to $100 per lead and up to $300 per lead in competitive markets. That was per lead, not per click. Only 1 to 3% of web visitors submit an online request form, make sure your contact forms are fully engaging. 
  2. Lead Nurturing Campaigns - Engage the buyers with your story. Plan an email campaign that delivers your brand messages and don't forget to include links to your videos and other rich content. Schedule it, automate it, don't let them forget you.
  3. Public Relations  — Write and distribute press releases about what's happening, about your new floor plans, about design trends. Write them in a direct to consumer press release in professional style for informative style. Drive traffic to the website to view community.
  4. SEO — You may not get there but your goal is to be in the Top 10 for Organic search engine results for your critical keyword phrases. Competition is fierce and lots of other people are trying to do the same thing. All parts of your marketing program work together and they all lift your SEO rank.
  5. YouTube Channel - Model home videos, community videos, and other content make for rich YouTube material. YouTube is the top video research destination for home shoppers. Cost per lead and cost per conversion are also running lower on YouTube than PPC ads in traditional search. We are seeing significant video watching rates coupled with click-throughs to client websites.
  6. Social Media - Facebook remains king of the social media hill despite their shrinking U.S. page views. Pinterest and Twitter are still in the mix. Think of social as a way to get past happy buyers to share their story about their happiness with their home or community.
  7. Online Banners on Third Party Referral Sites (examples include,, work. They need to be monitored carefully. Start with test campaigns that are a few months in duration, do not sign annual agreements until you know they work. Your mileage may vary; we see differences in performance across metro areas. Testing your creative is a big part of the banner process.
  8. Free listing services — Do you relegate posting your listings to the youngest person on the totem pole in your office? If you are not creating enhanced online realtor listings with at least 25 photos on sites like, you are missing the opportunity.
  9. Emails to homebuyers past and present — Stay in touch with your past buyers and residents. Between 2011 and 2012, 12 percent of people in the country over age 1 moved at least once. Many of them changed homes. A happy past customer has the potential to be a happy future customer.
And equally important, monitor all of these platforms. Results vary, campaigns may get set up incorrectly, if you don't monitor, you will miss opportunity. Google Analytics is free, comprehensive and easy to use to create tracking URLs. And despite Blue Sky Marketing's belief in the power of online in selling homes and communities, don't let the sales team forget the importance of calling the prospects who fill out forms online. Only 1 to 3% of web visitors submit a form, that makes them into online gold. Not picking up the phone quickly to strike up a relationship is the biggest mistake your team can make. No matter how good your marketing, you still have to provide homebuyers with what they really want but getting them to consider you is a matter of finding them where they are online. Blue Sky Marketing would be happy to assist you in strategizing or implementing your online marketing plan. Reach out.

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