Home Builders: Blow The Roof Off Your Logo! (And 4 Other Marketing Tactics That You Must Deploy.)
I recently had the opportunity to be the closing speaker at the Canadian Home Builders Association of New Brunswick (CHBA - NB)’s ResCon. My topic was “How to attract more home building clients in 2018”. While I had pulled together some fantastic examples of great home builder marketing and delivered lots of actionable advice, I had one message that I really wanted to stick:
Please, please stop putting roofs in your homebuilding and real estate logos.
Before you get mad at me for judging, let me confess… I also used to have a roof on a logo (well..technically I didn’t - the company I worked for did but I shared it VERY proudly).
I can hear the responses now: “What’s the problem with a roof on my logo? It shows people that we build/sell houses!” Yes, it does do that. The problem is that it ONLY shows people that you build houses.
Just go do a Google Images search on “home builder logo”... Ok, fine - I'll do it for you:
See what I’m saying here?
In planning this post, I decided to conduct a quick, unscientific, random study. I started by searching home builders in my local area. Then, I went to the websites of the first 10 companies ranked on Google.
9 of them had roofs on their logo. 9!!! (The 10th one is the one I used to work for… the one that used to have a roof on the logo).
The thing that builders need to remember is that your clients are choosing to trust you with what is likely:
The biggest purchase of their life;
The scariest purchase of their life;
The longest purchasing cycle of their life.
People do not shop for home builders the way that they shop for commodities. When people shop for a homebuilder, they are looking for a partner. They are trying to choose the partner that they can trust to take them on the big, scary, LONG journey of building their home.
The job of your brand (which includes your logo) is to show your audience who you are. It often takes the first step in a relationship, introducing your business. Your brand is your voice. If you’re just slapping a roof on your name and calling it a day, then your voice is NOT standing out.
So, get real about who you are and blow the roof off that logo!
And once you’re done with that, here are the 4 other tactics that home builders cannot ignore in 2018.
Four more Marketing Tactics Home Builders Can’t Ignore In 2018
1. Talk About More Than Your Homes.
After auditing dozens of home builder websites for a recent project, a few commonalities became crystal clear but perhaps none so much as the builder website/social media page/spec sheet/*insert-whatever-medium-you’re-using-here* that ONLY shows photos of beautiful homes and a sales pitch. While that approach may have worked in years gone by, today’s buyer is looking for more.
Remember, your ideal buyer isn’t looking for a product. They’re looking for a partner! It’s crucial that you take the time to tell (and show) them what you’re really about. A few key points to cover when sharing more about your story:
Who is on your team?
What’s life like behind-the-scenes at your company?
Why did you start building homes?
Why do you continue building homes?
What’s the most interesting custom request you’ve ever received (with the client’s permission of course)?
The content that you share about your organization is often what your potential customers use to decide whether they want to get into a partnership with you. Ask yourself: Are you giving them enough?
2. Really Understand Your Buyer.
Almost every day we hear: “my buyer is everyone”. The problem is, that’s not true.
In a recent blog post, Cearagh summed it up like this:
In the words of Seth Godin “Everyone is not your customer”. At Marrow, we advocate for Purpose-Driven Marketing which is the creation of a relationship with your audience by sharing your "why". Your "why" won't, and shouldn't, apply to everyone. If it does, you might be diluting who you are and preventing your audience from creating a connection with your product or service. A marketing strategy that can apply to everyone won’t be interesting, engaging or valuable enough to apply to anyone.
But let’s be honest: If you’re building retirement bungalows in Niagara Falls what does your buyer persona have in common with a first-time home buyer in Halifax? Or a move-up buyer in Barrie?
If you’re helping your buyer choose a partner, not a product, then you need to show them that you understand what matters to them.
We recommend that you spend some time getting real about who your ideal customer actually is. Who are you really building for? Who will make the buying decision? Who will LIVE in that home? The more you know about your customer or buyer, the more you’ll be able to provide content and value specifically to them. Creating a Buyer Persona for one or two ideal customers will set you up in the right direction.
3. Share Your Process (And alleviate their fears).
If we’re sticking with the wisdom of Simon Sinek (and at Marrow, we usually are), then we must talk about the Golden Circle.
The Golden Circle indicates that when communicating, brands should always start with WHY. Remember, they buy WHY you do what you do. After communicating your why, you can communicate HOW. In homebuilding especially, the HOW matters. It matters a lot.
The home building industry is ripe with stories of homes being built over budget, or late, or damaged, or worse… By sharing your process, you’re capitalizing on the opportunity to alleviate your buyer’s fears! By showing them how you schedule and plan, how you track expenses and how you communicate deadlines, you’re showing them that you are two-steps ahead of any problems that may arise. You’re in control - what a great partner you are!
And the WHAT? Well that's your beautiful finished product.
4. Improve Your Digital Game (Because 9 Out Of 10 New Home Searches Begins Online)
It’s always surprising to me how many builders are willing to invest in a model home as a physical asset but skimp when it comes to investing in their digital assets. The reality is that 9 out of 10 new home searches begin online and the real estate that you occupy in the digital world is sending a message to that 90% - Is it the one you want?
If you're not sure, we suggest the following must-haves to start putting your best digital foot forward:
Responsive Design: Responsive websites are designed to “respond” to the specific device a user is viewing a website with. That means the website will automatically resize itself to match the user's device. The result is a seamless user experience regardless of whether the user is viewing your site on a desktop monitor, laptop, tablet, or smartphone screen.
Staged Photography: Over a decade ago, I became an Accredited Staging Professional and I’ve never forgotten the words drilled into us in our training: “If you can’t see it, you can’t sell it!”. This message emphasizes the truth about home buyers - it is incredibly challenging to visualize living in a home without at least basic furniture placement for space allocation and scale.
Video: The power of great video featuring your team’s faces and voices, cannot be overstated. Remember, your audience is trying to choose a partner! By appearing on video, you’re letting your audience experience how it feels to interact with you. They can feel your energy level, understand the rhythm of your speech, or laugh along with your sense of humour… all essential elements in getting to know you and your team - as humans.
Content Marketing: An obvious suggestion perhaps, coming from us, but a very important one! Content marketing is an absolute must for any business looking to build trust with their audience prior to the purchasing decision. For home builders, there is rarely a sale that occurs without significant trust being invested. By creating content that addresses your buyer persona’s questions, concerns and reservations, you’re giving them the opportunity to get to know you on their terms - when and where they’re most comfortable and in control. A pretty strong opening to a partnership, I’d say.
Regardless of whether you use all of the recommendations above or if you only deploy one, we need to know… is there a roof on your logo?