Saturday, April 9, 2011

MOST MODULAR HOME BUILDER WEBSITES ARE USELESS

I was driving down the highway last week and noticed a billboard for rent.  What made it stand out from the hundreds of other billboards was its message....."Caught Cha Lookin'"  It was a very effective ad for renting that very billboard space.


Unfortunately that seems to be the only reason some modular home builders put up a website.  They think that they must have a website to catch you looking.  So they go to Go Daddy because they like Danica Patrick and sign up for a $4.95 a month website.  It's already done, so all they have to do is put some pictures and information about their homes and people will instantly start calling them.  Yeah, like that happens every day!

There are three main reasons home builders put up websites.

1.  WEB PRESENCE  They know that they have to have one.  All their competitors have one, so why not them.  Once they find out that good websites for builders start at $10,000 and up, they simply don't want to spend that kind of money to advertise their business and start looking for cheaper and immensely less effective ways to get there.  You've all seen them.  None of the information has been updated for a couple of years and there are cobwebs everywhere.  

They never go their website to see if it's still on the web let alone update it.  There are no tracking stats and if you try to contact them, the phone was disconnected because the builder decided to use his cell phone for his business and didn't want everyone and his brother calling on his new smart phone.   DUH!

2.  BILLBOARD   This is what most builders have.  It is page after page after page of information that leads the reader through mega amounts of pictures, product information and everything else that happened to be lying around the office when they propagated their site.  This is what most builder sites have become, just a billboard on the Internet super highway.  

Google "homebuilder" in your zip code and sit back and watch the miracle begin.  Depending on the size of your city, there could be hundreds of sites popping up.  Prospective home buyers, faced with so many choices, simply look for the ones that catch their eye just like the billboard I saw last week.  

One of the biggest failures of these sites is no call to action in them.  Information by itself is just reading material, usually reserved for skimming and looking at the pretty pictures.  If something happens to catch the reader's interest, they might call or email you but probably not.  They'll just go on to the next website.

3.  LEAD GENERATOR  The purpose of any home builder website or even factory sites for that matter, is to make the phone ring.  There are very few home builders that properly work this side of the street.  The ones that do have a foot up on their competitors.

The savvy builders not only have a website, they are on Facebook, have a Twitter account and submit videos to YouTube.  All these feed their website and their website feeds their lead bucket.  They update their website regularly, deleting old material and adding new stuff.  They work the social media side of the business by asking people to "like" them and encouraging everyone to visit their latest video of a home being set.

Successful builders send out Tweets and posts messages on their Facebook accounts announcing when and where the next home will be set hoping it will go viral.  They send out alerts when they hold an open house. 

Does this generate leads for a builder?  If you have to think about that question for more than 2 seconds, you're not even close to generating leads from your website.

As a factory sales rep in my previous life, the one question every builder asked was how many leads could I give them.  It's not up to the factory to generate leads for the home builder.  That's the home builders' responsibility. 

4 comments:

Bill Thomas said...

I am a builder. I have a website. I looked at it after reading your blog. I think I might have a couple of those cobwebs you mentioned. Overall I think it's pretty good but I can't afford $10,000 to have someone design a new one for me. Do any other builders have a suggestion for creating a website on a budget.

Salesman said...

Like the article mentioned, "Facebook, Twitter and Youtube" all Free. You can get an updated website at a budget price but it is the targeted traffic and leads that you want most. Tweak your website a little but put a little time and effort using the suggested Free ways mentioned and you should start seeing results. Research Youtube, Facebook ect by searching for other builders to see how they are using these Free services.

Powell Brother said...

@Bill - I would never want you to spend $10,000 on a website unless it is going to do some pretty fancy things. You can build a great looking, fully functional website for $2K-$5K, but then you have to INVEST in it regularly (like the author of the post talked about). You MUST be blogging, you have to be involved in social media and you have to keep your website up to date.

More importantly, you need to have offers on your website to convert leads. Not everyone wants to go through a "contact us" form and not everyone is ready to buy right now. Use informational downloads to capture leads.

Steven said...

Good points overall, but I have a few comments: I have been in the builder marketing industry for 30 years, so I know what I am talking aboutl.

To Bill: Great websites don't cost $10,000. That was the first thing in this article that made me actually laugh out loud. Talk to Farber Marketing. They do work for builders all over the country. Its good, it's effective and it's reasonably priced for all sized builders.

The Facebook and Twitter stuff is fine...so long as you have followers. Otherwise it's a waste of time. You're trying to get people to your website...number one marketing tool. The others are secondary at best, no matter what anyone tries to tell you. If people spent as much time marketing their company and website as much as they talk about facebook and twitter they'd have phone calls like crazy. Problem is people just don't know how to integrate all of these things.

Powell is also right...nobody wants to fill out a form on the internet. If they are interested they want to talk to you instantly. Make sure your website does the right things. He's right about the budget.

Like I said, talk to a builder marketing professional like Farber Marketing. They are out of St. Louis and work all over the country