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Earlier this month, we joined more than 500 attendees at the annual Local Forecast Seminar in Richmond. The event, hosted by the Home Building Association of Richmond, takes a look at what lies ahead for the new home industry in Central Virginia. Always full of fascinating insights, this year’s event provided an overview of the economic conditions for home building, top design trends, and advice for home builders in the digital marketing space. Good news is that the economy’s fundamentals are strong and experts anticipate that the Richmond region should see about a three percent sales growth for new homes in 2018. That’s a solid prediction, albeit not as high as some had hoped. 

There were particularly interesting takeaways when discussing home builder marketing. Many home builders are not investing enough resources in digital marketing, according to reports from Professional Builder magazine. The industry best practice is for builders to spend 1.5 percent of their budget on marketing efforts, with half of that amount earmarked just for digital marketing. Gone are the days of lots of glossy brochures. Increasingly, buyers are finding builders online and making decisions before even contacting a builder. Meeting those buyers where they are is critical, and something most builders are missing. Of that digital marketing budget, half should be spent on social media ads or search engine marketing. Another 25 percent should be dedicated to online content with the final 25 percent for a builder’s website.

As new home buyers find their homes online, and increasingly on mobile devices, they should be cognizant of these top five digital marketing tactics:

  • Virtual Tours and Videos
  • Photos
  • Content Marketing
  • Social Media and Digital Ads
  • Responsive Websites

The common theme with all these tactics is that they must be engaging. Videos that connect are important. Professional photos of beautiful, merchandised homes matter. Resourceful content that connects with an audience and is supplemented by some boosting and ads will make a difference in the number of homes sold.

Perhaps most interesting about the Local Forecast Seminar was that this focus on digital marketing was new for 2018. Many in the new home industry are advocating for builders to lend more attention to the digital space. Of course, we are strong proponents of the impact that a strategic digital marketing campaign can have. We’ve seen the impressive results firsthand! Builders who adjust their marketing and sales strategy for a greater emphasis on digital communications will see much better results in 2018 and for many years to come.