A home builder could create a stunning, high-specification development that would make any buyer happy. But if they don’t market their properties well, they’ll struggle to meet targets and project deadlines.
The year ahead is likely to be especially challenging as housebuilders battle to overcome the ongoing impact of the pandemic on their ability to keep development plans on track and maintain a healthy bottom line.
Why Is Effective Marketing So Important for Home Builders?
Selling new-build properties can be a challenge. How do you effectively market a house that doesn’t exist yet? The ideal scenario for any housebuilder is to have every property in a development sold off-plan.
However, some buyers are wary of committing to a purchase before seeing the final product. Furthermore, the market is extremely competitive, especially for smaller businesses vying for customers alongside major UK housebuilding brands.
Effective advertising is essential for reaching potential customers, establishing credibility, ensuring an exceptional customer experience and sealing the deal.
The Impact of COVID-19 on House Building
Few industries have escaped the devastating impact of COVID-19 on profit margins in the past year, and house building is no different. In March 2020, all construction sites closed when the government announced the first national lockdown.
House building did not fall into the category of “essential work”, so developments were slow to re-open after the first lockdown ended in May. Even the big hitters are struggling — Barratt Developments’ pre-tax profit dropped by almost 50 per cent in the year up to June 2020.
As the vaccines are rolled out across the country over the coming months and the government’s restrictions begin to ease, housebuilders must start planning for a brighter future, which means pulling out all the stops to attract new customers.
Top 8 Home Builder Marketing Ideas for 2021
1. Highlight the Benefits of New-Builds
This point may sound obvious, but many buyers are unaware of the benefits of buying a new-build home, compared to a lived-in property. And far too few home builders market these advantages effectively.
According to the “Insights into New Homes Buyers 2018” report by Zoopla, the most prized benefits of new-build homes include:
- Cost-effective and easy to maintain.
- Lower running costs due to modern efficiencies lacking in many traditional properties.
- Easier to sell.
- Customisable furnishings and fittings — the house is just as you want it from the moment you walk in.
- The sales process involves less red-tape.
- Help-to-Buy schemes are available to make new-builds accessible to first-time buyers — whereas traditional homes may be out of reach.
- “Green Mortgages” on new-builds built with eco-friendly credentials are easier to obtain and more affordable.
Make sure these benefits are highlighted front and centre in your marketing content and optimise your website so that it appears on search engine results pages (SERPs) when potential buyers tap in relevant phrases. For example, “cost-effective housing”, “help-to-buy schemes” and “quick and easy house sales” — more on this in step five.
2. Create a Brand for Your Development
One of the first steps towards creating a successful home builder marketing strategy is to define the target audience and develop a strong brand.
A retirement village will require a very different marketing approach to a development aimed at young families. Choose a development name that resonates with the market.
Share details to entice and attract the target buyer, such as generous gardens for families or the availability of one-storey properties for retired buyers. Don’t focus solely on the development — include details of local amenities such as access to transport links for young professionals. Avoid trying to appeal to everyone. Pick a target market and stick to it.
Make sure your tone of voice, branding and imagery are consistent across all marketing platforms — from the company website and its social media accounts, such as Facebook and Twitter, to brochures and email marketing.
3. Use Technology to Help People Visualise Their New Home
One of the major stumbling blocks home builders often face is that buyers are reluctant to buy off-plan because they want to see their home before committing to a purchase.
Make use of the technology available to help people visualise a property before it is built. Computer Generated Images (CGI) can be created using architectural plans to provide a realistic impression of how a home will look when finished. Potential buyers can even conduct a “walk-through” of their new home and see how different fixtures and fittings might look. This is a great way to sell not just a home but a lifestyle.
4. Offer a Range of Financing Options
The range of financing options available to buyers for new-build homes is one of their great advantages. The government’s Help-to-Buy scheme is only available to first-time buyers who are purchasing a new-build property worth less than £600,000. This opens up a whole pool of potential buyers exclusively available to new-build developers.
As a home builder, you can offer customers further financial assistance, giving you access to an even broader group of potential buyers. By partnering with a company of property experts such as HBB Solutions, you can offer part-exchange (PX) funding for customers who are keen to buy one of your properties but unable to move until their current home sells. There is zero risk for you or your buyer. Include details of the PX scheme available in your online and offline marketing content to increase your value as a developer and attract more buyers.
5. Be Proactive with Online Marketing
Most people start their property search online, so a well-optimised website is essential for any home builder or property developer. Make sure that when key search terms — such as “new build developments near me” — are entered into a search engine, your company page pops up near the top of the list. If you’re not a Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) whizz, it’s worth employing someone who is.
Online marketing isn’t just about the company website. Establishing a presence on social media platforms can deliver a healthy return on investment (ROI). There’s no need to set up accounts on every platform. Identify those used by your target market and post helpful and relevant content. It’s important to contribute regularly and respond to any visitors who engage with your content.
Finally, consider advertising on popular websites. Almost half of the population has used a property search website, such as Rightmove, in the last year. If your homes aren’t listed, you’re missing out on a huge audience of potential buyers.
6. Keep Interested Customers Updated
Buying a new house is one of the biggest financial commitments many of us will ever make. New-builds attract a high percentage of first-time buyers, who will be inevitably cautious about taking their first step on the property ladder.
Adding potential buyers to a mailing list and setting up an email newsletter is a great way to hold peoples’ interests and keep them up to date as the development progresses. You can also use this newsletter to emphasise the benefits of buying a new-build and provide details of promotions and finance schemes, such as part exchange. Any one of these details could be the final factor that turns a potential buyer into a customer.
7. Share Helpful Content
In the eyes of many marketers, “content is king”. Writing high-quality content that is relevant and useful to your audience can drive a huge amount of traffic to the company site, boost your brand and even (indirectly) increase sales. Compared to advertising, such as online pay-per-click (PPC), content marketing is relatively low-cost, yet the ROI can be considerable.
The best content is not a direct sell but educational. It provides readers with the information they need to solve a particular problem. For example, a home builder might add a blog titled “How to Move House without the Hassle of Selling”. The content may include a reference to the advantages of part exchange when buying a new-build home — but seeks to answer a common question rather than directly pitch the new property development. Content alone is unlikely to lead to a high volume of sales, but it can nudge a potential buyer in the right direction, build brand awareness and improve your SEO.
8. Showcase the Development Site
Digital marketing is essential for success, but some of the traditional marketing methods are still capable of reaping considerable rewards in terms of brand exposure and sales.
High-quality site signage is essential for attracting local buyers and making the community aware of the new development. Use hoardings, banners and site boards to keep people up to date with progress. Signs stating the number of plots remaining or the completion date for the project can create a sense of curiosity and urgency that will bring people through the door.
Making your property development stand out from the competition is key to success. Building homes of exceptional quality is only half of the battle. Offering extra value — such as high-quality content, CGI images of houses and a choice of finance schemes — will make your development more attractive to buyers. Effectively marketing these offers will establish trust in your brand and help to boost sales.
Why not contact our team of property experts to discuss how we can help you sell more houses fast? Contact us to learn how our PX scheme can increase your value as a developer for potential home buyers.
Updated March 2021