You might think about jumping online and searching for a new home in your area. One of the benefits of marketing online is the rate at which you can change directions and strategy, but it is a double edged sword. If you fail to keep up with the market you can easily be left behind in a cloud of technology dust. This also gives you the opportunity to make sure your online efforts are running smoothly.
Here are a few quick tips that every manager/OSC should be doing on a regular basis.
Search Google for a New Home
Do a quick Google search a few times per week for “New Homes ______” and see how your builder comes up in the results (if at all). It also gives you a glimpse at any competition or new options for listing your homes in other areas. The results and ranking change frequently so make sure you are optimizing your site to stay fresh for the Googlebots. Google is king but make sure that you look good on Yahoo and MSN as well.
Review Third Party Sources
If you list your inventory on any sites like Homes.com or Move.com - do a quick once over to make sure your listings are appearing correctly. Conduct a search on these sites as if you are a customer. Search for homes in a certain area or investment range and see how it returns results. There are many times when a neighborhood or floorplan will not appear correctly - or at all. You will need to be the one who watches this since you are most intimate with your inventory. The listing company will not be able to keep up with your inventory – so you have to.
Test Drive Your Website
Start to look for a home on your own website. Make sure that the navigation is intuitive and that communities and floorplans are easily accessible. Are there any dead links, outdated pages, old inventory etc? Get it cleaned up ASAP. There is nothing more frustrating to a consumer than an outdated website. In addition, make sure that your important features and promotions on the website stand out and users understand how to utilize the site.
Shop Your Competition
They might have some great features or new programs listed on their website. See what they’re up to and if there are any marketing strategies that might translate to your business. This is also a good time to familiarize yourself with their products and services. Many internet shoppers will be comparing you to your competition - educate yourself so you can answer intelligently.
Submit a Request
Are all of your requests making it to their destination? Does the auto response and email campaign work? Do you like the phrasing that you used when you set it up? Sometimes, the old phrase rings true, ” Out of sight, out of mind”. You send out hundreds of emails each month but you are not on the receiving end. Put yourself on your own auto campaign to make sure the message is concise and the campaigns are delivered correctly. Technology is great – when it works properly.
——-There have been multiple times in the past few years that, for one reason or another, the programs and process I used to market and communicate online stopped working. Usually, the only way that I found out is by conducting my own search for a new home. Not to mention, there is growing competition from other builders that will keep you on your toes. Make sure someone in your organization is paying attention to those details through a periodic review of the online landscape.