Budget sense: The smart investment of your digital marketing dollars

Let’s assume you have already determined the amount of your annual marketing budget—because if you haven’t, don’t read any further. Go back and create a budget.

The next challenge is to decide where to invest those digital marketing dollars.

It’s not rocket science. You allocate the money where you get the most return on your investment.

#1. Website

The most important marketing tool is your website. Statistics show that 98% of people go to websites for their new home search, and 75% spend up to a year researching and browsing before ever setting foot in a model home. Think of your website as your online model home. You wouldn’t have a sloppy sales center, nor would you tell your prospects to go hunt around for information. You would take every opportunity to influence them in a positive way.

Your website reflects your brand. Does it convey your quality? Have you presented your homes, your process, and your people in a way that will impress the visitor? If not, you probably won’t get another chance. Once you turn off a prospect, they’re gone.

Create a strong presence that says you are the best choice. Provide quality content, including professional videos, crafted words, and the well-placed use of keywords (including graphics). Incorporate a call to action on every page. Make it easy for the site visitor to connect with you.

#2. SEO

Search engine optimization is not an accessory. You don’t add it after the site is ready to launch. Great SEO is baked in. It’s a key ingredient to ensuring that you appear on the first page in an organic search. If you can’t be found in a Google search, you’re missing a large percentage of prospects.

#3. Google Adwords

Contrary to popular belief, you must advertise. Google won’t share its dirty little secret with you, but using Adwords will help with your organic search results.

Inc Magazine recently reported that more money is spent globally on Google and Facebook ads than all of the newspaper, magazine, and radio advertising combined. A whopping 83% of all new advertising dollars!

The amount you invest in Adwords depends on your market. If you’re launching a new neighborhood or need to boost traffic, you should plan to spend more. Geotargeting is a method for zooming in on your prospects according to a clearly defined geographic area. In new home sales, geotargeting is a smart digital marketing strategy.

#4. Social Media

The conversation continues. You must be part of it. But effective social media marketing is more than posting blogs, tweets, and updates. They aren’t widely read. The true purpose of a social media component is to grab the attention of the bots and spiders crawling around the Web. Fresh, keyword-rich content feeds them. And when they get their fill, these bots and spiders reward you with better search engine result placement.

Hire a professional who understands the intricacies of social media marketing and search engine marketing (SEM). You might be tempted to “save” money by assigning the task to someone on your team, but you won’t get the results you want.

#5. Zillow Strategy

Remember, you’re not competing solely against other homebuilders. You’re going against Zillow, and all the other third-party real estate websites. In fact, “Zillow” is searched more often than “real estate” on Google, and 85% of buyers first discover new construction listings on Zillow, not the builder’s site. Zillow holds a two-thirds market share of all third-party real estate sites (e.g., Realtor, NewHomeSource). You can’t ignore the power of Zillow, so you need a strategy to harness it for your benefit.

Digital marketing success relies on investing where it counts. Don’t guess. It will only waste time and money. You’ll lose sales to other builders who have approached their marketing more wisely. If you want to learn more, let’s talk.