Selling Homes to Digital Natives

Barbie Espinol

Millennials have reached prime home buying age, bringing with them the largest growth potential for home builders for the foreseeable future. But along with growth potential, millennials bring new expectations for the home buying experience.

The home buyers of tomorrow are digital natives: They grew up with the Internet at their fingertips and expect automated processes to pervade every area of their lives, including buying a new home. It is a mistake to assume that the building industry can afford to abstain from developing a digital presence, expecting that business will proceed as it always has. The industry must adapt to the buyers of today, and tomorrow.

While home buyers from every generation use online services and apps like Zillow, Trulia and Redfin to find homes, digital natives have even higher expectations for their online experience. They want web content to be not just readily available and robust, but also interactive and attractive. Home builders should be mindful of their online presence, with an eye to attracting attention; great photos of model homes, 3D walkthroughs and comprehensive listings are the bare minimum, no longer the gold standard.

Ramping up your online presence doesn’t just apply to existing housing supply. Now is the time to implement more advanced digital marketing tools to brand your home building and remodeling business to build your sales pipeline, before you get left behind.

Remarketing

We’ve all had this experience: You search online for an item you are considering buying — a garden hose, for example — and for the next week or so, you suddenly see ads for garden hoses on nearly every website you visit. That’s remarketing.

In short, remarketing leverages vast online ad networks, like Google, to serve ads to users who have visited a specific web page. This can be set up through numerous third-party remarketing services or directly through Google AdWords.

“Finding the right message is the first step.” —Carol Morgan, president, Denim Marketing

The old marketing maxim, that consumers must see or hear a product’s advertisement seven times before buying, can be applied here. The more frequently a potential customer sees your ads, the  more likely they are to turn to you when they enter the new home buying market. Remarketing helps businesses stay in front of potential customers even after the user has navigated away from the company’s web site.

This type of branding and delivery is key to staying top of mind with younger home buyers, who tend to exhaustively research the housing stock of an area before deciding to move forward.

But you need to draw visitors to your site in the first place. Social media can help with that.

Social Media Marketing in 2022 and Beyond

The entire real estate industry, including home builders, has eagerly adopted social media as a viable marketing platform. But it is important that businesses understand that success on social media is often the result of intentional, thoughtful planning rather than achieving hard to quantify “viral” postings.

“Home builders need to use social media to interconnect their entire marketing ecosystem,” notes Carol Morgan, president of Denim Marketing, a firm catering to home builders. “Finding the right message is the first step.”

To target younger potential buyers, home builders may consider messaging that touts the benefits of new homes, like better energy efficiency, eco-friendly materials and spaces designed to suit today’s demands. When combined with company branding and an all-important link to a landing page on the company’s site, these messages can begin to sell the idea of building a home to a millennial rather than buying an existing home.

It is also important to take advantage of existing social media communities with built-in audiences. On Instagram, The Real Houses of IG (@the_real_houses_ of_ig) highlights noteworthy new home projects to its 2.4 million followers, most of whom are consumers. Builders.of.Insta (@builders.of.insta) counts some 261,000 followers and focuses on the home building industry.

It’s key to the success of digital marketing that this content feels natural in users’ social media feeds. Cross-posting on various platforms, like Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, and yes, even TikTok can be critical to developing an audience that is engaged through multiple touch points. Spend time on the platforms, look for trends, and don’t be afraid to adapt content you’re seeing for your brand. Social media is all about fast-paced creation, but capitalizing on the moment with your content can be key in appealing to your target audiences.

Becoming active members of communities like these will open doors to broader audiences. And don’t be afraid of exploring new and emerging social media platforms like TikTok. That’s where your future buyers spend their time, and they are the ones who need to hear your message.

 

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