Traditionally, the summer season can be one of the slowest times for builders & developers. Families are on vacation, kids are out of school, and people are generally more distracted than they are throughout other times of the year. This is when builders & developers tend to scale back their marketing campaigns. While this is a perfectly reasonable strategy, a common mistake is scaling back your marketing campaigns without also adjusting the strategy to prepare for the summer months.

If you’re advertising on Facebook, the summer months can offer long days and idle time, which provides developers the perfect opportunity to get in front of their prospects. The challenge is breaking through all the distractions summer has to offer and making meaningful connections through your advertising campaigns.

Challenge accepted. Here are some ways you can make the most of your summer Facebook ad campaigns.

1. Evaluate Current & Past Facebook Campaigns

If you’ve been running Facebook ad campaigns for a few months, then you already have a delicious buffet of data to dive head-first into. Before you begin to build your marketing strategy for the summer, it is important that you evaluate your campaigns to see what worked and what didn’t.

When evaluating your past Facebook campaigns, be sure to ask critical questions that will help you form your summer marketing program:

  • What were my original campaign objectives?
  • What metrics was I tracking, and how did they perform over time?
  • Did the changes I make to those campaigns positively effect campaign results?
  • Is my ad creative still effective? Does it need to be changed?
  • How does a shift in seasonality change the way I approach my advertising?

Answering questions like these should give your campaign a much better opportunity to drive the traffic and leads, allowing you to get the best possible return for your advertising dollars.

2. Personalize Your Messaging

Imagine how difficult it would be to have a private conversation with a friend in the front row of a Metallica concert. Then imagine that same friend has the attention span of a goldfish. That’s what online advertising is like.

It’s more difficult than ever to reach your target customer in a meaningful way. Your prospective buyer is being bombarded with digital ads every time they open their browser. On Facebook, you’re competing against other ads from other companies, cute pictures of babies, endless articles, and memes that have been shared over a million times.

One way to break through the noise is to be hyper-specific and personal in your advertising. By now, you should have a pretty good idea of what speaks to your target buyer. Use that knowledge to proactively address what matters to them in your ad creative. If you already have some buyers in your community, find out what made them choose you, and use that to find more buyers like them.

Personalization doesn’t end with the individual. The story of your community is naturally going to have something to do with where you’re located. Are you in a tranquil locale surrounded by nature? Make that a part of your advertising story. Just blocks away from the newest downtown scene? Appeal to a buyer who is looking for that lifestyle. All of these things speak to people beyond just the houses your sell and the options they have for kitchen countertops.

3. Reengage Your Current Leads

One of the biggest mistakes developers make with their advertising is only focusing on collecting brand new leads and the leads that become appointments. However, the others leads you’ve already collected, the ones who exist in between those two worlds, are invaluable to make the most out of your overall campaign strategy.

Facebook allows you to upload an email list you’ve legally obtained, and as long as those individuals use that same email address for their Facebook accounts, you can target those individuals with remarketing ads. Remarketing ads can be a powerful tool with a number of different applications:

  • Remind your prospects of upcoming events and progress made within your developing community
  • Feature new home buyers who were once prospects, just like themselves
  • Reinforce your community benefits and information
  • Stay top-of-mind during a summer that is bound to be full of distractions

If you have good tracking in place (more on that later), you’ll realize the benefits of remarketing ads. They can go a long way to generating the on-site traffic and sales you’re looking for.

Make This Summer Season Your Best One

Keeping your current leads engaged, combined with a well-thought out strategy to acquire new ones, will go a long way to maximizing your ad spend and getting the most out of the summer season.

All the buzz in the Google-world surrounds two topics: GDPR compliance (more on that later) and mobile-first indexing. In an effort to keep up with behavioral trends and the growing rate of mobile-browsing, Google’s stated emphasis on mobile indexing has left a lot of business owners wondering what it all means for their websites. We’re here to clear up some of the confusion.

What is Mobile-First Indexing?

Mobile-first indexing means that the mobile-version of your website will become the starting point in which Google evaluates your website to determine its rankings. It is no longer enough to just have a well-optimized desktop version of your website. If your website presents a poor experience on mobile devices, or does not have a responsive or mobile version at all, your rankings on desktop AND mobile searches will suffer.

This is a shift in Google’s ideology. Previously, your desktop site was the first port of call, and the mobile site was treated as an alternate version. Because of this, marketers and developers spent less time optimizing the mobile site for a quality experience or for SEO campaigns. With over 50% of searches on mobile devices growing, Google is placing the greatest importance on the mobile experience.

How Does This Affect You?

If you already have a responsive or mobile-version of your website, then there’s no need to panic. You’re already 75% ready for this new Organic landscape.

However, now is the time to evaluate your responsive or mobile site. Here are somethings you should take a look at to ensure your rankings aren’t affected:

  • Your page speed and load times are fast. Google has a free tool to help measure and optimize for faster load times.
  • Make sure images, video, and other dynamic elements are optimized for the mobile experience.
  • Your mobile site is not an aggressively “stripped down” version of your desktop site, especially with high-quality content that you may have removed from your mobile site because of length & space considerations.
  • You are implementing all of the technical and contextual SEO best-practices on your mobile site that you do on your desktop site.

Still Got Questions? We’ve Got Answers!

Don’t wake up one day and find you lost 25% of your organic traffic because you weren’t sure how to handle this Google update. If you have any questions, reach out to us today and we’ll be happy to take a look at your website & organic traffic, looking for opportunities for better results.

Do people often buy new homes online?

Your gut response to that question is mostly likely “no”. When you think of buying online, you think of shopping for clothes on Macys.com. You might think of shopping for, well, anything on Amazon. Purchasing flowers for Mother’s Day. Ordering a book your kid needs for school. These are the very simple, easy things we have grown accustomed to shopping for and buying online.

Then, there are things in life you are just unlikely to buy online without actually experiencing it in some physical way. Buying a home fits into that category. You may start your research online. You may talk to a real estate agent first. You may drive through nearby neighborhoods. However, there usually comes a point where you’ve narrowed your search, and you’re ready to visit those homes & communities for that in-person experience.

As David Brooks thoughtfully opines in a New York Times article, the decision on which home to buy is “more emotional than coldly rational”. It’s a lot like online dating. You can flip through a number of different options, but ultimately, you need that emotional spark that an in-person meeting can ignite. Somethings simply cannot be easily replicated through online research alone.

How do real estate marketing agencies help builders communicate all of the emotion, amenities, and benefits of their new community to prospective home buyers when they are doing online research? How do they encourage prospects to come visit for that in-person experience?

There is nothing about home buying that is strictly digital, yet digital marketing for many agencies is largely confined to digital processes. For L&S, the difference between a GOOD online marketing campaign and a GREAT one is the amount of offline work we do before the campaign generates its first click. Our digital process begins with some very foundational strategies. To better understand what story you’re trying to tell, and see your community through the eyes of your first (of many) home buyers.

We Ask Extensive Questions

“No one has ever asked me that before.” – this is a response we often get from our clients.

What is your story? What animates you?

For us, here is where the work begins. Far too often, other agencies believe in fitting your business goals into a cookie-cutter model for digital advertising. That’s never been good enough for our clients. We believe delivering superior results means creating a custom-made digital strategy formed from the answers to questions like “what are the top 3 things you do best, that are important to your buyer”. Our initial conversations with you inform a direction that will ultimately become the foundation for your online marketing campaign. Each community is unique, so each campaign should be unique.

What makes your property exclusive, and better, then your competition?

The feedback we get from you effects every piece of the ad campaign, including the copy we write, the images we use, and the way we target your potential customers.

According to data from Integral Ad Science, the majority of digital display ads are only viewable for one second. Click-through rates for search ads are greatly affected by your ad copy. We take the time to learn about every detail of your homes, community, and your target audience, so we can effectively communicate your important differentiators.

Who is your target home buyer?

First-time home buyers in their early 30’s use the web differently than empty-nesters in their late 50’s looking to downsize. Understanding who your target home buyer is and what they’re looking for allows us to build campaigns that will both reach AND resonate with them.

Every Place Has A Love Story to Tell

One of the biggest challenges in real estate digital marketing is to convey the emotion, impression, and experience that often comes with seeing your new home for the first time. For us, conveying what it’s like to walk the streets of your new community starts with actually walking the streets of the community. The breathtaking view of the nearby river cannot be put into words unless it takes our breath away. The true essence of the bustling urban streets outside a home need to be experienced to be appreciated, and then communicated to others.

Every piece of land has a story. Though the inspiration for the stories we tell for our clients comes from many different places, they simply would not be as effective without experiencing the community the way your prospective buyers will.

Once buyers start moving in, we’ve made a point to set up coffee and other events with them and gather as much feedback as possible. What were they looking for in their new home? Where did they go to find your community? What types of impressions did they get before and then after they visited the models for the first time? Talking to the residents provides a first-hand account of what made them fall in love with your community. Very often we get brand-new insights that can then be used to attract others to your project.

Our Own Meticulous, Hyper-Local Approach to Research

A large portion of marketing is knowing and changing opinions. The information we glean from focus groups and other research methods help us do just that.

A client of ours was redeveloping a parcel behind some big-box retail and wanted input as to the street feelings and architecture. We solicited feedback from four local demographic groups: realtors, military and their significant others, residents, and renters of a nearby community. The idea was to get a strong sampling of the local community, and the people who would be most interested in the coming development. The sessions were filmed, and notes were taken. The insights were compiled into a report, that the client later used to re-examine and refine the development’s plans and architecture.

This part of storytelling unlocks things numbers alone simply cannot. Sure, we estimate keyword search volumes and look at the target audience size within a given location and demographic, but that data alone isn’t enough to determine what story to tell. Taking the time out to listen during the planning phases of your community and marketing campaign narrows the focus. It lowers the number of variables you need to test to get to the most effective digital campaign possible. The better your planning, the quicker you’ll reach your goals.

What’s Your Story? We’re Ready to Tell It

From business models to decorated models, our knowledge and the offline steps we take enable us to create and optimize great online marketing campaigns that tell your story and accomplish your goals at the same time. Tell us your story, and let us do the meticulous planning and execution it takes to deliver buyers from their online research to that in-person experience, and ultimately, a new home purchase.

G.D.P.R. – These four letters are about the change the way we handle website data & personal privacy around the world. General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a landmark privacy law that goes into effect in the EU (Europe Union) on May 25, 2018. This law is designed to expand the data privacy protections of individual persons located in the EU at the time the data is collected on ANY website that markets to, tracks, or handles their data.

If This Is an EU Law, It Doesn’t Affect My U.S. Business, Right?

Wrong. GDPR is umbrella-protection for individual persons located in the EU at the time the data is collected, even if the companies they do business with are outside of the EU. If you receive traffic from individual persons within countries in the EU, you are subject to the guidelines of this new law.

I Don’t Actively Market EU Customers. Does This Still Concern Me?

If you are not actively blocking traffic from the EU, then there is a chance you will receive traffic from someone located in an EU country. You should take the necessary steps to comply with the law.

How Important Is GDPR? What Are Some Of The Consequences of Non-Compliance?

Because this law is just rolling out, the true ramifications of non-compliance remain to be seen. However, lawmakers and privacy advocates in the EU are taking this very seriously. Facebook and Google were hit with $8.8 billion in lawsuits on the day this law went into action. Though it is likely the main targets of such scrutiny will be big data companies with a large presence in Europe, we are all under GDPR’s jurisdiction.

What Should I Be Doing to Prepare For GDPR?

Here are a couple of questions you should ask yourself, and some steps you should take:

  • Figure out what type of data you are collecting on your website. This could be anything from personal information from sign-up forms, to cookies you are placing on individuals’ browsers so you can remarket to them.
  • Have a clear, concise privacy policy written out on your website, explaining to visitors how you use the data you actively and passively collect on your website. For example, if you are placing cookies for remarketing purposes, explain how you will use those cookies.
  • Decide how you will ask visitors for permission to use their data. This could be in the form of a pop-up window they see when they first hit the website, or a banner that “floats” throughout their browsing until they give you consent.
  • Install and maintain SSL encryption and other safeguards to protect individuals’ information that is stored on your server.
  • Talk to your lawyer about the specifics of the law and how it could affect your business.

Still Got Questions?

While we’re not lawyers, I think the above information is enough to get you started. GDPR is revolutionary, and its impact will take some time to fully be appreciated. However, now’s the time to prepare. If you have any questions, reach out to us today for some directions on what your next steps should be.