This spring, the drama wasn’t limited to movie releases or the latest Netflix series. The building industry was full of its own suspense and surprise. Geoffrey Chaucer once said, “All good things must come to an end.” While demand for new homes still exists, the good times we’ve experienced over the past two years are waning in what industry experts are calling, “The Spring That Never Happened.” We’ve been steadily tracking a decline in new home Google search traffic since the beginning of February. Historically spring sales accelerate through May and carry most builders through the summer months. We did not see this seasonality in Google searches this year and most builders have reported similar slowdowns in traffic to their site.
In May of 2022 we saw a decrease in Google new home search terms by as much as -15% month over month and -32% YOY. The hot market days appear to be over. While that may seem cause for concern, opportunity still exists. While many home shoppers are being squeezed out of the market due to the increase in home prices paired with rising interest rates, there is still a segment of the market that can afford and is searching for new homes. How do you prepare for the coming storm? We’ve got a few time-tested tricks and with a few new ones for you to add to your repertoire.
Time-tested: Target the Right Consumer
The Advertising and Marketing community has long agreed that contrary to the natural reaction, completely cutting advertising and marketing efforts can be disastrous when times are tough. The key is to cut with precision and aggressively market to the consumers that are in the market to buy—in this case, new home shoppers. Third party listings sites like NewHomeSource.com target active home shoppers with a preference for new homes, reaching exactly who you need to reach. If you need a little more, try SmartAdvertising. SmartAdvertising starts by reaching the same qualified shoppers on NewHomeSource but builds in artificial intelligence and marketing automation to optimize results.
New Strategy: Cater to Remote Shoppers
In many markets across the country, 30, 40, or even 60% of active new home shoppers are typically searching remotely from either outside of the county or state. It’s important to reach these shoppers by the means that they are searching—online. Third party listings sites, digital ads, and pay-per-click can be very effective at getting in front of this segment of the market, but that’s not all that is required. Once their attention is captured, it’s imperative to be able to lead them through the homebuying process online. Builders are experiencing tremendous success leveraging interactive tools like online VR, visualizers, online design centers, and increasingly strategies like Dreamweaver that create a completely curated home shopping journey online from floor plan design with an interactive floor plan, lot selection, to online design.
Time—tested: Old Fashioned Customer Service
While we’ve adopted new terms like CX or Customer Success, it boils down to the time-tested concept of good old fashioned customer service. In heady times like what we’ve experienced for the past two years, it took little more than a floor plan drawn on a paper napkin to get a paying customer through the door, but we expect to see a tightening in the months to come and a little finesse can go a long way. It’s also a great time to shore up your reviews in trusted third-party review sites like TrustBuilder.
New Strategy: The Right Messaging
We’ve been on a wild ride for the past two years and we’ve learned that things can change on a dime. It’s important to move quickly and strategically. The right data can make small precise moves more powerful. Tools like NewHomeSource Insights can give you deeper insight into who is shopping for a home in your market and tools like Consumer Optix that piggyback demographic data from Neustar onto leads from NewHomeSource. Why is this so important right now? The market dynamics have changed. Large segments of people have simply been priced out of the market. When we have the right data, we can be much more prescriptive and less general with our messaging.
Still curious about how to come out on top in the current market, talk to one of our digital marketing consultants.
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