The Internet and the technology it has spawned created a new “moving target” prospect for marketing strategies. What works one month can become obsolete the next. Having a strategy is a critical component of any marketing program, but staying up to date with online technologies is a continual challenge. The good news with online marketing is that we can shoot at our targets with laser-like accuracy. But, we have to be properly equipped to take the shot with a strategy and then implement that strategy.
Implementing Your Plan
Success in most marketing is in the details. Everything online is magnified with the number of viewers as well as the potential of sharing information, so it is even more critical to have a plan and stick to it. Without a plan you are blindly throwing darts at the wall and have no control over what they hit. Don’t leave all your hard work to luck – good, bad, or none at all. Map out a marketing plan that compiles all of your marketing efforts in one place, how much you are spending on each, and when each item is going out to the public.
The process is proven: Create a step-by-step plan, follow the plan, and track the results.
If you have a geographically sensitive product, your marketing plan should be specific to your region and buyers.
Think about what you are offering to a prospective buyer. Presumably, you are offering something that has a certain uniqueness about it. If you aren’t, then you aren’t likely to succeed. You need a Unique Selling Proposition (USP) if you are going to differentiate yourself from your competitors. This doesn’t have to be with regards the products themselves. It could revolve around where you are located or how you deliver your products. A simple exercise can help.
A simple brand differentiation exercise is a great way to start.
With your group, discuss questions like the following:
- How are you different from others? Be specific. Don’t just say, “We do quality work.” That’s too vague (and, frankly, everyone promises that). If you’re a builder, discuss your commitment to choosing the best materials and why that matters. Consider the experience of your craftsmen, the expertise of the designers, and the unwavering commitment to following through on details.
- Why would someone buy from you? They have a lot of choices. Why you? And while you’re talking about it, ask this: Why NOT you? Be clear about the negatives, because these points create opportunities to grow and improve.
- What do you do better than your competition? Again be honest and specific. Hopefully, you’ve been gathering feedback, so consider what your buyers have praised in the past.
- What separates this new community from others that your prospects might be considering? Again, if you’re a builder, consider location? Amenities? Creative home design? Make a list, all the way down to the designer faucets and a particular type of window, because all of these points add to your uniqueness.
Everyone in the company should be on the “same page” and this differentiation exercise will get you there.
Now that everyone internally knows what your company stands for, share your story with potential buyers. The most effective marketing is all about simplifying. While every part of your company is important to you, from a marketing standpoint the goal is to craft the ONE message that will compel potential buyers to take action. Once you identify what is most important to your buyer, you will be able to connect with them on an emotional level through your marketing.
Now that your concepts are created, convert the creative aspects into eblasts and other marketing materials you need. Keep the overall look and messaging completely consistent throughout all pieces while keeping it fresh with things like including a new photo or adding some details.
When creating eblasts, clearly define your call to action. What do you want the recipient to do after reading it? In this case, we are saying “Click Here” with progressive sub-messages, which will depend on where in the process you are sending the blasts. For example, the first one says, “To join our VIP list” in addition to the “For more information” message. Just as your ads were done in a series, so are your eblasts. By using your CRM to distribute your eblasts, you will be able to track prospects, measure their interest, and build/update your lists. According to Lasso CRM, “Being able to manage your prospects throughout the entire pre-sale process is invaluable.”
Social media can reach a broad audience with relatively little expense. Social Media allows you to have an ongoing continual conversation with your customers and prospects. This platform of an online conversation is continually evolving to make it easy to target your exact audience based on their profile information as well as their online behavior (e.g., what they click on, pages they “Like”). Unlike traditional marketing mediums, social media and online marketing provide a much deeper view into your audience and the effectiveness of your messaging, which allows you to allocate your marketing dollars with minimal waste. If you’re going to launch a social media campaign, start with a goal. How many followers do you want to gain each week? How many “Likes,” “Retweets,” or “Comments” do you want? Like any other marketing task, make it measurable.
Once you get started, be prepared to sustain the effort. Social media is an ongoing conversation. If you start something and then walk away, you leave potential prospects hanging. If possible, assign one person to manage your social media: posting updates, asking questions, sharing photos, and simply paying attention to the online discussions.
The most important marketing tool for EVERY company is a website. This may go double for Builders and Developers looking to engage prospects early in the process. With a pre-sale community, it’s even more important, because you need to build an impression and create a reality perception for something that does not yet exist.
Use your website to show lifestyle images, talk about the area, highlight amenities, and show digital renderings, 3D tours, and so much more. It is your 24/7 sales office and should be up to date at all times. It should be easy for visitors to navigate and gather information.
Like your social media, keep your site refreshed with new details, photos, and updates on available homesites. Remind the site’s visitors about pre-sale incentives, particularly when they are about to expire.
It’s clear that online marketing is an effective strategy to marketing your company or new home community. The data bears it out. Most people will search a new community online before ever visiting the community. This holds true for almost all shopping in today’s environment. Stay on top of your online marketing and keep your strategy fresh and you’ll have success.
PTC Computer Solutions works extensively on building relationships, not posting things for the sake of posting. Spend time looking at your networking list to learn how you can deepen the relationships with your followers and give them more of what they want.
If all of this befuddles you, belittles your being, begs your brain to be foddered, belying your intellect…not to worry, PTC Computer Solutions is an expert on this stuff and is here to help. It’s what we do.
Online marketing is an incredibly dynamic environment with a tremendous number of moving parts. It is a constantly changing world. You do what you do best. Let us do what we do best. Keeping involved and staying ahead of the latest improvements is what we do at PTC Computer Solutions.
If you are looking to get noticed on the Internet but don’t know where to begin, let PTC Computer Solutions help you get started or help improve your current website and website marketing plan and budget. Among everything else we do, PTC can plan a full marketing strategy and budget for your company and complete any marketing efforts, web or otherwise, you wish to achieve in order to deliver a consistent and effective message to your prospects.
By David W. B. Parker
PTC Computer Solutions