The housing market is at its highest point since the crash, and seems likely to keep rising for the next few years. As of April 2018, the US Census Bureau announced an official number of new residential construction for the year, April 2017 – April 2018:
- 1.35 million building permits
- 1.29 million housing starts
- 1.26 million housing completions
This can be compared to the year 2005 – 2006, which accounted for:
- 2.07 million permits
- 1.93 million starts
- 1.95 million completions
So it appears we have a long way to go. Another bit of good news is that mortgage costs are only 17% of the average income, which is far below the long-term average of 24%, so much opportunity is still left to be had! How can small home builders compete with big national brands that have plenty of marketing budget and a reputation to match?
Many of the following strategies can also be utilized by other small businesses that have a budget to watch.
Search Engine Optimization
SEO encompasses many topics which are all related to how your brand looks to search engines like Google and people searching on the internet. Google has put a lot of rules in place for the purpose of ensuring their users are seeing the best possible search results for whatever they type into Google. So within that tenth of a second when you hit “search” and see the results, thousands of calculations have taken place to bring you, ideally, the answer you’re looking for.
So what determines if your website will be one of those 10 links on the first page of Google? This includes technical elements within your website like title tags, meta descriptions, internal and external linking. The number of reviews out there on Facebook or your Google My Business listing also has a major impact. How active you are on relevant social media channels is also an important aspect that builds trust in your brand.
If you want your website to show up for certain words or phrases such as “custom home builder Wisconsin” (or whatever location is in your service area), it’s your job to make sure that phrase is on your website at least a few times (including the homepage and in titles), plus other words related to that topic, that are related to your business.
This is a major part of SEO. Blogging, article writing, or simply compiling quality content that your website viewers may be interested in, is the best way to get into the good graces of Google and other search engines.
As well, continuously adding to the website and being consistent about it helps with search engine rankings. Compile case studies, company news, and detailed descriptions of your service offerings to start. Copy the reviews people have left for you on other websites to build website visitors’ trust.
Be the Expert
Your website is your showcase, not only for high-quality photos of your best homes but also your expert knowledge. Talk about your previous projects, what went very well, how things could be improved, new and better materials you’d like to try, etc. Remember, potential clients are not the only people who will find your website. Investors, lawyers, consultants, and your competitors will also be stopping by. So, what is your next big project that requires a few investors? Blog about topics that prove to them that you’re worth their investment money, and don’t forget to write speaking to the audience you’re looking to target.
After giving yourself a solid foundation including all of the long-term projects listed above, running different kinds of digital ads on social media, Google search and display will give your brand a major exposure jump-start.