Why builders should clean house

woman drawing a graphy

By Lisa Reis

Now that summer is here, and the sense of everything anew is upon us, this is a good time for builders to also do a little house cleaning.

Refresh your database

It’s not the size of your database that counts, it’s the quality of the data.

If you’re habitually sending emails to your 10-year-old database, you’re doing it wrong.

Once a year, you should send out a friendly message, perhaps tied to the New Year and give registrants the choice to unsubscribe or let you know (from a list of choices and confirmation of the type of customer they are) what they would like to hear more about.

When you get back the data, pool the respondents into persona and content buckets, such as new sites in the east part of the GTA, any and all new site launches, corporate events, investors and real estate agents/brokers.

It’s not enough to just have an unsubscribe button at the bottom or top of each email you send out. Sending out annual house-cleaning emails are a gesture that shows your company wants to provide value and gives your database a chance to tell you what they want to hear about. This will improve your response rates tremendously.

Study your CRM’s analytics

After you send an email to your database, is someone on your team regularly checking the open rate? The click through rate? What was the conversion rate? What is the unsubscribe rate?

Investigate with your CRM provider, what the industry goal percentages should be and then compare those to your results.

If you’re not monitoring these things – start. Ask your ad agency to make response metrics an automatic measurement, three days after the eblast goes out.

Keep track of these results and compare them throughout the year’s initiatives.

Does the bottom of your eblast still read 2022? Keep it current.

Is your address visible (it’s a CASL compliance rule to show your address).

Survey says…

Survey your database, poll your social media followers, invite trades, brokers/agents to all comment on how you’re doing as a company. What would they like to see more of?

Perhaps send a reward for responses… “twoonie for your thoughts”… provide a digital link with $2 for a cup of coffee at Tim Horton’s to thank them for your time. Make this a limited time offer.

When you gather your survey results, what areas could use improvement. Rate services or product on a scale of one to 10. Ask what they would like to learn more of about the company? This is your time to get your company’s performance review – from your esteemed customers.

Customer care

Once you learn what the survey says. Implement. Acknowledge. Find and fix the things that need attention. They may not all get fixed in one quarter, but just knowing that your company is looking into making adjustments, goes a long way to building brand loyalty.

Mind your Google business page. If you’re not answering each and every comment (kind or cruel), you should be. Customers love to see transparency and corporate engagement.

Educational workshops

In your survey, you will no doubt find out details about what your audience wants.

Ask them what their concerns are about home buying, such as why are prices what they are…explain the price break out and expensive government fees.

Short, one-hour workshops are a great way to show you care, are willing to educate and build rapport with your staff, trades, brokers/agents, homebuyers and investors. Then send out an eblast “You asked, we listened”… and outline the webinar or in-person educational series.

Website audit

The backend of your website is a gold mine.

If you’re not scrutinizing it regularly, you’re missing out on valuable information.

Websites do not age gracefully. They can get outdated very quickly. There’s a high sense of satisfaction, being about to have digital proof that what you’re doing is working or quickly finding out if it’s not and acting on it to make it more efficient.

Today there are such sophisticated protocols that your website can undergo, from website heatmaps (a visual representation of how visitors interact with each element of your website, showing which sections get more clicks and hold your visitor’s attention). There are chatbots that can answer questions on the spot. Build your database with a subscription form. Work your website.

Things to monitor/compare on your website (month to month, quarterly, annually):

  • Check how fast your page loads
  • How many unique visitors are you getting per month
  • Is your website mobile friendly (just because it looks great on a desktop, doesn’t always mean it translates to mobile… and that’s where half your audience is).
  • Monitor your bounce rate
  • Check to determine your conversion rate
  • What are the top five sections of your site
  • Set up Google Analytics
  • Is your site AOTA (Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act) complaint

Brand campaign

When a builder/developer first launches their company, there is plenty of brand advertising. As they begin to launch sites, the corporate branding falls by the wayside. It’s important to put aside a bit of a budget to run corporate branding, at least one ad per quarter, in whatever means your target market will see you (real estate marketing print publications, digital and mobile ads, video, social and billboards).

Marketing is not just advertising. It’s generally known as the four Ps: product, price, promotion and place. I like to add two more Ps:

Participation – get involved with your brand, through social, surveys and community events.

Purpose – this entails the perceptions your brand promise makes and keeps to its audience.

Not only does the maintenance of all these initiatives keep your marketing fresh and relevant, but if done yearly, will provide you invaluable consistent feedback, from your staff and your (past, present and future) homebuyers.

The ideas and suggestions gathered, will help your company’s leaders confidently consider how your brand moves forward in your marketing, while confirming that your marketing initiatives are dynamic, relevant and contribute to your brand’s pillars of success.  

Lisa Reis is a real estate marketer and agent. lisareis@rogers.com