Generating qualified leads is one of the biggest challenges for home builders. Some of today’s popular lead generation techniques include pay-per-click advertising or buying lead lists, email lists, and direct mail lists. Unfortunately, each of these techniques has significant downsides. Leads from these techniques are usually not highly qualified, resulting in wasted time by sales professionals. Additionally, each of these techniques is expensive, and cold contacting people through purchased lists often makes them angry.
So, if those tactics don’t produce qualified leads, what does? The answer is inbound marketing for home builders. Inbound marketing is a step-by-step process for moving leads from the top to the bottom of the sales funnel so that sales professionals have an easier time closing a sale when they follow up with a lead. How does it work? Allow me to paint you a picture. Here’s a sample scenario illustrating how the inbound marketing process generates qualified leads for home builders.
An Inbound Marketing Lead Generation Scenario
Linda and Tom have two children, ages 5 and 8. They have outgrown their Raleigh, North Carolina home and have begun pondering the idea of buying a new home. They don’t have a timeline for doing so, and they are concerned that they might not find the perfect home within an excellent school district.
1) Blogging and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Attract Linda.
One day, Linda decides to search online for information on local school districts so she and Tom can get an idea of where to start their home search. Linda conducts a Google search on the phrase “Raleigh public school statistics.” Within the first page of Google search results, Linda finds a blog post titled, “School Statistics for Raleigh Public Schools” on a Raleigh home builder’s website. Linda is happy to have found all the information she was looking for so quickly.
2) Satisfied with a blog post, Linda downloads an e-book.
At the end of that blog post, Linda finds a call-to-action inviting her to download an e-book entitled, “10 Reasons People are Happier with Custom Homes.” Linda and Tom have never discussed the possibility of a custom home, but this e-book introduces her to the idea and she becomes interested, especially in learning the differences between buying a custom built home and an existing home. So, she clicks on the call-to-action, submits her contact information, and downloads the e-book.
3) After downloading a second e-book, Linda is identified as a qualified lead.
The next day, Linda tells her husband that she read some information about buying a custom home and she thinks it would be a good option for them. She says it would satisfy their two biggest concerns: getting the perfect house for their family, and relocating to an excellent school district. With a custom built home, they would be able to choose all the features they want on a lot in an area they prefer. She went on to quote much of the information she read in the e-books. She explained to Tom that building a custom home isn’t always more expensive than buying an existing home and there is less opportunity for surprises after buying a brand new home. For example, finding hidden mold or termite damage after closing on the house isn’t as likely. Tom agrees with Linda that buying a custom built home could be a good option for them. Later that day, Tom and Linda receive an email from the builder that provided Linda the e-books. The email offers another e-book entitled, “How to Choose the Best Home Builder,” which the couple downloads.
The builder provides this content to Linda via an automated process facilitated by inbound marketing software. When Linda downloaded the first piece of content from his website, her contact information was automatically placed into an email marketing campaign, which then automatically emailed her follow-up content and notified the builder each time Linda downloaded something from his website. Once Linda downloaded the second piece of content, the builder received a notification that she was now a qualified lead.
4) Linda receives a call from the builder’s sales professional and schedules an appointment.
The next day, Linda receives a call from a sales professional who says he noticed she has downloaded some information about custom homes and wanted to find out if she had any additional questions. Happy to hear from him right when she is seriously interested in a custom home, Linda asks the sales professional some questions and schedules an appointment for her and Tom to meet with him.
The scenario described here provides a picture of how the inbound marketing process makes qualified lead generation effective, and makes the closing process easier. Strategic social media marketing, blogging and search engine optimization attract visitors to your website. Once on your website, visitors find content in the form of e-books, white papers and videos that answer important questions they have about the home buying process. Visitors download this information after providing contact information. Once you have their contact information, they become prospects. Then, you email them additional content providing more valuable information that can help move them further along in the sales process. As a prospect continues to download helpful information you send them, they become more knowledgeable, more confident, and more serious about buying. Soon, they become a lead worthy of a follow-up phone call, and you have gained information about their “hot buttons” – the things that are most influential to their buying decision, like school districts in the case of Linda.
The inbound marketing process is all about winning over clients by providing them the helpful information they need right when they need it. It establishes your company as the expert, fosters a relationship of trust, and gives prospects a reason to choose you over your competition. To learn more about the process and discover inbound marketing steps that go beyond lead generation to closing the sale and gaining referrals, check out “How Builders Can Use Inbound Marketing to Sell More Homes.”