Archive for online marketing
Get your marketing questions answered at the He Said. She Said. webinar presented by Lasso Data Systems on Thursday, May 24 at 1 p.m. EST. Join Carol Flammer and Mitch Levinson of mRELEVANCE for a free, 30 minute webinar that is sure to give your company a boost when it comes to online marketing.
Participants will build a foundation for their social media marketing campaign, learn how to personalize the home buying experience, generate online buzz that will attract prospects to your sales office and gain a better understanding of which social media you should be using. Plus, the expert pair will be answering all of your marketing questions.
The He Said expert, Mitch Levinson, knows all things technical from the backend of your Read More→
Highland Homes, a Tampa home builder, has been Central Florida’s value leader for more than a decade. Its team delivers the best in new home choice, quality, value and satisfaction. However, Highland Homes has a challenge that many other private builders face: name recognition or, more precisely, name competition.
Highland Homes is a popular company name. In fact, a different Highland Homes in Texas owns the domain HighlandHomes.com. The Florida builder owns the domain of HighlandHomes.org. Therefore, the domains are very similar.
Though Highland Homes was selling approximately 35 homes per month, Google was not returning many links to the company’s site. The only returned link within the first three pages on Google was the company’s name.
mRELEVANCE took over management of the website in late 2007. The site was not search friendly, scalable or even stable so that it would always be available. We moved it to a more stable hosting environment and began modifying it to improve performance. The site was attracting 4,000 to 5,000 visits when Highland Homes was forced to halve its marketing budget due to the weak housing market.
With the Highland team, mRELEVANCE recommended cutting advertising that was not earning ROI in website or sales center traffic, rebuilding the website in PHP, building a blog and starting a social media program. From 2009 to 2010, website traffic grew to 6,500 to 7,200 visits. More importantly, monthly home sales increased from 35 to 60 in less than 18 months in a down market.
In late 2010, the marketing budget took another 50 percent cut. Even so, Highland Homes still maintains an average of 50 sales per month. The traffic to its website has been as high as 9,300 visitors per month and averages almost 8,000 visits per month. Moreover, Highland Homes attributes 22 percent of its sales solely to their Internet marketing and social media program.
Ceebraid Signal of Stamford, Connecticut, owns and manages apartment communities and other properties nationwide. When the company approached mRELEVANCE in January 2009, the website for its six Connecticut apartment communities was built in Flash and had attracted fewer than 1,300 web visits for the entire month.
Although mRELEVANCE suggested migrating the website to PHP, the company wanted to maintain Flash programming for the website, even though it was a roadblock to SEO. To increase traffic and SEO, we built a new blog and began building links using some of our internal company websites and several key online directories.
By July 2009, traffic had increased by more than 60%, to more than 3,400 visits per month. With those results, we were able to convince the company that rebuilding the website in PHP and integrating a social media strategy would yield even greater returns. The new website, built in PHP with some Flash components, launched in February 2010 and has attracted an average of 7,000 visitors per month and a one-month high of 8,650. In addition, two of the company’s properties have been sold to other investors, and three of the remaining six are almost fully leased.
mRELEVANCE’s launch of the Gerstad Builders social media marketing campaign in early 2010 completely changed the results of Internet browsing about the company. Instead of random websites with little relevance, Internet searches now get the “yellow pages” of all the places to find and interact with Gerstad Builders online, including their blog/website, articles on Green Built Blog, articles on Chicagoland Real Estate Forum, LinkedIn profile and online press releases.
The engine of the Gerstad Builders program is a highly optimized blog/website. Other components of the program such as Twitter, Facebook and ancillary blogs serve as places for home buyers and Realtors to interact with the builder and find out about their latest promotions and incentives. Additionally, the blog posts have worked as fresh content to increase website traffic for the builder. The referral traffic to the Gerstad Builders website has more than doubled since the launch of the company’s new blog/website.
Traton Homes embraced social media with the launch of www.TratonHomesBlog.com. Traton Homes is a Marietta, Ga. based home builder that builds townhomes and single family homes throughout the metro area.
The blog gives prospective home buyers the opportunity to connect with the company and learn more about Traton’s homes, communities and the company as a whole. It increases keywords and referring URLs for their main company website.
Within 30 days of launch, the blog was already a top 10 referral source for the company’s main website. And, when you Google “Traton Homes” the blog shows up on page one along with the website, Atlanta Real Estate Forum, their Twitter account and several other blogs and online PR stories. More than 50 percent of traffic to the blog was from search engines and free referral sources. Overall, more than 70 percent of the traffic to the blog is new traffic.
The Traton Homes blog keeps homebuyers abreast of community news, local events and special promotions. The blog also features video posts where homebuyers can get a detailed peek at a specific community. One unique feature of this blog is the featured community on the home page of the site. Home shoppers will enjoy being able to access the builder’s top selling communities directly from the blog.
Greater Valley Group launched an interactive campaign in 2010 as a method for the West Point, Ga. developer to increase traffic to its website, improve SEO and reach a broader audience through the Internet while at the same time reducing overall marketing expenditures.
Greater Valley Group is both a residential and commercial developer with a number of projects including: hotels, apartment complexes, condominiums, single family houses, retail and commercial office building, industrial, lot and land opportunities. The Great Valley area which includes Lanett, Ala., West Point, Ga. and Valley, Ala. is experiencing rapid growth due to the recent opening of the new Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia (KMMG) plan in West Point, Ga.
The program, built by mRELEVANCE, includes a number of blog/websites and one main news blog. With the wide variety of products and price points, Internet shoppers needed to be able to find the developer through multiple sites. The online program also served to extend the lifespan of the budget for the projects while reaching a number of key audiences – those relocating to Kia, active military and retirees.
mRELEVANCE used many strategies in the Greater Valley Group SMM campaign. A custom Greater Valley Group real estate blog was launched dedicated to sharing up-to-date news on communities, area activities and tips for homebuyers. On a monthly basis, 60 to 75 percent of the blog’s traffic is new visitors. The diverse content on the blog attracts a wide variety of Internet searches through hundreds of keywords.
A major component of the program for Greater Valley Group is the use of external blogs such as Atlanta Real Estate Forum, Luxury Real Estate Forum, Fifty Plus Housing, Georgia Golf Living, etc. Among the strongest referral sources for Greater Valley Group is www.AtlantaRealEstateForum.com.
The campaign also incorporates online PR, social networking and other strategies discussed previously.
B.F. Saul, the developer of Circle 75 Townhomes in Smyrna, Ga. turned to a search engine optimization and social media program in the middle of 2009 to propel the sale of its final 48 remaining units. Aggressive discounting and a targeted Realtor eflyer campaign worked in conjunction with the online program.
The Circle 75 news blog launched in July 2009 as the foundation of the social media and online marketing program. Through the use of targeted keywords and search engine optimization, the blog attracted more than 2,600 unique visitors creating a bigger lead funnel for converting internet browsers to home buyers.
Traffic to the main Circle 75 website increased 658 percent from January 2009 to January 2010 and 562 percent February 2009 to February 2010 – this represents an overall increase in web site traffic during the campaign of 469 percent from June 2009 to February 2010.
The target market was first time, townhome buyers in Cobb County. Marketing objectives were fairly straight-forward — to increase keywords, overall website traffic and sales. The community reached total sell out in only eight months after the launch of the blog.
The blog improved the community’s search engine optimization by capturing more keywords for the main website (a 175 percent increase) and overall website traffic increased 469 percent. The blog contributed to the complete sellout of the Circle 75 townhome community in eight months by enhancing the community’s Internet presence in the search engine’s traffic. Stories posted on the blog included both specific information on Circle 75 townhomes and area events. There was a strong focus on community attractions, such as Smyrna Market Village and the communities hip Smyrna – Vinings location.
Social networking. It’s everywhere. MySpace. ActiveRain. LinkedIn.
Then there’s e-mail marketing, search engine optimization, blogs and pay-per-clicks.
Maybe, like millions of others, you’ve already put yourself and your business out there. Or maybe, like millions more, you’ve heard of Social Media and Web 2.0, but you don’t have any idea how to get started.
It’s time to learn. And if you’re already there, it’s time to take a second look to see what you can do to differentiate your business in a crowded field.
I’ll bet the Web 2.0 hold outs among you are asking yourselves why you should bother. After all, you have a website. The truth is, your website isn’t helping homebuyers find you if doesn’t show up it in a simple Google search. Web 2.0 applications are like the directional signs you’ve always used to get drive-by traffic into your neighborhoods. Your company name appears in more places on the Internet alongside the key words your potential homebuyers are using to find their next builder. That means the search engines are more likely to find YOU when someone types “Chicago homebuilder” or “Alpharetta real estate” into that search field.
And when online lookers can find you and you can track their experience on your website and learn from it, that’s a good thing. In fact, website usability and tracking techniques have helped builders increase direct sales by more than 15 percent, reduce marketing related expenses by 17 percent and put 3 percent directly back on the bottom line.
A couple of places you can start utilizing Web 2.0 are is Chicago’s new real estate news blog, www.ChicagolandRealEstateForum.com and Atlanta’s most popular real estate blog www.AtlantaRealEstateForum.com. These blogs offer a place for builders, developers and agents to post news, comment on the industry, talk about their homes and brag about those new certifications they’ve earned. It’s another way to put up signs on the Internet and point the way to your website and, ultimately, into your homes.
And they are free.
What’s not to love about the world of Web 2.0?
By Mitch Levinson, MIRM, CSP, MBA