5 Digital Marketing Trends for 2021
The online world is always evolving, and marketers need to constantly adapt to the latest industry trends to keep up. In this day and age, billboards, direct mail, and commercials do not bring in the same results that they once did. So, with 2021 just around the corner, we are outlining some of the major digital marketing trends that all homebuilders will need to brush up on to compete.
Content Marketing & SEO
The first digital marketing trend that homebuilders should be looking to integrate into their marketing strategy is Content Marketing and SEO. The term Content Marketing has been thrown around for years, but what exactly does this mean for homebuilders? How should it fit into a homebuilder’s overall strategy? Put simply, content marketing is used to organically improve a website’s search engine optimization—or rather, raise where a website shows up in a Google search result.
The Content Marketing Institute outlines the three main goals surrounding content marketing: creating brand awareness (84%), educating audiences (75%) and building credibility (65%). Most often content marketing by homebuilders is done in the way of blogs or articles. Each page of website content gives the opportunity to rank for a specific set of relevant keywords that a homebuyer may be searching for. So, the more relevant and valuable content a homebuilder has, the more likely they are to improve their SEO and Google rank.
To read the 6 main steps to creating and implementing a content marketing strategy for homebuilders click here.
The second trend that is sweeping across the homebuilding industry is Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology. Until recently, AI has only really been associated with automated Chatbots. However, there is a new use for AI technology that is revolutionizing the industry-- Personalized Website Experiences.
Every homebuyer is unique, and with technology that is accessible in today’s market, every individual should have a web experience tailored to their specific needs. Website personalization is the practice of building a customized website experience for each buyer that comes to a homebuilder’s website.
Rather than displaying a single, one size fits all experience, a personalized website displays a unique view based on a visitor’s characteristics. By displaying highly relevant inventory results and model recommendations, homebuyers can find the home for them, much faster. Ultimately, this accelerates a homebuilder's sales cycle and empowers marketers to communicate effectively with their customers.
Here at OpenHouse.ai, we are proud to bring to the homebuilding industry a robust AI Builder Intelligence platform for home builder insights and a personalized website experience. Artificial intelligence is sure to be the competitive edge homebuilders are searching for in 2021.
Embrace Social Media
The third trend that will be vital for homebuilding marketers is social media marketing. Globally, in 2019 digital consumers were spending an average of 2 hours and 23 minutes per day on social networks and messaging. As these numbers continue to rise through 2020, it’s time for homebuilders to connect with homebuyers where they have been for years—online.
As we continue to catapult into the digital age, the importance of an online presence is only growing stronger. Embracing social media can be one of the best ways to communicate with potential leads and strengthen relationships with customers online.
Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest allow homebuilders to engage directly with consumers and potential leads in a new way. Not only are organizations able to answer questions and exchange comments one-on-one with consumers, but they are also doing so in a public manner. This allows consumers to get a sense of how the organization responds to comments and criticism. Conversations such as these are also able to organically create social proof for the organization which is critical for developing trust and brand loyalty.
Social media platforms can also be used to find conversations that are already happening about an organization and respond to them. This is a concept called social listening, where an organization tracks, analyzes and responds to conversations about them on social media. By developing a strong social media presence, homebuilders can develop deeper connections and a broader reach with their target audience.
Here are a few ways homebuilders can connect on social media:
- Share home buying success stories and customer testimonials
- Post high-quality photos and media of homes and communities
- Host giveaways and contests to engage with homebuyers
- Post upcoming events and releases
- Community Facebook page
If you’re a homebuilder and your marketing team has not yet invested in social media marketing, the time to start is now.
Today, gathering data to better understand customer segments is increasingly necessary for growth and success. Analytics not only adds value to business operations and drives profitability, but also offer a wealth of possibilities if utilized effectively.
In traditional industries such as homebuilding, big players that have continued to dominate for decades hold a certain hesitation toward integrating data-driven solutions into their business practices. However, the shift towards leveraging data analytics and the infinite value it can bring across every industry is unavoidable. In 2021, the use of data analytics to inform homebuilder’s marketing and business decisions will be the standard, and those that haven’t yet embraced analytics will soon fall behind.
Data unlocks powerful insights into consumer buying habits and preferences. This information provides builders with a deeper understanding of the needs, wants and motivations of each of their customer segments. Nearly every homebuilder has faced the challenge of having floor plans not perform as well as anticipated or felt the pain of an underwhelming ROI of an expensive marketing campaign that didn’t reach its intended audience. However, tracking and reviewing data allows homebuilding marketers to hone in each of their marketing efforts for the buyers that will respond best to it.
At OpenHouse.ai we offer an AI-driven Builder Intelligence platform that tracks and utilizes real-time data from homebuilder's existing web traffic, enabling builders to better understand the specific needs of their customers and the market.
As we enter 2021, it’ll be more important than ever for homebuilders to support their operational and marketing decisions with data. As our world continues to catapult into the digital age, it’ll be those homebuilders that develop the greatest understanding of homebuyer’s needs, wants, and motivations that will stand out from the rest.
As we’ve discussed, personalization is the future of website experiences. In 2021 personalization will also be the standard for digital communication. General messaging that is used to serve a mass audience is no longer cutting it. Consumers want to feel that the messages they are receiving are crafted specifically for them. That is why marketers are looking to personalization to make an impact with today’s consumers.
Personalized marketing brings several benefits, for both businesses and consumers. It can help with improving customer experience, increasing brand loyalty, and of course, driving revenue. Today, personalization is more important than ever before, as customers are exposed to content everywhere they look. To gain the full attention of the reader, many marketers are looking to personalization as a way to connect directly with their consumers.
Builders can now personalize their online marketing communications like emails, landing pages, and social media posts for each specific segment of homebuyer. We’d recommend beginning personalized communication with email.
CRM platforms like Lasso offer automated personalization tokens for email marketing communication. This technology allows homebuilders to connect with prospects on a deeper level by leveraging data in their CRM. Homebuilding marketers could incorporate names, contact information, a community of interest, etc. into their marketing communications.
Personalized communications is a very simple way to begin nurturing prospects at the top of the funnel. By catering content specifically for the contact, marketers can offer a more one-on-one experience throughout the entire buying journey.
The year 2020 was truly a challenge for all marketers. Homebuilders in particular were pushed to adapt and embrace new digital solutions to remain current. The bright side is, marketers in this industry have gained invaluable skills and a deep understanding of new digital marketing strategies to combat the accelerated shift into the online space. Now, 2021 is the opportunity to not only survive but thrive in leveraging the latest and greatest trends in homebuilder marketing, to ultimately find sustainable growth in this new digital environment.
- The OpenHouse.ai Team