November 15, 2023

Expert Series: Overcoming the Biggest Marketing Challenges for New Home Builders

In the dynamic landscape of the real estate market, home builders face the constant challenge of adapting to changing trends. In the past 24 months, the industry has witnessed a significant shift in marketing strategies, with builders reevaluating their approaches to maintaining relevancy and visibility. To gain deeper insights into this transformation, we sat down with SmartTouch® Interactive CEO Robert Cowes to discuss key factors impacting these changes and crucial strategies for adapting to them.

Staying Relevant in a Shifting Market

From a home builder marketing and advertising standpoint, generating and maintaining visibility is more important than ever before – as Robert puts it, “Everything starts with a search.” While market conditions in 2021 and 2022 led many builders to reduce ad budgets and rely on an influx of eager buyers, 2023 has seen more hesitancy as macroeconomic trends shift and interest rates show no signs of dropping, leaving many potential buyers on the sidelines.

But as Robert points out, there is always latent demand for new homes – whether it’s cash buyers bypassing the mortgage process altogether, or people who have experienced a major life event and find themselves needing to relocate regardless of interest rates, it’s critical for home builders to recognize when buyers are being prompted to reenter the market and tap into that demand.

Leveraging an Effective CRM

In a slow real estate market, a well‑implemented Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system can be a game‑changer for home builders. Proper CRM management goes beyond mere data storage – it becomes a key strategic tool that allows builders to navigate market downturns by leveraging data to tailor marketing and communication strategies and automate and streamline follow‑up procedures to ensure that no leads slip through the cracks.

Builders can prioritize and nurture these leads, maximizing the potential for conversion when market conditions improve – but it still requires active management. “It comes down to the discipline of working their CRMs and their backlog of leads. For most of these builders, their CRM databases have swollen over the last 36 months,” Robert says.

The Power of Reengagement

For builders who have diligently maintained and nurtured the leads in their CRMs, a strong reengagement strategy can serve as the cornerstone of their marketing campaigns. “Implementing a good reengagement program is probably the best solution that you can utilize to move the needle in this slowing market,” Robert says.

Even for builders who may have neglected their CRM database, the dormant leads within it present a valuable opportunity to reengage and reconnect with potential buyers – the real estate market is inherently cyclical, and smart reengagement programs capitalize on these shifts, ensuring that builders are top‑of‑mind when potential buyers are ready to make a move.

Strategic Channel Presence

While social media remains a crucial platform for advertising, it’s not enough on its own. As Robert notes, “We’ve had multiple conversations with clients that have felt this kind of slowdown in the marketplace, and as we start asking, what are you currently doing, they’ll say: I’m advertising on social media – Well, how many people actually go to your social media page to find a new house?”

Social media can be an effective part of a home builder’s marketing toolkit, but it truly thrives when integrated into a holistic digital marketing strategy. This includes leveraging multiple digital channels, such as email marketing, social media, and geofencing. Coordinated efforts across these channels amplify their individual impact, reaching potential buyers at various touchpoints and reinforcing the builder’s presence in the market.

Putting it All Together

The key to overcoming the challenges of this changing new home market lies in adaptability and strategic marketing decision‑making. Staying relevant, leveraging CRM databases, implementing effective reengagement programs, and taking an “All Lines In” approach to digital marketing channels are all vital components of a successful strategy. As the market continues to evolve, builders who align their efforts with the needs and preferences of active buyers will find themselves better positioned to weather any storms and thrive as the market shifts.