Today’s new home marketing professionals face a rapidly changing digital landscape. With so many popular channels and diverse buyer habits, it can be tough to keep up efficiently.

In February, we assembled an amazing panel of new home marketing leaders representing many of these important online channels, including:

  • Karyn Bonder, VP Business Development, Builder Sales & Marketing at Livabl
  • Lionel Romain, Commercial Operations Manager at Kijiji Canada
  • Don Turner, National Director of Sales at Realtor.com

In this blog post, we captured their responses to two of the most important questions for homebuilder marketing & sales teams.

Looking for the complete insights? Watch the full webinar featuring Chelsi Frazier, former Marketing Director at John Houston Homes & Aspire Townhomes, and Milo Anderson, Founder & Director of NewHomeListingService here.

Question: What trends do you see in the new home buyer journey?

Karyn Bonder, Livabl: We’re seeing people spending more time on listings that have dynamic content or interactive content – content that you can customize or personalize – and more and more shoppers are looking to be able have that type of control.

It’s not just going on (a listing’s website) and looking for surface level information and then going out to a sales center. They really want to spend time doing research and really get involved and engage with those listings. So providing more dynamic or interactive content that you have on your builder website that can then feed through to the listing sites is a trend that we’re seeing, and is probably not going to go away. I think that’s going to continue to move forward.

Lionel Romain, Kijiji.ca: It’s interesting that the trend that Karyn mentioned about more multimedia – about two years ago, we added the ability to add virtual tours to the listings. We found a huge uptake in the performance of those listings that did include the virtual tours. It just speaks to that point that people are really interested in consuming media to learn more about properties.

One of the other interesting trends in Canada that I’ve noticed as well is broader searches. People seem to be casting a wider net. I looked at some data before I jumped on this (webinar), and over the last two years, there are more searches throughout the entire province rather than just like at a city or a local level. (People are) casting a wider net in terms of where they’re potentially looking to live.

Don Turner, Realtor.com: This is a really important time. Builders and marketers understand how important this (listing) content is.

I just came out of several annual meetings with builders going through their data for the year. One of the things that was really, interesting to see was how many leads per community they had, how many leads versus their competition they had. And as soon as you got to their website completeness or their listing completeness, if they lacked virtual tours, if they lack interactive floor plans, if they lacked enough photos, or lacked any of that content, their engagement would go down significantly.

Question: What are the best practices for the top performing new home marketing channels?

Karyn Bonder, Livabl: Anything you have on your website is gonna come through the (Livabl) data feed. (The best practice) is the basics of what you should be doing, the fundamentals of what you should be doing. To make the listing portals successful for builders, the number one advice I would say is using a data feed to the listing site, and then making sure your site is as comprehensive as possible.

And then I would just say, we do know that consumers like to shop at all hours of the day and night. They like to do a lot of research on their own. But when they want to talk to someone, they want talk to someone. So be just very responsive. Be ready to respond to those requests in many different ways.

Don Turner, Realtor.com: One of the one of the things that we’ve been working on with our builders is to focus on something that, when someone makes it to the website, stops them to say “Oh! That’s cool!” What is that? What is going to raise that level of engagement?

And continue the journey through there. (Your content) has to be dynamic. There has to be a lot of it to raise the level of engagement. But, you know, just find something in the beginning that gets when they hit that landing page, whether it be by accident, through search, or whatever the case may be, that stops them in their tracks. What is that? (This focus) has improved engagement and traffic significantly.

Lionel Romain, Kijiji.ca: A bit of a different angle for me, based on my expertise working at Kijiji with a site that offers more than just home listings. One thing that I’ve noticed is that, with all the data we have, all our visitors fit all these different categories.

One thing that we’ve been really successful in the past is extracting some of these insights and creating user segments around life moments. There are people that are out there shopping for homes and then there’s people that are just passively interested in homes. So if I see someone, for example, who’s shopping for baby clothing or a family car on our autos website, that’s a really good indicator that they may be interested in a new home. Their family may be growing that or there’s a life circumstance that’s changing.

Those things are really good indicators that you can get in early on that first consideration and really get into their mind and really start marketing to those people, ahead of them even being ready to jump in and start looking at those individual listings. You can do some of that stuff through retargeting, but those user segments can be very handy.

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