The other day our new Production Manager received a call from a builder who had heard Jared Weggeland of Southern Homes, speak about how he is building engagement with home buyer prospects. The builder was inquiring about Builder Promotions' Cruise Ship Certificates, which Jared had used successfully in his event marketing.
This made me curious about what went so well that Jared shared his success with other builders during a public speaking engagement. So I interviewed Jared, and what I learned is that our promotion was one piece of a well-constructed marketing effort to reward prospective homebuyers for their engagement with his brand. He covered several sales success stories with quantifiable results, and I wanted to share them with our blog community.
Southern Homes attended a Bridal Event where they were pursuing a strategy of attracting “life changes” home buying prospects. Jared was challenged with stiff competition from cake-tastings, wedding photographers, dress designers, and other wedding planning resources. Couples attending the Bridal event needed a reason to give mindshare to their future home.
Jared tapped Builder Promotions Customer Gift Collection to reward every couple who registered at his booth with an entry to win a Honeymoon Cruise. Jared used the Cruise theme to transport young couples away from the details of planning their wedding, to dream about their Honeymoon. And it worked. The results: Jared and his team captured close to 300 quality prospects through registrations, and they are now being nurtured in a targeted email campaign for the "life changes" segment of their home buyer prospect list.
Now if you have read Jared’s book about selling homes on Facebook, you’d know that he didn’t stop there! He expanded the cruise idea to engage Southern Homes' Fan Page friends in a Valentine’s day event where Southern Homes "friends" (prospects and homeowners whom the brand had connected with) could submit their love stories, and the Southern Homes Facebook community would vote for the best story. The winner took a romantic cruise compliments of Southern Homes. The results: The winning couple alone, accumulated 1400 Facebook interactions all within the real estate of Southern Homes' Facebook page. Social media is nurturing brand friends through this and other Facebook promotions at Southern Homes.
But that wasn’t enough, Jared then ran a publishers clearing house style promotion to reward referrals. Southern Homes rewarded referrals from their business community in addition to specific stakeholders in the home buying process:
- Homeowners who referred a friend
- Realtors who referred a client
- Sales Model visitors who posted a photo of their visit on the FB page
- Homeowners who recorded and posted a video testimonial on the FB page
Anyone who took these actions was entered into a drawing for a $2000 luxury cruise. The results: Over 20 Referral Sales. The surprise visit to personally deliver the award to unsuspecting winners, created even more social currency for Southern Homes, and the winner is still referring homebuyers today!
What’s impressive about these tactics is that they support a strategy by Southern Homes, to build and refine a list of quality prospects in order to reach more narrowly targeted homebuyer segments. Sales results speak for themselves. For instance, it used to be that 9% of online sales were tied to a generalized e-blast sent to 9000 Southern Homes prospects. After an 18-month effort to refine and segment their list with groups like the "life events and life stages" prospects, the number jumped from 9% to 20% of online sales contracts tied directly to email outreach. Jared also shared with me that he and his team sold out a community that a national builder was previously unable to market. How? You guessed it -- through Facebook. Friends told friends, and the Southern Homes team posted on Facebook to reinforce everything from construction milestones to move-in day celebrations. It’s a digital home selling dream.
When does it pay to reward engagement on the buyer's journey to becoming a happy homeowner? Ultimately, you decide that, but here's our list of touchpoints where a well-placed reward might nurture your next happy homeowner.
- Reward event registration when you are trying to capture specific segments.
- Thank Realtors who promote new home communities. They can multiply your sales efforts.
- Reward digital shoppers who click to call for a model home tour.
- Host a 48 hour Facebook Event where users share photos of life in their new home. Reward each entry and make a permanent album for Facebook.
- Recognize customers who tell their stories in video testimonials. They are credible to digital house hunters browsing your site at 10pm.
- Ask customers for online reviews and reward them for taking the time. Google will reward you with better ranking because today's house hunters expect to validate their findings with reviews.
- Reward prospects with a digital gift when they download your Mobile APP. Your mobile channel is the next new sales channel.
- Ask new homeowners for a family selfie on move-in day. Give them a branded selfie stick to inspire a playful photo shoot. Prospective home buyers want to imagine themselves having a happy life in their new home.
What are you doing to invite engagement? How is it working? We'd love to interview you if you'd like to share your successes.
Leslie Bridges, Chief Blogger
Marketing Blueprints is sponsored by Builder Promotions.