Charter Homes and Neighborhoods has figured out how to leave a virtual key in the door of its pre-built homes 24/7. It starts with an odd-looking square printed on signs in the front yard.
Aim a smartphone camera at the square, called a QR (quick response) code, click, and, voilá, up pops a link to a video tour of the home on your phone. Haven’t got a smartphone that scans barcodes? Send a text message to a number on the sign and up pops the same video. Back at home and interested in what other houses Charter Homes has ready to sell? The same video tour is on its website. Last resort, call the number on the sign and talk to a real person who can e-mail you the video tour.
“It’s [the shoppers’] opportunity to unlock the home any time at their convenience,” says Kelly Carson, director of strategic marketing for the Lancaster, Pa.–based builder, of the QR code campaign.
And it costs Charter little beyond its existing budget. The videos are self-produced and uploaded for free to YouTube. And the QR bar code squares that include the link information for the YouTube videos are fabricated by Google Tools online.
Charter Homes’ video tours were viewed more than 700 times in the first six weeks after it launched its new program in September, says Carson. “We’ve gotten great feedback from Realtors and home buyers alike,” she adds. “These videos make the home search more convenient.” In addition, the percentage of video views from mobile devices has doubled. And, the company sold 15 homes in a recent 15-day period. “Meaning we’ve been successful in reaching out to our customers on this platform,” Carson says. But, she adds, “It’s one tool in the tool box; it’s not the only tool.”
Learn more about markets featured in this article: Lancaster, PA.