Part 3: Understanding the Phases of the Home Buying Journey – Consideration
Welcome to the middle of the road. This is where home buyers are collecting information, building ideas, looking for inspiration and otherwise creating a short-list. They are currently, “Just looking” at home builders that have caught their interest. Casual browsing. Looking for what attracts and inspires. On-site engagement and the visitor experience are paramount at this stage of the journey.
Defining their wants and needs, what they can afford, and what each community they are considering has to offer. This phase of the purchase funnel is where content really does its job. No, we’re still not selling or otherwise directly talking about homes, lots, or floor plans, just yet.
Content at this phase of the journey needs to educate home buyers in a way that helps them come to an understanding about the value of your brand. Home buyers typically use different channels during this phase of their journey than they did in their last phase. So, naturally your content, messaging and channel use will need to take this into consideration.
These instances are also considered “Assisting Interactions” that tend to build consideration and initiate intent earlier in the home buyer journey or purchase funnel.
Creating content that helps educate and inspire, and that fits the context of home buyers’ journeys across appropriate channels, goes a long way in creating stronger engagement during the consideration phase of the sales cycle.
Consider that when also looking into schools, home buyers spend 15 more days researching and they visit 40% more sites, according to Think Real Estate with Google. Therefore, creating content, across sites using display ads, landing pages and/or blog posts can help create deeper engagement with your brand.
· Determine Affordability – with credit and loan info and calculators, assessments.
· Configurators, Polls – Help create affinity with home buyers by giving them the tools they need to make their decisions.
b. Community-specific features and benefits focused content;
· New community press releases – Highlighting the attributes of the floor plans, amenities and attributes.
· Area attributes like schools, shopping, entertainment, etc
c. User-generated content;
· Reviews, ratings and testimonials.
d. Mobile app/mobile experience-specific content
· Properly designed responsive site pages or mobile version with sniffer, mobile specific ads.
e. Content for calls-to-action (CTA);
· Create account.
· Newsletter sign-up.
· Online chat.
· Schedule appointment/On-site tour.
These specific channels below may result in different outcomes for your brand, depending on when home buyers interact with each one. In this middle part of the journey, these channels help create engagement with home buyers considering your brand.
a. Social media platforms
· Syndicated, targeted ads.
· Re-marketing ads.
· Long form informative/educational content.
· SERP-specific posts.
d. Blog influencers
· 3rd party feeds to real estate sites, bloggers, news channels and industry-specific sources.
· Community and division-specific emails, general corporate/culture emails, highlight blog content and educational and informative content, with proper CTA’s leading to conversion processes.
· Video content that helps explain, inform and educate home buyers on the value of new homes vs used homes, competitive differentiators and/or building processes. YouTube channel with videos properly SEO’d, video pre-roll ads.
Next up, in Digital Marketing 104, we’re going to outline the 3rd component of the home buyer journey: Intent.
If we’ve done our job correctly thus far, we’ve helped define our prospective home buyers’ wants and needs, we’ve educated and inspired them and we’re building some brand affinity with them. But what’s going to make them decide to choose our brand? What is it that makes that bit of difference among competing home builder brands that home buyers are taking into account at this phase of their journey?
Let the vetting begin!