This article was featured in our December 2014 issue of BUILDER Magazine.

A Central Pennsylvania builder has come up with a unique marketing campaign to turn engaged renters into married homeowners.

Keystone Custom Home’s program encourages engaged couples to sign up for a gift registry to help save for a down payment on their first home. The couple’s loved ones can make deposits into the account in lieu of giving a wedding gift, and couples can use the money to purchase a home from any builder, not just Keystone.

Recently, the company’s marketing agency, mRELEVANCE, implemented a campaign centered around Pinterest to spread awareness about the program and increase engagement on Keystone’s account. As part of the campaign, mRELEVANCE launched the “Say ‘I Do’ to Your New Home” contest urging followers to build a board named #SayIDoKCHContest on Pinterest by Nov. 14 for a chance to win a $250 Bed, Bath and Beyond gift card. While on Pinterest, participants can also view images of the builder’s homes and discover more about its wedding program through the board, “Happily Ever After Starts Here.”

BUILDER talked with Janette Hawkins, Keystone's vice president of marketing and information technology, and mRELEVANCE managing partner Carol Morgan and about the program.

How does this program work? Do the bride and groom’s friends and family really contribute money for a down payment?
Keystone Custom Homes provide a New Home Bridal Registry to its potential home buyers. With this program, engaged couples work to open a registry account. This account works just like any other checking/savings account. Couples can put in their own money, and others can easily contribute too. All of the money in the account belongs to the couple and can be used toward a down payment on any Keystone home. There is no obligation to buy a home from Keystone. However, couples must keep a register showing the names of all donors and the dollar amount that has been deposited. The wedding program started about two years ago.

Why did you choose Pinterest for this promotion? 
We chose Pinterest because we have created several contests on the site that have been very successful for our clients. Pinterest is a great place to build brand and awareness. Additionally, during campaigns we see Pinterest followers increase and, since we promote these campaigns on Facebook, so do Facebook likes. People are already pinning images with home and wedding ideas. It seemed appropriate to use this valuable and popular social site as a source to spread the news about Keystone’s wedding program. The builder already has a presence on Pinterest, so the campaign will further add to that.

Keystone uses Pinterest on a regular basis to pin images of their new home communities, floor plans, model homes, and design trends from around the web. For the contest, a board entitled “Say ‘I Do’ to Your New Home” was created. It includes the contest rules and re-pins of contestant’s boards. We have also been suggesting pins with a message to Keystone’s followers to enter the contest. Once someone enters, we follow that board, comment on it and promote it on Keystone’s contest board. The contest is also promoted on Facebook with sponsored posts and a landing page.

What has been the response so far?
So far, there have been 40 entries, 77 new Pinterest followers, 358 contest board followers, and 88 new Facebook likes. Website traffic has also increased with a total of 20,235 visits (476 from social, which is almost 100 more than last month, with 336 from Facebook and 101 from Pinterest).

Do you think this promotion will help encourage young couples to consider buying a home?
Most people getting married are just starting out and most don’t own a home. A lot of young couples are just coming out or are a few years out of college. School loan payments and car payments make it difficult for couples to try and save money for a down payment. Keystone wants to help them realize the dream of home ownership rather than renting. There are so many programs available to buyers including low down payments and, of course, historically low interest rates right now. It makes sense for most couples to look at the option of owning.