Greening your marketing plan requires a different thought process and action plan than what you might expect. In the upcoming months, I will be speaking at the International Builder Show in Orlando on this very topic. Marketing plans are not necessarily about shouting from the rooftops about how green you are in the market place. Consumers are much more savvy about new homes and building techniques than ever before and this requires you to be smart as well.
To successfully market your green homes (any home for that matter) you need to understand a few concepts and incorporate them into your company plan.
- Company Personality – Your Company needs to not only build green, but also show the world you are not just doing this to hip. Setup a recycling program in your model center. Ditch the water bottles and opt for a filter in the kitchen (this alone will save you money each month).
- Daily Marketing Efforts – It used to be a builder could setup a marketing plan then let it ride for a few months, or a year, and see what happened. Today, you need to focus on daily connections with potential consumers and existing customers. A Top 100 Builder I work with in Alabama practices this one thing and their referral rate is over 40%. I haven’t seen a rate that high in years. And these efforts are often at no cost to the company with Facebook, Twitter and other online sources.
- Target your Market – Many builders still opt for the big, expensive Billboards along the highway. While these do have a place, it should not displace other opportunities. The math doesn’t lie. In my town, Nashville, 3-5 million people a week see a highway billboard. Great bang for your buck, right? Except, of those millions of people, how many are looking for a home, are in your price range, want to live where you build and are ready to make a decision now? Direct mail is expensive and uses a lot of trees. Effective websites, with dynamic SEO, carries an up front investment, that pays dividends as it targets people looking for exactly what you offer. And no paper is required.
If you look at all the costs, getting to a greener marketing program, whether you are a green builder or just Lean-minded, will save a lot of money and, in the end, will increase your traffic and opportunities to sell more homes. Don’t believe me, just look at the numbers:
- Cost of Bottle Water: 24 bottles/week = $6.00; vs. Filtered: $0.50/week
- Billboards: $1,500/month; vs. Great Website: $6,000 investment, $100 monthly hosting
- Social Media: Free in-house, $350/month for a competent firm to manage it.
I recently started consulting with a new homebuilder in Middle Tennessee. This builder is just starting out, first 3 homes to be built over the next 4 months. My role with the builder is to help with specifications, costing and tracking of cost throughout construction. Many might expect that these homes, without a doubt, will be specified to reach a Bronze level green certification. From a products and performance standpoint, you are 100% correct, however from a paper trail standpoint, the answer is much more complex and it all boils down to marketing.