A growing number of today’s homeowners are digital natives: They grew up with the internet at their fingertips and expect automated processes to pervade every area of their lives, including buying a new home.
It is a mistake to assume that the residential remodeling industry can ignore the importance of a digital presence, expecting that business will proceed as it always has. The industry must adapt to the buyers of today, and tomorrow.
Homeowners from every generation use online services and apps like Angi, HomeAdvisor, and Houzz to find remodelers, but digital natives have even higher expectations for their online experience. They want web content to be not just readily available and robust, but also interactive and attractive.
Remodelers should be mindful of their online presence with an eye to attracting attention. These days, great photos of completed projects and 3D walkthroughs are the bare minimum, no longer the gold standard.
It’s also important to implement more advanced digital marketing tools to brand your remodeling business and build your sales pipeline. Skimp on your digital presence and you risk getting left behind.
Have you ever had that situation where you search online for something you might want to buy, like outdoor furniture, and then for the next few days you see ads for outdoor furniture on almost every website you visit? That’s remarketing.
Remarketing leverages vast online ad networks, like Google, to serve ads to users who have visited a specific web page. This can be set up through numerous third-party remarketing services or directly through Google AdWords.
It’s often said in marketing that consumers must see or hear a product’s advertisement seven times before buying, which can be applied here. The more frequently a potential customer sees your ads, the more likely they are to turn to you when they enter the home remodeling market.
Remarketing helps businesses stay in front of potential customers even after the user has navigated away from the company’s website. This is key to staying top of mind with younger home owners, who tend to exhaustively research products, services and all the potential of a remodeling project before deciding to move forward.
Of course, you must first draw visitors to your site, and social media can be an important part of that.
Many residential remodelers have eagerly adopted social media as a key part of their marketing efforts. But it is important that businesses understand that success on social media is often the result of intentional, thoughtful planning rather than achieving hard-to-quantify “viral” postings.
Irons Brothers Construction, Inc., a design and remodeling contractor in the Seattle area, has been active on Facebook (@ironsbrothersconstruction) since 2009, and added Instagram (@ironsbc) to its social media mix in 2018.
“Our social media marketing enables us to have brand awareness in a much larger community than in-person and/or print advertising can do,” said Melissa Irons, Irons Brothers marketing and operations manager. “Social media posts also allow for enhanced reader engagement, similar to a blog, but even better as they can easily be liked, shared, saved and commented on,” Irons says.
To target younger potential clients, remodelers might consider messaging that touts the benefits of updates, retrofits and remodels, like better energy efficiency, eco-friendly materials and spaces designed to suit today’s demands. When combined with company branding and an all-important link to a landing page on the company’s site, these messages can begin to sell the idea of remodeling a home rather than buying a different one.
Remodelers also need to take advantage of existing social media communities with built-in audiences. On Instagram, The Real Houses of IG (@the_real_houses _of_ig) highlights noteworthy home building and remodeling projects to its 2.4 million followers, most of whom are consumers. Remodelista (@remodelista), has some 359,000 followers and focuses on the residential remodeling sector.
It’s key to the success of digital marketing that this content feels natural in users’ social media feeds. Cross-posting on various platforms, like Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, and yes, even TikTok, can be critical to developing an audience that is engaged through multiple touch points. Spend time on the platforms, look for trends, and don’t be afraid to adapt content you’re seeing for your brand. Social media is all about fast-paced creation, but capitalizing on the moment with your content can be key in appealing to your target audiences.
“Social media allows for more business-to-business collaboration and industry promotion. In our social posts we often tag or mention the designer, architect, and suppliers and trade partners involved,” said Irons. “That old adage, ‘sharing is caring’, can apply to social media. The more shares, likes and emojis, the more exposure for the design and build firm or remodeler using the site.”
To the extent that remodelers can be active members of communities like these, it will open doors to broader audiences. And there is no harm in exploring new and emerging social media platforms like TikTok. That’s where your future clients spend their time, and they are the ones who need to hear your message.