Chuck Shinn, The Shinn Group of Companies
It is vital for builders to determine how to best use Internet search engines and their Web site to stand out in the crowd.
First, evaluate your Web site. Read it as though you had never seen it. Ask friends, Realtors and family for comments and feedback. Test your salespeople on your Web site content; if the customer knows more about your product than your salesperson, it is a turn-off. No more than three clicks should be required to get anywhere. And the customer should not be able to get lost; otherwise they will click off.
After you have reviewed your Web site, shop your competitors' sites to see how you stack up. While you don't want to copy what they do, you should be aware of what they are doing. After all, you drive their communities and check out their models, so dedicate similar time to their Web site.
After your Web site has been fine-tuned, make sure people know about it. Put the Web address on everything: signage, marketing brochures, business cards, vehicles. Make it easier for people who do not have your Web address to find you. To see how high you rank in a search engine, visit one of several search engines and type in "new homes" and your market, e.g. "new homes Denver,"
How did you do? If you aren't on the first page, you have some work to do. Think of search engine results as billboard advertising on the Internet. You can also subscribe to services that help generate Web leads from the Internet, such as NewHomeSource.com, HomeBuilder.com, iNest.com and BeHomeWise.com, to name a few.
Once you are pushing more traffic to your Web site, you'll need to capture and follow-up on the traffic. Make sure you include a way the buyer can contact you directly from the site. Have a system in place for instant responses to be sent to customers requesting additional information. Make use of an automatic Internet follow-up campaign such as BuilderInTouch to follow-up with your customers during the pre- and post-purchase periods. Then keep your Web site up-to-date.
|Since 1975, Chuck Shinn Jr., a consultant and industry educator with a doctorate in business management, has improved the management skills of home builders to increase their profits, quality and customer satisfaction. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.|