Do you want to improve the visibility of your site, attract new prospects and build a brand image centered around quality for your selection of houses, all on a limited budget? Make user-generated content a priority in your marketing plan!
As a single-family home builder, even if you don’t know it, you already have a community of internet customers who are satisfied with your services and with the home you’ve just built for them. They may even be willing to recommend your home building services to those around them, thereby influencing the next wave of buyers.
But even if word-of-mouth works well, it’s limited to just a few people. A glowing online review has a longer lifespan and reaches a much larger pool that obviously goes beyond your customer’s personal circle. These comments are the foundation of a user-generated content strategy.
What is user content?
User-generated content refers to any form of online content published by a user, including advice, blog articles, posts in a forum, or images. This content may be published on the builder’s website, a third-party website or a social network: testimonials on the site, stories of their construction experience on ForumConstruire, posts, photos, virtual visits, or 3D views of a preliminary project on Facebook, etc.
How does it work?
The objective of a strategy that’s founded on user-generated content is to invite prospects to get to know your brand through your clients. Nothing you can say to your prospects will have the same value in terms of impact and trust as the opinions of a third party.
User content is especially important for Generation Y and Millennials who rely on the advice and recommendations of third parties for making the important decision of which builder to go with when building their home.
But young home buyers are not the only ones who are sensitive to user-generated content.
According to a recent study, 70% of consumers place more importance on online recommendations and advice than on professional content.
In marketing, this behavior has a name: the Theory of Social Proof. People are automatically attracted to products that others like and trust.
Why implement a strategy based on user content?
#1 Improved web indicators
The more clicks and requests for information on your website, the better positioned you’ll be in the search results of Internet users. These are just some of the benefits enjoyed by builders who implement a user content strategy.
User content allows you to increase the volume of content that puts your brand and services before others on the web. This translates into increased organic traffic from search engines (in other words, free traffic) to your site. And since it’s your clients who write the content, you will also be better positioned in search engines based on expressions that your prospects actually use on a daily basis.
Your clients are ready to provide testimonials to assist future buyers. They’re often actually happy to do so. Remember, however, that user-generated content is content that you can’t control. It can be extremely useful if your clients’ experiences were satisfying, but dangerous if things weren’t up to par.
Improving the customer experience: an essential part of the digital transformation for single-family home builders
#2 A better online reputation
The recognition of your customers is expressed first during marketing and then during the sale: their recommendations and advice set you apart from your competitors. Their positive experiences attract future buyers and allow them to overcome any doubts they may have. Facebook, Twitter or sites specializing in construction generate traffic to your site.
On these platforms, your customers become part of a community, respond to questions and share their experiences with users seeking their opinions. When a future customer is ready to take the next step, your current customers can point them toward your sales representatives or give them the information necessary to visit a model home.
#3 A maximum return on investment
User-generated content is a powerful positive feedback loop for your marketing and sales teams. Costs are reduced, as well as the effort required by your marketing and sales teams, and you receive a maximum return on your investment.
Ideas for launching your first user content campaign
- “Your 3D draft” folder in digital format
To encourage your clients to communicate on social media regarding their construction project with your company, make renderings available of their future home in 3D in digital format. They can easily share their 3D house plan, interior and exterior images and even the project’s virtual visit with their social network contacts, if you provide them with this!
Related to this topic:
3 indispensable content pieces for a home builder’s website
- “My favorite room” contest
Future buyers can visit your model homes, but unlike a virtual visit or a 3D view of their draft, these model homes are not personalized to correspond with their lifestyles and tastes.
To help them picture the creative and unique character they can give their home, engage potential buyers by hosting a contest for publishing photos or videos of rooms they would want in their homes on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and on your site. Announce the contest on your site and on your social networks, and encourage users to participate by offering vouchers from a major DIY store.