Saturday, March 28, 2015

Modular Housing Industry Sucks at Marketing

In the past modular home factories would offer builders advertising allowances based on the number of homes they purchased. Today very few offer this incentive to their builders and many new builders don’t even know this was once a regular perk.

In its' place the modular factories and the modular builders are using social media to market their homes for free are doing a crappy job of it. Whether it’s Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram or even your company’s blog and newsletter, you suck at doing it right.

Now let’s look at how three products are marketed correctly on social media.

Apple is going to release their Apple Watch on April 24th and you have to have been living under a rock not to have seen pictures of it or read about it. Social media readers are waiting for it like Pavlov’s dogs, salivating with every new picture. Everything released by Apple shows the watch on display, a picture showing one of its apps or someone doing something with it. There is not one picture on social media or in Apple’s PR showing the Watch being put together by Chinese workers or the Watch being delivered in packing crates or even a picture of the box it will come in. Just pictures of a beautiful watch selling for over $500 that will have people lining up for blocks at every Apple store in the world.

Microsoft’s Xbox One was marketed in a twofold method. First the announcement that a new Xbox was on the way was made months in advance. Pictures of it were released on social media and beta testers and well known gamers were sent machines to review. Software makers began letting everyone know that their games would be ready on the first day of sale. Billions of dollars were taken in by retailers in the first few weeks. When little gamers asked for the Xbox One under the Christmas tree you saw them tear off the Christmas wrap, quickly take it out of the package, hook it up and begin playing Grand Theft Auto. You didn’t see pictures of the Chinese workers assembling it or the big crates of Xboxs packed onto freighters or the FedEx drivers delivering it.

Log Homes actually do it right. Every picture you see on social media or YouTube or in magazines devoted to log homes is of finished homes. Cabins, chalets and lodges are featured with landscaped exterior shots, rustic kitchens, great rooms with stone fireplaces. You do occasionally see pictures of the factory, of logs stacked up waiting to be assembled and workers putting it together but 99% of the pictures are finished homes and people enjoying them.

Then you come to the Modular Home Industry’s marketing efforts on social media. We show pictures of land being dug to put in foundations, factory production lines, cranes lifting the modules into place. Occasionally a factory will post some pictures from their brochures and of actual homes, mostly exterior shots and call it a day. One factory posts pictures of homebuyers just after they sign their contract and then don’t show their finished home.

Typical photo from Mod-U-Kraf Discovery Center's Facebook page

Happy couple signing to buy a Homeway Home
Put yourself in the homebuyer’s position. You go to the Internet, log onto your social media favorite and search for modular homes. What comes up is a mish mosh of wrapped modules being taken to the jobsite, cranes picking them up and dirt. Where are the pictures of the finished homes? They want to see what other people have built before they commit. They love pictures of kitchens, bathrooms, entryways, great rooms and staged homes.

Now there are a few builders that actually take interior pictures and post them on their Facebook and Pinterest pages but they are few and far between.

Kitchen in a Dreamline Home

Great room in a Dreamline Home
Front View of a Zarrilli Home

Great Room in a Zarrilli Home

How many of you think that a picture of a box wrapped in plastic coming down the street will make a buyer say “I gotta get me one of them!”

"Follow that box George, I want to buy me one now"
You don’t see tract builders posting pictures of their laborers unloading windows and doors at the jobsite or the wiring being run. NO, you only see finished houses and finished interiors. Do they know something you don’t? YES they do. Interior and exterior photos of finished homes sell more homes. A guy pounding a nail or unloading lumber being delivered doesn’t.

Now take a look at what you’ve been posting and ask yourself if this is helping you get people interested in one of your homes to call and make an appointment to talk with you about their new home?


Anonymous said...

What strikes me besides pictures is the vast amount of builders don't show, or even list any of the interior options that presumably exist for a given house plan. They expect you to call them and ask, but it's really not encouraging.

Unknown said...

We also use Houzz to showcase the exterior and interior of our projects.

Coach said...

Stephanie, you would be shocked to learn how many modular home builders have never heard of Houzz or Pinterest, let alone visit these sites.

Kathy Sullivan said...

Dreamline Modular Homes in Massachusetts is designing and building our home. I found their work on: Houzz & Pinterest. ( ) and ( ) and ( ).
My husband and I drove by a home built by Dreamline and was extremely impressed with the detail and quality of their work. You would be surprised with the number of home in New Canaan, Darien, CT, Wellesley, Lexington, Newton MA etc which are built by modular homes. With that being said, like stick builders you have to do your homework and select a reputable modular builder as you would any builder.

Unknown said...

Houzz is very good and we get leads from Houzz. Easy to post your projects. Thank you. Your suggestions are great and I took some time today to update interior photos!