Monday, May 25, 2015

Marketing Segments for Modular Home Builders

As a modular home builder, you can improve your business with just a little effort to learn your marketing segments.

Segmenting means dividing your marketing efforts for each distinct group of home buyers. The old saying “Different Strokes for Different Folks” applies.

Wouldn’t it be great if the Modular Home Fairy Godmother would sprinkle your business with magic dust that made your company the only one a new home buyer would call? Well, that ain’t happening!

The real key is to stop aiming to sell to the “average” home buyer and begin finding those subtle differences in them and start marketing your homes to those buyers. Doing this will increase your opportunities to get a face to face meeting with people that view your company as the best one to build their new home.

Recognizing the needs and wants of specific segmented new home buyers is the first step. Here are some basic things you need to know before choosing which segments of the available market of new home buyers to go after.

First, take a look at your past clients. You probably remember each of them in great detail. Make a spreadsheet with their names down the left hand side and the following topics at the top. Then fill in the info about each and soon you will begin seeing patterns emerge. These are your segments of the market. Try to keep the list limited to the last three years of business or last 50 clients.

First Topic: Demographic
Here you put in the buyer’s age(s), family size. type of living situation (blended family, In-laws living with them, ADA buyers, Empty Nesters, Special Needs, etc), their previous home(s) location and their occupations.

Second Topic: Sales Area
Under this topic list the state, county, town and neighborhood of each home your built. Don’t forget to list if the home replaced one destroyed by natural disaster like Hurricane Sandy, wildfire, etc.

Third Topic: Knowledge
Under this one list what was unique about them. Were they looking for an Energy Star home or maybe a Net Zero one? Did they have specific needs? Were they clueless about how to build a house? Did they want you to make suggestions on just about everything? Did their In-Laws come with them and ask them for advice?

Fourth Topic: Budget
Did they have a letter of approval from a bank, own land or have a house plan when you began the process with them? Did they know the mortgage process or did they need your help in getting one? Did they have a budget for their new home and were they open with you about it?

Now comes the hard part. Hopefully you will have already begun noticing some trends. Age of the buyer is usually the obvious first thing you’ll notice. Maybe 90% of your clients are 45-65 years old. Next, you might see that a vast majority of the homes you built were in specific neighborhoods or towns.

Then you might have begun to notice that most of your clients had older children and In-Laws that wanted to live with them. Maybe they already owned a home but could afford to build the new home without having to first sell their existing home. Did a majority of the them want energy efficient homes?

As you go through the topics and begin to put your past clients into groups, segments begin to appear. No longer are you selling to the “Average” home buyer because you just found that there is no such thing as average for you.

For example, you may have discovered the following big segment:
Maybe your home owners were 40-60 years old and had 2 teenage children, built a two story home in a certain town 30 miles from your office with solar panels and Energy Star appliances and a HERS rating of 50.

With that info in hand, does it make sense to use Twitter to attract this particular group? Maybe but I doubt it. Start using Pinterest and Facebook targeting this segment. Add a page to your website about solar panels and the importance of your homes’ HERS ratings. Make sure you have job signs on every house that has your website listed. Hold Open Houses at the job site the day the solar panels are added and have tons of handouts. Make sure all your employees and subcontractors have your business cards to hand out with their name written on the back of the card. Tell the employees and subs that you will pay them a $100 if you build a house for clients that got your business with their name on the back.

None of these things costs much but by playing to your past strengths in working with this segment you will find more clients eager to build with you.

Don’t rely on just one or two segments. Having 4-8 segments, each with their own special parameters, will raise your closing rate.

Stop going after the “Average” home buyer and start going after the segment(s) that have bought most of your houses in the past.

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