Creating company content that appeals to your potential customers across all stages of their buying cycle is really difficult. It is all too easy to be pulled into a pattern of just creating content for those ready to buy, and missing out on opportunities to pull potential leads in from further up the buying chain.
For a successful marketing campaign that consistently delivers leads, you need to be targeting all stages of your customers buying cycle. That means not just sales-heavy copy.
There are many different versions of buying cycles, but if we look at the Hubspot version as a starting point, we are looking at the cycle of 'Attract, Engage and Delight'. So from when a person has a want, need or a problem they are trying to resolve, to when they know what solution they need, to picking your company as the provider for that solution, to recommending your company and continuing to use you when they next need to.
In the new homes and property market, that might look like a potential customer asking how to make more space for a growing family, looking at houses for sale in a certain area, visiting a show home at your development, leaving a good review and then buying again from you in the future, or recommending you to their friends and family.
This can seem like a daunting process, but you can use several different approaches in your marketing to achieve this.
When we’re looking to attract new customers, we need to go in with the idea that they have no idea who you are. This is a brand awareness exercise, and you cannot take it for granted that someone has previous knowledge of your company. To get out there, you might consider:
- Social Media - Social media will be something you are likely to use throughout the whole cycle, but this is why including ‘attraction’ style messaging that aren’t purely sales based is so important. These posts around the housing market, internal imagery or lifestyle stories in general may be viewed as ‘fluffy’ but are essential to creating a well rounded online presence which gets you in front of new customers. Another consideration is using paid social ads, to reach a wider audience than you do currently. (Check out how we made this work for Jelson Homes and Bargate Homes).
- Blogs (with a lot of keyword research) - Again, this can easily be seen as ‘fluffy’ but searching for what sort of problems people are researching online, and offering a blog that answers that problem is a quick (and cheap!) way to get in front of people.
- Printed Boards and Visual Aids - Large signage, hoardings and printed ads with problem messaging e.g “Need more space? Growing family and no room? We can help”, can capture attention that you could provide a solution to their problem.
The engage stage involves a number of different approaches. The first being where we can start to talk about what your company does, and how you are different from the competition. We’re looking to convert people into potential customers by taking them from having a problem and knowing how they need to fix it, into knowing where to look for the solution. This can be done through:
- Blogs/Case Studies - By providing real user stories of previous customers, showing their journey from the attract stage through to delight, potential customers can identify and empathise with these stories. It really builds trust that you could be the solution to their problem. This can be done on your website, on social media or in your brochures.
- CTA/Forms - By encouraging users to follow an online call to action or complete a form. This is showing an interest in what you as a company do, and giving you a window of opportunity where they may hold off on other avenues as they wait to hear from you.
- Brochures - Overlapping a little with the awareness stage, both printed and digital brochures offer the opportunity to really showcase your USPs and have something a user can return to over and over. (Take a peek at how we made this work for Oakford Homes).
Then the approach we all love, and are probably most used to, but could do more with. There is definitely more we could all do with this stage to manage our potential customers, and ensure a slick and painless conversion. Consider the following:
- CRM - Using your CRM to its full potential, or upgrading to a platform that works better for your team. Having all the details you need easily available is half the battle to allow easy flowing conversation with customers to draw them across the conversion line. Also ensuring your CRM can integrate and work seamlessly with any of your other tools (such as email or phone records) can really save process time, and produce a far better experience that makes it easier for a potential customer to commit to a deposit. (As Crest Nicholson will attest to).
- Automated Workflows - As well as making it easier for your customers, make things far easier for your team! With automated workflows where emails are triggered at different points of a users journey, to provide them the information (or prompt) they need.
- Welcome Packs - If potential customers are visiting you on site, providing them with marketing collateral they can take home and dream about can be a big step to getting them to put the deposit down. Having beautiful imagery of your development can really help to paint the picture and sell the solution to your potential customer.
Easily forgotten, you’ve got the sale, ticked off and done! But this is a crucial part of the cycle. How do you keep this customer? How do you get them to shout about your brand and bring you other customers? You keep providing great service, even once the sale is done.
- Surveys - This can be scary. What if they say something bad? Use this as a learning tool rather than just looking for praise. Check what people love and do more of it, use survey results as a business case to spend some time and effort on poorer parts of your user journey and make them better. People love to be asked for their opinion, so by sharing an opportunity to (either online or through the post), it continues the great experience from you.
- Social Monitoring - Again can be scary, even more so because this is usually unprompted and can be negative. Answering these negative posts rather than just deleting them puts you in control of the narrative of your social page. We all know people will moan, so if potential customers read the moans, but see you reacting in a proactive and positive way, it only shines a positive light on you. Obviously there will always be exceptions to this though, so pick your battles!
- Customer Portals - Particularly for the housing industry, this is hugely important. Having a portal that customers can log in to and find resources to help with frequent questions or problems is not only a huge win for your customers, but also saves your customer service team some time in answering the same questions over and over. It can also be a place to direct complaints or negative feedback so that you can manage it appropriately.
- Clear Website Messaging - If you don’t have a customer portal, have clear instructions on your website of who to contact for what can help to manage customer queries going forward.
Overall, make the most of more than one marketing medium, and don’t be afraid to add in some of the lighter and fluffier pieces every now and then. As a consumer you don’t want to be constantly attacked with sales messaging, and neither do your customers. Provide useful and engaging information at different points and you’ll be shocked with the results.
If you want to market to all stages of your buyer's journey but are struggling to keep up, MMS Marketing is a full service marketing agency that can act as an extension of your business. Friendly and approachable, we work with companies of all sizes to ensure you get the most from your marketing activities. Take a look at our case studies to see how we’ve helped others, or contact our team for a quick chat.