Recently, I’ve had a tuff time picking out gift ideas for my wife. Last year when we moved into our new home it was easy. We needed so many items that we didn’t have from living in our apartment. Below is a list of the Top 10 gift ideas for First Time Home Buyers. Let me know what gifts you wish you had received, when you moved in to your first home.
- Lawn Mower/Yard Tools
It didn’t even dawn on me until after my first week moved in, “I have a beautiful yard and need to maintain it!” I really love working in my yard but securing all of the tools was a big upfront cost. Lawn items like shovels, garden hoses and rakes are a great, useful gift ideas for Christmas.
- Large Serving Platters/Dishes for Entertaining
I was never able to entertain large groups in my old apartment. With our new home we’ve been entertaining much more and having large dishes for party platters has been a real benefit.
- Grill & Patio Furniture
Our house has a great outdoor living spaces for entertaining. When the weather is nice, we enjoy spending the evening outside grilling steaks. Most apartments won’t allow personal grills and this was at the top on my list when we moved.
- Fire Extinguishers & First Aid Kits
Many new homes come with smoke detectors hard wired into the home, but it’s always a good idea to have a fire extinguisher on hand. If you live in a two story home you might consider a safety ladder. Safety gifts like these are often overlooked until it’s too late.
I never thought I’d use my ladder as often as I do. From tree trimming to Christmas Lights I find this is a great item for home owners. I remember putting on hold so many personal projects until I finally got a ladder.
- Picture Frames & Hardware Kits
It’s your home, a place to build memories. Home purchases typically come with other life changing events and picture frames are a great way to capture those moments. A level, hammer and hardware kits are often great ideas that they’ll use for years.
- Fireplace Screens & Pokers
Nothing makes a home feel cozier than a warm fire during the winter. My old apartment didn’t have a fireplace and I remember waiting for the temperature to drop before I could use the one in my new home.
- Gift Cards
A new home is a blank canvas ready for home owners to add their personal touch. We spent months looking for new accessories and completing new rooms that we had never had before like our home office and guest room.
- Ceiling Fans
These are a great addition to any room and help circulate the air and reduce heating and cooling cost. With so many styles they add a great personal touch to a home.
- Welcome Mats
I remember when we first moved into our new home. We were so proud and a welcome mat was one of our first purchases. Our home is so much larger than our apartment and we have mats for the front and back patio doors. If the couple you’re shopping for is anything like my wife, we have a welcome mat for each holiday season.
What are some other great gift ideas for First Time Home Buyers? What did you wish you received?
Display Advertising is a great medium for enhancing listings, driving traffic or raising awareness of upcoming promotions and special incentives. We've seen builders utilize all of these tactics with Display Advertising on NewHomeSource.
One strategy which seems obvious but is often overlooked is to advertise actual builder's communities, similar to the way billboards along the highway are used. NewHomeSource shoppers are active home buyers looking for information about new home communities and new home plans. Display Ads that focus on a community or range of communities often outperform other types of campaigns. Considering consumers search homes by price and location, it's critical to include that information in your display creative. A relevant landing page and tracking code is also critical to measure consumer action and generate leads.
When developing a campaign consider the following:
- What message do I want to convey?
- Where will I send my consumers?
- What action should they take once they are on my landing page?
With a clear strategy in place it's easy to tweak and refine a display campaign. You may find the campaign is delivering excellent traffic but converting poorly. The issue may be with the the landing page, not the ad. Or, you may find few clicks but very relevant action from those consumers who do respond. This insight will provide you the information necessary to optimize your campaign and drive more value from your online marketing.
For more information about Display Marketing Strategies contact Thane Tennison, Ad Ops Manager. We also encourage you to share what campaigns have performed best for you.
Video ads have been used for years to advertise major brands online. Their success and popularity is attributed to several factors including consumer recall and increased click-through rates. To help home builders take advantage of this new medium BHI is now offering Video Banners across all its sites and can help with video ad production.
When considering video advertising keep in mind a few simple best practices to maximize performance. First, Video Ads adhere to the same rules as other display campaigns. The goal should be to pull consumers into the ad and make sure that it meets their search objectives. We recommend featuring homes or communities that appeal to the consumers search instead of long videos that touch on a variety of products. The Ad should have specific marketing goals and the videos should be short, 30 seconds or less. A recent report released by Point Roll & the IAB shows that on average about 50% of all video ads play to completion, which means your call to action should be present upfront remain on screen. I recommend including a snipe in the video or using other real estate on the banner to support the video’s message.
Let the images tell the story. Video is a great way to capture a plan or show the full amenities of a new community. Large pans, and fades are captivating and can often say more than a line of copy. However, as a policy BHI requires all ads to begin playing with sound off, therefore it's essential that the video can stand alone without sound. It’s also important to consider other websites' spec requirements if you'd like to use your Video Ad beyond BDX sites.
Click here to view a sample Video Ad or contact BHI Media’s professional staff to see how they can help you craft or video banner or edit existing footage to make your homes and communities stand out.
For more information on how you can take advantage of Display Advertising, contact Thane Tennison, Ad Operations Manager for BDX at 866-651-8868 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also follow Thane on Twitter at @t_tennison.
About a week ago we told you about a survey of more than 6,000 consumers on our new home shopping site, NewHomeSource.com. We lamented that less than 10% of consumers would fill out lead forms. While we were encouraged that 23.5% said they took action, this still left 76.5% not taking action. SO, WHY NOT?!
Of course we asked this question as well. While some consumers really took no action, some merely took no action we could measure from our website. What do you think was the #1 reason consumers told us that took no action? The #1 reason consumers gave us for not taking action was "I might later, but I’m just looking today." Have you heard this one before? That group really took no action ... at least that day.
More interesting was the #2 response. 22.0% said that they would prefer to visit the community in person. The chart below shows the breakdown of why consumers took actions other than those we could measure.
The consumers in this survey were motivated shoppers. After bouncing around NewHomeSource.com (i.e., they are motivated), they then opted into the survey. So, the absolute percentage taking action or giving a reason for not doing so is less meaningful than the ratios.
In my blog entry about the actions consumers take on listing websites on the November 20th, I reported that 23.5% of 4,245 consumers surveyed said they took some form of action on NewHomesource.com. 32.3% of these, or 7.6% of the total, filled out a form asking for information. While 76.5% took an action we could not measure, 22.0% of these or 16.8% overall, said they preferred to visit the community in person. So, for every person filling out a lead form on NewHomesource, 2.2 times as many said they would rather just showing up.
I always thought it was 3-4 times that number showing up as physical traffic relative to leads (early, presumably less scientific research), but I am okay with 2.2 times as many shoppers showing up as physical traffic as those filling out a lead form. Think about this when considering the number of lead request you get from your website. 2X the number may just show up instead. This has huge implications for any internet marketing expenditure.
Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics:
- 12.9% of new home shoppers in this survey (19.9% of 76.5%) really don’t want to be contacted. That does not mean they will not show up in person, but that they are not ready to talk to you. Does this mean that the other 87.1% are waiting for your call and wondering why you are ignoring them?
- 10.3% of new home shoppers in this survey (13.4% of 76.5%) couldn’t find a community they were interested in. We either have the wrong builders 10% of the time or maybe these consumers don’t know your community well enough. Give them some pictures, video, and tell them why they should want to live there.
- 2.1% of new homes shoppers in this survey (2.7% x 76.5%) aren’t even interested in buying a new home. To heck with that half-full mentality! 97.9% are actively shopping for a new home.
Come on you market research types, tell me how it is. Let me know what you think.
-- Blair Kuhnen, Builders Digital Experience, email@example.com, 512-289-7370
Isn't that what we want all consumers to do when they get to our websites? Builders like getting internet leads. With a good follow-up program, builders I have worked with tend to convert about 4% of leads into sales. Unfortunately, not all consumers fill out lead forms. This is a gross understatement. In fact, the number of online shoppers requesting information is well under 10%. So, how do you know if your online advertising on NewHomeSource.com, Google, or Yahoo! is working?
If you can't measure leads alone to assess value, what should you measure to see if exposure to the other 90% of online shoppers were of any value to you?
Obviously, you have to measure something else. Let us help you out with some objective benchmarks. We completed a consumer survey of NewHomeSource.com users on October 31, 2009. 6,044 consumers participated in the survey. They were only asked to participate once they had bumped around the site a bit. So, these could be called "engaged home shoppers." We pared this down to 4,245 that answered all our key questions. One of the things we asked is what actions consumers actually take:
23.5% of consumers took at least one of these actions. Keep in mind a consumer can take multiple actions. Here's how they broke down:
So, what does this really mean? Well, if 23.5% took at least one of these actions, then of all the consumers answering the survey 17.6% clicked over to the builder's website, 5.6% printed off the driving directions, 5% called or are planning on calling you, and 7.6% filled out a lead form. How can you track this?
Tracking is always an issue. First, make sure you track through Google Analytics or whatever you are using, users coming to your website. You can even track their path and whether referred traffic converts into leads on your site. Next, you must modify your registration cards on site to capture the real source and ask the question in the right way.
23.5% of engaged shoppers are taking action we can measure on NewHomeSoruce.com. What about the other 76.5%? Come read about it in a week or two. In the meantime, let me know what you think by responding to this post or sending me a note.
-- Blair Kuhnen, Builders Digital Experience, firstname.lastname@example.org, 512-289-7370
Oftentimes, we receive request from builders wanting to advertise "above the fold" for their banner campaign only. The fold is what's visible first when the web page loads before a user scrolls down for more information. The belief is that the banner is the first thing consumers will see and that will increase the likelihood of action. Similar to running an ad on the inside cover or back page of magazine. It's an understandable request and natural that advertisers would want the best position.
However, instead of worrying about placement, consider the actions users take when shopping listings. They're scrolling through potentially hundreds of homes and communities, gathering information. As a result we've found that the content and offer of the ad by far outweighs the placement. Unlike, traditional media which interrupts a consumer's experience with online banners, consumers are actively searching for information about a builder's product. We've found that the banners closely embedded within the content perform best. It's one reason we believe we see so much action with banners supporting a builder's listing. It's also a reason I'm a strong supporter of complementary creative, using each position to advertise a different aspect of the business.
On NewHomeSource banners perform relatively the same for each position in terms of CTR. It's the creative and offer that will set you apart.
For more information on how you can take advantage of Display Advertising, contact Thane Tennison, Ad Operations Manager for NewHomeSource at 866-651-8866 or at email@example.com. You can also follow Thane on Twitter at @t_tennison
Many Homebuilders who advertise on NewHomeSource see a click-through rate (CTR) 5X to 10X the industry average for display advertising. Learn common characteristics of the best performing campaigns and get new ideas on how to use banners to further your marketing goals. For a review of your current banner campaigns contact Thane Tennison, Ad Ops Manager for NewHomeSource.
So, you know you should be adding Hot Homes for all of your communities, but you're running short on ideas. I mean, how many ways can you say "fantastic" or "special", right? Maybe you're struggling for ways to promote a home plan as "hot". Or what can you say about a spec other than that it's "gorgeous" or "ready to move in"?
New Home Source and our distribution partners bring in the prospects, but what can you say that will motivate them to take action? ... To make that leap from viewing results, to clicking on your listing--to asking for more information?
The key is to communicate scarcity or exclusivity – or better yet, both. You want your prospect to feel like they've found your home or community just in time and need to act fast; or to know that your product is their only choice to receive the promoted exclusive benefits.
To get your creative juices flowing, take a look at these example Hot Homes. And when you're ready for more, see the link below with 183 ideas to use for Hot Homes, Promotions, Home or Community descriptions, and Amenity lists!
- Best lot, same price. Hurry, this just-finished Clark plan is on a giant corner lot
- Lovely, mature trees grace this just-built home in Ranchland Villas
- Just Reduced to sell fast! This home won't last long at this price. Come talk to us about this home and two other just-finished inventory homes with special pricing
- See the jaw-dropping pictures of this plan. Shows like a model…because it is! Come tour our exquisitely decorated model home today.
- Exclusive alcoves and architectural features. This plan features unique details not usually found at this price
- The Geneva, Lowest cost per square foot offered in Sunset Estates. Terrific value for a ton of family living space.
- Only one more Golf lot! And this plan has just the right patio setup to take in the view
- Closing Out! This is the last, Eklund to be built in Copper Junction. 3-car garage for your boat, RV, or workshop!
So get started today! As always, if you need help or training, we're an email away at BuilderSupport@newhomesource.com.
Paul Gruber, Senior Product Manager, leads product planning and development for BHI's Consumer Products and Websites including www.NewHomeSource.com
What if I said, "Hey, let's just not target 15% of the available homebuyers out there!"? That would be silly wouldn't it? That would be like ignoring every sixth person that comes into the sales office. When we don't do anything to cater to the fastest growing demographic in the U.S., that's essentially what we are doing.
A 2006 Harvard University study shows that Hispanics represent 14.6% of U.S. homebuyers, and this number is growing rapidly. I did not have a more recent stat handy (this is a blog, not a thesis), but one can only assume this percentage has increased as the Hispanic population has increased.
But you would be amazed at the excuses I hear in our industry about why we don't do anything to cater to this very critical and increasingly critical demographic...it almost becomes comical at times and sounds very much like the whining I hear at home about brushing teeth or doing homework or wearing underwear. (Well, he is only 9.)
Probably the most pervasive excuse I hear for not targeting Hispanics in the new home industry is that there seems to be this fear that we have to go completely Latino in all aspects -- translate our website, our collateral, and our contracts; have bilingual sales agents, and, and, and,...Slap yourself. It is almost as if we are fearful that a bit of Hispanic marketing might work, and, oh gosh, what will we do if we get a lead?!
Take a breath -- You don't need all of that; nor would such efforts be expected. Hispanics who live in the US are fully functional day-in and day-out in a bilingual world. Just take some small steps, which, in and of themselves, will be truly appreciated.
We are all human and get a real jolt when someone has taken a bit of extra care to appeal to us specifically. For example, it's not that the breakfast-in-bed that your kids bring you is all that tasty (and actually it can be quite scary). It is the thought and intent that was there. The same applies in any aspect of marketing. It's all about showing extra care and appealing to another human.
Take that first step, mis amigos, even if it's a baby step. Why not start by listing on Casas Nuevas Aqui?
Melissa Morman, VP & GM, is one of the Founding Executives of Builder Homesite and New Home Technologies
Special promotional offers for Builder Homesite Customers. Contact your sales rep to take advantage of these exclusive offers.
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#NEW# Model Home Photo Shoot. Do you know you can get a complete model photo shoot for just $175? Our Amenity Signature Series includes 8 web-ready (72 dpi) and print-ready (300 dpi) images. See our product sheet for samples and additional products.
Contact your sales representative to take advantage of these special offers only offered through September. Call 866-651-8868 or email firstname.lastname@example.org