The Importance of Home Builder Landing Pages
As a builder, you might be thinking, “I’ve invested in my website, I’m paying for advertising that drives traffic to my site. Do I really need landing pages?”
In a word: yes. The reason? Landing pages can get you better ROI from your ad spend by generating much higher lead conversions than sending paid traffic to your home page.
What Are Landing Pages?
"In digital marketing, a landing page is a standalone web page, created specifically for a marketing or advertising campaign… Unlike web pages, which typically have many goals and encourage exploration, landing pages are designed with a single focus or goal, known as a call-to-action (or CTA, for short)." - Unbounce
Put another way, if your website were a house, a landing page is like the door. You don’t need to show the visitor everything in the house yet, you just want to entice them to walk through the door.
In this metaphor, the act of walking through the door is the call-to-action (or CTA). The specific action you want them to take may vary, but for most home builders it's getting them to sign up for an interest list (lead-gen). This involves giving the visitor something meaningful in exchange for their contact information. This is the first step of entering your sales funnel.
A well-crafted landing page also acts as a filter to better qualify leads. It may seem counter-intuitive, but sometimes you want to turn away visitors who aren’t your intended target so that your sales team, or better yet, your OSC, can spend their time focusing on leads more likely to actually buy a house in the near future.
Landing pages are a particularly effective strategy for home builders because buying a home is a multi-step process, not just an impulse buy.
Landing pages are the best way to ENGAGE prospects in your sales funnel:
Your goal is to convert them from Impression>Visitor>Lead>Appointment>Sale (read more about average home builder sales funnel conversion rates here). You likely have capable salespeople who are good at taking qualified leads through the process of buying a home. But first you have to fill that sales funnel with good leads, and that's where landing pages really excel.
True Story: 10x Visitor-to-Lead Conversions with Home Builder Landing Pages
Here at Bokka, we worked with a top 100 home builder, True Homes, to optimize their digital marketing investments. They were investing heavily in Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising to drive traffic to their website, but they were only seeing a 1.1% conversion rate of unique visitors to leads (slightly above the average home builder conversion rates). Our goal was to use home builder landing pages to convert those visitors at a higher rate in order to capture more leads and produce a higher ROI on their marketing dollars.
We worked with True Homes to understand their target market and their unique selling proposition and helped them employ a landing page campaign that:
- Generated 217 leads in 22 days
- Converted landing page visitors to leads at a rate of 10.6%
- Saw an 863% improvement in conversion rate vs. their standard website rate of 1.1%
How to Create a Home Builder Landing Page That Boosts Leads
1. Define Your Goal (And What You Will Measure)
Here, you will want to answer 2 basic questions:
- What exactly do I want to happen when a visitor arrives at my landing page?
- How will I know that it happened and measure progress?
More often than not, the goal of a landing page is to collect information from the visitor so they are captured as a lead in your home builder CRM.
If your goal is to increase visitor-to-lead conversions for a contact form, you’ll first want to take baseline measurements of your website (or maybe an alternate landing page) that you’re trying to improve upon. Use analytics tools, like Google Analytics, to figure out what percentage of users submit a form and convert to a lead.
Calculating Visitor-to-Lead Conversion Rate:
This is the ratio of the number of leads (or form completions) to the total number of users. Take the number of leads divided by the total number of visitors and multiply it by 100%.
For example, if your website had 10,000 users last month, and it generated 80 leads from your contact form, plus 20 leads from an appointment request form: that's 100 total leads divided by 10,000 = 0.01. Multiply x 100% and you had a 1% conversion rate last month.
Next, define what comparable action you want visitors to your landing page to take that will constitute a conversion and how you plan to measure it. If it’s filling out a contact form, make sure that you have analytics in place to measure the number of unique form submissions over the number of unique users for an apples-to-apples comparison against the baseline.
While visitor-to-lead is the most common metric, other landing page goals could be:
- Sign up for your email marketing list
- Follow your company on social media
- Take a survey
- Schedule an appointment with a sales agent
- Indicate future interest in a community
- RSVP for an event
Since the goal of a campaign may vary, we generally recommend collecting at least the name and email address of a visitor whenever there is a form submission. This way you're able to apply a relevant follow-up strategy for these prospects.
2. Know Your Audience Personas
In order to provide the most relevant content, and a compelling offer, you first have to define who it is you're speaking to and what information they're going to be expecting when they click on your ad.
You intuitively know a lot about your target audience, but the goal of a campaign may not be to reach every potential customer at once. Different home buyers have differing priorities and you'll want to segment your inbound traffic based on which ad they clicked on.
This is where it's useful to define buyer personas that give you a rough sketch of who you're trying to reach with your ads & landing pages
Example Personas for Home Builder Landing Pages
The Young Family – a family of 3 with a baby on the way whose top priorities include quality schools, and want to move from a 2-bedroom home to a bigger 4-bedroom house in the next 6-months before the new baby is born.
Or Career Carrie – a single woman in her thirties who commutes to the city, doesn’t need a ton of square footage and is thinking of buying her first home.
Or how about Retired Rob & Rebecca – who recently retired, live an active lifestyle, but are looking for a lower-maintenance home where they don’t have to deal with mowing or landscaping.
Your website’s home page might need to direct all three of the above personas to different parts of your site. But if you are running a campaign that targets just one of them, you’ll want to present the text, images, and offer very differently in order to get them to convert to a lead.
Speak your audience’s language.
Sometimes literally. It may be beneficial to offer alternate language versions of your landing page particularly if your market has non-native English speakers. But also figuratively, in that the verbiage of your copy should be different when closing out homes in a retirement community vs. a grand opening campaign targeting Millennials.
“If I am selling to you, I speak your language. If I am buying, dann müssen sie Deutsch sprechen [then you have to speak German].” - Willy Brandt, former Chancellor of Germany
In short, know who you’re talking to and keep that in mind throughout the process of crafting a landing page.
3. Write Killer Headlines That Convert
There are many different strategies for writing headlines that convert visitors to leads. Your results with any one technique may vary depending upon your goal and target audience. Here is where the first step of knowing your audience becomes especially important.
We recommend you start by putting yourself in the visitor’s shoes. For instance, let’s say you're driving traffic to the landing page from a PPC ad on Facebook. The headline on the page should appear relevant to the ad the visitor clicked on to get there. It should confirm that they are in the right place, but also leave them curious to read more.
One strategy is called the ‘open loops technique’. Just like a TV series might leave the end of one episode on a cliffhanger, it opens a loop in your brain that you are compelled to watch the next episode in order to close that loop and find out what happens next. To employ this technique, instead of making a statement, you could ask a question; e.g. instead of “We sell affordable custom homes” ask “Can a custom home build really be affordable?” and then link to a landing page with "10 ways to get an affordable custom home."
Another strategy would be to create a sense of urgency or scarcity in order to make the visitor feel like they should act right away or they might miss an opportunity. For example:
- “Our Pre-Sale Discount Window is Closing Soon! Book Your Appointment Before Prices Increase”
- “Only 8 More Lots Available in this Exclusive Community”
A 3rd strategy is to go direct. Try to distill the major benefit (a.k.a. unique selling proposition) of buying one of your homes down to just a few words.
- “Never Deal with Yardwork Again”
- “No Surprises With Our 10-Year Warranty”
- “Active Adult Living with On-Site Medical Support”
There are many more techniques and strategies for writing effective headlines, but this gives you an idea of what you should consider when writing a headline. Feel free to mix & match.
This is also an area where you can run experiments to see which headlines result in higher conversion rates. For example, you might show a portion of your traffic one headline, then another portion a variation of that headline, and see which one results in more conversions. This is known as A/B testing (more on A/B testing below).
Don’t overthink it though; it’s impossible to know exactly which headlines resonate the most with your particular audience until you test them.
4. Create a Compelling Offer
What are you offering your visitor in exchange for them taking action?
If you’re asking for someone’s time to complete a survey or contact form so you can market to them, that is a form of ‘payment’ and they are going to want something in return. Put another way, you’re asking for something of value, so start your relationship on the right foot by giving something of value in return.
Here are some things of value that you could offer a visitor through a landing page:
- Priority access when new homes or lots are released
- A helpful PDF document download, like “A First-Time Home Buyer’s Checklist”
- Access to an email newsletter with tips to improve your credit score
- A free phone consultation to see if buying a new home is right for them
- An informational video
- Access to a webinar / online town hall meeting where you can interact with them and answer questions
- A fun quiz that’s entertaining (but also collects information), “What’s your homeowner personality? Are you a Handyman Hank, or a Free-Up-My-Free-Time Fred?” - see this success story
- Exclusive invitation to an Open House, or another type of event
This is also the first step in building trust with a lead. You say that you’re going to deliver on something and when you follow through, you demonstrate in a small way that they can trust your company to do what it says. This may seem minor at this point, but the little things early on can make a big difference when someone is deciding on a builder to trust their much bigger investment with.
5. Call Them to Action
This is the moment that everything else has been leading up to, the call-to-action (CTA).
At this point you’ve set up a web page, you’ve crafted an attention-grabbing ad, you’ve paid good money for that click, you wrote an effective headline that interested the visitor, they’ve seen what you’re offering them, and it’s time to ask for something in return.
You’re going to ask your visitor to take one specific action on your landing page that hopefully converts them from just a visitor to a lead.
This can take different forms, but more often than not as a home builder your CTA will include a form that asks the visitor for their contact information so that your sales team can reach out, or so you can build the relationship with something like a newsletter.
Some examples of other types of interactions/information you may want as a part of your landing page’s CTA:
- Share a post on social media
- Refer a friend
- Find out their budget or community of interest
- Collect demographic data like age, income level, industry of employment, etc. that will help you know your audience and better refine your marketing
- Appointment availability
If your landing page has a form, here are some example CTA buttons you can use:
- Download Your Free Guide Now
- Subscribe to our VIP Mailing List
- Learn More
- Sign Up for Our Event
- Schedule a Call
- Schedule an Appointment
Minimize Friction, Maximize Conversions
- Keep in mind that attention is limited, so if you have a form your prospect must complete, think less is more. You don’t want to miss out on a potential lead because your form had too many questions on it. The more you make the user act or think, the more friction you're creating. And the less friction your landing page has, the higher the conversion rate will be.
Whatever your CTA, you’ll want to keep it clear and concise, and almost always choose only ONE primary call-to-action per landing page. You might have multiple buttons that link to the same form, but the main purpose of a landing page is to elicit a specific action from the visitor.
If you ask for different things, you lose focus, you risk confusing the visitor, and increase friction. Not to mention it becomes exponentially more difficult to measure the effectiveness of different components of the page.
Go Beyond the Basics with Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) of Your Home Builder Landing Page
By now, you should have a pretty good grasp of how to create a home builder landing page that boosts leads. But there’s even more you can do to increase your conversion rates by implementing something called Conversion Rate Optimization (or CRO). Once you've mastered the basics and have a landing page or two under your belt, the real fun of optimization begins. Try adding different elements that support your conversion tactics and measure their impact on your conversion rates.
Include High-Quality Images That Represent Your Brand
Using high-quality images that are consistent with your company’s branding is a subtle but important signal to your visitors that you take care with the little details.
Users have short attention spans. It’s quite likely that many of your visitors will only skim your text, and images & icons help tell the story visually. They also help break up the content as large walls of text can be daunting.
Consider hiring a professional photographer to photograph who you are and what you do as a company. You certainly can use stock photography, but make sure the images are both high quality and relevant to your content and brand. And if you want to include icons, diagrams, shapes, etc. don’t fire up an old copy of MS Word. Consider hiring a graphic designer, or if you’re more of a DIY-type, Canva is a good in-browser tool geared towards non-designers with plenty of templates you can use and export.
It’s no secret that many users would rather watch a quick video than read your sales pitch in print. (There’s a reason why YouTube is the second largest search engine, behind Google itself.)
For the purposes of a landing page, you’ll probably want to keep it brief, upbeat, and engaging. Let the personality of your brand shine through. This is another area where quality matters, consider hiring a professional to help you shoot and edit. Video testimonials from past buyers can also help increase trust.
"A/B testing, at its most basic, is a way to compare two versions of something to figure out which performs better. While it’s most often associated with websites and apps, …the method is almost 100 years old." - Harvard Business Review
The core concept of A/B Testing is fairly simple, but it can be a powerful tool when iterating on a landing page to make decisions based on real data rather than just gut feelings.
A headline is a great example of an element you can A/B test. The best way to explain it might be with a hypothetical process that you would follow:
- You have an existing landing page built out. It’s doing well, it’s converting 5% of your landing page visitors to leads, which is better than your homepage.
- You want to try a different headline that you think might speak to your audience better. Let’s call the original control one ‘Headline A’ and the new experimental one ‘Headline B’.
- You create a copy of your landing page and swap in Headline B. You divert 20% of your landing page traffic to the experimental version for 2 months.
- At the end of the two months, you look at the numbers. Headline A stays consistent at 5% visitor-to-lead conversion rate. But the version of the landing page with Headline B has a 10% conversion rate.
- Feeling confident that you are getting a significantly higher conversion rate with Headline B, you conclude the experiment by changing over to Headline B.
As for the nuts and bolts of how to do this, there are software tools available that can help, but you will still need to use best practices for statistical analysis when interpreting the results. This is also one of Bokka’s areas of expertise. For more information, check out our article titled, Should You Be Doing A/B Testing on Your Homebuilder Website?
Types of Landing Pages: What's the Squeeze?
So far, the types of landing pages we have been focused on are what HubSpot (in this article) calls ‘Squeeze Pages’ or ‘Lead Capture Pages’.
“A squeeze page is one in which the goal is to capture the user’s email address. Once you have the address, you can begin to nurture that lead with relevant content and other offers.”
A lead capture page is like a squeeze page, but it asks for additional information that will help you better tailor your response, such as phone number, appointment time requested, community of interest, etc. Though, if this is the first interaction with a potential lead, we recommend keeping the amount of information you are asking for to a minimum so as not to lose their interest halfway through the form.
However, these are not the only two types. Here are a few other examples:
- Splash Page
- Click-Through Landing Page
- “Get Started” Landing Page
- “Unsubscribe” Landing Page
- Long-form Sales Landing Page
- “Coming Soon” Page
- “Thank You” Landing Page
Which type you choose will be influenced by what your goal with the landing page is.
How-To: Next Steps & Specific Resources
Dedicated Landing Page Builders
The good news is there are several great platforms that will enable you to build landing pages without coding experience. Here are the top five, according to this Venture Harbor article:
Other Software Tools
There’s a decent chance that your website is already hosted on a platform like WordPress, Squarespace, or another general platform with a page builder. At the most basic, you can add a landing page just like adding any other page to your site. However, this might not be as optimized as it could be, or have the tracking that you need, or have more advanced features like A/B testing.
There are sometimes plugins you can add that do have these features. WordPress specifically has a handful of plugins to choose from. Here’s an article that does a deeper dive on the subject: 11 High-Converting WordPress Landing Page Plugins to Increase Sales Or, if you use an email marketing service, such as MailChimp, landing page functionality may be included.
Hire An Expert
While this article should give you a well-rounded primer on the subject of landing pages, we're just scratching the surface. There’s a reason why there are many large, competing software platforms that focus primarily on landing pages. If you are new to the subject, this can all seem a bit daunting to learn.
However, just like you can hire an accountant to do your taxes, you can hire online marketing experts to help kickstart and manage your landing page campaigns. Just think, if you could get 10 times the leads you're currently getting from your inbound campaigns without spending years learning the ropes, why wouldn't you?
If you are a home builder and are serious about leveling up your online marketing with targeted landing page campaigns, we're here to help! Our team has decades of marketing experience in the home building industry, and we’ve taken our builder clients from good to great with the techniques outlined in this article.
When you do start your search for a qualified landing page expert, here are some questions to ask and tips for choosing a qualified service provider:
- Industry Experience
- Have they worked with other home builders before?
- Do they have a deep understanding of the home buyer’s customer experience?
- Can they provide you with examples or case studies of past results?
- Quality vs Quantity:
- There is a wide range of quality in service providers out there.
- Technically, hiring someone to put up another page on your website can be done cheaply and repeated over and over again.
- The real value to your business is in the strategy and ongoing metrics tracking.
- Landing page creation is part web development, part design, and part statistics, but the part you can’t easily outsource is the deep understanding of the audience you are trying to speak to. Every detail has to be crafted with that audience in mind, not just copied and pasted from a template. Ask about their process.
- Exact steps may differ between providers, but if their process doesn’t include things like taking the time to deeply understand your audience, meticulously crafting headlines, having a strong Call-to-Action, or tracking conversions, then you may want to keep looking.
Start Creating Killer Home Builder Landing Pages
If you are already spending money driving traffic to your website, but not employing a targeted, goal-oriented landing page strategy as a part of your campaign, you're wasting money and missing out on potential leads / home buyers.
Don’t get overwhelmed though, this is an iterative process. It’s impossible to know which combination of words in a headline, or placement of your CTA will yield the best results without first getting something out there. And if you need some help, just get in touch with us. We'd love to be your trusted guide in the process.
At the end of the day, a mediocre landing page strategy implemented today is better than a great one implemented a year from now. Once you realize you can multiply the number of leads you are getting with the same ad spend you will regret waiting and missing out on all those leads!