Monthly Archives: July 2013

Easy Steps to Powerful Home Listings that Sell – Captions and Thumbnails

Note from the Editor: Following is an article we ran a little while back and are republishing as part of our “Missed Marketing OpportunitiesSeries. This series of articles highlights easy tips and techniques for increasing both the number, and the effectiveness, of your leads. The following is a prime example of a simple tool that will help your listings to attract more home buyers:

Easy Steps to Powerful Home Listings that Sell

Did you know certain manufactured home listings on MHVillage are far more likely to be looked at by buyers than others?  We recently discovered that there are some listings that always catch buyers’ eyes – even compared to similarly priced, nearby homes.

These high-performing power listings weren’t always the first ones in the list, or the cheapest, or even the fanciest homes.  However, they do have three special listing details all in common – and here’s the best part – these details can be added to any home listing – regardless of the home!  In this three part series we are going to discuss each of these details, why they matter, and how they can triple your listing’s visitors.

Part 1 – The Compelling Thumbnail

On MHVillage the Thumbnail Photo is the first impression buyers get of your home.  When someone does a search on www.mhvillage.com, they’ll get a list of manufactured homes for sale and rent in their area.  The thumbnail is the only photo they see in that search.  Here’s an example:

The screen capture below is from search we did on our test server (with made-up listings) for the zip code 49548. This search found 41 homes, but here we are only showing the first one. The Thumbnail Photo is the picture of the house on the left.

Why Does the Thumbnail Photo Matter?

For buyers searching through a long list of homes for sale, the Thumbnail Photo is their first real impression of the home – and we all know how important first impressions are!  A great thumbnail will get those buyers to click on the listing to learn more and see all the other photos of the home.

Our research shows that top performing home listing will have ALL of the following in their Thumbnail Photo:

This is a  great example of an eye catching Thumbnail Photo.

  • Frontal view of the home taken slightly from one side. The front of your home is the most important, however, most homes look flattened out if taken directly from the front.  A shot slightly to one side will be more flattering.
  • The home must fill the frame. Try to add too much landscaping and the home will turn into a tiny dot in the middle of a green square. Save the great landscaping or home settings for other photos.  Your first photo should feature the home only.
  • Remove all clutter. The home must present simple, solid shapes. Remove all trash cans, toys, cars, etc, and take the photo from an angle that is the least “busy.”
  • Bright sunlight on the front of the home.This is one of the easiest ideas to understand but one of the hardest to do in practice. Why? Because you might have to make two or three trips at a specific time of day before you will get the best lighting for your home, but only full sun will create the darks, lights, and rich colors that remain crisp when a photo is shrunk down to thumbnail size.

The Thumbnail Photo in our example follows ALL the rules listed above. We can clearly see the garage, green grass, paved driveway, covered porch, and roof line. Everything about this thumbnail invites buyers to “click through” and learn more.

Creating/Editing Your Own Thumbnail Photos on MHVillage:

The Thumbnail Photo is automatically created by MHVillage from your first photo. You can always choose which of your photos you want to be the Thumbnail by changing (or adding) the top photo.  Here’s how:

  1. Log into your MHVillage account with your email address and password.
  2. On the left side of your account screen, click “View/Change/Remove Listings”
  3. Scroll down to your listing of interest. On the right side of that listing click “Edit Photos”
  4. Your thumbnail is the top photo on the left of the page.
  5. You can change that photo by dragging one of the lower photos to the top position.  Or you can also upload a new one by clicking the big “Add Photos” button.

Note: only Featured and Premium listings have Thumbnail Photos. If you have a Basic listing, consider upgrading to one of the other listing types to create a Thumbnail.

  1. Log into your MHVillage account with your email address and password.
  2. On the left side of your logged in screen, click “View/Change/Remove Listings”
  3. Scroll down to your listing of interest. On the right side of that listing click “Enhance Listing”
  4. Near the top of the page select either “Featured Package” or “Premium Package”
  5. Your Thumbnail will automatically be created for you!

Want to read more on how to improve your online manufactured home listings? Be sure and check out our complete Missed Marketing Opportunities Series. You can also get new articles emailed directly to you the day we publish them on the newsletter, by signing up on the right!

The MHVillage June Results!

MHV-JuneResults

BY: DAWN HIGHHOUSE

Summer has been getting off to a great start here at MHVillage. Here’s a quick look at the results for June:

Website Visits

June 2013 – 1,665,412

Year to Date – 9,783,090

Once again, we hit over 1.6 million visitors to MHVillage! Keep in mind that unlike some real estate websites, MHVillage only advertises manufactured homes for sale or rent, so these 1.6 million people are specifically looking for information on manufactured housing and communities. We also send some of this web traffic to your own websites. Premium listings, Pro+ accounts and Showcased communities all have the ability to add a link to direct our traffic your company’s site.

Sales Leads

June 2013 – 59,881

Year to Date – 358,167

Sales leads are one of the most important things we do around here. We are constantly updating the site and providing new tools to generate leads. If you need help getting more sales leads, check out my series on Missed Marketing Opportunities – it’s a set of articles on simple things you can do to make your online advertising more effective. Or, just email us. We’d be happy to talk with you and make sure you are getting the most out of your account.

Homes Sold

June 2013 – 4,356

Year to Date – 31,523

While spring sales have slowed down a little, summer is still holding strong. Now is a great time to get your entire inventory of homes listed and available for home buyers. (Here’s an article on why it makes sense to list them all right away.) Remember, Basic home listings are free and included in our monthly Professional accounts, so get them up so you can get more attention and get those sales!

Missed Marketing Opportunity: Skimping on the Description

BY: DAWN HIGHHOUSE

The last few weeks I have been posting articles on the Missed Marketing Opportunities Professionals sometimes miss on MHVillage. These are simple, easy-to-do tips that can really change the effectiveness of your online advertising. Some of these tips may cost a few dollars, but most are free – including today’s tip: Writing Great Home Descriptions.

Whether you are advertising your manufactured homes for sale or rent on MHVillage, your own website or both, good, solid home descriptions are an essential key. To explain why, I am going to republish an article I wrote way back in 2010. I’ve updated it a little and added some additional data, but what was true 3 years ago is even more true today:

Missed Marketing Opportunity: Not Taking The Time To Write Great Home Descriptions That Sell

Here at MHVillage, we believe that almost everyone who wants to sell their manufactured home would be well served by working with a professional. After all, selling a home can be a complicated and confusing process, and many folks simply don’t have the time, or the know-how, to properly sell property. However, that doesn’t mean that we can’t learn from listings For Sale By Owner (FSBO.) In fact, homeowners tend to write terrific home descriptions and take great photos. Why? Because they care.

What FSBOs have that Manufactured Home Professionals Do Not:

Living, breathing day in and day out knowledge of the home.  When you live in a home, you know what makes it great; you know why you bought it in the first place. Maybe it was the amenities offered by the mobile home community, the great view, the good school system, the spacious living room or the deck out back. Maybe it was a simply good place to live with a low lot rent, but in any case, a homeowner intimately knows the pros and cons of their own homes. Let’s take a look at a couple of examples. Here are two actual mobile home descriptions from MHVillage:

Home #1

This gorgeous home has lots of storage with open floor space. The home includes: A large kitchen with lots of oak cabinets and counter top space, breakfast bar, pantry, formal dining room, bright, cheerful breakfast/sun room, PLUS family room. Surrounded by trees but with an easy care yard, on park walking path. Floor Plan offers a private, master suite with separate walk in shower, garden tub, linen closet and skylight. Double tandem carport, 2 decks, one which overlooks green belt area. Ceiling fans in every room, and an evaporator cooler that keeps this home cool and comfortable.  Please call 999-999-9999 for more information or to schedule a walk through.

Home #2

New carpet and hardwood floors.

Hmmmm…. which home would you want to drive out and see? Keep in mind that both these homes are in the same manufactured home community, both listed at about the same price. The only major difference is that one of these homes was listed by the owner and another was listed by an industry professional. Can you guess which one? The top description was written by a homeowner who is obviously passionate about their home and willing to go the extra step to sell it. And you know what? It works!

Use the Description not only for the home, but also to highlight great features in the community.

Use the Description Section for not only the home, but also to highlight great features in the community.

When you are listing your homes online, you need to take a few extra steps to capture the buyer’s attention. When people are walking through a home, they can sell themselves on the walk-in closets and extra bathrooms, but when they are viewing it online you need to use a combination of photos and words to tell the story. (To learn more about why check out check out last week’s article.) Every MHVillage listing comes with a description section with ample space for you to really sell your manufactured home. We’ve also added bullet points and text tools so you can use Bold, Italics and Underlined type – and there’s even a spell check tool so you know everything is correct.

Also, note how the homeowner above added a call to action on the bottom of their description: Please call 999-999-9999 for more information or to schedule a walk through. Every home you list should have something like this in the description. Encourage potential buyers to call, email, or check out your website. Let them know about special offers or if you offer financing. This is your chance to directly reach out to the buyer and start the buying process!

Looking for ideas on what to say?

If you are brokering the home, talk to the homeowner.  Ask them to tell you what they liked most about their home.  They may also know features about the neighborhood or the park itself, that can be big selling points.

The description section on MHVillage allows you to really sell your homes.

Or, try walking through the home as a buyer yourself.  Ask yourself the simple question, “Why should someone buy this home?”  If it is a handyman special – there is nothing wrong with stating it. In fact, that let’s buyers know what to expect when they come look at the property.  Many mobile homes come with extras people like: garden tubs, extra pantries, laundry areas and so on. Also look at the area where the home is located – is it close to schools, shopping, parks or bus lines?  Are there community features people would like? Examples could include a playground, shuffleboard courts, a pool or community activities.  Don’t wait to tell people about these features until they are at the home – you need to sell them first, so they get out of the computer chair and grab their car keys!

 

Looking for more tips on how to get more leads? Here are links to the other articles in the series:

Eight Missed Marketing Opportunities – Your Sales Center on MHVillage

Missed Marketing Opportunity – One Simple Tip To Getting More Leads

Missed Marketing Opportunity – Don’t Forget the Features!

To keep up with new articles in the series as they are posted, just subscribe on the right! They will be instantly emailed right to you.