Monthly Archives: September 2013

Missed Marketing Opportunity – Caption Lines

Note from the Editor: It is time for another in our Missed Marketing Opportunities series! We’re highlighting simple tips and options on MHVillage that can dramatically increase the performance of your online advertising. Today we are revisiting an article from the archives on Well Crafted Caption Lines. Caption Lines are available on all Premium and Featured Listings, Showcased Communities and Pro+ accounts.

Our research has revealed that certain manufactured home listings attract far more home buyers than others – often getting as much as three times the number of views as other listings. These high-performing power listings aren’t always the first ones in the list, or the cheapest, or even the fanciest homes. However, they do have some 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!

The Well Crafted Caption Line

On MHVillage the Caption Line is your first opportunity to tell buyers about your home. When someone does a search they’ll get a list of manufactured homes for sale and rent in their area. The Caption Line is how you draw people in.

Here is a great example taken from a search in Bradenton, FL. The Caption Line is the line of text at the top in gray.  In this example it is: Beautiful…Fully Furnished……In Great Gated Community…Pet Friendly….

Homes for Sale in Bradenton FLAt the time of this article, there are 160 homes for sale in Bradenton. The Caption Line helps this home stand out from the crowd.

Caption Lines Are A Great Sales Tool

A well crafted Caption Line can attract the right customers – and weed out the ones who won’t qualify.  With just a few words, Caption Lines can showcase a home’s best features, grab people’s attention, and encourage the right buyer to click on your listing and learn more. They do this with specific details that target a particular audience.

Let’s look at some examples of Specific Details and the Audience they are geared toward:

  1. The kitchen is the most important room in the house for many home shoppers. Give them something to chew on: “Granite Counter Tops and all Stainless Appliances.”
  2. Home mechanics or wood hobbyists would home in on a potential work room: “Two car garage with separate 50 amp circuit.”
  3. Many customers need creative financing to purchase. If you are willing to help finance the sale, make sure the shoppers know this: “Owner financing available.”
  4. Some buyers will only locate in a 55+ or All Family Community, so include that if it applies: “55+ Community” or “All Ages, Family Community” as appropriate.

To compare, here are some examples of poor–performing Caption Lines that we frequently see. Any of these will result in below average traffic to your listing:

  1. Statements that don’t say anything: “The Best Home” or “Great Kitchen.” (Why is it the best? What makes it great?)
  2. Statements that repeat information already in the search result: “1972, 2 Bed, 2 Bath Home for Sale.”
  3. All capital letters and/or excessive punctuation. Usually this is combined with statements that don’t say anything: “THE BEST HOME” or “Great Kitchen!!!!!!!!!”.

One Special Case: What if your home is priced much more higher than that of comparable homes in the area? Listings that appear overpriced in the search results will not be clicked on. In this case, you MUST use the caption line to explain why. Here are a couple of examples:

  1. “Price includes Co-op Share, Association Fee just $149 / month.”
  2. “Completely Remodeled 2,300 sq. ft Home with Barrier Free Baths.”
  3. “Located on a Large Landscaped Corner Lot with Beautiful Views of the Lake.”

Use this space to tell buyers exactly what makes your home special – and more than worth its price!

Creating/Editing Your Caption Line on MHVillage:

The Caption Line is created from the “Listing Caption” text box located under the home’s description when you list/edit a home. Here’s a screen shot of that page:

You can add or change your Caption Line at any time.  Here’s how:

  1. Log into your MHVillage account with your email address and password.
  2. Click “View/Change/Remove Listings”
  3. On the right side of your listing listing click the “Edit listing” link.
  4. Go to the Description page.
  5. The Listing Caption text box is under the description field. Edit or add the Caption Line and save your changes.
  6. Remember – you might need to wait a few minutes before checking your search results because your changes may not show up for half an hour.

Note: only Featured and Premium listings have a Caption Line. If you have a Basic listing, consider upgrading to one of the other listing types so you can add a Caption Line.

  1. When you are editing your listing, go to the Options page.
  2. Select either “Featured Package” or “Premium Package”
  3. Save your changes and your Caption Line will appear.

You can also add Caption Lines to Showcased Communities and Pro+ account Sales Centers. If you have questions, or need assistance adding Caption Lines, email us and let us know. We’ll be happy to walk you through it.

August Sales Results on MHVillage

MHV-AugustResults

BY: DAWN HIGHHOUSE

As we step out of summer and into fall, let’s take a look at the results from last month. (Click the image above to enlarge.)

Website Visits

August 2013 – 1,812,034

Year to Date – 13,394,705

We thought July was great month with 1,799,561 web visits, yet we manged to top those numbers and beyond with 1,821,034 visits in August! Traffic is continuing to grow on MHVillage – this is what makes us the largest online marketplace for manufactured housing. (Read this article on it is essential to have your entire inventory on MHVillage: One Simple Tip To Getting More Leads.)

Sales Leads

August 2013 – 63,749

Year to Date – 486,616

As I always say: don’t miss the fine print on those numbers – these numbers do not include the estimated 40,000 phone inquiries generated each month! Over the past year we have sent almost a half million leads to manufactured home sellers, just one more sign that there are a lot of folks out there who appreciate and searching for affordable housing.

Homes Sold

August 2013 – 4,943

Year to Date – 40,972

Nearly 5,000 manufactured homes listed on MHVillage were marked as sold in August. Are you getting your share of leads and sales? If not, it could be that you are missing some of the powerful opportunities and tools offered on the site. Read my Missed Marketing Opportunities series to find some simple ways to make your listings more attractive to home buyers. Or email us, we are happy to look over your account for you and offer suggestions to help.

Missed Marketing Opportunity – Link to Your Web Site!

BY: DAWN HIGHHOUSE

Find a home on computerDoes your company have its own website? Are you linking to that website from MHVillage? If not, you are missing a great marketing opportunity – and a powerful tool for your own website.

What makes a link so powerful? We are talking about sending a steam of people who are currently planning on buying a manufactured home directly to your site. Not only that, but adding a link will significantly help buyers using Google and other search engines to find your site. This is a very effective piece of advertising!

First of all, we know:

Information sources home buyers use in home search

  • Internet: 90%
  • Real estate agent: 87%
  • Yard sign: 53%
  • Open house: 45%
  • Newspaper ad: 27%
  • Home book or magazine: 18%

From the 2012 National Association of REALTORS® Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers

As you have seen from our own sales statistics and sales results, the number of manufactured home shoppers is growing. I mentioned last month we had record-breaking days in July – hitting over 50,000 individuals on MHVillage per day! So, we know people are shopping for homes… but are they finding you? We offer a number of opportunities on MHVillage for adding a link to your site – and to bring our traffic straight to you.

Home Listings

Every home you sell can have a link to your website. Our Premium level ($8 per home/per month) has a field where you can add that link.  Premium listings also come with a number of additional features like unlimited photos and the ability to link to a virtual tour, and get four times the views of Basic listings.

Seller Tip: Instead of just adding a link to your homepage, consider linking to a page within your site that motivates a seller to action. Consider a pre-application page or a page to set up an appointment to view your homes or community. Or take an idea from the Real Estate world and encourage buyers to sign up for a regularly emailed list of your new home listings.

Community

Do you manage or own a community? You can also put a link on your Showcased community. Showcase community pricing varies by location starting at $16.00 a month. Like Premium listings, the Showcase feature comes with a lot more benefits – unlimited home photos, better search placement, and more fields for information. There is, however, one other big advantage to a link on your Community page: it is “permanent.” Now, that doesn’t mean you can’t change it – like everything on MHVillage, you can upgrade or downgrade at will and edit your link address at any time – however, one of the big reasons to put your link on MHVillage is something we haven’t even talked about yet: SEO.

What is SEO?

SEO Internet businessAccording to Wikipedia: Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of improving the visibility of a website or a web page in a search engine’s “natural” or un-paid (“organic”) search results. In general, the earlier (or higher ranked on the search results page), and more frequently a site appears in the search results list, the more visitors it will receive from the search engine’s users. Basically, SEO is the process of trying to get your website higher when people browse the web using Google, Bing, Yahoo or other search engines. There is a lot to SEO, more than we have time for in this article, but one of the techniques for improving where your site appears is having links from other companies to yours. If you want, think of it like balloons. The more balloons you link together, the higher a they can go. However, you don’t always need a lot of little balloons – sometimes all you need is one big one. That’s where MHVillage comes in.

Search engines are smart, though. If all it took was putting a link on a company website to a large site, everyone would just put links to Amazon, Yahoo or Facebook on their websites and be done with it. Instead, what search engines want to see is links from big sites going to yours. If you could somehow convince the New York Times to run a story about you on their website, you can bet that search engines would pick up on it. What search engines like to see is similar sites, with common factors, providing relevant content to their users. Remember, search engines have a goal – get the user to what they want. So, they try to find ways to organize all the data out there. If you are selling manufactured homes, how do you think it looks to them if there is a link on MHVillage (the nation’s largest site for our industry) to your site? MHVillage becomes the big balloon that lifts you off the ground and up towards the top.

Home listing links are great way to attract buyers, but links on your community page are also great for SEO. Homes on MHVillage sell all the time and are removed. Community links have plenty of time to show search engines that you have permanence. Of course, a community link isn’t the only place you make this happen. There is one more:

Sales Center

Not too long ago I wrote an article, Eight Missed Marketing Opportunities – Your Sales Center on MHVillage, that highlighted the Sales Center page on MHVillage and how you can use it to attract home buyers. The Pro+ account, like a Showcased community, lets you add a long-standing link from MHVillage to your site. (Pro+ accounts also let you add your company logo to MHVillage and will help you appear higher in retailer searches.) This is another great place to add a link to your web site. It is easy to do and attracts home buyers, while helping with your SEO. Just log into your account and click the Edit Sales Center Information link.

In conclusion:

You’ve spent a lot of time, effort and money on your web site. Now you need to take the next steps to make sure you are getting enough traffic to it. Adding a link to your site on MHVillage home listings, communities and sales center pages is a great way to do that! Want to know if it is successful? We’ll track it for you – every time someone clicks a link from our site to yours, we’ll add that to your statistics. So, each month, you can see the results.

Need more tips for improving your online marketing? Check out the whole Missed Marketing Opportunities series and don’t forget to meet us at the International Networking Roundtable in Bloomingdale, IL next week and The Southeast Community Owners Symposium in October!

Join Us at the International Networking Roundtable Next Week!

People targetsMHVillage will be attending the 22nd Annual International Networking Roundtable September 18-20 in Bloomingdale, IL, and we would love to see you there!

From community-investor.com:

INTERNATIONAL NETWORKING ROUNDTABLE

This premier annual networking and educational venue attracts the movers and shakers of the manufactured housing industry. Three days of networking, education seminars and deal-making opportunities for owners/operators of LLCommunities is available nowhere else at anytime!

This year promises: Key industry presenters on current topics, critical education, incomparable peer networking, and opportunities for deal-making with decision-makers.

Community Investor

Download a pdf brochure with event information here. Additional information and event registration can be found on community-investor.com.