BY: DAWN HIGHHOUSE
I travel a far amount speaking to Professionals in the Manufactured Housing industry all across the US. (Just last week I had the honor to be a guest speaker and exhibitor at the Illinois Manufactured Housing Association Meeting in Champaign/Urbana.) One of the questions that comes up over and over again is a simple one: How do I get more leads?
Currently I am writing a series on how to increase the number of sales leads – and the effectiveness – from your online advertising with MHVillage. I’ll be sharing with you some of the same simple tips and tools that I talk about at meetings around the country. Last week I wrote Eight Missed Marketing Opportunities – Your Sales Center on MHVillage. This week I’m giving you the easiest tip of all on how to get more leads:
Make Sure Your Entire Inventory is on MHVillage.
At first glance, this might look like a sales pitch for MHVillage – but remember – unlimited Basic listings are included in your Pro or Pro+ account at no additional charge. So, if you are already listing some of your homes on MHVillage, adding another 2, 20 or even 50 home listings doesn’t cost you a penny more. Now, let’s talk about why it matters:
It’s All In The Numbers
Let’s just start with the basics – the more home listings you have, the bigger piece of your market you have, which means the more leads you will get. For example: say you do a search on MHVillage for homes for sale in your area and there are 30 listings. If 3 of them are yours, you have 10 percent of the market. In this case, the market being all the possible homes that buyers will click on and view. Let’s say that you have additional 10 listings that you haven’t added. If you enter them, your percentage jumps to over 32.5%. The only cost is time, (and I will have some tips on that a little later in the article.)
Of course, this assumes that all listings have an equal chance of being clicked on. We know that isn’t true – some listings are more desirable than others. So maybe a shortcut would be to just list your most desirable homes, right? Wrong.
There is a Buyer for Every Home
This home was recently marked as Sold on MHVillage
Some professionals list only their “best” homes. But what is ” the best” listing? The best looking, the highest priced, the one with the best location? How do you define best? If there was only one home buyer a day on MHVillage, or if every home shopper had the exact same needs, family size and income, it might be simple to define “best”. However, there are 46,000 people shopping for manufactured homes a day on MHVillage. Forty six thousand people that each have their own criteria for selecting the perfect home.
So was this one.
There are buyers looking for retirement properties, handyman specials, second homes, bargains, gated communities, homes for their children, homes for their parents… in other words, there are thousands of different customers looking for different manufactured homes. What may not appeal to you, might be just the ticket for someone else.
The point is simple – by listing your entire inventory you are giving shoppers the maximum choice when it comes to buying the right home.
Homes Being Remodeled
I’ve also heard from professionals who wait to list their pre-owned homes until they have been completely remodeled. This is a missed marketing opportunity. The fact that a home is being remodeled should be a huge selling point. What better time to run a promotion? Here’s an idea: Basic listings come with two photos. Take one photo of the outside and one of the interior, including the paint buckets, ladders and ripped up carpet. In the description of the home offer a special deal if they purchase by a certain date and they can even help pick out the paint colors! If the home doesn’t sell by that date, your listing is already up and ready to go – you can easily update it with new photos and a new description.
The More Inventory You Have, The Better You Look
Just last week, I wrote about how to improve the look of your Sales Center page. This is the page that shows your company information to home buyers searching for Professionals in their area. (Want to see your Sales Center? You can do a search for sales centers on MHVillage here.) We do some fairly sophisticated algorithms to determine the sort order of Sales Centers in a given area. One of the biggest factors is whether you are a Pro+ or Pro account, (Pro+ accounts are always sorted towards the top) but another factor is the number of homes you have for sale. Each home within in certain geographic area gives you a number of “points.” Obviously upgraded homes, (Featured and Premium listings) give the most points, but Basic listings do contribute to your ranking. So, putting all your homes on MHVillage helps push your company page towards the top.
This tool is on your account home page on MHVillage.
Quick Sales Tip: Did you know that within your account, under the Listing Management section, there is a nifty tool for printing a list of all your homes for sale or rent? It makes a great handout to buyers or inventory control sheet to be used in the office. It’s a free tool we offer to all MHVillage Professionals.
Too Busy To List All Your Homes? Clone Them Instead!
Here’s another great little tool in your account – you can “Clone” removed listings and save yourself some time. Some communities have the luxury of having a portfolio of homes that are very similar – even down to the Manufacturer and Model, but even if your homes are quite different from one another, you can still take advantage of the Clone tool.
Once you click Removed, you can “Clone” any of your Removed homes.
From within your account go to the Edit Listings link. In the section above the listings, click Removed. That will give you a list of all the homes you have removed from the site. Just click the “Clone” link on the home most similar to your new listing. That’s it! It will instantly make a duplicate copy. Then, you can go through and update your new listing with the correct address, details and photos. Details like financing promotions and your contact information will already be filled in and correct. It can help you build a home listing fast.
So, Why Not Cheat?
You might be thinking to yourself, with all these benefits, why not “pad” your listings a bit? Let me caution against that – state regulatory agencies come down pretty hard on false advertising, and they are starting to wise up to internet marketing. Keep yourself on the right side of the laws of your state and you won’t run into trouble. We’ve seen some states handing out big fines for small infractions and we don’t want that to happen to you. Our advice? Always play it safe.
What if I Only Have One or Two Listings?
If you only have a few listings in a given area, then my advice to you is to make sure they are at the Premium level. Premium listings cost just $8 a month more per home, but they move your home listings out of the back of the pack and onto the first page. In many busy areas, where there are hundreds of homes for sale and rent, you may not even get noticed if you aren’t on the first page, so the small extra cost is worth it.
The Take Away:
You put a lot of time and effort into your marketing strategies. Naturally, you want to get the most out of them. Making sure that your entire portfolio of home listings is available to be found by home buyers, renters and potential residents is the best way to get the maximum number of leads.