Tag Archives: Missed Marketing Opportunity

Perfecting Your Home Description

home-descriptionThe description in your listing can make all the difference!

This space is where we invite you to give a detailed description of the home.

Something we see quite a bit on MHVillage is home sellers using the description area to either list additional details (sometimes the same features already selected and listed in the home features section) or enter nothing at all.

We have found that this is simply not as effective as taking the time to give the shopper more information about the home, the community it is within and any other details that might make this home stand out from the crowd.

Here are some examples of actual home descriptions on MHVillage:

Option 1:

    The description has no word limit, yet this seller only included 2 sentences about the home.

Option 2:

 This seller took the time to walk the buyer through the home describing each room!

The difference in these two listings is crystal clear. One of the sellers took the extra steps to really show off what this home has to offer, while the other seems like they tried to list the home as quickly as possible, not really giving much information.

 

It is important to remember, a lot of home buyers are looking at tons of listings and a good number of these buyers are looking at homes in another state. So by giving them more information in your ad, you are setting them up to be interested enough to contact you for a tour, or for even more information. Which is the whole point in advertising in the first place!

 

 

Now, there are plenty of different ways you can use this space from a marketing stand point. You can follow the two examples mentioned in this article or you can write it more in the style of a newspaper article where it’s in paragraph format. Either way you want to be able to give the buyer the experience of walking through the home, noting all of the details that matter to a home owner. We found that the ads where you can tell that the seller took the time to describe the home, keeps buyers interested and eventually gets them to contact the seller.

So, no matter what your style of advertising is, it’s important to share with the buyer why they should consider your home over all of the other options out there. Why not take the time to use this space to your benefit?

We try to give you all of the tools you need to go the extra mile in your advertising, but if you find you have some questions about what features you have on MHVillage, give us a call or an email today! We are happy to help.

 

“Location. Location. Location.” – Details Make the Difference!

We all know the age old saying “Location. Location. Location.” Are you promoting all the location benefits of your Homes or Community in your ads?

Know Your Location Benefits

“Promote your location benefits” means telling potential buyers or residents all about your area. Keep in mind, a large percentage of the buyers on MHVillage are from out of state, so they may not be as familiar with your area. Of course you want people to know about home features and community amenities, but don’t forget to include information about the local area too!

For instance, if your community is in a great school system, that can appeal to families. If your community or home is located near a popular urban city or a shopping center, or even popular restaurants and bars, those can be valuable features to a home buyer who wants to be social and on the scene. Access to bus lines can also be important

 

And don’t forget about those retirees looking for a nice quite place to call home!  

 


If your community or home has access to a beautiful body of water, or is a short distance from a relaxing park or hiking trail, you’ll want to be sure and include that information too. Even if you aren’t an “age qualified” community – you just might have the perfect home for a home buyer looking to retire. All of these details give the buyer a better idea of what their day to day would look like, which might be the little extra nudge they need to give you a call!

 

How to Advertise Your Location Benefits

MHVillage has Description sections for both home listings and communities. (Sales centers too, but that’s for another article all together!) This is the perfect place to tell people the wonderful features of your area. There is no word limit and home buyers on the site really do read them. The more information you provide, the easier it is for a buyer to sell themselves right from your online ad!

As always we are here to help, so if you would like to have one of our account reps review your home or community ads for you, just give us a call or email and we can set up a time to go through it all!

A Quick and Easy Way to Customize Your Listings

BY: DAWN HIGHHOUSE

Here’s a Missed Marketing Opportunity: the Sales Person Photo. You can add a photo or company logo in the contact information of every MHVillage listing. It’s a quick and easy way to customize your listings!

Why Add a Sales Person Photo?NW Home Buyers

I have a Real Estate Agent friend who has said for years: “you are not just selling the home, you are selling yourself.” We know that some of our very best customers come from referrals and word of mouth. When you successfully sell a home to someone and leave them feeling great about the transaction, you have the potential to be referred to their friends, family and neighbors. Using personalization like Sales Person Photos and distinctive logos help people remember you.

Frank HooverSavvy web marketers also know that people love photos. In fact, one of the main things buyers go to see when they come to MHVillage is the photos of available homes. Photos of yourself or your sales office on your home listings not only personalize them, but also help you stand out from the competition. Branding on the web is important. There is a lot of information out there, and as a buyer it’s easy to forget the details. The more branding you can do, the better.

Blue CarpetSpeaking of branding, your Sales Person Photo also makes a big difference in how your listings look if you are using our Branding product. To put it simply, Branding a Listing means remove all other advertisements and replacing it with your information – your other listings, your company information, even an additional website link. You can get more information on how to Brand your listings here: Your Brand, Your Listings and learn more about our Branding sale (running through the end of this month only!) here: Announcing the MHVillage Branding Sale!

Tri-County Home TeamHow Much Does It Cost?

It’s free. This is a feature that is included with every listing. As you are putting in the listing, when you get to the Contact information, just upload the photo – just like you would a home photo.

What if You Don’t Have a Photo of Yourself?

You have a few options:Premier Home Brokers

  1. Take a photo with your phone. The Sales Contact Photo is a small thumbnail, so it doesn’t have to be high-resolution. You can use a free website like picmonkey.com to do a little cropping and editing, and you are good to go!
  2. Some companies use photos of their sales office, for example see the sample of Integrity Mobile Homes below. This is a good second option.
  3. Use a second logo. If your company has different logos you can use one on your Pro+ Sales Center page and another as your Sales Contact. Note: If you are using our Branding Product, you’ll want two different logos in these two spots for the best effect. Feel free to contact us if you need help with this.

Sid DavisThings You Should Know:

  • This is a small thumbnail photo. Keep your photos simple.
  • Uploading business cards or logos with a lot of text in this area does not work well. The text will be far too small to read.
  • Have multiple salespeople in your office? Not a problem! You can load up a different Sales Person Photo on each listing.

If you need assistance with this, or any other aspect of your home listings on MHVillage, please let us know. We are always happy to help!

Sales contact photo

Missed Marketing Opportunity – Caption Your Photos

BY: DAWN HIGHHOUSE

Did you know that there is a simple way to make every one of your home photos more enticing… and it has nothing to do with a camera? It’s simple, requires no additional technology and it’s free. It’s a tool in your MHVillage account, and you’re probably not using it. I’m talking about:

Photo Captions

Example of adding a photo caption. (Click to enlarge)

Example of adding a photo caption. (Click to enlarge)

What is a photo caption? It’s phrase or short sentence that you can add to your MHVillage listings to describe each and every photo. Sadly, it is also a Missed Marketing Opportunity. Captions are easy to add and can quickly point out things that buyers might otherwise miss. Though a photo might be worth a thousand words, a good caption highlights the best parts!

Every time you add a photo to your home listings or to your community on MHVillage there is a field for adding a caption. Far too often I see these fields left blank, or when they are filled in, they are labeled with something that is obvious from the photo. Not having a good caption won’t hurt your listing, but adding just a few words can really help your listing. And remember what I always say – better listings, better leads!

Want to make your photos shine? Instead of labeling an exterior photo “Front of house” how about: “Great school district,” “Big corner lot,” or “New roof”? Use the caption line to give the buyer more information, and more reasons to call. Here’s some ways to use your photo captions:

  • Talk about features that might not be obvious from the photo, i.e. “Recently painted walls”
  • Paint a story for your buyer. On a photo of a patio, for example, “Perfect spot for a grill!”
  • Highlight current promotions, “Includes flat screen tv”
  • Add a call to action, “This will sell fast!”
  • Add appeal to the home “Open floor plan”, “Cozy home”, “Move right in!”
  • And don’t forget… you can put captions on your community photos too!

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.

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!

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!

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.

Missed Marketing Opportunity – Don’t Forget the Features!

BY: DAWN HIGHHOUSE

If you have been following this blog you know that I am writing a series about common marketing mistakes that I see on MHVillage. For those of you not in the loop, here are the first two in the series:

Eight Missed Marketing Opportunities – Your Sales Center on MHVillage

Missed Marketing Opportunity – One Simple Tip to Getting More Leads

(Note: to get my articles delivered directly to your email, just subscribe over on the right side of the blog.)

Today’s tip costs no extra money and practically no extra time. In fact, it is so easy, I’m surprised to be writing about it, and yet, I see it being missed on a regular basis. I’m going to show you examples from MHVillage, but this tip is true no matter where you advertise your manufactured homes for sale. It’s simple:

Tell People What They Want To Know

When you are entering a home listing on MHVillage, we first ask the basics about the home – where it is located, what you are selling (or renting) the home for, the number of beds and baths and so on. Once you’ve entered that, the next section is all about the Features of the home. Occasionally, I see this left blank.

Here’s a list of just some of the items they’re missing:

A screen shot of the home features - it can be completed with just a few clicks.

A screen shot of the home features – it can be completed with just a few clicks. (Click the image above to enlarge.)

  • Roof type
  • Siding type
  • Color
  • Trim color
  • Garage
  • Carport
  • Storage shed
  • Gutters
  • Deck
  • Patio
  • Shutters
  • Ceiling type
  • Interior wall type
  • Heating type
  • Appliances that stay with the home

While every home is different, and not all have sheds, decks or patios, there is something in this list that can be filled out for every home. We’ve even made it as easy as possible – the form is a series of check boxes, drop downs and radio buttons so you can quickly just click and select.

Let’s take a look at some examples. Here are two screen shots of the Features section on two different homes:

2002 Cavco selling for $64,000

2002 Cavco selling for $64,000

These are from home listings that are currently live on our site. Both homes are in the same senior community.

Manufactured Home Features, Complete

1998 Cavco selling for $65,000

Obviously one listing has a lot more information than the other. But let’s talk marketing – why does it matter? And how does this effect your home leads?

Step back a moment and think about internet shoppers. Why do they shop online? What are they looking for?

When people shop online, whether it is for manufactured homes or digital cameras or a local gym, what they want is information. The more information they have, the better chance you have to sell. Good information not only makes your listings more appealing, it also increases their effectiveness. In other words, good information means not only more leads, but better leads.

Camera. $199.99

Camera. $199.99

Here’s how it works: take the digital camera for an example. While people don’t always buy homes online the way they do cameras, (although we hear regularly from customers who have sold their homes, site unseen, to relocating buyers,) there are a lot of similarities. If you were considering purchasing a nice digital camera, what’s one of the first things you might do? Go online and look at your options! What if all you saw was a photo and price? No information about zoom, lenses, or other features? Would you call the seller to find out more? Would you drive out to the electronics store to check it out for yourself? Or, would you click your back button and look for a different camera?

The same thing works with homes. Skipping this section might save you a small amount of time, but you’ll lose potential customers. On the other hand, what if when you were looking at the camera, it included this:

  • 16 effective megapixel, 1/2.3-inch CCD sensor
  • 3-inch TFT color LCD with wide viewing angle
  • DIGIC 4 image processor
  • 720p HD video in stereo sound with a dedicated movie button
  • 24mm wide-angle lens with powerful 30x optical zoom and optical Image Stabilizer
  • 30x Optical Zoom and 24mm Wide-Angle lens with Optical Image Stabilizer
  • DIGIC 4 Image Processor
  • 3.0-inch LCD with 461,000 dots
  • Enhanced Zoom Framing Assist button aids in tracking and capturing subjects during super telephoto photography
  • High Speed AF

If those are features you are looking for, this ad will catch your attention and perhaps start the buying process. – and that’s exactly what you want to have happen with home listings! Here’s the best part – the people you attract with an informative listing have already started to sell themselves. They already know it meets their needs. And if the home doesn’t meet their needs? Those are not people who would buy anyway! You save yourself time by narrowing down leads to the very best ones.

Quick note: What about color? Do people really choose their home based on color? Some do, but that isn’t the point. Most people shopping for homes love to do drive-bys. Drive-bys are your friend – if the customer likes what they see, the next step is calling you. Listing the color makes it easy for them to find the home!

The full menu of Features is available on every home listing type on MHVillage – Basic, Featured and Premium. You can edit, update and change this section at any time. Need help? Just email us and let us know – we are happy to assist!

Missed Marketing Opportunity – One Simple Tip To Getting More Leads

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

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.

This home was recently marked as sold on MHVillage.

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.

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.

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.