Tag Archives: sales leads

New Feature: The MHVFastLead

Have you checked out the latest feature on MHVillage?

The MHVFastLead!

MHVFastLead sends you a text instantly when you get a lead.

Lead response time is essential. With this new feature you can respond to customers almost instantly – and hopefully while they are still looking at your ad!

You can customize when you receive alerts. You choose the days and time of day you want text notifications of leads sent to your phone.

Check out this video for more information on how to start using this feature:

 

Marketing to the Retirement-Age Consumer

 

The marketing and advertising world is ever changing, and something we hear quite a bit is that you have to keep on top of the next generation, making sure everything is new, exciting and changing with the time.

While these are important factors, in our industry it’s also important to maintain and customize your advertising to the generations that are looking to retire!

Some key details about your community, your home, or the area your home is located can be ideal for a retirement-age buyer. Here are some items you want to be sure to include:

Is your community an “Age Restricted” community?

Some communities require their home owners to be 55+ in an effort to maintain an environment suitable for this demographic. This is important to add to your community listing and your home listing. It is also helpful to note if your community allows exceptions to this rule.

Does your community allow Pets?

Not only do you want to include in your advertisements if the community allows pets, but it is helpful to detail specific restrictions. Some allow cats but not dogs. Some allow cats and dogs but only certain breeds or dogs of a certain weight. All of these details are incredibly important since no one wants to leave behind their furry family member!

Is the home accessible?

Some homes have modifications added to allow more accessibility for an individual who has a disability. If your home or the community has any specific features that would be helpful or useful for someone in this position be sure and include this in the description.

What is the community like?

We all have our own idea of what our “perfect” retirement environment would be. Is your community on the waterfront with access to fishing, or walks through a wooded path? Or maybe your community is a social one with planned activities and a game room. Either way letting the buyer know what the atmosphere of the community provides can be essential.

What is the area like?

Similar to the including details about the community, accessibility to grocery stores, shopping malls, cultural events and other local attractions are great details to provide your buyer.

While these tips might sound simple to include, they can make the difference in turning that interested shopper into a buyer!

How to Get the Most Out of Your MHVillage PPC Ad

BY: DAWN HIGHHOUSE

Jason Adams and I recently created several videos about Pay Per Click (PPC) Ads on MHVillage:

Learn all About Pay Per Click (PPC) Ads

How to Run a PPC Ad Campaign

and now, the final video in the series:

How to Get the Most of Your MHVillage PPC Ad

In this video learn how to see if your ad is successful. We’ll also show you how to understand your statistics and make updates and changes to your campaign.

Bonus: Want to try it out for yourself? In the month of June,we’ll give people trying their first PPC ad a $50 credit to their account!

Advertising Your Vacant Sites to Potential Residents

BY: DAWN HIGHHOUSE

First, I want to send a big MHVillage thank you to Chris in Sweetwater, TN. Chris writes: Awesome job MHVillage…..What a website! Keep up the great work! I have now sold at least 6 homes off this site, and am about to list 3 more! Congrats on your successful summer Chris!

Earlier this year, I spent a lot of time at our industry’s trade shows and conventions. One question I often heard was, “How do I advertise my vacant lots on your website?” MHVillage has two great tools for promoting your sites for refill. Read on for more details, then download our white paper, “Advertising Your Vacant Sites on MHVillage” to share with your community managers and sales team.

First, tell us you have available sites

Log into your account on MHVillage and click to edit your community’s information. In the Vacant Sites field, just tell us how many sites you have available. We will add that information to your community. Now your community will show in search results whenever buyers are looking for available sites.

Then, Promote your sites with a Showcased Community

Showcase your community, then click the Promote Vacant Sites check box. That will add eye catching sales text to your community on MHVillage, so buyers will see it right away!

Download the white paper below for more step by step instructions – and as always, let us know if you have any questions. We are always happy to help!

 

Click to download our White Paper on Vacant Site Advertising on MHVillage

Click to download our white paper on Vacant Site Advertising on MHVillage

 

 

 

 

Quick! Web Traffic is Set To Climb, Don’t Miss It!

BY: DAWN HIGHHOUSEsales chart going up

Did you know the most magical time of the year is almost here? No, I am not talking about the holidays – I am talking about the Two Weeks of Web Traffic! You don’t know about the Two Weeks of Web Traffic? Gather ’round, and let me fill you in –

The Two Weeks of Web Traffic

Each year we see a particular trend in website traffic. Starting the day after Christmas, web traffic on MHVillage starts to ramp up. Over the next two weeks, the traffic on the website will increase to over and above the highest traffic day in the previous summer.

Let’s break that down a little – “Web traffic” is simply a term for people using, shopping and browsing MHVillage. So, take the busiest day last summer, when web traffic was at its peak, (we were hitting over 50,000 people per day in July and August,) and starting Dec. 26th we’ll see the daily traffic ramp up to over and above that number during those two weeks following Christmas.

Notice that I keep using the word “ramp.” That’s not by accident. This isn’t a traffic spike, it doesn’t shoot up and then shoot back down. It literally begins to ramp up and set the baseline for the rest of the year. Nor is this a one time thing, this has happened every single year since we started MHVillage in 2004. In fact, each November our tech department does a review of our servers and technical systems, just to make sure that we are ready for the massive increase in traffic!

What’s Going On? Who Are All These Home Buyers on MHVillage?

The Buyer Life Cycle (Click to Enlarge)

The Buyer Life Cycle (Click to Enlarge)

In the manufactured home industry, much like in the Real Estate industry, we tend to think of spring as the time to buy. That may be true, but what that doesn’t take into account is the buying cycle. People don’t decide to buy a home one day and pick one out the next. Typically there is a several month lead time between deciding that it’s time to move and actually making an offer on a home. During those months they are researching properties, and the number one place they look? Online.

Every single day events happen cause people to reconsider where they live: children move out, parents move in, divorce, death, marriage and separation. People get new jobs and raises, and others get laid off. They have to relocate, decide to go to a warmer climate or simply become tired of their neighbors. Even on Christmas Day there are people standing in their living rooms thinking, “I’m not spending another Christmas in this house!” All sorts of things happen, but the holidays act as a bottleneck. Starting in the fall and through Christmas Day, web traffic is a bit sluggish. It doesn’t disappear entirely, (In November we were still averaging 30-40,000 people each day – there were even thousands of people shopping on Thanksgiving!) but it slows down. Once the holidays are over, literally starting on December 26th, people resume their home searches.

How Does This Increase in Traffic Effect You?

To use a surfing analogy, the best time to catch a wave is at the beginning. While it is tempting to sit back and relax through the next week, that’s the last thing you want to do. Now is the time review all of your online marketing. Do an audit of your MHVillage advertising: Are your listings up to date? Have you added a link to your website from MHVillage? Are phone numbers and email addresses correct?

In the next week, here are 5 things you should do on MHVillage:

    1. Make sure your entire inventory is online. I suggest this one a lot, but it is for a simple reason: more home listings = more leads. Remember, Basic listings are free, so it doesn’t cost you anything to get all your homes up and online. (Learn more here.)
    2. Make your Sales Center page Pro+. This one will cost you a little extra if you don’t already have a Pro+ account, (Pro+ accounts are $20 more a month than our standard Pro account.) Once you’ve upgraded your account, add a link to your website. This will not only allow the MHVillage buyers to click over to your site, it will also help in how your company website shows in Google searches. (Learn more here.)
    3. If you have a Community, make it a Showcase. Again, this will cost a bit, (Showcasing starts at $16.) but you want to look your best to all the buyers. Also, home shoppers do not need to log in to view Showcased communities, so that means more people are going to see your information. (Learn more here.)
    4. Review your own website. Once you’ve put links to your site from MHVillage on your listings, Sales Center page and Community, click over and look at your website as a buyer would. Is your website up to date? Is the contact information easy to find? Is there an online form for them to get more information?
    5. Take advantage of our Branding sale. We’ve got a great sale going on right now with 50% off Professional branding for the life of the listing. For just $1.00 you can completely dominate your listings, removing all other ads and adding all your own information. (Learn more here.)

Remember – there is never a contract on MHVillage. We only charge you for the services you use. So feel free to upgrade for a few months, get the boost in traffic and ride the sales wave until spring. You can downgrade at anytime. Need help? Let us know! We can assist your company and make sure you are ready for the two weeks of web traffic!

October Results on MHVillage

MHV-OctoberResults

BY: DAWN HIGHHOUSE

As we round out November, we’re looking back at a very positive October. Even though the kids are back in school and people are thinking about the holidays, web traffic continues to be strong and, even better, web leads are up! (Are you getting the web leads and traffic you are looking for? If not, we can help! Give us a call and we can go over your account with you and help you take advantage of all the benefits MHVillage has to offer. Or read my Missed Marketing Opportunities series to find some simple ways to make your listings more attractive to home buyers.)

Check out the October sales results on MHVillage:

Website Visits

October 2013 – 1,631,101

Year to Date – 16,686,705

October generated slightly fewer web visits than September, though both months had over 1.6 million visits. In fact, we are well on the way of having 19 to 20 million web visits in 2013! Keep in mind when you look at these numbers that MHVillage.com has information on manufactured and mobile homes only, so these numbers show the power of our industry and how many people are searching for affordable living solutions.

Sales Leads

October 2013 – 52,132

Year to Date – 586,199

Though web visits were slightly lower this month than last, sales leads were up! In September we sent 47,050 leads out to sellers like yourself, last month we sent over 52,000. The upshot? People shopping MHVillage are serious about buying homes. They aren’t just browsing, they are also calling, emailing and asking for more information. Most importantly, they are also buying. You can see that in this number –

Homes Sold

October 2013 – 5,053

Year to Date – 50,656

Over 50,000 manufactured homes that were advertised on MHVillage were marked as sold in the first 10 months of the year! And just because we are in the holiday season, don’t think that now is the time to slow down. In fact, December 26th is traditionally an incredibly high traffic day on MHVillage, kicking off a great new year! If you want to take advantage of this spike in traffic, use the next 6 weeks to get all your inventory online (Read “One Simple Step to Getting More Leads” to learn why this is important), make sure your company information on MHVillage is up to date (Eight Missed Marketing Opportunities – Your Sales Center on MHVillage) and make sure your company website is linked on MHVillage. (Link to Your Web Site!) Don’t wait until spring – now is the time you want to get ready.

Are You Losing Leads?

BY: DAWN HIGHHOUSEBusinessman Handshake

Here are some frightening statistics:

U.S. businesses spend billions of dollars generating sales leads only to lose more than 70 percent of them simply because they don’t make contact quickly enough, according to one study.

But that’s not the only way they’re losing out on opportunities, says Brandon Stuerke, president of Advisors Edge Marketing, a specialist in marketing strategy and automation for financial advisors and other professionals.

“A study of more than 600 companies by Dr. James Oldroyd of MIT found that the odds of a lead entering the sales process were 21 times greater if the business made contact within 5 minutes of generating the lead versus contact in 30 minutes,” Stuerke says. “Another study, this one by the Harvard Business Review, found that the average response time by businesses to a generated lead is 42 hours – and that’s just for responses that occurred within 30 days.”

The excerpt above comes from an article on www.realtor.com – the emphasis is mine. I wish I could tell you this didn’t happen in our industry, but the truth is, I hear this complaint all the time. Home buyers who are on MHVillage, actively looking to purchase a home call us directly in desperation. “I’m really interested in home XYZ,” they say, “but I can’t get anyone to call me back.” This breaks my heart.

Think of your leads like a pint of Hagan Daaz ice cream: wonderful, but also very perishable. Would you leave ice cream you’ve paid for sitting on the kitchen counter for a few days? Of course not! Leads, particularly internet leads, are just as perishable. Every moment that lead sits without being taken care of, it loses value. You’ve spent a lot of time and effort into your marketing, now’s the time to make it pay off!

Here at MHVillage, we send out roughly 50,000 leads per month to our Professional users. To get the most out of those leads, you need to respond quickly. Here’s why:

The First Contact Creates a Bond

People are always a little afraid of the unknown. The quicker you can reach out to the buyer and create a bond, whether it is through email or via the phone, the quicker you start to build a relationship. Buyers are much more inclined to work with someone they know, and the sooner you get your foot in the door, the better.

Compare and Contrast

When buyers shop online, they start by finding something that fits their needs. Once they have that first one, they begin comparison shopping, but they always compare new finds to old ones. “Is Home B better than Home A?” and so on. If you are the first seller to respond to their inquiry, you have the opportunity to cement your home in the top position.

Text messaging Business ManBuild Customer Loyalty – Before They Buy

A quick response is a sign of great customer service. Show your buyer that you are there for them by answering their questions right away. If they have to wait too long to hear from you, they’ll start to feel neglected.

Out of Site, Out of Mind

The minute someone clicks away from your ad, they begin to forget the details. Buyers might contact sellers of several homes in one night, but by the next morning, they’ll have a hard time keeping them all straight. Are you selling the white house on the north side of town or the gray one on the south? Is it the one with the garage, or the carport and the shed? The closer you can get to them when your homes are fresh in their minds, the better.

Modern technology offers a number of great tools for helping you handle your incoming leads efficiently and effectively:

Buyers are Going Mobile, You Should Too

At a recent state association meeting, one of our clients came up to me and told me how he turns 75% of his MHVillage leads into sales contacts – he calls them immediately. This gentleman had a simple system: the leads went to an email on his phone, and his goal was to call them back within 5 minutes – preferably while they were still looking at the home online! He’s smart – in the article quoted above, that 5 minute marker is an important one. Here’s a quick tip – have an email account dedicated to your sales correspondence only. (That way when you see an email come in, you know it is from a buyer and you won’t have to wade through the tons of daily spam and other nonessential email we all get in our day-to-day accounts.) Have that email on your phone so you are ready to respond instantly.

Route Calls Effectively

There are a lot of options in phone systems these days. You can route calls to your cell, to your home and even to your email. If your office system won’t support this, take a look at some of the free and low-cost systems out there, like Google Voice. With Google Voice you can have a specialized phone number for leads and have it ring multiple phones at once. You can have voicemails be shared among several phones, and you can even reply to calls with text.

Emails: If You Can’t Respond in Person, Have Your Computer Do It for You

Obviously, a personal response is better than a canned response, but a canned response is better than none at all. Most email systems will let you sent up an automatic reply.  You can craft the equivalent of a professional voice mail message that provides your company name, your business hours, driving directions, link to your website, phone number and a promise that someone will get back to them the very next day.

Check Your Spam Folders

We keep a complete copy of all your leads in your MHVillage account.

We keep a complete copy of all your leads in your MHVillage account.

If you use a public email system like Gmail, Yahoo, or AOL, know that these companies try to keep their users from receiving Spam. While that effort is appreciated, it means you can lose leads if they wind up in the wrong folder. In fact, Gmail recently changed its settings to where some important emails might have ended up in the wrong place. If you do lose one, don’t worry! MHVillage always keeps a copy of all your leads in your account.

Creating a Sales Strategy

Here’s a few more tips and tools for creating a powerful sales strategy. (Click on the links for more information about each one.)

  1. Start with good, solid information online. Make sure your company and community information is up-to-date and has good contact information.
  2. If you have your own website, increase web traffic by linking it with MHVillage.
  3. List your entire home inventory online to create the widest marketing net.
  4. Use all the tools in your MHVillage account to make powerful home listings. (Here, Here, and Here)
  5. Now that you have a powerful marketing presence, set your benchmarks and goals for lead follow up. (Use technology where you can to make things easier.)
  6. Sell those homes!

 

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!

MHVillage July Results

MHV-JulyResults

BY: DAWN HIGHHOUSE

It’s that time again – let’s take a look at the results of another strong month!

Website Visits

July 2013 – 1,799,581

Year to Date – 11,582,671

Last month was such a great month for web visits that we hit some record numbers. MHVillage typically has about 46,000 viewers a day, but in July, we started seeing a trend, with days with well over 50,000 viewers! That certainly kept us busy. In fact, we are working hard to keep those numbers high. You might have noticed a few small changes to the site. We’ve been updating the look, the tools and search results on our site, in order to generate the most manufactured housing leads for you. Speaking of which…

Sales Leads

July 2013 – 64,296

Year to Date – 422,867

As I always say: don’t miss the fine print on those numbers – these do not include the estimated 40,000 phone inquiries generated each month! Remember too that we’ve also created an easy-to-use mobile website for home buyers to help them quickly shop for manufactured housing right on their smart phone. This mobile site doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of our full website (though you can easily switch over to the full version anytime you choose.) Instead, it was designed to help home buyers and potential residents find the communities and homes they are looking for.

Homes Sold

July 2013 – 4,805

Year to Date – 36,068

Are your homes on MHVillage selling? 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.

NEW on MHVillage – Shopping on Your Smart Phone!

BY: DAWN HIGHHOUSE
Home buyers can now use their phones to find your listings!

Home buyers can now use their phones to find your listings!

On February 25th, MHVillage launched an exciting new tool for manufactured home buyers: a mobile version of our website. Now there are two ways for buyers to find you on MHVillage – with their computer, or on their smart phone!

As you know, MHVillage has a lot of information. This new mobile site is a simplified version that works like an app. We’ve specifically optimized it to help buyers find manufactured homes, communities and sale centers. It is popular already – there are currently over 6,000 people a day using their phone to shop MHVillage for homes and communities.

Here’s a breakdown of what buyers are using to shop:

Smart Phone Usage on MHVillage

Smart Phone Operating Systems on MHVillage

Andriod – 65%
iOS – 33%
Windows Phone – 1%
BlackBerry – 0.5%
Samsung – 0.2%

Please note: our mobile site was built as a lead generation tool. Some MHVillage features are still only available on the full desktop version of the site. (You can’t list or edit your homes, for example.)

To use our new mobile site, just go to MHVillage.com on your smart phone. We will automatically ask you if you’d like to try it out. (You can switch back to the desktop version at any time.) If you have already tried our new mobile site, let us know what you think. We’d love to hear your feedback!