FloorPop  - Interactive Marketing Best Practices, December 7, 2005
Vol. 5, Issue 9: Copyright (C) 2005 Blair Kuhnen.  All rights reserved.

FloorPop FloorPop (Flr-pop) n. 1. The homebuyer who visits a Builder's community and writes a contract for sale the same day. 2. The sound made by a salesperson clicking their heels high in the air and returning to the floor after a prospect signs a contract the day they first meet.

Homebuilders and Blogs

Customers are excited. They come back to your website, buy more upgrades, tell friends, and are more satisfied. You are more connected to your market place and easily keep abreast of changing market conditions. These are some of the benefits of understanding and using blogs.

First, let me give you my layman's definition of a blog. A blog is a web journal or log, hence "blog." They allow just about anyone with a PC and a fleeting thought to publish on the world wide web with ease and zero costs. According to Business Week, 9 million are already out there and 40,000 are sprouting up each day. If we count the Xangas and MySpace blogs of just my Daughter's friends, the true count is likely much higher. The quality of most blogs leave much to be desired. However, I believe they can be of great benefit to many business.

A few months ago, one of my designers who keeps up with technology trends far better than I do was explaining to me why blogs were already "the big thing" and that it was time for us to get on board. The excitement and animation in his explanation was sincere, but I was not yet convinced. About the same time Business Week ran a cover feature (see May 2, 2005) about how blogs were going to be critical to business, they said "blogs are not a business elective. They're a prerequisite." So, what does it mean for builders?

Blogs are not just for political campaigns and soapboxes for disgruntled employees or customers. They can be of great business marketing value. They can help us sell homes and deliver better care to our customers. In addition to customer related benefits, they are powerful tools to help track trends in our industry. Let me start with how you can use blogs to track trends and see how blogs are linked into a network of related topics and authors,

Staying on Top of the Market and Trends

I am a big fan of Seth Godin and permission marketing. So, I subscribe to Seth's blog. Through his blog I am also exposed to a network of authors also inclined to practice permission marketing. Ideas spread faster as a network is formed among blogs and authors. Let's look closer to your home.

Are there homebuilder blogs you should be aware of? Let's say you may have an interest in the local Phoenix housing market. Have a look at http://www.blogarizona.com/. Perhaps you are interested in the possibility of a housing bubble? Here's a network of blogs and articles I ran across when searching for housing bubble commentary:

In a matter of minutes, I was connected to dozens of related articles, blogs, and other musings that all had the benefit of human editorial. Unlike search engines, someone (unfortunately, perhaps someone with a bias) made an editorial decision to link to an article or other source.

Communicating Community Lifestyle

I started this article because I ran across the Michael Rich's blog about his HarborHills community in Florida http://harborhills.blogspot.com/. Rich is General Partner Harbor Hills Development, LP. Here was a developer/builder posting every few days pictures, events, celebrations and other news from the community of Harbor Hills. Through the blog, the lifestyle of the community comes alive in a way that is hard to accomplish online.

I asked Rich why he put this blog up. "It's hard to update your website. We can get a posting up on our blog easily." Not only was it much easier, it was much quicker, "After we won an award, we had it [the notice] up in 10 minutes. Within minutes, 3 or 4 people [blog subscribers] were congratulating us." How connected is that?

Rich sees his blog being used by homeowners, clients under contract, and by prospects. He sees a number of key benefits:

  • It helps him keep in touch with customers in the build process,
  • He uses it to communicate "Club" news, and
  • He uses it as a sales tool for both prospects and buyers choosing options.

How to Get Started or Learn More

Blogs and blogging are hard to describe. You have to experience them. You can easily set up your own free blog on http://www.blogger.com in abut 10 minutes. Or just go there and do a little searching on a topic of interest to you.

Blogs are just one more tool you can use to turn your website into a marketing system. If you need help, feel free to call me at 866-661-3559 or email at kuhnen@earthlink.net. What do your think? Link to the FloorPop blog and post your feedback to share with other readers http://floorpop.blogspot.com

FloorPop is published on the first Wednesday of each month. We welcome your comments, thoughts, and questions. Please write or call anytime. kuhnen@earthlink.net.

Blair Kuhnen is the publisher of FloorPop and can be reached at 817-658-7698 or via email at kuhnen@earthlink.net. Roger Anderson owns Anderson Associates, a full-service marketing company focused on California's Inland Empire. He can be reached at andersonmarketing@adelphia.net

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