Once we know the right ingredients of the story, it's time to produce the chemical reaction. But getting the mix just right as you take your story to your buyers is critical. As we create our marketing plan, our focus is on developing complementary strategies and tactics that improve the performance of all other lead generation initiatives and lead to the lowest cost per sale. Our process is outlined below, and it's proven to deliver the results you'll need.

Step 1: Establish your Quantitative and Qualitative Goals
Most developers know how many homes they want to sell in a year. But they often haven't articulated the overall goal of the development. For example, if a developer has a qualitative goal of becoming the most coveted waterfront destination on the North Carolina coast, the strategies and tactics that he would employ to achieve his quantitative goal of selling 100 units would be different than if he wanted to leave a family legacy project. Meaning, you may make short-term trade-offs to achieve a longer-term vision. Your marketing mix has to support both the vision and the financials.

Step 2: Establish your Target Markets/ Buyer Profiles
Your qualitative and quantitative goals will also impact the decision about which demographic, psychographic and geographic markets to target. Do you want to create a community full of the energy of children, or one that is primarily adult-focused? Do you want to attract like-minded people or a diverse mix? Identifying the finish line will help you create the best path to complete the race.

That said, there will usually be some target markets that represent your "lowest hanging fruit" for your initial program. In addition to qualitative data impacting your ideal target market, you should also consider your planned release of products as they may impact which groups you go after first.

Your qualitative and quantitative goals, potential target markets and buyer profiles, and even timing of releases will also determine the most appropriate lead generation strategies.

Qualitative: Do you want to be seen as a community with mass-market appeal, or are you trying to appear highly selective and exclusive?

Quantitative: Are you trying to generate a large number of leads during a peak selling season, or have a program that keeps consistent traffic throughout the year?

Buyer Profiles: What are the likes and dislikes of your potential target market? Do they attend boat shows, enjoy wine tastings, or drive a particular type of car? Comprehensive profiling can provide opportunities to develop cross promotions to give you access to untapped markets and stretch your dollars further. Buyer profiles will also help you to determine if the lion's share of your dollars should be spent in traditional outreach or in innovative new channels.

The optimal lead generation program will typically be a multi-channel outreach initiative that ensures prospects are "touched" multiple times, in multiple venues and in multiple ways.

Step 4: Establish Sales Conversion Strategies & Tactics
Once a prospect becomes a lead, how do you close the deal? The simple answer is the better your sales team, the better your conversion, but even an average team can improve with the proper tools from Catalyst and a fool-proof system for employing them.

The ideal mix of sales conversion strategies and tactics consists of communication tools that are as varied as your potential buyer. Some people are "information junkies" who want to know everything and anything about the property, while others want only the most relevant facts presented. Catalyst will give you tools that can be customized for both.

Remember, chemistry is everything. Especially with large, complex master-planned communities, it's often best to "date" your prospect at first, not tell them your entire life story at once. We'll reveal positive characteristics at each touch point, and build the relationship slowly, monitoring reaction at every step.

Step 5: Establish Ongoing Relationship Marketing Strategies & Tactics
Communication after the sale is equally as important as what happens to get the sale for two key reasons: 1) to reduce your cancellation rate and 2) create ambassadors for the project. Happy homeowners are your best and least expensive resource for future buyers and should therefore be related to in that way. Keeping them informed and honored for their status within the community will be critical to the long-term success of the project. Tools that should be considered to support this goal include:
  • Homeowner events (where they can invite other friends)
  • Intranet, newsletters, industry/area reports, construction updates, etc.
  • Gifts from local vendors, service providers, etc.