A Nearly Free Mobile Website Option for Home Builders

nhs_iphoneIf you’ve toyed with the concept of a mobile campaign or a mobile website, but were turned off by the additional cost or the complexities, there is an option that is fast, simple, and maybe free. Yep, it might be free.

NewHomeSource.com is the consumer portal of BHI, and if you’re not part of the database, you probably should be. I’m not going to go into a pitch for BHI, but I will say that they are the hub of new home listings on the Internet.

One of the under-promoted benefits of being in the BHI database is that all of your listings are automatically available in a mobile friendly format – at NO extra cost. To visit the New Home Source mobile site, go to www.nhs2go.com from your phone. Search your area, or search for your listings, to get an idea of what a user will experience on their phone.

So an nhs2go.com user can find your listings if they’re searching, but how does this give you a mobile opportunity?

Step One: Find your listing(s)

You can also visit www.nhs2go.com from your desktop computer. It looks a bit odd on a large screen, but it’s still easy to follow.

I’ve searched my area and located a community in Baltimore named Ashman’s Hope. Below is a direct link to the Ashman’s Hope page on nhs2go:
http://www.nhs2go.com/community.php?cid=41714&adv=0/

Step Two: Create a Redirect

You’ll need to get your IT or web people involved in this step. A “redirect” is when you tell someone to visit to yoursite.com/whatever, but then redirect (or automatically forward) them to a new location.

Obviously http://www.nhs2go.com/community.php?cid=41714&adv=0/ is not an address you’d print on a sign. It’s not memorable or easy to type. However, if you visit www.ashmanshope.com/mobile from your phone, you’ll see that we’ve created a redirect that will forward you to that complicated URL above.

Step Three: Promote it

This new mobile website (ashmanshope.com/mobile) is simple to print and remember. It belongs on onsite signage; at the very least on the closed sign. It’s also well suited for brochure boxes when prospects are likely to pick up information alone in your community. This address could be used anywhere you think a user would be well served by accessing the info on a mobile site, including combining it with a Text Message (SMS) campaign.

It really is that simple.
So what are the advantages and disadvantages of this approach?

Disadvantages:

The Mobile Site is Unbranded – The “New Home Source” header is at the top of the page, as opposed to your builder logo. However, there are no ads, including no competing builder logos.

New Searches are Possible – At the bottom of the mobile page, there is a link where a user could start a “new search,” potentially exposing them to other properties. It’s a small option, and very low on the page. It’s not prominent unless someone knows what to look for, but it is there nonetheless.

Advantages:

Low/No Cost – The cost is absolutely $0 if your community is already a part of the BHI network.

Rich Content – The site includes community photos, prices, floor plans and elevations; almost everything that is available on newhomesource.com.

Current Content – Prices, plans, and availability is automatically updated when BHI is updated. There’s no need to maintain something new.

It’s Mobile & Simple – This is a great tool for brochure boxes and closed signs – When visitors want more information now and no one is onsite. When visitors don’t have a computer, but they do have their have their phone. The website address can be texted to a client or real estate agent as a follow-up. The possibilities are literally limitless.

While the solution is not a perfect one, it certainly makes it nearly free and really simple for a builder to have a fully functional and info rich mobile-web presence.

In 2009, being a homebuilder with a mobile website is cutting edge. So go forth, and be cutting edge for free.


Dennis O'Neil

Dennis O'Neil

President

Dennis has spent over 19 years using the internet to sell and market new homes. He blogs about internet marketing for home builders here, wrote a book about technology's impact on the sales process, and is a respected speaker on advanced internet marketing and the online sales process.


  • Frank Torres

    Great post Dennis. Real estate data migrating to the mobile web is the next logical step. It makes sense to deliver relevant content directly to the consumer via the mobile web.

  • Frank Torres

    Great post Dennis. Real estate data migrating to the mobile web is the next logical step. It makes sense to deliver relevant content directly to the consumer via the mobile web.