One of my favorite parts of being in the homebuilding industry is the camaraderie and what is happening right now in our world is exciting. We are experiencing an unprecedented success story and not being able to high five my people about it is depressing. I’d love to believe that virtual events can replace the in-person experience, but as an introvert who loves a good party, I’ve been skeptical. However, ONeil Interactive had the pleasure of sponsoring Do You Convert’s Pulse 2020 event last week and it did not disappoint at filling a social void and providing a much-needed professional recharge.
The annual DYC Summit always schools top online sales and marketers on timely best practices for success, but it’s more than just tips, tricks and benchmarks. It’s an opportunity to be in the same room with like-minded people and share war stories, wins, and the occasional whimper of defeat. Follow along with me as I quickly recap the festivities of Pulse 2020.
Kevin Oakley, Mike Lyon, and the rest of the DYC team had their work cut out for them in recreating an unmatchable in-person energy by-way-of an online event with over 350 attendees. The Main Event and General Session content were hosted via Zoom (who is winning 2020 by a landslide). The best part? By far the chat wall. I admit, it was hard to process it all as a member of the audience, but the DYC team managed to keep up with questions and fuel the banter.
If you were lucky enough to procure a full admission ticket, you were assigned breakout groups and had access to even more conversation over on the Slack channels. Slack was also a forum for event info, helpful links, and more personalized conversation with your breakout groups.
Kevin and Mike kicked off the 2-day event with a virtual group hug for the hand this year has dealt the world and how we, as an industry, have persisted. Mike Lyon summed it up best when he said homebuilding got us into this mess in 2008 and homebuilding is going to get us out in 2020.
With a little innovation and adaptation, new construction has the opportunity to fuel the economy with employment opportunities and deliver the joy of a new home to buyers in a world where we all could use a smile.
The morning keynote for Day 1 was Scott Stratten, President of UnMarketing. I had never heard Scott speak before and knew only a little about his brand philosophies. After his presentation at Pulse, I can now say I’m a fan. While his message isn’t specific to home building, Scott Stratten was able to tie the idea of customer engagement and connection to what we do a smart sales and marketing professionals every day when we put the customer experience first (plus he gets brownie points for a model home meme).
After a morning full of inspiration, it was time to dive into the group breakout sessions. I can only imagine the behind the scenes war with the demons of technology during this event. You know the feeling when you’re at a big conference, and you’re not sure where the bathroom is or which ballroom you’re supposed be in? Imagine feeling that virtually without the luxury of being able to point or make eye contact. The DYC team did an amazing job at making sure attendees knew where they were supposed to be and how to get there. I also found out what Joe Exotic’s real name is during some fun transition trivia (Thanks Jen Barkan!)
As a sponsor, the lunchtime breakout sessions allowed me to see some friends and clients I haven’t connected with since IBS in Las Vegas. A lot has happened since then for everyone, and it was good to see some familiar smiles and hear perspective on all that has changed in our respective fields.
The day ended with a topic that hits close to home for me on creating good content. ONeil Interactive helps plan content calendars and generate content for both blogs and social media for home builders. However, good content is hard to execute successfully without active participation from our clients. Kevin and Melanie Deziel, Chief Content Officer at StoryFuel, confirmed this and broke down how to tell the authentic story of your brand online.
I always love a little Jeff Shore in my life, so I was excited to see him on the agenda as the kickoff keynote for Day 2 of the Pulse Event. Jeff brings it back to the core of what makes good sales people great and his discussion with Kevin reminded us that well-intended questions are for our customers’ benefit. While their answers can guide us toward closing the sale, they often help us deliver exactly what our prospects are looking for.
The group on the marketing track broke into a morning session with Kevin as he laid out conversion benchmark data, where you should be as an above average marketer, and how to get to the bottom of where there might be gaps in your sales and marketing process. I love a good data dump, and the lead-to-appointment and appointment-to-sale ratios tell the best story on where you can save and where you should spend money.
Speaking of spending money? What has your paid search campaigns done for you during the pandemic? I felt like I was listening to a bonus episode of Market Proof Marketing with Kevin and Andrew Peek in Wednesday afternoon’s Paid Search – Pandemic Edition. We saw a shift in competition, cost-per-click, and overall paid search strategy for our home builder clients as home shoppers had more time to search online during quarantine. It had a big impact on impressions and clicks, but Google might be throwing the real estate industry another curve ball in coming months so stay tuned as we monitor evolving conditions.
It’s so hard to say good bye, but prizes help. Kevin and Mike bid the Pulse audience a fond farewell and while I didn’t win the new AirPods, I did learn how to noise cancel my life by wearing Bose headphones over the pods I already own.
But I didn’t just walk away from Pulse 2020 with handy airplane hacks, I gained valuable takeaways, confirmed how much I crave nerding out over home builder marketing, and became a believer in virtual events. Great work Do You Convert. Thanks for allowing ONeil Interactive to sponsor such a stand out event!