Dynamic personalization in both website functionality and in marketing is highly effective. Somewhere between adding a person’s first name to a mass email and adding a potential home buyer’s family photos to digital frames in your model homes when they schedule a tour (and use their Facebook login to do so) lies the sweet spot. When done right, personalization makes a home buyer feel like the builder has really listened to them and taken the time to address their specific needs. It builds loyalty and influences their decision to build a home with you.
On the February episode of Homefiniti & Beyond, Jenna, Angela and I talked through the process of gathering the data you need to use dynamic personalization, where to store that data, how to implement it on your website and in your marketing, and the roadblocks and concerns that can arise.
Watch the episode above or continue reading below.
HOW TO GATHER DATA FOR DYNAMIC PERSONALIZATION
This is where cookies come in. There’s first party and third party data that is collected via cookies and then there’s zero party data that comes from forms and other interactions in which a home buyer willingly provides personal information that they acknowledge can be used in a variety of ways.
First party cookies belong to the website and the builder using it. On Homefiniti websites our cookies stay active for 6 months at a time. First party cookies are totally cool and are happily usable as far into the future as we can see. These cookies collect things like the market which a home buyer has selected and the locations, plans, and specs they have visited as well as information about what images, videos, brochures and more have been viewed by a home buyer. What it doesn’t include is contact information for the home buyer – no emails, no phone numbers, no names; just historical data about the way they’ve used a builders website.
Third party cookies are from sites like Google and Facebook that live on your website and allow a third party to collect data about the people visiting your website. These cookies are disappearing and you should be actively planning for their demise.
Zero party data is the holy grail of data because it’s how you get name, address, phone number and so much more. This is gathered through forms and registrations on your website, through information that your OSC and sales professionals enter in your CRM, and through home buyers completing more detailed profile information at appointments.
You can use zero and first party data to personalize your website and marketing. And as of right now, if you share that info with Facebook or Google, they can add in the information they have from third party data to help create unique marketing experiences on their platforms for your potential home buyers.
WHERE TO STORE HOME BUYER DATA
If you read the ONeil Edit, you know this is my favorite topic these days because the answer to this question is a CDP of course! A Customer Data Platform and it’s just the dreamiest tool I can think of for a marketer these days. A place to store zero and first party data, create personas and craft the endless opportunities that await on your dynamic personalization journey.
Now you’ve got your data living in its lovely new home….how do you use it?
BASIC DYNAMIC PERSONALIZATION FOR HOME BUILDER WEBSITES
At the basic level, you can use your first party data to do things like remember the market that a home buyer selected the first time they visited your website and automatically send them there upon their return instead of making them go through the effort to find it a second time.
INTERMEDIATE AND ADVANCED PERSONALIZATION FOR HOME BUILDER WEBSITES
If you want to kick it up a notch, then you can do things like keeping track of the items that interest them in your photo galleries and automatically surface like photos in other galleries. Say they seem to click on a lot of white kitchens, you can make sure that white kitchens are at the top of the gallery in different photo albums.
Or one step further, you know they’ve been looking for homes that have a certain number of bedrooms and are a certain square footage, you can surface other plans that meet those criteria and suggest that they click to view them.
Once you’ve made them fall in love and either register or complete a form, you can take your personalization to the next level. Let’s say you know they have a family with small kids and that they love dogs, you can make it so that the images that appear first are ones with families and dogs in them! Or when they log into your website, you can alert them to new plans, specs, communities that have been added that might be of interest to them based on their profile.
BASIC DYNAMIC PERSONALIZATION FOR HOME BUILDER MARKETING
Using that same concept from the basic website personalization, you can run retargeting ads that make mention in the ad copy that you know they’ve visited a certain area of your website and suggest they come visit that area again.
INTERMEDIATE AND ADVANCED PERSONALIZATION FOR HOME BUILDER MARKETING
Going to the next level in marketing, could look like using our proprietary Follow product that allows you to retarget people based specifically on the locations, plans, and specs they have visited. This is one step more advanced than the retargeting I mentioned above in that if someone visits 123 Main street in Green Acres which is a Washington plan, they could see an ad for 123 Main st, other specs in Green acres, the Washington plan, or the Green acres community. It’s like when Nordstrom sends me ads for the shoes I just looked at as well as 12 other pairs of shoes that are in the same wheelhouse and then I ultimately fall down a Nordstrom rabbit hole and buy something. That stuff works!
When you have that zero party data you can take this conversation off of Facebook and Google and bring it directly to their inbox. Set up automated emails to alert people who are interested in 123 Main street to any new goings on with specs in Green Acres, the Washington plan and Green Acres itself.
CHALLENGES OF DYNAMIC PERSONALIZATION
Be wary of the possibilities though because thanks to 2016 and Cambridge Analyitca everybody is hyper aware of their data and the power it wields to influence. Way back in 2012, in the wild west of user data, a company in South America that sold condos had people register for tours using their Facebook login. The company would then scrape photos from the person’s profile and upload them to digital photo frames in the model condo so that the people could literally see themselves in the home! I cringe heavily at this thought now but back then, Dennis thought it was so cool he wrote a blog post about it! I probably thought it was awesome too at the time.
Alas, that ship has sailed and so we all must now walk that fine line between delivering unique experiences and making people run away screaming that you’re a stalker. Be wary of asking for too much info up front and the type of info you ask for when people visit your website. For example, if you ask for their location, people might not want to share it. If you try and detect it it doesn’t always match up with either their intent or their actual location.
In the end, when done right, dynamic personalization will have a positive impact on your bottom line.