The Industry is moving on up!
We’ve had some great growth in the industry in the years since the housing recession a decade ago. Just check out the graph below. We’ve done from around 40K shipments in 2010, to over 100K last year.
It’s more than doubled in 10 years!
We’ve done better. From the 60s into mid 70s, and throughout the 90s, our industry was growing at nearly triple the rate it has over the past ten years. Can you imagine what that was like? The question is…what can we do to get back to that?
Now, I know what you all are thinking: “The financing in the 90s was so loose you could have driven a Mack truck through it.” That’s absolutely true. And that financing will never come back.
But the buyers are still there. The US population has not decreased since the 90s, nor has everyone started making more money to the point at which there’s less of a need for affordable housing. In fact, there’s more people now that want to buy a home, AND there’s more of a need for affordable housing. What gives? Why aren’t we growing like we have in the past?
The answer is awareness. Outside of the industry, manufactured housing is relatively unknown. The average 28 year old looking to buy their first home knows ZERO about manufactured homes.
And they won’t know anything about it until we tell them. The manufactured housing industry has to advertise more. We cannot simply rely on being the cheapest housing option as our primary method to get buyers in the door. Our industry has an incredible product, is full of amazing people, and is the best chance many Americans have to own their own home. We have the potential to do 10x the business we are now. We just have to advertise in places that the 28 year old spends time, AND in a manner that resonates with that younger buyer.
Worried about the ‘stigma’ of a manufactured home (mobile home)? Don’t be. Young people don’t care. You have to remember, this is the generation that started the #VanLife movement and will spend $200k on a van to live in down by the river. : ) The problem isn’t that they think negatively about manufactured homes…the problem is that they don’t think about them at all.
A manufactured home is the best housing option for millions of young Americans, yet we’re only selling to thousands. We have to get them talking about it, and that happens through advertising.
In advertising, you always get what you pay for.
Everything has a cost, marketing included. That cost is measure in dollars, time, or energy. For something to be effective, it’s going to be high in at least one of those. The good news is that in advertising, digital especially, you always get what you pay for. If you pay for $50, you’ll get $50 worth of advertising. If you spend $5,000, you’ll 100x as much value, or $5,000 worth of advertising.
The same holds true with time and energy. If you put 5 minutes and little effort into something, you’ll get little results out of it. If you put several hours and LOTS of energy into your marketing, you’ll get great results.
In the list below, I’ve come up with 22 marketing ideas you can try in the remainder of 2022. Some are free in terms of dollars, but expensive in terms of time and energy. Others cost a lot of dollars, but won’t take a lot of your time.
Part 1: “Free” marketing ideas
1. Message all your old leads on Facebook
If you’ve been in business for any amount of time, you should have plenty of messages on your Facebook business page. Go back through and ask every single one of them if they’re still interested in purchasing a home. If you have a special going, mention that. If they don’t respond, message them again. Keep following up.
2. Call previous customers and ask for Google review
You should have plenty of happy customers out there. They can get you more sales. Call up every single one of your former customers and ask for 5 star Google reviews. Send them a link to make it easy.
3. $1000 referral bonus
There’s no better source of good business than referrals. When you’re calling up those customers, tell them you’ll write them a $1,000 check for every referral they send you that buys a home. Yes, I know it’s a lot of money. That’s why it works. It’s a lot, and it’s great motivation.
4. Post a feature of the day on social media
Are you posting 1x per week? Switch to every day. Post 1 feature in 1 home every day, and talk about how it benefits the home owner. Examples would be energy star appliances, 2×6 walls, Wind Zones, etc.
5. Go through leads, and call ALL leads from the past year
Open up your CRM (if you don’t have one, get one), and call every single lead that didn’t buy a house. Tell them about your sales, promotions, new inventory, etc. If they’re not interested, ask them if they know anyone that is.
6. Send previous buyers a ‘Happy Birthday’ text
You should have your customer’s birthday, either on a credit app or something similar. Every year on their birthday, send them a happy birthday message and wish them well. Tell them who it’s from, but don’t try to sell anything. The message will make them smile and keep your business in the front of their minds.
7. Post all your homes on Craigslist and Facebook marketplace, and link to your website
Yep, Craigslist and Facebook are free. Yes, this will take a lot of time. But if you need leads, that time will be well spent. Post those houses and link back to your website.
8. Call everyone you do business with and get a link to your website
This will help with your website’s SEO. Call up every vendor, lender, supplier, manufacturer, etc. that you do business with, and ask them if they have a directory on their website. If they do, get your name and link on there.
Part 2: Low cost marketing ideas
9. Buy a big key and take a photo with every buyer
Call up your local print shop, tell them you need a key, and order it. Make it hilariously large. So large it doesn’t fit inside your building and you have to go outside. Then take a picture with every single person that buys a home from you. You could even say: “This customer got a HUGE deal on their new home!” or “Giant value means giant keys!”
10. Send a $10 Starbucks gift card (or similar) to all previous buyers
Grab that CRM again, and send a $10 gift card in the mail to every singe one of your previous customers. Write a personal note on it, something like: “Here’s a cup of coffee to enjoy in your new home.” This will make them think of you, and hopefully tell their friends.
11. Send Holiday cards to all previous buyers
Is there a holiday coming up? Send all your customers a card. They’ll appreciate it and think of you.
12. $20 boost on every single social media post
Every time you post on social, spend $20 to boost it in a 50 mile radius. If you post 3x per week, that’s $60 per week, or $250 per month. It will make a difference. If you want a bigger difference, spend more.
13. Buy matching winter apparel for all sales people
Is it cold outside? If so, your sales people need a nice jacket. Buy them something nice (spend at least $150 per jacket), and put your logo on it. If it’s nice enough, they’ll wear it all the time and they’ve become a walking billboard that talks and answers questions.
14. Vinyl wrap your car with business logo
Do you have a sweet ride? Take a tip from Xzibit and make it look good. Have a local ad agency design a vinyl wrap for your car. Now you’ve become a driving billboard.
15. Hire a drone pilot to do fly over and fly through of lot
Everyone has drones now, and that video looks great. Find a local photographer to do some shots of your lot. Post those on social, and boost them. Also put it on your website.
16. Start doing short form videos (aka shorts, Reels, Tik Tok, etc.)
Have you ever watched Tik Tok or YouTube shorts? Those are dopamine inducing addictive little things. And you need to be doing them. Get creative, get silly, and be authentic. Click here to watch a funny reel I saw this week. You know this guy sold a lot of Dodges after this.
Part 3: Shoot for the moon marketing ideas
17. Manufactured Home Diorama
Now this would get some attention. Imagine half of a double wide, facing the highway, with furniture, decor, and fake people on the inside, with plexiglass so that everyone can see in. You could even change the decor based on holidays, promos, etc. Make it something that people drive to see.
18. Give away a green egg with every home purchase
Everyone likes those green eggs. Go to your local hardware store and see what deal they can give you if you buy them in bulk. Advertise that everyone gets one with a new home, and create some material to put in that hardware store. There’s a lot of overlap between local hardware store patrons and manufactured home buyers.
19. “Send them our way”freestyle motocross promotion
Know anyone that’s into freestyle motorcross? If you do, tell them it’s time to ‘send it.’ Set up a couple ramps, and video them jumping over one of your houses. Then run an ad on social, YouTube, email etc. that says “Send them our way.”
Yeah, it’s silly. But who wouldn’t pay attention to a dirt bike jumping over a single wide?
20. Throw a FREE holiday concert – good band, free food, and beer whose proceeds go to local charity. Partner with brewer for beer, food trucks for food
Go all out. Get a great band to come play. Pay them well. Talk to local food trucks and see if they’ll split the cost with you, or something similar. Find a local brewery, and tell them you’ll give them the exclusive as long as they donate some of the proceeds to a charity. Make it a concert that people will remember.
21. Prices are DROPPING special – hire sky diver to jump into lot with banner with your logo and slogan on it
This one speaks for itself.
22. Give away a new home to someone in need
Everyone likes a feel good story. And giving a home to someone that lost one is definitely a feel good story. Make sure the local news covers it.
Maybe this is a good way to get rid of some inventory with an invoice that’s higher than today’s price?
Don’t like any of those ideas? Don’t worry, I’m not offended. There’s a million and one creative ways to market your business, and I barely scraped the surface. Just remember to be creative, authentic, and put time/energy/dollars into your advertising.