D.C.-Area BIAs Promote ‘Buyers Market’ to Boost Sales
Two builders associations in the Washington, D.C. area have teamed up to create a buyer’s market campaign and Web site in order to help generate sales for their members and combat negative media reports about the housing market.
The Maryland-National Capital Building Industry Association (MNCBIA) and the Northern Virginia Building Industry Association (NVBIA) launched the “Taking Advantage of a Buyer’s Market” campaign last month to reach out to both consumers and industry professionals and educate them on how to take advantage of the current state of the housing market.
The centerpiece of the campaign is a consumer Web site — www.buyersmarket2006.com ― that explains why now is a great time to buy a home. The Web site features the consumer-oriented, downloadable report, “Taking Advantage of a Buyer’s Market.”
“Taking Advantage of a Buyer’s Market” explains what a buyer’s market is and informs consumers that, not only do they have a wider selection of new homes to choose from right now, but sellers are more flexible and most new homes are available for early occupancy. The report also reminds prospective buyers that financing is still very affordable.
In addition to its availability on the consumer Web site, the report is also being distributed as a four-page advertorial spread in New Homes Guides that target the region’s potential home buyers.
The consumer Web site is also helping to promote a spring housing tour planned by both HBAs — the final element of the campaign — by inviting users to sign up online to receive updates about the market.
“The tour will be the last push to convert traffic to sales,” said Laura Hampton, NVBIA’s communications director. “We want to convince people that it really is a good time to buy.”
The idea for the campaign “grew out of sitting around a table at a lunch last December,” explains Susan Matlick, MNCBIA’s executive vice president. “Members were saying that we needed to do something to encourage people to buy homes.”
The associations, along with New Homes Guide representatives, brought in marketing directors to help brainstorm.
Matlick, the EO at MNCBIA since 1975, said that the campaign is very different from ones conducted during past market downswings.
“In my tenure, we’ve done three ‘buy a home’ campaigns, and the message was always very specific: ‘Buy a home now!’” Matlick said. “This time, it’s more subtle. We’re using the ‘buyer’s market’ theme with the underlying message being that now is a good time to look at your opportunities.”
“We need to create urgency in the mind of the buyer,” said Sue Martinez, chair of NVBIA’s Sales and Marketing Council and vice president of sales and marketing at Edgemoore Homes in Fairfax, Va. “Prospects aren’t convinced that the market has bottomed out. They’re worried that they’ll buy and then find a lower price.”
Both associations’ members have contributed to the campaign.
“Our members are a vital part of the program,” said NVBIA’s Hampton. “Ecendant Interactive, a member, did the Web site, and we’ve had nearly 50 builders commit $1,000 each to the campaign. In return, they get 1,000 reprints of the ‘Taking Advantage of a Buyer’s Market’ report, buttons for their salespeople to wear and signs to put outside their sales offices and along the routes to their communities.”
Many of the builders behind the program also are featured on the site in a listing with links to their individual Web sites.
The associations have high hopes for the campaign and are working on driving more consumers to the site.
In the end, Martinez said, the key to encouraging prospects to take advantage of the market is to create the “emotion and joy” of buying a new home.
“The reasons that people buy haven’t changed,” Martinez added. “They’re buying a new home to improve their lives. We need to show that it’s never too soon to improve the quality of their lives, and show how a new home will do that.”