By Apprentice Creative
Fast Fair Home Buyer is a professional home investor that needed a new brand, website, media strategy, and advertising approach. They’ve been actively purchasing, renovating, and selling properties for years. Until recently, they relied on word-of-mouth business for all their leads and opportunities. Recently, though, they recognized the need to expand their acquisitions business. They decided to adopt a new marketing strategy to keep up with the success of the sales side of their business. I worked with Fast Fair Home Buyer over a six-month period to build a new brand, website, and advertising infrastructure.
Laying the Groundwork
To start, there was no differentiated brand for home acquisitions. What’s now the Fast Fair Home Buyer team wanted a new name, site, and logo developed to help them build their property investment business into a larger player in the Wichita market. I offered to help by providing an approach based on their unique vision and values. First, we had to find a name that captured who this company would be. It was important that we communicate that they do business with integrity. They walked me through their process and unique approach to home buying. They want to make enough money from the sale of the home to keep their business going, but they want to offer a fair value. Not just the lowest possible price for a home. It was also important to stress the speed and responsiveness of their company. Also, we had to choose a domain name that wasn’t taken, since the home investment market is crowded.
We settled on ‘Fast Fair Home Buyer’, and moved on to developing a brand identity for the new company. I drew up several iterations of ideas for the logo, and after a week or so of changes and proposals we settled on the final logo and color scheme. I didn’t want to do an obvious design that just emphasized speed by using italics and bright colors. I opted for a softer scheme that communicated professionalism and a focus on hospitality and service. We moved away from my earlier, more abstract approach and to a version that included a roofline in the logo to more quickly convey the purpose of the company visually. One aspect that was important to me was the negative space created by the two intersecting “F’s” in the logo. I wanted to create an equal sign in this space as a way of communicating the fairness of the company in a subtle way.
Building a New Structure
Once I’ve built a brand for a client, I try to build the rest of the marketing from that focus. With the Fast Fair Home Buyer website, I wanted to create an online interface that would combine a simple interface for them to manage, with a streamlined experience for customers to use. We spent some time looking at the pros and cons of different services and site builders and decided on a wordpress-based template platform called InvestorCarrot. This service made it possible to complete the site in under two weeks and came with a lot of SEO based content built into the site. The platform used Gravity Forms and Yoast SEO to add more robust lead generation and search engine optimization tools than other templates.
We set up a project schedule to get the site built, and completed all the tasks ahead of schedule and under budget. (Turns out this is in fact possible, who knew?) I used the template structure to build pages that focused on keyword terms gleaned from competitor research and ppc metrics in the SEO software I use. Each page was designed to target a specific key term or phrase and drive lead generation through the built-in forms on the site. I built a content-posting strategy and a social strategy for Fast Fair Home Buyer and worked on integrating targeted Google ads with custom landing pages on the site.
…professional video is what sets ‘dabblers’ apart from serious players in an industry.
We wanted to try to complete the site and media pieces of the marketing project as soon as possible so we could start getting leads in through the website. I suggested making video a prominent part of the site and ongoing marketing. Increasingly, professional video is what sets ‘dabblers’ apart from serious players in an industry. I even altered the styles included in the template in order to allow fullscreen video to play in the site. After a planning meeting on a Thursday, I went home and put together a shot list and crew for a Friday morning shoot. We shot the full day and by Monday I had a 30 second pitch video completed and on the site and youtube channel. We shot two other videos and B-Roll that could be used for other projects, and those videos were completed and posted within the month.
Once the videos were complete and the site was built, it was time to start driving traffic and getting leads. I never make promises about outcomes when it comes to advertising, because there are variables from budget to placement to creative to competitors, and that makes it impossible to anticipate all potential outcomes. (Don’t believe me? Believe smarter people than me, like Nassim Taleb. You should read his work, but I digress.)
I do my best to research competitive metrics, market trends, past data, prior client experience, and anything else I can get my hands on to make better decisions when spending a client’s money on an ad campaign. In that same vein, I do my best to design experiments that result in actionable data, not just hit or miss campaigns that don’t provide useful information for future attempts. I believe in setting expectations clearly up front and following a plan until the desired information is uncovered, and then making changes after that. This can be difficult to stick to, especially when an ad campaign is running and spending money with no discernible results for a week or more. Once the tests are over and data are gathered, we can set to work understanding what we found and narrowing a focus that will hopefully be increasingly effective as time goes on.
Making an Investment
I created a campaign for Fast Fair Home Buyer that focused on six different ad groups with around two-dozen target keywords in each groups and Ad creative that varied several different text headlines and split visitors between two different landing pages to see which pages would perform the best over time and which ad text led to the best results. We established an acceptable budget and started running a test. After removing a few clearly unrelated ‘Broad Match’ terms at the beginning of the initial test, we let the results come in after two weeks, then took a week to pause and look over the data. I was happy with the initial results, and learned a lot about which keywords were the most effective and what ad groups were leading to the best traffic. During the initial 2-week test, the clickthrough rate for the ads was 2.1% with a conversion rate of 3.7%. In the month after the ad data were analyzed, the clickthrough rate jumped to 4.43% with a total conversion rate of 11.7%. After a couple months of advertising with the same strategy and group structure, we decided to focus on a more niche market in order to reduce the overall budget and leave bandwidth for display ads on social media.
After the initial web build and ad campaign, I began to focus more on training and advisement so that Fast Fair Home Buyer could handle their day-to-day marketing in-house. They wanted to empower their people to be involved in the creative process as much as possible in order to better build a voice for their brand. I always want to help businesses reach their goals and do so while developing consistent marketing and a distinct voice, so this is a common request. I like to create pdf manuals and screen-capture tutorial videos for each piece of the process so that anyone in a marketing role will be able to pick up where I’ve left off. I created a series of videos going over the features and function of the website and advertising campaigns. It was a long process, but the benefit is that the videos and manuals will be available any time after completion without needing to spend more time or money on consulting hours in the future.
The Fast Fair Home Buyer project was one of my larger and more involved jobs, and I’m happy with how it turned out. We were able to take a small budget and short timeframe and maximize leads through the website. We were also able to collect real advertising data to better help estimate ongoing costs and allocation of time and marketing investments. If you’re curious about the site and want to see what they’ve been able to do since our project, you can check out FastFairHomeBuyer.com here.