Building group shares how it's adopted a new digital strategy leading to better traffic for the business and simpler experiences for its customers.
A 600 per cent surge in leads, the ability to connect the dots on customer journeys and a substantial lift in the quality of prospects are just a few of the initial wins for Australian builder, Wisdom, after overhauling its digital strategy and website.
The group, which owns the Wisdom Homes, Hoot Homes and Wisdom Pools and Landscapes brands, kicked off the digital rethink earlier this year, partnering with digital marketing agency, UnDigital, to help with the task. Wisdom head of marketing, Chantze Baker, told CMO the group had previously run three different and disconnected websites, all of which were extremely limited in capability and functionality and lacked connectivity to its CRM or customer portal.
“We partnered with UnDigital to not only develop new sites, but to think about more about the user experience and bring more human psychology into building our sites,” she said.
“For example, the website filters and search functionality introduced is a lot like what you see on Domain or realestate.com. We see many customers coming through these platforms to us, so it was important to make the journey more consistent. That helped inform our build and UX.”
The digital work was also in tandem with the group’s journey to deliver a clear and more distinctive brand strategy for its Hoot Homes offering. Launched about two years ago, the original proposition was as a first-home buyer brand and targeted very much at millennials. Yet the look and feel was proving at odds with the on-trend buyers it was seeking to win over, Baker said.
“When we started to work on the brand strategy, we also realised it’s not a first-home buyer brand. We have more value-adds and we’re not the cheapest,” she continued. “So we repositioned Hoot not just as first home brand, but also oriented towards other groups such as migrants and those in their 30-40s. They have more money to spend, but they’re still buying their first home in Australia.”
A new tagline, ‘Quality homes simplified’, was introduced to reflect the streamlined home customisations and processes on offer enabling Hoot to help owners build a home in 20 weeks. All this brand work made it a no-brainer for UnDigital to tackle the Hoot website front-end first, which went live in June.
A key point of difference is its ‘build your home’ calculator, allowing users to estimate the costs of building their home. “Only a couple of our competitors have this, our builder quote tool surpasses these for capabilities and the fact its easy use, works much better than a generic inquiry form,” Baker said.
This is coupled with live chat capabilities and API integrations with both Wisdom’s core CRM, as well as third-party property tools.
By contrast, Wisdom Homes positions itself more towards second and third home buyers who have more money to spend, and are “looking for their forever home”, Baker said. The Wisdom Homes fresh website debuted in September.
“We call it the ‘luxury upsizer’ – you can customise anything. So the two brands are now very different,” she said. “It’s the same back end for consistency’s sake, but the language, images are very different and there’s clear delineation across the brands now.”
The third brand website refresh, Wisdom Pools and Landscapes, will go live in 2021.
Integration was a big priority for Wisdom in overhauling its digital properties. The old sites had not been integrated with the company’s existing SugarCRM platform, resulting in the loss of many leads.
“That was a big fundamental – to integrate sites with CRM and our third-party add-ons, such as Mydesktop [real estate agent CRM platform] and other property platforms and software we use to promote house and land packages or videos,” Baker explained. “We were losing so many leads it just wasn’t an efficient CX. For example, you wouldn’t get an automated response until you were put into the database one week later.”
The old site also stretched to 18,000 pages, creating an array of issues, from broken links to poor content navigation for customers. What’s more, disconnected inquiry forms could result in poor quality leads.
“There is a need for a lot of content – 3D tours, brochures, home plans. I wanted to make that journey easy so customers could find what they needed when they needed to find it,” Baker said. “Previously, you had to send an inquiry form to download a brochure, for example.
“When you look at the customer journey to build a home, it takes six months from time they start researching to visiting a display home. That lack of digital clarity and efficiency was creating a lot of hurt in the business.”
For Baker, a simple digital experience and solid website in the building sector was half the journey towards customer conversion.
“By having that builder quote calculator online, we’re giving customers transparency and we are sharing our pricing. It’s a huge advantage for us, and at the crux of repositioning of Hoot Homes as quality homes simplified.”
The push on personalisation
Personalisation was another big focus. The new sites allow prospects to create a login, thereby saving everything they search. Baker said this gives customers more control over their experience online and also allows the Wisdom team to show recommendations or related house and land packages depending on content the prospect has been reviewing online.
“Personalisation was a huge thing for us – again, we lacked that in our marketing, social media was very product focused. There was a lack of the people element,” Baker said.
Once a prospect becomes a customer, they are given a login for Wisdom’s core customer portal managed internally, allowing them to track their job and do things like message their site manager.
“Our first step is setting up the website logins, while the second part will be to connect those to our portal,” Baker said. “If prospects create a login then become a customer, that whole journey can be recorded against that customer or lead.”
While it’s only been a few months, Baker said Wisdom has already chalked up a 600 per cent increase in leads. Hoot Homes traffic is four times higher than it was this time last year, overall Web traffic has grown threefold, and the quality of leads is up significantly too.
“Prospects are making inquiries on things relevant to them. That’s probably the biggest thing we have noticed - that quality of lead,” Baker said. “Because our leaders have personal interactions with these leads, we know we are getting better quality data now.”
Phase two for Wisdom will be continuing to optimise its software, including further optimisation with the CRM, and re-using several third-party property software tools into its websites.
“We’re developing our own tool to help build our own house and land flyers. That represents a huge cost and time savings for us,” Baker said.
Then it’s about integrating the new websites with the core customer portal in order to map the entire customer journey from prospect to delivery.
“We have done all the strategy work to be the number one lifestyle builder in NSW. We are the only builder with a pool and landscape division, and customers can access everything all on one contract, which is an amazing selling feature for us. There is a real lifecycle journey we are not leveraging as we don’t understand enough about the customer journeys,” Baker said.
“Now we can monitor what users do on our sites, what is in demand and see how they came to us and what they searched, enabling a much clear understanding of our users.
“These insights will be really powerful and help us make business decisions in future.”