Recently on the Home Builder Digital Marketing Podcast, Greg and Kevin had the opportunity to talk with social media all-star Carol Morgan, founder, and president of Denim Marketing. They dive deep into the importance of having a strategic marketing plan, the difference between PR and social media, and much more. Carol has built a career on listening to clients and personalizing plans to fit each client’s needs while creating big picture marketing strategies. She utilizes public relations, advertising, social media, content, reputation management, and creativity to send traffic to the client’s website and garner measurable results.
Carol is also well known as a speaker and author of four books on social media, including her latest, “Social Media Marketing for Your Business.” Published in 2018. She is the creator of the nationally ranked and award-winning www.AtlantaRealEstateForum.com, Atlanta’s most popular real estate blog, which launched in 2006. Let’s just say Carol saw the benefits of blogging before most people knew what blogging was. She is the founder and host of Atlanta Real Estate Forum Radio, a podcast that airs twice a week.
She is also an established board member who has previously chaired NAHB’s Professional Women in Building Council and Membership committee and served as one of NAHB Chairman Greg Ugalde’s 2019 advisors. While currently, Carol serves as the Second Vice-Chair of the NAHB Associates committee as well as the newly formed Hammack Business School Board at Oglethorpe University. A graduate of Oglethorpe University, she is the recipient of the 2008 Spirit of Oglethorpe Award, PRSA Georgia Chapter’s prestigious George Goodwin Award, the 2009 Greater Atlanta Home Builders Association’s Associate of the Year and 2012 Council Chair of the Year. Carol holds the MIRM (Masters in Residential Marketing), CAPS (Certified Aging in Place Specialist), and CSP (Certified Sales Professional) designations from NAHB.
When she isn’t in the office, she can be found in the barn with the horses. Carol rides and competes in dressage with her Trakehner mare Johanna. She volunteers with Canine Pet Rescue. Carol also enjoys cooking and gardening.
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Editing by: KT Maschler
[00:00:00]Greg Bray: Welcome everybody to another exciting episode of the Home Builder Digital Marketing Podcast. I'm Greg Bray with Blue Tangerine
Kevin Weitzel: and I'm Kevin Weitzel with Outhouse,
Greg Bray: and we are excited today to have with us, Carol Morgan, the founder, and president of Denim Marketing. Welcome, Carol.
Carol Morgan: Thanks. Thanks for inviting me.
It's great to be here with you too.
Greg Bray: Well, we've known you, we both known you for quite a while, Carol. But, uh, for, for the two people that might listen to this who don't already know you, um, why don't you, uh, enter, introduce [00:01:00] yourself just briefly to those who are not familiar with who Carol is.
Carol Morgan: Sure. So I am founder and president of Denim Marketing.
Like you said, it's a woman-owned agency. Uh, we are 21 years old this year, which is kind of just crazy when you think about it. I am past national association of home builders, uh, professional women, and building chair, and I chaired membership for NHB as well. And I'm the current second vice chair of the associate's council, which is really kind of a lot of fun.
We're, we're doing really fun things this year on that council. I've written four books on social media, all published by builder books, and I speak a lot on social media and marketing around the country at HBA's
Greg Bray: Awesome, now everybody knows why we're so excited to have you, so we appreciate that. Tell us a little more about the associate counsel before we dive into some of the other things.
I don't know if everybody really knows what that is and how that works,
Carol Morgan: You know, it's kind of interesting. I think that we have associates that don't often even know their associates, so basically. If you're not a builder or [00:02:00] remodeler, and you're a member of the national association of home builders, or here local HBA, which gives you the national membership, then you are an associate.
So it's the biggest group of members and NHB. Um, and you know, it's everyone from, you know, plumbers to the tile people to mortgage companies and marketing firms and, um, companies that do really cool 3-D renderings. So, you know, it. It covers the gamut. So it's a group that works to support the NHB. So we do everything from, you know, work on advocacy to, at our locals, you know, increase membership.
Um, you know, I like to say that the associates are the 3M that keeps NHB running.
Greg Bray: Okay. Awesome. Well, it's good to know that we're all associates here in the room together, so that's awesome. So Carol, tell us some things about yourself that most people don't know.
Carol Morgan: I think Kevin alluded to some of this before we got on air, but, um, probably a lot of people don't know [00:03:00] that I live on a 20-acre farm.
It is a working farm, the current residents of the farm are three horses, a miniature donkey, whose name is donkey. Um, two dogs who are German shepherd rescues. Uh, we currently have five cats and four kittens. And yes, all my cats are spayed and neutered except for the cat that I adopted.
She was a rescue this year and she was pregnant. Um, so I've got two-week-old kittens and they're the cutest things. Oh my gosh. Um, and then we have a turtle and a European Starling who talks and he says things like, run Forrest run. Run faster and he says, where's champ and whistles for him? It sounds just like me.
Trying to think what else he says. He'll say morale, morale, morale. He has a whole complete vocabulary that is really quite funny and almost none of it is anything we've taught him. He ignores the things I try to teach him, but then he picks up the things that he hears every day. For instance, the iPhone ring.
He does a perfect iPhone ring plus the dong [00:04:00] that the phone makes when you're, when you're, you have a message that comes in so often, if you're upstairs in the house and you hear that noise, you're looking at your phone and then you realize, Oh, it's the bird.
Kevin Weitzel: They're notorious for learning things like microwave sounds.
Carol Morgan: Yes, it's hilarious.
Greg Bray: So what, what made you decide you wanted to be on a farm?
Carol Morgan: Well, horses. So, you know, having horses at your own place is a lot less expensive than having a horse boarded somewhere. So, um, and it allows me to have more than one.
Kevin Weitzel: Now now these horses just there to eat the grass, keep the lawn and to intend, or do you ride them?
Uh, what's, what's the story with the horses?
Carol Morgan: So, well, it depends on the horse. So I have one that is 25, and she's retired and she mostly just eats the grass and is, is sweet and pretty. And then I have, um, a boarder whose horse stays here and he is retired and he's gorgeous. So he enjoys eating the grass.
We're running around and showing off how beautiful he is. And then I have my show horse who just turned 14. And I guess a lot of people don't [00:05:00] know. I'm also her breeder. I owned her mother and brought her to a stallion. And so I've known her I'll often tell her that I can put her back where she came from if she doesn't behave, cause I've known her entire 14 years.
Same conversation you have with your children. Um, and she's my dressage horse. We, um. Have successfully completed training first and second level, and this year if we ever get to show again, we're going to move on up to third level. So if we can get our two third level scores this year, then we will have completed our bronze medal, which that's, that's my goal with her is to complete bronze and then we'll move on up to silver.
Kevin Weitzel: I too am a horse rider, but I'm in the fraidy-cat category. Horses scare the ever-loving snot out of me.
Greg Bray: Well, I've been on a horse once, so
Carol Morgan: I mean, they're big animals. If you take into consideration what they weigh and what they can do, I mean, mine super, super fit right now, and my riding instructor about three weeks ago, she said, now Carol, how often are you riding?
And I'm like, I don't know, four or five days. Cut back to four. I [00:06:00] don't want her any fitter, and I realized why last week in my lesson, actually this week in my lesson, she got angry at me and she put in an extra bounce that was a little bit of a threat. It was kind of like if you ask me that again, I may unload you.
So instead of getting mad at her, which is what she wanted, she wanted to fight. I just completely relaxed and said, okay. She was like, oh, okay, we'll ask again, I'll try. So you just have to, it's the same as dealing with the, you know, 13 or 14-year-old child. You just have to outsmart them.
Kevin Weitzel: And you don't have to buy him a car.
Carol Morgan: Well, exactly. No, but, you know,
Greg Bray: You to buy him a 20-acre farm you see... Well, awesome. Well, that sounds like a lot of fun. We'll have to come to visit sometime and you can show us around there. So
Carol Morgan: absolutely. We should be recording this here.
Greg Bray: Yeah, that's right. So Carol, tell us a little more about how you ended up in the home building and real estate.
You know, you've been doing this for a few years, I'm guessing, just based on, you know, some of the accomplishments, but, but what, what kind of started that journey for you?
Carol Morgan: It's [00:07:00] kind of an interesting story. Um, right. After college, I worked for several nonprofits, including the Atlanta Botanical Garden and Zoo Atlanta.
And I was PR director of both places. Um, you know, at some point I just decided that it was, it was time to do something different and, you know, maybe to, to look at corporate America. So I ended up at a small marketing firm, um, starting their PR division and they had a focus on residential real estate. So I was there for a year and then had a baby and crazy me decided to go out on my own, cause I had a very fussy baby.
He, um, sometimes used to ask me, you know, for a brother the same age as him or a sibling and you know, he didn't sleep through the night for 18 months. So he, he's an only child. But, um. So after working at that agency, I went on my own just as a freelancer, thinking probably that nonprofits would be, who would follow me and be most interested in the services I offered.
And actually I very quickly found out that there was a huge, just void in the residential real estate [00:08:00] industry, um, and, and a need. So. You know, I had one client, then the next thing I had to, and then people would change jobs and they would hire me from the new place of business as well as the last builder would keep us as well.
So, you know, I kind of just fell into it. Um, and I, and I think sometimes those doors open for you, and you just have to realize there's a door and there's an opportunity and to just jump in with both feet.
Greg Bray: Awesome. So tell us a little more about Denim Marketing then. Um, what, what kind of services do you guys provide?
Carol Morgan: So denim specializes in strategic marketing. We do everything from media relations. So when I say media relations, you're literally writing the press release and sending it out to, to the media, to the reporters. Uh, we blog, we do a lot of social media promotions. Um, advertising on Facebook and Instagram, and then lots of email marketing.
So basically if it relates to quality content, you know, quality, original content, that's what we focus on and [00:09:00] content that produces, you know, return on investment. Um, so we have a lot of fun. You know, our goal is to really get to know our clients and to know what their unique selling proposition is and to focus on that and make sure it flows through all of their content.
Kevin Weitzel: So a builder technically could just concentrate on swinging hammers and developing land and have you take care of turnkey marketing in a box, take care of everything, social media, the whole works.
Carol Morgan: Absolutely. And we do have several of those clients, especially the smaller, smaller builders or small custom builders who don't need as much marketing as say, somebody selling a hundred or 200 or 300 homes a year.
And then a lot of the smaller builders, if they've got a good website and they've got SEO going right. Then, you know, a little bit of PR and some social media is really all that they need to drive enough leads to keep that pipeline going. So, yeah, absolutely. Um, you know, we'll put the complete marketing plan in place if they need us to do that and then outsource the parts of it that we don't handle.
[00:10:00] Greg Bray: So you just use the acronym, uh, PR, um, public relations, right? So how do you, how do you define that? What is, what is public relations and, and I guess I think a lot of folks kind of associate that with social media today, even though I'm going to, I think you're going to say they're not exactly the same, so, so let's, let's kind of define those two and how they work together.
Carol Morgan: Well, you know, it's interesting, you know, public relations would be how you relate to all of your different publics, really, if you want it. To dive into it. And it's, you know, there's, you know, internal communications and external communications and a lot of people throw social media in there. And social media is, you know, relating to the public.
Um, you know, if you look at the purist, they're going to say public relations is media relations. That's not really the definition of it either. So there's just a lot of blur there. You know, I think it all comes down to communications and messaging and you really just need to make sure you have all those audiences covered.
You know, that you're communicating with the consumers as well as the people in the industry. Because if you're a home builder, then [00:11:00] you want to be communicating to, um, those resale agents or those buyers agents who are going to bring the buyers in the door to your agents as well as everybody else who may influence that product purchase.
So. You know, PR is just, it's still really important and it's not something that we see builders focus on as much as it relates to media relations. And it's a huge opportunity. It's a missed opportunity.
Greg Bray: So it's a lot more than just, um, writing up a press release and emailing it to a bunch of people.
Carol Morgan: Oh, absolutely.
Yeah. And in fact, we often have, um, builders come to us and say, Oh, we've already released this, this press release, but we didn't get any coverage. Can you send it out to your connections and make sure that we get some coverage? Um, cause some of it really is, it's knowing how it works, but then also having connections certainly helps.
Kevin Weitzel: Speaking of when you have a builder that tries, maybe tries to do it on their own and then they reach out to you too. And mess up their mess up or their [00:12:00] mistakes. What kind of mistakes are you seeing out there?
Carol Morgan: Well, you know, I think the biggest thing is that they really get PR and advertising mixed up.
Um, you know, they feel like that, you know, that just because they sent it to them, they should run it and sometimes they tend to bombard the media with too many questions, or, I mean, I've literally had a reporter call me before and say, "please tell your client if they send me one more thing, I will never publish anything else that they send. They're driving me crazy".
Greg Bray: Wow.
Carol Morgan: So, you know, so there is such a thing as a way too much and it's understanding what their message. What their messages are, what beat they cover. So there's some reporters that you can send any fluffy press release you write to. And when I say fluff, I'm talking about, you know, Oh, we opened the new model home.
Okay? We may consider that news in the industry and buyers may consider it news, but most newspapers and media aren't going to consider a model home news. However, there's probably somebody that writes for their features in the lifestyle section. That would write about it if you [00:13:00] approach it correctly or if you knew if you had a happy home buyer that they would interview the home buyer in that community and talk about it from that perspective.
So you've just really got to understand your audience and understand how to pitch them so that it works for them. It goes back to the whole, what's in it for me? You know, they don't, they don't care until they figured out a way to relate it to what they need and what they need to get done to do their job.
Greg Bray: And I think I just heard you define two audiences that you have to consider, right? One is the actual reporter or the PR, and what is their need? What's their concern? You know, what do they need to get their job done? And then their end reader or audience of what's going to be informative and useful to them.
And you have to kind of connect both of those together for them to make this successful.
Carol Morgan: Absolutely. Yeah. One without the other is not going to get you the story or it's not going to get the results you need. Um, and we've had some fantastic results. I think it was last year. The Providence Group here in [00:14:00] Atlanta opened a new community and we wrote the press release and we're able to score both the Atlanta Business Chronicle.
And Curbed Atlanta and those articles program within two or three days of each other. They had not even put the community on their website yet, and it started no other marketing and they got 60 leads in two days just from those two articles.
Greg Bray : Oh, that sounds, that sounds powerful. Now, now what do you say to the people who say, well, newspapers are dead?
Carol Morgan : Well, most newspapers are online and, um, during our current, you know crisis where we're all sheltering in place. Statistics on people reading the news are just off the charts. Um, and every paper I've talked to, and you know, all of us, you know, we all see website traffic. Their website traffic looks even better than some of our client's website traffic.
You know, builder's website traffic is, is up. I think this, the stat I keep hearing is 15%. We've seen more than that in some instances. Um, we have a builder client that actually just saw their stats. We've only been working for them for a little while, but we [00:15:00] scored. Coverage for one community in this community has a microsite, uh, four different placements in the month of April.
Their April traffic is four times larger than their largest month ever. And I'm sure it's because, and it's people who are going to going to them direct because the URL and the name of the community, you know, is out there and everything we've put out. So, you know, for the builders who aren't doing it and who don't get it, it's really a missed opportunity because print is not dead.
Um, I don't think that COVID has helped print cause it's lost a lot of advertising. So, you know, we need print to stay around because print also means digital. They're all online now. I mean, I read, I get the daily paper, actually, there's a couple of them here and there. I get the Sunday paper, and by virtue of getting the Sunday paper, I get it online every single day.
And I read it online. I rarely open the actual physical paper.
Greg Bray: Right. Right. So, so yeah, I think, um, often when we think newspaper, we think that physical paper, but, but the reality is, is that it's a news outlet. [00:16:00] As, as much as it is a paper and it's digital and so many an opportunity there. Um, so how, how do those strategies from a PR standpoint change when we're in a crisis type of situation or unusual type of situation?
Like, like we are with the COVID-19 scenario.
Carol Morgan: I think the biggest thing that has changed with COVID19 is really needing to market with intent and look at those messages because the messages that worked when everything was open or not, the same messages that work when you need to set an appointment before you go.
Or the call center might be completely closed and you take a virtual tour. So making sure that all those messages remain relevant and up to date has been the biggest change. And then, you know, the opportunity to mess up and mess up big is huge when there's a crisis that's going on like this. So again, just, just because you think it's funny doesn't mean you're not going to offend somebody. So
Kevin Weitzel: WHAT?
Carol Morgan: Yeah, exactly. Kevin,
Kevin Weitzel: What are you talking about, that's my whole [00:17:00] life, I think everything's funny.
Carol Morgan: So I've had to reign myself in a few times. Cause some of the things I think are funny. You know, they're funny unless you have a relative who's died from it, right? So you've really got to, as a business, look at those messages and look at them from all different perspectives and make sure you're not offending anyone.
Because the opportunity to blow things up on social media specifically is, is huge. So you want to make sure you're visiting. Revisiting, you know, looking at, again, all those messages and making sure they make sense. Um, you know, some of the examples that I kind of snickered about, I love white house black market, but I think it took them about three weeks to change their email marketing messages to a message that resonated.
You know, they just kept sending out, and I'm sure, you know, they're a big company. It takes, it takes time to change all that messaging. Um. But to just continue to send out, you know, sell, sell, sell, you know, business suits, wear this to your next meeting, you know, kind of messaging. And it's probably not exactly what they were sending out, but it was kind of [00:18:00] business as usual until they realized we were all sitting at home.
Um, you know, lots of people with maybe a nice shirt top-up top and pajama bottoms on the bottom. So they started changing it to, you know, what we would be wearing at home and, you know, kind of more the weekend wear messages and while you're sheltering in place, enjoy this great sale. Um. So just looking at all that and thinking about how is it going to resonate with your buyer, with your end-user, um, versus just continuing to do the same thing we've always done.
Greg Bray: Do you feel like in general, the folks that you've been watching have reacted in a timely manner or, or are a lot of them too slow to change that message? Um, when this happened?
Carol Morgan: You know, I've been really impressed with the building community despite the fact that you know, we all jumped on board late to technology and we still have builders who have not completely embraced virtual or video.
I think as an industry we did a good job with messaging. You know, you could pretty much go to any builders website [00:19:00] right now and you're gonna have a COVID message across the top of it. Um, the question is going to be, are we going to get all the messaging down in time? Cause, cause at this point I think everybody expects a certain level and anticipates there's a certain level.
So at what point are we talking about it? And it's too much.
Kevin Weitzel: That was actually the point that I was going to ask you about, which, when is it too much, and is it okay to actually, once you've placed some, some action items into a revolving, policy? Is it okay to turn off that COVID messaging?
Carol Morgan: It's interesting very early on, I had a builder, actually, builder, a builder slash friend, builder, whatever, text me. And her question was, should we be including COVID messaging in our social media?
And you know, my response was, we'll only as it relates to whether you're open and closed and how they interact with you, you shouldn't be sharing anything. You shouldn't be as like people who are sick of it. You know? And I guess I've long been a proponent, and again if you look at web traffic and [00:20:00] blog traffic, it'll support what I'm saying.
People go to your website and your social media sites to read about your company, not to read some posts from better homes and gardens. If they wanted to read better homes and gardens post or you know, they would go to better homes and gardens. So I've never been a fan of just sharing something for the sake of having something on your social media.
So you know, when you share that better homes and gardens post with the link back to their site, now you're sending traffic away from your Facebook page or away from your Twitter account or away from wherever. Why would you do that? It's too hard to get the traffic there in the first place. So you know, rewrite that story and make it relevant to you.
You know, maybe the same topic, but how it relates to your communities and how it relates to what you're building and what you're doing. Cause that's what people want to hear. You know, they're not going to your Facebook page to hear about COVID. They're going to go. To a reliable news source to hear about COVID.
They're going to your page to see what is it you're still doing. Um, and that's the message we've really had to kind of hone in on. And again, I think the [00:21:00] industry has done a really good job with that. Um, I don't see builders out there talking about or sharing news stories related to COVID. I do see them sharing messages about, you know, safe ways to shelter in place and fun games you can play with your children.
It's, you know, their messaging resonates around COVID, but it isn't. Related to the disease itself.
Kevin Weitzel: So one really fun side note, a builder down in Florida called Style actually had a street party that was posted live where they had a sax player and speakers and everything else. Um, and that sax player was playing along with tunes, you know, Shadae and you name the artists.
They were playing along with the songs and they had this ridiculous receivership of just people just doing something other than. Worried about what's in the news. You know, just having a good time. Listen to the player. And the only thing that could have made a better, if they would have hired saxsquatch, which is a guy that plays saxophone, dressed up in a Sasquatch outfit.
Oh yeah. That's beautiful. That's beautiful right there.
Greg Bray: We're going to put that [00:22:00] on our next sponsor list, right to go after.
Kevin Weitzel: I think we should
Carol Morgan: That's fantastic
Kevin Weitzel: Sponsored by Saxsquatch
Greg Bray: put a link to that in the show notes somewhere. I'm sure. So. Awesome. So I'm Carol, just to kind of pivot a little bit. From PR specifically more to social media, cause you were just kinda talking about that stepping away from COVID specifically.
What other types of of mistakes do you see builders making with their social media as far as kind of these linking to the wrong things or sharing the wrong kinds of things?
Carol Morgan : You know, it's kind of the same mistakes. That we've been seeing since 2007 some things haven't changed. You know, um, I was on a call yesterday and somebody coined it.
I'd actually never heard it called this before, but random acts of marketing, so just no real plan, you know, we're just going to go to our social media post and just post something today. It doesn't make any sense in the scheme of things, probably doesn't relate to whatever we're running as far as a campaign or our main marketing messages or what model home opens this weekend or any of that.
It's just random, [00:23:00] and I think that's the biggest thing is still just not taking the time to sit down and come up with a plan. Um, and that's across the board, whether it's social or whether it's email or whether it's, you know, anything. Um, again, I think the big builders do it very well, and you know, if you've got a whole marketing team, hopefully, they're doing it well.
Um, I guess the other thing I see, and I've seen it on two or three sites, I just audited a site and, you know, having a call to action. In every single post. So what did that call action as a click to your website? Or whether it's a phone number or whether it's asking them to participate and answer a question, but, but having some sort of call to action versus just putting content out there with no way to interact with it really.
Greg Bray: Now when you say a call to action though, you're not talking about Ray to buy a home yet ready to buy a home yet. Are you ready to now?
Carol Morgan: No.
Greg Bray: Define that for us a little bit more? What, what the call to action should be?
Carol Morgan: You know, it's more like, [00:24:00] and I guess there's several different ways, you know, it can be a soft sell, so you give them all the information.
Maybe you ask. You know w what would you, what would you cook in this kitchen? If this was your kitchen? That could be a call to action. Um, you can, I'm thinking about, Oh, what would it feel like to live there? How does that kitchen, how does that kitchen feel? If I'm standing in it, what would I want to cook in that?
Um, and that's at least getting some engagement, but, you know, you could ask the question and then get on, go on to say, you know, for more information on this home plan, you know, and just put a link in. Um. Or, you know, call, call Susie Jones at blah, blah, blah, to schedule an appointment so you're not, it's a soft sale.
It's just a way for them to find more information on whatever site they're on versus having to leave that site. I mean, the reality is. Most people don't leave Facebook, right? You go to Facebook to be on Facebook, so if we're asking them to click or we're asking them to go dig it up somewhere else, we've given them no way to get back to the website.
Then we're [00:25:00] missing the boat, and that's still one of the biggest things. I see. That and just content that you could literally put on anyone's site. Yeah, a post that it could go on any of 50 builders nationwide and it wouldn't make a difference cause it didn't say anything.
Kevin Weitzel: So Facebook is still King on the social world and for most industries, but for home builders, are you finding other avenues that reach the potential buyers as effectively.
Carol Morgan: Well, Facebook is still the 800-pound gorilla by far. Um, you pretty much have to add up all the other site traffic to even hit about half of Facebook traffic. However, we do see strong results from Instagram ads because that's really the only way you can get them through to their website. Um, but you know, Facebook advertising, strong Instagram advertising strong, um.
Linkedin advertising, I think there are some opportunities that we're not really taking advantage of as an industry to do some tests there and see how that works. Even just reaching out to agents and other [00:26:00] influencers. Um, but yeah, Facebook is really where it is. I'm interested in seeing what happens with Tik Tok.
I know you were on our webinar a couple of weeks ago when I talked about Tik Tok. Um. You know, it's hard to ignore the power of that platform and how fast it's come on board. And the fact that 30% of the people on it are over age 25 so there are opportunities there. I don't see any of the big builders there.
I see some small builders on. They're doing a really good job, so that's an opportunity. Um.
Kevin Weitzel: I don't like to say that I watch anything on Tik Tok. However, I've seen, not one, but two posts. One was highly entertaining from Chad Sanschagrin, where he did a little dancey thing with his daughters, and while he was locked up in his home, I thought it was awesome, but
Carol Morgan: Right.
Kevin Weitzel: You know, so, yeah. Tik Tok, Tik Tok is hot right now. Um, and then it's also in a relevant audience, you know, because if you look at stuff like Snapchat, yeah, there's tons of kids using Snapchat, but kids aren't buying homes. They might 10 years from now, but they're not buying now.
Carol Morgan: Right. [00:27:00] No, I completely agree with that.
And, and you know, to some extent tik tok might not be quite as relevant, you know, if you're selling to that mainstream buyer that 35 and older than, you know, Facebook, Instagram, maybe Pinterest. Um. You know, we still have builders on Twitter. I wouldn't tell them to drop their Twitter if they have it. It really is going to be Twitter right now as a function of how long have you been on the site and how many people are engaging with you at, how many followers do you have?
If you're launching a new Twitter site today, then it's, it's a little harder to get that engagement there. Um, and that's a site that everybody goes to get the news headlines. Including the news.
Greg Bray: Yeah, it is funny, funny how they all start quoting each other. I get this little feedback loop going on there.
For sure. So, so Carol, we, we get our, we get our strategy squared away, so we're not random. We get our calls to action in place. How do we measure success? What do you look for in a successful social media campaign?
Carol Morgan: So we [00:28:00] measure social media success in a variety of different ways. And I'll see if I can go through all of these and I'm not leaving any of them out.
So the first thing I like to do is look at clicks through to the website. Um, so where is that traffic coming into the website and how long are they spending there? And are they converting, you know, are they converting to at least a completed contact form? Um, so that's one way to measure it. Um, another way to measure it is to look at the individual sites and on the individual sites.
You know, we look at things like what is the top post and, and why? Um. What types of content are trending, where do you have the most engagement? You know, and how is that trending month over month and year over year? You know, it's great if your traffic is up in March, over February. I would expect it to be everywhere nationwide, but more important if March 2020 is up over March 2019 so we look at all of that.
Um, you know, when you're looking at a Facebook advertising, you know, what's that [00:29:00] cost per click? Um, how much traffic are the ads sending, which ads perform the best? So, you know, really diving deep into not just your web analytics, but the analytics on each platform to see how that performs, you know, month over month as well as year over year.
And you know, there's lots of great data there on what your audience wants to read and what they engage with. And that'll tell you what to do next.
Kevin Weitzel: On average, are you finding more builders sophisticated with that data or just kind of looking report and going, Oh great, this is neat information, and then it just kind of gets pushed to the side and then it back to swinging hammers again?
Carol Morgan: I think it depends on the, yeah, I think it depends on the builder and it's going to depend on whether they have a marketing firm or not, or whether they have a marketing person who digs in deep or not. I know we do very detailed reporting on all of those metrics. Often times the builders, if we've got smaller clients, often they don't even have Google analytics set up until we come along and say, hey, we really want Google Analytics.
[00:30:00] And for those clients, you know, even though, you know, I'm not doing SEO, I'm not an SEO company, we report on all their traffic to them. Um, and you know, and make suggestions that are broader than just our scope. Cause sometimes it becomes very obvious that. Really the only thing they're doing is social media and that there's an opportunity for them to do some more SEO or to add email marketing into the mix.
Kevin Weitzel: Um.
So what's you're saying is you're actually taking that data that, I mean, it's very, very useful data. You're taking the data and allowing your denim marketing team to shift a builder's focus, or maybe they've channeled their dollars to what would be more effective.
Carol Morgan: Absolutely. Yeah, we look at all that data on a monthly basis for our clients and make suggestions for them based on, you know, what worked, what didn't work and why, and where do we see the holes, you know, what else could they be doing?
Um, and there's so much, you know, it gets to be so hard because it gets expensive to do everything, especially if you're a smaller builder. It's easier for the big builders, but even then, they have [00:31:00] to figure out, you know, if there's only so many dollars in marketing, you know, where are they going to cut back to add what they want?
Um. And I think that's going to be a challenge for some of the smaller builders. You know, when I say smaller builders, somebody building, you know, 30 or fewer, 20 or fewer homes a year. Cause I think we've now created a buyer who expects video and expects virtual tours just as much as they expect granite in the kitchen.
And the smaller builders are going to need to find a way to answer that so that they keep the buyer engaged.
Greg Bray: No, I absolutely agree, but I got to go back to one thing you said and jump on the soapbox here for all of you within the sound of my voice, if you do not have analytics installed, go home. It's not hard.
It's not expensive. And even if you don't know what to do with the data today. At some point, if you don't collect it, we can't do anything with it for you later, so, please. Alright. Um, this sponsorship [00:32:00] message is now concluding.
Carol Morgan: I mean, I second that message. We literally have, um, two newish clients in the last year.
One of them a fairly sizeable builder. For whatever reason, there was only tracking on one page of their website. I have no idea what happened. And it's funny, you know, cause recently they said, Oh well what was our traffic a year ago? I'm like, I don't know. What do you mean it doesn't just show back up?
I'm like, no, it doesn't just show back up. Your code was gone. I can't, I can't guess. I have no idea.
Kevin Weitzel: There are times that I wish that our podcasts had video because people would have been appalled after what you just said, of seeing my eyelids roll-up. In absolute disbelief of builder's not having, you know, analytics on anything other than just one landing page.
That blows my mind,
Carol Morgan: but it's not what they do. It's what we do. You know, they're out there building houses and swinging hammers and working with banks and making it happen, and if they don't have [00:33:00] a marketing person or they don't have a marketing person that understands the importance of that, or if their marketing person isn't having to justify their butt in the seat, you know, with that C-suite ROI, then.
You know, they just happily go along until somebody realizes someday, you know, years later, hey, there's no analytics on your site.
Greg Bray: Well, and I've, I've can't say the number of times where they have analytics on their site, but heck if anybody can find a password and tell us what it is.
Carol Morgan: Don't get me started on that.
Or they have an Instagram account but have no idea how to get into it. And the email that they set it up with doesn't have any way to get into the email.
Greg Bray: Yeah, exactly. So yeah. These are important strategic assets and you need to take care of them, these, these accounts, and at least know how to log into them, even if you aren't quite sure what to do with it.
So, Carol, just, um, we're, we're getting a little, uh, near our time here. Want to be respectful of your time, but just a couple, a couple of more thoughts here as we, as we wrap up. So what you described to me, of [00:34:00] all the things that go into a successful, um, social media campaign does not sound like it necessarily fits.
With the strategic hiring idea of, let me go get a college kid who can post on Facebook for me. No offense to college kids everywhere. You know, we love you. I have some that live with me or you know, that I pay for. So I, I want to just, you know, any comments thereon, on the skillsets needed to run a social media campaign.
Carol Morgan: And, you know, the challenge is, is often the social media is kind of the first handshake with a builder. They may find your social media before they find your website. So it's important that those messages, you know, communicate your brand and communicate. You know everything you are and everything you want them to know about you and you're not always going to get that.
And somebody who's in college or right out of college, unless they're reporting to a marketing manager that's really training them and teaching [00:35:00] them and coaching them along the way. Cause the other thing, you're not going to get in somebody right out of college unless they're your daughter or son. They are not going to know the difference between a lot and a home site.
And an owner suite and a master suite or what any of that nomenclature isn't, who knows what they'll write. Um, you know, I know for my team that we really, really try to teach them, you know, the good words versus the bad words that we don't use as an industry. You know, we read their content for about the first 18 months that they work here.
Until I get to the point that I just know that there's not going to be anything I'm going to fix in it. Just because you know, it's that important. It's critical that it's right and that it resonates and that you know, you understand the buying process. You know, this isn't a simple industry. This isn't, you're going to walk into a Starbucks and buy, you know.
A coffee. This is the largest purchase anyone's ever going to make, and all it takes is one or two misdirected social media posts by somebody who means well to potentially lose that sale.
Greg Bray: Awesome. [00:36:00] Well, Carol, what, uh, what advice would you just like to leave? I mean, you've, you've already shared so much today.
We really appreciate it, but if you had just one more thing that you want them to leave with those who are listening today, what would you want to say?
Carol Morgan: I guess, I guess the biggest thing is, you know, communication is important, so try not to make those random acts of marketing, you know, random post here and there. Um, and market with intent, you know, think about your brand.
Um, and, and go back to that brand messaging and that brand promise and make sure that that resonates with your, with your buyers, and that there's a way to flow that through all of your messaging.
Awesome. Well, thanks so much. If someone wants to learn more, about you or Denim Marketing, what's the best way for them to connect with you?
Well, that is super easy. They can find me at DenimMarketing.com or on any social media site at Denim Marketing, or they can call me at (770) [00:37:00] 383-3360
Greg Bray: and that's denim, like the jeans. Right. So then
Carol Morgan: Demin like the jeans.
Greg Bray: Okay.
All right. Well, thanks again, Carol, so much. We really appreciate it. Greg Bray with Blue Tangerine
Kevin Weitzel: and I'm Kevin Weitzel with Outhouse. It's been a pleasure.