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Home Builder Digital Marketing Podcast Digital Marketing Podcast Hosted by Greg Bray and Kevin Weitzel

125 Digital Marketing Requires a Team Effort - Rachel Peters

This week on The Home Builder Digital Marketing Podcast, Rachel Peters of Keystone Custom Homes joins Greg and Kevin to discuss why a team effort is required for successful digital marketing.

Collaboration throughout the entire home builder team is important, but it is especially valuable for the sales and marketing teams to work together. Rachel says, “We have a sales director and a team of regional sales managers that oversee our new home advisors and we work really, really closely with them on the marketing side. We believe that there should not be that divide, and so we really fight against that natural tendency to butt heads and really try to collaborate instead and find common ground and good solutions. Our marketing team slogan is help us help you. We are here to support the sales team, and so we really keep that as like our north star as we do all the things that we do.”

Amazing learning and progress can happen as groups within a home builder company begin to work in synergy. Rachel explains, “You start to see how all the pieces fit together. Maybe there's some opinions that need to be shifted or righted, and having those connections and intentionally breaking down the silos allows you to become a wealth of knowledge that people outside of your department will lean on and you become much more strategic. Instead of just a doer, you have a lot of reasoning behind it and can connect the dots and provide more purpose into what you're doing and how it fits into the bigger overall picture.”

Listen to this week’s episode to learn more about how effective digital marketing takes teamwork.

About the Guest:

Rachel Peters is the Marketing Manager for Keystone Custom Homes. Rachel began her career with Keystone as a Marketing Coordinator and has grown with the team over the past 5 years. Her passion lies in creating quality content and brand messaging that allow customers to fully engage in the homebuying journey. She also implemented an award-winning Presale Without Fail program in 2018. Rachel leads the Marketing Team with a collaborative approach, knowing there is always room to take things to the next level!

Rachel graduated from Messiah College with a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing and is currently pursuing her Master of Science in Marketing from Liberty University. Outside of work, you’ll find her on a trail with her black lab, Scout.

Transcript

Greg Bray: [00:00:00] Hello everybody, and welcome to today's 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 welcome to the show, Rachel Peters. Rachel is the Marketing Manager at Keystone Custom Homes. Welcome, Rachel. Thanks for joining us today.

Rachel Peters: Thank you so much for having me.

Greg Bray: So, Rachel, for those who don't know you, let's start off with that quick introduction. Just give us a little bit of background. Tell us about yourself.

Rachel Peters: Sure. So, I am the Marketing Manager here at Keystone. I've been here about [00:01:00] five years and got my fresh start in a marketing career here at Keystone as a coordinator and have worked my way up to where we are now. I get to manage a team of three coordinators and an intern every once in a while. I absolutely love what I do. Love our small team and the way that we get to do a lot of different things every single day.

Kevin Weitzel: Well, besides being a guru of all things marketing, I need to find out something, our listeners need to learn something about you, personal, not builder-related that they'll only learn on this podcast.

Rachel Peters: All right. I think probably the coolest fact about me is that I have hiked three different hundred-mile stints of the Camino de Santiago in Europe. So, I've done some in Spain and a couple in Portugal as well. I love hiking. I love walking trails, and so that's, I think, still the coolest hike I've done to date.

Kevin Weitzel: That's super cool.

Greg Bray: How [00:02:00] long does that take, a hundred-mile hike?

Rachel Peters: Each year was a little bit different, but anywhere from seven to nine days.

Greg Bray: Okay. Are you camping while you do that, or do you have like a hotel stop in the middle?

Rachel Peters: Sort of in the middle, we stay in pilgrim hostels. So, they have specific hostels just for people that are hiking the Camino, and so you have to prove that you're a pilgrim. You get a specific pilgrim passport from the Catholic church there, and so you pay for a bed, not a room.

Kevin Weitzel: So, two questions on that. One, do you have to dress like a pilgrim? Obviously, a fake question. Don't answer that one, and two, do you have a dream hike that you have to do in your lifetime? Those bucket list hikes?

Rachel Peters: Man. I think Iceland is on my bucket list for a hike. I've met a lot of people on the Camino that said that Iceland was one of the best spots they'd ever done some hiking. So, that's definitely on my bucket list, but I would love to also do some hikes on the west coast.

Greg Bray: But no [00:03:00] Appalachian trail stuff, huh?

Kevin Weitzel: Yeah. I was gonna ask the same thing.

Rachel Peters: No. I think I'm more in it for less the ruggedness of it and more the experience of it. So, I just went tent camping for the first time last year. So, maybe that's a little too far out of my comfort zone. As of right now.

Kevin Weitzel: When you do go to Iceland, I need you to meet Björk, and when you meet Björk, I need you to give her my number cause I want her to leave a message on my phone, "Kevin is away and leave him a message" because I need that on my phone.

Rachel Peters: I will try my absolute hardest.

Kevin Weitzel: Alright, I guess we should get to home building. Huh, Greg?

Greg Bray: Yeah, I was gonna say, Kevin, can't Siri do that for you? I don't know.

Kevin Weitzel: No. It's not the same. You've got to have them actually record it on your phone. The whole works.

Greg Bray: All right. Well, onto more important and exciting things, Rachel, than Kevin's phone messages. Tell us a little bit more about your journey into home builder marketing, and what got you to where you are today.

Rachel Peters: Sure. So, I think really [00:04:00] my love of homes started where I think a lot of people in our industry started. I grew up going to open houses with my mom every single week. We absolutely loved it. We moved around a lot in my lifetime, and so having a new home or a new area was always something that I was used to.

So, coming out of finishing my degree in marketing from Messiah College, I connected with Ben, who's another Messiah alumni. So, that was a kind of common ground that we had. I ended up getting this coordinator position. It felt really like a natural progression for me cause it was something that I had a personal interest in and then was able to apply a lot of the skills that I had learned in school and learned really quickly.

There's a, I feel like a big learning curve for our industry and just a technology, especially that we have here at Keystone that comes along with it. I've been so thankful to be mentored by [00:05:00] Ben. He's an absolute genius in the realm of home builder marketing and just an overall really smart person. So, being able to be mentored by him and pushed by him to grow, I think is really what has landed me where I am today. That is on a trajectory, so there's a lot of growth still to come, and yeah.

Kevin Weitzel: Speaking of the genius that Ben is. Which he is. I agree with you wholeheartedly. He's a big-time, huge forward thinker. So, at one point he had become up, I dunno if it was his actual idea or not, but he implemented the tagging of all the photos and cataloging of all the photos. Were you part of that team, and did you want to wring his neck when you had to tag and catalog all those photos cause it's thousands and thousands of photos?

Rachel Peters: It is thousands and thousands of photos. No, that was a team project that we tackled together. We had to start all the way at the beginning with one photo. You know, having a [00:06:00] solid content library before we started was something that was really important, and Ben had done a great job, obviously, of getting great photos of our homes throughout the years.

And then we started with the development which took the longest honestly, and just trying to figure out how would this live in our backend and how would we go about managing all of the tags, keeping them continuously up to date? And then came the task of tagging the photos.

So, we have thousands and thousands of photos today. It's a huge initiative of one of our coordinators on the team. It's a very large percentage of what she does is all of our content coordination. So, it's still a huge effort, but it's been systematized and refined over the years, but there is certainly a lot of blood, sweat, and tears, literally, that went into that project. So, we're really proud of it.

Greg Bray: I wanna come back to that, but before we do, let's just give everybody just a quick background of Keystone Custom Homes, where you guys are located, the [00:07:00] type of product you're working on, and the type of buyers that you're serving?

Rachel Peters: Sure. So, we will do over 600 homes this year. Which has been significant growth for us over the past few years. We started in 1992 here in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, and now we build in 15 counties throughout Pennsylvania and Maryland. We've really expanded into a lot more metro areas and are building anywhere from $300,000 starting price homes all the way well into the millions.

Our buyer profile is pretty diverse depending on the area that we're building in. A York County buyer in Pennsylvania might be, you know, a move-up buyer or it might be their first time purchasing a home. Likely a little bit more of an older millennial at this point, and then we have people around D.C., around Baltimore, getting close to Philly and they're building their forever homes and putting all the bells and whistles into it.

It's a really unique challenge for us to create consistent [00:08:00] brand messaging that serves every single buyer, but we believe that we have something really unique to offer here at Keystone, and that enables us to do that.

Greg Bray: Connecting that back to the photo tagging project that we were just talking about. Digital assets are something that can be easily forgotten, but yet so valuable. Especially given that as a custom builder, there's gonna be some uniqueness to every project that you guys get involved with. I'm assuming. Stop me if I'm wrong.

So, you can't necessarily reuse things some of the ways that maybe a production builder who's doing, you know, a hundred of the same exact home spread out across different communities. So, what was it that got everyone so interested in saying, hey, we need to have a library we can actually use and find things and have that organized in a way that's helpful, even though it's gonna be a lot of work?

Rachel Peters: Sure. A couple of different thoughts on that. One is, so we obviously build [00:09:00] model homes, but a lot of our model homes tend to have consistent threads of style or design because we're putting forth the most popular customer options. We're gonna put a similar style cabinet or a similar color scheme in a lot of our model homes. So, while they are highly tailored to showcasing our options, they don't show the full breadths of the amount of options that we do offer to our customers because we have thousands and thousands of what we would call clickable options.

By starting to build our asset library, we really started photographing customer homes that were putting options in that we didn't have any record of. Which allowed customers to start to see what does this two-by-three carpet square look like in a family room or in a basement, or what does this tile look like in a larger setting?

So, that allowed our design team to start selling options in a really different [00:10:00] way because they then had real-life examples of how this was being used in customer homes. So, while there definitely is an element of customization, what we like to say is, our strategy here at Keystone is, we build a really structurally sound functional-based home, but we allow customers to spend their hard-earned money in the places that matter the most to them.

So, we're not pre-choosing what matters to our customers. In doing that, there are some customizations that we do for a lot of homes. However, if we can do it for one home, chances are we can replicate that again later, and so we have personal choice requests that customers can choose to replicate things that might be a little bit more custom.

Really the photo gallery kind of started out of a desire to showcase all of the different options that we have that customers were not seeing in a realistic sense. That was renewed during COVID when we had a lot of [00:11:00] option turnover because of supply chain. So, we got all new flooring in, and then we were starting all over in a sense of now we need to get photos of all these floors in customer's homes because we don't have them in models cause our models were built before the flooring was dropped.

Thankfully we had this really good structure in place to be able to get more assets over time. It's been so helpful for our internal team, and we have customers show up that have spent literally hours browsing our photo gallery and have very specific options that they're interested in looking at and purchasing when they come in.

Greg Bray: So, this is not just a library of, oh, I need a picture for the website type of a thing. This is a library that's being used by the sales team, by the design center, and made available to the buyers to help them with their decision process. Did I understand that correctly?

Rachel Peters: Yes, that's correct. It's on our website, and so our customers definitely use it and our designers use it during their [00:12:00] meetings, and it's really there to be a tool to help buyers help themselves. If they're in their backend choosing options for their home, they can go to the website and see what that option actually looks like.

 So, it's been a really important tool for us, but the management of that certainly takes a lot of coordination. If something gets dropped, we don't delete the tag. Which is a strategic move for us because if a customer really wanted a specific color, we can say, hey, that's discontinued, but here's something that's similar that we do have now.

So, it gives us the ability to be really flexible over time, but we have to stay in close contact with our supply chain managers and with our design manager to make sure that it's reflective of what is available to our customers.

Greg Bray: I love that. That's a great application of technology. Thank you for sharing that. So, Rachel, you mentioned that as a marketing manager, you've got some coordinators that you help oversee. Tell us just a little bit more about how the whole sales and marketing team is [00:13:00] structured. More in the marketing team, those salespeople, whatever, but, you know.

Rachel Peters: No. We are one team.

Greg Bray: Okay. All right. Well, tell us about it.

Rachel Peters: Yeah. So, Ben is our Vice President of Sales and Marketing, so he oversees both teams, and so on the sales side, we have a fantastic team. We have a sales director and a team of regional sales managers that oversee our new home advisors and we work really, really closely with them on the marketing side. We believe that there should not be that divide, and so we really fight against that natural tendency to butt heads and really try to collaborate instead and find common ground and good solutions.

Our marketing team slogan is help us help you. We are here to support the sales team, and so we really keep that as like our north star as we do all the things that we do. So, on the marketing side, I'm our marketing manager, and then we have a communications coordinator, a digital marketing coordinator, and then a marketing coordinator.[00:14:00]

The breakup between those three areas, our marketing coordinator, she is responsible for basically like boots on the ground type of work. So, she works directly with our new home advisors, coordinating materials that go to our model homes, signage, what the copy is on our website. She's very in tune with that relationship between what is actually happening in that community, and then what does it look like when customers are experiencing that for the first time, whether digitally or in person.

Our digital marketing coordinator is responsible for a lot of our analytics, our reporting. He works with our third-party advertising platforms as well as Facebook, Google. We work with Do You Convert. They're phenomenal. So, he is the liaison for that. He also does our email marketing, more data-based, but still with a really strong thread of good quality content.

Then our communications [00:15:00] coordinator, she is the most senior coordinator on our team and she's responsible for all of our content creation. So, she oversees the organic side of social, all of the postings there, and all of our videos. She is the one behind the curtain, making the magic happen. She coordinates all of our photography, all of our videography, and does a really great job in doing that as well.

We have definitely very different buckets of tasks. However, everyone needs to know what everyone else is working on so that we can support each other. I am very involved in all of those areas and everything in between. Marketing is on my plate at all times, and I have a great team to support those efforts.

Greg Bray: This is Greg from Blue Tangerine, and I just wanted to tell you how excited we are about our upcoming event, The Home Builder Digital Marketing Summit. It's coming up September 21st and 22nd in Phoenix, Arizona. Now, this is an [00:16:00] event that you do not want to miss. We're gonna be talking about websites, SEO, analytics reports, how to use social media influencers more, how to improve your online reviews, how to really do everything you need to do to start selling homes online.

Again, The Home Builder Digital Marketing Summit on September 21st and 22nd in Phoenix, Arizona. Go to buildermarketingsummit.com. Click register. Please be sure to join us at The Home Builder Digital Marketing Summit.

Kevin Weitzel: So, you'd also mentioned that you guys have interns from time to time. Number one is it possible for me to be hired as an intern, unpaid, by the way, to just stand around the office, drinking a scotch and just go, "That's a great idea." Is that possible? Number one, and number two, where do you find you interns and how do you process them, or how do you bring them into the process?

Rachel Peters: Yeah, number one, I could probably make that happen. Our interns are topnotch, so the bars pretty high, Kevin. I'm not going to lie.

Kevin Weitzel: But I'm gonna tell you, I'm not going to do anything other than just talk about how good [00:17:00] or bad an idea is while holding a scotch. Kinda like the guy from Trailer Park Boys, uh, Julian. I'm just gonna walk around with a scotch all the time and give the yays and nays.

Rachel Peters: All right. Well, I'll call you if I need a yay or nay. How's that?

Kevin Weitzel: All right. All right.

Rachel Peters: A fun fact about our team is we have a fantastic executive assistant for Ben. Her name is Erica and I always say that she's the glue that kind of holds us all together, but she is the only one on our entire marketing team that is not a graduate of Messiah. So, it's not a prerequisite to be a Messiah grad, but it doesn't hurt I would say. So, actually, a lot of our interns do come from Messiah cause we still have really strong ties with the professors there. They're constantly telling students to apply with us, and so we're really grateful for that.

However, we have had interns from lots of local universities and schools as well. We use an online platform called Handshake, which is basically like LinkedIn for college students. So, we use that and we promote it on social media when it's needed, but honestly, [00:18:00] we typically get a pretty good pool of interns that come in. We've been really blessed to have great people on our team that support us for a season and we get to invest in their careers. That's always really fun for us.

Greg Bray: So, it sounds like you guys make a pretty regular habit of bringing in some interns to help and again, to let them learn. Which I think is great to give back to the community that way. Are you finding that the digital marketing or the general marketing education that they're getting is relevant enough to what you need, or is there a disconnect between what's happening in school and real life?

Rachel Peters: 100% disconnect. I think I gave some of my harshest feedback to my school after I graduated and saying, every marketing student should have their Google Analytics certification in some manner. They need to know in-depth social marketing. If you don't know how to run a Facebook ad, you should not be [00:19:00] graduating cause it really is so core to the atmosphere of marketing today. It gives us an opportunity to challenge them, and so I am all for paying my intern to sit there and do a Google Analytics for a beginners course because they're bringing fresh eyes to our team and they have that one thing that no one else on our team has is that fresh perspective.

We give them the freedom to challenge how and why we do things because they have fresh eyes and in turn, we're investing in their career. When they ask those questions, we're answering them and maybe providing context or connecting the dots in ways that provide them with that real-life perspective of some of the book knowledge that they've learned previously.

There's nothing that you can't learn on YouTube or Google at this point. Like I said, we set a bar pretty high for our interns in that we want to see demonstrated knowledge outside of the classroom. One of Ben's favorite interview questions to ask [00:20:00] is what have you read recently that wasn't for school, or what have you read recently outside of work? That just demonstrates this mentality of continual learning that is really important to our team.

Greg Bray: Most people consider interns people that you stick in the corner and tell them to tag photos all day. It sounds like you work them a little harder. I think it's great that you're letting them learn and get involved because sometimes honestly it's hard to integrate someone for a short period of time into the flow, where you feel like you're making more work for yourself to try and keep them busy and manage them. So, kudos to you guys.

Rachel Peters: And don't get me wrong, they definitely tag photos. They do projects that are repetitive, but we're really intentional in making sure that they understand why tagging a photo actually means something for marketing, and kind of follow the trail of the impact that has so that they have the demonstrative skills coming out of their internship as well.

Kevin Weitzel: You can also show them the Google Analytics and how they show up there in the searches. Boom.

Rachel Peters: Yeah. They sit in on a lot of meetings.

Greg Bray: That's good [00:21:00] for them. That's good for them. So, Rachel, we've talked a lot about the team, so kind of staying on that theme. How do you guys decide when you want to bring in a third-party partner or an agency versus having somebody deal with that particular task in-house?

Rachel Peters: Yeah, that's a great question. So, you know, as I was growing on a team and stepping into more managerial positions and Ben was growing, you know, into this VP role from a marketing director role, we had to sit down, and I was so nervous because Ben and I are oil and water at times in the very best, possible way. We are completely opposite in the way that we approach a lot of things. So, I'm much more like the creative side. I love the copy and just like getting my hands dirty and the creative, and he is give me the numbers. I wanna get down in the weeds, and so we tend to live at the opposite end of the spectrum.

But that has provided a really [00:22:00] great balance for us in working together, and so, as I was stepping more into a managerial role, Ben was doing the Facebook ads at the time and he was really closely partnered with um, our third-party that was doing Google ads. That just is not a skill set that I could take to the next level here. We believe that you have to know what's going on and you have to be able to understand it, but that wasn't something that I could strategically add to the team. So, as we evaluate skill sets that's where we see, okay, if we can take it to the next level, who can? And then that's where we're reaching out for third-party partners to say, here's the skill that we have. Let's go a little bit further. Let's dig a little bit deeper. So, that's how we have formed a lot of the partnerships that we do have now.

Kevin Weitzel: So, being a supplier to Keystone Custom Homes I have experienced the Ben Rutt look and he has mastered this. Greg, it's scary, actually. He's mastered the [00:23:00] ridiculously friendly face that gives you the look when he asks you a question of, I expect this to work and it better work while looking extremely friendly. So, where he picked that up, I don't know, but I wanna take that class. It's intimidating.

Rachel Peters: I don't think Ben would ever wanna be seen as intimidating.

Kevin Weitzel: I know, but it is. It's his effective method that he has. It's that smile that's like, this needs to work or I might kill you. I don't know what he's gonna do, but it's spooky. I'm telling you.

Rachel Peters: We have high expectations for ourselves, and so we hold people that do business with us to those same standards. I know the look, but I will say he is one of the most genuinely delightful people. So, he'll hold you to a standard, and that's rightfully so. Just as he holds me to a standard and I give him feedback as my manager. We have a really solid open communication there, and so we expect the same of our partners.

Greg Bray: Rachel, given that you guys [00:24:00] have spent a lot of effort on this photo gallery tool that we've talked about. You guys are investing in tools like what OutHouse offers with their floor plans and other interactives. What types of things beyond that are you doing to use digital technology to enhance and improve your customer's buying journey and experience?

Rachel Peters: Yeah. So, we launched a program kind of quietly over the last year and a half or so. We do have an app that we built from the ground up. Ben was heavily involved in that with our director of IT. We've built this customer experience app where start to finish, they have everything in one place. They have their build schedule. They have photos from their construction manager on a regular basis. They know when their drywall's being delivered, when it's being installed. They get photos. They can ask questions and it provides this really intimate experience that is more convenient for them cause everything's in the same place and it's more convenient for our team cause our [00:25:00] construction managers are busy as all get out. Having one place to check or one place to send photos, prevents them from having text messages and emails and everything flying around.

So, we have the app and in the conjunction with that, we've released what we're calling, building process emails or communication to our customers, and it's a series of about 27 or 28 automatic emails at this point, that trigger based on where they are in the customer experience. There's a lot of stuff happening behind the scenes. When plans get sent for I-Joist review, or for engineers review or sitting in their local township for permitting. It can feel like this really silent, dead space where the customer does not understand what's going on.

So, we've tried to embrace that and instead of shying away from it, we're leaning in and saying, okay, what can we communicate? What can we explain to the customer to educate them about where their home is standing right now? So, we made an animated [00:26:00] explainer video that basically takes their plan from the minute they sign off on their final plan all the way through when we get permits back and it walks them through every step and why it's taking longer.

They get to meet our director of drafting in a video, and he kind of explains what happens, and so we have videos like that of our team at each step in the process so that people feel like, oh, this isn't just someone sitting behind a computer that doesn't care. This is actually Ethan emailing me. He's working on my home and it puts a face to something that can feel a little bit impersonal. Because it's proactive, it allows the customer to feel a lot more involved. Which keeps emotion high. Which keeps customer satisfaction high. So, that's been something that we've really invested heavily on in the past year and a half or so. It's been really exciting to be able to continue to refine that.

Our next step is adding surveys in at intervals throughout the process so that we have a really good finger on the pulse [00:27:00] of how that customers experience is going before we get to the end and it's too late to fix something that may have gone wrong. We can evaluate it on a job number basis to then reach out to the customer and say, hey, we got this feedback. Our team is going to discuss it further, or we're going to internalize that feedback and make changes for the future. That's how you grow and that's how you improve is by learning from what is or has happened and making those changes, adjusting, and iterating on that for the future.

Greg Bray: Did you say 28 emails? Did I hear that properly?

Rachel Peters: That's correct.

Greg Bray: That is a lot of work to identify all those touchpoints, and to prepare content, and to personalize that content. That's fantastic.

Rachel Peters: Thank you.

Greg Bray: Because you're right, especially, how long the process can be, and it's even longer now than maybe it has been in the past due to some of the supply chain challenges. I'll be excited to see when you get the surveys in place to see how customers like that type of feedback and how it helps with the process. For sure.

Rachel Peters: Yeah. We're really excited [00:28:00] about it.

Kevin Weitzel: So, do they seriously get an email that's like, hi, I'm Patrick Harrison, and we just put 8,542 nails in your first-floor framing.

Rachel Peters: Word for word, Kevin. That's amazing. No, so they'll get an email from Jeff right after they sign a contract and it says, hey, this is Jeff. Thanks so much for buying a home with Keystone. Because of your purchase, we're able to give 89% of our profits to charity. Blah, blah, blah, introducing them to Keystone.

At the next step in the process, they're getting an email from our director of sales that talks about financing and what they need to be preparing for all their mortgage paperwork, and then later in the process they hear from their specific designer that says, hi, I'm Marion, and I'm so excited to design your home. In preparation for our meeting, please review the photo gallery, et cetera, et cetera. It links out to the different online tools that we have. So, we try to make it personal but also automated so that they are really seeing people on our team, but that is happening in a way that is [00:29:00] structured and educational for the buyer through the whole process.

Greg Bray: Is there room to slip in one more email that says, hi, this is Kevin, the intern, and he approves of all your choices.

Kevin Weitzel: He loves your pink bathroom tile.

Rachel Peters: Thank you. We might have to get like a little special email tag for you, Kevin.

Kevin Weitzel: Your panache for the mid-century modern appeal and look is a definite thumbs up from Kevin. Boom, on case of me holding scotch bottle. Yes. Greg, that's a great idea.

Greg Bray: All right. I do what I can. Thank you, Kevin, for approving my idea. I appreciate it. All right, Rachel. Um, just a few more questions before we wrap up. As you guys are looking ahead, are there any trends or things that you're working on now, that you're getting ready for that you're willing to share without giving away all the top secret stuff?

Rachel Peters: Sure. So, I would say right now we are sort of in a back-to-basics mode. It's really easy to get distracted by things that [00:30:00] are pretty and shiny on the fringes, but we wanna make sure that we are heavily investing in the core things that affect our customer's decision to buy a home. That means that we want to make sure that our copy is good, our website is good, all of our efforts that we're doing are serving the customer. So, instead of chasing a lot of new things, we are taking a moment, looking inward, and saying, all right, let's make sure we have a really strong foundation before we're putting huge building blocks on top. That's going be, I think, essential no matter where the market goes. You're never gonna waste time or money investing in your foundation.

Greg Bray: Excellent.

Kevin Weitzel: Being that you work from coordinator up to super duper guru of all things marketing. I don't know if that's the official title. I just thought that might have been it, but what advice would you give that intern coming in to say, if this is the career path that you want to take, here's [00:31:00] what I'd recommend?

Rachel Peters: Great question. I would say, ask a lot of questions and simultaneously try to find the answer before someone tells you the answer. Being curious is so important for being able to not just learn new information, but to learn it in the context of why it matters. My team, we do onsite training with our internal operations team, because I want Sarah to be able to respond to a social media comment about why is this here without having to go all the way up the supply chain to our internal operations team to say, why do we build it like this? She just knows, and that's really important for me and for our team. So, that we don't have to go too far outside of ourselves to be able to answer questions, but we have the connections that they're there when they're [00:32:00] needed.

Our interns, I want you to sit with every single department head or someone in each department and say, hey, how do we interact with you? How does marketing interact with you? How can we interact with you better, or what can we be doing better? You start to see how all the pieces fit together. Maybe there's some opinions that need to be shifted or righted, and having those connections and intentionally breaking down the silos allows you to become a wealth of knowledge that people outside of your department will lean on and you become much more strategic. Instead of just a doer, you have a lot of reasoning behind it and can connect the dots and provide more purpose into what you're doing and how it fits into the bigger overall picture.

That was something that then allowed me to do as a coordinator. I sat with every single department and asked those exact questions. How do we interact with you now? Ideally, how would marketing [00:33:00] interact with construction or finance or design? Just get ideas because I had fresh eyes at the time and now I don't, but our intern does. So, having those unique perspectives, and staying curious, and absorbing everything that you can is priceless.

Greg Bray: Great advice. Well, Rachel, if someone wants to reach out and connect with you, what's the best way for them to get in touch?

Rachel Peters: I am active on LinkedIn. So, I'm more than happy to connect with you on there, or you can also send me an email. It is rpeters@keystonecustomhome.com. No guarantees. I probably won't respond right away, but I promise I'll get there.

Kevin Weitzel: As long as the sales team does. That's all that matters.

Rachel Peters: Yes exactly.

Greg Bray: Well, Rachel, thank you again for spending time with us today and for sharing so freely. We really appreciate it and thank you everybody for listening to The Home Builder Digital Marketing Podcast. I'm Greg Bray with Blue Tangerine.

Kevin Weitzel: And I'm Kevin Weitzel with [00:34:00] OutHouse. Thank you.

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