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43 Inspiring Women Through the House That She Built - Kristi Allen

Inspiring Women Through the House That She Built - Kristi Allen

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Production by:  KT Maschler and Josh Williamson

Editing by: KT Maschler 

This week on the Home Builder Digital Marketing Podcast, Greg and Kevin welcomed Kristi Allen, owner of WoodCastle Homes. They discuss the power of women in general contracting and home building, The House That She Built, and so much more. She hopes to show girls and women that there’s a space for them in this awesome home building industry!

Currently, Kristi Allen is the owner of WoodCastle Homes. She grew up in the home building industry as the third generation of a family-owned home builder. Kristi spent 12 years working at McArthur Homes in different roles, including sales and marketing as a community sales associate, design studio consultant, sales manager, and as the online sales counselor and online marketing manager. 

In 2016, Kristi began her biggest home building adventure yet when she and her brother started WoodCastle Homes. Kristi quickly learned that building new homes is both more rewarding and more challenging than she ever expected. Kristi does her best to balance building new custom homes for her amazing clients, spending lots of time with her three busy kids, serving as the chair of the Utah PWB, not to mention acting as the GC on The House That She Built, an all women-built home project. 

Show Notes

Guest Links:


References:


We have a favor to ask; if you enjoy the podcast, please take a minute to rate it on iTunes, Spotify, or wherever you listen to the show. A quick rating and short review help others discover the podcast.

Production by:  KT Maschler and Josh Williamson

Editing by: KT Maschler 

Transcript

Greg Bray:  [00:00:00]Hello everybody. And welcome to today's episode of the Homebuilder Digital Marketing Podcast. I'm Greg Bray with Blue Tangerine 

Kevin Weitzel: and I'm Kevin Weitzel with Outhouse. 

Greg Bray: And today we are excited to welcome as our guest Kristi Allen, the owner of Wood Castle Homes. Welcome, Kristi. 

Kristi Allen: Thank you, guys. Thanks for having me.

Greg Bray: Well, Kristi, why don't you we'll give our listeners just a quick introduction to who you are and some of the things you've been doing. 

Kristi Allen: Awesome. Right now I am the owner of Wood Castle Homes. We are a [00:01:00] small one-woman show, custom home builder. So I meet with my clients. I help them with their selections.

I bought the house purchasing, marketing, all the things. So it's a lot of fun. I love it. Um, previously worked for a production builder in sales and marketing, and I'm also currently working on a really cool project, The House That She Built. 

Greg Bray: And we're excited to learn a little bit more about that, but before we, before we dive into that one, all right, we got to know something, just something kind of unique and different that, you know, most people don't know about you, at least not the general public. 

Kevin Weitzel: Or people that haven't or people that haven't seen any kind of tik tok, dancy videos.

Kristi Allen: Oh, no, you found me out. Something unique about me maybe is I love to travel. I've been to every continent except for Antarctica. I never want to go to Antarctica I'm calling it good.

Greg Bray: And, was that a plan or just kind of happened that you ended up visiting all of them?

Kristi Allen: Just happened. I just like to travel. [00:02:00] And I, one day realized, Hey, I think I've been to all the continents had to go back to life, you know, my school days and count them up. And I said, Oh no, I haven't made it to Antarctica, but I hate being cold.

So it's not on the bucket list. 

Greg Bray: Awesome. Well, tell us a little bit Kristi about how you kind of got started in the home building industry. 

Kristi Allen: Yeah. So I started, I mean, I was probably 10 years old. The first time I started working in a home building industry, I was lucky to grow up in a family-owned production, home builder company.

And so even when I was little, I would go and help file stuff, recycle things, there are little odds and ends. And then as I grew up into it, I was able to take on more responsibility. So in high school, I did redlining. As soon as I turned 18, I got my license. I worked in sales. I worked in sales at an awesome time.

I was 2003, 2004, 2005. So was a great time to be working in new home sales. And after that, I managed the design studio and then started [00:03:00] working more with online marketing. So I was able to help do a complete overhaul of our website. Our marketing strategy started up an online sales counselor program.

So kind of took us through that whole growing process that all of the builders went through, you know, during those years trying to get online marketing figured out. So that was a lot of fun to kind of. Take that over and make it grow. 

Greg Bray: What made you decide to go from the larger builder to trying to do it all by yourself?

You know, you just mentioned a one-woman show that that seems like a lot of work to me. I don't know. I guess that's, just, you know, some people love work, but tell us about.

Kristi Allen: There's a lot of, I mean, it is a lot of work. It's not I mean, I'm not built as a production builder. We were building 200 homes a year.

So I, myself am not building 200 homes a year. I'm not doing that amount of work that a full company would do. I'm actually building typically three to four homes a year. So a couple at a time, which is a really cool [00:04:00] niche for me, because it allows me to be hands-on. I get to work out in the field, which I love, and I didn't know I would love it.

And I also get to do mom's stuff. So I am able to pick my kids up from school and take them to dance and I can be there whenever I need to be. So it's very flexible for me, which is cool. So as, as a mom, with 3 kids, it's actually an ideal situation. The way I stumbled into it, was because of my dad had health issues, he was retiring.

There was some things my job at MacArthur Homes just wasn't quite as flexible as I needed it to be at that time. And my brother was looking around and trying to figure out what he was going to do. And he's like, Hey, let's start a home building company. And I was like, yeah, sure. Let's try that. That sounds fun.

So we decided to just start with one spec home and just see how it went. And as we started meeting together and figuring things out, we realized he needed to finish up his job that he was doing right. Then he was waiting for a company to go public. And so he wasn't able [00:05:00] to be on site. And so it turned out that I was the person that was available to work onsite.

So I started just figuring things out. I had awesome mentors. I've had obviously a lot of experience already in homebuilding. I'd been 14 years at MacArthur Homes. So I just started with one spec home, learned a time, found out I loved it, and then just kept going. And my brother ended up taking a different opportunity with a company in New York.

So I started took over everything myself, but it's been a happy accident. I would never have thought I would love, you know, getting dirty and being on-site. And I mean, every day I come home pretty much filthy, but I love it. 

Kevin Weitzel: Absolutely. So let's do this rapidly evolved into you. Do this slash, she do this slash I do this and then became The House That She Built.

Can you tell us a little bit more about that? 

Kristi Allen: Yeah. The House That She Built was a pretty cool project. We started a chapter of Professional Women in Building. So that's a council of the Home Builders Association. So we started a chapter here in Utah. My friend, Kristen Smith was our first chairwoman, and she was in a meeting early on with a bunch of men from the HBA.

And they're like, well, what are you guys going to do? What does a Professional Women in Building council even do, you know, are you going to build a house with all women? Kind of like, like as a, as a joke, 

Greg Bray: they taunted you. They actually taunted you a little bit?

Kristi Allen: I want to see a taunt, but that's, you know, they were like, what is it?

What does this even mean? You [00:07:00] know, what is professional, you know, women in building. And, and she was like, yeah, like we can do that. Let's try that. So she brought it to the council, we started talking about it and we thought this would be an awesome way to sort of bring more attention to women in construction.

So the idea isn't like, Oh, The House That She Built is better because women, built it and not men, that's not the idea at all. The idea is, look at all these women working in construction. This is an awesome place to be. There's so many opportunities here. We are so low on labor. We need more trades. We need more people in construction, period, and women are an untapped resource.

So it's been amazing for me, even though I knew we were going to be doing this. And I believed in the project, but just as the general contractor being onsite and meeting all of these women, we're working in construction and just their skills and their talents and their stories. It's been unbelievable.

Kevin Weitzel: And this is intentionally [00:08:00] sarcastic. You mean women can read blueprints and swing a hammer? No. 

Kristi Allen: Shockingly

Kevin Weitzel: They can build a wall. I can't believe this. This is crazy. 

Greg Bray: Yeah. Did you have trouble Kristi finding all the different pieces to the puzzle? 

Kristi Allen: So much trouble. If I'm being perfectly honest, it has been.

Way more challenge. I thought you know, there, I knew some women in construction. I, and I know like on social media I've seen them and I thought we can find it. We can easily find this. Right. We can make this happen. It has been almost impossible on some trades. We have had to really stretch for plumbers.

We actually flew two women out from Pennsylvania because they're literally not the skill. Available skill, right? There are, there are a few women here, maybe that weren't at quite the level we needed to for this project or who were just too busy right there. They're in the middle of their careers and they were just completely slammed and couldn't take it or we'd hear like, I [00:09:00] know one plumber who works for this company and we call them no, no, no, no, no.

It's actually, we, she moved to this. Like we would like be tracing. It was like detective work, just like search out these women in the trades and. It's been extremely difficult. We've actually, we've had a foundation. We had trouble framing we've had, I mean, we've had women who have COVID and can't show up.

We have women and there's not just like a depth. That we can just call on the next framing crew, right? Because there's just so little of us in construction, which was shocking to me. And it's really sad because I've actually had the opportunity since we've been so low on labor to do a lot of these trades to jump in.

I spent 12 days framing. I mean, like, not that I was running the framing crew, but that I was helping out and doing the work and it's a lot of fun. There are amazing. Career opportunities. And it's sad that we don't have more women in them. 

Kevin Weitzel: So coming from the Marine Corps I went, I was in the late eighties, early [00:10:00] nineties.

And when I went in, they were just incorporating female Marines. They call them WMS, women Marines. And they really had an uphill battle. You know, they weren't even being introduced in combat roles. They were just being introduced to admin and to, you know, supply chain roles and, and. Sub combat support roles and they really had it bad because of the good old boy's network in the Marine Corps.

Do you think that because there's obviously a lot of women in the marketing side and the sales side and even the admin side of, of home building, but systemic issue in the home building trades that women? Aren't necessarily welcomed as, as well as they could be. Or is it just, the mentality of some companies thinking that or women that thinking that I don't want to go work for that company?

They're not going to treat me right. Or yada, yada, yada, what are your thoughts on? 

Kristi Allen: Yeah, it's a good question. I think it's a two, I think it's both issues that you said it's a two-part problem. I have been very lucky. I have experienced little to no issue with people [00:11:00] thinking I couldn't do my job. And if anyone that I met maybe questioned or wasn't sure they would give me a chance and they'd work with me and they'd see that I knew what I was doing and things worked out great.

With most of the women I've talked to, it's been similar. Maybe there's initially a little bit of a question, like, is this person qualified for their job, but they're always able to prove themselves. I, I haven't heard any. Stories of people just being shot down or unable to work in a situation or pushed out.

But I do know that that that probably does happen places. I think the biggest issue and the problem that we're trying to help with The House That She Built is women just not seeing themselves in these roles. So again, I worked at MacArthur Homes almost 14 years. I was able, I was moved around all over in the company.

I took on all different roles. It never occurred to me that I would love working on site. I never thought, let me try being a superintendent. And it also didn't occur. I don't think to anybody else at the company that [00:12:00] that would be something I would like, they'd never told me I couldn't. They never would tell me that that's something I couldn't do.

Everyone was super supportive, but it never was like, Hey, maybe she would love to do that. So I think it's just a mindset issue. And. Once I started that role. I found out that that was what I really love. So I think if we can see more women doing these jobs, then women will be able to envision themselves more easily in that career.

My girls both are super interested in construction. Now my youngest daughter is always asking when she's old enough for me to teach her how to build homes. And my son's not that interested in construction. And I honestly think it's a little bit because they see me doing it and see it almost as.

A woman's job, right? That from their perspective women are homebuilders and not men. So I think it, it helps to be able for these young girls and these women to see women doing those jobs and kind of flip a switch in their head that that's something that's available to them. And they might like it.

Greg Bray: So Kristi, [00:13:00] tell us a little bit more about the house. Specifically. You have this idea that we're going to have, you know, an all-female crew do it all, but then you actually have to find a piece of land and you know, figure out what you're going to build. And, and some of that, what kind of went into that?

Part of the process, you know, it's just, Oh, I've got a little spot over here. Let's build something or what? 

Kristi Allen: Yeah. So obviously it's super huge challenge because we were a new council. Right. We have no resources. We have no money. We don't have couple of hundred thousand dollars to buy a plot of land right off the bat.

Right. So what we did is we started going to different builders that we knew and asking, Hey, do you have a lot that we could build on that? Either you could carry the loan? You could give us a discount. We were looking for donated land. Didn't quite find a fully donated piece of land. But we did find Oakwood Homes who are a regional builder out here, and they were excited about the project.

So they were willing to do what they could. They found a lot for us and they're [00:14:00] carrying that cost until we close on the home. So really awesome them to do that. Otherwise, we couldn't have been able to do this. 

Kevin Weitzel: I wish we would've known about this ahead of time, because we actually have not one, but two female architectural drafters on our team.

That's awesome. 

Kristi Allen: That's awesome. And we have a couple on our council as well. And who, who did the plans for her, The House That She Built So that, and I think architectural drafting is an awesome job for women to be in. Because if you think about it, women are making a lot of the purchase decisions we know on these homes.

So having them designed from a woman's perspective, or at least women working with men together, I think that that makes a huge difference in the livability. And the design of a home. And 

Kevin Weitzel: Let me ask you this little question, can only a woman buy this home. Uh, but Hey, in all seriousness changing speeds here, because you know, obviously we are more digital marketing and digital sales 

focused.

Let me ask you this. [00:15:00] What gears did you have to change or what mindset did you have to change? Going from a production semi-custom builder into a. Full custom builder, a small one-woman operation as you call it. How would, what did you have to change as far as your overall focus and mindset? 

Kristi Allen: Well, my budget chain for marketing dramatically, obviously going from a larger production builder.

And so I really had to think about, and also my marketing goals were different, right? Because before we were looking, we're casting a larger net, we're looking for a lot of people to buy homes in a lot of different areas. And what I'm selling is the ability to build a more, a foe. I target my marketing really to that beginning customer level, someone who can't quite get the customization they want from a production home, but they're not spending two or $3 million on a custom Homeland.

I would say, the entry-level customer. If that makes sense, your first foray into, into custom level homes, that's sort of the niche that I wanted [00:16:00] to fill. And. With that I only need, I only build a very specific area. Right. I want to be close enough to my kids. So I build within about five to 10 miles from where I live and that that's, it that's my radius.

I don't take anything outside of that. So with that much more narrow focus, I had to try and figure out how I was going to reach those people without being able to cast those broad marketing nuts with all my marketing dollars everywhere. And it came down to being a lot more personal. So all the last two years, all of my bills have come through.

All my leads have come through direct referrals or Instagram people who have found me on Instagram. And I actually don't do any marketing dollars on Instagram. I do just posts that people share a lot and kind of try and be personal about what I do, who I build for. And that's worked for me again, but I only have to find three to four clients a year.

So it's a [00:17:00] lot more specific. 

Greg Bray: No, I think the recognition Kristi, that you have of defining that niche for yourself and saying this, this is you're right. You don't need a lot, but, but they're very specific who you're after, have you seen an impact of your digital footprint? So to speak on that referral process?

Basically the idea, well, somebody says, Hey, check out, you know, Wood Castle Homes and. Christiane. And then even before they call you, I'm assuming maybe they do a little bit of a Google search or go look at your website or check out some of your stuff. Do you have any, any thoughts on that kind of validation piece of the referral process, if that, does that make sense?

My question, 

Kristi Allen: Absolutely. And it's funny. I get the main comment I get when I talk to people about how they found me or what, you know, what they were interested in on my website is I do use the mind hook story app, which I developed. Back when I was working for MacArthur Homes. And so my main marketing effort, I [00:18:00] guess right now is that I, I had a login sort of a personal mini-blog for each buyer using this app, the process of building their home, and then those are available on my website to view.

So people will share those. So I'll hear a lot like, Oh yeah, I saw. You know, so-and-so shared their photos of you building their home. That's how I found you, or they'll say like, Oh, it's on your website. And I love how you really capture that home building process for your buyers. So those sort of that, and that's sort of that personal touch that I was talking about.

I try and let my personality come out as I am sort of describing the process of building homes. So I do posts sometimes multiple times a week for each buyer about what's going on with their home sometimes just. It's spaced out longer, depending on what's going on in construction. But, um, I think because of that, my sort of brand my personality is able to come out and that's why people typically choose to work with me, which is what I like.

I want to work with someone that's likes the way that I do business and the way that I build homes [00:19:00] and that we can have a good relationship that way. 

Kevin Weitzel: So, what you see is what I actually see, because I actually saw a few of those segments on your website that is actually. You posting that not necessarily for your behalf, although you're a benefactor of it by being able to show the progress to the home build.

But that was more to keep the home buyer engaged in the process because I saw one where you were doing like a frame walk and then there was another one where you finished, you know, you know, roof install and stuff. Just in nick of time before snow started falling. You know what it was, it was really cool because, you know, you were genuinely excited about how the whole process was taking shape.

So, and that might even have been your first home.

Kristi Allen: I don't know. Could have been, I don't know which one you're looking at, but yeah, a lot of times I'm getting roofs on, in the nick of time before snow, unfortunately here in Utah, but yeah, that's the idea, is it really, again, and the mind home story I've actually started from a marketing perspective.

Originally when I was working at MacArthur Homes, we were trying to find a way to get our home buyers talking about and sharing about their homes. And that's why it [00:20:00] was developed and that that's a great use for it. But then for me, as a smaller builder, it really is important for me to show my personality.

And that's where I tried to bring that in more as you know, talking about the ups and the downs and what I'm excited about for their home and, and how it's going 

Greg Bray: Kristi I'm, I'm thinking that because you came from kind of a sales and marketing experience first, right. And then, and then you've moved into the operational side construction that you probably.

Think about these things, a little different than maybe the typical custom builder who kind of comes from from the construction side first, you know, how do you think someone who's doing again, that, that handful of homes a year referral-based lead generation. How, how can they get more comfortable putting themselves out there the way that you are, and trying to make it a little more personal if they're not quite as comfortable being the [00:21:00] salesperson, so to speak, is that a to kind of make sense?

Kristi Allen: So that's a great question. I think that it is a challenge for a lot of, I would say typically it's men, right? Working as general contractors, small, small business, small custom owners, uh, builders who have come from that construction background. And, and aren't maybe, you know, don't like posting videos of them dancing on tech, talk with their daughters.

They're not as comfortable putting themselves out there. Right. But I think the key is knowing what you, what value you bring to the, to the process. Right. And a lot of those guys have. Really cool and interesting backgrounds and construction details, stories, things that they've learned. Those are kinds of things that they could share that they probably feel more comfortable talking about.

And that would be a lot of value to their buyers or their prospective buyers. And that would also sort of help them create that niche or that brand of what they're bringing to the table. 

Greg Bray: Tell us a little bit more about the My Home Story app in general, kind of how that came about [00:22:00] and how it works.

Kristi Allen: Yeah. So it was one, I was getting sort of our social media through runaway. We had our website that was working. We had our online sales counselor program sort of in its infancy. And we were looking at, okay, now here's this here's social media. What's going on here? What are we going to do here? And I spent a lot of time trying to do different kinds of content on my own, trying to figure out what people would like looking at the stats, what was getting shared, what wasn't.

I found if I could get my homeowners involved, then that was the most successful content because if they were willing to share it then it would go a lot farther obviously than it would if whatever I was just posting, it had a pretty small social media budget at that time as well. So there wasn't a lot of, um, ad work being done.

Then this was early on when you could actually still be seen on social media without spending money on ads. But I thought, okay, if I was a homeowner, what would I be most interested in sharing? What would I be most interested in [00:23:00] talking about? I thought I probably would be most interesting about my own house.

So we wanted to make it easy for home buyers to talk about their house in a way that connected with MacArthur Homes with the builder because people will post a picture of their house. Right. A lot of people do when they're building, but they don't necessarily say. I love my home, that I'm building with MacArthur Homes, and here's a link to their website.

Right. But that's uncommon. So we thought, well, we can give them that content and make it easy to share. So originally actually wasn't even app. It was me as a sales manager asking all of sales agents, I think we had about seven at the time to take photos of homes every week they emailed them to me. I downloaded them, resize them, created a page like a webpage for each of our home buyers.

Uploaded the photos, dated, them talk about what was going on, and then emailed all of our buyers saying your home story page has been updated and our buyers loved it. They were super excited about it. It was great new content on our website on a weekly basis. And it [00:24:00] was way too much work. Like I was drowning in trying to get that done.

Right, I mean, 200 homes a year that it was hours and hours every week. And so I was talking to my brother about this, who was a student at the time and different, uh, different brother brothers a different brother who was a student and was involved in programming and things like that.

And I'm like, I love doing this, but there's gotta be a better way. And he's like, Oh, I can, I could build an app for that. I could build an app for you. It's like really yeah. So he did and it worked awesome. And, um, at the time it was working with Meredith Oliver. On some website things. And she said like, Hey, I'm speaking at the International Home Builders Convention and would love for you to come and talk a little bit about what you're doing.

And so it was, I think it was called Internet Marketing All-Stars who lives a year, I think in 2008 or 2009. And it was a long time ago. And she, [00:25:00] she asked me to come speak with her and. We did. And people were so interested that we thought we should make this app available to other builders. So that's when we took it on sort of a more general scale where other builders could use it.

We have builders, you know, larger national companies. We have tiny builders like me using it. And it's been a cool tool. 

Kevin Weitzel: Well, I was going to ask, you know, cause speaking of sharing, do you make this available to other builders to purchase? And apparently that is the case. So they can get in touch with you to do that.

Kristi Allen: Yep.

Yep. 

I am still helping manage that sales and marketing piece also for My Home Story, but I'm looking for someone that can handle that instead. So hopefully we'll have some of them starting that at some point, getting a little bit overwhelming. 

Kevin Weitzel: And do you, or would they find you through Woodside Homes too, to get that done?

Or is it on the My Home App? Is there an actual site for that to where they can reach out to you? 

Kristi Allen: There is a, yeah, there's a My Home Story website, myhomestory.com. 

Greg Bray: So Kristi, did you find that the buyers reacted positively when you switched over [00:26:00] to the app concept and sharing and everything else?

What was their reaction? 

Kristi Allen: The buyer? Well, for the buyers, it was very, there was very little difference upfront, except for that when I would email them now, instead of saying, Hey, your page is updated. It had a link to their page, and then it had sharing buttons. They could easily just click to share those photos right away on social media, which was really nice for them and nice for us because we are sharing level whatnot.

So we got more content being shared. The sales agents, it took a minute for them to adjust to it because in their minds it was me asking them to do more than what they were doing before. But it didn't, it didn't take any more time. Then taking photos and emailing them to me. You take the photos in the app, you, you hit post you're done, but it took a minute to be like, this is the new process.

Once they got the hang of it, they love it. MacArthur Home still uses it. However many years it's been with a lot of success. 

Greg Bray: I think the idea of making it easy for the buyers to do the sharing is still [00:27:00] something that a lot of builders haven't quite. grasped, right. We're out there just kind of putting things on social media and things there and hoping that they'll like it or hoping that they'll reshare it, but you're really kind of laying it in front of them in the idea that not only are they sharing it, but they're sharing it.

On as your content. So it's all connected back. And I think that's, I just want to highlight that for those who didn't quite grasp that nuance, that's a little bit different than just, Hey, please share this picture. It's all connected back to the builder site so that they're coming to the builder site to see all the details.

And so you get that traffic and that exposure. So I think that's, that's really important.

Kristi Allen: For me, for sure, and for most builders, my best. Prospective clients are friends and family of my current clients because they're predisposed to be happy. They know that their friend or family had a great experience with me.

And they're typically of a similar demographic, right? So we live in the same area as a lot, [00:28:00] may be similar, you know, needs wants. So it's a, it's an easy way for me to target. My marketing is by targeting at friends and family of my current 

Kevin Weitzel: And you're, and you're getting buy-in from that excited. Future homeowner to be incorporated.

You're corporating them into your marketing process, unbeknownst to them, you know, they're just having fun posting stuff with her, check out this new thing. I just did a frame walk in my house. It's awesome. All the electrical lines are done, you know, and when they're seeing that stuff and it's putting it out there, that's just organic traffic right back to your website.

It's it's genius. I think it's amazing. What builders do you have here? Do you mind me asking you what builders are using it? Do you, I mean, you don't have to name every single one of them, but do you have a couple off the top of your head or? 

Kristi Allen: Yeah, I mean, so we're working right now with a lot of Tri-Point home builders.

So that's sort of, what about a larger group that they're hiring a lot of different builders. So we're trying to get that set up right now. I'm working with a lot of those builders trying to get that working. I mean, we've worked with a lot of like [00:29:00] builders, like back when Jen was running Oh shoot.

We got to set up with a lot of work with a ton of builders in North Carolina actually, which is kind of funny. I don't know if there, it seems like North Carolina, they're just like, always excited about what's new and like trying to like improve and stuff. So we found a ton of buy-in there really fast, which is cool.

Kevin Weitzel: Plus, I think Matt Riley lives there and that's all the reason alone is that people want to be involved in whatever Matt Riley is doing, thinking saying. So. Yeah.

Kristi Allen: Yeah.

Greg Bray: Well, and Kristi, the other thing it does in addition to the marketing, as it is, it provides some ongoing engagement as part of that buyer journey for the customer.

Right? So sometimes. The the billers kind of disappear a little bit in the middle of this constraint and people aren't quite sure what's happening and how, and, and you create this expectation. I need to give them updates. They're waiting for that next update. And so it becomes kind of a critical part of your process. 

[00:30:00] What are we going to tell him this week, we better get something done. Right. So we can't have something to show him. Have you ever had that moment? Like, Oh man, I got nothing to talk about? 

Kristi Allen: So what we actually like to do in those situations is we tell builders, like have some sort of like stock photos ready, like,

Things about the neighborhood. Like if we know we're going to be waiting for two weeks today, we can say, Hey, just, you know, still waiting for our excavation, be able to start, but I noticed, you know, how great the pool is looking. Can't wait for your family to be able to come out and enjoy it or something like that.

So you have some kind of content that you can post for those situations. But it is true. We've, we've found that the that process, as building, if buyers feel like they were communicated with, well, during the construction process, they are way more likely to recommend their friends and family.

So that's just another way that you're able to increase those referrals. If they feel they've been taken care of, they've been connected with, and they're not just another home, right. Another house [00:31:00] that you're building, but that you care about them,which is cool to be able to take care.

Kevin Weitzel: From another standpoint, does it reduce the inbound what's going on calls?

Does it reduce that factor? It does. Right? So that actually that reduces the traffic, allows the salespeople to do what they need to do, which is to cultivate more of those leads as they're coming in. They're freeing up time. You're actually, it's a soft cost savings, soft savings. I love it. 

Greg Bray: So Kristi, when, when you look at your buyers over the last couple of years, what are you seeing in their expectations that have been changing or evolving, especially this year?

You know, any kind of commonalities you've been seeing how to make a better connection with buyers? 

Kristi Allen: Yeah. I mean, definitely my buyers have been looking. Very they're very picky about what they want in their house because I think all of us have realized we're spending a lot of time in our home.

A lot of time here, we want to know. That whatever we're building [00:32:00] is going to be somewhere that we can feel safe, that we can feel entertained. Honestly, like people are looking for ways to be able to have fun at home. We've got a lot of people wanting to do playhouses and indoor trampolines, and I've got a neighbor putting in an indoor skate park in his basement, 

Kevin Weitzel: dance studios

Kristi Allen: dance studios.

Thank you, Kevin. Yes, I built my house about a year. Two years ago and made the decision to do a small dance studio for my girls. And I kept wondering, is this a waste? I'll tell you what it was not waste. Those girls did zoom dance for nine months in there. In that dance studio. So, it's been awesome to have, but those are the kinds of things that you want to be able to make your home fit your lifestyle.

Right. And that's why as that sort of entry-level custom builder, that's what I'm really marketing is you don't have to spend $3 million to be able to carve out that space to put a small dance studio in your own basement. 

Kevin Weitzel: Speaking of budgets, what's your [00:33:00] typical, what's your typical spend for our clients?

I mean what kind of market are you feeding in the Utah market?

Kristi Allen: Yeah. So not like without land construction costs. Typically 500 to 900 is my normal. 

Greg Bray: I'm sorry. I'm still stuck on indoor trampoline. I'm just kinda, I'm just visual. I mean, the kind of mess that could happen with my kids in an indoor trampoline has just, I can't even 

Kristi Allen: Sometimes we're doing, I'm surrounded by foam pits climbing walls next to them, all kinds of crazy entertain your kids while they're stuck inside quarantining.

Greg Bray: Okay, the things I didn't know, I needed to have, you know, I learned.

Kevin Weitzel: Greg, what you do is you put the trampoline directly under the climbing wall, so you get rid of the belay line. So it's all you just bounce and then jump back on the wall, like Spiderman. 

Kristi Allen: Yeah. As a builder, I will take no responsibility for the accidents happening.

Kevin Weitzel: That's actually a [00:34:00] good question. Do you know, from a liability standpoint, are you at all responsible?

Kristi Allen: As long as it passes passcodes and I shouldn't, there shouldn't be, I have actually, I have not built a trampoline under only reasonable, safe things, but I mean, even The House That She Built, we're putting monkey bars on the ceiling, in the basement for sort of a play area for the kids.

Kevin Weitzel: Yeah.

That's very unique and very, very cool. Yeah. You'll have to give us a link to a virtual tour or something when it's ready. So we can post that.  

Kristi Allen: Yeah, the house will actually be featured in the Parade of Homes and they do a virtual parade. So anybody who wants to can go walkthrough. Thanks.

Greg Bray: Terrific. So you want to be mindful and respectful of your time. You've shared a lot with us today, but just a few more questions. As we, as we kind of wrap up, what are some of the sources that you look to for inspiration and new ideas in the industry that you think others should pay attention to? 

[00:35:00] Kristi Allen: That's a really good question. So I would say most of my inspiration and, and resources come from actually personal conversations. So I love to go to the builder show because I love to go to the educational sessions that are in, I learned a ton, but what I learned the most, I think is from meeting people, at the International Builder Show at other smaller shows digital marketing forums, whatever it might be, meeting people and then making those connections with them.

Obviously, I'm a very social person. I love that. But then, you know, you have those relationships going forward, your friends on Instagram or on Facebook, and you're seeing what they're doing. You're asking questions, talking to them. Just chatting. I mean, Elena Money is a friend that I made years and years ago at we were both professional builders, 40 under 40, the same year.

And so they, they took us around and did like a little home tour in California and I had an event and I've learned. I learned from her constantly. And it's just [00:36:00] because I made that one personal connection. And then over the years, I've been able to, to maintain that. So I think for me, it's more about the people in the industry and connecting and learning from each other.

Yeah. 

Kevin Weitzel: Outside of the industry. What trends do you look for? 

Kristi Allen: Good question. And outside of the industry, I. I mean marketing-wise, I'm, I'm looking at what my kids are looking at. I'm looking at what my 13-year-old is looking at, which I think is helpful. Cause I do build for typically a younger, not 13-year-olds, but bigger than me.

Right? 

Kevin Weitzel: The future home buyers. 

Kristi Allen: Yeah. I mean, I learn a lot from what is going on, what they're doing. And it's interesting to see, I think that the things that are important to them and the. Attention spans that they have, how, how quickly they expect to get information and to be entertained by it. So, I would say, you know, watching the social media and the things that my kids are doing [00:37:00] is I learned a ton.

Yeah. 

Kevin Weitzel: Well, you definitely dialed into a very important fact that a lot of home builders don't consider is that attention span, you know, your website needs to be robust and fast and the information needs to be at your fingertips. The one to three click rule always applies. You know, and, and it is, I see my kids do the same, my son and daughter, both in college, but the same thing, they pop right into their phone.

Boom. They're done. It's 30 seconds later. They're already on to something else. 

Kristi Allen: Absolutely. Yeah. 

Greg Bray: So Kristi, any last piece of advice you'd like to leave with our listeners today? 

Kristi Allen: I guess I would just say to everybody out there in this home building industry, I think we're super lucky. I think this is an amazing industry to be in.

I think we've seen as. You know, the year that we've had a lot of people have had it really hard. And I think our industry has had a great year. We've had challenges. Absolutely. But we've had so many opportunities and we've been able to still connect digitally. Like we're doing here. We're [00:38:00] able to still learn from each other.

And I think we're just all really blessed and we should be grateful and excited for what we have coming up. 

Greg Bray: Terrific. Well, thanks so much Kristi for joining us today. If there's folks who want to reach out to you and connect and maybe learn a little bit more, what's the best way for them to get hold of 

Kristi Allen: you.

Probably on Instagram, I always on Instagram and it's @woodcastlehomeshomes or @kristinickallen. And I can maybe share those in the notes. 

Greg Bray: Well, yeah, we can put some links in the show notes for sure. 

Kristi Allen: Okay, perfect. Well, my website my emails Kristi@mywoodcastlehome.com happy to connect, like I said, I'm always happy to share ideas with people in the industry and learn from you as well.

Greg Bray: Well, thank you again for spending some time with us. And thanks everybody for listening today to the Home Builder, Digital Marketing Podcast. I'm Greg Bray with Blue Tangerine and I'm 

Kevin Weitzel: Kevin Weitzel with Outhouse Thank you. 

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