Archive for the ‘Website Development’ Category

Turning the Page in Manufactured Housing Marketing and Sales

November 14th, 2015 No comments

There may have been 2-3 dozen MHPros in the final session of the NCC’s 2015 Fall Leadership Forum on Friday. So of the some 275 +/- that signed up and came, about 85% missed what Lisa – the final presenter from the multi-family side of housing – had to say about what she learned in contacting and checking out MH Communities.


Lisa’s message deserved a packed room; she hit many themes the Cutting Edge blog promotes and utilizes.  Of the 275 +/- reportedly at the meeting, only a few dozen where still in attendance for this presentation – Lisa did a fine job.


Paraphrasing, Lisa said:

  • there was no need to discuss social media, because the MH industry needed to do so many other basic things first,
  • she lamented the fact that of all the ‘mystery shopper’ calls for information she made shortly before the posted, scheduled closing of locations (making those calls moving from East to West Coast, so she covered time zones from coast to coast):
  1. no one answered her calls,
  2. no one returned the call the next morning by 11 AM CT,
  • Lisa found websites that had not been refreshed (updated) in 5 to 10 years (she stressed the need to do that every 2 years, period),
  • websites that had no mobile friendly interface, and a host of other, costly errors.

In other, earlier calls Lisa made to MHCs, when she spoke with someone,

  1. they were using outdated jargon like ‘double wides,’ instead of something that had a warmer, more appealing residential sound to it from a consumer viewpoint,
  2. no one tried to book an appointment,
  3. she explained that in the apartment world, 74% of the closed customers came from a booked appointment – so failure to try to make an appointment was a big no-no.

We could drone on about a variety of other things Lisa said are needed in MHVille:

  • using ghost/tracking numbers,
  • a lack of professionalism (which implies a lack of training),
  • websites that lacked appeal,
  • too few or no videos,
  • the need for timely (rapid) professional engagement and follow up and
  • her closing by saying that those there should not shoot the messenger, because you can’t

improve without knowing what’s wrong.

Lisa admitted that multi-family housing had to adjust and make big strides in recent years in professionalism too and that slightly more than half the apartment locations are reportedly still doing things the old, wrong way.

This was all fascinating to me, because what Lisa stresses in multi-family, we’ve been teaching and doing with our MH retail or MH Community clients. We know these things work, because they are field tested for proven results. Having a good process that does the above (and more), and that is customer and user (sales team) friendly is profitable. Investing in training and marketing doesn’t cost, done properly, it pays-off with a high ROI.


One has to LISTEN in marketing and sales to what the market and consumers are trying to tell you. Image graphic credit: KY Olsen, FlickrCreativeCommons.

The High Cost of Lost Opportunities

I spoke with some communities owners that had purchased properties with as much as 50% vacancy, clearly with the idea of filling them. Others had occupancy in the 80s or even the low 90s percentage range, the later of which is noteworthy.


Another MHC presenter explained that by investing in marketing and other efforts, what would normally be lost in 10 months site vacancy, they’d fill a site/home in about 90 days vs. a year.

That firm was clearly doing a number of things well; many that we advocate. What was noticeable to me from the facts that firm shared was that their conversion rates from leads and applicants to closed deals was still low (under 10%). That too looks like a sales/customer service/training issue. The good news is that all their efforts clearly were profitable, yielding a fine community, attractive models that appealed and yielded referrals.


It shouldn’t require a genius to know that problem solving requires a different approach than the one you have, or your problem wouldn’t exist.  Odds are good you’re doing many things well! But its whatever is missing, that’s what is holding you and your profits back. Original image credit, WikiCommons, poster credit, – © 2015, all rights reserved.

What does your location need?

It is self-evident that we can’t see ourselves. We need mirrors. We need another, objective set of eyes to see what we are doing.

What a 2 or 3 star location needs could be radically different than what a 4 or 5 star property or retail center does. A doctor may get clues from a phone call, but they all say the same thing, and rightly so. Let the doctor see you, it often requires tests, and from a proper medical exam, you can get a proper course of action.


The view from the 80th floor of the Mid-America Club, atop the Aon Center, downtown Chicago. This was where the 2nd mixer for the 2015 NCC Fall Leadership Forum took place.  MHI and the NCC routinely do a good job of picking elegant or cool locations to hold their meetings and events.

We’re glad to do a conversation by phone to see if your scenario and budgets may be such  that we can successfully serve your location(s).  We’ll ask a few questions, and listen.

For those who go past that initial phone call, the next steps can be identified and laid out in a plan.

What’s interesting, is we offer all that Lisa suggested, and then some!

Let’s save a bit of time.

We routinely see success when management is all in. Change requires…change!

Half-hearted change doesn’t cut it. Don’t start change unless you are willing to see it through. Start and stop is a waste of time and money.

You can start at this location or that one, to prove the model for you. But where ever you decide to implement, make sure that you are all in.  See that launch through to a successful landing, and you’ll be glad you went through the challenging yet rewarding process of positive change.

For those who do embrace what’s new and works, good ROI and a system that is proven to deliver is the result.

Lisa from the apartment world isn’t the only one who preaches the need for change in MH, we have lived it for years and some of our clients are too.

Progress requires turning the page on the past for whatever doesn’t work.  Keep the good, lose what’s outdated or no longer works.  Measure for results.  Hold people accountable. Profitable Progress will follow! ##


Photos from NY Housing Association annual meeting. Tony and team will be at the 2016 Tunica MH Show, among other upcoming events.

By L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach.

How Do You Really Rank for Manufactured Housing Keywords?

May 11th, 2011 No comments

SE Rank Checker logoThe other day I overheard a person talking with their paid “web expert” about their ranking in the search engines (SEs). It wasn’t specific to Manufactured Housing, but I’ve noticed similar comments in this industry as well. The “web expert” was explaining how well he had done his job by noting that the client ranked #1 on Google when they typed his company name into a Google search.

Well, glory be!!! Ranking #1 for one’s own name? That must have required a ton of work and some long, hard hours at the keyboard for the “expert…” NOT!

I’ve seen the same kind of claims made for searches conducted using the website’s URL. WOW! A #1 ranking for your own domain name! If you don;t rank #1 for your company name and domain name, there are some serious issues that need immediate attention. Here’s the kind of results you should get using a domain-based search.

Domain Search results for ''

This result is for a website I run with news about local businesses.

I have had potential clients come to me who didn’t rank at all for their own company name. That’s a problem. Usually this occurs when a business doesn’t have a website and hasn’t been indexed online by a directory or other service. Fortunately, it is becoming a rare occurrence.

What you really want to know is how well you rank for a keyword that your current or potential customers will type into Google, Bing, Yahoo, About, etc.

For instance, my business specializes in web marketing and is based in Danville, KY. When I typed “web marketing Danville KY” into Google on one day, the following was the result on the Search Engines Results Page (SERP):

Keyword search for 'web marketing danville ky'

As you can see, captured the first four results for the keyword AND there is a more results link that gives several more. In addition, my website at ranked number five for an article that’s only been up for a week and after a domain name change to the site two weeks ago.

That’s the kind of result I like to see.

I posted a version of this article to my blog at on Tuesday and now that article has taken the 5th position in a search of those keywords – in less than two days!

And it’s the kind of result you can get for your keywords if you use WordPress, add the proper plugins and post content that the SEs can easily index and categorize.

Word of caution: If you keep typing the same keyword into a search and then click on the same page over and over, you will notice it rising in the rankings. But only for you.

To get a true picture of how you rank for certain keywords, you need to use a tool like the SE Rank Checker and know how to interpret the results.

As you can see here, when we used the SE Rank Checker, the results for Google were almost identical to our web search except that my second site picked up another listing, giving me 6 of 10 page one results.

Search Engine Rank Checker result for 'web marketing danville ky' at

Looking up your own rankings by doing a web search will give you a good idea of how you rank, but to achieve the best results, use a SE Rank Checker search as your base results and compare the results of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) work in the future to determine how you are improving and how fast.

Marketing Manufactured Housing Online – Where Do I Start?

April 10th, 2011 1 comment

Where do I start?“Where do I start?” That’s a question I hear from retailers, community owners and clients from other industries alike. And it’s the question most likely to need an answer from a professional like myself.

Here is the key thing to consider before even calling a professional in. Because without an answer to this question, a campaign cannot be properly planned and executed.

What you expect your online marketing campaign to do?

For sake of discussion, a campaign could be a website, an email campaign, a social media campaign or a combination of all of them.

So let’s use an example and sketch the beginnings of a build-out to suit that example.

Read more…

Need to do updates on your own manufactured home website?

February 27th, 2011 No comments

You’ve just had your website reviewed and you just need to tweak a few posts or pages to improve your Search Engine Optimization (SEO). So, what do you do next?

Well, you could just call or email your web developer and ask him or her to make the changes for you. Then next week, when you notice something else that needs updating, you can do it again.

But there’s another way.

Using professional-grade CMS Builder software, your current website can be retrofitted so you can easily update your own site. If you can login to a website and if you’re familiar with working in a word precessor, such as Microsoft Word, updating your site is within your grasp.

Even if you never touch the website yourself, your web developer will make your changes in less time and with less chance of making unwanted changes to your template. That’s a important consideration these days when the person maintaining your site is often not the person who designed it.

If you sell or rent homes, lots or land, CMS Builder has optional List Manager (LM) module that is a huge improvement on their old, standalone listing system.

No matter who designed your site, if it not a modern Content Management System (CMS) now, it can be in just a few days.

CMS Builder logoThe beauty of separating your content from your website template (what it looks like) is that if you decide to change the look of your site in the future, it is a simple precess to change the template than to rebuild the entire site, content and all.

And having the ability to make updates to your site on a regular basis will extend the useful life of the site.

We can retrofit your site using CMS Builder for far less than the price of rebuilding it. Give us a call at (847) 730-3692 and find out more.

5 Minute website self-evaluation

January 30th, 2011 No comments

One of the services we offer is a website review. In a website review, we go over every page of your website and check for any missing elements or erroneous entries that might have a detrimental effect on your Search Engine ranking.

But do you need a full website review? Here’s a short video that will enable you to do a quick evaluation of your own website based on four critical factors. If you find your site coming up short on these, a full website review should be considered. It can save you a lot of lost business in the long-term and lost money in the sort term.

Click here for more information on Website Reviews