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Posts Tagged ‘housing market’

Does Your Manufactured Housing Marketing have to be Perfect?

August 20th, 2014 No comments

Another true story. We are driving I-4 West into Tampa, FL a few weeks ago. As I glanced at the billboard on the south side of the highway, my eyes caught sight of the sign captured in the photo below. What do you notice about this billboard?

available-misspelled-avalible-863-698-8050-posted-cutting-edge-blog-mhpronews-com-

Photo credit, MHProNews.

Yes, you've spotted it now too! The sign – a single word and phone number – has a typo! “Available” is what they meant to spell, but in fact, it reads “Avalible.” Let's hope the 863-213-8050 phone number is correct…

Typos or errors in marketing or collateral are far from a one time occasion. A government agency hit the news recently, having spent big bucks on an item that had a serious typo in a word that was part of a logo. Everything printed was trashed as a result. The mainstream media also makes errors. Frankly, we get typos too. The hardest thing, professional editors say, is to see your own typos. Perhaps one reason is because you know what you 'meant' to write, and your mind sort of fills in mentally what was intended.

One take away is that it is wise to get someone else to review, whenever possible.

Is Imperfect Marketing better than No Marketing?

Sorry to say this in reply to the question above, but it depends! We had an item that had a typo in it, and (ouch!) it happened to be a prospective client's name. Actually, the name was spelled correctly, but regrettably it wasn't the name for the person the item was about! While it wasn't my error, neither did I catch it until the executive pointed the mistake out to me. The jury is still out on how much damage that error caused. The point is that an error can risk or cost you business with some.

On the other hand, others are far more forgiving and understanding. Someone might see that sign above and actually call it because of the typo. In Hollywood, they say that any publicity is good publicity. While you and I may see that different than those movie star types, you get the idea.

We are big believers in measure twice, and cut once. That said, imperfect messaging is routinely better than no messaging at all.

if-a-thing-is-worth-doing-it-is-worth-doing-badly-g-k-chesterton-(c)2013-lifestyle-factory-homes-llc-published-mhpronews-com-

G. K. Chesterton's famous quote above was wonderfully paraphrased by Zig Ziglar. Ziglar explained that it is better to start something and do it badly at first, until you learn to do it well. So true! Few of us are experts the first time we tried the ABCs or 123s. It takes repetition! The same is true in marketing, you have to repeat your message over and again, change it up, and say it again.

Another Chesterton quote makes the point that an imperfect start is better than no start at all.

sometimes-the-perfect-is-the-enemy-of-the-good-g-k-chesterton-(c)2013-lifestyle-factory-homes-llc-published-mhpronews-com-

When we launched MHMSM.com – what we now called MHProNews.com, both of which points to MHMarketingSalesManagement.com – the site was good, but not perfect. We've kept improving it, and it continues to grow!

MHMSM-com-continues-to-grow

Compared to this same time last year, our page views have essentially doubled, from over 1 million page views last summer to over 2 million page views in both June and July of 2014! We were already the runaway #1 in our niche last summer, so we keep growing the gap between us and others. Keep in mind, we've created that traffic from pros like you without buying Google ad words, etc..

We've proven and demonstrated successful SEO and other methods to grow an audience that we teach others to do on their websites or online marketing. As the assistant vice-president of a respected company said in an email this week,

I read your site almost every day…”

If we were hung up on a false notion of perfection or nothing at all, we'd likely have much less content, and far fewer readers and page views too. This is publishing, not brain surgery. We do marketing as opposed to manufacturing some vital part in an aircraft, ship, car, smartphone or computer. The point is, there is room for tolerance in a marketer's efforts that may not be true for other professions!

In marketing, the ideal is to put out the best possible item that you can given your time, talent and budgetary constraints. If you can afford to do better, then do it! If you can't, then do the best you can with what you have to work with.

Video Courtesy of our friends, colleagues and clients at
ManufacturedHomes.com

Teaming Up

Let's make one more point with the video shown above. We all need others! It would be very costly for us to have our own video team. We forged a relationship with ManufacturedHomes.com. No one is a truly a 'one man (or woman) band.' We need professionals to provide us with services here and there. We take our own advice, we team up with others, and you should too.

Of course, when it comes to doing online marketing, websites or modern sales systems that attract more customers with cash or good credit to MHCs and MHRetailers, please call or keep us in mind. You'll see websites that deliver results along with marketing and sales processes that will improve your bottom line.

Call or click below, thanks, and see you again here next week! ##

latonykovach-com-brushed-cutting-edge-marketing-sales-blog-mhpronews-com75x75-By L. A. 'Tony' Kovach

Money Motivations

June 13th, 2014 No comments

There are many motivators in life. In sales, some pros speak of the five motivators of pride, profit, love, need and fear. A certain consultant you may know routinely uses fear tactics as a motivator, why? Because it can work. So too the other motivators, in the case of today's column, money or 'profit.'

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The 2008 Financial Meltdown, a Gift in Disguise for Manufactured Housing?

Please don't get me wrong. In an ideal world, we would have had no meltdown in 2008. But our world isn't perfect, so given that reality, the crash of the conventional housing market offers numerous prime opportunities for manufactured housing pros.

Among them is the fact that millions no longer believe that a site built house is a good 'investment.'

That said, a savvy marketer or sales guru can position a message that effectively says… "The money saved by buying our home can be used to invest, for travel, cars, charity, education, you name it!"

Profit is the common motive for why:

  • people invest,
  • or why they try to save, or why
  • they open a business and
  • they may opt for this career over another.

Even in government, money is a motivator. Bureaucratic programs often have a de facto incentive to spend all the money allocated, or they may get less funding the next year. The VA scandal reminded us that bonuses exist at the federal level, and that if staff can't earn the bonus honestly, they may "game the system" to get the money by stealth.

Quality Pays

When someone's budget is tight, there is no point in trying to push a solution the buyer can't afford. But when discretionary spending is an option, a savvy sales pro can justify a higher price through the message that "quality pays."

Resonating not Manipulating

Speaking of the customer, be it this or any sales and marketing methods, let's restate a basic premise. We are not about manipulating the customer. For some 25 years, I've preached that a deal is only a good deal if all involved benefit from it.

So why learn sales and marketing methods at all? Because some customers need to be guided in their decision, and when you see what motivates them, you are in a better position to advise and serve them.

You can get everything out of life you want, when you help enough other people get out of life what they want.” – Zig Ziglar.

The Five Motivators

In all of your sales and marketing, think about how money motivates. And think about how all of the 5 Motivators, pride, profit, love, need and fear. As you ask questions, listen and do your discovery with a customer, you will often pick up the clues that tell you which of the motivators is the best one with the prospect in front of you. ##

L. A. "Tony" KovachL. A. 'Tony' Kovach ManufacturedHomeLivingNews.com | MHProNews.com | Business and Public Marketing & Ads: B2B | B2C Websites, Contract Marketing & Sales Training, Consulting, Speaking: MHC-MD.com | LATonyKovach.com | Office 863-213-4090 Connect on LinkedIN: http://www.linkedin.com/in/latonykovach 

Amway and Autos – Lessons in Branding, UnBranding and ReBranding for Manufactured Housing

October 13th, 2013 No comments

Perhaps the best time to write a column on branding, unbranding and rebranding is prior to the Fall Leadership forum of the National Community Council (NCC) at the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI). Their workshop on that topic will be one of the items yours truly plans to take in with keen interest, as it is something we deal with routinely in our marketing, sales training, website building and consulting.

The Business Dictionary defines branding like this:

“The process involved in creating a unique name and image for a product in the consumers' mind, mainly through advertising campaigns with a consistent theme. Branding aims to establish a significant and differentiated presence in the market that attracts and retains loyal customers.”

Let's begin with a fundamental principle to rapidly drive home the point for today's topic.

The value of branding a product or service is dependent in part on the perception and demand of the product or service in question.

For example, autos are in demand. Branding your car company or dealership makes sense, because Ask reports that in 2011, 12,778,885 cars, trucks, SUV and other automotive types were sold in the U.S. alone. Branding your product and/or service to grow your piece of the automotive pie in such a huge market makes perfect sense.

The Free Dictionary defines rebrand as follows:

rebrand [riːˈbrænd] – (Business / Marketing) (tr) to change or update the image of (an organization or product).

As an example, if your company's brand in automotive is suffering, you'd want to consider rebranding.

Let's imagine for a moment that an import auto company like Yugo wanted to change their image, rebranding combined with improved quality controls, marketing, service and sales training could have made the kind of sense that could have saved that automaker from 'crashing and burning' in the U.S. car market.

Almost no one in our industry (besides us and some of our select clients) grasp and use the powerful concept of parallel paths and unbranding, along with when it makes sense to use this principle.

Macmillan defines unbranding as:

Unbranded goods are not marked with a name of the company that makes them.

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What if your dealership, community – or the industry at large – has an image issue? Does rebranding make the most sense? Or would a possible combination of unbranding and/or rebranding make more sense?

Before you answer, consider this fact. Manufactured housing has tumbled from having 21% of the new home starts in the last 20 years to some 8-12% in more recent years.

So rebranding in a shrinking market is like deciding to be a bigger fish in a smaller pond. Wouldn't you rather go after the large housing marketing place, by whatever strategies are necessary to get you there profitably?

Lessons from Amway and Unbranding

As an example to drive home the point, think about Amway. How many people do you know that have run out to sign up to sell or buy vitamins, home cleaning products etc. from a multi-level marketing (MLM) distributor or company?

The image of MLM in general isn't that hot and hasn't been for many years! So what does a savvy MLM distributor or company do? Answer: they teach their marketing minded distributors to avoid the company name and the marketing method in their initial contact.

In no small measure due to their dual campaign of unbranding and branding, Amway became a multi-billion dollar empire for its founders and made millions for key 'direct distributors.'

At MHC-MD.com and in part via our LATonyKovach.com – websites, marketing, training and coaching platforms – we have garnered dozens of recommendations and hundreds of endorsements by using a proper combination of branding, unbranding and rebranding, along with other proven strategies.

Which of these – branding, unbranding and re-branding – does your operation need? The answer to that question can be worth millions to you and billions to our industry. ##

PS: Check our many Exclusive and Red Hot Featured Articles for October and see the other new stories at MHLivingNews.com too.

L. A. "Tony" KovachL. A. 'Tony' Kovach
ManufacturedHomeLivingNews.com | MHProNews.com |
Business and Public Marketing & Ads: B2B | B2C
Websites, Contract Marketing & Sales Training, Consulting, Speaking:

MHC-MD.com | LATonyKovach.com | Office 863-213-4090 

Connect on LinkedIN:
http://www.linkedin.com/in/latonykovach 

Concerns on Home Buyers’ Minds

August 4th, 2013 No comments

Trulia published a report recently that summarized the 6 concerns on home-buyers minds. The report has implications for manufactured home sellers as well as the broader housing market Trulia was addressing. Let's dive in and see what we can learn from even a brief analysis of their report.

Quoting:

Worry:  Mortgage rates and prices will rise before I buy.  Trulia’s Economist Jed Kolko reports that “the top worry among all survey respondents who might buy a home someday is that mortgage rates will rise further before they buy (41%), followed by rising prices (37%).”  The worry is valid, given the fact that the market was depressed for so long and has a long recovery road ahead of it.  It’s compounded by the fact that buying a home has gone from something that used to take a month or two and now routinely takes 6 months, 9 months, a year or even longer!”

Wow! Every one of these can be turned into a positive for the savvy seller of manufactured homes.

  • Rising mortgage rates has often been seen as good for our industry. My own take is more nuanced, but that's a discussion for another time.

  • Rising prices – this is another positive for our industry, as housing shortages and even some markets that have bidding wars. When conventional home resale prices rise, the price differential for our new product grows, to our benefit.

  • Length of time to purchase. In most cases, we can even order a customized manufactured or modular home and have it done much faster than 6 months, vs. the 6-12 months it may take some to get a mortgage for an existing house.

Quoting Trulia:

“Will:  Be aggressive. B. E. Aggressive. Economist Kolko explained, “among survey respondents who plan to buy a home someday, 2 in 3 (66%)  would use aggressive tactics such as bidding above asking, writing personal letters to the seller, or removing contingencies, to name a few.”  What buyers do and don’t do in the name of aggressively pursuing their dream homes (and, consequently, what sellers expect) is slightly different in every town.”

north_water_street,_new_bedford,_ma-posted-mhlivingnews-com-2.png

You could buy about six of the homes at the right for the price of 1 house at the left, size for size.
The one at the right has a double car garage, is more energy efficient and has lower taxes too.
Hello? Anyone's light bulb going off?

Egad and Zoikes MH Pros. Think about this.

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) are running radio spots that underscore this reality of homes selling like hot-cakes in many markets, where some buyers will 'bid higher' (offer more) than the listed asking price.

Here our industry routinely pushes 'affordability,' but look – when people like what they see, buyers are often willing to pay MORE to get what they want.

IMHO, way too many MH retailers and communities are afraid to offer anything but the cheapest home they can get their hands upon. Meanwhile, in the 85% of the housing market where billions upon billions of houses are sold, people will pay more than the asking price, to get a house/location they want.

One of the most popular reads on our ManufacturedHomeLivingNews.com website is the article entitled:

Who wants to be known as the most expensive factory home builder in a market? Us!

Clearly, people want to know what the upper end of MH is capable of doing! But another hot read is this one:

A Factory Built Home means you can pick your location and your home.

This last point is something a realtor can't touch. The house is where it is. You may love a home, but hate the location. With factory built homes, you can find a location AND a home that fits your lifestyle, taste and budget.

Ladies and gents, we routinely stress that we don't believe that we need to abandon the roots of affordability that manufactured homes represent. The U.S. Census Bureau tells us that of the 52,100 new manufactured homes placed in 2012, some 23,100 where single sectionals, American's most affordable permanent housing option.

But that means that the other 28,300 placed in 2012 were multi-sectionals. Consider what the U.S. Census Bureau said in a July 24 2013 press release, quoting:

NEW RESIDENTIAL SALES IN JUNE 2013

“Sales of new single-family houses in June 2013 were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 497,000, according to estimates released jointly today by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. This is 8.3 percent (±20.5%)* above the revised May rate of 459,000 and is 38.1 percent (±22.0%) above the June 2012 estimate of 360,000.

The median sales price of new houses sold in June 2013 was $249,700; the average sales price was $295,000. The seasonally adjusted estimate of new houses for sale at the end of June was 161,000. This represents a supply of 3.9 months at the current sales rate.”

Let's compare this to the U.S. Census Bureau's May 2013 stats for manufactured housing, which said that the average sales price of our homes was $61,100. So at the current pace, the stick builders have 8.33 homes built for each of our homes built.

There is a reason why we are promoting our more 'residential' homes on ManufacturedHomeLivingNews.com – one being that we need to break past the stereotypes held by most people. But the other is that we have the most opportunity to grow in that residential side of the HUD Code industry!

A careful reading of market facts and reports like this one by Trulia ought to be telling us how we need to adjust, because we have the opportunities and are all-too-often passing them by. We will pick the next part of this Trulia survey soon.

Until then, Open Your Mind to the real potential of our market. Forget what you 'think' you know. Look at the market in broad terms. Think “we can too” – not “limited to.” Think marketing and selling to the more qualified buyers vs. the 'get me done' customers.

Let's not abandon the affordable housing side, but let's expand our reach to where the action in the U.S. is the hottest! This works for our clients, so logic suggests that it can work for you too. ##

PS: Check our many Exclusive and Red HotFeatured Articles for August and see the

L. A. "Tony" KovachL. A. 'Tony' Kovach
ManufacturedHomeLivingNews.com | MHProNews.com |
Business and Public Marketing & Ads: B2B | B2C
Websites, Contract Marketing & Sales Training, Consulting, Speaking:

MHC-MD.com | LATonyKovach.com | Office 815-270-0500 |

Connect on LinkedIN:
http://www.linkedin.com/in/latonykovach