May 18, 2020

Creating integrated digital marketing strategies for Hillwood Communities to increase home sales

Real estate developers and home builders have historically allocated a large majority of their marketing resources to traditional advertising methods. However, digital marketing strategies have unique advantages over traditional advertising methods that can greatly improve the effectiveness and ROI of real estate marketing efforts. We partnered with Hillwood Communities, one of the nation’s largest independent real estate development firms, to shift their focus from traditional advertising methods and refocus their marketing resources for a comprehensive integrated strategy that earned higher, more measurable returns.


  • Evolve traditional marketing strategy into one with more measurable results to drive increased home sales for each Hillwood Community
  • Broaden the tools of the marketing strategy to include fully integrated digital platforms
  • In the process, educate the client on the strategic advantages of full-funnel digital marketing efforts in real estate through compelling data points
  • Map key tactics and touchpoints with the consumer and realtor journey to move beyond awareness and drive action while chronicling engagement

Education and Action

Prior to shifting to a comprehensive digital marketing strategy, it was important to educate our client on the improved transparency and the bottom-line benefits of a focused digital approach. Fortunately, the team at Hillwood Communities was actively interested in learning about digital strategies and how marketing performance and measurement can be improved via a strong digital program. Through collaborative dialogue, we worked together to find strategic ways to pair their business intelligence with our digital marketing strategy and measurement plan.

Incorporating a Prospect Funnel

Hillwood’s prior marketing efforts were heavily focused on traditional awareness tactics, but lacked a lower-funnel, nurture and conversion strategy.  Traditional advertising methods do an excellent job of generating awareness, but they are just one piece of the puzzle when it comes to a full-funnel strategy. Without the inclusion of digital tactics, it’s more difficult to drive measurable action and clear results. Digital strategies can provide insightful data for ongoing optimization against both short-term and long-term marketing goals.

At the foundation of our recommended strategy was the introduction of a comprehensive prospect funnel that outlined each stage of the buyer journey with corresponding media and messaging tactics. From there, we established key performance indicators and goal metrics at each level of the digital funnel. From awareness to conversion, we set clear goals for the ongoing measurement of the health and effectiveness of our digital marketing strategy.

A Refreshed Digital Strategy

We began Hillwood’s marketing strategy evolution with prospecting tactics at the awareness level such as display media, paid social, streaming radio, and prospecting emails. From there, we moved down to the buyer research/consideration stage of the funnel, including tactics like retargeting, paid search, and real estate search engine advertising. At the lowest level of the funnel, we focused on action-oriented tactics such as geofencing and personalized content delivery.

This comprehensive approach gave us a detailed look at the buyer’s journey through the funnel while empowering us with the real-time ability to alter the strategy at each level for improved returns.

Data Partnership

The effectiveness of a marketing plan boils down to the final results. Therefore, it was critically important to develop a measurement plan that accounted for data capture through the point of each home sale. We partnered closely with Hillwood’s business intelligence team to sync marketing and sales data. As a result, we were able to establish buyer match-backs, measured as any buyer who has made a sale and can be linked back to marketing engagement through CRM data collection. Aside from total home sales, buyer match-backs became the most essential data point for measuring the effectiveness and ROI of our strategy.

2019 Full-Year Results:

  • 135 match-backs collected, and $42 million in match-back revenue measured, across 9 communities
  • Lead goals were exceeded for all communities
  • Directly informed 113 home sales, verified through detailed consumer and realtor match back data
  • Influenced more than 45 million dollars in sales prior to purchase
  • Home sales goals were met or exceeded by the majority of communities, despite fluctuations in the market
  • Use of data to develop full buyer journey maps, from first engagement to sale
  • More efficient and cost-effective prospect targeting

Through strategy, results, testing and some mitigated risk we were able to shift Hillwood’s marketing strategy into a predominantly digital-driven, measurable marketing strategy that moved them away from the historically traditional plan. This new effort optimized their marketing efforts and has resulted in increased home sales and revenue that can be directly tied to marketing.