A housebuilders digital transformation


A major UK house builder reviewed what they were doing online, identifying a range of possible issues. The digital presence, promotion and processes didn’t feel as good as they needed to be. More importantly, not up to the quality customers demand.  Leads and sales were good, but the onset of lockdown brought the range of issues into sharper focus. How to engage house buyers in a remote environment and convert web visitors to action. Marketing aimed to generate a maximum number of house buying contacts. But how effective was this approach?

There was a recognition that the website, digital assets and digital skills in the business needed enhancing and improving. Senior Directors looked at possible unique resources to help with the issues. On the recommendation of another house builder, discussions were initiated with Braid, a consultancy specialising in digital strategy, with a strong background in working with house builders.

The Brief

Several initiatives were underway, including a website rebuild, advertising review, portals review, CRM plans and a range of product/promotional initiatives. Braid was tasked with a range of issues.

  • Review current approach to the development of Digital Marketing capabilities with recommendations on how to significantly accelerate delivery (including costs, resources, timescales. Measures of success).
  • An assessment as to how the long-term Digital strategy can challenge/exceed the Best-in-Class examples of marcomms and online services. Plans required on how to address the gap.
  • Support the implementation of recommendations.
  • Assess the internal capability to deliver the activity outlined in the amended strategy.
  • Identify and scope any third- party requirements and support, including CRM.
  • Review current marketing campaigns to recommend any improvements. Including the ability to capture customer data, monitor progress and use customer insight to generate leads. How to measure return on investment.
  • Supporting the implementation of all agreed areas of improvement. Monitoring, measuring and reporting the success of the activities.

An important requirement is that the ongoing progress of the current programme of work is not disrupted.

The Review

The team had identified the website was in need of much work:

  • No editing control (dependent on agency)
  • Slow developments (creatives, page structures, site services)
  • A range of optimisation issues

Reviewing the plans for the website, it was clear the costs being quoted, the platform proposed, and the project plan/deadline would not be appropriate. Braid developed a new brief and project plan. A range of agencies was identified, briefed and proposals assessed. Braid then managed the agency and client to ensure the project was delivered within a tight timetable, budget and meeting all objectives.

The results were a new (WordPress) website in under 7 weeks, at a considerable saving on the original cost. The project put all contracts and editing in the client’s control, including all accounts, hosting and tracking. A research programme was immediately launched, with ongoing variant testing based on data and 3rd party research. New CTA’s and forms resulted in a major uplift in online conversion. Training for the marketing team to use the system was undertaken pre/post-launch.

Apart from the website launch, the strategic review highlighted a range of issues and opportunities.

  • Supplier reporting; interpretation/actions
  • Internal reporting; clarity, explanations
  • Marketing spend efficiency
  • Traffic routes under-utilised
  • Team skills
  • Customer management issues (CRM, nurturing etc)

Braid developed a short/medium-term plan to prioritise further changes to the digital activity of the business. This resulted in a full team training programme (including delivering one to one mentoring). The continuous assessment resulted in a stage 2 training plan 6 months on.

The Supplier review resulted in a variety of changes. A need to resource more activity in-house led to recruitment and a shift to managing more projects internally. Braid developed a brief for lead acquisition, identifying suitable suppliers and running the pitch process. The result was an expansion in the range of acquisition routes, a reduction in agency costs and a holistic strategy ensuring awareness, engagement and lead quality was coordinated.

The email campaign methodology was also reviewed. GDPR -related issues, as well as admin objectives, resulted in a review and recommendation of new platforms/supplier. The transition was managed by Braid, with the future CRM strategy a key factor in the future-proofing of the solution.

Web functionality and usability remained under the spotlight once the new website launched. The “best in class” objectives were applied to several functions, with Braid developing the briefs and managing the delivery of changes.  As should always be the case, the assessments, improvements and new developments are ongoing.

The old website


Businesses trying to transform their digital activity (marketing, functions etc.) must manage a key issue:

…because there is a lack of…depth of digital knowledge.

The solution is usually to bring in an agency to change the website, change the digital marketing and in general become an offshoot ‘department” of the business.

…but who has the skills to brief and manage the agency?

…who is setting objectives and what are they based on?

…what criteria will be used to judge value for money, or fit for purpose?

A failure to deal with these issues lead to clients being led by agency objectives. Companies find themselves being slotted into the method the agency favours for all clients, not given a solution appropriate to the company. Equally, the agency solution puts them in control of all aspects of the client’s digital activity. Which is inherently dangerous, as well as potentially failing to meet client objectives.

How many times have companies discovered moving from an agency is a huge problem due to the agency being in control of all accounts, website content, hosting etc? How many companies find they are spending considerable sums on digital and wondering whether there is value for money?

Transformation needs;

  • A realistic vision.
  • Measurements of success.
  • Tracking and blunt interpretation of reports.
  • Budgets and deadlines that are realistic, balanced against ROI, and adhered too.

To deliver the above a company needs agnostic assistance. Braid delivers this. Braid has no commercial relationship with suppliers so we provide independent, best-case advice.

We deliver no-nonsense assessments to identify where to improve, and how to do it. We manage the delivery of projects that ensure there isn’t project (or budget!) creep. We agree on objectives that represent a real benefit for the client. We leave clients with knowledge, abilities and opportunities. Perhaps most important, we leave clients in control.

If you want to build a stronger digital strategy in your business, drop us a line, or call, for an initial discussion of what might be possible.

The results


Online enquiry growth

Enquiries from the website increased by 124%


Cost per lead dropped

From all lead sources - search, paid, social - from £220 to £65


Year on year traffic

Traffic grew year on year 2019-2020 by 96%