Barratt Homes finds EPiServer an intuitive and effective Content Management System packed with functionality.
Barratt Homes relied heavily on advertising in regional and national newspapers and on television to reach their target audience. The realization that they were missing out on a large online audience and that the ability to capture and convert leads could be segmented and cost efficiently executed online led Barratt Homes to work with their websites.
Up to that point each of Barratt Homes’ three brands had its own site. The three sites were managed by different agencies on different systems and at different cost levels. It became evidently sensible to stucture all the sites onto one platform.
EPiServer CMS was a natural choice as it has short, intuitive processes to manage and edit content online. Using one agency (LBi) and one platform made infinite sense as the cost consideration is centralized for all its digital needs and managing content across all three sites is faster and easier. EPiServer CMS was highly recommended by its other clients and LBi had the necessary knowledge and digital expertise that the company needed to create its online presence.
Although the company web team only consists of two marketers, more personnel contribute to the site via the bespoke company database, Web Manager, which feeds into EPiServer CMS.
With hundreds of developments across all three brands, each region can control the tone of voice and content. They set the scene, describe local amenities and provide general information about each development as well as more precise descriptions and plans of each type of apartment and house within it. The content is entered into the database which in turn is automatically generated onto the websites.
"This flexible and scalable solution has given the team total power over what content goes where and when to change it,” says Clare Stutchbury, Senior Account Director at LBi.
A key audience for the Barratt Homes and David Wilson Homes is growing families so a new schools search feature has been added to those sites. Website users can search by school and see how close they are located to a developement. Additionally there's information on the site so parents can contact a school directly to ascertain entry requirements. This means people can find homes near a school rather than the other way round which is key in progressing a sale.
"We are working on improving behavioural targeting. We have refined and tested the forms that visitors complete and have already seen a 40 percent uplift. Through A/B tests we are also testing which layout and colour ways are most responded to by users," says Stutchbury.
Established in Newcastle Upon Tyne in 1958 Barratt Homes has grown to be Britain's best known new homes builder. In 2007 it acquired two consumer home building brands, David Wilson Homes, which appeals to a general audience with premium homes; and Ward Homes, which operates mainly in the South East offering premium properties. Barratt Homes itself has a broad reach and offers homes for a range of audiences. Today the group has a countrywide network of 25 housebuilding divisions, selling new homes under the three brands.
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