In today’s real estate market, a company’s website is often the organization’s first opportunity to make a good impression on potential clients who are beginning their home-buying journey. Research shows that design options and personalization together are the #2 driver of new homes, after location. M/I Homes, one of the largest homebuilders in the nation, recognized that their website, mihomes.com, is a critical pillar of the M/I customer experience. It introduces visitors to its unique brand promise, diversity of community locations and array of home product offerings. As such, M/I’s leadership wanted to leverage the site to help simplify the buying process and reduce the stress on buyers.
The company decided to embark on a website redesign that would deliver a more user friendly and relevant web experience. The company’s aim would be to: 1) create a more intuitive and engaging experience for both prospects and customers and 2) consolidate and simplify existing website features.
M/I already had a digital partner to provide website and marketing content, but still needed a technology expert to build out the site. Together, we identified core challenges their new website launch would overcome, including a lack of consistent branding and messaging, different needs and preferences in each market, and difficulty finding relevant information. Then, they were ready to execute their new vision.
We suggested SiteCore as the new web content management system and helped M/I lay out the process to implement it. The goal for the new website was to deliver the right buyers to the right homes, faster. The more the website can set buyers up for success with the right information and options, the more likely the potential homebuilders are to continue with M/I and can move through the process quicker.
We built out use cases beyond the basic requirements of the new website and worked with their third-party digital team to include more relevant content. As a result of Fusion’s work, M/I is now able to grow the capabilities of their website in significant ways.
M/I now has direct access to publishing content and new material in real time, based on client and market needs. Marketing no longer has to send information to the IT department to publish and then wait for them to have the time to do it. This not only speeds up getting relevant content out quickly, but has also freed up IT to focus on the architecture and infrastructure of the website.
Front-line teams now evaluate content success and make necessary changes. That content also includes significantly improved photography and digital files. The new website includes rich content pages that have increased page ranking in search engines and improved information quality overall.
Additionally, the new website includes an overall search feature that allows users to search the entire site using filters based on their specific needs. Initial website research found that there are different needs based on buyer type and market, and this overall search feature allows users to find relevant, specific information, which creates an individualized experience.