Palm Harbor Uses Facebook to Sell Manufactured Homes

Palm Harbor Homes — a Dallas-based company that sells, finances and insures manufactured homes — ran a promotion on Facebook this month aimed at recruiting potential buyers by awarding one iPod Nano a day for five days. It’s an example of a local business experimenting with Facebook as a new way to drive sales.

The goal of the campaign was not simply increase the number of fans on Palm Harbor’s Facebook page. Rather, the idea was to recruit the fans that would be most likely to purchase a Palm Harbor modular home, said Ryan Helmstetler of the North Carolina-based The Sales Factory, which ran the campaign in the State of Texas from January 5 to 10.

The strategy was to target potential buyers on Facebook using demographic and geographic factors and have them enter their personal information in order to have a chance at the iPod in the Palm Harbor Sweepstakes. That information was then sent to sales centers in Texas, which followed up with the potential customers, Helmstetler explained.

Facebook is an ideal medium to implement this direct marketing, he said.

“It’s more about getting fans that generally accept your product or are interested, generating leads that can turn into sales,” Helmstetler said. “Doing that through traditional media, you’re forcing that message. Facebook allows us to target to people who are accepting of those ads.”

Palm Harbor’s Facebook page grew from 329 to 1,465 fans during that week, but Helmstetler is quick to point out that these numbers represent potential customers — not simply idle fans.

This Facebook strategy is less expensive than pursuing traditional media campaigns, he said, but the social network has proven results because, “we’re able to see results immediately based on how many fans and leads we get in real time.”

At the end of the campaign at least one fan contacted through the Facebook page initiated the process of purchasing a modular home, Helmstetler said, noting that such success will likely prompt a repeat of the sweepstakes on a quarterly basis. In case you’ve heard of The Sales Factory before, the company also helped with the Texas Pete campaign.