July 6/13; Volume 30/Number 2
By Jim Augustus Armstrong
(First of two parts)
In my two previous articles, I discussed the implications of consumer shopping habits for flooring dealers and strategies to capitalize on the biggest source of revenue: repeat and referral customers. Out of 65,000 consumers surveyed, 50.6% were prompted to buy by referrals from past customers.
Let’s assume you have your repeat and referral marketing strategies in place and they are producing for you. You may want to turn your attention to boosting responses from your social media and website marketing.
You will have to decide, however, if digital marketing is worth your investment. I worked with a dealer who had a staff member dedicated to handling his Facebook marketing efforts. He managed to boost his revenue from that source to about 5%, more than double the average for social media, but it took a lot of time and effort.
He decided these results were worth the expenditure of time, energy and money required, but you will have to make that determination for your company. Keep in mind that digital marketing is most likely never going to generate a huge portion of your revenue—nothing close to repeat and referral marketing—so make sure you don’t spend more time on these strategies than the ROI warrants.
With that in mind, let’s look at some ways to boost your responses with website marketing.
Your first task regarding website marketing is to make sure your website can be found. This is done through search engine optimization (SEO). I have a book about SEO strategies that is about 2 inches thick and was obsolete by the time I finished reading it. The challenge with SEO for flooring dealers is there’s a lot to know and the rules constantly change. Therefore, unless you really enjoy the topic of SEO, I recommend hiring a reputable company to do it for you.
Once people can find your site, your next tasks are to:
2.Position yourself as a trusted advisor
3.Compel an immediate response from the visitor to buy or take some other action
4.Capture the visitor’s contact information for follow-up
There are many strategies for accomplishing these tasks, but one relatively quick and simple option is offering a free report.
For example, when a visitor lands on your site, she will see a message on the top of the page that reads, “WARNING: Don’t call or visit any flooring dealer until you read this free flooring guide. You will learn six costly misconceptions about flooring, three common mistakes to avoid and five critical questions to ask before purchasing.” In order to download the report, the visitor must provide her name, email address and phone number.
This will accomplish those aforementioned tasks. First, few flooring sites have an offer like this, so it creates differentiation. Second, it positions you as a trusted advisor. When consumers read your report they will see you as an authority on flooring. Third, it compels an immediate response from the visitor to take action. Fourth, you’ll receive their contact information.
The report also acts as a filter to identify those consumers who are serious about buying flooring. Out of 100 visitors, only five may opt in for your report, but those five have made it clear they are interested in flooring. You can then use follow-up marketing for these contacts.