Digital marketing tips from the trade

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By Megan Salzano

Digital marketing is a must for any retail operation looking to not only grow the business but succeed—and even just remain relevant. From successful website creation to SEO and lead generation to software integration, digital marketing can be a handful. To help flooring retailers navigate the world of digital marketing, we’ve rounded up the top tips from industry experts on how to be successful with your digital marketing strategy.

1. Communicate the right message

Answer the unspoken question. I see a lot of dealers using digital marketing tools but still making the same mistake they were making in other forms of marketing—they don’t answer the unspoken question: Why should I choose you instead of your competitor? Make sure the messages in your digital marketing are giving real, concrete, laser- focused answers to this question.

Use the 90/10 rule. One of the most effective ways to directly reach your past customers digitally is by email. With email, make your communications 90% fun, informative, welcoming, entertaining communication and only about 10% flooring-related content. This will produce much better results than hitting your list over and over again with nothing but pitches to buy.”

— Jim Armstrong, founder and president, Flooring Success Systems

2. Focus on the customer experience

“For the flooring dealer who wants to grow their business, the need for digital marketing has moved from highly recommended to 100% required. What is equally important is the consumer experience your digital marketing drives consumers to must be far more engaging than a simple website with a list of products, a phone number and address. Since the purchase of flooring isn’t a recurring activity, a great digital marketing strategy paired with a comprehensive online consumer experience is key to winning and growing in today’s competitive landscape.”

—John Weller, chief innovation officer, Broadlume

3. Create a call to action

“In my soon-to-hit-the-stands book, “The Red Hot Customer Experience,” I talk about making the most of your web marketing strategies. That includes making sure every online ad leads to a specific call to action that allows you to capture some information from your prospective customer. If not a direct sale or sakes inquiry, give them an opportunity for a coupon or at least to sign up for a newsletter. Never let them leave without at least trying to connect with them.”

—Lisbeth Calandrino, FCNews columnist, speaker, business coach

4. Capture the customer’s intentions

“In today’s competitive landscape, most consumers begin their shopping process online. The main purpose of digital marketing is to attract and capture the customer’s intent when they visit your website or interact with your social media campaign. The goal is to start 2021 by investing in a digital marketing strategy that attracts new customers, offers online advertising via Google and social platforms, provides content marketing including blogs and utilizes lead management processes to help facilitate closing business.”

— Monica Parker, director digital marketing, Mobile Marketing

5. Automate and integrate

“Meet customers where they are, which is online or on their phones. Automation and integration make this a much easier process. Integrated communication platforms allow businesses to send prospects and customers emails/text messages for a variety of communication needs. Creating segmented, as well as personalized, email/text campaigns allows dealers to build relationships with prospects and clients with minimal effort. Without an integration into your sales software, this process takes considerable time and effort. Time and effort that is best used for selling new customers and serving your existing customers.”

—Kelly Oechslin, product marketing manager, RollMaster

6. Spend marketing dollars wisely

“You can throw lots of money at digital marketing, but that doesn’t ensure success. Most retailers don’t have huge budgets to just throw into cyberspace. To ensure they are getting a good return on their investment, they need to do two things:

Know your audience. It may seem basic, but a shocking number of businesses don’t take the time to identify who their target customer is, what their message should be and where they can find them. For example, social media is a good place for young moms/residential but historically not the best place to find builder business.

Track. The great thing about digital marketing is it is easier to track. You can see how many people clicked on your ad, visited your link, etc. So much of your success is based on trial and error. See what works, then keep doing it. See what doesn’t and pivot.”

—Chris Ogden, director of marketing, QFloors

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Dec. 7/14, 2020

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