Shopping from the Palm of your Hand

July 30, 2011

When we first conceived of the Kitchen & Bath Channel Smartphone App it was based on a simple scenario that all kitchen and bath professionals have experienced.

kitchen and bath channel subscriber

Platinum Subscriber Profile Page

A customer arrives at your showroom having just left your competition (or a big box) because it wasn’t the “right fit”.  They are in the mood to buy and you got lucky because they “somehow” arrived at your front door!

What if you could direct customers to your front door WHILE they are out shopping?  Through the Kitchen & Bath Channel Smartphone App, all kitchen and bath professionals within a 50 mile radius of the customer’s exact location appear on the map.  With the touch of an icon (for the featured listings) the customer has access to your website, to auto-dial your phone number, step-by-step Google map directions to your front door, samples of your projects and more!

The apps have been available since late April.  Downloads and session times grow daily.  Current and prospective subscribers love the concept, but often times ask questions that send us researching stats (see “Getting Your Share of $150 Million” and “Using Today’s Technology to Reach Today’s Customer“) – such was the case again this past week when a prospective Platinum subscriber asked the question, “Are people really using smartphones while they are out shopping?”

Here is what I found:

The website Digby, in an overview of Mobile Commerce Stats validated our assumptions.

  • 46% of consumers have used their phone to get product information while in a store
  • 56% of people believed mobile can make the shopping experience more enjoyable
  • 34% of mobile shoppers make $100,000 or more a year
  • 58% of mobile shoppers are ages 18-34; according to the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University this demographic (under 35 year olds) accounted for almost $12.5 billion in total expenditures with remodeling professionals during 2009.
  • 31% of consumers research a product on their mobile device before buying it in-store
  • Within the 49% of mobile users who have made a mobile purchase in the last six months
    • 84% look for local retailer information
    • 73% find a specific manufacturer or product website
    • 63% search before purchasing in a store or from a catalog
    • Among smartphone owners 38% prefer using a mobile application
    • Mobile commerce showed 86% year-over-year growth from 2010 to 2011

While kitchen and bath professionals understand that buying a new kitchen is not something you can click and purchase from a mobile phone, the conditioning of the consumer to turn to their smartphone for shopping is clearly on the rise.

The Kitchen & Bath Channel provides the kitchen and bath professional an easy and cost effective entrée to the world of mobile research, shopping and Generation Y – those born after 1975. 

For as little as $200 a year, the Kitchen & Bath Channel keeps up with the expanding technology and its implementation in marketing your business, so you can concentrate on designing kitchens and bathrooms!


Lights… Camera… Action!

June 26, 2011

Are you ready for the re-discovery of TV… or more accurately the re-emergence of Video?  There was time the kitchen and bath industry shied away from video, because TV was the only platform for displaying your images – and it was an expensive proposition.  As video technology improved, costs came down and potential delivery systems increased, more kitchen and bath professionals turned to video loops in showrooms, home shows, DVDs for potential clients and for some – the Internet.  Today there is no excuse to ignore marketing with video.  Online video is growing at astonishing rates…

Here are some stats to get your heart pumping (according to Media Recruiting Group)

During the month of May 2011 –
YouTube:  8,860,520,000 total video streams were logged during the month of May for an increase of 1.3% over the previous month.  And if that is not mind boggling enough, the average American spent 2 hours and 31 minutes on YouTube during the month.  Add to that another 135,168,000 video streams on Facebook and you’re looking at a lot of potential exposure for your kitchen and bath business.

And allow me the latitude to make a prediction from my crystal ball… Christmas 2011 will see the opening salvos of the Google TV vs Apple TV battle for your eyeballs.  And those “TVs” will be pulling videos from the likes of YouTube and Facebook to your [traditional] TV set.

So, how can you capitalize on this explosion?   Simple – Get in the Game!

  1. Professional Photography – all those high-quality, professionally shot photographs you published in magazines make excellent high-definition videos.  See The Royal Cabinet Company video on The Kitchen & Bath Channel.
  2. Professional Videographer – as with photography, don’t try to save a few bucks shooting your showroom, your project or yourself by yourself.  Take a look at this video on The Kitchen & Bath Channel from Roomscapes in Laguna Niguel, CA to see what a professional videographer can do.
  3. Pre-Production – before you begin any shoot have scripts and shot sheets ready for a variety of video projects, it will save you time and money.
  4. TV Commercials – marketing on TV or Cable has been very effective for kitchen and bath professionals in this economy.  When you shoot the commercial, be sure to shoot a lot of extra “B-roll” that you can edit later for additional commercials or other projects (see #3 above).
  5. Online Video Portals  – take advantage of existing video destinations online for displaying your videos such as:

When you consider the number of places you can showcase your video, your marketing investment becomes very affordable.

If you have a video you want to display on The Kitchen & Bath Channel (YouTube), contact me and we’ll post it on the channel.  If you need video, would like some clarification about using video in your marketing plan, we are available to assist – just contact us.


Social Snooping worthy of 007

May 28, 2011

I was surprised this past week when a business I am following posted a question I considered to be confidential, somewhat proprietary information.  The question the owner posted to his followers was innocuous enough, or so it seemed on the surface.  But it was seeking a response regarding a possible business alliance – would the follower consider this an opportunity worth pursuing?  What the business owner likely didn’t realize was that among his followers were competitors, members of the press and dozens of others he probably didn’t even know.  Add to that his, and all his followers privacy settings, their ability to tweet and repost and you are set for a world-wide announcement, you may not be ready to make.

If you are going to use social media, use it responsibly.  I hate to sound like a PSA for alcohol, but if you’re going to participate, understand the risks.

Facebook has taken off among Kitchen & Bath industry professionals.  Spend time on any of the LinkedIn kitchen and bath industry discussion groups and you’ll see that “liking” one another’s Facebook pages are among the most “discussed” discussions.  Be sure you know who “likes” you.  Your customers and their friends – that’s who you are looking for; or your competition (local or regional).

As a marketing professional, I encourage my clients to first and foremost determine their competitive advantage in their marketplace.

How?

Among my suggestions – snoop on your competition to determine what they do, how they do it, how successful they are at it, etc.

Snooping is getting easier with new technology.  In the “olden days” you needed to watch for TV commercials, find brochures, search for ads and maybe wait for a home show.  Today just “like” them on Facebook, visit their website(s), Blog(s), follow them on Twitter… what’s next?

Are you making it easier for your competition to size you up?  There is a fine line between enticing your customers to come visit to learn more and putting it all out there for the world (your competitors) to see.

As Stg. Phil Esterhuas of Hill Street Blues always said – “Hey, let’s be careful out there.”


Google Does it Again

February 26, 2011

Just when you thought it was safe to optimize your website for Google they changed the algorithm again.  This time it is aimed at “content farms” – those websites designed to contain a tremendous amount of content; typically low quality original articles or information plagiarized from other sites.  However, based on existing/older algorithms, this content draws high SERP (search engine results page) listings.  The content farms typically sell ad space due to their high traffic (often from Google itself) but are of little use to the visitor because the content in unacceptable.

So what does this mean for you, the Kitchen and Bath Professional?  It is a reminder that “content is king” and quality supersedes mediocrity.  Taking the time to create valuable, original content will win the SERP battles over pages and pages of keyword-crammed copy.  You are experts in design, cabinetry, appliances, the intricacies that make up a functional kitchen, color, work space; the list goes on forever… Write about what you know with thoughtful, in-depth articles for your website or blog and you’ll be fine. 

Here is a link to a more detailed article from Mashable.com that includes links to other helpful information.


Online on Your TV

October 16, 2010

When I first heard about Goggle TV, I was “psyched” – maybe it’s the dozen or so years I spent in broadcast TV, maybe because I am the consummate sitcom watcher, or maybe it’s the marketer in me.  Regardless, I have been saying that Google TV has the potential to change the way we market ourselves, because it has the potential to change the way we watch TV.  > See my May 22, 2010 entry.

With remotes or keyboards in hand, consumers will search for “Kitchen Design”, “Kitchen Remodel “or “Kitchen Design Ideas” and those in the industry taking advantage of online video can be discovered, viewed and reviewed from the comfort of their customers’ living rooms!  You no longer need to hope and pray for a shot on HGTV – today, you only need to create your own program!

In preparation for the rollout of Google TV, I established The Kitchen & Bath Channel on YouTube.  We currently have 19 videos, and would love to add more.  The more we can include, the more popular a destination this will be.  Our viewership grows by about 200 people a week… are you missing out on potential customers.

If you need additional information or a video created email me.

Some articles of interest about Google TV and related concepts:


Google Endorses the Need for Speed

September 11, 2010

How do I make it to the top of Google?  For years I have been saying that there are no guarantees… If there were, wouldn’t millions of websites be listed first?  There are so many variations and permutations that have an impact on your SERP (Search Engine Results Page) listing that guarantees are impossible.  And let’s not forget that Google is a business.  Google sells search placement ads – AdWords.  If we were all at the top of the listings with every keyword/phrase in the kitchen and bath industry, would we still buy AdWords?  Probably not. 

A week or so ago Google made it clear that speed is now a major factor in how your site places in the search results.  Users prefer sites that load quickly – a) because we’ve become very impatient and b) the proliferation of mobile devices where speed is essential.   Speed still doesn’t outweigh content or the quality of your incoming links, but slower sites will be penalized by Google.  And, by the way, according to hitwise.com for the week ending 9/4/10 – Google still accounted for 71.33% of the internet’s search volume.

So, check you speed here. And for additional information on the topic, read this article by Aaron Steinheinkel.

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On another note…

Become a part of The Kitchen and Bath Channel on YouTube – http://www.youtube.com/user/KitchenBathChannel

Join Z promotion & design on Facebook – we are hoping to top 200 fans this weekend!

Ready to Market your kitchen and bath showroom? – visit www.KitchenMarketing.com!


The Kitchen & Bath Channel: An Update

August 21, 2010

It’s been about month since I launched the Kitchen and Bath Channel on YouTube and I want to revisit the concept with the specific intention of gaining additional subscribers and a larger selection of videos.   So, if you are in the kitchen and bath industry, or know consumers who love watching HGTV, DIY and the Food Network please pass the blog along to them – let’s test the viral capabilities of the Internet!

Since July 24, the Kitchen & Bath Channel has received a total of 769 visits with 442 videos viewed; that’s just over 27 visits and almost 16 views each day… not too shabby, but we can do better.  We have 13 videos from 7 different companies, and are being found primarily through links to the page and YouTube searches.

The Concept: The Kitchen & Bath Channel is a destination for consumers looking for designers, ideas, innovations, new products and more.  The intent of the Kitchen & Bath Channel on YouTube is to collect an array of kitchen and bath industry related videos – from showrooms, designers, manufacturers, and more to “whet the appetite” of the consumer.  The more videos we have, the easier we will be found!  As the Kitchen & Bath Channel gains popularity, all participants will benefit.

…enter Google TV… as Google TV takes hold in the coming months, The Kitchen & Bath Channel will be live in living rooms throughout the US, Canada and the world!  Wouldn’t you like to be part of that?

Visit The Kitchen & Bath Channel to subscribe.  If you have a video to add, contact me directly (phil@kitchenmarketing.com).  If you need some assistance producing a video for the channel, Z promotion & design can work with you on that too – email or call me (919-932-4600).

But most importantly, pass this information along to your friends…  I’ll give you updates in coming weeks.

Also… join us on Facebook


website design :: kitchen design :: an analogy

August 14, 2010

I don’t know how many people actually read my blog, but I hope this posting goes viral within the Kitchen and Bath industry.  In the last few months I have had a number of kitchen and bath professionals make changes to nearly or completely finished websites – more than ever before – going back to 1996!  A friend tells me it’s because they have too much time on their hands.  Whatever the reason, designing and developing a website is NOT UNLIKE designing and installing a kitchen.

Consider the following:

  1. You expect your customers to come to you for your expertise and hope they listen to your advice… same is true for web designers.
  2. You ask your customers for information about how they use their kitchen so you can design to their lifestyle… your web designer asks how you plan to use your site, so they can design to your marketing goals.
  3. You provide your client with plans, layouts, etc. to be sure everyone is in agreement BEFORE you order product… your web designer does the same with navigation and page layout BEFORE the coding begins.
  4. You talk about colors, styles and taste before you place the cabinet order… your web designer provides stills for your approval.
  5. Upon your customers’ approval, you order product, begin the renovation and “build” the kitchen… your web designer does the same.
  6. During construction, there may be some changes… websites are like that too.

In addition, websites have other issues that you don’t have to contend with…

Your new, completed kitchen will look exactly the same to everyone (barring color blindness) who sees it in a photograph or in-person.  A website may appear differently depending upon the following criteria on the END-USERS’ computer

  • Monitor size
  • Screen resolution
  • Monitor color settings
  • Operating system
  • Browser
  • Internet connectivity speed
  • CSS compatibility
  • Third-party plug-ins (java, flash, shockwave, media players, etc.)
  • Available Fonts

Your web designer should create a site optimized to the statistical majority, rather than the client’s office computer.  There are a lot of variables to consider and you want your site to be a pleasurable viewing experience to the majority, not just the boss.

Remember, changes to background color, layout, and navigation may not be as simple as it appears – that is dependent upon how the web designer developed the site.  In some cases it is analogous to swapping out drawer pulls, in other cases it may be like reordering the cabinets once they have been installed.  Regardless, work with your web professional, as you would ask your clients to work with you – and be prepared for additional charges for changes after decision milestones.


Who Owns It?

July 31, 2010

I had an interesting conversation this week with a couple of professional photographers.  As kitchen and bath design professionals, you may or may not be aware of the [potential] complexity of copyright rules and your rights to use professionally shot photographs – so a couple of “rules of thumb”… And I encourage any and all professional photographers to add to the discussion.

  1. Typically, photographers retain ownership of the photographs they shoot. 
  2. When you pay for them, you are licensing the images for your own marketing and self-promotion.
  3. Talk to your photographer about how you intend to use your photographs to be sure your intentions do not infringe on copyright laws.
  4. If a third party (cabinet manufacturer, trade association, supplier) wants to use your design, and therefore photography for marketing their product, DO NOT supply it – put the third party in touch with the photographer, as they will likely have to compensate the photographer.
  5. Professional photographers are professionals… like you.  Support them by providing credit on your marketing materials, including links to their website from yours.
  6. Professional photography is the “life blood” of kitchen and bath marketing – from Facebook to YouTube to your brochures and beyond!

Are you in need of a professional photographer for your architectural designs?  I can recommend these -

Steven Paul Whitsitt Photography – http://www.whitsittphoto.com/

Chipper Hatter Photography – http://www.hatterphotographics.com/

Ray Strawbridge Photography – http://www.strawbridgephoto.com/


Expert? Flaunt It!

July 17, 2010

I recommend that everyone create a blog – make it free-standing site linked back to your website.  In theory, I never get an argument… in reality, [almost] everyone says “I don’t know what to write about” and the blog remains empty.

As a kitchen and bath professional, you are an expert in your field – no less so than a 7-figure lawyer, a brain surgeon or a mathematician.   Lawyers, doctors, and professors come to you to design, install and otherwise guide them through a kitchen or bath renovation – from start to finish they need your knowledge and expertise!

A blog is all about flaunting your expertise to the world.  Think you have nothing to write about? Talk about the things you do every day – discuss the differences in cabinetry – stock versus custom; what are the benefits?  What kind of lighting is best for my kitchen?  What is the difference between Silestone, Caesarstone, and Granite… and what about concrete – is that really an option for my kitchen countertop?

Step back from what you do every day – consider that “oh, everyone knows that” is not a true statement…  YOU know that because YOU are the expert!

I recommend you carve out time each week for self-marketing.  This is your time to write your blog postings, take care of your Facebook page, update your website and otherwise indulge in marketing your business.

As always, if you want to discuss in greater detail call me – 919-932-4600 or shoot an email to info@KitchenMarketing.com.


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