The Changing Face of Marketing Your Kitchen & Bath Business

August 13, 2011

As regular followers are aware, each week I endeavor to find a marketing gem that you can put into practice immediately in your kitchen and bath showroom; something that will help drive traffic in a “less than stellar economy”.

This week, in an effort to answer the question “where should I place my marketing dollars for the greatest return on my investment?” I landed on a new study: “2011 Social Media Matters Study” by BlogHer and sponsored by Ketchum.

I want to share some of the findings and place them in context for the kitchen and bath industry.

First you should know that the respondents of the BlogHer audience consist of 2,763 women and 98 men who are blog users. The data was secured from a network sample: survey fielded across 2,500 blogs & 25MM+ audience – ages 18-76.

The report stated that “everyone is an early adopter [to technology] – thanks to mobile devices. Adoption rates of new services and tools are high, but volatile”.

The BlogHer audience is labeled “early adopters” and the percentages below supports that assertion.  All figures are 2011 percentages as compared to 2010.

  • Facebook – 2011: 84%; up 1% from 2010
  • YouTube – 63%; up 6%
  • Smart Phone Mobile & Apps – 57%; up 32%
  • Social Media Games – 21%; up 4%
  • Read Blogs – 94%; down 2%
  • Message Boards – 41%; down 4%
  • Watch TV/Media Online 42%; down 14% (while YouTube is up 6%)
  • Twitter – 39%; down 13%

The study continues by telling us that “Women have an ever increasing appetite for media. Despite few declines in usage, we have made time for new choices. Mobile is driving early adoption & rapid abandonment.”

In the Kitchen and Bath industry, we know we need to reach women to be successful.  This study shows us that women are using new technologies, social media and blogs – it follows that as kitchen and bath professionals, we need to incorporate theses technologies and tools into our overall integrated marketing plans.

Z promotion & design, through our new program, The Kitchen & Bath Channel provides kitchen and bath professionals with a cost-effective, simple way to employ new technologies.  Immediately, we can place you in the mobile marketplace, on YouTube and Tweet you hundreds of Twitter followers.  And as we prepare to launch our upcoming versions, you will have new opportunities to reach your target market utilizing the latest marketing tools as they appear and without the hassles of having to keep up yourself!

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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.”


Facing Facebook

May 14, 2011

The interaction between social networking sites is nothing short of amazing.  In at least three of the kitchen & bath industry LinkedIn groups to which I belong, there are ongoing discussions regarding link exchanges among kitchen and bath professionals’ Facebook pages… and it works like a charm.  Business owners are “meeting” and “liking” one another’s pages.  But to what end?   That is what I want to delve into a bit today.

We all know that we need at least 25 “likes” to get a username for our Facebook page – if this is news to you, and you have 25 or more likes go to facebook.com/username to select one for your page.  The username will serve you well in your marketing efforts.  The LinkedIn group discussions are a wonderful tool for reaching your username threshold.  Beyond that – from 26 to your first thousand… these LinkedIn discussion groups hold very little value if you are a showroom owner whose marketing efforts are business to consumer.

Once your username is in place, it’s not about how many followers can I collect… it’s all about how many “qualified” followers can I collect.  Qualified followers should fit the target market you have outlined in your marketing plan.  Those people living within a certain geographic area, at a specific income level, of a certain age-range, etc.  This is where more “traditional” advertising techniques play a role.  Driving your target market to your Facebook page may be a better tactic than sending them to your website.

Studies indicate that your Facebook (and Twitter) followers are following you in order to get something from you… a discount, the inside scoop on new products, etc.  You also have the ability to immediately update, add photos, coupons, links and more without waiting for your webmaster to update your site – which can sometimes takes days or weeks.  But the absolute BEST part of driving traffic to your Facebook page – your visitors have agreed to receive your postings… getting your name, your face, your products into their collective psyches as often as you post and they login.  – AND remember, they have requested that you do this!  With a strong enough following, you can be less concerned with fighting the Google SEO battles – let your Facebook page drive traffic to your website.

[An aside:  SEO is still vital to those doing their initial research, so don’t ignore it, but reevaluate your marketing tactics and budget expenses].

So visit and like my Facebook pages:

Facebook.com/Zpromotion

Facebook.com/KitchenAndBathChannel


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