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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Getting Your Share of $150 Million!

July 23, 2011

I was speaking with a Platinum subscriber to The Kitchen & Bath Channel the other day about the potential market for the app. I immediately sent him to my previous blog (Using Today’s Technology to Reach Today’s Customer). He stopped me and said he understands the potential to reach the younger generation(s) that’s why he was an early subscriber, but he wants to know what does it mean to him – in his community – in dollars and cents… so we did some math.

The iPhone and Android apps were released in time for KBIS (BlackBerry a week or so later), so they have been in use for roughly 90 days. Through today, there have been a total (on all three apps) of 6,117 sessions. A session is defined as one use by the end user – typically from launch to termination of the program.

Let’s assume that 5000 of the sessions are legitimate (an individual using the app for its intended purpose – to locate a kitchen and bath or remodeling professional), and let’s further assume that the average cost of a kitchen remodel is $30,000 (his figure for his business).

5,000 searches x $30,000 = $150,000,000 of potential kitchen remodel business is using the app nationwide.

If we agree that there are roughly 30 major metro areas and divide $150 million by 30 we find that in each metro area there is $5,000,000 of potential business using the app over the past 90 days.

Divide that $5 million by the 90 days the apps have been live and there is about $55,000 – a kitchen AND a bath remodel floating around you EVERY DAY!

Our subscriber was thrilled. And was surprised and pleased that he was the only Platinum subscriber in his market – to quote him “Spending $300 to stand out from my competition in this economic environment in a fight for 5 million dollars – this marketing concept is a no-brainer! Nothing personal Phil, but for my sake I hope you don’t get any more subscribers in my market!”

I don’t typically use this blog as a sales tool, but the excitement and buzz around The Kitchen & Bath Channel is growing exponentially daily – our Twitter followers hit 500 in less than a week… and mostly from people I didn’t connect to first!

Click for some articles –

Click for additional information –

The Kitchen & Bath Channel Website – with links to the apps


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.”


Have you met xobni?

January 28, 2011

Every now and then I run across something that excites me… Xobni is one of those things.  A client turned me on to it a day or so ago, but apparently it’s been around for a while – just under my radar. 

Xobni, which is inbox spelled backwards, is a free add-on to Outlook (also a paid version, but I haven’t discovered the value of a purchase… yet).

It has been loaded on my computer for about 48 hours, so I don’t yet know the full extent of its capabilities, but Xobni already does enough to warrant some excitement.

  • Search for an email – type a topic and it will locate all emails with your query – faster than outlook
  • Search for an individual – it will find them in your contacts, and your messages
  • Schedule a meeting with the click of a mouse… Xobni reads your schedule and prepares an email with potential meeting times
  • Incoming email – when an email arrives from anyone you automatically see the following:
  1. All emails with that individual, all files/attachments exchanged and people in his/her network
  2. You also get a profile of the sender including all email addresses, phone numbers, Skype information, statistics about your interactions such as how many incoming and outgoing messages, where they rank in frequency of all interactions with all contact, etc.
  3. Plus …and this is where it becomes a great marketing tool… 
  • LinkedIn – you can see if the contact is part of LinkedIn and if not you can link directly from the application
  • Facebook – the same
  • Twitter,  Hoovers, YouTube, Flickr and more social networking connects are part of the application.

If you use it… let’s talk about the benefits and drawbacks.  If you have the $30 upgrade… was it worth the additional expense – after all every penny counts these days.  Let’s  use this blog to communicate and talk about this product.  In the meantime, as I learn more I’ll post the info here.


Whatcha Wanna do? Idaknow… You?

December 26, 2010

I observed something during this snowy (for much of the country, it not the world) holiday weekend.  It seems the kitchen and bath industry, along with the rest of the world took advantage of some down time to reconnect and do some online exploring. 

The Z promotion & design Facebook page added close to a dozen new fans, and my personal page became a few friends richer, as well.  My Twitter account found followers and the Kitchen & Bath Channel on YouTube got viewers as if we were showing “It’s a Wonderful Life” – and Christmas Day was among the busiest this blog has seen in weeks.

What’s the lesson to be learned?  Simply that your online presence should be all-encompassing – a website, a [business] Facebook page, Twitter account, a blog, YouTube – create a presence on any social networking site you are comfortable maintaining.  The key is maintaining – even when you are closed, you’re open.  Be sure your information is up to date, accurate and compelling. 

A reminder that the Kitchen & Bath Mobile App is almost ready to launch, with marketing to the consumer becoming finalized.  We are still offering our pre-launch specials, allowing you to save 25% on your annual Platinum or Gold subscription.  This is the kitchen and bath industry’s first ever marketing tool that will drive customers to your front door WHILE they are out shopping.  Don’t miss out on the incredible pre-launch special!

Click to join the Kitchen & Bath Channel


It’s an Emotional Holiday Season

December 18, 2010

Did you plan for the Holidays this year? I am not talking about your Hanukkah or Christmas shopping, but rather your Hanukkah and Christmas selling. As Thanksgiving rolls around each year, the kitchen and bath industry typically goes on hiatus until the first of year, although I have heard reports of busy showrooms.  Regardless, when business slows, your marketing should increase.

You know that a new kitchen or bathroom is as much (if not more of) an emotional sell, as a logical or price-based sale. So, plan to use the time around the holidays to take that to your customers. When putting together your 2011 marketing plan, remember that dropping off the grid in December may influence how effectively you hit the ground running in January.

This is a great time to utilize email or your Facebook and Twitter accounts, as those connections/customers expect to hear from you and your message will not get as lost in the shuffle of holiday greetings and sales.

Some emotion-based ideas for consideration as you develop your message.

  • Frustration – “I am tired of trying to cook for guests in this antiquated kitchen”
  • Embarrassment – “I hate that my family and guests have to use that old, barely functional bathroom”
  • Pride – “next year my guests will love my new kitchen”
  • Confidence – “the perfect pie from my perfect kitchen”
  • Shame – “maybe I’ll be able to invite guests to my house for a change”
  • Intimidated – “I know my in-laws think less of me because of the condition of my kitchen”

Get the idea? Look to the internet for a wide range of emotions and put them to work for your business around the holidays! Need some guidance? We are available to assist. (info@kitchenmarketing.com)

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The Kitchen & Bath Channel Mobile Apps are almost ready for launch!  http://www.kitchenbathchannel.com/join.html – sign up today. Give your business a leg up in 2011!


Thinking Objectively

February 20, 2010

Kitchen and Bath Professionals are being told to get on the social networking band-wagon… and why not? Growth is way up in the right demographics, it’s easy enough to do yourself and it builds relationships – which we all know is how you actually sell your services.

OK, I convinced you, you’re going to begin Tweeting, Friending and Linking-In. That’s great! Now, what’s your primary objective (for each social media site)? What do you hope to accomplish? Ultimately, you want to pick up new clients.

Traditionally, how has that been done? In many cases, your business was founded on referrals – happy customers tell their friends. The friends come to see you and they like you – your designs, your personality, your knowledge, your quality, your expertise, your… whatever else they value in a kitchen and bath professional.

So, your social media objective is the same – use the power of online relationships to build your client base. Here are some steps for Facebook (your best first stop):

  • Create your Facebook Business Page – http://www.facebook.com/home.php?ref=home#!/pages/create.php – you must first have a personal Facebook account in order to create a business page.
  • Invite your past clients to become Fans – your goal is a minimum of 100 fans in order to get an easily marketable URL (http://www.facebook.com/Zpromotion) – prior to 100 fans your URL is a series of numbers and letters making it difficult (nearly impossible) to promote outside the web
  • Add your Facebook URL to your existing marketing materials, ads, TV spots, business cards, website, email signature, etc.
  • Develop and offer “Fans Only” incentives.
  • Post happenings and events at your showroom – Seminars, Manufacturers’ Incentives, etc.
  • Post new project photographs.
  • Post testimonials – ask your fans to talk about the project you did for them.
  • Add Videos – snippets of your seminars, time-lapse of a project, a tour of a finished project, etc.
  • Engage in discussions to help your fans understand you, the business, the project or the industry better.
  • Add posts that personify the business – give your showroom a personality and a face.

Do you have a Facebook page? How are you using it? Post your ideas here.


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