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Warm up Your Marketing

Whenever I attend markets or conferences each educational session has the potential to spark a fire of improved sales results. The key for savvy retailers is to gather the hottest ideas from industry thought leaders that have the best chance of burning brightest. Just in time for spring, here are my takeaways from recent events that are white hot!

Close today’s hot leads first

Staple yourself to the next 10 customers who enter your store or fill out a form on your website to understand how well your sales process is performing. Speed is key. Why? According to the Harvard Business Review, you’re seven times more likely to qualify a lead if you reach out within an hour. That number plummets if you wait 24 hours.

Takeaway: Close more deals from your existing lead generation sources. Train your sales team, bulletproof your phone etiquette, track your website conversion data, and lock down a consistent 30-minute-or-less lead response time no matter how they’re sourced.

Create mobile-friendly websites

Many retail websites aren’t mobile-friendly, forcing shoppers to switch to a PC. If your website gets half or more of its traffic from computers, chances are it’s because your mobile experience is lacking. A NetBiscuits survey found that nine out of 10 mobile web users switched to a competitor’s site that made it easier to find what they were seeking. To demonstrate, if you have used or are using a website building software like Wix to manage your website, there are ways to optimise your web pages for mobile viewing. For more information, including the price of Wix, follow the linked article.

Takeaway: Engage prospects and spark more conversions with a responsive website. Since most shoppers own smartphones and tablets, their first contact with you will be your website, which sets the stage for a frustrating—or flawless—purchasing process. It’s all up to you.

Focus ads

If you’re like the majority of home furnishings retailers, you’re trying to advertise too much (brands, products, services) with too little budget. Retailers who focus on five advertising categories or fewer increase their conversions over clients with broader campaigns.

Takeaway: Remove all non-essential, underperforming ad groups. A leaner campaign will stretch your budget further and deliver better results for the three to five categories that matter most. Monitor and verify that your campaign delivers a 70-percent or higher share of advertising voice for your most important brands, products and services.

Zoom in on your audience

When it comes to bagging new customers, you’ll do far better messaging to a smaller population versus a large one. Resist the temptation to blast your message to a mass audience if your goal is to attract a specific kind of customer within close proximity.

Takeaway: Instead of a 50-100 mile radius, reduce your target geography for your core campaign to 20 miles or less. Remove underperforming locations and experiment with new geos, each with their own 10-20 mile radius.

Video is king

A new Google Shopping survey finds that 62 percent of consumers are influenced by videos on YouTube and more than half of respondents start their research there. Home goods shoppers make a purchase with the same mindset they consume media. Ask yourself: Would you rather read about a leather recliner or watch a short video that walks you through its top features?

Takeaway: Most consumers start their research by watching videos. Make fresh content to match their wants and needs.

One goal per webpage

Google is no longer a search engine, it’s an answer engine. Think about the questions local buyers are asking at each step in their purchase path. Google wants to send them to sites that have the answers; review each page on your site and make sure it has one purpose and one call to action.

Takeaway: When you add content to your website, it must be original and answer a shopper’s question. Write a list of searcher intents, two to five keywords for each, then create pages to target each intent. Plan ongoing content efforts with more competitive and temporally demanding (time-sensitive) keywords.

Content, content, content

Your goal should be to dominate your local search engine results pages (SERPs) from top to bottom with relevant content. If your website visitor count has flatlined in recent months, it’s time to invest in fresh content. Rand Fishkin, an inbound marketing expert from moz.com offers six criteria for modern content investments that will move your store’s needle: one-of-a-kind, relevant and on-topic, resolves a shopper’s query in a useful manner, uniquely valuable, easy to consume on any device, well-written and likely to be shared online.

Takeaway: Update your digital ads with fresh, relevant calls to action so they appear in the top three sponsored slots. Publish content that answers local shopper’s frequently asked questions and appears in the top organic (free) results further down the page.

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