K+BB Collective | The Designers' Corner

Archive for Marketing

Nov 11 2015

Posted by
Comments off

Five Online Metrics You Need for Lead Generation (and Five You Don’t)

Image by Stuart Miles, FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image by Stuart Miles, FreeDigitalPhotos.net

For years I’ve listened to a host of consultants, speakers and experts talk to kitchen and bath companies about their online strategies and all of the different steps they must take to be successful. But when it comes to the online metrics that help companies to grow, the so-called experts are carefully vague, generalizing the online experience as “lead generation.”

Understanding the online world – and its role in helping you grow sales – is more important than ever. So understanding online metrics – the right metrics – is critical to making better marketing decisions and evaluations.

Here are five pairs of common online metrics and explanation regarding why one matters and why the other is likely to be misleading to you.

1. Visitors vs. Visitors from within Your Marketing Territory. Do most of your customers live in a specific geographic area? I’m willing to bet the answer is yes. After all, kitchen and bath designs or remodels by their very nature involve showing up, in person, at the homes of your prospects.

The broader point is that you can’t sell a kitchen or bathroom to homeowners on the other side of the country. If you operate in a territory 100 miles around St. Louis, why would visitors from Seattle matter to you?

If you hire a firm to boost your website rankings (commonly known as an SEO firm), we recommend that you incent your provider not just to drive traffic, but to drive traffic from visitors in your particular sales or service area. You can track the location of visitors through a free Google Analytics account.

2. Leads vs. Issued Leads. What’s “a lead” anyway? The truth is, it could be almost any name, address, phone number or combination thereof. And for many lead-generation companies, that broad definition is exactly what they use when promising to “deliver leads.”

But that’s not what you need – particularly when it comes to online lead sellers. Instead, you want to measure “issued leads,” defined as leads given to a salesperson to follow up on after your team has spoken to an interested homeowner. Those are the leads that result in sales.

Lead quality matters, and there are important differences between what one provider considers a lead and what you consider a good sales opportunity. Here’s an example: According to lead sellers, a “bathroom remodeling lead” could be a $60,000 master bath project or a $400 tub re-glaze.

There are huge differences among these opportunities – even though lead sellers typically refer to them the same way. It’s a game so many lead-generation companies play to goose their numbers – and their profits.

3. Clicks vs. Conversions. Clicks have been around as an online metric since the dawn of the Web, but clicks for their own sake don’t matter. Clicks from India, for example, are not only not in your marketing territory, they probably aren’t even real people (e.g. “click-bots”). Traffic that stays on your website for a second (literally) also isn’t coming from a real person, let alone a bath or kitchen prospect, and doesn’t provide any value to you. Yet, these register as clicks.

Online marketing companies will also do things to deliberately increase their volume. It’s incredibly easy to send unqualified traffic from social media promotions or to place links to your site all over the Web – where they know it will get phantom visitors. Or, they can resort to dozens of other methods that appear to generate visitors.

You want flesh-and-blood homeowners visiting your site, so you need to move from “clicks in general” to “clicks that matter.” Which clicks matter? Those that lead to conversions. Google Analytics can help you see where the clicks come from, who spends time on your website and whether they’re interested in your kitchen or bath options.

4. Phone Calls vs. Qualified Phone Calls. Pay-per-call services are growing in popularity; they generate leads in the form of phone calls to you, and you pay based on the number of phone calls you get. When you sign up with a service to generate phone calls, it’s in their best interest to generate as many calls as possible. Shady tactics include putting your name and number out to cold call lists and auto-dialers, as well as having technology to call you at night – after business hours. Then they trumpet their results back to you: “Look at all the calls our program is generating for you!” The solution is to monitor your telephone traffic by checking for length of call, listening to sample recordings and understanding which calls are billable vs. those calls that are no good.

5. Social Followers vs. Reviews. “Followers,” “Likes” and “Fans” on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and elsewhere are all the rage these days. Not only are these social metrics hip, they’re easy to measure.

The problem is that few have found a significant correlation between this type of activity and leads for kitchen and bath businesses. Social media has a supporting relationship for your brand, but it doesn’t drive any volume of leads.

Social reviews by customers, on the other hand, are extremely valuable because reviews are a new type of “online currency.” The more you have, the more likely Google, Yahoo and others will rank your website near the top of your local kitchen and bath listings.

The important thing is to make sure you actively ask customers to go onto Yelp, Google and Angie’s List and review your company. It will take the homeowner five minutes, but it can pay big dividends for you in the search engine rankings.

Activity – even precisely measured activity – can be easily confused with results. Nowhere is this more common than when gauging success online. If you keep your focus on the metrics that matter, you’ll drive more sales via the Web. All the best in online success!

– Todd Bairstow is co-founder and principal of Keyword Connects (keywordconnects.com).

Aug 26 2015

Posted by
Comments off

Three Big Lessons to Apply to Your Own Business

Laurie Brown is an NKBA University Instructor and customer service industry veteran with 29 year of experience. She says exceptional customer service has become a must to survive and thrive. Below are some big lessons she has shared from a few big players synonymous with excellent customer service.

Lesson from Zappos: View every customer interaction as a chance to build your brand.

From its hassle-free return process to personalized responses to customer complaints, Zappos has created a fiercely loyal customer base through its world-class customer service. And since satisfied customers sing the company’s praises via word-of-mouth marketing, its budget allocated to marketing is nominal. Disclosure: Zero marketing spend may not be the best practice for many designers, builders, etc., but harnessing the power of your satisfied customers is – especially when 84 percent of consumers first and foremost trust recommendations from friends and family, according to a recent Nielsen survey.

Lesson from Amazon: Strive to be a customer-centric company.

Amazon knows firsthand when everything is aligned – from operations to logistics – to work for the ultimate benefit of customers. In the long run, this benefits Amazon, as well. While the design and construction industry can’t always deliver in two days or less like Amazon Prime, we can, however, take a look at our project management and operations to determine how we can better – and in a more timely fashion – meet client needs. Improved efficiency means happier clients, faster job turnaround and ideally, more work.

Lesson from Uber: Manage expectations through frequent, timely communication.

This on-demand car service champions customer experience through its app, which communicates with users throughout the entire process (examples: surge charge notifications during rush hour or rainy weather, estimated pick-up time, etc.). By maintaining constant communication with your client, everyone stays on the same page when it comes to progress, timeline and budget.

For those attending KBIS 2016 in Las Vegas, Laurie Brown will also be leading an onsite NKBA U course, “Born to Buy – Grow your Kitchen & Bath Business with Multigenerational Clients.”

 

 

 

Jun 17 2015

Posted by
Comments off

Tips for Making a Lasting Impression on Your Clients

Image from Idea, FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image from Idea, FreeDigitalPhotos.net

In our K+BB Designers Network LinkedIn Group, designers Anne-Marie Harvey, AKBD, and Cathy Osborne discussed this topic: How do you leave a lasting impression on your clients? Do you follow up after a project to see how things are going?

We want to share the discussion with you.

Anne-Marie Harvey, AKBD

I make an effort to get to know my clients and understand their needs and preferences. Rather than trying to “sell” them something, I take more of a consultative approach in attempt to solve a problem.

I also try to keep a positive attitude – even when something goes wrong. These things, I believe, leave a lasting impression. I do follow up with past clients with holiday greetings and supporting any businesses or efforts they endorse whenever possible.

Cathy Osborne

You leave a lasting impression on a client by letting them know that they have left a lasting and positive impression on you. I love Anne-Marie’s comment about supporting their personal efforts. It is really important to make a mental note of things they may have shared casually, such as “That’s not a good day for an appointment. I volunteer on Wednesdays at the Food Bank.” Now you know something that is truly important to your client. You might comment: “That must be really rewarding. I’ll bet you have changed lives.” That brief dialogue can lead to a stronger connection between you and your client.

Remember their kids’ names, greet the cleaning lady. The lasting impression will be that you interacted with them as a whole person, not someone spending X thousands on “The Smith Project.”

Anne-Marie Harvey, AKBD

One of my past clients makes jewelry, so I attended her first show and bought some of her pieces! This couple had spent two years in the Peace Corp in Belize before moving back to the U.S. The wife had mentioned that she fell in love with an exotic wood called Purple Heart, and she loved the color purple. When they decided they wanted a second material for the upper level of their island, I remembered the exotic wood and found a local source. I also found granite that had purple streaks and mineral deposits. It brings me great satisfaction when I can find elements my clients really love!

May 20 2015

Posted by
Comments off

How Healthy Is Your Business?

Image by hywards, FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image by hywards, FreeDigitalPhotos.net

To make sure your business is in top shape for the rigors of the summer remodeling season, keep these vital signs in check:

  1. Keep a Strong Pulse on Your Finances. Knowing exactly where your business stands fiscally enables you to make smart decisions when it comes to growth and expansion. Commit to updating your P&L statement each month and do a solid review each quarter with your team to stay on track with your goals. If this is a chore you dread and avoid, see a specialist (like an accountant) regularly to make sure your business stays healthy and well out of the red.
  1. Flex Your Management Team. A solid management team empowers business owners and senior managers to work at their full potential. You may have started as a sole proprietorship, but you don’t have to (and shouldn’t!) do it alone. Motivate your management team by communicating how their work directly affects the overall health of the business, and assign more responsibility as they demonstrate competency. You may find they feel more empowered and committed to the success of your business.
  1. Look at Your Business Plan as Your Backbone. Like your P&L statement, your business plan is a living, breathing document. Revisit it quarterly or every six months and make revisions as needed to stay on track to achieve long-term goals and to stay on strategy. This will not only help make growth goals a reality, but provides an opportunity to bring key players from your business together so everyone is on the same page with deliverables and action plans required.
  1. Check your hearing. Your employees are your business’ brain trust and their insights can prove invaluable when it comes to improving daily operations that can impact profitability. Are you listening to them? Good business owners know solid internal communication begets success, so develop a healthy mix of formal meetings and casual touch-points so direct reports can give status updates. Sharing knowledge consistently not only helps prevent a major ‘illness’, it manifests externally in the service and experience you provide your clients.

– Kimberly Morrison, CKD, CBD, NCIDQ, ASID, IIDA, IDEC
has more than 30 years of experience in the field. She is also the interior design program coordinator for The Art Institute of York Pennsylvania, overseeing the development and implementation of curriculum relevant to the ID and K&B fields.