K+BB Collective | The Designers' Corner

Archive for Marketing

Sep 19 2017

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Use Your Bio to Promote the Star You Are

Image courtesy of rakratchada torsap at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

It has never been easier to get the kitchen and bath services and products you sell elsewhere. Competition is intense. Search for “kitchen and bath professionals Denver” on Google, for example, and you come up with more than 2.8 million listings in a nanosecond.

But there’s one thing that prospective clients can’t get elsewhere: YOU. That’s why it’s absolutely, positively critical these days for you to sell yourself, as well as your services.

There’s no better vehicle for you to make that personal sale than through your bio on your website, your Houzz site and in social media. That bio is your most important online and print personal marketing tool; the vehicle you can use to explain all that you do, all that you’ve done and all that you can do – and how well.

Problem is, most K&B industry bios undersell the professionals they’re supposed to promote. They’re often vague and wordy and, in many cases, are more of a hindrance than a help. A poorly written bio can block you rather than boost you – and disqualify rather than qualify you for the kind of projects and clients you want and need.

You can’t advance to the next level in your kitchen and bath career with a personal profile that fails to distinguish and differentiate you: you can’t get good clients with a bad bio.

What does it take to create a profile that spells out your special-ness, establishes your expertise and communicates your credibility? To craft a killer bio, include your:

+ “Only” phrase (____ is the area’s only kitchen designer who…)
+ Experience
+ Skills, specialties, capabilities
+ Awards and honors
+ Client profile (who you serve and how)
+ Accomplishments
+ Unique services and products
+ Publication history (where/how you’ve been published)
+ Resources (vendors, contractors, etc.)
+ Affiliations
+ Educational background
+ Other qualifications

Use your bio to explain who you work with, and how. Include the benefits you offer and how you help clients overcome their most formidable design challenges. Point out how you help them save time, money and stress and make it possible for them to enhance the value and the resale value of their living space.

And don’t forget to talk about your team in your promotional profile. Point out how you work with some of the area’s foremost contractors and that you have access to a national (and international?) network of vendors and suppliers.

When you create and promote an effective bio, you ensure that the people you need to know…know you. Your bio is your very best way in these highly competitive times to blow your horn and toot your flute.

Fred Berns is a design industry coach and copy writer – http://interiordesignbusiness.net

Apr 26 2017

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Three Tips to Win Customer Trust


After a customer picks us as their bathroom remodeler, we send them a quick survey. At the end of it is an open-ended question, “Why did you select us?” I ask this because I want our whole company to know why and then emphasize our best traits to grow the business.

The most common answer is a simple one: our customers choose us because they trust us. We will be working on their home and in their home, doing projects that will keep their family comfortable and improve the value of their most valuable possession. Of course it’s about trust.

Somewhere along the way, our customers decide we are the experts they trust the most. That can be from meeting our sales team, talking to our office staff or reading something about us online. You can earn more customers by investing in the right resources to build your credibility, and here are the resources we recommend emphasizing:

Awards. Think of all the ways you can stand out from your competition. You’re established, you’ll be there if problems arise, and your installers are the best in the business. These qualities can all be embodied in the awards you have won. We showcase ours prominently when talking with potential customers. The message boils down to this: experts in our field think we run an excellent business, so you can trust us to treat your home like our own.

– Testimonials & Reviews. Customers want an easy way to tell they can trust you with their home. What better way to communicate that than to quote customers who trusted you previously and had that trust rewarded with excellent work? If you can, provide photos of the work you’ve done to go along with the reviews. After all, seeing is believing. New customers seek out reviews and choose you based on how you have treated your previous customers.

– Warranties. This is a procedure I would strongly recommend building into your business, and it ties into winning awards and earning great testimonials. Stand by your products, and do it in writing. If you present a written promise that you will stand by your work, that reinforces the trustworthy impression already given by your awards and reviews.

If your customer hears from multiple sources that you are trustworthy, and you stand behind your work in writing, you are setting yourself up for success. When you think about vital assets for your company, few are as important as your credibility. As a credible company, your customers will come to the table already trusting you to do right by them. Highlighting your awards, reviews and excellent warranties – you build that asset and in turn build your business.

Allen Erskine is the owner of Kansas City-based Alenco Inc. – in business and growing since 1986 and ranked in the top 100 largest remodelers nationwide.

Image courtesy of adamr at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Sep 15 2016

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To Advertise or Not to Advertise

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KBB recently asked our KBB Designers Network on LinkedIn about using social media and other advertising techniques to draw customers.

The following is a constructive conversation among three members of our group with some useful input and tips to succeed:

Paul McAlary, Main Line Kitchen Design, Narberth, Pa.

We post and use paid advertising on Houzz, Facebook and YouTube. We pay money to belong and advertise on Angie’s List and pay for review updates and listings on Customer Lobby. We post on our Twitter and Instagram accounts and have a listing on Yelp and dozens of other listing sites. We post and maintain a LinkedIn profile and company profile and participate in the groups we belong to.

The list goes on and on and includes Google+, Klout, Pinterest, Scoopit, Median, The Garden Web and Home and Garden. Add to the social media sites the money we spend on PPC advertising on Google and Yahoo and what we spend on SEO and our website and the “chat box” on our website, and you are talking a huge financial and time-consuming undertaking. And we haven’t even mentioned the organizations we pay to belong to like multiple NARI chapters, the NKBA, the BBB, etc. All these thing make your business visible and findable on the web.

Anne Harvey, AKBD, Fresh Kitchen & Bath Design, Cary, N.C.

Of all these avenues, which ones have brought you the most business?

Paul McAlary: Besides referrals, the best investment to least:
The chat box on our website, our website itself, Houzz free listing, Houzz paid listing, blogs, Facebook dark posts, Youtube, Customer Lobby, PPC Google ads, PPC Yahoo ads, Remarketing Ads, Home Adviser, NARI Memberships, Yelp, Angies List.
After these there is little determinable ROI on our other efforts, but even so our efforts on Twitter, Instagram, Linkedin, etc., help us come up better on internet searches. In comparison, we monitored a large Yellow Page ad for a year and received zero leads.

Anne Harvey: Being a natural skeptic, I have come to some conclusions regarding social media; mainly that their main objective is to make money, not help me be successful – although they are more than happy to take my money and make empty promises about how paying for their service will get me more clients.

We have a society of window shoppers and DIYers. Many users of social media are not out there looking for professionals no matter what the “pros” tell us. They want free ideas they can execute themselves or as cheaply as possible.
I don’t answer the phone when I see Houzz, Home Advisor, etc., on my caller ID. The most successful designers and trade professionals get all their new business via referrals and stay booked months in advance.

Paul McAlary: There is no question that referral business is the best, but no business can grow or even remain static without non-referral customers added to their pool of customers. Getting fresh customers from varied sources also makes a business more sustainable during tough economic times. Advertising – even if it’s simply putting out flyers or signs on lawns – is essential. And the best ways to advertise change yearly.

I am the biggest of skeptics but also try to be open to new ideas, products and advertising trends. Mastering using social media to create business is difficult, and most people selling their services to help you do it won’t succeed unless your business is a very common type that there are known techniques for. And you must excel at any type of advertising to make it work. I know business owners that do incredibly well using Houzz, Home Advisor or Angie’s list, but they put a huge effort into making it work for them,

Denise Butchko, Butchko & Co., Chicago

Not having a presence on social platforms is equivalent to not having a website in today’s market. Your online presence and image are researched by customers to develop trust before they contact you. These platforms are not created to help fill the top of your sales funnel, and you can’t “spend your way” to leads. You can, however, support your organic efforts with paid efforts to increase the qualified leads that can come to your business.
Yes, all platforms will accept your money. That doesn’t guarantee business any more than a Yellow Page ad or even a print or TV campaign guarantees leads.

Anne Harvey: I may not be a fan, but it is a necessary component in today’s world. I have a website, Facebook page, etc., write a blog, create customized flyers and have lawn signs. I didn’t mean to imply that I don’t use social media.

Paul McAlary: Here’s a funny story of how bad advertising won’t help you.
Thirty years ago there was a tool company that advertised in the Yellow Pages across from my ad as a general contractor. I know from the size of the ad that it cost $500 per month in 1986. The advertisement should have read:
Whatever your needs may be, we have what you are looking for. Unfortunately, for five years before they went out of business, it read:
Whatever your needs, maybe we have what you are looking for.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Apr 22 2016

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Best Practices for Getting Published

Blog Coverings Session

Last week during Coverings 2016, I was part of a panel titled “Getting Published,” which focused on best practices for industry professionals and their PR counterparts to get their projects and products under an editor’s radar.

The panel also included Elaine Markoutsas, a columnist with the Chicago Tribune and Modern Luxury Chicago; Eileen Kwun, senior editor of Dwell; Julie Taraska, products editor for Architectural Record; and moderator Paul Makovsky, editorial director for Metropolis.

418 KBB Raw2

Here is an abridged version of the session with some key points to consider when pitching to an editorial personality – specifically mine.

– Email is better than calling since we can’t see pictures on a call. The call will come later if we set up an interview.

– Send professional photos. You can send low-res at first, but make sure you have the high-res versions and the rights to the photos so we have permission to use them. Please do not send a query without a photo.

– For extremely large photos, consider using a platform like Wetransfer or Dropbox to send those. Make sure you tell us who you are and which project it is when you send files from those sources.

– Let us know how old – or new – the project or product is.

– Specifically for projects, tell us if you are pitching it to multiple sources or if it has already been published in a similar publication/outlet.

– If it is a project, let us know what the reader may learn from it. We want to feature more than just an attractive kitchen, bath or showroom.

– Once you have emailed us, we will respond as soon as we can, but let us contact you if we are planning to cover what you sent. Our inboxes are ALWAYS full, so please do not send repeat emails.

– A lot of publications work weeks – and even months out – for their issues, so study the editorial calendar online to see what’s coming up in advance of contacting us.

– Make sure you know to whom you are pitching and that the content applies to that publication.

– It also helps to know the publication’s audience.

Those simple tips will make everyone’s experience easier when it comes to submitting projects/products to media outlets. If you have any questions, please email me at Chelsie.butler@emeraldexpo.com. You can also visit our social media sites to get to know us better:

www.facebook.com/KitchenandBathBusiness/
Twitter: @kbbconnect
Instagram: kbb_magazine
Linked In: KBB Design Network