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Installments: Moisture mitigation

November 20/27, 2017: Volume 32, Issue 12

By Elliot Gordon

 

Screen Shot 2017-11-27 at 1.38.09 PMContractors are under pressure to complete projects on ever-shorter schedules with ever-tighter budgets. The imperative to get the job done quickly and efficiently may overshadow the need to fully test concrete slabs to determine whether moisture remediation is required. However, if moisture testing is not conducted and moisture content sneaks up on you in the middle of a project, it can be extremely disruptive to schedules and it can be costly.

So, how do you overcome the tricky balance of scheduling around unforeseen moisture in a flooring project? Consider the following four best practices:

Test early and test again. Excess moisture in concrete slabs is a common issue. One of the biggest mistakes flooring contractors make is to not plan for the possibility of moisture at the time of sale. Get a moisture test done well in advance of installing flooring by a certified professional. Anywhere from a year to a month beforehand is ideal for conducting initial moisture testing to start planning for the “what ifs.” This early testing will give you the big picture of what you are dealing with; if moisture levels are low, you know you will not need to allocate resources for moisture mitigation and you can free them up for other projects. For higher levels, continue monitoring moisture levels closer to installation time to make a final decision on the best moisture mitigation strategy. If you leave the first moisture testing to days before installation, and there is a moisture issue, you will have to delay the project to submit change orders and adjust schedules.

By testing early you can plan for what products are needed and schedule the right pros on the job at the right time. If you find there’s a moisture problem, you can order the right materials and submit a change order.

Select products to speed up timeline. The traditional approach to moisture mitigation is the use of a two-part epoxy to seal the slab surface, providing a dry substrate for the floor. While effective, this method requires multiple coats and a long cure time, potentially delaying the project schedule.

Newer technologies can help expedite the timeline when mitigation is required, freeing up labor for the next project. These innovations also help flooring contractors feel more comfortable maximizing their number of projects while still meeting customers’ timelines.

A proven moisture mitigation strategy is to apply a moisture barrier prior to installing the finished flooring. (Moisture barriers are sheet membranes designed to be laid down above the concrete slab but underneath floor coverings.) When working on a renovation, moisture barriers can also be placed over intact existing flooring to avoid demolishing the old flooring. The latest sheet membranes for floor protection are designed to offer significant advantages over liquid epoxy. Contractors and building owners can enjoy reduced installation time and easy application, saving time and labor.

Training. It is vital to spend the time and money to make sure your team is educated properly. Remember: A well-trained team works efficiently and avoids costly mistakes that can cause time-consuming delays.

Communication. Another important element to keep a project running smoothly and on time is daily or at least weekly communication between the general contractor and the flooring contractor, even before the flooring installation begins. Be sure to document all communication as well.

 

Elliot Gordon is product marketing manager, flooring, at GCP Applied Technologies, where he leads all product development and marketing initiatives for GCP’s flooring underlayment, tapes and tools product lines.

 

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Marketing mastery: Creating profitable Facebook posts

November 20/27, 2017: Volume 32, Issue 12

By Jim Augustus Armstrong

 

Screen Shot 2017-03-06 at 10.45.16 AM“We paid a company to do Facebook posts for us and the results have been terrible,” the owner of four flooring stores recently told me. “We’ve pretty much given up on Facebook marketing.”

I’ve heard similar comments from a number of dealers frustrated with their results from Facebook marketing. This isn’t because Facebook can’t be very profitable for your business. It’s because many dealers are making common mistakes that hurt their results. One of the biggest is doing the wrong kinds of posts. Most dealers simply post photos of products, display racks or special offers with no thought-out plan for systematically generating business from this platform. Your posts must fit into an overall plan for generating customers, and each post should do one of three very specific tasks to make that happen. Let’s take a closer look.

Attract followers. Followers are the “herd” of people who have liked your page. If you don’t have many followers then your first task is to attract them. However, you must grow the right herd. If you attract followers who aren’t interested in your product, then you are wasting your time and money.

One effective way to attract new followers is with a contest. Facebook users love contests, quizzes and other forms of entertainment on the social media site. Pick the right prize and format and your contest can get good engagement. Make sure your prize is related to what you sell, like an area rug or floor cleaning kit. If you give away iPads or televisions you’ll attract followers, but they might not be interested in flooring. Running contests on a regular basis as part of your overall Facebook marketing system ensures you have an ever-growing, engaged base of followers.

Create engagement. Interaction on Facebook means likes, shares or comments. If your posts aren’t getting much engagement Facebook’s algorithms will penalize your posts, making them visible to fewer people. Text-heavy posts tend to get the least engagement. Product photos or display racks don’t get great engagement either. Photos of happy customers standing on their new floors with the caption, “Let’s congratulate Suzy Smith on her new floors by liking this post” can get great engagement, especially if you tag your customer so the post shows up on her timeline. Now her friends will see it and want to congratulate her, thus creating engagement and even attracting new followers to your page.

Get people off Facebook and into your store and/or database. You’ll hear a lot about attracting followers and creating engagement in social media seminars, but often you won’t hear much on getting Facebook users to come into your store and buy. This is unfortunate because unless Facebook generates customers you’re wasting your time, energy and money.

People don’t generally buy big-ticket items on Facebook, so you must get them off Facebook and into your store or database so you can market directly to them via email.

If you have any questions or if you’d like me to evaluate your Facebook page and give you tips on how to improve your results, email me at support@flooringsuccesssystems.com.

 

Jim Armstrong specializes in providing turnkey marketing strategies for flooring retailers. For a free copy of his latest book, “How Floor Dealers Can Beat the Boxes Online,” visit BeatTheBoxesOnline.com.

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Lizbiz Strategies: Don’t let red-hot sales leads get too cold

November 20/27, 2017: Volume 32, Issue 12

By Lisbeth Calandrino

 

Lisbeth CalandrinoThe good thing about hot sales leads is they tend to fall right in your lap. The bad news is you can’t sit on them for too long before they get stale.

Managing and following up on leads can be tricky. I get it. You meant to call them, but you were too busy. Now you’re afraid to follow up because you think the lead is too old. Finally, you reach out to the customer and she tells you she has bought from your competitor.

Why didn’t you make the time to call? You’re not the only one who hates calling people you don’t know and the longer you wait, the more difficult it becomes. You need to contact potential customers as quickly as possible. Remember, they have already expressed an interest. If they haven’t gone to your website and connected, it’s your job to get them there.

Are you a manufacturer who supplies consumer or commercial leads to retailers? Purchasing leads is a big investment for your company, but if no one is keeping track how will you know what’s become of them? This is where a targeted, touch-point email marketing program can keep potential customers interested in coming to your retail store.

A touch-point email marketing program is specifically designed to deliver a particular message to your potential customer and is personalized to her shopping needs. According to Campaign Marketing, email is highly ranked in the marketing kingdom with a 380% ROI and $38 for every $1 spent. An email campaign is about building relationships, not just selling. Each email should have a message that is important to the customer. Even if you haven’t met her, useful advice on your products will begin to build your relationship. It doesn’t mean sending one note to the customer and disappearing. You must be consistent and have a series of timed touch points.

It is also not the holiday card you send out to relatives to see if they’re still alive. This is an electronic magnet. Instead of putting it on the customer’s refrigerator, it will stay on her mind through digital marketing.

There’s no reason why you can’t put together a three- to five-week email campaign starting with a friendly hello introducing yourself and an invitation to come in and pick up a gift. You can also direct her to useful information on your website, such as design tips or color ideas.

The key is to build a relationship so the potential customer feels like she knows you and wants to meet you. This is also why you need to market using your personal picture. It has been proven trust increases by more than 75% if the customer sees your picture before she meets you. Real estate agents routinely include their photos in marketing promos.

Remember, these potential customers have been referred to your store, so you’re just reaching out and providing something of value before they meet you.

Following up with your prospects is not a new idea, and current Internet tools make it even easier and more effective. There are a host of customer relationship management tools out there to help you track prospects from initial contact to close. But the key lies in acting fast; recent data shows if you don’t contact someone who submits an online inquiry in about 10 minutes, your chance of converting that lead into a sale decreases by the time you get to 30 minutes. Don’t make a big mistake by ignoring them.

 

Lisbeth Calandrino has been promoting retail strategies for the last 20 years. To have her speak at your business or to schedule a consultation, contact her at lcalandrino@nycap.rr.com.

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Lisbiz strategies: Explore the customer experience at TISE

November 6/13, 2017: Volume 32, Issue 11

By Lisbeth Calandrino

 

Lisbeth CalandrinoRetailers have confused the customer experience with customer service, but they are not the same thing. Providing exceptional service and improving your competitive edge through customer experience will keep your customers and business operational.

Customer service is considered a single transaction that takes care of the customer’s immediate needs. This includes booking a customer’s install, product selections or an in-home measurement. You can do all of this effortlessly and still not provide a notable experience.

Practicing customer-service basics is not sufficient anymore. There are too many outlets competing for your customer’s attention. With increasing competition in the marketplace, all stores are looking for ways to create differentiation and offer value and an unforgettable experience their customers will share with family and friends.

The customer experience is what happens between you (your store) and the customer over time. It is the customer’s perception of what you do. Let’s say you tell the customer you will be at her house at 2 p.m., but you don’t get there until 3 p.m. and you forget to call. Even though you are late, you have taken care of the customer by getting to her house, but her perception of the experience is that you can’t be counted on. This perception will be hard to change and is part of her experience. Staying on top of the experience means paying attention to every encounter you have with the customer.

Once you have mastered basic customer service you must find a way to take it up a notch. Creating an outstanding experience alongside service will take preparation and planning.

This year at Surfaces there are two presenters who are well versed at sustaining the customer experience: Pamela Danziger from Unity Marketing and Tema Frank, chief investigator at Frank Reactions.

Danziger’s seminar, “Transforming your Floor Covering Store into a Shop that Pops,” will provide you with seven steps to extraordinary retail success. She breaks down the new retailing experience based on “people, people and people.” The key is to build a unique and personal experience with the customer. In addition, Danziger will take you behind J&S Designer Flooring in Morristown, N.J., and show you what they are doing to build the customer experience. Her session will be held Jan. 30 from 8 a.m. to 9:30 a.m., code TU05.

Frank is considered to be a customer experience and digital marketing pioneer. In 2001, she founded the world’s first company that tested both online and offline customer service. To do this she developed a panel of 75,000 mystery shoppers worldwide. In her seminar, she will talk about strategies that are essential in a technology-driven marketplace. She will also create a LinkedIn group to share best practices among the participants. Frank’s session will be held Jan. 29 from 3:30p.m.-5:00 p.m., code MN25.

According to both Danziger and Frank, the real keys to the customer experience are the people in your store who interact with your customers. If they continue to do the same things over and over, it’s likely the customer will not remember who you are or come away with a unique feeling about your store. If the experience is not different than your competitors it’s likely they won’t rate you very highly or talk about you on social media.

If you want the customer experience that “pops,” you will have to get your employees to another level.

 

Lisbeth Calandrino has been promoting retail strategies for the last 20 years. To have her speak at your business or to schedule a consultation, contact her at lcalandrino@nycap.rr.com.

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Marketing mastery: How to leverage your online reviews

November 6/13, 2017: Volume 32, Issue 11

By Jim Augustus Armstrong

 

Screen Shot 2017-03-06 at 10.45.16 AMStatistics show nearly 90% of consumers consider ratings and reviews before making purchase decisions. This should come as no surprise in this era of Amazon, Google, Yelp, Facebook, Yahoo, Angie’s List and Home Advisor, to name a few. Let’s face it: These days, everybody is online—especially consumers in the market for floor coverings. This presents a valuable opportunity to be proactive and get out in front of the customer by not only boosting your web presence, but also interacting with potential—and existing—customers in a meaningful and timely manner.

First, it’s important to understand the customer’s mentality when it comes to researching and buying products online. Not too long ago I was on Amazon to purchase individually wrapped computer screen cleaners; I was trying to decide between a dozen options. I read several reviews to help me make a decision on what turned out to be a $19 purchase. How many times have you done the same thing for minor purchases? For that matter, how many times have you checked reviews for larger purchases such as choosing a restaurant, booking a hotel or hiring a service business? Most of us do it on a regular basis. More importantly, your prospects are increasingly checking reviews prior to purchasing flooring.

Here are some statistics to consider:

  • 92% of consumers today read online reviews vs. 88% in 2014.
  • 94% of consumers would rather use a business with a four-star rating.
  • 88% trust reviews as much as personal recommendations vs. 83% in 2014.

These stats highlight the importance of getting positive reviews for your business. However, it’s also important that you have lots of reviews, and that new reviews are being posted regularly.

So, how can a dealer generate a steady stream of positive reviews and get the most marketing leverage out of them? There are three things to consider when it comes to reviews. The first is review acquisition, which means actively seeking reviews from your happy customers. Most review sites allow you to solicit reviews, so it’s generally OK to ask. However, be careful about offering incentives for positive reviews, as this is against the guidelines for many review sites.

Conventional wisdom states the best time to ask for a review is after a successful installation—providing the customer is pleased with the products and services you have provided. Get into the habit of sending each of your customers an email asking for a review, and include links to several popular review sites.

Here’s a word of caution: Don’t have your customer use your store’s computer or tablet to write reviews. It’s easy for review companies to detect these kinds of “kiosk” tactics using incoming IP addresses and browser cookies. It’s best to email the request and let the customer give the review from her home.

Next, make sure you are monitoring them properly. If you get a bad review, reach out to the customer and try to correct the issue quickly.  Depending on the site, you may be able to comment on the review and explain what steps you have taken to make things right. Don’t panic if you get the occasional bad review. Studies show consumers are skeptical when they only see 5-star reviews, so a couple of less-than-perfect reviews can actually make you seem more real.

In future columns I will provide more tips on how to get mileage from your positive reviews.

 

Jim Armstrong specializes in providing turnkey marketing strategies for flooring retailers. For a free copy of his latest book, “How Floor Dealers Can Beat the Boxes Online,” visit BeatTheBoxesOnline.com.

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Al's column: Maximizing your online presence

November 6/13, 2017: Volume 32, Issue 11

By Jay Flynn

 

Screen Shot 2017-11-13 at 9.45.39 AMSearch-engine optimization. Pay per click. Organic (and paid) social media initiatives. All these elements stand to have a big impact on any online marketing strategy. So the question is: Why aren’t more flooring retailers taking advantage of these tools?

They’re not acronyms and strategies to be afraid of but rather embraced. Still, just a mere mention of many of these online strategies makes some managers’ palms sweat. If this sounds like you, know that you’re not alone. Also know that there are certain resources you can tap into to better understand these strategies and take your online marketing to the next level.

One such resource within your reach is The International Surface Event (TISE), scheduled to take place Jan. 30 through Feb. 1 in Las Vegas next year. One seminar in particular, “How to Maximize Your Online Marketing Presence,” is designed to help retailers overcome fears of online marketing. During this presentation, I will give attendees the information they need to take their flooring company’s web presence to new heights, potentially leading to new business opportunities and, thus, more sales.

The seminar will consist of a panel of industry-leading retail flooring dealers that have driven business growth through a strategic online marketing program. As moderator, I will lead discussion on online marketing campaigns and invite panel members to share the respective tools they use and the results they get from implementing them. The goal is to help attendees learn what they can do in their respective businesses to give themselves more of an online presence, keeping in mind their budgets, competition and end goals.

Panelists will also discuss traditional marketing techniques and how those techniques can help complement online marketing. For instance, many consumers are using social media to discover and research different brands. To run a successful social media campaign, experts say retailers should weave social elements into every aspect of their marketing. One of the keys to social media is the opportunity for peer-to-peer sharing. This allows content to be seen by a larger audience, which could increase engagement.

The seminar will also cover:

  • An overview of all the primary online marketing tools that flooring retailers can utilize.
  • What ROI flooring retailers can expect from each tool based on macro data.
  • What online tools are best suited for a respective business based on specific business parameters.

This informative seminar will help retailers gain a better understanding of how they can ensure they’ve selected the right online marketing tool and what to expect to budget for each. It is designed specifically to help specialty floor covering dealers implement an effective online marketing campaign to help fuel business growth.

There’s simply no reason to fear online marketing any longer. Rather, learn to embrace it. The reward of more leads and increased sales most definitely outweighs the risk. Register online today at tisewest.com to take advantage of these valuable educational opportunities.

 

Jay Flynn is vice president of Creating Your Space, a leading custom website and online marketing provider for the flooring industry. Founded by veterans of the flooring industry, Creating Your Space specializes in providing custom websites along with a suite of online marketing tools for retailers.

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Marketing mastery: How to win the path-to-purchase game

October 23/30, 2017: Volume 32, Issue 10

By Jim Augustus Armstrong

 

(Second of three parts)

When buying big ticket items ($500 or more), the average consumer spends 79 days on the path-to-purchase, research shows. Furthermore, 85% of consumers begin their path-to-purchase journey online, but 82% of the time do they make the actual purchase in a brick-and-mortar store.

To that end, it’s important that retailers stay in front of their prospect throughout the 79 days in order to make sure that the path ends at their store instead of a competitor’s.

In this follow-up to Part I of my series (FCNews, Sept. 11/18), I provide a three-step system for making this happen.

Step 1: Provide prospects with an “irresistible free offer” on your website. By “irresistible,” I mean an offer so compelling that a total stranger is willing to give you her contact information in exchange for the information you’re giving away. In creating this kind of offer, it’s important to understand the mindset of someone shopping for flooring. She is excited about the prospect of getting new floors to make her home more beautiful. She is about to invest thousands of dollars and she doesn’t want to make a mistake, buy the wrong flooring and have to live with a decision she’ll regret. So naturally, her excitement is combined with some nervousness—which is part of the reason the path to purchase averages 79 days.

The consumer begins her research online, so put yourself in the best position to offer her this guidance. For instance, she visits your website and sees a video or ad offering for a free report where she will learn how to avoid predatory dealers and questions to ask a dealer before purchasing. This is a compelling offer that she is likely to opt in for if she’s in the market for flooring.

Step 2: Obtain prospect’s critical information. Basically you need to collect three pieces of information from the consumer: name, email address and phone number. If a prospect is willing to give you all of this, she has raised her hand and identified herself as a hot prospect who is very interested in buying flooring. You can now focus more intense marketing efforts on this prospect.

Step 3: Establish an automated 79-day ‘drip’ campaign. For the first month, your prospect should get an email from you every two to three days. Every email should follow the 90/10 formula: 90% great content and only 10% consisting of an invitation to purchase. This means 90% of the content is valuable, informative, welcome and entertaining; it should be so compelling that she looks forward to your next email.

Up to 10% of the message can consist of a special offer or invitation to purchase. You should include a deadline for the offer along with a very clear, simple call to action: phone you or visit your showroom.

Within a day or two of opting in for your free offer, your prospect should get a phone call from a member of your sales team. The aim here is to schedule an appointment, either in your showroom or the prospect’s home.

Over the course of the next phase—31-79 days—send a weekly email. Follow the same 90/10 formula you used during the first 30 days.

By following this strategy you give yourself a huge advantage in the path-to-purchase game because most of your competitors will never implement a system as I’ve described.

 

New book!  For a free copy of Jim’s latest book, “How Floor Dealers Can Beat the Boxes Online,” visit BeatTheBoxesOnline.com.

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Lisbiz Strategies: Fashion’s influence on flooring design

October 23/30, 2017: Volume 32, Issue 10

By Lisbeth Calandrino

 

Lisbeth CalandrinoRecently I visited Oxford, Miss., to meet with Lisa Stout, owner of Stout’s Flooring, to present a seminar for local female business owners. Oxford is an interesting college town, the home of “Ole Miss” with about 50,000 residents, 25,000 of which are college students. They have wonderful shirts that read, ‘Oxford, Miss., population—full!’ I was here 22 years ago and the town is barely recognizable. Now it has everything you would need, including a luxurious town square with a boutique hotel that was formerly a gas station. The carpet design is an industrial, two-tone herringbone pattern. The lines in the room are very clean and uncluttered.

I asked Stout—who, with her sister, owns a high-end clothing shop—if she sees any societal trends influencing flooring. She travels to all of the boutique shows to buy for the store. It also gives her an idea of trends that will be influencing her flooring market. She believes flooring is definitely impacted by clothing and make-up trends. It may take a year or so for things to change but it’s definitely noticeable.

Not only is “what’s old is new,” but businesses are doing more than recycling. This technique sets the stage for interesting interiors but it only provides a background. Authenticity is not necessary, as artifacts from many places can wind up in the same room. For our meeting, we were in an interesting restaurant with floors that appeared hand scraped. The walls were stark white with pictures created out of tufts of cotton. The copper lighting was recessed into the beams.

According to Stout, it also includes sustainability. “We’ve been selling and installing tiles indicative of the early 20th century. We’ve had to do lots of research to find the right materials. It’s exciting to see buildings being recycled with a modern twist. For example, hand-scraped original wood floors in buildings with metal recessed lighting. Our sand and finished flooring business continues to take off. Natural looks in wood are very appealing to consumers.”

The matte finish prevalent in lipstick is also showing up in luxury vinyl, laminate and wood floors. Glossy floors seem to be out and shiny is hard to find. Another clothing trend, crushed velvet, is popping up in area rugs. This sounds like the velvet look, which caused plenty of problems in broadloom years ago. Carpet products with the industrial commercial look are selling well in residential settings.

A friend of mine in Knoxville, Tenn., who buys and flips houses, is installing the gray/beige patterned look. Herringbone patterns and high and low looped styles are widespread. These designs have an industrial feeling but are still soft to the touch. In the 1970s, when I was in the flooring retail business, we sold industrial patterned goods but for different reasons. We told customers the carpets were very durable; we never discussed the styling. Now the styling as well as the durability is very popular. It’s obvious the commercial carpet look has found its way into residential settings.

Trends such as “farm to table” and local breweries are giving a new meaning to home grown. Handcrafted, large beam tables pair well with the rough-hewn floors. The farm to table movement brings us back to a simpler time. Some other noteworthy design trends: Interiors are becoming more sparse; country chic seems to be on the back burner; and frilly is gone—at least for now—which leaves the interiors open for an emphasis on the flooring patterns.

 

Lisbeth Calandrino has been promoting retail strategies for the last 20 years. To have her speak at your business or to schedule a consultation, contact her at lcalandrino@nycap.rr.com.

 

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Al's Column: Teamwork is the key to success

October 23/30, 2017: Volume 32, Issue 10

By Christopher Grubb

Christopher Grubb

Many homeowners want to be do-it-yourself designers, but much can get lost in translation. Projects can contain hundreds of details that can easily be misunderstood when a client attempts to verbally describe her wants to the contractor. Having a designer in the mix makes the process go far more smoothly. And when it comes to filling in those important details, a retailer can make the purchasing process a seamless one, resulting in a successful project for all involved.

At The International Surface Event in January, I will present “Contractors, designers, and retailers: Forging partnership for success.” Through an interactive discussion, I will explain how cultivating and maintaining relationships with other industry professionals can be mutually beneficial for all involved. By working together to create unforgettable design experiences for the client, designers, contractors and retailers can easily elevate their own success through long-term partnerships.

Over the course of my career, I have successfully cultivated relationships across the supply chain. I have shared my creative insights and design tips as a featured guest on various national special series, internationally syndicated shows and local news programs that have aired on ABC, NBC, HGTV and the Hallmark Channel, among others. During my presentation, I will explain how these solid working relationships provide many benefits to the overall project, often saving time, hassle, money and the contractor’s reputation.

I believe an interior designer cannot only help a contractor in producing a precise construction bid, but he or she can also prevent the contractor from morphing into a client’s designer, avoiding unnecessary project conflicts. Designers can have better access with retailers when it comes to tiered pricing. An interior designer can help clients select products and finishes, as well as discuss material costs or any product issues or concerns. This leaves the contractor free to focus on building and constructing the project.

Christopher Grubb, an internationally acclaimed and award-winning interior designer, is the president and founder of the Beverly Hills, Calif.-based firm Arch-Interiors Design Group. His presentation will take place Wed., Jan. 31, from 8 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. 

 

 

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Marketing mastery: The best social media platforms for business

October 9/16, 2017: Volume 32, Issue 9

By Jim Augustus Armstrong

 

Screen Shot 2017-03-06 at 10.45.16 AMI sometimes hear busy flooring dealers make comments such as, “I keep hearing about the different social media platforms I should be using to market my business, but there are so many. I just can’t keep up.” It’s understandable for dealers to feel this way because there are a ton of options available.

If you’re struggling to choose a platform, why not put your focus where the majority of your customers are interacting? According to a report released by the Pew Research Center, 68% of Americans are on Facebook. This dwarfs the percentages on Instagram (28%), Pinterest (26%), LinkedIn (25%) and Twitter (21%).

In my opinion, Facebook is still the most effective at delivering customers. When done correctly it can produce a steady stream of quality customers for your business. You can make money using some of the other platforms if you have the time and resources to design and run effective marketing campaigns for each additional social media account. But most dealers barely have the time to effectively implement one platform, let alone several.

Some of you may have already attempted Facebook marketing and received mediocre results. I have found that dealers often make some common mistakes that hurt their efforts on this potentially lucrative platform. Following are four common errors.

Trying to sell directly on Facebook. The only products that tend to sell well on Facebook are low-end, impulse items like t-shirts, inexpensive electronic gadgets, costume jewelry, etc. In terms of selling, think of Facebook as a large mall. You don’t usually see big-ticket items like flooring being sold in malls where people tend to browse for impulse buys. Therefore if you want to generate sales, your marketing should be designed to get prospects off social media and into your store.

Screen Shot 2017-10-17 at 10.15.38 AMPoor page design. Not properly setting up your page can hurt your visibility online and cause you to miss opportunities to get people into your store. Some common mistakes include: using incomplete information, having no call to action or link to the dealer’s main website, weak or non-existent unique selling proposition, having information and branding that is inconsistent with other online listings and setting up your business as a personal profile. (This is currently against Facebook’s guidelines and can get your profile shut down.)

Buying likes. Having thousands of likes on your Facebook page makes you look more relevant, and if the likes are from real followers—and you market to them properly—they can translate into big revenues for your business. However, it can be tempting to buy likes, and there are companies all over the Internet offering to sell them to you. Don’t do it. If you have 10,000 likes from fake followers not interested in your product, then they are going to have low engagement. This hurts the visibility of your posts, and your real followers won’t see them. Fake followers are also not going to buy your product.

Having no Facebook marketing plan. Many dealers simply post photos of products or special offers periodically with no thought-out plan for systematically generating business from this platform. Your posts must fit into an overall plan for generating quality customers.

 

Jim Augustus Armstrong specializes in providing turnkey marketing strategies for flooring dealers. For a complimentary copy of Jim’s book, “How Floor Dealers Can Beat the Boxes and Escape the Cheap-Price Rat-Race of Doom Forever,” visit beattheboxestoday.com.