As old advertising practices grow stale, a surprising sector of business is rethinking its marketing strategy: the home improvement industry. Indeed, local and national contractors, designers, small hardware stores, and even big-box corporations are stepping outside of normal marketing practices. Instead, they are experimenting with creative, inventive advertising. Here are five of the hottest new trends in home improvement marketing.
5 Ways the Home Improvement Industry is Marketing
1. Integrating Social Media
A survey by home buying site Zillow shows that 39% of people begin their projects online. Contractors are quickly jumping on this captive audience by establishing themselves on home improvement friendly social media sites. This may be as simple as a decorator starting a Pinterest board featuring pictures of their recent work, sharing a behind the scenes look at the process on Instagram, or, like IKEA, humorously (and virally) answering home improvement questions on their Facebook page.
Understanding the impact that social media has on your audience is vital to a digital marketing plan. According to Pew Research Center, any business can capture the 52% of Americans that have at least two social media accounts—without investing too much time or money.
2. Showcasing Trends
Home improvement businesses that want to stay relevant must keep themselves ahead of the pack by offering services or products that play to what is in vogue. Whether it is offering discounts on chalkboard paint, showcasing open floor plans on a website, or offering new colors of marble at a trade show, marketing must establish the business as a trend setter rather than a trend follower.
There are many ideas on where you can find what’s “in” for your speciality. For example, eMarketer shows that 39% of individuals still get their design ideas from DIY and design television programs. Keeping in touch with what appeals to this audience will help you determine what product or service is worth highlighting in your advertising.
3. Partnering Up
Local advertising has never been so efficient in the home improvement industry than with B2B partnerships. This may be as simple as word-of-mouth marketing, such as giving a referral for another contractor. Having a website or brochure that lists partnerships not only tells a potential customer that you know the local industry, but it also appeals to these businesses returning the favor by sharing the relatively free publicity and marketing space.
Offers and discounts are another way B2B marketing partnerships flourish. Take a painter who offers a free, one-room makeover design from an up and coming decorator — in this case it is both businesses who benefit. The painter incentivizes using their services and the decorator receives a chance to generate a lead for room projects. A consumer may additionally be enticed by a 20% off coupon to a home appliance store when they spend a designated amount in kitchen remodeling. Again, both businesses win by creating interest and hooking the customer for more.
NewsCred states that each month, 329 million people will read at least one blog post and that those that blog at least 15 times per month will receive five times more web traffic than those businesses that do not. It’s a huge statistic — one that is not lost on the home improvement industry.
Blogging can do three things for businesses that commit to distribute engaging content. For one, it improves SEO by maximizing keywords. A bathroom tiler who blogs about his recent work will be able to dominate SEO keywords such as “Austin bathroom tiler” or “discount bathroom tile service in Austin.” The same bathroom contractor is also establishing their expertise by demonstrating their knowledge and sharing their finished product. A how-to blog with easy renovations by the same business may not attract new clients, but it will attract an audience looking for inspiration and potentially future help down the road.
5. Mobile Marketing
Recently, home improvement giant Lowes took to mobile app Vine to offer its customers something unique: six-second home improvement videos. They were short, sweet, and to-the-point. More importantly, they offered a solution using a product that the mobile watcher could purchase in the store. Lowes took advantage of some of the best features of mobile marketing.
According to Pew Research Institute, two-thirds of Americans own a smartphone, and 44% of those have looked up real estate using their phones. Being within view of that audience may be using popular apps to go viral, purchasing banner ads within an app that links to a contractor website, or building a mobile website can significantly increase your business’ chance of advertising to key audiences.
How to Design New Marketing Ideas
It is certainly not business as usual within the home improvement industry. To update your home improvement business’s marketing, invest in new advertising platforms such as social media, blogs, and mobile apps to reach a new audience.
Of course, it’s also still essential to spend time with daily, tried-and-true advertising standards such as B2B partnering and showing clients your ability to trend set. The key component here is integrating these ideas with your existing ones with consistent marketing.
By adding creativity and customer outreach to your marketing strategy, your business can continue to remodel what works in home improvement and contractor advertising.