If you’re a home furnishings retail veteran, you know that summer isn’t just the season for vacations and days on the lake. In our industry, the biggest revenue swings happen between the Memorial Day holiday and Labor Day. So if you’re looking for a way to use digital marketing for increasing sales in the store during the summer swing, stay with us. We’ll explore how to get the most out of these summer sales with the right digital marketing sales strategy.
Use Manufacturer Marketing Materials
Is your sales and marketing team creating new materials, print or digital, that are almost identical to those that the manufacturer already has available? This generally happens because often when planning a traditional or digital marketing sales strategy, retail sales and marketing teams jump into planning and creation of new materials without taking inventory of what they already have.
You can make the most of your partnership with the brands you sell during these special seasonal sales. Many retailers are throwing away or underutilizing valuable content because they’re not thinking outside the box. You can do more with these free materials.
When using manufacturer materials, all of the copy and design work is done. And the fact is that they want you to use these materials for consistency across the brand. Plus, don’t forget, just because a PDF flyer is meant for a print out in the store, doesn’t mean that it can’t be re-purposed. You can use these for online promotions like a Facebook post or a page on your website, saving you time and money. Maybe you’re unaware of the vast resources available from the manufacturers. So we will talk you through the ways to get started.
How to Use Manufacturer Marketing Materials
Tips for Acquiring the Materials
Don’t assume that the manufacturer has sent you everything. They often work on a “by request system” because they don’t want to overwhelm their retailer or take time to send you things you won’t use. Ask for these materials early in the partnership so that you can begin putting those materials to work. If you’ve been working with a brand for a long time, don’t assume you have all of their materials. Ask. And always keep the communication lines open so that as new materials get produced, they can pass them on to you.
Did you know that inside many of the dealer portals you access, the brands provide a section to access all of this? Each brand is different. But sometimes you can find beautiful photography, logos, graphics, and even professionally built ads and flyers for print and digital advertising. If you’re working with an agency or marketing partner like MicroD, we can take care of this for you. Share with manufacturers what you find helpful so they can produce more of it. They value this feedback.
Tips for Using Manufacturing Materials
Before you begin developing a digital marketing sales strategy, make it a habit to review what you already have. Not only might you be able to directly use something. This can also get your own creative juices flowing if you need to create something new for your digital marketing sales strategy. It’s important to remember that consistency is critical. The look and feel of your messaging during these seasonal sales should be consistent from the print advertising to the website to your in-store displays. When you get access to brand assets, repurpose them throughout your campaign in every medium you’ve got in the digital marketing sales strategy guide.
You can upload the print flyer to your website. Most of our customers at MicroD, shameless plug, use a Promotional Flyer page to have an online representation of their in-store flyer or the ad running in the week’s circular. And because you’re a good marketer (or you’ve hired a great team), then you create a great social media headline and share the same materials on Facebook. Your Facebook followers are looking for this kind of information to help them make buying decisions. And this curated content supplements your original content. Keep followers informed about promotions, new product lines and more.
There is value in using your manufacturers to help you sell their product during the seasonal sales. If you’re not making it part of your digital marketing sales strategy, it’s time to make a change. If your brand isn’t giving you this information, share this article with them to show all the ways they could be helping you!
Create Social Media Contests
Social media contests may seem a little intimidating. But they’re easier than you might think. And your customers love them. Consumers today increasingly want more interactive and engaging content. Sure, contests aren’t a novel concept. But the great thing about contests is that each one can be unique, new and exciting for customers.
Contests serve several vital purposes:
- Increase engagement among existing fans. The average person spends about 2 1/2 minutes engaging with a single contest. For comparison, blog post = 57 seconds. Video = 1-2 minutes.
- Contests generate brand awareness as those participating share it and reach more people. 34% of contest participants weren’t fans of the brand before the contest. But they are now. And even better… 77% of consumers buy from brands they follow on social media.
- Contests help you build your email list. One-third of participants agree to receive email newsletters and promotions as part of the contest sign up.
Social media contests have a much stronger viral potential than the average post. Now, the goal isn’t to go viral because you’re not selling to the average social follower outside your market area. But you can use boosting to promote your social contest within your geographic area. This will help you get the eyes of local people on your page and engaging with your content. It’s a first touch point with the customer. You don’t want to push a sale right out of the gate for a long, loyal customer. That’s why these social media contests are so appealing!
If a prize is desirable among your target audience, they will share with everyone to increase the chances that someone they know wins. And as if you need another reason, the furniture market is under-saturated when it comes to social media contests. Since everyone isn’t doing it, it’s easier to stand out.
Contest Ideas for Furniture Retailers
Pro tip: Design a new Facebook business page banner for your content. More awareness about your contest will catch eyeballs and generate more interest and participation.
Explore these content ideas for retailers.
- Holiday/Event themed – Ask contestants to share how they plan to spend 4th of July, Labor Day, Back-to-School, etc. Or how about asking for videos of a Father’s Day surprise? Make the prize summer fun with a new grill, patio set, fire pit, gazebo, etc. Make the prize worth their while to get people excited. But be prepared to actively get that contest out there to avoid every retailer’s worst nightmare… giving away a big prize with little return.
- Launch a new line – Contests are effective ways to launch a new line with a narrower market to generate awareness for that line. Even though the market is smaller, you can really customize the message and prize to appeal to this market.
- Give away something priceless – Offer a chance to win a one-on-one class or meeting at an event you’re hosting at your showroom, etc. This helps spread the word about the event while giving one person a unique and special experience.
Invest in Remarketing
Are you remarketing yet? With the incredibly seasonal selling that is furniture retail, remarketing is critical before, during, and after the sales months.
To refresh, remarketing ads are those ads that invite you back to a website that you’ve recently visited. And while some businesses do overuse them, annoying customers, when used right they can be very customer-friendly and effective. Using these ads can increase revenues by nearly 100%. And compared to other ads, they’re roughly 400% more likely to be clicked.
Why Remarketing Works
- It’s hard to unsee something. Once a person becomes aware of a new website or specific item, they’re less likely to tune out the ad.
- It offers multiple touches over a period of time. As the customer is on the Internet, you keep reminding them that they wanted something.
- The Internet is a distracting place. Often people abandon carts merely due to distraction. Get them back.
Set up your remarketing ads through Facebook or Google Ads and re-capture these lost opportunities as part of your digital marketing sales strategy. As you’re driving traffic to your website during the big seasonal sales push, you want the chance to bring them back to your site offering details about the next sale for Independence Day or Labor Day. Our goal is to help you drive those customers into the showroom doors. That’s why remarketing is always part of any good digital marketing sales strategy when you work with us.
Remarketing isn’t exclusive to ads though. There’s another very effective way to stay top of mind with customers and keep them coming back.
Maximize the Customer Relationship with Email Marketing
What if you had some real control over the sales cycle? Email marketing gives you that kind of control. Add it to your digital marketing sales strategy during the summer sales! A great salesperson always knows the right thing to say to close a sale. While technology can never replace the power of a great closer, it can amplify the power of your sales team through automation, segmentation, and personalization.
Through these 3, you can get the right message in front of the right buyer at the right time. This furthers their journey as a customer.
Let’s look at how email does this.
Important Ways To Use Email Marketing This Summer
- Shorten your sales cycle. When someone signs up for your newsletter, offer them a special deal to speed up that first purchase.
- Increase customer value. After someone makes a purchase, send them personalized offers to get that first critical 2nd sale in 30 days.
- Segment your email list based upon past buying behavior. For example, use your sales data to find people that typically purchase during store sales events. Get those people into your showroom or onto your website.
- Segment lists based on preferences and traits. For example, current clients, new clients, design-only clients, purchased lists.
- Keep people informed about their shipments automatically and get more great online reviews.
- Invite customers to check out your latest lines, special offers, sales, events and website content.
Watch your social media and website engagement skyrocket. The sales aren’t far behind.
Email Marketing in Your Sales Funnel
Social media and website visits are top of the funnel. Even though you’re definitely targeting, you’re typically casting a wide net. You don’t know your visitors and followers on a deep level until they move deeper into the funnel. Signing up for email is one very important way to get people into a funnel where you have more control over their experience.
As you send more emails, collect data on how they interact with your email and when those interactions lead to sales. The more you learn, the better you can nurture this individual, sending them the kinds of content they find helpful and offers they respond to. Get the most out of the customer relationship. And delight that customer at the same time.
If they ever stop being un-delighted, they can just unsubscribe. But as long as you deliver the right experience, your email marketing ROI can grow and flourish.
Yes, you can do a lot when you ensure you’re sending the right message. So let’s dig a little deeper into how to do that in other areas of your digital marketing sales strategy.
Optimize Customer Targeting Online
When we only had TV and radio as advertising channels, we had to target wide to get the most out of that spot. Otherwise, advertising was cost-prohibitive. But modern digital marketing sales strategy makes it easier to get the right message in front of the right buyer to make the sale with less expense per customer. You usually pay per click to your website, not based on how many people watch Oprah, Judge Judy or NBA Finals.
But you can still waste a lot of time and money if you’re not showing the right ads to the right people. Let’s look at how you can improve your targeting this summer to boost sales.
Top Tips for Better Targeting
- Use social media targeting tools. Target by geography, generation, interests and more. When you do so, you can create an ad that speaks directly to this group.
- Use many different pictures. Images are very important to your digital marketing sales strategy, but keep in mind that your customers see your ads in many places. If people are seeing the same sofa from the same angle over and over, they’ll get tired of it before they ever get it into the living room. When you show the same exact ad picture on a Google display ad over and over—your ad is now “part of the furniture” for lack of a better phrase ☺.
- Take many, many professional pictures so that you have them at your disposal for use in ads.
- Consider the audience and how they use a certain channel. People on Pinterest are actively collecting beautiful images of furniture that they want to buy. The more inspiring the better. Millennials on Facebook are probably sharing pictures of the fun things they did that day. Gen X and Boomers are more likely to be keeping up with friends and family online and viewing inspirational posts. Your image, which brand you promote and ad message all align with who’s seeing it and how they use the site.
- In regards to Google search display ads, people are actively shopping. And they may see several ads for the same product. Yours needs to stand out and give people a reason to click yours and buy.
Track Marketing Data
In the medical industry, they say “not documented, not done” to remind themselves of the importance of documenting even the smallest things. Whether you’re doing heart surgery or running a summer sales event, tracking what you’re doing is the only way you know if you’re getting a good outcome. It’s the only way you can go back to see what you’ve done to know what to do better.
Before you change anything in your digital marketing sales strategy, make sure you know how you’re going to measure the results and how you’ll define success.
When you track your actions and results, you can cut costs over time and maximize your ROI.
Check in with your marketing team to get data as the days go by so you can add or change things as the sales numbers come in. It’s not over until it’s over. Each sales event, marketing campaign or ongoing effort is an opportunity to learn, grow, increase revenues and delight your customers. If you’re ready to talk about improving your digital marketing strategy, schedule a marketing consultation with one of our marketing experts today.