Here’s a hint: It’s you. Now go spread the word.
August 6, 2014—
Alex Goldfayn thinks many businesses have it all wrong when it comes to marketing their company—that includes home furnishing retailers, too.
“Marketing is not about collecting followers or friends on Facebook or Instagram or LinkedIn or any other social media site,” he says. “Marketing is about communicating your value to people who can consistently pay you for that value.”
“Think about it,” he says. “What good does it do to have the best customer service, the best value in furnishings if you don’t get those messages out to people?”
Put down the laptop. At June’s Home Furnishings Network Conference in in Chandler, Ariz., Goldfayn told attendees that marketing has nothing to do with perfecting your website and everything to do with perfecting your communication skills.
“Effective marketing, the kind of marketing that helps you sell more furnishings, more accessories than your competitor, comes from letting more buyers know about your value this week compared to those who knew about it last week,” says Goldfayn.
Goldfayn is a marketing consultant whose clients are as large as Sprint, Lenovo and T-Mobile all the way down to small-business retailers.
“Marketing doesn’t have to be difficult” Goldfayn says. “People will try to make it difficult, but it doesn’t have to be. Just keep it simple. Communicate your message of how you can help people and you’ll be marketing.”
Goldfayn offered conference attendees nine marketing tips that any retailer can implement within a month—some within the next few days. “Follow up on these strategies and your revenue won’t have a choice but to grow,” he says.
Goldfayn believes you and your employees are the best marketing tools your store can buy to get your message to customers. But too many times retailers fail to communicate what they can offer the customer. “If (the customer) doesn’t know they can buy something from you they can’t buy it,” Goldfayn says.
Goldfayn says every home furnishings retailer should ask this question of his or her customers: “Did you know you can also buy ….” Or “Did you know we can also furnish…” Don’t be limited to one sale. Let the customer know you can offer more than just a sofa.
Obtain testimonials to market your business
“If they’re buying from you, your customers must love you,” Goldfayn says. “So why wouldn’t they offer a testimonial to help you?
Target those testimonials to prospects
“It doesn’t matter if you have great testimonials if you don’t communicate them,” Goldfayn says. “Nothing leaves your store—emails, flyers, whatever—without your message on it.”
Create case studies
Create about a dozen or more short quick case studies with your testimonials. Goldfayn says each study should address four points: 1) Identify the problem; 2) How your product or service solved the problem; 3) Show the value the customer received; 3) Include a testimonial quote from the client.
Target your case studies
Now that you’ve created your case studies, you need to make sure the right testimonial is going to the right customer. Goldfayn suggests you categorize your testimonials based on the customer, the size of their home, the room they are purchasing for, etc. “Let them know that other people just like them have come to your store for help and have walked away satisfied with what you were able to do for them,” he says.
Ask for referrals
There’s a reason the customer purchased that dining room set from you, says Goldfayn. “Maybe they enjoyed their experience in your store or they trusted you or you gave them a great value. Maybe it was all of those reasons.”
Now you need to seize on that opportunity by asking that customer for a referral. Give them time, Goldfayn says. “If they can’t give you a name at the store, tell them you’ll call them in a few days. When you call them, don’t just ask for a name—help them think of somebody. Goldfayn says one-third of customers will give you a lead.
Grow your list
You need a list of current and past customers. You need a list of current and past prospects. “I’m not wanting phone numbers,” says Goldfayn. “Besides, people aren’t likely to give out their phone numbers. But you must find a way to get their email at checkout or before they leave the store.”
Send emails every two to three weeks that are meaningful and not just self serving. Your potential customers need a reason to open your emails. Offer them tips, tricks, ideas, advice for around the house or in their lives. Include one of your customer testimonials and add a feature product with a link.
Throw a party
Don’t pitch it as a sale, but rather an event. Take your pick: an open house around the holidays, a tailgating party before or after a big football game. And don’t just invite your customers and prospects—invite the media, too.