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1 The All-In-One Business Guide to CONTENT AND SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING FOR SMALL BUSINESSES

2 Design Business Guide to The key to getting results from your online marketing efforts is to establish a presence where your prospects are. For architects, interior designers, realtors and other design build professionals, the place to be is on Houzz. Houzz is an online social network built around Pinterest s visual board features. The social network connects interior design enthusiasts, architects and homeowners and attracts over 14 million monthly visitors. The social network is the biggest residential remodeling community online, with more than 90 percent of the members being homeowners rather than renters. Did you catch that statistic? More than 90 percent of the members are homeowners. These are people who have the power to decide whether to renovate or decorate their homes. They are simply customers-in-waiting. As a home design services provider, you need to find a way to connect with these prospects and build your brand to close deals easily. In this guide, you will learn how to get started with Houzz, the best practices of using the social network, and how to enhance your brand and close sales. So, let s get into it. Registering an Account Like any other social network, you need to register to create a profile on Houzz. You can register using your address or your Facebook account. After registration, it s time to brand your page. More than just being a social media platform, Houzz is also a business directory. Enter your contact details to make it easier for potential clients to contact you. Provide your website, telephone and postal address. Do not leave this information out of your account and hope a prospect will search for you on the Internet. TIP: In addition to the address, include your location. This will get your profile ranked higher when homeowners search for local area designers.

3 Filling Your Profile Houzz allows you to create a sales pitch on your profile on the profile description area. In this section, help prospects know more about your company by using your best copy. Provide an overview or history of your company and then indicate the services you offer, locations you serve, industry certifications and memberships to professional bodies. Make it easy for your profile to be ranked high when prospects search for various keywords on Houzz. To enable this, include some target keywords in your profile description. For example, depending on the services you offer, you can include terms such as spacious terrazzo tile bath, mid-century modern living space, and so on. Keywords should be included in your profile copy in a manner that makes sense. Strive to accomplish three things with the profile description: be found, be trusted and be hired. Be found: In your profile description, use the keywords that prospects are likely to type on Houzz when searching for your services. Be trusted: Provide a comprehensive description that indicates your services and highlights your successes. Be hired: Have a call-to-action message inviting the prospect to take the next step. For example, you can end your profile description with: Call us at (808) to discuss your design requirements. Branding Your Houzz Page There are over 250,000 service providers registered at Houzz. All of them are competing for the attention of homeowners looking for various services. To catch the attention of the prospects, your profile should stand out from those of other service providers. You need to brand your page to improve your chances of closing deals. Branding on Houzz mainly involves using unique images on your profile. Let s get started. i) Upload a Profile Photo Upload your personal photo as the profile picture of your page. Make sure the photo is clear and you look professional in it. Ideally, the image should be from the shoulders up, and balanced to occupy two-thirds of the size of the photo. Avoid using your company logo for the profile picture. Buying is all about trust. It is easy to trust a person after seeing his/her picture than one whose photo is a logo. Prospects like the see the faces behind the Houzz profiles they are interested in. Using your logo or a different picture can increase the connection barrier between prospects and you. Takeaway: Since you already have your company name on the profile, reserve the profile picture for your personal photo.

4 ii) Upload your Portfolio Houzz allows you to upload photos of your portfolio in the Ideabooks and Projects. Use the Ideabooks and Projects to show prospects your prowess in design. You can upload photos of concepts or projects you have been involved in. Create different albums for different projects. The photos on your Ideabooks can be bookmarked and saved by other designers or prospects that visit your profile. When a photo in your Ideabooks is bookmarked, it links back to your profile. Therefore, prospects will be able to find you easily should they need a project similar to what they bookmarked in your Ideabooks. Use high quality photos on your profile. This will improve your chances of generating leads. Large and crisp photos attract prospects to check out your Ideabooks and follow you. After uploading, you can edit the photos by reordering them, editing their keywords and descriptions, or adding new photos to projects. TIP: For optimum grade and good display on desktops and mobile devices, make sure your photos are at least 1000 pixels wide. Adding Photo Tags You can add extra information to your photos with tags. Tags should highlight the features of the product on the photo. For example, you can add tags about the colors, size, and price of the product. Create tags from frequently asked questions about the product. How to Generate Leads from Houzz To generate qualified leads on Houzz, you need to know your target customers and let them find you. With a good strategy in place, you can attract prospects to follow you and close sales deals. Follow these three steps: Step 1: Make Your Ideabooks Visible The Ideabooks is the biggest avenue on Houzz to show your capability and to generate leads. You can control which photos in the Ideabooks appear to the public and which ones are kept private. Unless the photo is for a specific client, you should make it public. Potential clients can bookmark your public photos to be able to reach you when they have their next design project. You can also use Ideabooks in public collaborative projects. For example, you can share your Ideabooks with other clients and fellow professionals to get the word out about your service. Those who like your

5 profile have an option of following you to keep up with your work. Apart from sharing with the public, you can also share the Ideabooks with pre-determined prospects. To share, simply enter their addresses, edit the permission settings of the album, and share. Step 2: Make it About Prospects Use Ideabooks to educate or entertain your prospects to promote brand awareness. Below are some ways in which you can use Ideabooks to connect with prospects: a) Carry out research. Post photos related to what your prospects are interested in and find out what they think. For example, you can post two different product photos to compare them and find out which one your audience prefers. b) Educate and entertain prospects. Create an Ideabooks that is dedicated to educating your prospects on various design options. For example, you can dedicate a particular month to showcasing different types of bathrooms in a specific Ideabooks. c) Provide tips and advice. Since you know your product better than your prospects, why not share the information with them? If you have a lot to share, you can dedicate particular Ideabooks to help your customers understand and get the most out of your products or services. d) Host a contest. Many service providers have not experimented with holding contests at Houzz. To create a contest, create an Ideabooks with a selection of different designs and let your followers choose the best design. You can promise them something valuable in return, such as a discount on the next project that they contract you to do. e) Promote partnerships. You can run a promotion with a local design partner to expose both of your brands. Step 3: Increase Your Profile Rank on Houzz You want your profile to rank high on Houzz when prospects search for various key terms related to the service or product you offer. High ranking profiles get a high number of visits and generate more leads. You can increase your profile rank in two ways: i) Link to your Houzz profile from external sites You can place your Houzz badge on external websites to expose your profile. For example, you can have the badge on your signature, website or blog. This will help other prospects that may not be on Houzz to easily find you on the social network. The badge links directly to your portfolio and gives prospects a direct link to save your work on their Ideabooks.

6 ii) Increase your reviews Getting more positive reviews on Houzz will also increase your profile rank. Clients can add reviews of your service on the website. After finishing a client s projects, remind them to leave you a review. The more the average of your total reviews is, the higher your profile will rank. TIP: Create a good rapport and maintain communication with your clients when doing the job. This will not only enable you to enjoy your work, but will also make the client not hesitate to write you a good review. Create an Effective Brand Presence on Houzz With so many service providers in Houzz, you need an effective brand to stand out. Below are some tips on building an effective brand: a) Upload lots of images Upload many quality images on your Ideabooks. Give prospects different views of the same product or work you are showing. For example, you can have a close shot of a product and other shots where the product can be seen in a home environment. b) Tag your photos The most popular product tags on Houzz are green products. To maximize your reach, tag photos of rooms that you upload to your company s Ideabooks. If you have a number of professional designers and architectures following you, ask them to tag their photos with your products. This will further expose your brand to more prospects. A good practice is to add 3-5 tags for every image. The tags should have a detailed product description, price and other information prospects may be looking for. c) Create titles for uploaded photos Organize your uploaded photos in projects. Photos for different products can be uploaded to different projects. You can also group your photos by line, type or other key segment. Your products will appear by title in alphanumeric order on your profile page. Make sure each project has a vivid description of the images. d) Showcase your products Use Ideabooks to showcase your products. Ideabooks can pull any photos that are in Houzz, not just those that you have uploaded. This is your chance to get creative. The more interesting your Ideabooks are, the more likely you will be followed and generate more leads. You can also drill down your Ideabooks into more specific groupings of settings, colors, products or even gift guides.

7 e) Interact with your prospects Get involved in the discussions on Houzz. The social network is built to enable communication between service providers and homeowners. The first discussions you should take part in are those regarding your products. Answer any questions that may have been left by your prospects on your photos. The discussions on your images remain on your company profile. Check your profile regularly to know of any queries. TIP: Strive to answer your prospects questions fast. This will help to enhance brand awareness and can play a significant role in lead generation. Best Practice Tips for Your Ideabooks Using the Ideabooks correctly is crucial to generating leads on Houzz. There are, however, some best practices that will improve your marketing efforts on the social network and quicken lead generation. Below are some best practice guidelines you should follow: a) Upload eye-catching images Houzz is all about captivating home designs that make prospects tick. Avoid posting dull or uninteresting photos. Uploading dull photos will make your followers lose interest in you, which means potential lost sales. Upload hi-res and colorful photos. These are more likely to be shared by other users and expose your brand further. b) Update your Ideabooks regularly To attract new followers and keep them engaged, you need to upload new photos on a regular basis. Uploading is simple but the big challenge can be getting the images that are worth uploading. To overcome this hurdle, follow other designers offering similar services. You can get ideas and inspiration for new content from their Ideabooks. Regularly sharing and bookmarking other designers images helps to expose your brand more and can help you build a bigger following. c) Open up your Ideabooks To enhance your social credential, it is good practice to allow other users to edit photos on your public Ideabooks. True, some albums may have to be restricted from being edited. However, other Ideabooks with photos that are not necessarily your projects can be left open for edits. For example, you can start an Ideabooks with summer design ideas and let other designers and prospects add more photos to it. This can be a good tactic to promote a particular trend and also encourages the contributors to share the Ideabooks with others. The result is more exposure for your profile and brand.

8 However, be cautious when opening your public Ideabooks for editing. Since not all users are great contributors, the Ideabooks may end up with not-so-great photos. To avoid this, target prominent designers or clients with good design tastes. TIP: Avoid asking people that you have not interacted with in the past to contribute to your Ideabooks. This may come across as a bit spammy. d) Add links to your images When you upload a photo of a project you have described on your website, link to it on the description area. Likewise, if the images you are uploading are from a different source, link to its URL. If users want to find out information about the image, they may want to read the original piece of content. Make their work easier and they will come to trust you as a reliable source of information. e) Watch copyright issues Beware of getting images online without finding out their usage license and using them on your Houzz account. Content owners go after your business if you use their images without their permission. Treat your Houzz account just as you would your website. If you doubt the usage rights of an image, do not put it in your Ideabooks. Houzz is a good promotion tool for interior designers and other building professionals. Following the steps in this guide will help you generate leads from your Houzz account. WAS THIS HELPFUL? SHARE OR CONNECT WITH US ONLINE!

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