What Was Your Experience With Advertising on Houzz?

Jun 30, 2017
insight-into-houzz-pro-advertising

A Quora user wrote this question:

“What was your experience with advertising on Houzz?
For what did you use it? What did you achieve through it?”

I have lots of clients that use Houzz Pro+, the advertising program for service providers on Houzz.

I speak with the assumption you are referring to this- to services- as opposed to the product shop.

Pro+ is the sponsored listings in Houzz’ pro directory results. There are also organic positions that are “earned” as opposed to “paid.”

Whether your impressions increase through paying for them (Pro+) or through organically earning them (through profile optimization), enhanced visibility is no silver bullet.

There is a huge gap between visibility and closing sales.

You will need professional branding, many project photos, for some categories you’ll need amazing project images (which means a history of upscale projects and professional photographs of them), reviews (social proof), and clean messaging, all before you’ll get leads.

Once your target client contacts you, you’ll need to know how to convert that lead into a sale.

Houzz provides none of this for you. It isn’t their offering. And, thus they don’t provide magical lead generation.

Instead, Houzz offers visibility to your target demographic- often in the moment that they are actively searching for services that you provide.  This can be an awesome opportunity for you, but only if you are prepared for it.

Using a dating analogy, Houzz is like a singles event. You need to show up looking good and ready to introduce yourself in a way that shows your best features. You need to do your preparation work.  That is unavoidable,

Which pros benefit from Houzz?

Home pros that invest in their brand and have a strong history of accomplishment will find it most easy to leverage the Houzz platform.

Which pros don’t benefit from Houzz?

Home pros that are new to the business, with no images to showcase and no client reviews to promote. And, those that don’t put the time or budget on developing clear messaging and branding.

A brief case study of a Houzz failure- as an example:

Provider got to #1 in the Houzz pro directory in their area through organic methods, but they insisted on being in a category that was a misfit. The company did design-build, as they were carpenters by trade, not designers, their images would have better succeeded in the general contractor category than in the interior design category. So, even though they had the highest level of visibility in their town for interior designers, they got few qualified leads and didn’t close any sales.

With that said, there are two routes to placement in the Houzz pro directory:

  1. Organic: you or a marketing pro optimize your profile- which Houzz has largely told us exactly what to do in terms of properly tagging everything, filling out all fields, and staying active with our participation on the platform. Houzz has coached us on how to be valuable to site visitors and rewards us with higher positions if we follow their lead.
  2. Pro+ : this is a purchase alternative to the above. It requires an ongoing investment to retain visibility. It shows your profile in rotation with other Pro+ customers in the directory and shows your profile and images in other positions across the site.

Which is better?

Whether you are optimizing for search engines, Houzz, or any other site, optimization is typically more cost-effective.

Advertising is a great temporary measure. But, it is more expensive and less effective, typically, to build your core foundation on advertising.

In fact, Houzz themselves first prioritized search engine optimization and only later supplemented it through advertising. And, they currently advertise a lead generation form that they’d find difficult to optimize- so it is a second-rate choice for them to advertise too.

Or, instead of calling it second-rate, we can maybe better identify it as a solid supplementary strategy.

A Houzz rep shared with me that there are over 150 interior designers in NYC using Pro+. That means each designer is in rotation with the pack, and thus your listing would only show at the top of search results- actually in the #2 position behind the top organic position- once out of every 150 searches. Ouch.

Their search volume is impressive. And, they’ll show you in other places, including in the photo section – which seems to attract more DIYers than full-service clients. So, it isn’t all bad. It just isn’t as advantageous as an organic position that shows you in the same position 150/150 times.

Optimization is a zero sum game. Only one profile can be at the top of the directory. Pro+ advertising has better odds- more people will be seen in rotation by using it. Better odds, but less reward.

Many of my clients use optimization and Pro+. It is a strong combination. Just as Houzz uses optimization and Adwords to maximize their own placement in Google search results.

My conclusions:

  1. Optimization is better than paid.
  2. Both may be better for you than optimization-only.
  3. Paid (Pro+) only is typically a misguided strategy.
  4. Houzz won’t do anything for you if you aren’t positioned to look good on it. Your competitors look great and you will be judged in comparison to them.
  5. Consult a professional that specializes in Houzz marketing to help you prepare your approach. Be weary of your Houzz rep’s advice as they are incentivized to sell and, from my experience and all that I hear, they blindly encourage the “buy” position without concern for your ROI. You want an advocate helping you with your strategy, not a salesperson selling a product.

Contact us for Houzz profile management and optimization services.  We’ve been doing it the longest and are the best in the business.  We’ll work with you to not just increase your visibility, but to ensure that you are prepared to have those views turn into leads. We’ll talk through the Pro+ options with you and see if it makes sense for you, short-term or long-term.

Whether you are an interior designer, architect, general contractor, kitchen & bath designer, or any other home pro on Houzz, don’t waste another day as a DIYer trying to navigate the complex world of digital marketing.  We drive quick and consistent results.

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