7 Insights For Wildly Successful Marketing
After years of working with interior designers, architects, home pros, and those that sell them goods and services, we’ve come to understand that for some of their success is absolutely inevitable, whereas others face inner obstacles that derail them at times.
We have distilled the core mindset of successful business owners into 7 key insights. Embrace them and watch your business’ growth surge.
1. YOU ARE NOT A CONSUMER OF MARKETING SERVICES— YOU ARE AN INVESTOR.
Just because you get cold calls, email solicitations, and advertisements pitching you marketing products, such as website development, SEO, social media management, and Houzz Pro+ advertising, it doesn’t mean you should respond to them as if these were simple consumer decisions.
Marketing is an investment. Sophisticated financial investing requires having a financial advisor and a tax accountant work together to create the best long-term strategy. Likewise, your marketing investment is best handled by a seasoned pro(s) that has a depth of knowledge of your industry and marketing opportunities, so that your investment portfolio can be regularized and diversified in a holistic and synergistic fashion.
As it is not a cost savings to skip having financial pros assisting you in your tax and investment strategy, it is equally not a cost savings to skip the professional expenses of getting a seasoned marketing consultant to assist in the design of your marketing campaign. You don’t want to be penny wise but pound foolish.
2. INVEST IN A HOLISTIC MARKETING PACKAGE— DON’T BUY MARKETING PRODUCTS.
It is never wise to blindly buy the one-dimensional marketing products being pitched at you— they are not complete marketing solutions. This can be seen reflected in the outrage in the design community towards Houzz. Houzz reps promise that their one-dimensional marketing product (Pro+ advertising) is a one-size-fits-all solution for all home pros, and too many home pros bought the pitch without doing their due diligence. This is not much different than buying a stock based on a sales pitch from the company— investors just wouldn’t do it.
This insight is the shift from being a consumer to being an investor. It is moving beyond uninformed purchases and instead investing in a well-integrated campaign that takes into account your wider needs.
It recognizes that a smart approach to investing, whether financial or marketing, is diversification. This well-balanced approach stands in stark contrast to the all-in-one magic pill that so many marketing companies pitch to us. Diversification is best implemented based on experience, knowledge, and professional consideration.
Whether it be Houzz advertising, social media management, blogging, Google advertising, or a professional directory selling placement, it is never wise to put all of your eggs into one basket.
3. INVEST IN A MARKETING PACKAGE— DON’T WASTE TIME AND MONEY TRYING TO PIECE THINGS TOGETHER YOURSELF.
In response to the need for a diversified marketing investment, smart industry-focused marketing providers, such as us here at Client Expander, have created marketing packages that are multi-channel and multi-dimensional. Think of them as the equivalent of a mutual fund— as their strength and reliability exist because they get more high-level management attention than individual campaigns can garner without breaking the bank. These marketing packages are the most cost-effective way to have marketing diversification.
Investing in a marketing package offers benefits you won’t get from investing in individual marketing and advertising on your own. This leads to less risk. One marketing package can invest in dozens of individual opportunities at once, leveraging lower costs, professional management, and time-saving convenience. And, they save you a tremendous amount of time and mental energy compared to being an a la carte shopper.
Marketing providers that don’t specialize in the home design industry can also create a diversified marketing portfolio for you, however, they’ll have much higher administrative expenses (and thus lower return on your investment) as they will need to investigate your industry’s unique opportunities from scratch and then need to create a custom campaign just for you- which gets really expensive.
Like a well-managed mutual fund, marketing packages are a great foundational investment.
4. THE AMOUNT OF YOUR INVESTMENT DETERMINES YOUR RESULTS MORE THAN YOUR SPECIFIC STRATEGIES.
Some financial investors get really focused on the difference between 5% return vs an 8% return. While a valid consideration, what is much more impactful is how much you actually invest.
In terms of marketing, there are two things you can do to maximize your investment:
- Decrease your campaign’s admin cost (by utilizing an industry-specific package),
- Increase the amount you invest.
Admin costs are disproportionately high when budgets are low. As budgets increase, admin costs are a lower percentage of the total spending providing for a larger percent available to devote to marketing activities- to the action part.
Therefore, an annual investment of $50k/year might yield twice the reach and effect as a budget of $35k/year.
The more you invest in your marketing, the more refined your marketing materials will be, the wider the scope of your marketing efforts, and the more target clients will see your online presence.
If marketing investments could be measured like stock purchases, business owners would trust them more. Unfortunately, marketing is much less tangible than the purchasing of a stock, and thus one needs to really understand who they are dealing with. It is essential to do the necessary vetting to ensure that the marketing provider has proven results and that they have their clients’ best interests at heart.
Proper vetting can be done by reading testimonials and reviews, listening carefully to the agency’s languaging, ensuring that they already know your industry inside-out, and being mindful of their sales tactics (are they a close-the-deal-at-all-costs type of company that is sending signals of self-interest foremost?).
Getting past the trust factor is key to moving forward in your marketing campaign, as opposed to under-investing in a shortsighted attempt to “protect” your money- which, actually, only locks it away from helping your business grow.
Just as your retirement fund would look very different if you could manage to save $100k/year as opposed to just $5k/year, the same applies to marketing investments. You’ll get back more than you put into it. So, how much do you want to get back? How much do you want to invest in your business? For many business owners, the answer is as much as possible.
If you want more leads, less gaps in your schedule, and better projects, you need to invest in changing the dynamic of the situation through marketing. The smartest of business owners aggressively increase their marketing investment.
Once you have your trusted marketing consultant that knows your industry inside and out—we should be a prime candidate for this for anyone in the home design space—then you can work out how much growth you’d like to see and how much investment will get you there within a timeframe that works for you.
You’ve invested too much in your professional path leading up to this moment in time to not continue to give your all.
5. INVESTING IS NOT GAMBLING— IT IS A LONG-TERM PLAY AND NEEDS TO BE TREATED AS SUCH.
We often hear from small business owners that they were disappointed by their past marketing providers. When we dig deeper into those statements, we sometimes find that they expected results within an unreasonably short timeframe which didn’t even allow the marketing provider to establish their worth as a steward of their marketing dollars. (And, yes, plenty of other providers simply dropped the ball).
No one expects their financial planner to transform their small monthly savings into a nest egg within 6 months, yet that is often expected of marketing agencies.
Some investments, such as an interest-bearing savings account, accrue regular interest immediately, albeit at low rates of return. Other investments, such as marketing, have more risk and more reward. It often takes marketing campaigns anywhere from a few months to a year, or even more, to provide results. (With 2 notable exceptions here). Results tend to jump from zero to hero. Nothing… nothing… then that big ideal project you’ve always dreamt of. Although it can also look like a steady stream of calls from projects that aren’t your ideal until your ideal clients start calling.
Alongside your marketing campaign, much of your results depend on what you bring to the table in terms of brand equity, finances, and collaboration.
Your brand equity includes brand recognition, reviews, satisfied clients, the quality and quantity of your project images and how they are presented on your website & portfolio. This effects not just visibility but also your ability to connect with your audience, as your potential clients want to know that you can reliably meet their specific needs.
Marketing campaigns take time to get results because:
- It takes time to clean up your website and online presence,
- It takes time to build your search engine strength,
- It takes time to build local visibility and trust factors- the “know, like, and trust” that converts into sales,
- It takes, on average, seven times that a consumer sees your brand before becoming a customer.
- Once the campaign starts yielding results and you start getting considered for projects, the average lead time on home improvement projects, according to a survey by Houzz, is one year. For every homeowner that decides within a few weeks of getting to know your brand there are those that take 5+ years before they take action.
Savvy investors in marketing look not at the short-term ROI but at the direction their investment is moving in visibility, reach, and presentation. When you see that your marketing provider is delivering a series of successes in terms of better search positions, Houzz positions, social reach, increased traffic, or whatever goals are being sought, then you need to be as patient as a “buy-and-hold” financial investor. You need to trust that there will be dozens, if not hundreds, of mini-successes that have no financial implications before the impact of your marketing starts to show.
The easiest way to fail in marketing is to give up prematurely. If you can’t buy into the long-term investment strategy of marketing, it may be better to avoid it entirely. Short-term marketing initiatives are often like buying lottery tickets.
6. IF YOU WANT TO AIM FOR SHORT-TERM RESULTS, YOUR OPTIONS ARE PAYING FOR LEADS AND ADVERTISING, OR DOING HOUZZ OPTIMIZATION.
Seeking short-term results (less than 6 months) through advertising at times feels more like gambling than an investment strategy— yet it is not unreasonable and it does deliver solid results to some companies, some of the time.
The reason we describe it more like gambling is because it tends to be all or nothing. Either you get the sale or your money is wasted. There is little building up of your brand assets and online presence here.
If you don’t have the patience for a long-term investment strategy, short-term advertising or lead generation purchases can be a suitable option. Or, if you are committed to a long-term investment strategy yet want to attempt to get projects before the fullness of your marketing campaign kicks in, short-term enhancements can make sense.
It is often said amongst SEOs (Search Engine Optimizers) that investing in Google Adwords is a great stopgap measure to get traffic before one’s organic search position is high enough to earn traffic.
Several sites sell leads to home pros. We hear mixed results on these. Mixed means that some home pros have had considerable success, while others have felt like it was just wasted time or money. They often sell the same leads to multiple service providers and then it becomes a race and/or a bidding war to win the clients.
Houzz optimization, not Pro+, is the only “earned” marketing with the potential of short-term results. Read more on Houzz optimization and search ads as short-term approaches here.
The point is that long-term investments, such as SEO and social media marketing, typically don’t yield short-term results. So, be clear on your goals and your willingness to commit to a long-term strategy. Being honest with your own level of commitment keeps your dollars flowing to what best serves you.
7. IT IS WITHIN YOUR HANDS TO CREATE THE BUSINESS OF YOUR DREAMS.
To become a successful business owner you need to understand that the success of your business is in your hands. This requires replacing any self-limiting thoughts with a clear understanding that success is available if you act with totality by giving yourself fully to your creative project.
This is a form of self-reliance, as once written about by Ralph Waldo Emerson. It is seeing that you can cultivate inner capacities that guarantee your success.
By placing your center of balance in the strength within you, rather than in conditions that are beyond your control, you become directly in touch with your inner resources and actively engaged in strengthening your inner capacities.
Once this is put into practice, life feels lighter and more playful. What felt like a heavy burden miraculously starts to feel like a creative opportunity. Work starts to feel inspired. Your ability to build a team to support you in all business endeavors become easier and more harmonious. People want to work with you because you act with integrity and provide them with the conditions they need for success.
Self-reliance is not being an island. Instead, it is being a true leader first to yourself, then to those around you. Self-reliance drops all blaming, victimization, self-limitations, and short-cuts, and it invites you to show up for your business with your fullness and your goodness.
When you have self-reliance, you are free from the enslavement of chasing social media likes and media accolades. Brand building then feels less like a wish to be seen and recognized, and more like an opportunity to share your creative enthusiasm with others in a way that furthers your creative project.
We are sure that you have noticed that it isn’t always the best interior designers that become famous in this modern world. We don’t need to name names, right? Instead, it is often those most skilled in marketing, networking, and publicity that rise to national awareness.
Wishing you a wildly successful marketing journey. May your brand fly high!