As a kitchen designer, one of a your most effective marketing tools – one that is uniquely your own – is BEFORE and AFTER pictures of your completed jobs. Marketing is all about introducing your services to prospective customers, and storytelling is a great way to accomplish this. Enter the BEFORE and AFTER case study, an in-depth analysis of jobs you’ve completed that tells a story about a customer and your company.
Our industry is visual to the extreme. Words can try to describe the scope of a project, but a few photos capture the experience in a way words cannot.
Think about it. When you go out for your initial consultation, you can easily get the “before” shots. No styling or staging required. Once you get back to your office, do you trust your memory to recall the room layout, the details, the architectural features the homeowner wants to replace, the ones they want to keep? Do you assume at that moment your eye will retain and process all it sees at that first meeting? Of course not. You take photos.
Capture the good, the bad and the ugly in the BEFOREs; the money shots are the AFTERs.
You’re probably saying to yourself: “I can’t do anything unless I get the job” or “I can’t do anything until after the job is finished.” That’s simply not true. Even if you don’t get the job, you can combine the BEFORE pictures with your design ideas to create great marketing content. 2020 Technologies, ProKitchen, and many other kitchen design programs have great photo realistic rendering capability.
When your job is completed and looks fabulous, it’s too late to capture the all-important BEFORE pictures. You can’t use pictures taken during installation – they do not have the impact of the BEFOREs.
Think of the design process story behind your BEFORE and AFTER as an educational tool. Your customers crave this information. A convincing story with content relevant to their problem helps them understand that their situation is not unique, that you’ve handled similar situations before, and they can feel relieved when they discover your former customers lived happily ever after
Prospects want to understand how the design process works. Most people don’t have a knowledge library about how to design and remodel a kitchen. Most do it once or maybe twice in a lifetime. First-timers are especially nervous and require your skills to soothe their anxiety.
Regardless of how much your customers think they know or how educated they have become in preparation for the project, they aren’t you, the professional kitchen designer. They have huge knowledge gaps, and those knowledge gaps can become an obstacle to you doing your job.
Tell, Don't Sell
No one likes to be sold to; you have to get creative to convey your knowledge in a way that’s not offensive or condescending or patronizing. The story -- a BEFORE AND AFTER case study -- gives readers a “sneak-peek” into what they can expect if they choose to use your services.
Using your BEFORE and AFTER pictures, tell the story of why certain design decisions were made. Include decisions that were made in consideration of existing conditions, such as structural, visual, more open design, and budget. Here is your opportunity to explain how four or eight appliances impact the design, how the homeowner’s appliance preferences influence work flow.
In addition to face-to-face story-telling, these case studies can “grow legs” and become a powerful tool in your marketing toolbox. When you’ve accumulated several BEFORE AND AFTER case studies, you can develop a library of design scenarios and how you worked through the challenges to give your customer the best kitchen possible.
Get "Bang for Your Buck" with Before and Afters
Check out the list below that represents how much “bang for your buck” a few BEFORE and AFTER photos and stories can contribute to the vital content of your marketing efforts.
Hopefully we've convinced you of the power BEFORE and AFTER photos and stories can have. Kitchen Design Partner has the resources and knowledge to convert your BEFORE and AFTERs into a powerful marketing tool that will promote your business, increase your SEO visibility, move you up in the local search engine results and, ultimately, get you more sales. All you have to do is take a few BEFORE and AFTER photos. Let the experts handle the rest
Kitchen Design Partner offers a Local Foundation Package that includes expert assistance with Before and After Case Studies. Contact us online at www.kitchendesignerpartner.com or call 888-766-8470 to learn more about harnessing the power of the Before and After photos>
Build Your Brand On Houzz
Houzz is THE on-line source for consumers who are looking for inspiration for their remodeling projects. In just eight short years, Houzz has grown to where they have more than 40 million visitors a month, they feature projects of more than 800 thousand professionals, and display more than 6 million photos.
Houzz is a website and online community that showcases architecture, interior design and decorating, landscape design and home improvement. This visual platform for home remodeling and design brings homeowners and home professionals together.
Having a presence on Houzz is a must for any kitchen designer or home remodeler. When a homeowner is searching for a LOCAL designer or remodeler for their project, in their eyes, if you’re not on Houzz, you don’t exist. These people are using Houzz to find inspiration, source products and research and hire professionals.
What's Not To Love?
A Houzz account is free and the exposure and publicity you and your business will receive is PRICELESS. Houzz gives you the tools, provides access to their research, and sends you information regarding how to increase your visibility. What’s not to love?
Let's Get Started
1. Create a dynamite profile that includes your NAP (name, address, phone number) and a profile picture. If you don’t want your face on your profile, use your logo. A “ghosted” image as your profile pic sends a negative message.
Your profile is where homeowners get information about you and your business. It’s here that you share how you work with clients and why your expertise and knowledge would be a good fit for someone looking for a local, talented designer with an established reputation.
Showcase your projects by uploading lots of quality images. Houzz does not limit the number of photos you can have so he more the better! Everything on Houzz is highly visual, so having lots of photos of your work is critical to getting noticed.
2. In addition to the photos, it’s important to complete the questionnaire Houzz provides with each project. The more information searchers have, the more they know about your work.
Include as much detail about each project as you can, including keywords. Your business will come up when users do a search. For example, they might search for “white kitchens” or “tile backsplash” so be sure to include all features of your jobs in the keywords.
3. Get Reviews. A Houzz survey revealed that when it comes to hiring a professional for their projects, the majority of homeowners rated “good reviews and recommendations” as “very important” (five on a five-point scale). Having reviews from both clients and colleagues is an easy and effective way to build your credibility and brand.
On your profile, click “Get Reviews” and Houzz will send your requests for a review to customers. This is the only way you can get reviews published on Houzz; Houzz must send their form and the reviewers must return it to Houzz. Although not ideal, because you’re not sending the request directly, the Houzz method makes reviews you get very reliable; there’s no room for faux reviews.
Google indexes the activity your projects get on Houzz and how many stars and reviews you get!
4. Use Houzz Ideabooks as a Communication Tool. Most homeowners have trouble articulating what they want for their home remodel project. Having your client create an Ideabook of things they see on Houzz that they like can help you zero in on their style preferences right from the start. When you create private Ideabooks with your customers, you can share styles, colors, layouts, products and more. Your client can edit the Ideabook for instant feedback.
5. Get Involved in the Houzz Community. Houzz users are looking for advice about everything from backsplash materials to floor plans, cabinet styles and finishes, paint color to appliances and beyond, providing a great opportunity for designers to interact directly with interested consumers. Seeing how a professional responds in “Design Dilemmas” gives homeowners a sense of your work style and expertise.
6. Establish your Credibility, Advance your Reputation. Houzz offers professionals a place where they can show off their knowledge and expertise beyond their projects. You can write articles for Houzzers and submit them for publication. There’s a lot of promotional mileage to be had from getting articles published on Houzz.
Once your business is established on Houzz, you get to cash in on all the opportunities Houzz provides.
Your Houzz profile creates the image you want to present to potential clients, and this profile, together with your photos and comments, helps you to reach new customers. It’s a definite win-win-win-win.
Kitchen Design Partner offers a Local Foundation Package that includes managing your on-line presence, including Houzz. .Contact us online at www.kitchendesignerpartner.com or call 888-766-8470 to learn more.
How To Create One and Why You Need It
Your company’s Marketing Kit is the foundation of your marketing strategy. Period. That’s how important it is. Every word put into the Marketing Kit will be used again and again as you start to implement tactics that put your message “out there.” Yes, it takes time to assemble the materials and put it together. But your initial expenditure in time will yield pay-offs over the lifetime of your marketing plan.
Your Marketing Kit sets out who you are, what you do, how you are different from your competition, and why someone should do business with you. A marketing Kit helps you make the sale -- and isn’t that what marketing is all about?
The Bare Essentials
Here’s the bones of what you need for your Marketing Kit:
These are the major components of your Marketing Kit. You probably have questions, so let’s drill down into what goes into those categories.
Start off with the Case Statement. The first thing you want a prospect to read is why they need your business. Include in this section:
In this section you’ll detail why someone should choose your business rather than go with the Big Box store. Mention the main differences you use to distinguish yourself and how those differences will benefit your customer. Include your awards and/or certifications in this section.
Your Marketing Story
Write about how your business got started, why you’re passionate about what you do, how you’ve grown over the years, etc. Include some pictures to illustrate your story. For example, use a picture of your original office or of yourself when you were starting out. You can include employee info in this section. Include pictures and a brief bio. Make this fun by including personal details, like pets or hobbies. Or keep it strictly formal and professional.
List of Your Products and Services
This list can be more than one page if necessary. You probably have several lines of cabinetry; mention each with a brief description and photo. Do you do cabinet installation? Mention it here. Do you have an alliance with other businesses (your Referral Partners), such as a tile or lighting showroom or stone yard? Make sure to include them. A brief description of their business and photo(s) of their products, paired with their logo, goes here.
How You Sell
Describe what your business’s sales process is like, what happens after the sale, how you communicate with clients during the remodel, etc. In other words, paint a word picture of what it will be like to work with your business.
Here’s a brief outline of how one kitchen designer explains his sales process. Obviously, you will change this to apply to your business. Notice that fees are mentioned – where they are collected in the process and why they are required.
The FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) section should be simple. You can easily pull 10 of the questions you get asked repeatedly out of your head without thinking hard.
One question should most definitely be “how much is a kitchen (or bath) remodel going to cost me?” You need to have an easy answer for this.
The SAQs (Should Ask Questions) section will distinguish you from your competition! The saying goes: You don’t know what you don’t know. The SAQs section is where you educate prospects so they can make an informed buying decision. You can show off your expertise and your willingness to work with your customers.
Case Studies: The Before and After Story
For a kitchen designer or home remodeler, this is easy. Every project you complete tells a “Before” and “After” story. Here's where you can show off: what's more impressive than showing the dramatic difference your work made to a home?
The main points to include are:
In this final section, you can Include at least five testimonials from former customers about the great work you did for them. If you don’t have any testimonials, call up your best customers and ask for them.
Random testimonials are good, too, but they carry more weight if you show the job, accompanied with the rave review. (You will get lots of additional mileage from your customers’ testimonials. But that’s a topic for another day.)
For the cover of your Marketing Kit, use your company logo and a bold and beautiful photo that shows what you do. Be sure all your contact information is prominently displayed.
For the other pages in your Kit, use a letterhead-style design that includes your logo and contact information. Every page should be the same.
That’s it -- everything you need to create a fabulous Marketing Kit that will work hard for you in years to come.
The amount of information may seem daunting, but this is your business we’re talking about here. You should be able to fill in this information in a couple hours simply by thinking about how you conduct your business, jobs you’ve completed and coming up with photographs.
The contents of your Marketing Kit can and will be re-purposed in many ways: blog posts, hand-outs in your showroom, copy for your website, etc. Your initial time investment in the Marketing Kit now will pay you dividends in the long run, guaranteed.
Kitchen Design Partner offers a Local Foundation Package that includes assistance in creating your Marketing Kit. Contact us online at www.kitchendesignerpartner.com or call 888-766-8470 to learn more.
All Mean Something Unexpected In Online Marketing: Find Out More
Statistics reveal that four out of five consumers today search online directories to find local businesses and service providers. Further, nearly half of all mobile phone users who searched for nearby businesses stopped by that same day. As a small business owner interested in connecting with your local audience, it’s time to add online directory listings to your business’ web presence and digital marketing strategy.
What Is NAP ?
NAP is short for NAME, ADDRESS and PHONE number. Your NAP must appear in any local and industry-related directories, like these:
• Local Chamber of Commerce Directory
• Local Better Business Bureau Directory
• Angie’s List
Think Like a Customer
If you think like a customer, what information would be important to you if you were searching for a local business? Basic information about the business, right? Consumers want to see your NAP, your hours of operation and your website address. What will really catch their eye is if you beef up your directory listings by adding some HIGH-VALUE DATA, such as:
• Your logo
• A picture of your business
• A picture representative of your services, such as a completed kitchen
• A description of the services your offer
Claim Your Listings
Some online directories already have your business address listed. If that is the case, you need to claim your listing.
How to claim your business listing varies from site to site. On some, you click on a link that sends a verification code to your phone. Others may send you information via email. Regardless of the process, it’s important to verify your business listings.
Once you claim your listing, you can edit information, respond to reviews and customize your profile.
Is Having a Presence in Online Directories Important?
And then yes again. Your information in online directories increases your performance in search engine results and increases the chances that new customers will find your business and buy from you. Isn’t that what this is all about?
Tied in with the all-important directory listings are CITATIONS.
A “Citation” is a mention of your NAP on webpages other than your own site. Google, Bing and Yahoo consider your company’s citations when computing your ranking and that all important SERP (Search Engine Results Placement).
To further define citation: any mention of your business occurring anywhere on the internet with or without a link is a citation.
Citations from sources like the directories discussed above prove to the search engines that your business contact information and how it is categorized are valid and correct.
Citations also show that your business is part of a community. Membership in a Chamber of Commerce or an ad in a city or county online business index, or being written about in a local online newspaper or blog, all provide citations that improve your local search engine rankings.
Participation in local events helps you gain citations. The event site will list your NAP. Also it’s another way for your business name to get associated with the local community.
Accuracy Counts ~A Lot!
Your NAP needs to be ACCURATE across the entire internet. Big search engines use NAP data when determining which companies to display in area-specific searches.
You will be shocked and amazed when you start looking at your company’s listings. Every possible variation of your company name is out there. Sometimes listings are even incorrect. Have you moved in the past couple years? Guaranteed your old address is still out there and needs to be changed ASAP.
How bad is it if your NAP is inaccurate or outright wrong? A mismatched NAP is one of the main negative local ranking issues impacting how a website is ranked.
Directory listings and the citations they create, and citations from other sources as well, play an integral part in your online marketing program. They represent a great way to ensure prospects know you exist and can find you. Further, directory listings and citations prove that your business is well-established and respected.
Kitchen Design Partner offers a Local Foundation Package that includes Directory and Citation Clean-up. Contact us online at www.kitchendesignerpartner.com or call 888-766-8470 to learn more about how to increase your local online search results.
What Do All Those Stars Mean Anyway?
Here’s a news flash: the method consumers use to search for local businesses online has changed. Is this news? Not really. Every aspect of online marketing is continuously changing and evolving.
Google tells us that shoppers today look at online reviews for information about local businesses they may be considering. They actually prefer online ratings to any other form of recommendation, even from family and friends. They say their buying decisions are influenced by online reviews, both positive and negative. Further, they rely on reviews to fight “decision fatigue” when they get overwhelmed with too much information.
Research shows that consumers search online for more than ten pieces of information before making a local purchase. Their desire for information about local businesses – including your local business -- is insatiable.
How You Can Get In On the Google Search Action
To get your business noticed in local online search results, you must get reviews that your prospective customers will consider trustworthy, and you must get the reviews into the right places for them to be seen, remembered, and acted on.
Your fight for prospective customers will be won or lost with online reviews, and your online reviews will get you ranked in search results. It’s all tied together.
We're Here To Help
Google Search and Google map results now include star ratings of your business, and these star ratings are crucial. If you aren’t “starring in search,” you’re missing the opportunity to get your business positioned in search results.
After online shoppers get their ten pieces of information from search results, they typically go to a local listings site like Yelp where reviews are featured. Where to shop and where to buy decisions are made quickly; more than half are made in less than one hour! You cannot afford to lose a prospect’s interest at this point. If you don’t have reviews on sites like Yelp that get you your stars, they will move on to your competitor.
Use The Power of Houzz.com
As a kitchen and bath designer / remodeler, you have a place to get meaningful reviews that other businesses don’t have, and that is on Houzz.com. Google awards stars to positive reviews on Houzz, as you can see in the following Fig. 1 and Fig. 2.. Yelp is one place for online reviews, but in our industry, Houzz is the way to build your online presence, your reputation, and your place in the Google search rankings.
How Google Shows Your Business in Search Results
Searches on Google give three versions of online star ratings:
To take full advantage of the ratings on Google, your online marketing has to include two key review concepts.
#1 Customer Reviews on Your Website. Google requires reviews on your website to be first-party, which means they can't be pulled in from other sites like Yelp or Houzz. You need to collect your customers' feedback, good and bad, and get their reviews on your website. Having those reviews on your website means you get credit for review content so you can “star in search.” (Note the stars in the examples above in Fig. 1 and Fig. 2.)
#2 Third-party Reviews like those from Facebook and Houzz. Google gives preference to reviews from Facebook, Yelp and Houzz. You need to power up these reviews by asking customers to give you feedback specifically on these sites. They can help you build and keep a strong, positive online presence.
Make It Easy
It has to be easy for your customers to give you feedback in the right places. Consider having a card printed with instructions on how to write a review on your website, Yelp, Google, Facebook and Houzz.
Reviews can be limited to one or two sentences; they don’t have to be long and involved. But they do need to be specific. “They did a great job” isn’t enough.
“They were involved every step of the way in our remodel project. They stayed in budget. We got exactly what we wanted and couldn’t be more pleased.” That’s the review you want.
And the same couple of sentences can be used over and over. No need to write a different review for each site.
The Good, The Bad and The Ugly
You can't make everyone happy all the time and negative reviews will creep in. When you respond to a negative review, you send a message to potential customers that you want your customers to be satisfied, that you pay attention and that you are involved in your customer’s experience.
How Important Are Online Reviews?
• Online reviews will get you the stars you need for local searches
• Online reviews will get your business positioned in search results
• Online reviews will show your good reputation in search results
• Online reviews will help you build goodwill with your customers by showing you care about their opinions
How people shop for local business has changed. Who uses Yellow Pages anymore?.
To get the online searcher’s attention, you must get “starred in search”, meaning your “snippet” and your “Knowledge Card” must have stars from Google. And to get those stars, you have to get customer reviews. More than that, your reviews must get published online in the right places.
As you gain more stars, you’ll move up in the search results rankings and you’ll get more customers. And they will write reviews for you online and you’ll get more stars and you’ll move up in the search results rankings and you’ll get more customers ….. You get the picture.
Kitchen Design Partner offers a Local Foundation Package that includes review management. Contact us online at www.kitchendesignerpartner.com or call 888-766-8470 to learn more about how to increase your online reviews.
Kitchen Design Partner
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