Furniture Store Marketing – When Everyone Is Your Customer, No One is Your Customer!

One of the biggest challenges home furnishing owners must overcome, in order to be successful in this new economy, is the dreaded I-offer-everything-for-everyone syndrome. On the surface this looks like a sure-fire way to get more customers, but it is already proven time and time again that it is not always the most successful way to prosper in your store.

If you are an independent home furnishing retailers, then chances are you have a limited budget and limited space to work with. So, if your store offers several contemporary collections, several ultra-modern collections and some eclectic pieces as well as some early American collections scattered through you store, do you really think that you have enough of any of those styles to satisfy the type of customers who are looking for a specific style? However, style is only one way to target your customer.

In fact, the most successful furniture retailers in my area focus on a couple of things to attract a specific type of customer:

  • Complete living room packages for under $ 2,000 or furnish your entitlement home for under $ 5,000.
  • Long-term low or no interest financing
  • Fast delivery within 3 days or less
  • Lower prices for packages

So, by narrowing down their advertising, they attract a customer that wants to purchase multiple pieces, which in turn, drives the average ticket sale and profits up. They then offer attractive financing terms which attracts customers with good credit and income, while enticing them to spend more money because the customer has longer to pay for it.

Most importantly, they save the customer money by buying more and can get it in their homes in a couple of days. There is also another twist to these retailers. They reward their salespeople handsomely for NOT selling the financing, but getting customers to pay off their balances in less than 90 days.

There is a common slogan in marketing statute, "There are riches in niches." Simply put, this slogan means determine who your most profitable, enjoyable and easy to attract customer is, and then specialize in getting more of those customers to come into your store and buy. You do this by creating a USP (Unique Selling Proposition) that compels your most profitable customer to come back into your business again and again.

What if you reviewed your business over the last couple of years and discovered the following trends about your customers and prospects:

  • Wives initially visited the store without their husbands.
  • Recently married
  • Had three kids
  • Lived within five miles of your store
  • Spent between $ 800 – $ 1500 on sofa, loveseat and tables.
  • Paid by Visa, MasterCard or Discover

Once you have this information, you can redesign your store and business to cater to more of the same types of customers that are currently spending good money in your store.

However, you can only use this information to your advantage if you take the time to find out who your customer is, what is important to them and what they really want.

It may come as a surprise to you, but your customers want more than just a sofa. If you are just selling a sofa, you are missing out on a ton of business. Here are a few of the keys I have discovered over the years:

  • Do not sell mattresses, sell relief from back pain.
  • Do not sell home theater seats, sell the entertainment experience.
  • Do not sell sofas or loveseats, sell comfort and warmth.
  • Do not sell furniture, sell status and prestige.
  • Do not sell interior design, sell ENVY and the WOW factor!

Once you know what your customers really want then, you could use that information to create a USP that attracts more of the same type of customers. For example:

  • "Do not hire expensive interior designers, use our 23 point design checklist and give your home a million dollar look for FREE!"
  • "Discover how to give your home an extreme $ 20,000 makeover, on an $ 8,000 budget."
  • "Your family and friends will say" Oh my gosh! Your home is simply amazing! "In 27 seconds flat … we guarantee it!"

Top 11 Reasons to Use Social Media in Business

Over the past few years, to say social media has exploded would be an understatement. Members of social media sites have discovered it's the easiest way to find, learn about, and share information that directly influences their purchasing decisions. It is this reason alone that every business should be on multiple social media sites in an effort to reach as many people as possible.

Below are the top 11 reasons to use social media in business:

  1. Build relationships – personal and professional; connect with all types of people – past and present coworkers, current clients, prospects, vendors, competitors, and marketing professionals to build your network
  2. Share your blog posts; share interesting and useful articles, other blogs, webinars, podcasts, presentations, and poll / survey results with your fan base
  3. Gather valuable information – research similar products / services, competitors, prospects, marketing tips, blog ideas, create your own poll / survey – the amount of information available is endless
  4. Join a social network of like-minded individuals or start a new interest group where you can further brand your product / service, build relationships, and share ideas and information
  5. Stay current with the latest trends – write a blog or join a discussion on a trending topic; become aware of new social media sites that might fit the needs of your business
  6. Land a great new job – using your new connections on various social media sites, you can get the inside scoop on companies that are hiring, as well as resume and interview tips
  7. Discover a new passion in life, become a volunteer, or start a fundraising event
  8. Get found by prospects by using inbound marketing tactics – spread the word about your product / service through social media sites; to form a complete marketing plan, combine this with outbound techniques (interruptive marketing)
  9. Build business reputation and brand – constantly add value to all your posts and become a trustworthy leader in your industry; to quote Bob Burg, "All things being equal, people will do business with and refer business to those people they know, like, and trust."
  10. Build a marketing department inexpensively – for start-ups, employing inbound marketing tactics is a cheap way to start marketing your product / service; most social media sites are free to join, while others have a minimal monthly or annual fee
  11. Help increase conversion rates – use social media and inbound marketing to steer more organic traffic to your website and convert more leads into sales; the average conversion rate is 2.3%, but varies by industries according to ClickZ, Marketing News & Expert Advice, http://www.clickz.com/clickz/column/1691779/benchmarking-average-conversion-rate .

I recommend choosing a useful of sites to manage and start getting your feet wet. Not every social media site available will be right for you or your business and it would overwhelming to try them all. For example, consistently maintaining a blog, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+ pages, a YouTube channel, as well as a Twitter account might be a great place to start. Depending on the type of business, a Pinterest, Tumblr, or Flickr account might or may not be worthwhile, but obviously they are great certain brands.

If you need help getting started, there are countless different types of resources. I have used the An Hour a Day book series on Facebook Marketing, Twitter Marketing, and Social Media Marketing. They address each entity in a step-by-step fashion that is very user-friendly. I also find Hubspot to be extremely helpful. They are continuously publishing user guides that contain valuable information, tips, and tricks. Lastly, when creating your profile on the various social media sites that best fit your marketing plan, it's a good idea to connect with other marketers to check out what they are doing to boost business.

Do you have a tip or trick to share with newcomers to social media? Share it with us; you are more than welcome to post questions and / or comments here!

Making Money – Get Paid to Refer

Sounds simple, making money by getting paid to refer, but is it really possible to make money by just referring people. Well the simple answer is yes you can. I came across this about 18 months ago and have been slowly but steadily seeing my earnings from it grow.

We all actually play a part in this chain. I'll give you an example:

Not so long ago I was spending a lot of time on Twitter and Facebook seeing what my buddies were up to, when one of them stated that they managed all their social profiles as well as all their email addresses in one easy desktop application called Digsby. I thought that was a pretty smart idea so I downloaded the free software and now use Digsby for handling all my social networking accounts.

Now even though I did not have to pay for Digsby my buddy who referred me was able to make money by referring me, so he was 'paid to refer', and there are 1000's of really useful software tools like that you can get paid from forseeing. Also there is a digital information warehouse that you can join for free, make money get paid to refer any of the 10'000's of the products and services that you refer of their. People can download whatever they buy straight way and you get paid money for referring them straight away too.

I know people who make 1000's a month getting paid to refer, and the ones that do not are the ones who think they are there to sell, selling does not work it's as simple as finding a group of people really eager for a solution say one on "how to train Labrador puppies" and then referring the to a digital product at ClickBank to solve their problems, it's a win win situation.

The best place to learn how to 'make money money paid to refer' is from the someone who does it every day, well the people who do it every day are called affiliate marketers.

Affiliate marketers get paid a commission on everything they refer and it does not stop with digital downloadable products either, you can take a look at company's like Commission Junction, Linkshare or even Amazon just to name a few, and make money getting paid to refer tangible goods of all kinds, it really just depends on what your into.

The Best Ways for College Students to Earn Money Online

Going through college can be stressful, especially if money is tight. Between classes, homework, and studying, commuting to a job just seems like a ridiculously impossible prospect. Millions of people are now making money online, and the internet offers plenty of ways for college students to earn money online as well. Blogging, affiliate marketing, and freelancing are some of the best ways to earn an online income, and the best thing about them is that they do not cost a dime to get started.

Affiliate marketing is probably the easiest method for a college student, because it requires less face time at the computer than other methods, although blogging is closely intertwined with affiliate marketing promotion. With all the information available on the subject, you do not need to be an affiliate marketing expert to get started, although it may still take a little bit of time to earn a decent income from it.

To become an affiliate, you need to sign up on the website and then promote a product that they are selling. Usually this requires writing a blog post or an article for submission at an article directory that talks about the product and gets the interest of viewers piqued. You include a link back to the seller's website, and any purchases that originate from your links will result in you being paid. Affiliates can earn anywhere from 10% to 90% commission on sales generated through their affiliate links. There is some amount of work involved, because you must first research your product to be able to write a qualifying article or blog post about the subject.

Pre-selling is a very effective technique used in marketing and advertising. What you are doing is not selling a product. You are either getting people interested who have never heard of the product or stoking the flame in people who already have some level of interest. In a sense, you are simply educating the customer about the product. That's why it is important not to sound as if you are actually selling the product. Although your writing should be in favor of it, you should not be pushing it on your viewers.

Managing a blog is a simple way to get started in affiliate marketing because first of all it's the perfect outlet for your advertising advertising promotion, and also because if you set up a pay per click system like Google AdSense you will also draw relevant ads that people will want to click on. Every time an ad on your blog gets clicked, you get money. It's really as simple as that. Combining techniques is really the only sure way for anyone to make money online, and with a little trial and error you'll be able to get a good respect on what methods work and what methods are just hype.