If there was one thing we learned above all others at High Point last month, it’s this: IoT [Internet of Things] is increasingly a differentiator in the success of most within the interior design and furniture industries.For designers in particular, the absolute necessity of having a quality business website could not be clearer. If you work in the design business, it should be obvious that, to be successful in the 21st Century, an identifiable online presence is absolutely necessary. In fact, an attractive and informative website is merely the beginning of your online marketing strategy, with social media engagement running a close second and an email marketing strategy a close third.Over the next few weeks and months we hope to illustrate the importance of a cohesive internet marketing strategy, as well as the most important steps you can take to implement such a strategy in a productive, cost-effective way.
How do consumers shop these days?
If you're still not convinced, this simple statistic may help you to understand the need of creating an identifiable online presence for your business: 81% of shoppers research their purchases online before they buy! (AdWeek.com)While learning who your target market is will be critical to your success, knowing how they shop may be even more important. This means that developing a marketing strategy to reach them where they are shopping is just as important. Having said that, while it is increasingly true that some consumers have begun to return to a more traditional shopping experience, with in-person visits to brick and mortar outlets, it remains true that their buying decisions are increasingly influenced by online research.In the contemporary world of internet marketing, you must understand how your target audience shops:
- User reviews – 61% of shoppers check out product and service reviews before buying
- Price comparisons – 52% of shoppers look for the best price before buying
- Product information – more than half of shoppers check out product features and benefits online before buying
- Warranty information – some two-thirds of shoppers examine warranties before buying
- Price guarantees – some 51 % of shoppers say they will leave a service site that does not offer a price guarantee
Beyond these data, keep in mind that 40-50% of shoppers perform their research on mobile devices – often during a sales presentation – checking prices, availability, warranties, and return policies even as they are shopping.What this really means is that you can no longer “wing it”, depending on “word of mouth” referrals to promote your design business. Rather, you must develop an integrated internet marketing strategy that informs and impresses potential clients, reaching them where they shop, while generating interest in your services – along with the impulse to buy.