• Bridget Driscoll

Harnessing the web to attract customers

Google's four-step approach

GoogleOnce upon a time, it was enough for retailers to advertise in the newspaper or on the radio or local TV, and the leads would come strolling in. But in today's online world—that's not enough. Online marketing is equally important.

According to Google, there are four categories that search behavior falls under: I want to know, I want to find, I want to buy, and I want to watch. Your brand should aim to help searchers accomplish these goals.

"To be successful in an online marketing campaign, you need to combine intent, context and immediacy. In other words, you need to be there, be useful, be quick and connect the dots," according to Phillips Mitchell, an agency strategist with Google.

 

Be There

One company that achieves "being there" is Red Roof Inn. The hotel chain recently homed in on the large number of flight cancellations every day, leaving people stranded at airports and looking for somewhere to stay. So the company created an ad campaign that specifically targets these travelers. Red Roof Inn uses Google's geo-targeting and includes their hotel location closest to the searcher. This has increased their number of guests.

Outdoor furniture retailers can use this approach by concentrating on what their local customers need. If your city has a high concentration of pools, for example, consider creating a campaign around water-resistant items. Consider using phrases like "poolside furniture" or "pool-safe furniture." Talk with your customers about their biggest needs, and make sure your campaign answers those questions.

Home Depot

Be Useful

To "be useful," Home Depot took advantage of the number of times DIY-ers turned to YouTube for advice. They created a channel full of how-to videos, featuring their products. Not only did this make their content relevant to their audience, but they improved traffic and saw a 25% increase in purchases.

How can outdoor furniture companies achieve the same effect? Videos are quickly taking over online marketing efforts, and have a minimal cost (if not free). Show videos of how to clean the furniture, how to create floor plans, and even how to pair accents and decorative items. There are plenty of ways to create helpful content.

Progressive Auto Insurance

Be Quick

Progressive Auto Insurance found that due to the rise of mobile devices, more people file auto insurance claims at the scene of the accident. However, their claims process took users through 24 different steps. Progressive simplified its document to five pages. This one change gave them an increase in claims.

How does this translate to outdoor furniture? Your online experience should be user-friendly. Offer to save payment information for repeat customers so they can purchase with minimal clicks. If you don't have a shopping cart, consider including a click-to-call button on your website, allowing them to call you directly from their web search.

Shutterfly

Connect the Dots

The average person picks up a handheld device 150 times per day. To "connect the dots," Mitchell explains that Shutterfly measures cross-device conversions. "Forty percent of smartphone users who do their research on a mobile device will then go to a desktop to make a purchase," Mitchell says. Shutterfly tracks those who first visit on a mobile device, and then switch to a different device.

Many outdoor retailers are small and don't have the time to track conversions. However, they can focus on making the transition as seamless as possible. In the past many retailers used one desktop website and then a different mobile site. This is no longer necessary: You only need one responsive website to fill both needs. If consumers are switching to a desktop, they're likely looking to purchase or further investigate. Make it as easy as possible to find products or information on those products.

Bridget_DriscollBridget Driscoll | News/Online Editor
bdriscoll@casualliving.com

Bridget Driscoll is the News and Online Editor for Casual Living. Previously, she worked for online marketing companies such as Get You Found and Mainstreethost, focusing on content writing and Search Engine Optimization practices. She graduated from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro with a BA in English, with minors in Psychology and American Sign Language. She is currently pursuing an MA in Creative Writing through Southern New Hampshire University.

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