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With technology increasing the number of marketing options available to small-business owners, it’s important to think about not only what communications methods you’ll use to promote your business, but also how you’ll integrate them into an affordable, year-round plan that meets your sales, revenue and branding goals. A comprehensive review of your different advertising choices will help you match the ones that best fit your objectives and budget.
Get other businesses to showcase your furniture for you. For example, a clothing store might place mannequins in its storefront windows sitting on or standing next to your furniture. This lets the clothing store create more attractive sales displays and you get free signage near your furniture. Work with real estate agents who stage homes if new homeowners are one of your target audiences. Apartment rental and construction companies also stage their models. Trade links on your website with home-improvement businesses, such as re-modelers, painters, and kitchen and bath designers. If you have a retail location, offer to put kitchen, bath, clothing items and electronics from other businesses in your store, pairing them with the appropriate furniture settings.
Create a Social Media Campaign
Because so many people shop online, having an Internet presence that lets consumers easily find you can be the key to maximizing your profit potential. Working with a search engine optimization or social media consultant, create an online advertising effort that includes increasing your rankings on search engines by choosing the right keywords and phrases, such as "furniture, bedroom, dressers, sofa, couch, dining room table, cabinets." Create a Facebook page and add pictures that let you showcase different ways to arrange rooms and accessorize them. Tweet new ideas for dressing up a living, dining, bed or family room by adding affordable pieces, rather than completely refurnishing.
Highlight Shipping Deals and Guarantees
Moving large pieces of furniture is a concern for furniture buyers who might opt to buy a less-attractive piece from one of your competitors because they offer better shipping. Give buyers a chance to exchange furniture items or get a store credit to decrease purchase anxiety. Advertise free or discounted shipping and the best return policy you can afford and promote these in your store, on your website and through your direct mail, catalogs, print brochures and broadcast ads. Include "worst-case" shipping scenarios in your advertising materials and show how you help customers avoid them.
Advertise free expert advice for furniture shoppers, getting them into your store for hour-long furniture buying, decorating and care workshops. Create "before and after" photos to place in your ads, highlighting what attendees will learn. Provide tips for maximizing space in small rooms or apartments, using accessories to make a room look more upscale, adding color to drab spaces, and tips for extending the life of furniture purchases.
Sam Ashe-Edmunds has been writing and lecturing for decades. He has worked in the corporate and nonprofit arenas as a C-Suite executive, serving on several nonprofit boards. He is an internationally traveled sport science writer and lecturer. He has been published in print publications such as Entrepreneur, Tennis, SI for Kids, Chicago Tribune, Sacramento Bee, and on websites such Smart-Healthy-Living.net, SmartyCents and Youthletic. Edmunds has a bachelor's degree in journalism.