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The furniture industry is undeniably competitive. Given the growth of smartphones, the internet and social media, an online presence today is, without a doubt, essential in marketing any furniture brand effectively.
With a surge in online purchases over the last decade, furniture companies have been pushed to propel their digital presence to drive better returns, stronger branding and a greater digital presence.
Yet for smaller businesses, running an effective digital marketing campaign in-house can be challenging. At the end of the day, marketing invested wisely first comes from sound strategy. Without proper planning, marketing campaigns could end up in jeopardy, resulting in a negative ROI (return on investment).
The furniture marketing landscape in Singapore
Consider this, in a small country such as Singapore, we have a multitude of stores selling furniture. Furniture of all sorts parade stores, and a single search on Google for that sleek piece of furniture, would flood your customers’ search results with never-ending alternatives.
How then, do we successfully market a furniture business in this landscape that’s ever-competitive?
Whether your furniture brand is fully retail, eCommerce or mixed, choosing the right marketing strategy is key.
Bear in mind that regardless of your marketing objective, i.e. branding or store visits, the final goal should contribute to generating revenue, in the long term, at least.
Your marketing objective
Are customers able to purchase directly off your website? Or do interested buyers have to travel all the way to your outlet before they can make a purchase?
The very first step in furniture marketing would be to identify your objectives. Needless to say, this is the crux of every strategy as you can better plan, adapt and optimise your marketing.
There’s no sin in being 100% retail. Neither is there any glory in an eCommerce strategy that is ROI negative. A retail focus simply means that your digital strategy is poised towards driving store traffic.
Naturally, having the option to purchase online is a game-changer. This game-changer provides highly demanded benefits unseen by the naked eye, convenience and, as your reputation grows, reliability.
Wouldn’t consumers be reluctant to make large purchases online?
Well, that’s true, to a certain degree. Most people would certainly love to get a feel of the furniture before they buy it.
However, we’ve also seen new customers buying high-end furniture directly off our client’s website. These could be customers who would first drop by your retail outlet, and then purchase online days later. The reason? Convenience and reliability would be the simple way to put it.
Having the option of online purchases indisputably increases the chances of a sale, and of course, the chances of you being one step closer to that hitting that monthly sales target that’s ever-demanding.
Who knows? Perhaps you’ll get a huge bonus at the end of the year too, having surpassed your annual sales target. But furniture marketing isn’t about luck. It’s about precision, analysis and calibration. And this, first starts with accurately determining your marketing objectives.
Assessing your online presence
Awareness is the first step to improvement. This time tested rule applies to furniture marketing as well.
Consider these questions:
- Is your website appearing on Google maps?
- Is your website mobile and user friendly?
- Are you appearing on the first page of search engines both organically?
- Are you utilising paid ads on Google to drive targeted traffic?
- Do you have a strong presence on popular social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram?
- Are you engaging your customers on social media?
- Are you featured on relevant websites that potential customers visit?
Alas, if you answer ‘no’ to any of these questions, it can only mean one thing. There is likely more that you can do with your current digital marketing strategy. This applies even if your furniture is exquisite, extravagant and tailored only for the crazy rich, pun intended.
Whichever your niche, having a strong online presence is extremely important. A game-changing online marketing campaign with accurate tracking can be executed within days. Yet assembling quality data takes time to complete.
As with all other industries, reaching out to potential customers for brand and product awareness is the first step to grow your furniture business.
While perception is that customers do not purchase furniture online. Online purchases of furniture are not as rare as we think.
Knowing your products, audience, and demographics
Within every marketing strategy, having a crystal clear comprehension of your products and the type of audience they cater to is of utmost importance. A fundamental understanding of your audience allows you to plan, execute and achieve results with greater efficacy.
For example, if your products appeal better to people with higher income aged between 35-65, we should make sure that we cater our messaging, budget and targeting towards this demographic.
Perhaps it’s choosing KOLs (key opinion leaders) that your audience will resonate with or having a presence on relevant websites or placements. From content writing to social media creatives, and social media creatives to ad copies, knowing the likes and dislikes of your customers is the first step towards successful furniture marketing.
Just like how the allied forces defeated the Nazis during the 2nd world war, victory came only after a good understanding of the enemy. Similarly, a good furniture marketing strategy does not target a broad-based audience aged 18-65 at all income ranges unless the goal is long term branding.
While you might welcome walk-ins and new customers, you’ll want to take that one step further. After all, branding success comes from building a solid base of returning clients who become advocates that refer your brand to their friends and family.
Discounts and promotions can be effective at bringing in purchases. However, these customers may not drive recurring purchases if they ultimately feel that your products aren’t the right fit.
With today’s intense competition, it’s no longer profitable to market to just anyone, especially with the increasing digital cost per click (CPC). Implementing an effective strategy by understanding your target audience would truly differentiate your brand from the never-ending sea of alternatives.
Understanding your competitors
Understanding your competitors’ marketing strategy is crucial to say the least. For instance, identifying the marketing platforms that our competitors consistently invest in allows us to monitor the marketing channels that they find effective.
Take SEM for example, we can observe which keywords are driving results simply by seeing how many ads appear on top of the SERP.
This helps us to optimize our marketing strategy to drive more results without increasing your marketing budget.
With that said, where and how do we start?
Improving your online presence
In today’s digital landscape, having a performing website is crucial to every business. It is also important to have a high functioning website that is both mobile and user friendly.
A well-designed website:
- Communicates the legitimacy of your brand
- Showcases your products and testimonials
- Improves your store’s online visibility
The 20th-century furniture store takes it one step further, by allowing users to make online purchases.
Having a mobile-friendly furniture website
With the increased usage of smartphones as opposed to computers, Google has begun to index websites via mobile-first indexing.
This means that your chances of ranking on the 1st page of Google will not be high if your website isn’t mobile-friendly. This also means that potential customers will not be able to find you easily since you’re not on the 1st page of Google.
Take a look at your mobile loading speed, page alignment, images, and even the checkout page on your website. Does your website resize automatically with a different device or screen?
Why is it important to be mobile-friendly?
People spend more time on mobile devices to browse the internet. In fact, 80% of Singaporeans check their smartphones before waking up and going to bed.
The shift in consumer behaviour is clear. More and more consumers are browsing via their mobile devices. This means that without a mobile-friendly website, you’ll be delivering a lower quality user experience.
Ensuring that your website is mobile-friendly is absolutely worth the investment. After all, the end goal is effective marketing.
Optimizing an eCommerce furniture website
With eCommerce, driving purchases have never been easier. However, generating sales online can be tricky, especially if you don’t have sufficient branding.
Even if you’re a household name in the furniture industry, you’ll still have to convert your website visitors to become actual paying customers.
Factors that contribute to online purchases include:
- User experience
- Strong branding
- Good reviews
- Utilizing call to action
- Fast loading speed
- A smooth purchase funnel
A website that’s easy to navigate encourages purchase decisions and lower bounce rates. The more navigable your website, the higher the possibility of a purchase or an inquiry.
Whether your furniture business offers the option of online purchases, having a high-performing website is the first step in implementing a successful online furniture marketing strategy.
Search engine optimization
To appear organically on search engines, you will have to perform search engine optimization or SEO on your website. Even appearing on search engines is simply not enough if you’re not on the 1st page of Google.
SEO is a complicated process that involves optimizing your:
- Title tags
- Meta descriptions
- Focus keywords
- Keyword density
- Image alt text
- Content readability
- Content length
- Website speed
- Website mobile-friendliness
- Backlink profile
And the list goes on.
Exhausting but well worth the effort, once your website reaches the first page that is.
Simply put, an SEO optimized website has great SEO copywriting, utilizes On-Page SEO best practices and maintains high-quality backlinks.
If done right, blogging is a great channel to leverage your furniture marketing strategy.
Publishing high-quality blog content consistently allows you to:
- Improve your online visibility
- Increase website relevancy
- Reach potential customers
- Increase search engine rankings
However, you’ll need to ensure that your content is not simply copied from another website.
Yes, originality matters and search engines hate plagiarized content. Your customers would not appreciate content that is unoriginal as well. At the end of the day, the goal is simple. You’ll want to convert a website visitor into a satisfied customer.
Blog content ideas
Your blog content should differ from the other pages on your website. Here are some blog content ideas for furniture marketing blogs:
- Home styling ideas
- Latest furniture trends
- Showcasing the quality of your furniture
- Teaching customers how to mix and match pieces
- Furniture maintenance tips
- Shouting out your latest pieces
- Corporate responsibility (e.g. that your products are eco-friendly)
To add, you should captivate potential customers with both good content and high-quality images. Doing so allows you to maximise conversion rates such as driving sales or inquiries.
For furniture outlets aiming to maximize their foot traffic, appearing on the 1st position of Google Maps when potential customers search for ‘furniture store near me’ is, without a doubt, effective.
Having your furniture outlet appear on map listings allows you to:
- Maximize your brand awareness, visibility and reach.
- Ensure that your business appears on popular map related search results such as Google Maps, Apple Maps, Bing Places, Street Directory and Yahoo LocalWorks.
Don’t forget to add high-quality images and a good description to give your store a much-needed boost to lengthen your online reach.
Surfaces across Google
A great channel to consider for your furniture marketing strategy, Google surfaces showcase your products on platforms owned by Google. This is the free version of Google Shopping Ads.
You can list your products via surfaces across Google to appear on platforms such as Google Search and Google Images. To set up Surfaces across Google, you’ll first need to create a Google Merchant Center account.
Surfaces across Google requires an eCommerce website with the option of delivery as well as compliance with its policies.
Google Ads for furniture marketing
Search engine marketing or SEM is a great platform that you can use to market your furniture business.
SEM allows you to appear on the first page of search results. This enables you to reach potential customers. As SEM is paid advertising, serving your ads can be done instantaneously as compared to SEO, which will take significantly longer to garner the same reach.
Consider the keywords that are effective for your campaign” For instance, customers might use keywords such as ‘price’, ‘buy‘ or ‘Singapore’ alongside the product that they are looking for.
Combine these words and you’ll have keywords such as ‘Buy Side table‘ or ‘Side Table Singapore‘ which triggers your ads when someone performs a search.
SEM allows you to serve ads to interested customers who are your ‘low hanging fruits’. A truly effective way to market your product.
However, without proper optimization, SEM can get pretty expensive and, like a double-edged sword, become a burden on the ROAS (return on ad spend) of your overall marketing.
The Google Display Network (GDN) is another platform that you may consider. Google Display Ads is one of the ways that you can create brand awareness for potential clients to know your business.
You may combine promotions or discounts to entice potential patrons to visit your store. The low cost per click on the GDN allows you to reach large audiences with a minimal budget.
As the saying goes “out of sight, out of mind”. A lack of brand awareness only allows for competitors to build their brand mindshare with your consumers.
Remarketing allows you to display your ads to people who have visited your store but did not purchase or submit an inquiry form. Or in the case of eCommerce, retarget potential customers who have been to your website but have not made a purchase.
To run remarketing ads on Google, one way is to install a ‘Remarketing tag’ on your website. Bear in mind that you can’t run a remarketing campaign right away. The way remarketing works is by first collecting website cookies which can be a lengthy process.
If you are new to remarketing, one method to start with would be to target people based on the web pages they have visited. To ensure maximum efficacy, it is important to note that you have to be clear about the specific objectives that you’d like to achieve.
What are Similar Audiences? Similar Audiences are people that behave similarly to an existing audience list.
Take the similar audiences of your existing customers for example. These would be the people who have not made a purchase or interacted with your brand. However, they are likely to make a purchase since they exhibited similar behaviours with your existing customers.
Google Shopping allows you to promote your products directly on Google while advertising with information such as price and product visuals.
As opposed to simply relying on text in the case of a regular search ad, Shopping Ads allow customers to better understand your product before they click into your website. This naturally means that shopping ads have the potential to generate higher-quality traffic.
While text-based search ads have proven to be effective, Google Shopping Ads present an alternative channel that allows greater potential to increase the cost-effectiveness for any search marketing strategy.
Here is an example of a shopping ad catalogue when we searched for ‘side table’ via Google Search:
Customers will be able to compare products, images, reviews, brands, prices and more. A more attractive strategy, compared to old school text-based search ads!
As the user scrolls, the Google Shopping feed will continuously pull up more products in the same category, providing a nearly endless catalogue relevant to the search query.
Some crucial components you should consider incorporating into your Google Shopping ad:
- High-quality product images
- Customisation options e.g. available colours, sizes
- A well-written product description
- A detailed headline
Done effectively and you’ll be able to maximise relevancy, traffic quality and results while maintaining the same marketing budget.
Gmail Sponsored Promotion
These are paid advertisements in the Google Display Network that allows advertisers to serve ads in their prospects’ Gmail inboxes. You’ve likely noticed these above all your organic emails if you are a Gmail user. Here’s an example of a Gmail Ad subject line:
Upon clicking on Gmail Ads, a full-screen banner welcomes recipients with a beautiful banner. You can combine this with a promotion, target specific demographics and even reach specific audiences!
These ads are targeted towards your intended users based on the following options:
- Affinity and custom affinity which targets users via their interests and habits.
- In-market & custom intent which aims at reaching audiences who are actively researching or planning in order to reach a purchase decision.
- Remarketing by reaching audiences who interacted with your business previously.
Social Media Platforms for Furniture Marketing
Social media is a great way to market your furniture brand. It helps you to reach, engage and convert potential customers interested in your products.
A good platform to establish your brand presence, almost every customer would expect you to have a Facebook presence. Of all the social media platforms, Facebook is a must-have for a furniture business.
As with all other social media platforms, Facebook allows you to post your updates such as your latest furniture collection. The best part? It’s free.
Of course, Facebook offers the option to run paid ads as well. With Facebook Ads, you can create ad campaigns to drive online sales for eCommerce businesses or generate awareness to increase foot traffic for retailers.
Here are some Facebook ad formats that every furniture business should be aware of:
- Product Catalog Ads
- Instant Experience or Canvas Ads
Depending on your marketing goals, your campaign objectives and ad formats could greatly differ. Nevertheless, Facebook has proven to be a cost-effective platform, driving cost-effective results given the right strategy and conditions.
A visual-centric platform, Instagram is the go-to app for those beautiful eye-catching visuals. This is definitely not the platform that furniture marketers should miss out on. As one of the most popular social media platforms in the world, Instagram has many features to offer.
Leverage on the Instagram feed, update followers with Instagram stories, post videos on IGTV, view insights and tag your products for free via Instagram Shopping.
As with Facebook, Instagram offers paid ads as well. Instagram Ads have proven to be effective not only for engaging audiences but for generating online sales as well.
Some Instagram post ideas include:
- Introducing your latest furniture collections
- Running online contests or giveaways
- Re-posting (posting user-generated content)
Another great social media platform would be Pinterest. A visual platform, Pinterest allows you to showcase your furniture to potential customers!
This appeals to customers who are currently exploring furniture designs of their liking. An advantage of Pinterest would be that users can click through each pin to browse your website directly!
Due to the visual nature of furniture, taking high-quality images is crucial especially for social media, especially with channels such as Instagram and Pinterest.
Digital marketing does work for furniture, however, applying the right strategies are also important. Assess your current marketing strategy and identify areas of potential growth. If possible, identify and optimise marketing channels that are driving poor performance.
Need help with furniture marketing?
Our digital strategists are highly experienced with at least half a decade of furniture marketing under their belt. Reach out to us for a digital analysis today!