Do you work in the building/construction trades and keep hearing about Houzz? Perhaps your clients have been talking it up or colleagues keep telling you Houzz is where it's at.
But what, exactly, does that mean for you and your company? Is Houzz for consumers, professionals, or both? And if it is a place for pros, do you really need to add it to your marketing mix?
Grab a cup of coffee and cozy up, kids. Your PMG team is here to give you the 411 on Houzz for business.
What is Houzz, anyway?
Houzz, in essence, is a virtual dream world for consumers. People go to the site to browse gorgeous photos, save pictures they love, read articles on various home improvement topics, discover neat ideas, learn about interesting products, and find the professional(s) of their dreams.
Houzz is also an online space for builders, architects, interior decorators, and anyone else involved in home design/home improvement. Professionals can create their own free profile page and highlight their work and customer reviews.
Best of all, consumers and pros can interact directly on Houzz:
- Consumers can follow company profiles (and pros can follow other companies).
- Consumers and pros can "talk" in comment sections of articles.
- Consumers can ask questions about a photo or email the pro directly.
Houzz is also a whole lot of fun. Seriously, go to the site and start poking around. You'll find yourself getting lost in all the beautiful photos (yes, even if you're a veteran in the building/construction world).
Got any Houzz fun facts?
Sure. According to Houzz Facts 2015, Houzz has…
- 35+ million unique monthly users
- 7+ million pictures of professionally designed home interiors and exteriors
- 3+ million curated products
- 3+ million "pros" (designers, architects, design/build firms, etc.)
Not only that, but "Ninety percent of Houzz users are homeowners and they use Houzz to renovate and decorate their homes from start to finish."
Whoa! Three million pros on Houzz? Sounds crowded. Why should I bother?
You know the joke about the bank robber explaining why he robbed the bank and he says, "Well, that's where the money is"? Same concept.
In other words, your prospective customers are most likely already on Houzz. And guess what? These folks are serious. According to the fourth annual Houzz and Home survey, "More than half of homeowners on Houzz renovated their homes in 2014."
That said, we understand that you might feel late to the Houzz party, so why should you bother?
But before you dismiss Houzz completely, here are some compelling reasons to sign up:
- A basic professional profile is our favorite price: free!
- Houzz articles on home improvement topics show up high in search, which means people are likely to land on Houzz first before they discover your website or blog.
- Just as people are savvy searchers on Google, they're savvy searchers on Houzz as well, meaning when they're getting serious about finding someone to do the work on their home, they search by state/city. So even if you are late to the Houzz party, don't fret. You can still show up in internal searches.
- People are going to expect to find you there. Think credibility and social proof. If someone hears about your company and searches for it on Houzz, but comes up empty, what does that mean?
- If you don't already have a website, Houzz has a free website creation tool called Site Designer. In minutes, you can create your own custom website.
- Houzz provides the ability for you to collaborate with prospects as well as current clients. For example, your client could gather all her favorite kitchen pics in an ideabook that you can access. With a few clicks, you'll be able to get an excellent sense of what your client is looking to achieve in her kitchen remodel.
OK, OK. But how much time do I need to invest in Houzz on top of all the other marketing I'm doing?
Here's some good news. Once you get your profile set up (which involves writing copy for the About section, creating project portfolios, and soliciting some customer reviews), you don't need to spend hours and hours every week (although we'll warn you that you might want to—Houzz is FUN).
Keep in mind that Houzz is all about eye candy, meaning gorgeous photos. So the goal should be to regularly add high quality photos of your work. Yes, good photography is an investment, but you've probably been investing in photography anyway for your website. Now these photos will be working double duty—on your business site and Houzz.
The Houzz platform itself is incredibly intuitive: loading pictures is easy, and Houzz walks you through the details to add (such as project cost, room type, style, materials used, and so forth).
So figure a handful of hours (depending on how many projects you have) to set up the profile and then a couple of hours a month to continue priming the pump by adding new projects.
Aside from adding projects, what other things should I be doing?
- Add Houzz badges to your website, social platforms, and marketing collateral.
- Announce you're on Houzz. Write a blog post, share on social media, add a blurb to your newsletter. The call-to-action is simple: ask people to follow you on Houzz.
- Create a "Houzz welcome page" on your website. If someone takes the time to go from your Houzz profile to your company website, there's a good chance this person is probably a hot or, at the very least, a warm prospect. Create a Houzz "welcome" page on your site—include a short form so you can get the person's info and follow up. Here's the Houzz welcome page we did for Hebert Design/Build.
- Get in the habit of asking happy customers to leave reviews on Houzz. Houzz has a turnkey solution for soliciting reviews, making it easy for people to submit one. Plus, you can always recycle 'em for the testimonials page on your website.
- Network with other pros. Get active on the pro-to-pro discussion board, check out the network of photographers, or find local Houzz events in your area.
- Take advantage of the free Houzz research and webinars/tutorials. The Houzz research can provide fodder for blog posts or white papers, and the webinars/tutorials can provide tips on getting the most out of your pro account.
- Participate in Houzz Pro+. Pay to have your projects seen by people in your target area. Yes, it's an investment, but according to participants, the ROI is huge (check out the video embedded below). Plus, you'll have your own designated Houzz rep to help you with some of the day-to-day work on Houzz (such as loading images).
- Have fun. Seriously, you work in a fabulous industry that's all about creating beautiful, functional spaces. Take joy and pride in that.
Our Houzz contacts tell us that the pros who get the most out of Houzz are ones who do devote some time to the platform—and who do it with a smile. This involves more than simply posting project pics; it involves engaging with the larger Houzz community (e.g. answering questions, commenting on articles, commenting on other pics). So put forth that friendly, knowledgeable persona of yours and give people a preview of what working with you might be like.
Sounds good, but I have no idea when I can fit this in. Help!
Oh, trust us: we get it. If you're busy running your business (and who isn't, right?), you might need some help with the set-up, maintenance, and ongoing promotion of your Houzz profile. That's something our PMG staff loves doing.
Need help with Houzz for business? Let's talk!