Creative Marketing Ideas For Furniture Stores

Furniture stores have developed a reputation for marketing strategy-a sale for every holiday imaginable, no payments for 90 days, or no interest for 3 years are commonly-used promotional tools to drive sales. These certainly work, but they’re not exactly unique. If you’re new to the furniture market or you’re looking for a way to stand out from the crowd, you’ll want to choose something that doesn’t involve Uncle Sam or Santa Claus. Here are some great options.

  1. Online classifieds-Websites like Craigslist and eBay have made the online classified ad sales process very easy. Customers turn to these places to check out merchandise before entering a store, so list your product here to reach them! Hire a part-time employee to photograph your merchandise and list it on these sites, or you can even subcontract the work to business specifically-designed for the task.
  2. In-store training-Hosting in-store training classes or seminars is a great way to reach out to the home-improvement market. Bring in interior decorators to discuss home staging, d├ęcor selection, or even remodeling tips using your merchandise. These types of classes add value to your store, and the customers see you as more than just a transaction-based business-you’re part of their lifestyle. Promote these events by hanging a vinyl banner outside your store listing the dates and times for each class.
  3. Trade-in-Consider adding a customer trade-in program to your store, where the customer brings in their old furniture and receives a credit towards new merchandise. If the furniture’s in good enough shape, you can create a used section in your store for great bargains. If it’s not in resalable condition, you can donate the furniture or at the very least dispose of it for your customer. This is again a way to make your store a convenience provider and encourage customers to remain loyal to you. List this service in your store windows using vinyl decals.
  4. New homes-Create a partnership with a local real estate agent, broker, or homebuilder. Since homes always sell better with furniture in them, offer to stage their new homes with your merchandise in exchange for referrals. You can also add a sign in each home letting customers know where the furniture came from in-case they’d like to purchase it with the house or at least shop your store for a different selection. Some real estate agents might even want to purchase a piece of furniture directly from you as a house-warming gift for their new homeowners!
  5. Try before you buy-This bold strategy offers customers a chance to “test-drive” your furniture, so to speak. Selected customers are able to try furniture in their home for a preset amount of time to determine if they want to purchase it. Although this shouldn’t be offered for all of your products as it could become a logistical nightmare, it can be an effective way to boost sales. After all, if it’s up to the customer to take the furniture home and bring it back, odds are they’re going to keep it. Make sure you have a vinyl decal at your cash register clearly explaining the rules of the program so there are no issues.

7 Tips for Staging a Successful Live Event

In this age of online connections, live events continue to be an essential part of brand and business-building. Hosting a live event gives your brand and business the opportunity to stand out from your competitors. In this way you can have a deeper and more meaningful brand-building effect on your consumers that is more effective than indirect and media-centered marketing efforts.

Yet, with so many groundbreaking events happening all over the world, businesses and events professionals need to increase their efforts to make sure the event they stage will be engaging for their target audience and deliver their target objectives.

The live event industry is booming, so much so that the US Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the event industry will grow by 44% from 2010 to 2020, exceeding most growth predictions for other industries. Even so, there continues to be a lot at stake when organizing a live event. They are very expensive to put on and necessitate a substantial amount of planning – even if they only last a weekend.

Here are the tried and tested best practices for staging a successful live event.

Audio

Audio is the number one component when it comes to staging a successful live event. No matter what size, or type of event, the top event companies know that you must always strive for great audio; otherwise, you will lose the interest and attention of your audience.

More often than not, microphones will be part of the setup, so plan to test each and every one of them early enough that your audio engineers have time to deal with any problems that may arise, paying special attention to wireless frequency interference.

Additionally, get in the habit of using fresh batteries for wireless microphones for every single event. If you are utilizing a webcast audio feed, make sure it is clean and audible.

If your event is going to include remote presenters, schedule a test round with each of them, as most won’t be using a high-tech setup and, instead will be using a basic headset microphone or even a telephone connection.

Video

In the past few years, live video has proven itself to be the dominant form of marketing, and when used correctly at events, increases audience engagement. Live video at events offers brands and businesses the opportunity to tap into this engaging tool, bringing you and your customers together.

Just like in a TED Talk video, plan to have multiple camera angles to create a cinematic experience. Capturing raw moments and different perspectives helps everyone feel closer to the action.

The power of video is elevated by the fact that you can stream your events to audiences around the world, enlarging the live audience and furthering the results of the event you are staging. Filming any speakers, panels, or performers can later be turned into content (such as webinars) to promote your next event.

Visuals

In addition to the power of audio, visuals add an extra component to the story you are telling. The level and intricacy of the visuals are going to vary based on your brand’s aesthetics and the nature of the event; however, in all cases, some form of visuals should be used.

Motion backgrounds are a fantastic way of adding an extra dimension, as the subtle movement lightly enhances everything else that is occurring on stage. For a more extreme visual experience, LED lighting rental is the way to go.

Another idea is to incorporate your brand or business’s logo into the look of the event. All in all, you want the space that your event occupies to turn into an immersive environment.

Processing Fees

When selling tickets for your event, you may encounter ticket or credit card processing fees. Depending on the company, these can vary from 2.5-3.5% and may have an additional flat per-ticket fee.

Make sure that you are building these extra charges into the price, instead of adding them on at the end. Psychologically, customers would rather see a slightly higher ticket price than have a load of additional fees added at the end.

Venue

Selecting a location and venue for your event is a question that may require a lot of brainstorming. First, take into consideration the niche your event falls under and what (if any) characteristics your venue should have for that niche.

Once you have selected a venue, don’t solely focus on the positives, but also consider its limitations. Ask about power capabilities, if certain things will set off the smoke alarms, the weight capacity of the ceiling, etc. – go over all the small things that could potentially turn into big problems.

In the days and weeks leading up to the event, make sure the core team members know their way around the venue. When everyone is running around trying to get everything in place, knowing the quickest routes from A to B will feel like a blessing.

Wherever you decide to host your event, make sure that there are plenty of charging stations. You want everyone to be tweeting your event #hashtag all day long!

Technicians

When dealing with product and service suppliers, the most important tip of all is to hire the right attitude. You want to ensure that the people you are going to be working with are the creme de la creme of the industry.

Organizing and hosting these events can get slightly messy and intensely stressful, which can only be made worse if the people who are in charge of your audio, lighting, stage and rigging have not been listening and can’t remember what to do. A good, energetic, motivated attitude goes a long way.

Don’t forget to make sure you are rewarding your crew with good food! It is amazing how much more motivated people can get when the reward for hard work is a tasty snack or meal.

Feedback

After your live event has wrapped up, make sure to ask attendees to provide you with post-conference feedback. This is the key to ensuring that the next event runs more smoothly and is more impressive than the last one. If you don’t ask, then you may never know that the chairs were uncomfortable, that too many panels overlapped, or that the coffee machine was never full.

Pro Tip: As you will probably need to sleep for three days once the event is over, prep your post-event emails and surveys before the event even starts. Check that all the links are working and leave space for pictures that you can add from the event before you hit send.

By hosting a successful and engaging live event, potential customers can begin to develop a relationship with you, increasing the chances of them purchasing from you in the future.

Set the Stage For Your Own Home Selling Success Story

There’s a new wave of home shows on TV these days and the focus is on getting a house seen and sold quickly and for top dollar. These shows feature all the elements of a good plot; drama, comedy, suspense, bad guys, victims, good guys, and always it seems a happy ending.

The drama unfolds with the scene set as the sellers, our victims, are obviously in desperate need of a quick home makeover to sell the place. The bad guys, the Realtor or potential buyers walk through the willing victim’s home and offer candid, sometimes crude remarks on how the house shows. The victims generally sit like rabbits in hole at a neighbor’s house and watch on TV as the scene unfolds and what these bad guys have to say about their place.

Yikes, they need help! Here they come to save the day, the helpful crew, our heroes; stagers, designers, painters, carpenters, camera men and of course our host, to the aide of our sellers. They will rescue our victims and the sale of their home by getting it spiffy for sale in less than 2 days and for less than it costs for a day at Disney World. Everyone’s happy and the show, I mean sale, is a success!

How can you as a home seller create this same experience without America watching but reach your intended audience – the buyers in your market? I’ll tell you how, STAGE your own property!

Staging is a marketing tool that highlights you home’s best features while minimizing the negative. Staging is not about your personal style or taste.

Notice in most of these shows, the designer will “neutralize” the space and strip away the often outlandish, messy or outdated style of the owners in question. It’s about selling the space, the house itself, not the contents. Buyers want to envision themselves in this home, not your house.

Treating your house like a commodity for sale on the open market is the first step in separating yourself from your home, it is now a product. It gets easier after that.

Here are a few simple tips to start you on your way to your own successful sale;

1. Declutter, depersonalize and deep clean your place. All the little knick knacks, kid’s artwork, family photos and rooster collections need to be packed up and moved to storage. Save them for your next place. Remove items not permanently adhered to counter tops in bathrooms and kitchens especially. You have to pack anyway, get started early! Get the house cleaner than you ever have before, including the grout, wall plates, door frames, carpets and windows.

2. Neutralize vibrant wall colors and remove wallpaper, even if it is a “designer” color, faux finish that was popular 5 years ago or took 18 hours to dry. Buyers want a home that is move in ready and despite what you feel about the colors you love, buyers probably won’t and will look at it as work to do – not move in ready. You can’t go wrong with a warm beige or taupe or an antique white. A fresh clean palette speaks volumes.

3. Remove unnecessary furniture and rugs to storage. Keep only the necessary pieces to show placement and scale of the room. If your furniture is really in bad shape, consider buying few inexpensive newer pieces or slip covers, you’ll be taking it with you to your next place so why not slurge a little? Rugs tend to create a disruption in flow, especially if they are small and scattered about the house this includes bathrooms. One anchoring rug in proper proportion per room is fine if not too busy. Buyers are purchasing square footage, space, flooring, architectural details and counter tops, not your furniture. Show them what they’re getting by highlighting the house not your stuff.

4. Find the focal point of the room and highlight it, don’t make it compete with something else. Maybe it’s the fireplace or the beautiful view, sell the focal point, don’t hide it! Large TV units are notorious for overshadowing the focal point of many rooms, if you can move it or store it while selling you’re way ahead of the game.

5. Create curb appeal both in front and back of your property. Freshly mowed and edged yards, mulched flower beds and seasonal flowers welcome visitors to a home that says, “I’ve been well cared for.” Removing all excessive lawn art and equipment invite the buyer in and allow the imagination to flow. Keep hoses tight, pool toys stowed and bbq grills to a minimum and out of sight especially if they’ve seen better days.

By doing these steps prior to listing and showing your house, you’ve improved one of the biggest factors in the successful sale of your home, the condition.

You as the owner are the only one who can control that. So whether you invite an HGTV crew, a professional home stager or a neighbor over to help you, you’ve chosen to make your house the star of the real estate show in your local market, one that you have produced yourself and one that will most certainly have a happy ending.

Flip Checklist Budget – What You Need to Include on Your Budget for House Flipping

Many people are enticed into house flipping by television images of people ripping materials out of a dilapidated house, refurbishing it, and selling it for a substantial profit. The profit realized from each flip can be modest or substantial – or the investor could lose everything depending on decisions made before or during the process.

My house flipping budget checklist

Before you go shopping for the perfect rehab-to-flip property, you need to create a budget for the entire project, not just the purchase and rehab expenses.

The first item on your check list does not have direct monetary value and cannot be added into the expenses column. However, it is an important “ingredient” to your budget: an excellent credit score. Unless you are funding a flip entirely with cash or through private means, an excellent credit score works in your favor with the banks – especially when the loan is for a high-risk project like a house flip.

Now, let’s look at the specifics of your budget:

• The After Repair Value (ARV): determining the ARV of your potential flip is the starting point on which you can base your expected return on investment (ROI) when the house is put on the market. A trusted realtor can help you estimate the ARV of the property.

• Rehab costs: these will vary widely depending on how much rehab work needs to be done. A budget repair form can be handy for tracking all the repairs needed.

• Financing/carrying costs: these include not only the loan but also the costs of carrying the house until it is sold:

o Financing loan(s)

o Property taxes

o Utilities (gas, water, electric)

o Property insurance

o HOA/Condo fees

An important point to note here is that the longer the rehab work takes and/or the longer the post-rehab house stays on the market, the greater your carrying costs and the lesser profit you may realize.

• Realtor’s fees: you can sell your flipped house yourself (FSOB – For Sale by Owner) but if you are looking for the fastest turnaround on your investment – and profit – relying on a good real estate agent is worth the commission fee (and actually helps you save money on your flip project in the long run).

• Forgotten costs: these are additional expenses of house flipping that are often overlooked, including:

o Inspection fees

o Interest on loans

o Contingencies

o Closing costs

One experienced house flipper’s average budget was broken into these cost percentages:

• 53.25% = Purchase Price

• 20% = Labor

• 6.5% = Materials

• 8% = Carrying costs, utilities, commissions, etc.

• 12.25% = Profit

Realistic budgeting = reduced risk

There is nothing that can completely eliminate the risks inherent in house flipping but creating a realistic budget is one of the key ways to mitigate some of that risk. Another way to “manage” some of the risk is to become as thoroughly knowledgeable about house flipping before you make your first investment. And a final way to manage risk is to follow the old adage and never invest more than you can afford to lose.

Best wishes for your house flipping success!