Here’s the brutal truth about the furniture industry and furniture advertising…
It’s old school.
And for the longest time my “20-something self” tried to fix this problem.
But instead of transitioning to online sales- store owners all said the same thing:
“People want to sit in a couch before they buy it”
Then Carvana came around in 2012.
The company that let consumers buy a car online without even seeing it (or taking a test drive).
They promised to revolutionize the industry with a free 14-day return policy.
And I thought Carvana was about to change car buying forever.
I thought it could change the furniture buying experience forever.
But they didn’t.
Fast forward to today and Carvana is bankrupt.
So why am I talking about this?
Because I’ve spent the 300 days running experiential marketing & advertising campaigns to find out what works best.
How to marry the old with the new.
And we failed many times.
But we also found a successful model that works.
In this article- I’m going to share with you the techniques that helped us increase sales by 34% in 2 weeks.
By the end of this article- you will have a road map to a manageable advertising strategy.
And the best part?
It’s actually fairly simple.
So without further ado…
Let’s dive in.
Evergreen Didn’t Work
There’s a concept in marketing that says:
“Find what works foundationally, then optimize, optimize, optimize.”
Traditionally that held true.
I’d start a Google Ads campaign..
Then each month- audit the account and make adjustments.
The goal is that each month- the account performs a little better.
So naturally we started there.
Our agency launched a large Google Shopping campaign with the goal to boost online sales.
The idea was:
“If marketing focused on online sales, then the store can “keep-on-keeping-on” with the addition of residual revenue.
We would only need to add someone in store to manage online order, and BOOM! Growth..
But the results were lackluster to say the least.
Our first month saw a huge uptick in sales.
But month 2 saw us stabilize to the point that it felt like the ads weren’t working at all.
We came to a simple conclusion…
You can’t just run simple ads and hope that optimizing them each month will increase your performance.
You need something unique.
Something that won’t last.
Opportunity + Urgency
So what DID work? AKA the meat and potatoes..
I’ll spare you all the details and data of our many (MANY) failed campaigns.
But I will tell you the light bulb moment for us.
The answer came with Black Friday.
We set up an Omni-Channel marketing campaign for just Black Friday weekend.
(Omni Channel simply means multiple platforms like Google, Instagram, Email, etc..)
And the campaign completely out performed our expectations.
Now I know your thinking:
“Well no $#!T sherlock. Of course you had good sales on Black Friday.”
But it was THIS Black Friday versus EVERY OTHER Black Friday that showed us just how well we did.
Take a closer look at 2022 vs 2021
For context- we spent roughly $1,000 on advertising for this campaign.
And we generated roughly +$26,000 in net sales compared to the year before.
That’s $26 earned for every $1 spent.
Take that wall street!
The numbers also followed this trend throughout the entire weekend.
So the strategy pivoted to a new theory:
“Instead of advertising all-furniture-all-the-time. Put your marketing dollars into limited run sale campaigns.”
This accomplishes two important goals:
- A brand awareness campaign to get more exposure to your brand
- A profitable and scalable marketing strategy to actualize an ROI
The Step-By-Step Plan
So how can we put a plan together for your business?
Let’s work through an in-depth plan at each step to give you a closer look at what goes into these campaigns.
Proven strategies to increase your leads in 2022
**Before we get started, if you would like a free custom marketing plan for your business feel free to visit johnsonjonesgroup.com and we would be happy to help!**
1. Identify Your Dates & Sales
The first step to putting together a strong marketing strategy is to identify 10 dates which historically have been good sales for your business.
We’ve polled furniture stores to find out the top holidays for sales and this is our official list:
- Presidents Day
- Labor Day
- MLK (or Tax Return Sale)
- Black Friday
- Veteran’s Day
- 4th of July
- Memorial Day
- Columbus Day
- Custom Sale (Once a year sale each store runs)
Then identify what discounts you would like to promote for each sale.
Not sure what to offer?
Yaffe.com has a great article that provides ideas for retail furniture promotions.
2. Create Your Landing Page
Once you have the information for your sale- the next step is to create a landing page.
Because we will be advertising this campaign, we need a specific web page on your site to send traffic.
The worst thing you can do is simply send your ads traffic to your home page.
Use this landing page to highlight the discounts, what’s on sale, rules/terms, etc..
One tip that works well is a “pre-sale” exclusively for visitors from your ads.
This might be “get an additional 10% on top of our sale from xx/xx/xxxx-yy/yy/yyyy”
To get this coupon the consumer will need to provide an email address.
You can use this information to reach your customer base for future sales.
3. Film Your “Spots” and Advertise With YouTube
Next let’s get into different advertising channels to promote your sales.
In our experience YouTube Ads worked extremely well.
As you can see- our ad reached over 43,000 people with a view rate of 55.90%.
That means that over 24,000 people watched our commercial in its entirety with a cost-per-view of only $0.02.
If you are wondering why we would choose YouTube compared to traditional Local TV:
It’s because of our ability to GeoFence.
This campaign was for a store in the north metro of the city. Too far of a drive for people located in the city.
But with YouTube Ads- we were able to serve these ads to a limited 15-mile radius around the store.
Additionally, YouTube allows you to target more specific demographics.
Because we focused on holiday shopping for Black Friday, we aimed our campaign to:
- Ages 35-65
- traits of “deal finder”
With better targeting comes better results.
When you post your YouTube Ad make sure to run a non-skippable ad.
These are the ads before videos that you can skip after 5-seconds.
Make sure your audience knows your Name, your Local Location, and your Promotion in the FIRST 5 Seconds.
4. Run Your Commercial With Meta Business Suite
Similar to the step above- we next want to take our commercial and get additional distribution channels.
Meta Business Suite will allow you to advertise your video with Facebook and Instagram.
And Much like YouTube- you get a robust targeting platform so you can hit your ideal demographic.
I have found under “placements” with FB & Instagram that Timeline ads give you the best bang for your buck.
Stories can be a useful channel as well but tend to be a bit more costly.
I would recommend only running ads for stories on instagram if you do.
All other placements in my opinion were a bit of a waste of money.
5. Create Display Ads
The next channel we focus on is display ads.
Google Display Ads are visual advertisements you see on other websites (news, blogs, forums, etc..)
Here’s an example of a display ad on a furniture blog:
Google acts as a broker between an advertiser and website owner so you can advertise on relevant websites.
As opposed to advertising in your newspaper or doing physical mailers-
Display Ads again offer a robust demographic targeting platform and are much more cost efficient.
For this display campaign- we spent $287.93 for 371,879 views of our ad and 1,833 clicks.
That translates to only $0.16/click.
When having your ads designed- try to create some motion on the ad to catch a visitors eye.
We call this the MMS-factor or “Make-Me-Stop.”
Any animation or slide transitions will work great.
And you can export them as .gif files so Google will accept them.
6. Email Blasts
Leading up to your sale start you should have a plan for sending out scheduled email blasts.
Typically, I recommend having some benefit to users who are on your email list as an extra incentive.
You can use that benefit to promote shoppers providing their email in-store at check out.
To make things easier for email marketing- I recommend using a tool like Active Campaign or MailChimp.
This will allow you to schedule your emails ahead of time so you only have to set it up once and the rest will take care of itself.
While email might not be the powerhouse it once was (primarily due to oversaturation) it is still WELL worth the short time investment.
7. In-Store Signage
This should go without saying- but so often is overlooked.
Your best promotion for sales is shoppers who are currently at the store!
I recommend prior to the sale printing things like:
- Floor Signs
- Cashier Table Top Signs
- Window Signs
- Take Home Flyers
Make sure to try and use the same designer for all Display Ads and Physical Print.
It’s important to brand your campaign and stick to those guidelines for all deliverables that require designs.
8. Post On Google MyBusiness
For Brick & Mortar stores people will tend to research locations around them on Google.
Make sure for your sales- you aren’t sleeping on your Google MyBusiness profile.
Google now allows business owners to post updates about their business directly in their profile.
In your Google Merchant Center you can also put individual items for sale (if your promotion will include that) to still take advantage of some potential online sales.
These sales will be featured under the Google Shopping tab and will also feature on your Google MyBusiness profile.
Notice on the image above- Google will actually feature items on sale in green and notify the shopper that the item is for sale with a badge on the item.
9. Scale For Efficiency (The Most Important Part)
This is the last step and the most important of all.
Do it all at once!
Creating a campaign is a tall task.
Even if you were to hire a furniture advertising agency (*cough *cough like Johnson Jones Group) to put these campaigns together for you:
It’s a lot of work and time commitment.
To avoid getting burnt out or simply too busy to make sure sales go smoothly- it’s important to have your schedule at least a year out.
And more importantly- do as much as you can in a predetermined short time span.
In roughly a months time- you could have your whole year done for:
- YouTube Ads
- Social Media Ads
- Display Ads
- In-Store Signage Printed
The best part is that Google and Meta have start/stop dates for your campaigns so they can automatically turn on and off.
We have focused heavily on efficiency for these campaigns so that they can be much more affordable to run.
Think about it:
If a film crew does all the filming and editing of 10 of your 15-second spots at once, you can get a pretty decent savings.
Same with building your ad campaigns.
Simply putting in the commitment to getting it all done and wrapped up allows you to focus on other aspects of your business for the rest of the year.
10. Wrapping It Up
If you made it this far into the post- congratulations.
We covered tons of information that can help you advertise furniture business.
But if there is one key takeaway that was a realization for me in the industry, it’s this:
“Advertising events works better than advertising furniture”
Promoting a limited time event creates the earlier mentioned opportunity and urgency.
And that seems to resonate better with shoppers because you create a buzz/excitement.
Furniture might not be the sexiest industry but some of the greatest advertising campaigns ever came out of the furniture industry (remember the 80’s and 90’s)
So it’s maybe time we take some old school wisdom and partner it with some new school marketing channels and find the recipe that works.
For more ideas on Furniture Advertising- here are a few articles I’ve found:
- Advertising For Furniture- Ultimate Marketing Guide by: Ollie
- 6 Genius Furniture Advertising Tips by Penji
- 15 Creative Furniture Ads by: Viewst
- 7 Tips for Furniture Marketing Campaigns by: CGI Furniture
Written by: Johnson Jones Group a furniture marketing & advertising agency