Inspire KBB’s marketing director, Emily Halderthay, explains why online case studies are a valuable way for independent retailers to steal a march on higher-profile national chains.
If there’s one thing the national chains have over the independents, it’s a brand name recognised by consumers. Independent KBB retailers don’t have this luxury, so they need to find other ways to drive lead generation.
And there’s one thing they have when it comes to competing head-on for credibility with the nationals – case studies. These have a more significant role to play in your marketing than you probably realise, and it all starts with photographs. A picture still paints a thousand words. It’s instant and it’s impactful. Furthermore, thanls largely to the rise in popularity of social media, online images are gaining yet more power year on year.
Trends suggest that many people favour Instagram stories over traditional text-based Facebook posts. Saved pins on Pinterest boards are laughing in the face of real-life mood boards. Both rely on striking imagery to get their message across.
Completed projects can provide inspiration for potential customers, and our experience backs this up. Marketing emails featuring case studies nearly always receive above-average opens and clicks. And case study social posts consistently gain the most engagement.
An inspirational project becomes the anchor for a range of powerful marketing campaigns. Get it right on your website – and link it to your social media platforms – and this additional activity needn’t involve a massive amount of extra work either, certainly once you’re into a routine.
Projects are a mighty weapon to have in your marketing arsenal. They help build credibility and trust with your prospective clients in a way that the national chains find hard to achieve and help convert prospects into buyers and can generate a significant return on investment.
How to showcase projects online and build trust
1. Invest in quality
It’s vital to invest in high-quality photography and even videography. You want a photographer who understands your business. One who will ensure the kitchen is well-dressed and that the images are on-brand, professional and inspirational. Videos are compelling. With just a 60-second tour, you can appeal to a completely different audience.
2. Get your case study on your website
Ensure that your project title is appealing. Along with the accompanying text, it has to be clear, concise and include searchable terms – like colours, style, manufacturer and location. Start with the client brief, then detail furniture, appliances, and worktops. If you have a client testimonial, include it. If you don’t, try to get one. Reviews – especially Google reviews – are among the most powerful tools when building trust with potential customers.
3. Consider searchability
Like blogs, case studies offer an easy way to update your website regularly, and Google likes this. Thoughtfully done, they’ll also keep visitors on your website for longer. Google likes this too. In isolation, an online project has muscle, but they need to be optimised for searchability. Google loves this, and therefore helps it to rank organically. Aim for a broad range of projects to benefit user experience and SEO.
4. Leverage social media
Once the project is on the website, it’s time to start pointing other marketing towards it. Start with organic social posts. Avoid coming across as too corporate or ‘salesy’. Make it chatty so it invites engagement. End with a tease that offers a real incentive to click through to the website. For example, ‘Check out the 60-second video tour here….’. Next, encourage your team to share the post to their networks to increase the reach. Finally, use Facebook and Instagram stories too to promote interaction and boost your profile with much needed engagement.
5. Gain reach with paid media
Apart from mainstream social media, there are many other ways to attract attention to your case studies. Feature them on Houzz and Pinterest. You can use them for paid ads on Pinterest and even Google display campaigns. Facebook and Instagram offer excellent opportunities to target your audiences at various stages of their decision-making. If you have some real show-stopper projects, consider using a selection of them in lifestyle magazines.
6. Don’t underestimate email
Email marketing stands to give you the greatest impact in featuring your projects if you have a sizeable database of hot and cold leads. Regularly distribute simple ‘Get the Look’-style emails. Pay close attention to the subject title, include some pictures, a summary, and a button linking to the website to ‘see more’.
7. Encourage viewers further down the funnel
Once you have pushed people to your website, include a call to action at the bottom of the web page to view another project, check out your kitchen styles, download a brochure, or contact you. See what works best for you, and consider using a variety of ‘call to action’ options throughout your portfolio. Be creative rather than just say: ‘see more’.