Furniture Store Marketing – When Everyone Is Your Customer, No One is Your Customer!

One of the biggest challenges home furnishing owners must overcome, in order to be successful in this new economy, is the dreaded I-offer-everything-for-everyone syndrome. On the surface this looks like a sure-fire way to get more customers, but it is already proven time and time again that it is not always the most successful way to prosper in your store.

If you are an independent home furnishing retailers, then chances are you have a limited budget and limited space to work with. So, if your store offers several contemporary collections, several ultra-modern collections and some eclectic pieces as well as some early American collections scattered through you store, do you really think that you have enough of any of those styles to satisfy the type of customers who are looking for a specific style? However, style is only one way to target your customer.

In fact, the most successful furniture retailers in my area focus on a couple of things to attract a specific type of customer:

  • Complete living room packages for under $ 2,000 or furnish your entitlement home for under $ 5,000.
  • Long-term low or no interest financing
  • Fast delivery within 3 days or less
  • Lower prices for packages

So, by narrowing down their advertising, they attract a customer that wants to purchase multiple pieces, which in turn, drives the average ticket sale and profits up. They then offer attractive financing terms which attracts customers with good credit and income, while enticing them to spend more money because the customer has longer to pay for it.

Most importantly, they save the customer money by buying more and can get it in their homes in a couple of days. There is also another twist to these retailers. They reward their salespeople handsomely for NOT selling the financing, but getting customers to pay off their balances in less than 90 days.

There is a common slogan in marketing statute, "There are riches in niches." Simply put, this slogan means determine who your most profitable, enjoyable and easy to attract customer is, and then specialize in getting more of those customers to come into your store and buy. You do this by creating a USP (Unique Selling Proposition) that compels your most profitable customer to come back into your business again and again.

What if you reviewed your business over the last couple of years and discovered the following trends about your customers and prospects:

  • Wives initially visited the store without their husbands.
  • Recently married
  • Had three kids
  • Lived within five miles of your store
  • Spent between $ 800 – $ 1500 on sofa, loveseat and tables.
  • Paid by Visa, MasterCard or Discover

Once you have this information, you can redesign your store and business to cater to more of the same types of customers that are currently spending good money in your store.

However, you can only use this information to your advantage if you take the time to find out who your customer is, what is important to them and what they really want.

It may come as a surprise to you, but your customers want more than just a sofa. If you are just selling a sofa, you are missing out on a ton of business. Here are a few of the keys I have discovered over the years:

  • Do not sell mattresses, sell relief from back pain.
  • Do not sell home theater seats, sell the entertainment experience.
  • Do not sell sofas or loveseats, sell comfort and warmth.
  • Do not sell furniture, sell status and prestige.
  • Do not sell interior design, sell ENVY and the WOW factor!

Once you know what your customers really want then, you could use that information to create a USP that attracts more of the same type of customers. For example:

  • "Do not hire expensive interior designers, use our 23 point design checklist and give your home a million dollar look for FREE!"
  • "Discover how to give your home an extreme $ 20,000 makeover, on an $ 8,000 budget."
  • "Your family and friends will say" Oh my gosh! Your home is simply amazing! "In 27 seconds flat … we guarantee it!"

Professors – Ways to Be Wise When Traveling (Before and During)

Since I am writing this article about how to be wise when you travel (and I am on the road at a professional conference) the ideas are quite fresh in my mind. If you travel as part of your academic responsibility, then you will find these ideas helpful.

Let people know you are on the road so they will not expect you to get back to them as quickly. You can leave this information in a message on your outgoing voice mail and, if you are going to be out for an extended period of time, set up an email responder, as well. (Note: If you are going to be out for one or two days, then my suggestion is NOT to annoy people who email you with a return email that says that you will be out "until tomorrow afternoon" or the like.)

Answer voice mail as you travel so it's not all there when you get back in town. This means you must have a voice mail system that is easily retrievable. Make it a point to return voice mail within 24 hours of when you get the message, if at all possible.

Keep up with your email as you travel. Not doing so is even more onerous than taking the extra steps to be able to access it while you're on the road. There are several possibilities:

  • you can have all your email forwarded to a web-based email system;
  • you can set up your laptop to access all your email (and either leave the original message on the server or not);
  • or you may use what I use, GoToMyPC, which lets me access my home office computer from any other computer. That way, I'm answering my emails just as if I am in front of my main computer. It's convenient because all my deleted, saved, and sent messages are right there where they belong and all attachments I might need to send to someone are easily accessible.

Create a productive environment for yourself when you are traveling. Some ways to do so include:

  • If you are traveling by car, make sure you have all the items that will let you be comfortable and productive while on the road.
  • If you are traveling by plane, then make sure you have noise-cancelling headphones and the kind of work that can easily be retrieved while sitting in an airplane seat.
  • Once you arrive at your hotel, take a few minutes and get it set up. I will often move tables around to create a L-shaped workspace. I have also been known to take 100 watt light bulbs with me when I go to Las Vegas (or stay at a W Hotel) because the lamps are so dim that it's very difficult to see and get reading and work done. Learn what works best for you-and then create that environment as much as you can.

Join loyalty programs whenever possible and then maximize your use of those particular airlines and hotels. There are small (and sometimes large) amenities that go along with being a member of a program. If at all possible, aim for the elite status which really gives you worth perquisites (including leverage) when traveling.

You're a professor. You're smart. You need to travel to conferences, to conduct your research, to learn, to share your knowledge, and to expand your horizons. So now, be wise about traveling by putting one or more of the ideas in this article into practice and move closer to peaceful productivity as a way of life.

Since I am writing this article about how to be wise when you travel (and I am on the road at a professional conference) the ideas are quite fresh in my mind. If you travel as part of your academic responsibility, then you will find these ideas helpful.

Let people know you are on the road so they will not expect you to get back to them as quickly. You can leave this information in a message on your outgoing voice mail and, if you are going to be out for an extended period of time, set up an email responder, as well. (Note: If you are going to be out for one or two days, then my suggestion is NOT to annoy people who email you with a return email that says that you will be out "until tomorrow afternoon" or the like.)

Answer voice mail as you travel so it's not all there when you get back in town. This means you must have a voice mail system that is easily retrievable. Make it a point to return voice mail within 24 hours of when you get the message, if at all possible.

Keep up with your email as you travel. Not doing so is even more onerous than taking the extra steps to be able to access it while you're on the road. There are several possibilities:

  • you can have all your email forwarded to a web-based email system;
  • you can set up your laptop to access all your email (and either leave the original message on the server or not);
  • or you may use what I use, GoToMyPC, which lets me access my home office computer from any other computer. That way, I'm answering my emails just as if I am in front of my main computer. It's convenient because all my deleted, saved, and sent messages are right there where they belong and all attachments I might need to send to someone are easily accessible.

Create a productive environment for yourself when you are traveling. Some ways to do so include:

  • If you are traveling by car, make sure you have all the items that will let you be comfortable and productive while on the road.
  • If you are traveling by plane, then make sure you have noise-cancelling headphones and the kind of work that can easily be retrieved while sitting in an airplane seat.
  • Once you arrive at your hotel, take a few minutes and get it set up. I will often move tables around to create a L-shaped workspace. I have also been known to take 100 watt light bulbs with me when I go to Las Vegas (or stay at a W Hotel) because the lamps are so dim that it's very difficult to see and get reading and work done. Learn what works best for you-and then create that environment as much as you can.

Join loyalty programs whenever possible and then maximize your use of those particular airlines and hotels. There are small (and sometimes large) amenities that go along with being a member of a program. If at all possible, aim for the elite status which really gives you worth perquisites (including leverage) when traveling.

You're a professor. You're smart. You need to travel to conferences, to conduct your research, to learn, to share your knowledge, and to expand your horizons. So now, be wise about traveling by putting one or more of the ideas in this article into practice and move closer to peaceful productivity as a way of life.

Clothes Dryer

There are two types of clothes dryers one is gas the other is electric. The gas dryer is half gas and half electric, the gas is used for lighting a flame to create the heat to dry the clothes, the electric is used to operate the motor, timer, ignitor, coil kit and thermostats.

The gas dryer has more working parts than the electric dryer, when there are more working parts there is a greater chance of something breaking, the gas dryer does break down more frequently than the electric dryer.

The electric dryer use 220 volts to operate the heater element only, all the other parts use 110volts. Both gas and electric dryer have some basic parts: motor, timer, belt, thermostats, and thermal fuse.

These are the functions of each part.

The motor turns the belt that is on the basket, the timer sends the desired voltage to each part for the desired time that it is set on, the thermostat maintains the desired temperature and the thermal fuse shuts down the dryer if the thermostat fails.

A common problem with both gas and electric is clothes taking a very long time to dry, lint building up in the exhaust vent hose is sometimes the reason. The best way to check if the exhaust is partially blocked is to turn on the dryer. Then go outside to where the vent is, put your hand close to the vent, if there is little or no hot air coming out out, your vent hose is blocked. There should be a strong flow of hot air coming out. Sometimes birds build their nest at the vent opening because of the warm air they find coming out of it. Also if the vent comes out near the ground it sometimes get covered by snow.

Top 11 Reasons to Use Social Media in Business

Over the past few years, to say social media has exploded would be an understatement. Members of social media sites have discovered it's the easiest way to find, learn about, and share information that directly influences their purchasing decisions. It is this reason alone that every business should be on multiple social media sites in an effort to reach as many people as possible.

Below are the top 11 reasons to use social media in business:

  1. Build relationships – personal and professional; connect with all types of people – past and present coworkers, current clients, prospects, vendors, competitors, and marketing professionals to build your network
  2. Share your blog posts; share interesting and useful articles, other blogs, webinars, podcasts, presentations, and poll / survey results with your fan base
  3. Gather valuable information – research similar products / services, competitors, prospects, marketing tips, blog ideas, create your own poll / survey – the amount of information available is endless
  4. Join a social network of like-minded individuals or start a new interest group where you can further brand your product / service, build relationships, and share ideas and information
  5. Stay current with the latest trends – write a blog or join a discussion on a trending topic; become aware of new social media sites that might fit the needs of your business
  6. Land a great new job – using your new connections on various social media sites, you can get the inside scoop on companies that are hiring, as well as resume and interview tips
  7. Discover a new passion in life, become a volunteer, or start a fundraising event
  8. Get found by prospects by using inbound marketing tactics – spread the word about your product / service through social media sites; to form a complete marketing plan, combine this with outbound techniques (interruptive marketing)
  9. Build business reputation and brand – constantly add value to all your posts and become a trustworthy leader in your industry; to quote Bob Burg, "All things being equal, people will do business with and refer business to those people they know, like, and trust."
  10. Build a marketing department inexpensively – for start-ups, employing inbound marketing tactics is a cheap way to start marketing your product / service; most social media sites are free to join, while others have a minimal monthly or annual fee
  11. Help increase conversion rates – use social media and inbound marketing to steer more organic traffic to your website and convert more leads into sales; the average conversion rate is 2.3%, but varies by industries according to ClickZ, Marketing News & Expert Advice, http://www.clickz.com/clickz/column/1691779/benchmarking-average-conversion-rate .

I recommend choosing a useful of sites to manage and start getting your feet wet. Not every social media site available will be right for you or your business and it would overwhelming to try them all. For example, consistently maintaining a blog, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+ pages, a YouTube channel, as well as a Twitter account might be a great place to start. Depending on the type of business, a Pinterest, Tumblr, or Flickr account might or may not be worthwhile, but obviously they are great certain brands.

If you need help getting started, there are countless different types of resources. I have used the An Hour a Day book series on Facebook Marketing, Twitter Marketing, and Social Media Marketing. They address each entity in a step-by-step fashion that is very user-friendly. I also find Hubspot to be extremely helpful. They are continuously publishing user guides that contain valuable information, tips, and tricks. Lastly, when creating your profile on the various social media sites that best fit your marketing plan, it's a good idea to connect with other marketers to check out what they are doing to boost business.

Do you have a tip or trick to share with newcomers to social media? Share it with us; you are more than welcome to post questions and / or comments here!