Home. It’s a word with soooo many meanings. At True, we love uncovering the many layers of emotion and passion around the category of home, and tapping into them with strong marketing insights. We also love helping our clients connect with prospective customers. But where does one begin when trying to define ‘home’. Let’s start with songs. Songwriters are observant poets, right? In the late 60s, Simon and Garfunkel longed to be Homeward Bound, while Tom Jones said It’s good to touch the green, green grass of home. In 1983, Paul Young crooned, Wherever I lay my hat, that’s my home (although it was the master, Marvin Gaye’s lyrics). Fast forward to 2015, and even Flo Rida was inviting people into his home to enjoy music and fun in My house. And that’s just the tip of the song iceberg.
Physical vs emotional place
These songs, and many more, show a yearning for a ‘home’ that is a sanctuary, a retreat from the world, a place of family and friendly faces. Home is not so much a physical place, as it is an emotional place. This makes sense that it is more of a feeling than just four walls. Because home really can be anything from the pack on your back, the best friend’s couch you crash on, that first apartment you rent (and proudly fill with hand-me-downs) or it can be, deep breath, an actual real grown up house you build or buy.
From house to home
Even when there is a physical house, it only really becomes ‘home’ when memories start being made… when the family gathers over dinner, or the children are giggling at night time… when the scent of jasmine is in the air or the soup is bubbling away. For marketers, there are opportunities to bring to life the ‘stuff’ of home to people at every stage of their ‘home’ cycle. Whether it’s a need for a soft pillow, a coffeemaker, a pot plant or a furry friend to snuggle up to at night. Once people move to the stage where they are building, renovating or buying a house (to turn into their home), people really seek knowledge and consume information voraciously.
The big business of home
It can hit like a fever when people start building, renovating or decorating. The granular research people dive into, and hours spent by weekend warriors roaming home display centres or hardware store aisles is an essential, sometimes frustrating, and sometimes satisfying part of the process. It’s big business too. According to the HIA (Housing Industry Association)*, 2016 saw the greatest volume of new home building in Australia since the end of WWII, with the number of new dwelling starts across the country rising by 2.7 per cent to 229,197. The total value of housing construction in 2016 alone was $95.4 billion. Meanwhile, home renovations activity was valued at $32.6 billion during 2016 and accounted for some 33.9 per cent of total residential building. So if you’re a builder, developer, retailer or marketer in the category of home, how do you best reach people?
Here are our 5 Top Tips to connect your business to your prospective audience:
1. Optimise your Website
Search Engine Optimisation, or SEO, is all about improving your website so you have a better chance of it showing up in search engines like Google when people are searching for your product or service. SEO looks at keywords or phrases, and helps your business be found. How do you ‘rank’ currently? Make it kick butt and increase search visibility through strategic SEO.
2. Get Social Media-Active
It goes without saying that social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or Pinterest can provide awesome ways of connecting and communicating with potential leads, or strengthening relationships with current customers. You can keep your business feeling current, curate content easily, and as trends emerge, prices change, seasonal activity happens or you run a promotion, you can get your message out swiftly. It’s a great place to answer questions too, and when people are searching for ideas, your social platform can be just the ticket.
3. Stay in Touch with Email Marketing
If a potential customer likes what you have to offer, but is still in the information-gathering phase, keep the conversation going! A regular email update or newsletter is a great way to chat and introduce ‘new news’. People can sign up via your website and once they are ‘subscribers’, you can communicate as frequently as you like. Remember to keep it conversational and relevant – reward their subscriber status! Experiment with ‘subject lines’ to see which message gets the best ‘open-rates’ for your emails too. And when they’re purchase-ready, you’ll be top of mind.
4. Videos & Photos: Inspire with Content
You have the platforms – web, eDMs, social channels (and of course, advertising, be it digital or traditional). Now you need to inspire. People have hungry eyes, so create video content to showcase your products, create photo galleries that celebrate your products and up the WOW factor as much as you can to engage and entice your prospective customers. People will create moodboards with ideas they love the most. With beautiful photography or video content, you can be front and centre of their inspo boards (and hopefully, first consideration at purchase stage!)
5. Use testimonials
There’s nothing like hearing from someone who has already road-tested (and loved!) your product or service. It’s powerful in so many ways. Rather than you telling prospective customers why they should go with your business, let current customers be your advocates and the proof. As we mentioned, ‘home’ is a category that has an emotional heart. If you can tap into this through real people, it could be the most powerful way of showcasing your product.
Home and connection
People put so much passion and pride into creating their physical home environment, because they know, that ultimately, it is the place that houses the emotional stuff that really make it their home. Big or small, tent or Taj Mahal, home is really what you make it and it means something different to almost everyone. It’s almost indefinable, so let’s leave it to Simon and Garfunkel: Home – where my thought’s escaping. Home – where my music’s playing. Home – where my love lies waiting silently for me.
Yep, yep. It’s definitely something like that. What does home mean to you? And how could your business connect with its home-loving audience more?
Senior Integrated Creative, True Syd
* HIA Window into Housing June 2017 Report