Volume 17, Issue 2 - March/April 2013

feature

Leading Apps
Take a Look at the Two Hottest Websites for Garnering Customers

by Casey Neeley

While many window film dealers have become comfortable using social media sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn to bolster their brands, two relatively new sites on the horizon may promise much more for film businesses that work directly with consumers. Pinterest and Houzz—websites that allow users to save images and information they find attractive to special boards—may be the new Internet-based solution for companies looking to generate leads and bolster clientele. Remodeling and design industries, such as the window film retrofit market, can benefit from these sites, which are rapidly growing in popularity. Both Pinterest and Houzz have helped some window film dealers increase business.

Gaining Consumer Pinterest
With an estimated 25 million users to date, Pinterest (www.pinterest.com) is the fastest-growing social media site. Forbes magazine has even called it “the next social media giant.” Pinterest, in which users “pin” linked images to special “boards,” allows users to interact by not only “pinning” their favorite items, but also allows them to look at the boards and pins of followers and friends on the site as well as the pins of other users through various categories. For more information on how to use Pinterest, see the diagram below.

A recent Nielsen study shows that Pinterest unique usage has ballooned over the past year, up 1,047 percent for PC visitors, 1,698 percent for mobile app users and an astounding 4,225 percent for mobile web visitors. Other popular websites, such as Facebook and Twitter, did not see anywhere near as significant of changes at -4 percent and +13 percent, respectively.

So what does this mean for the window film industry?

According to research published in the Huffington Post, “Pinterest referrals spend 70 percent more money than visitors referred from non-social channels.”

The same article states, “Pinterest pins with prices get 36 percent more likes than those without,” and goes on to add, “69 percent of online consumers who visit Pinterest have found an item they've bought or wanted to buy, compared with 40 percent of Facebook users.”

Just how are window film dealers benefitting from the site?

For starters, Carrollton, Texas-based Ameritint has seen repins from big-name door and window companies such as JELD-WEN, further spreading their company name and brand across industries.

“I think it’s a great medium to get your information out and let you have a better following,” says Beth Kopitzke, marketing assistant for Ameritint. “It’s a good site for spreading knowledge of our products and services.”

“Mostly we’re getting people kind of shopping around right now since it’s the slow season. I’m still learning on the business side how we can use Pinterest but I plan to continue using it and link it through our website,” says Kopitzke.

As for tailoring her company’s page to best suit the business, Kopitzke says, “Most of our boards are for films we utilize and installs we do. We pin anything on saving energy, anything to give our clients or anyone looking to save money on energy overall awareness. Some of the other boards are services we offer that our customers may not be aware of, such as detailing.”

Branding has been a major benefit for Seattle-based WrapJax, which specializes in vehicle wraps and window graphics.

“It’s a very good platform for branding our company as well as showing our work,” says Jason Scott, co-founder and director of sales and marketing for WrapJax. “I get a pretty steady stream of repins of images we’re posting on the site. It’s an amazing way to engage customers.”

The ease of use for multiple social media platforms is also attractive, says Scott.

“We use Pinterest in conjunction with Facebook; we try to use as much social media as we can,” he says. “It’s free advertising. I do a fair amount of research and continue to do more as we prepare to launch version 3.0 of the WrapJax website to include more social media sites for our customers and potential customers.”

Seeing how major brands such as Nike have used Pinterest to develop a following has been a source of inspiration for Scott.

“I’ve been doing a lot of research on companies that are really successful with their Pinterest marketing; really large brands are utilizing Pinterest and have a formula they’re using and engaging with their customer base which is turning around and maximizing their visibility on Pinterest. I think it’s a worthy social media environment for any business to utilize,” he says.

Equal Houzz-ing Opportunities
While Pinterest attracts a broader audience, another beneficial, lesser-known website called Houzz (www.houzz.com) may help architectural members of the window film industry market their products and services directly to homebuyers, homeowners and builders.

Business users can host their entire portfolios for free on the site. Prospective clients can browse the images and save the images, which are linked to the originating company, to “ideabooks” tailored to suit particular styles, such as modern, traditional or eclectic and various rooms in their houses. Users can also search products by metro area to narrow down options for upcoming projects. For more information on how to use Houzz, see the diagram on the left.

“The growth of Houzz’s mobile usage aligns with several other company milestones, including 6 million app downloads–a 400 percent increase in the last year–and 14 million monthly unique users,” reads a release issued by the company.

A survey published on the Houzz website shows 74 percent of Houzz users plan to decorate their homes while 40 percent plan to remodel or build an addition within the next two years.

For companies currently displaying their portfolios on the site, the tool has proven to be useful.

“I would say it’s definitely helpful to be [on the site] to help them generate leads for their business. The time spent on that and any site should be making sure everything you post is fresh and up-to-date. No fluff, make sure it generates consumer interest so you get that phone call or email,” says Gregg McKay, president of Nu-Vue Window Films in San Diego, Calif. “It’s not a difficult site to work with, you just have to maintain it.”

Tracy Marshall, owner of Texas Glass Tinting in San Antonio, Texas says he’s been on the site for several years and would “absolutely rank it a useful website.”

“I probably spend three hours per week maintaining our page on the site,” says Marshall.

For companies looking to display their work on Houzz, Marshall says, “Be consistent and post as many photos as you can. Make sure you keep your portfolio up to date.”

Building a Houzz
Here are some tips from Keyhouse Media on some best marketing practices when using Houzz.
1. Have your photos in other people’s ideabooks.
2. Gain consistent numbers of reviews.
3. Maintain a high number of followers.
4. Use project photos in addition to product images.
5. Participate in discussions and answer questions.
6. Link to Houzz on the company website.
7. Participate in others’ ideabooks through discussions.
8. Review other Houzz users.
9. Add keywords to ideabook images when posting.
Source: Keyhouse Media WF

Learn the Lingo
Pinner: a user of Pinterest
Pin: a hyperlinked image Pinterest users can add to interactive boards.
Board: a digital “pin board” where Pinterest users can save hyperlinked images.
Repin: to add a pin to one of your Pinterest boards which someone else has already pinned; not an original pin.
Ideabook: a digital portfolio where Houzz users can save images to specific subcategories based on specific rooms of a house, themes or projects.

The Pinner’s Guide to Automotive
Here are some tips our editors compiled to help you market your automotive film services on Pinterest.

Automotive Window Films:
• Maintain a specific board dedicated to automotive window films.
• Pin photos of various makes and models with varying levels of tints.
• Post a pin linking to consumer laws regarding allowable levels of tint for your area.
• Have a pin that explains consumer benefits of installing automotive films.

Vinyl Wraps:
• Have multiple boards displaying varying types of vinyl wraps.
• Make one of your vinyl wrap boards geared toward commercial consumers looking to advertise.
• Pin images to an average consumer-type board showing offering examples for everyday vehicles.
• Link to a discussion on the benefits for a car’s body by installing vinyl wraps.

Paint Protection Film (PPF):
• Since clear bra isn’t as easy to show off, pin videos of PPF installations and demonstrations.
• Pin images containing a split screen of before and after images with captions that explain some of the benefits of installing PPF to consumers.
• Post a pin that links back to a page on your website explaining each section of a car on which PPF can be installed.
• Pin images of completed jobs showing consumers the visual benefit of installing clear bra versus black bra.

Winning at Pinning
Use these tips, created by Fahrenheit Marketing’s social media specialist, to increase the sales your company sees by using Pinterest.
1. Use high-quality, appealing images.
2. Create product-driven boards.
3. Link images back to the company website.
4. Have engaging, unique boards.
5. Link pins to Facebook and Twitter.
Source: Fahrenheit Marketing


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