My Phone is Ringing, and This is Why

My Phone is Ringing, and This is Why

I am frequently contacted by business owners who are dissatisfied with their digital marketing efforts. The number one reason I hear time and time again is “My phone isn’t ringing.” The owners want more customers, and their marketing efforts are not achieving that goal.

I have pinpointed three categorical reasons this disconnect occurs. If you are spending money on digital marketing and your phone isn’t ringing, read on for a guide to garner more customers. As an advocate for businesses, my hope is to empower owners with educational insight from independent sources so they can make informed decisions with confidence.

Reason #1: Agencies Selling the Work Wanted

To understand the business/agency disconnect, we must explore the typical marketing agency business model. Most are structured around a staff that includes website builders, social media marketers, graphic designers and copywriters who often work on search engine optimization as well. The website builders are project oriented and need an ongoing supply of work to justify their pay. Conversely, the social media work is typically ongoing.

The most common occurrence I see is building an entirely new website for a client when a less expensive update would suffice. If a website builder is needing new work, unscrupulous agencies will begin pitching websites to all their prospects, and statistically they will get work. I personally discovered one agency that designed a website template programmed to increase additional billings and work. They created internal coding on the website that overrides automatic search engine optimization (SEO) from working so they could bill for SEO work separately after the website build. I had the uncomfortable task of informing the client of my discovery and the cost of re-coding the website.

Green Light: An agency that produces documented reporting that shows your website needs SEO work and provides a market share report that demonstrates a deficiency in your website visitors compared to your competitors visitors is an indicator they have the expertise and have done research to support the suggestion. Reporting that clearly shows the deficiencies that need correction is a good sign.

Red Light: When the agency relies only on the visual appearance of the website, or wants to produce a website that is photography based with no supporting analysis of your site. Websites that serve as a photo album with little or no written content will not increase new visitors from Google searches.

Hint: You can check your website’s SEO score for free on many websites. This one scores on a scale of 100: This is the perfect tool to utilize to double check agency website work for integrity. This tool (or a similar third party) should also serve as a deliverable to achieve prior to final payment for website work.

Hint: If you are rebuilding your website, insist on an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant website. This ensures disabled visitors can access all the information. Websites are legally required to be ADA compliant; additionally, ADA-compliant websites are more SEO friendly, as the requirements of ADA and SEO overlap. Following is a link to a free ADA website checker:

Reason #2: Owners Believe Digital Marketing is a Finite Process

Digital marketing is an ongoing process of pivoting with the additions of experiences on social media. Instagram Live video feeds and Facebook Business Suite are a few of the latest 2021 additions. Additionally, building traffic to a website is an ongoing process of deliberate growth dictated by Google, Bing and others. All of these show your content based on algorithmic updates that change how they choose, and who to show, your content. To add to the complexity, your competitors are actively adding content to drive visitors in tandem.

I demonstrate this to clients by showing them their market share of the products they offer, as it is an effective benchmark. For example, the search terms “cabinet hardware” and “kitchen cabinet hardware” total 124,000 per month. If your website generates 4,000 monthly visitors, you have 3% of the total market. By showing this data in numerical form, it speaks a language most owners can understand and they can then develop a budget. After a website is built, there is work to be done on the SEO side, digital advertising, or both, to drive people to it.

Red Light: Business owners who think a website just needs to exist to increase visitors, or they sporadically post on social media with no brand campaign.

Green Light: Professionals who have market share reports to determine the growth potential and the credentials to grow, and will supply references for website SEO initiatives. Social media posting plans that encapsulate more than one post type, ie: Stories, videos AND Feed posts.

Hint: Consistent Blog Posting is the perfect vehicle to connect with your customers and provide new content that search engines want.

Reason #3: The Marketing is Lacking

Targeting the correct audience is easier than ever with the amount of demographic and geographic data that every digital platform collects. When advertising on Google, Bing or social media, the success is in the details. If you are spending on digital advertising, you need to be guided by the reporting that shows the success rate by your audience demographics and geographical location. If your phone is not ringing, dig deeper into who exactly is being targeted to view the ads and adjust it accordingly.

Hint: Request reporting that shows the detail of the audience, the platforms the ads were shown on and the geographic locations.

A consistent brand identity provides consumers with the confidence of knowing the caliber of your products and the service associated with it. Does your social media brand mirror your website and printed collaterals? Does the customer experience stand up to the message? Are your employees educated on your brand identity? Having a solid, well-defined brand identity that clearly demonstrates your unique value is crucial. It ensures the customers are receiving the brand experience they expect.

Hint: Train your employees to ask customers qualifying questions. How did you find us? How was your first experience with us? How can we improve?

Savvy business owners view marketing as an extension of their business, and managing it with loyal partners and a staff that is accountable is a pathway to success. Trust your gut if there is any hesitation on your part and educate yourself with the help of third-party consulting when needed. Digital marketing is complex and is a powerful tool to grow your business, and make your phone ring.

Denise Grothouse has an extensive background in international business, branding and marketing. She specializes in digital and social platforms and integrating them with traditional marketing and branding strategies. No stranger to the kitchen and bath industry, she is best known for her work as chief brand officer of Grothouse, Inc., and is the current president of the marketing firm Perfect Six.

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Nicholas Vanderhovel

Nicholas Vanderhovel

An innovator not only because of his designs but in what it means to be a professional designer and how that translates into a design experience for clients, Nicholas Vanderhovel is one of the youngest designers in the country to have achieved his Certified Master Kitchen and Bath Designer from the NKBA. Vanderhovel, CMKBD, CAPS, CLIPP, the owner and designer of Kitchen NV, in Pinckney, MI, achieved the certification at age 32 and is said to be one of only a handful of people in Michigan with the title.

The designer is a purist when it comes to function and aesthetics and curating a space. He has worked on every side of design – from installation to drawing to material selection – in order to anticipate client needs and educate them.

Vanderhovel believes that luxury doesn’t have to be unobtainable. Rather, luxury has to do with how a person is treated and whether that person’s needs are met. He always wants a client to leave with that feeling, and that is what has led him on his quest for knowledge, reaching out to other leaders in the industry to learn more, and working with manufacturers to improve processes and products. He is dedicated to mentoring others, as well.

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Furniture-Style Vanities Complement the Home

Furniture-Style Vanities Complement the Home

The pandemic’s effect on home design is evident in many areas of the home, but none more so than the bath. While baths were trending smaller and more streamlined pre-pandemic, the time spent at home has resulted in the desire for the bath to be a wellness sanctuary, with the now-desired larger space complementing the overall design of the rest of the home.

With regard to bath vanities, this has meant a renewed interest in furniture-style pieces with clever storage and matching linen cabinets and mirrors. Styles from updated traditional to mid-century modern to Japandi are trending, with wood finishes and bolder colors gaining ground on whites and painted neutrals.

Larger spaces are also having an effect on vanity size and amenities. Longer, narrower vanities are garnering interest, as are wall-mount versions that lend themselves to making a space feel larger and less cluttered.

Following are some of the specific trends currently being seen in bath vanities:

–Vanities from 48” to 72” are most popular right now, with customized storage to accommodate personal items in demand.

–Clean lines and unfussy detailing are desired, but there is a softness in the edges that keeps the style from being stark and contemporary, allowing the pieces to blend with the rest of the home.

–Closed storage is still preferred to keep small bath appliances and toiletries out of sight, though open shelving is gaining some ground.

–Though furniture styles are front and center, modular design is also gaining attention, as consumers look to arrange pieces to fit their spaces and their lifestyles.

–Retro styles, rustic finishes, modern farmhouse and historic European aesthetics are all influencing current styles in vanities and in the bath overall, sometimes with two styles used in combination.

–Wood finishes are of particular interest, as are painted finishes that shy away from neutral tones in favor of earthy tones, dusty pastels and blacks.

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