The recent revitalization in the design industry has proven to be both a blessing and a curse to the average consumer. Gone are the days when kitchen cabinets came in just white, espresso or cherry. From remodeling kitchens to reupholstering pillows, home design projects now involve a maze of style and color that can confound even the most determined homeowner.
For the consumer, Houzz offers a lifeline—and a free one at that. The online platform provides a searchable database of interior design and home remodeling images, professional portfolios, reviews, surveys and expert advice. This Pinterest/Angie’s List/Facebook mashup is a lifesaver for anyone searching for design-spiration on a budget.
But what about the contractor, architect or designer on the other end? Targeted toward those looking to renovate, Houzz is brimming with 16 million eager consumers—90 percent of which are homeowners who are actively seeking design products and services. In fact, Houzz’s “Find a Pro” feature allows users to search for a local specialist, and businesses simply can’t afford to ignore this burgeoning customer base.
Implement these “house rules,” best practices and business tips to put Houzz to work for your company.
1. Learn the Lingo
Ideabooks: A scrapbook for design ideas. Users create folders on their own Houzz accounts to collect inspiring photos arranged by theme (“kitchen cabinets,” “backyard patios,” “yellow baby rooms,” “beach house,” etc.). Ideabooks are the online version of clipping pictures from a magazine. You can “pin” these images from other ideabooks, upload photos directly from your computer or “pin” images from another website—a la Pinterest.
Projects: Similar to an ideabook but a “folder” of pictures that allows you to showcase stages of a particular project. A home builder, for example, might highlight the construction phases of a Santa Cruz-style bungalow, or an interior designer might post before and after snapshots of a kitchen remodeling project.
2. Explore the Landscape
Familiarize yourself with standard features on Houzz.
Likes and Comments: Much like Facebook, Houzz users can “like” and comment on favorite photos, discussion feeds, ideabooks and projects.
Search Capabilities: The Houzz platform provides a sophisticated index that allows users to search for products, local vendors, curated ideabooks and even discussion threads by keyword.
3. Create Your Space
Just like any viable marketing medium, your Houzz presence should capture your brand’s voice, highlight your expertise and advance your business goals. Now is the time to define your creative strategy. Decide how you’ll curate and arrange your ideabooks (i.e. by product, space, location, style, etc.) to best spotlight your specialties or distinctive skills. Create “project” folders that showcase your portfolio and build credibility. Develop a list of search terms, topics and partner designers for collaboration, commentary and conversation, and cross-promote your Houzz on other social media platforms.
Note that official professional profiles require additional business verification, such as a license number. So be prepared when creating your account.
4. Establish Your Expertise
Strengthen your brand visibility by building a portfolio of client recommendations and business partner referrals (don’t be afraid to ask!). Establish your expertise by providing tips and advice on discussion threads related to your brand. Offer suggestions, solve problems, answer questions promptly. By doing so, you’ll rise to the forefront as a Houzz go-to expert for home design needs.
What other “Houzz Rules” or tips would you add to the list?