Furniture retailers have spent most of the pandemic working to increase their online presenceandgenerate more business and open new sources of revenue.But how much should a retailer be investing in digital marketing to begin with?

David Enos, vice president of digital marketing for Phelps Digital, an HFA Solution Partner, and two HFA members talked about how much to invest initially along with other digital marketing strategies in last week’s HFA Live webinar, “Create Momentum with Digital Marketing.”

Enos said the dollar amount is not as important as what retailers feelthey can sleep peacefully at night with. “I would recommend to anyone that they start with a number in their budget that they are really comfortable, sort of gambling with, and they don’t build it until they’re confident that it’s driving in the right direction,” he said.

Start slowly in digital marketing and build your way up, retailers says
Start slowly in digital marketing and build your way up, retailers says

A majority ofthe retailers polled during the webinar – 58 percent – said they are currently investing anywhere from 1 percent to 20 percent of their advertising money in digital marketing.Enos said retailers do not need to start at that top figure.“Make it a goal to get to 20 percent, but start with 5 percent or 10 percent and then really get confident with the results you want before increasing that amount,” he said.

Josh Hudson, president of Hudson’s Furniture in Florida, said it’s just as important to find a digital partner who is willing to workwith your business as it is to find the right investment amount. You need someone that’s willing to partner with you to start small and then take it easy with you,” he said. “Someone who swoops in and says, ‘Oh, I’ve got the magic number. It’s 25or30percentof your budget’or whatever it is, hold onto your wallet.Because you’ve got to see what your results are going to be.”

Cara Consigli,Circle Furniture’s content manager,agreed. She said Circle Furniture, in Massachusetts, invests heavily indigitalmarketing these days because it has returned proven results. “But if you’re talking about spend for campaigns, if we’re trying something new, we’re definitely going to be a little bit more conservative,” she said. “We’re not going to go crazy on anything until we see worthwhile results.”

Start slowly in digital marketing and build your way up, retailers says
Start slowly in digital marketing and build your way up, retailers says

Consigli saidCircle Furniture is leaningheavilyintocontent marketing, a strategy that hasn’t deviated over the past three years.That content includes blogs, videos and social media. “Any type of way to interact with our potential shoppers online,” said Consigli.“Wehave adedicated content writerthat works with our design team, and then we also have a dedicated videographer that also works with our social apps.”

Hudson’s takes a different tack by investing in paid search. He said thestrategyhas evolved in the last five years. “It used to be the goal was, if you get website, then that traffic, or a certain amount ofit, wouldmake it toyour store,” said Hudson. Hudson said that still holdstrue, but his companynow leverages Google to measure theactual cost per store visit.

He said Google allows retailers to see which campaigns, keywords and devices drive the most store visits to your businessand understandthe full impact of the return on investment. “We’re making a more informed,smarterdecision now about our ads and how muchwe spend.”

Start slowly in digital marketing and build your way up, retailers says
Start slowly in digital marketing and build your way up, retailers says

You can hear the entire webinar and others archived here.

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