Sunday, December 04, 2005

Blogs: No-cost Marketing

From Home Accents Today, Blogs: no-cost marketing By Lisa Casinger.
A few home furnishings retailers started blogs as a way to communicate with their customers and increase their brand awareness. One retailer takes a more personal, unconventional approach to his blog because it ties into the type of advertising and marketing they do, while another retailer offers more business-like information and ideas to entice designers and their clients.

Thompson Lange, co-owner of Homescapes, Carmel, started his blog as a way to personalize his Carmel, Calif., store after bi-monthly newsletters became too expensive. Lange direct-imports a large part of his merchandise and his travels around the world are the focus of his marketing efforts. The retailer started its Web site in the late '90s and realized it could take its newsletter format to the Internet for free.

"The blog was an informational tool from the very beginning," Lange said. "I'd already found that when I wrote my friends e-mails from the road, they forwarded them on to their lists and we saw there was a 'market' for the chatty, border-line rude sense of humor I have toward the store and the idiot-adventures I get myself into while I'm out buying the product that feeds the beast."

The other retailer is Landfair Furniture.
Mike Landfair, co-owner (with his wife Beverly Landfair) of Landfair Furniture, Portland, Ore., wanted to generate some buzz about his small store that caters to the trade. With a limited ad budget, he decided to use his Web site to give designers and their clients information that would make their Web visits worthwhile.

"Blogs are free and pictures can be posted along with content," Landfair said. "I also believe that people searching for furniture would find our store easier."

Landfair Furniture has Web sites for its blog, the store and its annex, the online store. With traffic counters Landfair sees the traffic building on each site and that's translating into traffic in the brick-and-mortar store as well; the online store, too, is catching on.

"I started the blog in March and at first couldn't find enough to write about and site traffic was stuck at a small number," Landfair said. "Then I started posting regularly and the visits to the blog have steadily grown."

Landfair's blog gets about 50 unique visits a day; that's a potential 50 customers. The retailer also offers an e-mailed newsletter each month that recaps the blog topics and links to those articles. Mike and his wife, Bev, comment on everything from Hurricane Katrina and the furniture markets they attend to new local restaurants and design trends on their blog.

Check out the whole article for some very good information about using blogs for marketing.

Bev & Mike
Landfair Furniture + Design Gallery

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