More About This Episode
The Smarter Building Materials Marketing podcast helps industry professionals find better ways to grow leads, sales and outperform the competition. It’s designed to give insights on how to create a results-driven digital marketing strategy for companies of any size.
This week, Zach and Beth chat with Liza Hausman, Vice President of Industry Marketing at Houzz, at length about how manufacturers can make the most out of being on Houzz. Whether you’re launching a new product or want to reach more homeowners and professionals, Liza has some strategies for manufacturers who want to grow their business this year.
The Houzz Ecosystem
Houzz is an online marketplace and network that hosts millions of images of building products, projects and ideas for people who need inspiration for their home designs. Liza Hausman has been at Houzz for more than nine years now and has seen the website and its community grow exponentially in the last few years.
The site isn’t just for designers or homeowners, though. “We have the architects, the home builders, the general contractors, kitchen and bath remodelers, as well as all the brands and manufacturers that also participate in our ecosystem,” says Liza.
That ecosystem is pretty huge, which gives Liza and the team at Houzz a unique perspective on the building materials market. “A lot of brands and manufacturers are global or multinational, and Houzz is available in every country around the world. And we have localized platforms in more than 10 countries across North America, Europe, Asia and Australia,” explains Liza.
Houzz gives those brands a way to reach professionals, DIYers and homeowners, all on one convenient platform. And Houzz is a busy place right now. “I think the good news for everybody is that things are booming,” says Liza.
The pandemic has certainly kept more people at home and online, and Houzz has reaped the benefits of that. “Homeowners are looking at their homes and saying to themselves, ‘There are a lot of changes I need to make to make this home work better for me.’ We have more than 65 million homeowners using Houzz worldwide, and 90% of our users are homeowners,” says Liza.
One of the best things about Houzz might be all the information they get from their users. Houzz collects quite a bit of data on the building materials industry. “We do a lot of proprietary research that we make available to everyone free of charge. Every year we do a kitchen trends study, a bath trends study,” says Liza. “[O]ur house and home study, which is the largest survey of residential remodeling, building, and decorating activity that's out there, kind of covers a wide range of projects and a lot of quantitative data.”
“And we also do a survey of our professional community,” continues Liza. The professional survey delivers helpful information to manufacturers specifically, “because it talks about what's the sentiment in the industry.”
The Difference in Digital
The building materials market is certainly ramping up, but it’s been moving especially fast in the digital realm. “That's put some new and interesting pressures on the whole trade community, from pros to brands and manufacturers. One is how folks are gathering information,” explains Liza.
“Folks aren't as able to go to showrooms or go and meet directly with folks in person,” she says. “So we're seeing a lot of changes in terms of digital and online collaboration, online meetings, online sourcing, a huge shift kind of across the board in the industry, around finding pros and finding products.”
For building materials manufacturers, Houzz offers huge benefits, especially during a time when trade shows and in-person industry conferences have been on hold. “Houzz is a great place to influence the entire buyer journey kind of from start to finish, for both pro and homeowner,” explains Liza. “I think manufacturers don't realize that there's a huge opportunity to influence the professional community, as well as the homeowner community.”
How Manufacturers Can Grow Their Reach Online
Manufacturers who need more ways to reach customers should consider creating a presence on Houzz, and we talked with Liza about the best way for brands to do that.
“[T]here's a really great opportunity — simply to create a free profile and make sure that you can be found, and that you are uploading as many photos as you can of your products in a lifestyle setting since that's how homeowners browse photos on Houzz,” she explains.
Liza offers a few other ideas for manufacturers who might be working through their marketing strategy this year and need a place to test that out:
Need to spread awareness for your brand? “We have a dedicated brand team that works with brands and manufacturers to help them figure out where to make investments in their presence on Houzz. And again, that can be everything from getting more exposure for their photos, for a product launch,” says Liza.
If you’re trying to promote a product or want to launch a new one, Houzz has a way to help with that, too. “We have opportunities for native content,” says Liza. “So we can write articles that really help explain the benefits of a product or help introduce it to a customer. And these types of things can reach both pros and homeowners.”
“[F]or brands and manufacturers focused on a particular channel, we actually have kind of a local dealer program where the manufacturer, for example, has co-op funds and wants to support a part of their dealer network,” she explains. Manufacturers can use that channel “to drive people to their dealers and put that product in front of more of their potential customers.”
Houzz recently launched a new feature on their site: Houzz Pro. It’s a comprehensive marketing platform and includes solutions for manufacturers, architects and building materials brands to reach and sell to customers.
“And one of the neat parts about it is that it includes a floor planning tool, where you can design in 2D and then actually tour your clients in 3D,” explains Liza. If you’re a door manufacturer, for instance, you can include your products in a floor plan and show customers exactly how your door could function in their design.
Is Houzz Right for Me?
There are opportunities for building materials manufacturers across the industry, even for commercial products. Liza says that “anything, the front of the walls, on the walls, floors, any surface that's visible, there's absolutely a huge opportunity. That's why we now have LED lighting, right, in our homes, and not just in these commercial spaces.”
Manufacturers can get involved without any risk (or investment) on Houzz if you want to test things out. And there are a few ways to measure your success on the platform, even if you’re not spending money. “I think for the Houzz profile looking just at photo saves or questions that you're getting on your photos is a good one,” says Liza.
But if you want to invest more of your marketing efforts into Houzz, there are plenty of other ways to do that. “[M]ost brands and manufacturers actually invest money and advertise on Houzz and take advantage of all of the native advertising opportunities we have so that they can actually drive metrics,” Liza explains. “And they really are very tailored to what that brand or manufacturer's KPIs are.”
Houzz works with brands across the globe to help them reach customers, and what they’re doing with the recent launch of Houzz Pro makes the sales process more seamless. “I think there's going to be an even greater opportunity to get products integrated into those early stages, where pros are working directly with homeowners,” says Liza.
“One of the things that we're actually seeing brands do in their advertising on Houzz is switching to call-outs driving to virtual consultations,” Liza explains. Whether you’re working in residential or commercial design, whether you want to reach homeowners or professionals, Houzz has a place for you to build an audience.
Want Even More Insight?
For manufacturers looking to build a presence online, Houzz has plenty of options. And they keep growing and improving those opportunities for brands. “We've introduced a number of new things this year, additional tracking, the ability to do retargeting within Houzz. We have video ads,” explains Liza. There’s no shortage of ways for manufacturers to grow an audience on Houzz, and we’re excited to see what the community has in store in the future.
Looking for solutions to boost your brand’s online presence? Houzz has a few to choose from. Listen to the full episode of our podcast to learn even more.
To get in touch with Liza, you can reach her at [email protected].
If you’re looking for more ways to build your brand online, get in touch with us at [email protected] — we look forward to hearing from you.
- Houzz & Benjamin Moore Collaberation
- Houzz saw a nearly 60% increase in homeowner leads for pros last June. The most popular pro categories and project types.
- Houzz provides helpful insights about homeowners’ priorities during renovations through their reports: Houzz & Home, Kitchen Trends and Bathroom Trends.