How to Conquer Houzz Marketing Like a BossBy Heidi Abramyk
Houzz marketing is simply connecting homeowners with design and building professionals using Houzz as a lean, mean marketing machine. Have you heard of Houzz before? If you haven't, it's okay. It's kind of a big deal. If you have, then you are probably here to know how you can make the most of the platform to become a Houzz marketing master.
What is Houzz?
Houzz is a platform that connects homeowners with design and building professionals. Houzz’s platform has disrupted the traditional way homeowners find and choose professionals—similar to how Facebook has disrupted the way we now stay connected to old acquaintances or people we barely know in “real life.”
The Houzz platform is a cross between a search tool, social media platform, community tool and directory site focused around the residential houzzing—I mean housing—industry. Venture into the land of Houzz Marketing with me as I teach you how to conquer the tricks of the trade to increase web traffic and leads through Houzz like a boss.
First, let’s get the pronunciation out of the way. It is pronounced exactly the same way as you would say how’s as in how’s it going (we had a pronunciation debate on our team, sadly there were no real winners).
Houzz is a Visual Based Directory
Houzz is visually-based, and differs from traditional text directories from a marketing standpoint in the sense that photos do the major talking and selling for design and building professionals. It is through the photos professionals upload that homeowners can find and discover what they like and whom they would like to hire to help them with their next home renovation project.
It is also through these photos that homeowners are more accurately able to communicate what they want without having to learn a fancy home renovation tool (although I can say from experience that Ikea’s tool is a lot easier than I thought it would be).
Which Types of Businesses Should Be Marketing on Houzz?
Basically, businesses that are home industry related should consider creating a listing on Houzz and marketing their business on Houzz.
Houzz is a great opportunity for businesses that are in the home building, home design and remodelling, home improvement, interior or exterior home services, cleaning services, contracting, repair or vendors of home decor products such as furniture, home textiles and other interior decorating goods (Houzz even stated that a tile vendor tagged in a photo got tons of exposure and leads).
Houzz even has an “other” category for home stagers, media & bloggers, photographers, real estate agents and school and organizations.
Houzz Listing Category Infographic
Not sure if your client should be listed on Houzz? Check out the infographic below to help determine if Houzz is an easy marketing win.
Who Uses Houzz?
Is it worth the time to list and add Houzz to my regular marketing duties and become a Houzz marketing guru? Well, yes it is. Houzz is a traffic powerhouse. In fact, it is ranked at #13 in the Top 100 Online Business Directories list. In the last month, Houzz had 28.7 million visits, 73.17% of which were from the US (Similarweb).
Houzz boasts more than six million users, three million user-created ideabooks, two million app downloads (the app has over 45,000 five star reviews) and has over 500,000 images uploaded by professionals in their community (Info.houzz).
Houzz’s Empowered Clients
Houzz's typical user is known as “The Empowered Client.” According to Houzz's extensive research on their users, these Empowered Clients are:
- upscale homeowners (89% own their homes)
- have an average home value of $450,000
- Have an average income of $124,000
- 78% are married
- 27% are in their first home
- actively building, remodelling or decorating
- 72% plan to decorate or redecorate
- 40% plan to build an addition or remodel
- 10% are planning to have a custom home built
- are spending quite a bit on these projects (kitchen remodel is about $27,000, on average)
And, these typical Houzz Empowered Clients plan in the next two years to:
- hire a general contractor (57%)
- hire a kitchen and bath professional (35%)
- hire a carpet and flooring professional (32%)
- hire an architect (30%)
- hire an interior designer (26%)
- hire a landscape architect or designer (24%)
- hire a windows & coverings professional (20%)
How Does Houzz Work?
Similar to search engines such as Google and Bing, Houzz’s platform uses a unique algorithm that shows the most relevant professionals that relate to consumer searches. Keywords also play a big role in this.
Businesses that have invested time and effort to add helpful information to their profile by adding high quality photos, keywords in photo description, information about company, are active on the site, etc, can heed better results than those that do not. Houzz states openly that their algorithm includes the factors of recency and frequency, so staying active on the platform (i.e. becoming a Houzz marketing guru) is important.
Cost to Create a Business Listing on Houzz
Creating a listing on Houzz’s professional local directory is free. Houzz offers Houzz Pro+ (shown below) for the Houzz marketing enthusiasts, which is a subscription marketing service that allows businesses more bells and whistles than the free Pro version.
Houzz Pro+ also allows businesses more exposure on the site by increased local visibility, and offers a metrics report that tracks company photo activity on the site. Houzz also offers advertising options for those who want increased exposure on the site. Those interested are asked to email their support team.
Houzz Marketing Benefits
Houzz Marketing Benefit #1: Increased Website Traffic
Houzz is a traffic machine. Having said that, since Houzz links a business’s profile to their website (as well as all of their photos), the opportunity to gain an increase in website and blog traffic is potentially substantial.
In the case of businesses with websites in need of an update, having a great looking profile on Houzz increases the quality of the business’s online presence. In that case, web traffic can be directed to the business’s Houzz profile from website by adding a widget on the business’s website.
Houzz Marketing Benefit #2: Increased Exposure to Relevant, Ready Target Market
A huge benefit of Houzz is that it puts a business’s portfolio out in front of a huge audience (global) of relevant consumers. As mentioned previously, Houzz’s user base of over six million users primarily own their homes (89%), are actively making home improvements, and many plan to do a project within the next two years.
The level of exposure to a customer that is in the decision process (or very close to), has a decent income and is actively researching ideas, all from a free listing source, is indeed worth the time and effort of conducting some Houzz marketing. It is also worth investing the time of optimizing a business’s information, adding photos and engaging with the Houzz community.
Houzz Marketing Benefit #3: SEO/SERP Possibilities
When Houzz first came out, many bloggers on the local SEO scene claimed that a link back from Houzz’s directory had little benefit as it was a nofollow link. Many marketing companies beg to differ, and even if it were the case, today Houzz ranks so highly on search engine results pages that businesses can reap the rewards of barnacle seo (latching onto Houzz’s SERP success in SERP results) by creating a profile on the site. Even if exposure was the real benefit over any SERP increases, the spikes in traffic from Houzz have been considerable for businesses who have been watching them in their webmaster tools.
Houzz Marketing Benefit #4: Increased Referrals and Piping Hot Leads
The increased website and blog traffic, as well as the exposure to a professional’s information and work via their Houzz profiles, ideabooks, projects and ultimately photos, have resulted in an increase in leads and referrals. Professionals with reviews on their Houzz profiles are more likely to get hired over those with those who have no reviews, so it is important to build up reviews on the platform.
With over three million user created ideabooks, the opportunity is potentially in the millions to have a professional’s photos seen through the use of proper tagging. If a user likes the work the professional has done enough, they could be picking up a phone and asking that professional for a quote in the near future. Can you say piping hot leads, anyone?
Houzz Marketing Benefit #5: Free Advertising and PR Exposure
In addition to the photos, projects and ideabooks, professionals with uploaded photos also have the opportunity to be featured in Houzz’s editorial blog for free. What’s better than free press? Houzz’s editorial team ads 10-20 articles a day and uses information on Houzz from pictures and ideabooks, all of which is real work from professionals on Houzz.
Liza Hausman, the VP of Marketing at Houzz, states that the Houzz editorial team is always looking for content ideas. Professionals that wish to submit their projects to try and get featured in an article on Houzz are encouraged to message the editorial team with a link to their project and a few points as to why project is article worthy (info.houzz). Liza also shared that magazine teams have been noticing Houzz’s photos, and some professionals have been contacted or discovered by magazines for their editorial work.
Houzz Marketing Benefit #6: Free In-Houzz Marketing Research
Professionals can utilize many of the free features on Houzz for free market research in numerous ways using Houzz’s Empowered Clients as a test market group by:
- Checking which of the business’s photos and keywords are hot topics. If the photos are getting a lot of traffic and praise, businesses can consider using it on their websites or social media, or even traditional print materials such as brochures.
- Identifying which projects and idea books the business is getting the most hits and interaction on. These albums or idea books can be replicated as separate albums on Facebook to help spread the visual love on another medium.
- Checking which keywords are doing well in the business’s photos or ideabooks. The business can use those words to check for any keyword opportunities by integrating them on their content on their blogs, website or social media (be sure to check for the search volume of the keywords and level of competition for the blog and website)
- Searching for any related themes while interacting on Houzz’s forum. Similar to keywords on the photos, the questions users are consistently asking the business can be used as potential topics to take back to the business’s blog or make helpful content pieces for.
- Interacting on the forums with potential customers can help a business discover more succinctly exactly who their target persona(s) are to further target their marketing efforts. Why? So the business can build relationships with their customers and win clients quickly by actively trying to help solve their problems and fears.
- Looking for any trends between the users that are tagging the business’s photos. Are there any potential target markets the business isn’t targeting that they should? Is the business’s customer persona really who the business thought they were?
- Analyzing the business’s pictures and projects saved most on Houzz. Can the business create more interested or targeted ideabooks to increase their engagement and traffic on the site?
Houzz Marketing How to’s
How to Use Houzz (What The Main Elements Are)
Marketing on Houzz and becoming a slick Houzz Marketing expert is pretty simple once one is familiar with the main elements of the platform are and how to best use them.
1) Houzz Listings - A basic Houzz Pro listing is free and includes a page for that business with contact information, profile photos, business description, photos, projects, ideabooks and access to the Houzz community.
2) Houzz Photos - Photo are a big part of what makes Houzz, Houzz. Absolutely every photo in the community comes from a business on Houzz. Professionals add photos of work they have done and then can tag photos so users can find them when they search that tag or when they look at a business’s profile. The photo aspect of Houzz makes it easy for homeowners who are green or too scared to start the process of their project, so it is really easy to start adding pics.
The point of Houzz is to make the communication of the home improvement process as easy as possible. For businesses, photos are a way to display their work and get more referrals and leads. For consumers, it is a way for them to find what they like so they can either communicate that style idea to who they work with, or find someone they like and want to work with. If consumers don’t have the knowledge required to communicate professional terms or don’t know what something is called, they can show it visually.
3) Houzz Projects - Projects help professionals organize their uploaded photos (think of it like an album). One photo can only belong to one project. Projects appear by title on the professional's profile page.
4) Houzz Ideabooks - Users and professionals alike can create ideabooks (kind of like a Pinterest board, but users are sent directly to the professional’s website instead of first to a pin, then the site). For consumers, it is a way to organize and put together information on what they would like to do in their next project. Homeowners can make ideabooks before they meet professionals so they come prepared with an idea of what they want—how slick is that!
For professionals, it is a way to drill down even further than a project to more specific types of products, colors, settings or guides. Professionals aren’t restricted by their own photos but can use photos from other professionals to convey a certain mood or theme
5) Houzz Questions - Houzz is big on their community and discussions. For each photo a business uploads, homeowners can ask questions to that business. Those questions and answers are posted in the Houzz discussion area and are a part of your company profile via the questions tab.
Businesses can answer questions on other business’s photo questions if that business doesn’t answer, or a business can add to another business’s comment, further enriching that answer.
6) Houzz Reviews - Customers can leave reviews of the business on Houzz. It is a great way for businesses to get more credibility, referrals and business. We all know how important reviews are and how important it is to respond to reviews.
7) Houzz Activity - The activity stream shows all of the activities that a business has done recently. Users can look at it to see how active or engaged a professional is on the platform.
8) Houzz Community - Similar to many social networks, businesses can get followers on Houzz. These followers will be updated when the business has new photos, ideabooks or are featured in a Houzz article. Professionals can also follow other professionals and use Houzz as a networking tools.
9) Houzz Advice - Houzz has a discussion forum where homeowners can speak with professionals and other homeowners. Aside from answering questions about a business’s photos, they can engage with the Houzz community by participating in discussions about the business’s products or areas of expertise.
Houzz Marketing: How To Get Started
1) How To Optimize A Profile / Raise Ranking in Houzz (In-Houzz SEO)
One great thing about Houzz is that there are a lot of helpful support materials. Houzz is very open and direct as to how businesses can be successful on their platform. When professionals sign up, there is a handy widget on the left hand side of the page that tells the business which actions they should complete to make their profile more optimized.
Once businesses sign up, they can enhance their profile by:
- Completing their contact (business listing) information
- Providing a business description
- Update 5+ photos
- Get 3+ reviews
- Placing a Houzz badge on the business’s homepage or website
2) Create An Accurate Houzz Listing
Similar to a Google My Business listing or any other directory, businesses want to make sure their information is correct and consistent on Houzz. Businesses need to use the same phone number as their Google and other listings. Since Houzz is a directory, if a listing in the directory differs from a business’s website or even Google My Business Listing, it will then create a duplicate listing (which no one wants).
Houzz Marketing Hot Tip: If a business falls into more than one of the professional categories on Houzz, the best practice is to choose the category of the one more relevant to the business (if it’s close, just pick one). Then, in the services offered section, all of the services the business is offered can be input in that area and will be searchable in the search results.
3) Add High Quality Photos To Projects
While Houzz’s minimum photo guidelines apply more for businesses that want to be included in Houzz’s editorial pieces, it is always a good idea to submit the best photos possible (and if the business’s photo is selected in the editorial pieces that is a huge exposure bonus!).
Minimum photo requirements are 1000 px wide (height is not as rigid of a specification) and can be any photos of finished residential projects the business has worked on. Use jpeg or png images and steer clear of pdf, eps, multipage or tiff files.
A Note on Keywords: Keywords are extremely important on Houzz. It is how people will find a business and see their work via projects, ideabooks and images. Use 5-25 keywords per photo that apply to the photo and tag the location of where the project was completed to show up in proximity results.
4) Create Houzz Projects
Include a title, description, location and photos with keywords on projects. Since only one photo can be used per project, it is a good idea to think strategically of how a business will create their projects. Houzz advises users to group their photos in projects by type or line or another key segment.
5) Create Houzz IdeaBooks
Professionals should create some ideabooks to give users more of an idea of the business’s work or style. As mentioned previously, professionals can use any photo on Houzz (not just their own), so it gives the professional more room to get creative and specific by grouping their ideabooks by colors, settings, products or guides.
6) Answer Questions On Houzz
Houzz users typically are active and not afraid to ask businesses questions. This is a good thing! It means that users on the site are engaged and close to the decision stage of their project. They could be just seeking advice, or they could be seeking to hire someone and it could be the business they are contacting.
Q.) Should a business answer all of the questions on their photos? What if that gets time consuming, or some questions are the type that the homeowner should really be billed for?
The best bet here is to answer questions politely, even if that answer is that you don’t remember where you sourced something from or what the name of a particular paint swatch was called. No one likes to be ignored, and as we all know from personal experience, users are grateful either way as long as they get a response.
Responding to questions on a professional’s Houzz profile is similar to responding on social media—other people can see the business ignored the user. Others can see that and judge the business based on how they treat potential clients. So a business’s best bet is to respond to questions, provide a good experience and be as helpful as possible. Engage with consumers even if you can’t answer their question.
7) Get Houzz Reviews
When Houzz surveyed their users, the top hiring factor for professionals on the site was reviews and recommendations. Businesses should ask clients and colleagues for reviews on the site as it builds credibility.
Get in the habit of asking clients for reviews, not all will take up the torch, but you may get a few and that makes a huge difference in future prospective customers trusting the business and wanting to work with them.
8) Be Active in the Houzz Community
The more followers a business has on Houzz the more reach their brand has when they are active on the site. By being active and helping answer questions on the site, users may be won over by the business.
Reaching out to the business’s social networks on Twitter, Facebook (even adding Houzz profile link on the business’s Facebook profile) and adding a Houzz social button to the business’s website all cross promotes the business and is a great technique to encourage more Houzz followers.
The business can look for allies and fans who mention the business in discussions or in their ideabooks and designs is a good way to build more relationships.
Houzz Marketing Tips for Continuing Success
Here are more tips on how to win at Houzz marketing:
- Always strive to make your profile better and better, continually improve it over time
- Add more photos and relevant keywords
- Interact with the homeowner community. Respond to questions, provide a good user experience and try to be helpful
- Stay active - Houzz’s algorithm revolves around recency and frequency
- Keep networking on the platform by following others and build a following
Houzz has fantastic, helpful resource materials to help businesses hit the ground running with their Houzz marketing efforts. For those that want to read more and become Houzz marketing gurus, here are some great places to start:
- For Home Pros: How to Rock Your Houzz Profile
- Creating an Effective Brand Presence on Houzz
- Inside Houzz: How to Make the Most of Your Photos