Does it Pay to Pay for Houzz Pro+?
As the number one website to search for remodeling and home-improvement ideas, Houzz has quickly jumped to the top of the industry’s radar. The social media giant has recently launched some new features for home improvement professionals who choose to advertise with them. But does spending money on Houzz’s Pro+ program reap the benefits that it boasts?
Showing up in the Houzz top 10 results
Visibility on a platform like Houzz is crucial. Why advertise if no one has the opportunity to view your business? Whether you’re a design/build, dealer, or manufacturer, one of the benefits of Pro+ is that it increases your business’s visibility by reserving one of the top 10 search results on each page for Pro+ users within the relevant geographical radius.
Showing up under multiple categories.
Your company’s visibility also grows with the option to list your business under multiple home improvement categories — you can only list it under one with the free version. For example, if your company builds and designs swimming pools but also offers swimming pool maintenance, you could list it under “Design and Remodeling” as well as “Home Services,” which widely expands your advertisement’s reach.
Photo tagging to help the right homeowners find your images.
With the mindset of treating Houzz as much like social media as possible, the most important focus is to boost the photo impressions, especially in this digital age. Promoted ads on Houzz do seem to improve numbers of profile clicks and profile impressions somewhat, but photo impressions appear to remain predominantly organic. For consumers who are far along in the remodeling process and are looking directly on Houzz for home improvement professionals, this might not be such an issue. But more often than not, unique site visitors are simply looking for ideas, in which case Pro+ members are no more visible than businesses with the free subscription.
Tip: To help your photos perform better, list your photos under as many relevant tags as possible — BUT not more than truly relevant. This is something you can do with just the free membership. Be careful though; we know you want to just tag your photos in every single category to get more views; however, if someone searches for outdoor design ideas and your photo of a living room design pops up, the customer will just scroll right past it. Be creative with your tags, but keep them relevant so that you don't pay for unqualified, irrelevant hits.
And of course, show me the numbers.
A couple of years ago, Houzz introduced a new analytics tool called Pro+ Dashboard. It allows businesses to track (to a certain degree) the progress of their profile by examining data like the number of impressions your ad makes, the number of clicks your profile receives, and how well your photos perform.
While the ability to track some data is helpful, Houzz’s analytics tool is not capable of tracking arguably the most important factor for capitalization on your leads — where the leads come from. Many businesses have complained that since they can’t decipher through which features they are gaining leads, they can’t tell if it’s Pro+ that helped them out or if they could have landed the same business with the free membership.
Paying for Houzz can work — but it's not a set it and forget it. It involves time and, of course, $$$.
Every design/build business is unique, so promoted ads on Houzz may prove extremely beneficial for your company, or they may fall flat. High-end outdoor living companies may be able to invest in a platform like this. The best way to tell (and many business analysts recommend this approach) is to try out the free version of Houzz. Build a well-developed, voraciously interactive profile that includes promptly replying to questions and posting high-quality photos (tagged in relevant categories) as well making it easy and efficient to contact your business. Get customer reviews of your profile. All the while, track your data. Take into account variables like time of year and geographical location.
After a sufficient trial period, test out paid advertising on Houzz. Be aware, this can get pretty pricey depending on how large you would like your geographical radius to be (a recent company recorded paying approximately $1,500 per month to cover around 6,500 square miles!). Continue interacting with customers and frequently update your profile. Most importantly, keep tracking your data. If the upgrade improved your lead traffic, fantastic. If not, don’t waste your money.
If you don't have plenty of time for Houzz then...
Allocating your money elsewhere, like in a platform that distributes material from sites like Houzz to more general web search engines that can lead consumers directly to your website. Yes, that's right: content marketing. Quality blogging, content rich website, and helpful social media posts are still the most effective way to reach your specific target market. (Related: What is SEO, anyway?)
So before you knock it, take the time to track the data. You may find that profile upkeep and a free membership to Houzz is all that is necessary to get the leads you’re looking for.
We've seen inside a lot of Houzz paid accounts... and our opinion?
STAY AWAY!! We have yet to see a reason to pay for Houzz (note: we added this statement in September 2018 to this article). When you try to cancel — the incompetent Houzz rep will try to give you a deal for half off the regions you had to keep going. Every car salesman tactic — you'll see it (if you haven't before). And of course, like always, the Houzz rep will want to schedule a call with you to discuss anything — even something that should be addressed via email. So while it may hard to cancel, we recommend it. As of fall 2018, it doesn't pay to play in Houzz.