The Strategy Months are here for the Outdoor Living Industry
As we near the end of the year, most outdoor living professionals are winding down their daily schedules, wrapping up the last few projects of the year, and getting ready for the winter season ahead. The final sales numbers are being calculated and next year’s budgets and are being drawn up. Ah yes, can you hear the sound of forward motion? Love it.
For business owners in the Northeast, the winter is time to take a look at their marketing efforts and make the improvements necessary to reach the goals set for the upcoming season. The decisions made during the three strategic months of January, February, and March can mean the difference between a great upcoming season and staying flat. Over the next few posts, we will take a look at a few of the focus areas for this year’s Strategy Months. By the way, if you're also interested in determining opportunities for stabilizing cash flow, check out this post.
The outdoor living industry’s online presence needs to get better and it needs to do it fast. When you compare the industry to some of the other branches of home design, such as architecture and interior design, it’s very clear that the outdoor living industry needs to bump up their game.
That said, and in all fairness, business owners have been hearing about the importance of an effective, modern online presence for quite a few years now. And while this has been crucial since the mainstream adoption of the Internet as a tool, it has become even more critical over the last 5 years. So why is now really the time for outdoor living professionals to invest in better-looking, more effective websites? Mainly because of a few key changes in both the outdoor living industry specifically and in the way consumers make purchases today overall.
The first reason is, in part, due to the outdoor living industry’s rapid growth and evolvement over the last few years. The scale of the projects today is incredible—outdoor fireplaces, poolside cabanas, and outdoor dining rooms are all part of the modern design of outdoor spaces. Designed and built to be true extensions of the home, these remarkable projects very often exceed the $200k mark. Because of this growth, the outdoor living consumers of today are demanding more from industry professionals. The time has come for many business owners to play catch-up to the demands of these consumers by creating an online presence that meets their needs and expectations.
The other reason for the immediate need for online improvement is the major shift in how consumers buy products and services today. The power and advantage is now with the buyer, not the seller. No longer does a homeowner need to contact a sales person or business owner to gather information about a product or service they are thinking of purchasing. This means that the average consumer in the outdoor living market is now better informed and more knowledgeable than ever, challenging business owners to raise their game. This “game” happens mainly online and begins with a potential customer’s visit to your company’s website. What will they find when they do? It had better be an information-content-packed (also known as of course, Inbound Marketing), beautifully designed digital source that helps them with their research and prompts them to contact you for a consultation. Related: Read about the buyer's journey.