Residential Lighting: Now that the new American Lighting Assn. (ALA) site is live,
tell us about it.
Larry Lauck: Since we first launched our website back in 1997, we continued to add material for our members, consumers and the media. Over the years, it became evident that the site was becoming the central source of information for the lighting industry, creating some navigational issues. Strategically it made sense to overhaul the site, so it can be more user-friendly.
ALA leadership felt strongly that the website should serve as the information centerpiece for the industry. Strategically, it was logical for this one-time expense [of $33,500] to come from ALA reserves.
RL: What’s different about the site?
LL: It has a fresh and clean look. The consumer can see and read how lighting dramatically enhances every room in the home.
It’s easier for a consumer to find their nearest ALA showroom and request the free Lighting magazine produced by Better Homes & Gardens Special Interest Publications. It’s full of information, such as the impact of dimming controls and ceiling fans on energy efficiency, and the latest technological developments. We also showcase application photos, manufacturers’ products and videos on lighting one’s home.
RL: How are you driving consumers to the website?
LL: We are addressing our search engine optimization (SEO) strategy. Our agency, MarketNet, which handles sites for Samsung, Kennedy Space Center, DFW Airport, the USO and the Dallas Market Center, has recommended various ways to drive more consumers to our site. Also, the partnership of the ALA BiNational Ad and PR Program, through Lighting magazine — with Better Homes & Gardens’ parent, Meredith Corp. — has allowed us to reach out to BH&G’s 7.5 million online visitors annually. This and other marketing/PR efforts from the BiNational Program will allow us to deliver 225 million consumer impressions each year.
RL: What’s new for members?
LL: The member side of the website is better organized and features an updated, more user-friendly shopping cart, so members can easily order education materials online. We expanded the information sections that members frequently visit, such as Government Affairs, the ALA Conference, Engineering and the BiNational Ad Program. We also added a sophisticated search feature. For example, if you need information on California’s Title 20, this feature saves a few clicks.
RL: Does the site reflect a strategic change in marketing to consumers?
LL: Not a change, per se. This only enhances the effort of the ALA BiNational Ad and PR Program, which has funded the site since its start in 1997. This allows us to go to the next level and reach even more consumers, members and prospective members.
RL: What should ALA member showrooms do with their websites?
LL: The information on our site is available for members to lift and use on their site. The content we develop will enhance a showroom’s site and increase its visibility in search engine rankings. If a retailer needs content to add to their site, this is a great place to look. We pay special attention to our SEO strategy and constantly look for ways to better our positioning. If a showroom is looking for ideas to gain visibility through their website, we can assist them. But there is no quick fix. It’s an ongoing process that must be integrated into their total marketing strategy.