Showroom of the Year: Social Media Star

Winner of the Showroom of the Year competition’s first Social Media Star Award, Yale Appliance + Lighting is using Facebook, Twitter, Linked In and state-of-the-art online marketing tactics to build strong, lasting customer relationships.

With years of experience now in its favor, Yale’s marketing department team has developed best practices that convert online shoppers into in-store buyers. No need to guess how many; Yale management can now track those conversions and encourage future sales with POS data retailers once could only dream about having.

Yale’s frequent blog posts are written with the most common words or phrases used during a product search. The goal is to earn top rankings on local search engines for the specific product under consideration, and then get the potential customer to come to the store to buy it. Yale also leads searchers to its website because these visitors leave behind a trail of valuable information that could lead to more sales down the road.

Director of Marketing Pat Palingo said Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising on Google has been especially effective. “Google really allows you to target a specific kind of customer,” he says.

Yet the amount spent on PPC ads is diminishing as the number of “organic” leads increases, Palingo says. The company has found staff-written Product Buying Guides effectively attract customers researching an upcoming purchase. Those willing to provide an e-mail address can download nearly two dozen different free Buying Guides from the Yale website, each promoted with an e-mail campaign.

“Our Buying Guides are helpful and informative, but they’re not beach reading. If someone downloads one, there is intent,” Palingo says.

Opted-in customers receive “lead-nurturing emails.” Keyed to a specific Buying Guide, these e-mails sent by auto responder offer more resources, like additional information on Yale’s blog. Some point out relevant articles and other content to get the potential customer back to the website for more information and more clicks.

Thanks to a new POS computer report, management can see the names of those who went from online looker to in-store buyer. Armed with data, Yale is able to pitch a new grill cover to someone who bought a BBQ or alert end-users when their refrigerator water filter is scheduled for replacement. These after-sale sales efforts can continue indefinitely, bringing people back to the website — and into the store time and again to buy.

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