Home Depot and Lowe’s are unarguably the titans of home improvement retail, but which company is more successful? Quarterly results posted at the end of August showed that Home Depot was chugging ahead in every way. Their store sales were up 5.8% from last year, beating their 4.5% estimate. Meanwhile, Lowe’s saw a 4.4% increase in sales. Furthermore, Home Depot stock shares shot up 9%. Expenses hardly increased, so Home Depot’s earnings per share rose 22.6%, compared to Lowe’s increase of 18.2%. We believe much of this increase is related to their online marketing strategy, which has all the bloggers talking.
What Online Marketing Tools Does Home Depot Use?
Home Depot markets their brand through:
– Online Communities: Customers can ask questions about projects and repairs. Managers and department heads respond.
– YouTube Videos: Carefully plotted, professional videos anticipate which seasonal projects consumers will be thinking about. In-depth features run like home improvement TV shows, giving audiences valuable tips and tricks.
– Twitter: Here they talk about everything from college football and Halloween decorating, to paint colors and succulents. With four posts every day, their feed is really hopping! No wonder they have 242,000 followers!
– Facebook: Over a million followers share and comment on Home Depot’s visually stunning and festive posts.
– Vine: These videos are where Home Depot really shines. It can be hard to do a helpful and visually interesting 10 second video right. Vine is a great vehicle to promote their in-store workshops because they can quickly show the process they’ll be demonstrating at the same time.
The smartest brands know how to integrate online and offline marketing efforts. For instance, Home Depot offers a line of DIY books and free home improvement workshops that build upon their online content. They can also use their online marketing efforts to promote the books and events — and bring in more sales!
How Their Content Marketing Is Smarter
One of the things we love most is how Home Depot is their approach to content creation. For their blog, “The Apron,” their in-store associates take turns adding meaningful content that uses their expertise. According to Ad Age, “Home Depot’s social-media store associates live a double life: apron-wearing store associate three days a week and savvy content creator two days a week.”
This elite team was hand-picked by Brad Shaw, the VP of corporate communications, to “become a center of gravity around content creation and customer interaction.” Sure, there was discussion of having some higher-up executives do the writing, but the company was able to save money without sacrificing quality by removing their best and brightest floor associates for a few days a week to work on content.
Of course, it isn’t always feasible for big brands to have their workers also write for them. We work closely with our clients to transform their notes and touch points into a worthwhile, substantial read for their audience. Contact us for more information on our content marketing work.
Takeaways From Home Depot’s Marketing Strategy
We can learn much from Home Depot’s approach. Here are a few quick tips:
1. Know your audience and be helpful. Home Depot knows their audience consists of “do-it-yourselfer” types. While they do offer design consultants, they don’t beat customers over the head with sales pitches. Instead, they give shoppers exactly the information they need to complete a project on their own. If they happen to get stuck halfway through and require a little extra expertise, they know where to find it.
2. Use product placement to get more social shares — and sales. Home Depot shows how wreaths can help customers decorate for Thanksgiving and how gold paint can liven up a wall. Customers understand that they can recreate the look using products from the store. Every once in a while, they’ll promote a neat product like the Delta Temp2O Shower with digital display or LG smart washers.
3. Don’t shy away from controversy; use social media to connect with customers. On October 29th, a customer posted a rather ignorant rant, cursing the store. “You never even answered the message I sent you regarding your employees treating my aunt like a piece of crap, letting her lift her own tiles and bag of thinset from her car. At age 63 she has never seen crap like that in her life,” the customer wrote. Just over three hours later, a store associate wrote back with the following: “John, please ask your aunt to send an email with her name/phone number & store location/details of visit to us at TeamSocial@homedepot.com. We’d appreciate the opportunity to not only address what occurred with the store team as well as make it right for your aunt. Thanks in advance! -Nicki.” Way to go!
3. Get on YouTube for better SEO. Since YouTube is owned by Google, it’s no surprise their videos are popping up on page 1 Google search results for just about every keyword you can think of. Search “How to install storm doors” and Home Depot’s YouTube video is the second search result listed! Not far down, their “Guide To Installing Storm Doors” is also listed.
4. Build authority with your content. When you spend time creating a piece of valuable content, you’re not just giving people “something to read.” You are implicitly showing that: A) You know what you are talking about, B) You are a confident leader in your industry, D) Your company can be a trusted source of information, and E) You are the sort of company people feel comfortable choosing to do business with. That is what “branding” is all about!
5. Create loyalty by showing your personality. You’ll note that corporate stiffs in suits aren’t trying to pitch to customers in any of the Home Depot content. All videos and articles are created by people who seem much like the people who shop at Home Depot. They are people who feel passionate about their areas of expertise — be it paint, floors, kitchen remodels, woodworking, or home decor. People like to give their business to companies that share their values, use a friendly tone in their communications, and are all-around likable.
Mod Girl Marketing Transforms Brands Online
Need help with your online marketing strategy? Mod Girl Marketing can help you grow your brand presence online and create more meaningful content that engages customers, lands on the top page of Google search results, and ultimately drums up more sales for your enterprise. We’ve worked with a variety of industries including home improvement, corporate firms, medical firms and more. Contact us today to get started.Tags: Brand Marketing, content marketing, home depot, home depot blog, home depot marketing, home depot social media, online brand, social media marketing