Furniture Store Marketing – When Everyone Is Your Customer, No One is Your Customer!

One of the biggest challenges home furnishing owners must overcome, in order to be successful in this new economy, is the dreaded I-offer-everything-for-everyone syndrome. On the surface this looks like a sure-fire way to get more customers, but it is already proven time and time again that it is not always the most successful way to prosper in your store.

If you are an independent home furnishing retailers, then chances are you have a limited budget and limited space to work with. So, if your store offers several contemporary collections, several ultra-modern collections and some eclectic pieces as well as some early American collections scattered through you store, do you really think that you have enough of any of those styles to satisfy the type of customers who are looking for a specific style? However, style is only one way to target your customer.

In fact, the most successful furniture retailers in my area focus on a couple of things to attract a specific type of customer:

  • Complete living room packages for under $ 2,000 or furnish your entitlement home for under $ 5,000.
  • Long-term low or no interest financing
  • Fast delivery within 3 days or less
  • Lower prices for packages

So, by narrowing down their advertising, they attract a customer that wants to purchase multiple pieces, which in turn, drives the average ticket sale and profits up. They then offer attractive financing terms which attracts customers with good credit and income, while enticing them to spend more money because the customer has longer to pay for it.

Most importantly, they save the customer money by buying more and can get it in their homes in a couple of days. There is also another twist to these retailers. They reward their salespeople handsomely for NOT selling the financing, but getting customers to pay off their balances in less than 90 days.

There is a common slogan in marketing statute, "There are riches in niches." Simply put, this slogan means determine who your most profitable, enjoyable and easy to attract customer is, and then specialize in getting more of those customers to come into your store and buy. You do this by creating a USP (Unique Selling Proposition) that compels your most profitable customer to come back into your business again and again.

What if you reviewed your business over the last couple of years and discovered the following trends about your customers and prospects:

  • Wives initially visited the store without their husbands.
  • Recently married
  • Had three kids
  • Lived within five miles of your store
  • Spent between $ 800 – $ 1500 on sofa, loveseat and tables.
  • Paid by Visa, MasterCard or Discover

Once you have this information, you can redesign your store and business to cater to more of the same types of customers that are currently spending good money in your store.

However, you can only use this information to your advantage if you take the time to find out who your customer is, what is important to them and what they really want.

It may come as a surprise to you, but your customers want more than just a sofa. If you are just selling a sofa, you are missing out on a ton of business. Here are a few of the keys I have discovered over the years:

  • Do not sell mattresses, sell relief from back pain.
  • Do not sell home theater seats, sell the entertainment experience.
  • Do not sell sofas or loveseats, sell comfort and warmth.
  • Do not sell furniture, sell status and prestige.
  • Do not sell interior design, sell ENVY and the WOW factor!

Once you know what your customers really want then, you could use that information to create a USP that attracts more of the same type of customers. For example:

  • "Do not hire expensive interior designers, use our 23 point design checklist and give your home a million dollar look for FREE!"
  • "Discover how to give your home an extreme $ 20,000 makeover, on an $ 8,000 budget."
  • "Your family and friends will say" Oh my gosh! Your home is simply amazing! "In 27 seconds flat … we guarantee it!"
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SEO – The Downfall of SEO Content

You can search engine optimize your website or blog all you want with keyword rich copy but if the information you are providing is stale, repetitive, robotic or plagiarized then you are not likely to attract many visitors. Furthermore most search engine spiders and robots will penalize you for plagiarizing and rewriting content from elsewhere by not including your pages in its search engines.

Another reason that your SEO content could be failing is not necessarily that you have committed the sin of plagiarism or being out of touch, but you may have chosen to search engine optimize copy for a product that has a glutted market. If a lot of people are writing about the product then it means you have failed to properly define your niche market in terms of how it will make a profit. Trying to make a profit in a glutted market is often useless and it is also a bane to SEO marketing as the keywords that are used to market glutted products are often too general and too popular to bring you the targeted customers that you need.

Sometimes the problem is that you have identified yourself as some kind of online consultant or guru but then somehow did not live up to the expectation of the people who have visited your site. A simple mistake in your SEO, niche language or keywords (or even a simple spelling mistake!) Could have many people turned right off of your site. You may have also hired a ghostwriter who knows nothing about their assigned topic and you have no idea that your book is plagiarized from sources all over the web. Who wants to pay for information that they can already get on the World Wide Web for free?

Always remember that SEO selling always has to do with your credibility. Trying to sell things with a web page full of innocuous advice or copy full of nonsensical keywords
never works.

Dedicated Hosting Servers – Choosing the Best

What are dedicated hosting servers?

Dedicated hosting servers, as the name implies, are servers leased to a single client and not shared with any others. In other words, if you were to sign up to a dedicated hosting plan, the server would be devoted and committed entirely to hosting your websites.

Why should I use dedicated hosting?

Dedicated hosting has a variety of advantages over shared hosting, particularly if you plan to run an ecommerce website or if you prefer a high level of control over resources.

The key advantages can be briefly summarised as follows:

  • CONTROL: over operating system and software applications
  • RELIABILITY: Reliability: quicker server response time and better performance as the server is not taxed by sharers
  • SECURITY: extremely high security is provided and you can implement your own security measures
  • RESOURCES: greater bandwidth available, ideal for high traffic and resource-intensive websites

What do I need to use dedicated hosting?

MANAGEMENT SKILLS

Although dedicated web hosting gives you the opportunity to fully manage your server, web hosts will provide varying levels of management for you, depending on your host and plan. In these cases, you will not need a high level of management skills.

FINANCES

Expect to pay more for dedicated web hosting that for shared.

What should I look for in a dedicated server?

RAM

It is crucial to have enough RAM. You should aim for at least 2 GB of RAM and the more the better. The number of concurrent users able to visit your site will be greatly affected by the amount of RAM you have. If you do not have enough RAM, under a significant load from a number of simultaneous users accessing your site, your site will crash (i.e. the Slashdot effect). This can particularly be a problem if you have database driven applications.

PROCESSOR

Choosing the best processor for your needs is also important. Intel Xeons and AMD Opterons are the current standard in server CPU architecture. Other CPUs are most likely outdated or are standard desktop CPUs and may not perform as well as the former under a significant network load.

DISK SPACE

Choose a plan with the amount you will need. Unless you will be serving up file and data archives and/or audio and video content (i.e. streaming media, mp3 downloads, etc) then disk space should not be a concern as all plans provide more than adequate amounts of disk space (e.g. 250 GB+). If you anticipate expansion, look into the flexibility of upgrade options.

BANDWIDTH (Monthly Transfer)

Look for 1000-2000 GB+, depending on your needs.

DATA CONNECTION SPEED

Look for 1000 Mbps, particularly if you are streaming video or have a large number of concurrent users. Otherwise 100 Mbps might suffice.

OPERATING SYSTEMS

Look for which are offered and what costs are involved. Many Linux distributions and BSD systems are available for free from the open source community, while Microsoft Windows Server involves a cost. Expect operating system updates to be provided.

MANAGEMENT / EASE OF USE

Look for how much management is included in the plan price. For ease of use, look for free inclusion of cPanel (web based administration). Look for hosts supporting server configuration, software, application, security and anti-virus updates, firewall services and monitoring. Be wary of the term “fully managed” as this means different things to different hosts. Investigate thoroughly.

SOFTWARE

What options do you have? What is included? Microsoft products? Look for control panel software.

SUPPORT

Look for 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year phone / email technical support.

BACKUP AND RESTORATION

Look for what backup and restoration options are provided. Some plans come with two hard drives, allowing an easy back up solution.

IP ADDRESSES

Look for more than one, particularly if you plan to do ecommerce.

UPTIME GUARANTEE

Look for hosts guaranteeing 99.9 to 100% uptime and find out their compensation if it is not reached.

WEB HOSTING PRICE

Find out if there is a setup fee. Expect to pay $200+ per month for hosting.

Who provides top rated web hosting?

No doubt you will read different opinions in different places, but based on the criteria outlined above, I have identified a few stand-out dedicated web hosts with excellent reputations for quality and reliability. You will find details of these hosts at Web Host Choice [http://webhostchoice.info]

Choosing the Best Clothes Steamer For Your Garments

When it comes to choosing the best clothes steamer there are several things to take into consideration. One is the size of the unit you want. Do you need to be able to travel with it? Also consider the amount of clothing you may frequently steam and the price you want to spend on a unit.

A clothes steamer operates with plain tap water. A good one can remove wrinkles from your clothing faster than ironing. They work especially well on silk, cashmere, wool or cotton jersey and steam is very gentle on fabrics. They also work well to refresh clothing between dry cleaning, saving you money. A portable or hand held clothing steamer can be used to steam many things, such as drapes and upholstery.

Hand Held or Professional Garment Steamer

There are two sizes available. The full size unit and the hand held unit. The full size unit usually will have a few more functions than a hand held. There may be an automatic shut-off, the ability to control the amount of steam, and a place to hold the steam nozzle. The hand held steamer will be cheaper in price. The nozzle will be smaller, which may be good depending on the garment you are steaming. It is easier to store and it can be used in any room of the house, as it can easily move with you. The one drawback about the smaller units is that they need to be refilled more frequently.

Features of a Professional Garment Steamer

The average full size unit has a base with a boiler in it. A plastic tank sits on the boiler. You fill this tank with water and invert it. The more water the tank holds the longer the steamer operates without refills. A typical one gallon tank model will produce steam for ninety minutes straight.

Some of the full size fabric steaming models come with steam setting controls, much like an iron. The settings can be adjusted according to the fabric being steamed as some require more heat than others. The typical cost range is $120-$200 with a wattage from 1,200-2,000 watts. A press pad can be used as well. This will keep the garment in place and lessen the chance that you will scald your hand. Many come with garment hanging rods and accessories like crease tools, lint removers and or an upholstery brush.

Best Travel Clothes Steamer

The best clothes steamer if you travel may be a hand held model. They are easy to pack and some weigh as little as 1.5 pounds. This type of unit will have a one piece design. Most produce nonstop steam but some have a push button steamer. This will only allow the steam out only when the button is pushed. The steam time is much shorter than that of a full size unit, producing steam for no more than 15 minutes.

If you need to steam more than a few garments you will need to refill the water tank. These do come with a travel pouch and sometimes a fabric brush and lint pad. Usually the more watts the machine has the hotter the steam. This is not always the case as some of the models with lessor wattage were tested and found to give greater and hotter amounts of steam. The wattage can range from 200-1,000 watts at a cost of $30-$60.

Best Clothes Steamer for You

The best clothes steamer will have the hottest steam to make removing wrinkles easy in one pass. The full size will have a place to hang your clothing while steaming and a holder for the steam nozzle. The hand held unit should be light, compact and still pump out great amounts of steam to get the job done.