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Attracting New Homeowners

Furniture World Magazine


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It is important that you reach new homeowners while they still have money to spend.

Statistically, one or two new homeowners walked into your store last week. Two percent will find your store by accident. Wouldn't it be great to know where the other 98% of them live? New homeowners have the best credit rating during the first forty-five days following their move. They are your best prospect. Targeted marketing works and direct mail is the key to reaching them.

Reaching these homeowners presents challenges. Most advertising can't specifically target new homeowners. Yellow Page ads generate shoppers, not buyers, and it typically takes weeks for the new homeowner to get their new Yellow Pages. Radio and TV are not density specific and the fact is that not everyone listens to the radio, watches TV, or buys a newspaper -but everyone receives mail.

New homeowner information can be obtained from various sources. However, most information sources are slow, inaccurate and require you to manually log information into a computer to generate direct mail pieces and mailing labels. Phone numbers are rarely available and extremely expensive to obtain when needed for follow up calls or telemarketing efforts.

New homeowners are excellent candidates for home furnishings and remodeling. The furniture retailer, can "get the jump" on this segment of the market and have the best chance of winning loyal customers right from the start. The best source for this information is a reliable list compiler.

According to a recent survey by Welcome Homeowners Magazine of new homeowners buying habits, 72% of new homeowners will spend between $10,000 and $25,000 within the first year after they move. 41% of these new homeowners will buy furniture; 20% within the first thirty days.

Your sales and marketing strategy needs to do more than increase sales. It must leave such an impression on the new homeowner that it creates word of mouth advertising. Advertising done creatively and sincerely, combined with a great mailing piece and an excellent offer will result in ongoing and consistent referrals.

A good list compiler will offer weekly new homeowner lists along with detailed information on new home buyers in areas that you target. Lists are generally available on peel and stick labels or magnetic media. Typically, this data is current within 3-10 business days after the deed is recorded.

It is important to reach new homeowners with your special, individual offer before anyone else, but it's also important to have a good pitch. Your mail piece must grab new homeowners with something important to them. You could take a "neighborly" approach and send a card, flyer or letter welcoming them to the neighborhood. Postcards and promotional items are also effective, but you must get the homeowners' attention and arouse interest.. This is accomplished by an excellent offer. You might offer a free "house warming gift" in your mail piece such as a plant or a welcome mat to those who come in. Don't offer a percentage discount. This is less effective in terms of real dollars and most people think of real dollars when they think of buying. Instead, offer a dollar-value coupon; one that does not require a minimum purchase. The purpose of the offer is to get the new homeowner in the store.

If you take the time to create a mail piece, do it right. Make it work. Try something different or out of the ordinary. Offer three free lottery tickets. Coupons, though less imaginative, can be effective. Have a great offer. . . test. Have fun.

When used promptly this new homeowners list will give you the upper hand because new homeowners have not yet formed their new buying habits. Take the offense and beat your competition to this targeted market. A list one or two weeks new is likely to insure that you will be the first in your field to approach the new homeowner.

Be prepared to put your mailing list to immediate use. If you're using labels, have your mail ready to go so you can mail it as soon as you receive the labels. If you use a diskette, prepare the form letter ahead of time so you'll be ready to print them immediately. It's also good to follow up on your mailing with a phone call. If the mailing list company is good, they should be able to provide you with approximately 20 to 40 percent of the new homeowners' telephone numbers.

The follow up call should be brief and personable. For example, you might say, "Hi, my name is Jack Chambers and I just wanted to give you a quick call and personally welcome you to the neighborhood. I'm the owner of Tables and Chairs, and I just wanted to make sure you received our welcome in the mail." Or you could say, "I just wanted to know when it would be convenient for you to stop by since we have a little housewarming gift set aside for you."

Don't ever forget "the customer" after you have sold them so that they will refer others to you. A direct mail program is an investment and should be tested and re-tested for a reasonable period of time. Track its performance and test your mailing piece. Follow up your first mailing with another one after thirty days. Give your investment a thorough chance. Bear in mind that a good marketing strategy and direct mail program takes time to perfect. Remember, new homeowners are your key to new business.

NEW HOMEOWNER PURCHASE INTENTIONS
Compiled by Welcome Homeowner Magazine's study of 2,000 home buyers

   < 3 MOS  3-6 MOS   6-12 MOS
BATHROOM ACCESSORIES  58%  12%  6%
BEDDING/LINENS  41%  13%  7%
CARPETING/RUGS  30%  10%  16%
DRAPERIES  38%  10%  10%
FLOORING  20%  10%   12%
FURNITURE  41%  21%  11%
KITCHEN APPL. SMALL  29%  11%  7%
KITCHEN APPL. LGE.  23%  8%   12%
LIGHTING FIXTURES  44%  16%  7%
MATTRESSES  20%  8%  7%
MINI BLINDS  33%  12%   6%
WALLPAPER  20%  16%  9%
 


This article was supplied by Homeowners Marketing Services. Homeowners Marketing Services is the countries largest compiler of new homeowners mailing lists. Questions can be sent to Sarah Todd, care of FURNITURE WORLD at editor@furninfo.com.

Furniture World is the oldest, continuously published trade publication in the United States. It is published for the benefit of furniture retail executives. Print circulation of 20,000 is directed primarily to furniture retailers in the US and Canada.  In 1970, the magazine established and endowed the Bernice Bienenstock Furniture Library (www.furniturelibrary.com) in High Point, NC, now a public foundation containing more than 5,000 books on furniture and design dating from 1620. For more information contact editor@furninfo.com.