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Welcome Mat Marketing

Furniture World Magazine
Volume 145 NO.5 September/October


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Forward thinking furniture & mattress stores should  use “welcome mat marketing” to help new customers realize you’re different, and to make them feel special.

It’s just like having a welcome mat that greets visitors to your home. In this age where every new customer is extremely valuable to your business, nobody can afford to be complacent when it comes to marketing. That’s especially true when it comes to extending a “welcome mat” to new customers. It’s been said that most stores get a customer to make a sale, but the store owner or salesman makes a sale to get a customer! It’s a saying that emphasizes the lifetime value, in terms of retention, incremental sales and referrals, of a good customer. Your welcome mat marketing is the beginning of this important process.

A welcome mat marketing campaign is a focused MULTI-STEP, NEW CUSTOMER campaign designed with specific goals in mind. It should consist of both online and offline communications for maximum results. I estimate that 95% of store owners don’t even think about welcome mat marketing. That’s a mistake since it confers a HUGE competitive advantage.

Example of a Smart Welcome Mat Campaign

Recently my wife purchased a new Acura. Long gone are the days where all you had was a speedometer, gas gauge and push button radio. Today’s new cars seem to require a Ph.D to figure out how to use them, and the Acura MDX is no different.
Acura realizes few new customers will read the owner’s manual, so they created a 30 day campaign where my wife received a short written tutorial right on her navigation system that appeared when she turned the car on. She could either take 20 seconds to read it, or save for future reading. This is smart for several reasons. Acura takes the most important features for new car owners, chunks them into short concise tutorials, and “feeds” them this information right when they know customers are most likely to be attentive.

The furniture business is no different. I challenge you to develop a well thought out welcome mat for new customers. The goal is to make them feel welcomed, appreciated, and address any new customer questions. It will also show them that your business is different from all the other competitive choices simply because you care 100% about helping them with your policies and store services.

One big benefit of using a welcome mat campaign is consistency and compliance. When you set up a system like the six-step system outlined below, you don’t have to worry about whether you told Mr. Jones the same thing you told Mrs. Smith. The system is consistent with every new customer and, if the need ever arose, you have evidence of what information was shared with the customer. As you begin to craft your campaign, keep these important steps in mind:

Step 1
Your first goal is to figure out why you want to create this campaign. What do you want to convey? What do you want to have happen? What information is important for a new customer to have?

Step 2
The second goal is to reduce any buyer’s remorse and create customers-for-life. You can go a long way by creating a well-thought out welcome mat campaign that reassures and validates their investment in your company.

Step 3
Create a specific time-frame where new customers will hear from you on a scheduled basis over a period of time. Consider a 30 day campaign with multiple online and offline touchpoints. The use of an automated marketing solution will greatly enhance this process.

Step 4
Figure out the number of touchpoints and what media you will use during the welcome mat campaign. I suggest you consider this welcome mat architecture for your store:
  • Day 0 – New customer start.
  • Day 1 – Personalized thank you email with photo of you and your staff holding up a thank you sign or possibly a link to a generic video from you thanking them for their business. Introduce the rest of your staff and how they can be of service.
  • Day 2 – Send a personalized, handwritten thank you card to your new customer. Consider including “how to refer” information in this mailing.
  • Day 5 – Personalized email outlining important after purchase care and maintenance, comfort or use issues, etc.
  • Day 10 – Create a personalized, “just checking in” email. Consider including other product and service information and benefits.
  • Day 15 – Personalized direct mail with unexpected gift (food product, something fun, etc.). Thank them again for their business and remind them about the importance of referrals for your business.
  • Day 20 – Personalized email – “Hope you like the gift I sent.”
  • Day 25 - Personalized email – “Do you have any questions I can answer for you?”
  • Day 30 – Personal “just checking in” phone call from store owner or salesman.

Step 5
Get your campaign in place with some type of automated marketing platform. For optimum results, your welcome mat marketing should be systematized and automated, which gives you peace-of-mind, knowing everything is happening 100% of the time you get a new customer.

Step 6
Set it and forget it (for the time being). I’m never a fan of simply forgetting about a campaign after it has been loaded into your automated marketing platform. All owners should revisit ALL their marketing from time to time to see if tweaks are necessary.

If this were my business, I would have an even more complex, behavioral-based campaign in place that works based on each individual’s interaction with your campaign, but if all this is new to you, the above framework is a great start. The best thing to do is map out the campaign and figure out your goal at each contact point. Graphically lay out the campaign on paper or in some type of layout program so you can see everything you want to do and need to create.

Here are a few touchpoint ideas you can include in your welcome mat campaign:
  • Thank them for becoming a customer and reaffirm their wise decision to become a customer.
  • Spell out ways they can contact you with questions/concerns/support issues.
  • Introduce your staff and their areas of specialty.
  • Offer other product/service opportunities and give them a “new customer reason” to take action now.
  • Share customer success stories (and invite them to be your next one).
  • Discuss your referral program and how they can benefit from it.
  • If you have a customer newsletter, send them a first issue.
  • Give them an unexpected gift.
  • Allow them to self-identify as a customer wanting more from you (e.g. other products, higher levels of service, etc.).

If all the above has made you go cross-eyed, don’t fret. You can still reap the benefits of welcome mat marketing by sending out a few personalized direct mail letters and getting on the phone. The point is to treat every new customer like they’re a beloved grandmother. Thank them, appreciate them, help them, wow them and watch your business soar!

About Jeff Giagnocavo: Jeff Giagnocavo is co-owner of the retailer Gardner’s Mattress & More and the co-creator of Mattress Retailer Weekly. Mattress Retailer Weekly is shared with you every week so you can get new customers, stay ahead of your competition and increase your sales tickets. Get your FREE subscription by visiting www.RenegadeMattressRetailer.com or text MRW to 484-303-4300.
Read other articles by Jeff Giagnocavo