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FloorCon 2020: A New Standard in the Flooring Industry

Written by Broadlume on . Posted in Blogging, Community Growth, Digital Marketing, Strategy, Trade Shows

First and foremost, our sincerest thank you to everyone who attended FloorCon 2020! You helped make this inaugural event a true celebration of the flooring industry. 

We hope you had a great time, received a glimpse into the new and powerful technology that will power the future of flooring, and learned a wealth of information about the art of Digital Retailing. We already can’t wait to #FindYouAtFloorCon again next year (hopefully in person)!

Whether you want to catch up on everything you may have missed during the event (or whether you simply want to relive the excitement), read on for all the highlights from FloorCon 2020.

FloorCon by the Numbers

Across two days, FloorCon was attended by a combined 2,860 people (and counting) in the flooring industry via Facebook Live, YouTube Live, and posted content.

In addition, FloorCon boasted:

  • 500 Gift Bags Sent To Dealers
  • 7 Sponsorship Partners
  • 6 Master Classes
  • and 3 New Product & Partnership Announcements

FloorCon Day 1: Foundations

FloorCon’s first day wasn’t short on excitement (and not just because of appearances by David Hasselhoff and Mr. Wonderful!) Here are some of the highlights from FloorCon Day 1: Foundations.

FlooringStores United

After opening addresses by industry leaders John Weller, Michael Vogel, and Todd Saunders, Broadlume led off the day with a bang by announcing FlooringStores United

Broadlume’s flagship marketing program, FlooringStores United includes an integrated suite of powerful sales tools, a year-round calendar of turnkey digital marketing promotions, limited distribution access to products from top-level manufacturers including JJ Haines, Raskin Industries, and Revolution Mills, an early look into Mohawk’s new Omnify program, and much more.

As Broadlume’s VP of Enterprise Caitlin Tateishi explained, FlooringStores United provides dealers with the integrated tools, data, and products they need to move customers through the floor buying process quickly and seamlessly—a process Broadlume has termed Digital Retailing

This online-to-offline experience will remove many of the traditional points of friction that exist today when a customer searches, shops, and buys flooring—and it promises to elevate independent flooring dealers like never before.

DealerHQ

And as part of the FlooringStores United suite, Broadlume also announced the official launch of DealerHQ—Broadlume’s proprietary lead management platform. 

This all-in-one dashboard provides flooring dealers with up-to-the-minute leads and performance reporting, an easy way to compare reports, and the details of each and every customer that interacts with their store’s content and ads.

Plus, dealers can read, listen to, and respond to every email, phone, and text-form lead that comes in—right in their DealerHQ dashboard, alongside their customer notes and history.

And to help dealers interpret this powerful data and use it to create personalized strategies that sell more flooring, Broadlume will provide every FlooringStores United dealer with a dedicated Digital Account Manager. 

Armed with this data, usability, and expertise, Broadlume aims to give independent flooring dealers an unfair advantage over their competition.

Podium Interaction Management

Broadlume also announced its partnership with interaction management company Podium.

Podium Interaction Management allows dealers to directly chat with customers on their websites, communicate internally with in-store team members, collect payments, and easily schedule and confirm in-home estimates. And it’s all accessible through DealerHQ!

This ensures that each and every flooring retailer has the context needed to give customers an amazing, frictionless shopping experience both online and in the showroom. 

With Podium, asking questions, booking appointments, and sending pictures to a customer is as easy as sending a message—making it easier than ever to transform online conversations into offline sales.

Online-to-Offline Visualization

In a day that was not short on product announcements, Broadlume’s Chief Product Officer Dimitar Alexandrov delivered one of the most intriguing presentations with his introduction of the Broadlume Visual Shopping experience.

The Broadlume Visual Shopping experience provides the first step in Digital Retail by bridging the gap between the online website experience and the offline showroom experience. 

This is accomplished using:

  • Augmented reality (AR) product visualization tools that allow consumers to find products on dealers’ websites, and then see how those products look in their homes using a smartphone. 
  • Built-in messaging platforms that allow dealers to connect with consumers instantly through chat, text, or phone.
  • In-store visualization kiosks that allow RSAs to help guide conversations with consumers who have already researched and selected from online product catalogs. 
  • E-commerce sampling that bridges the gap from offline to in-store.

And perhaps best of all, every one of these features is integrated seamlessly into DealerHQ.

With 70% of flooring sales now starting online, consumers expect an easy, personalized experience that helps them make an educated buying decision. The Broadlume Visual Shopping experience helps dealers provide that experience—and the sale that follows it.

Virtual Mill Tours, Tools of Digital Retail, Happy Hour, and More

But of course, the first day of FloorCon wasn’t all product announcements and demonstrations. It provided a wealth of fun industry information and networking opportunities, too.

Virtual mill tours of Foss and Revolution Mills gave flooring dealers an eye-opening, first-hand look into the way the products we sell are manufactured. 

Broadlume’s Director of Website Jennie Lottimer presented on the Tools of Digital Retail in order to give dealers an in-depth look at what goes into building and operating each and every flooring website. 

And of course, Broadlume Chief Revenue Officer and co-founder Dan Pratt taught attendees how to mix the perfect old fashioned while dealers talked shop, asked questions, and networked. All in all, it was an absolutely one-of-a-kind experience.

FloorCon Day 2: Floorplan

FloorCon Day 2 was packed with master classes and showcases designed to elevate local flooring dealers. Here are some of the highlights from FloorCon Day 2: Floorplan.

Introduction to Digital Retail 

After recapping all the excitement of FloorCon Day 1, Broadlume Chief Innovation Officer John Weller took center stage for a holistic, educational, and fun master class on the necessity of Digital Retailing.

According to a KPMG consumer study highlighted during John’s presentation, 58% of consumers said they preferred to shop online because they were able to do so 24/7. Another 54% preferred it because it allowed them to price-compare. And 40% said that online shopping saved them time. 

John’s presentation showed that these metrics make one thing clear. Digital Retailing—creating an integrated, frictionless website-to-showroom floor buying experience—has never been more necessary for flooring dealers.

Google Presents: How Consumer Behavior has Changed and Flooring Insights (with Joanna Chick)

When Broadlume announced that FloorCon master classes would be led by industry experts, they were not exaggerating. That’s why Joanna Chick, Head of Co-Marketing at Google, was asked to lead a presentation on changes in consumer behavior—and how those changes affect flooring dealers. 

Joanna, whose focus is helping small businesses grow, shared some truly eye-opening Google metrics and explained how those metrics should affect dealers’ priorities moving forward. A few key takeaways:

  • Mobile usability has never been more important. 
  • Consumers’ attention spans for information that does not apply to them is shorter than ever before—but their attention to targeted information is higher. 
  • Consumers expect a frictionless buying experience. 

The smartphone revolution has accelerated the need for a seamless buying process that begins online, that uses personalized information to move a customer through the sales funnel, and that ends with an informed RSA selling that customer exactly what they need. 

In short, it has accelerated the need for Digital Retail. The future of consumer habits is changing—and flooring dealers should take note.

Master Class: Hiring the Best (with Susan Weller)

Have you ever had issues with your hiring process? According to recruitment professional and FlooringCareers founder Susan Weller, you’re not alone. In this fun and engaging master class (which followed a pep talk from Shark Tank’s Mr. Wonderful), Susan covered the fundamentals of successful hiring within the flooring industry. Hint: you need to invest if you want to hire the best!

Master Class: Shop at Home (with Joe Zago)

Joe Zago (owner of The Carpet Guys) opened his master class by explaining that when he moved to Michigan in 2009, he had less than $1,000 to his name. But today, he owns and operates a $30 million shop-at-home business. 

In this wildly inspiring master class, Joe demonstrated how he used a shop-at-home flooring method to disrupt the Michigan flooring industry—and how flooring dealers around the country can do the same. 

From heavily investing in advertising to outsourcing digital marketing and website design (in order to focus on selling more flooring), Joe’s master class showed us exactly how he became The Carpet Guy.

Master Class: Saving Money with Tax Tactics and Software (with Patrick Ferries)

Patrick Ferries, COO of RollMaster, followed up Joe Zago’s master class with an equally valuable course of his own. And when it comes to successful tax tactics and software for the flooring industry, there’s no-one who knows more. RollMaster is a business management system designed specifically for flooring companies.

The bottom line: if you’re not utilizing the Use Tax, you’re leaving money on the table. And since Quickbooks doesn’t allow or account for Use Tax, you need to be sure to find a tax management system that does. 

Master Class: Navigating PPP and Upcoming Tax Laws (with Bob Saunders)

Continuing on the subject of taxes, FloorCon’s final master class of the day was an informative course on the state of the PPP—and what flooring dealers should know about upcoming related tax laws. 

Presented by Bob Saunders of Robert Saunders CPAs LLC, this course covered everything that has changed about the PPP program since its inception, the elements that are expected to change moving forward, and how these changes will impact flooring dealers.

If you received a PPP loan for your flooring store or tuned in to Bob’s previous Broadlume webinars on the subject, this is required watching. 

Closing Address and Flooring Trivia

In the true spirit of the flooring industry, FloorCon 2020 wrapped up with a mixture of education, friendship, and fun. After a heartfelt closing address by Broadlume CEO Todd Saunders, FloorCon attendees were invited to participate in a rousing game of flooring trivia (also hosted by Todd)—complete with prizes for the winning team! 

All in all, it was a wonderful way to end a wonderful event.

We Can’t Wait for FloorCon 2021!

Once again, on behalf of the Broadlume family, thank you to everyone who attended FloorCon 2020. You helped make this event one of the most fun, educational, and memorable events in the history of the flooring industry. We can’t wait to see you—and those who were unable to attend this year—at FloorCon 2021!

FloorCon 2020 Sponsors

We’d like to take this opportunity to thank our fantastic sponsors who helped make FloorCon 2020 possible:

Lumination Sponsors

Podium

Podium is the ultimate messaging platform for local businesses. With Podium, it’s easy to conveniently connect with customers, drive new business, and communicate internally all through one seamless platform: DealerHQ.

RollMaster

RollMaster software is one of the premier flooring specific business management software products on the market today, providing complete flooring automation with numerous business and marketing application interfaces.

Wagner Meters

The mission of Wagner Meters is to create and provide solutions in moisture measurement technology in order to enhance the quality and value of their customer’s products. Wagner is proud to provide tools and resources for flooring professionals to succeed in today’s “digital-first” business environment. 

Accu-Cut

Accu-Cut has been building time-saving carpet cutting machines and equipment since 1990. As a Broadlume partner, Accu-Cut is excited to continue helping flooring dealers meet their business and personal goals.

Interweave Sponsors

Floor Covering News

Floor Covering News is the strongest link in the retail floor covering chain. For the past 30 years, retailers and distributors have turned to this publication as their preferred read for the information they need to succeed.

Perfect Vents

Perfect Vents strives to add new products that retailers can use to differentiate themselves from the box stores and grow their businesses and bottom lines. Everyone at Perfect Vents is thrilled to be a part of FloorCon 2020! 

MeasureSquare

Since 2001, it has been MeasureSquare’s mission to provide retail flooring dealers with the best in-field estimating and quoting tools in order to empower growth and profit, while streamlining the customer journey via shop at home and showroom business models. 

Why Are Company Blogs Important?

Written by Amanda Marotta on . Posted in Blogging

A lot of businesses may not initially realize it, but company blogs can be detrimental to your brand. In the grand scheme of things, a company blog may be at the back-burner of your mind, but it can serve an essential purpose. In fact, 53% of marketers say blogging is their top content marketing priority. With marketing professionals placing a heavy-focus on blogs, it seems pretty obvious that it is a fundamental aspect of branding.

So you may be wondering, how can a blog really affect my company that significantly? We are glad you asked! Today, we are going to take a look at six reasons why company blogs are valuable. Let’s get started!

Boosts Your SEO

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the organic use of a search engine to promote traffic to a website (aka how you are discovered). A blog can help boost your SEO by feeding content to search engines. In doing so, businesses will utilize keywords to target customers within their market. Keywords help to make a blog page more discoverable and seen by a relevant target market on search engines.

Provides Authenticity

Having a blog gives your business a name for itself. When a consumer is searching for information on a product and discover your brand’s blog, they are able to learn first-hand from an expert. This expert-to-customer conversation discreetly gives them insight into your product line. In fact, most customers will not notice that they are hearing a sales pitch when surrounded by the content in a blog. You can actually help persuade buyers into choosing your products and your business through a well-thought-out blog post.

Gives Insight on Relevant Topics

When a customer is looking to make a purchase, especially a significant investment like flooring or countertops, they tend to do their research. Having a company blog gives your customer first-hand knowledge into your entire product line. It lets you be the professional/expert and can guide the customer back to your website to initiate a purchase.

Stands out from Your Competitors

We get it; blogs take time and effort. With that being said, your competitors are probably thinking the same thing. In fact, you can get a leg-up on your competitors by providing an insightful blog. Also, you will want to remember that just because you have a blog does not mean that you need to post to it every day. You can actually work out a posting routine that works best with your schedule (i.e., weekly or monthly) and build the blog’s content from there.

Blogs Are Shareable

The spectacular thing about blogs is that they are multi-functional. While they provide the opportunity to redirect customers to your website, they are also shareable. In fact, your blog’s shareability is one of its most significant features. For instance, you can share your blogs on social media to redirect traffic to your blogs then to your website. Plus, if you produce quality content, others will share your blogs, further expanding your company’s reach and making your brand look more authentic and reliable.

Builds Relationships with Readers & Potential Customers

Lastly, you will be able to build quality relationships with your readers and potential customers. This factor is crucial in the grand scheme of things. You want to be an approachable and knowledgable brand, and a blog can help you accomplish this. It gives you the resource to reach potential customers and build relationships in order to initiate a purchase.

Did you know that Creating Your Space offers custom blogs? We help take the guesswork out of creating and scheduling blogs and help your business put its best blog forward. To learn more about our blog packages, visit us here or below, you can view our easy-to-read one sheeter:

*Prices and terms subject to change

Increasing Blog Traffic to Increase Business Revenue

Written by Amanda Marotta on . Posted in Blogging

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Writing meaningful blog content can be one of the most important things that a writer can do. Without purpose or drive, a blog will seemingly fail. As you begin curating content, you may stumble across the question “what will make my content more successful?” As almost all writers wonder this at one point in their career, you have decided to take action. 

Now before we begin, there is no “one” right way to blogging; blogging is a form of art. You will find in this industry that every writer curates their content differently and can see a vast amount of success from it. As you may already know though, blogging can be a powerful tool for your business. With the use of blogs, you can promote your brand and grow your earnings. You may be thinking “Yeah, that sounds good. Tell me the secret.” Like we previously mentioned, there is not just one way to blog but using a blogging checklist is one way to increase your blog’s traffic to help grow your business’ revenue in the future. Let’s take a look! 

Focus on a Specific Genre. 

As we previously mentioned, without purpose or drive, your blog may not be as successful as you hoped. Having a specific genre that your content falls under can help your business gain a following from visitors who want to see that content often. For example, if you own a flooring store, your blog content should be framed around the home because flooring goes in a house. You would not want to do a clothing/fashion blog because that is irrelevant to your business’ genre. Once you have successfully created a genre and geared your posts toward it, you can begin to pitch a soft sale. Merriam Webster dictionary defines a soft sell as “the use of suggestion or gentle persuasion in selling rather than aggressive pressure.” Blogs are the perfect place to incorporate soft sales. You can gently put the idea of a product in consumer’s minds without being forceful or letting them even know. But before we can get to the step of soft selling, you will want to curate strong blog content. If you are unsure on how to structure your blogs for the most success, you will definitely want to check out our blog writing checklist:  

A Blogging Checklist. 

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  • Is the topic applicable to your blog series? 

A great way to create traffic and increase views is by staying on topic. You want your blog content to be relevant to the rest of your content within your blog series. If a topic is different from your blog series, make sure you relate it back to your page’s main concept. Often times, viewers come to a blog post in order to see relevant or like-minded content, when we post obscure and irrelevant things it can tarnish our value in the viewer’s eyes. 

  • Is your post timeless? If not, is it supposed to be short-lived? Is that addressed in the post?

The remarkable thing about timeless posts is that they stay relevant for years to come. For example, have you ever stumbled across some really fantastic blog content and afterward, looked at the date. To your surprise, it may have been written over five years ago. These bloggers have grasped the concept of creating compelling, timeless content. Now, realistically it may not always be relevant or easy to do a timeless piece. If that is the case, you can create a time-specific post, for example: “2018 Hottest Flooring Trends,” and state in the title that it will only be relevant for one year. Short-lived posts definitely have their benefit because they can create hype on time-relevant items, fads, or trends. You may see a lot of success from your time-specific content but be sure to not create an entire blog series off of short-lived posts. 

  • Is the title short and purposeful? Does it match the writing style? Does it reiterate your topic? Will it interest readers?

You will want all of your titles to be short, sweet, and to the point. You want a title that intriguing enough that it does not give away all of the information, and interesting enough that the reader wants more. Plus, you want the topic to be reiterated in your title. There is nothing more frustrating than being pulled into a blog post that is entirely irrelevant from its title. Ideally, you want to use words in your title that will intrigue the reader, and believe us, it can be hard sometimes. You may end up spending more time on brainstorming the perfect title than you did writing the post, but often times, it is well worth it. A successful title can help you be found more through SEO as well as intrigue readers. 

  • Does the text feature keywords? Are the lists in bullet points? 

Keywords are a difficult technique to master. In short terms, the successful use of keywords can help your blog be found through search engine optimization. Unfortunately, Google does not supply us with a list of keywords to be successfully found, so we just have to guess. We think that keywords can be considered “trigger” words because they trigger emotions, meaning, or action

An example of an emotional trigger would be “budget-friendly,” a meaningful trigger would be “expert,” and an action trigger would be “must-know:”

    • With the word budget-friendly, readers who are on a budget are emotionally drawn to the content. 
    • With the word expert, you are giving meaning and purpose to the source. 
    • With the word must-know, you are expressing a call-to-action for the readers who must-know. 
  • Does it have a strong ending? Does it end with question, invitation, or call to action? Does it answer “So What?” 

One of the most essential parts of a blog is the ending. Just like any movie, it can be completely tarnished with a sucky ending. To help make a powerful ending, you want to draw together what you talked about in a brief conclusion. You can even highlight a few of the points previously mentioned. But no matter what, you will want to end it with a question, invitation, or call to action. All three of these options will get the reader engaged with your blog. Here are some examples: 

  • Are the paragraphs short?

Short and brief paragraphs help get your point across faster, which in the blog world is key. You want to make your points brief to keep the attention of your readers while being complex enough that your readers feel like they have learned something. 

  • Does the text sound natural? Have you read your post out loud? 

One of the most significant mistakes writers can make is not reading their content aloud. Believe us, it really can help you. Once you read your content aloud, you can hear any weird wordage or mistakes. If it does not sound natural out loud, now is your chance to fix it. 

  • Is the image eye-catching? Is it relevant to the text? Does it give the reader an incentive to click on the post? 

Lastly, you want to have an appealing image to draw the readers to your post. It should be aesthetically pleasing and relevant to your text. For example, if you are writing a blog on how to organize your messy closet, you would want your image to be a clean, good-looking closet, not the disorganized, messy shot. You will want to do this because sometimes the image is all the reader takes away from your post. If you only have a picture to capture the reader’s attention, might as well make it a good one. 

We encourage you to save this blog writing checklist and reference it while you write. It can help guide your structure and create the most powerful and time-worthy content possible. Thanks for reading and if you want more blog advice, be sure to subscribe to our email list. 😉