We hosted a webinar with IFA in September to discuss localized advertising for multi-location businesses. Lindsay Ellis of Re-Bath joined our CRO, Peter Durand, to talk about the complexities of advertising for multi-location businesses at scale. Here are some highlights from the Q&A section of our webinar.
Pete: What's the biggest challenge you were trying to resolve by finding a digital partner for your advertising?
Lindsay: When I started almost two years ago, we had all of these different vendors for so many different things. So we said we need to simplify how many vendors we have and what specifically we’re doing for digital.
The first thing we have to tackle is digital because we've got a lot of different franchises. Digital is one of our two most important lead sources. Broadcast and digital mean we need somebody that understands franchises, that understands the home improvement industry and then understands how to take a national brand and bring it down to a hyper local level. And that's where we said, let's first tackle our digital vendors. We do allow our franchises to use local vendors. But we said we're going to put out three preferred vendors. Netsertive is one of them as we were really impressed with what they did. They were always very, very well versed on the franchise, digital marketing and how to take that marketing to a hyper local approach.
Plus, Netsertive brought in all these new ideas. In marketing, you tend to get stagnant and you're not really seeing the new ideas. That was one thing we really liked when our partnership with Netsertive started. We brought Netsertive on as a sort of strictly digital partner and then we brought others onboard who were full service agencies. And what that solved for us is we now are growing our digital footprint. We're doing some new things that we hadn't been doing before. We're looking at targeting and taking it to a local level, looking at the competitive landscape in each person's metropolitan area, looking at their keywords and the pricing on their keywords and being really nimble in each of their markets. We’ve moved a lot of our franchises over to that and are really happy with the leads that are now coming in, because not only are a greater number of leads coming in to our franchises, they're seeing conversions. So it's great to get the volume, but you want the conversions, too. It's really helped us in all facets of growing our digital footprint.
Pete: What are you hearing from the franchises when it comes to new digital advertising initiatives? Have you adjusted your efforts to make sure that Re-Bath continues to lean into digital?
Lindsay: Digital advertising is important to the franchises. And it's where they saw things declining. And I will tell you where we were looking at a decline last year in digital efforts for a lot of the franchises. This year, we're up about 20 percent in digital as far as leads across the network. There's a lot of things that go into that.
But I think part of that was the shift in vendors was the simplification. The other thing is, too, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention this. A lot of our franchises, we're using local vendors, too, and we don't allow every single vendor to integrate into our system because that creates all kinds of security problems. It slows down your performance. We basically said if we're using a local vendor, it would behoove you to look at our three new preferred vendors and choose one, because you guys have the ability to integrate into our system to put tracking pixels and ATM codes. And it helped us to give them a solution that they were able to really see the results and attribute their results to their digital efforts. So the feedback has been nothing but wonderful.
Pete: How important is flexibility around demographics and seasonality? You've got partners and franchises in different parts of the country. Is seasonality a big deal to ReBath?
Lindsay: Seasonality is huge and it's not so much where people are located. It's more in line with home show season. That's different, obviously, because Covid picked up right around February, March. But normally our biggest months are January, February and March because it's home show season. And then we continue into April and May. Things slow down a little bit in the summer and then around the holidays, everybody's spending money on gifts. So they're not thinking about spending money on their bathroom.
That's really important that we can be flexible for seasonality. And then as far as demographics go, we have our core demographics that are pretty consistent across the country. But there are some places where it differs. If you get a place like, for instance, Fairfield, Connecticut, I take this as an example, because they will tell me all the time we skew a little bit younger. We're more in the thirty five to forty five range. And the socioeconomic status, the annual income is higher than what we see in other parts of the country. So having that flexibility is really important.
Pete: So what are some new advertising opportunities looking like for ReBath in general? And have any of your local franchises started those conversations?
Lindsay: One of our expectations is that we want to move into doing YouTube advertising. That's definitely important from a national level. There’s also more conversation around connected TV now. We're not totally convinced that our demographic has one hundred percent cut the cord on traditional TV. However, when the pandemic hit, we said, well, now everybody is home watching TV and streaming.
And now we do have a lot more cord cutters. We have some of our franchises that have tried it and it hasn't been very successful for them yet. But I am a firm believer that having a program that is backed by corporate that has been tested is something that will help give them best practices and lead to their success. This is something that I see us rolling out and we've been talking about as a test probably in twenty twenty one with an early twenty, twenty one with an optimism of our franchises so we can do a program around it and then the program with best practices. They really know how to go about putting a program together and talking to their local companies.
Pete: Are your franchises employing other tactics outside of digital?
Lindsay: Absolutely. When we talk to the franchisees, we say you need to have a good marketing mix. Almost all of them are using TV. They're on their local CBS, ABC, NBC affiliate stations. They're using digital for sure and the majority of them do home shows. And then we've got some that are using direct mail, some they're using mail like Valpak and Clipper magazine. We've got others that go in local publications, do ads, local publications and then some.
One of the big things for us is outdoor advertising. It's not super expensive to do it, to do the outdoor advertising, but it's the yard sign. So what we're doing is with his bathroom, we've got a yard sign saying that we best remodeling their bathroom. We've got door hangers that we put on people's doors. Most of our franchises are doing that as well.
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