Pool builders obtain qualified leads through their active Houzz business profiles
By Michelle L. Cramer
If a backyard renovation is on the agenda, homeowners will look for pictures of completed projects to start brainstorming for their own. And with more than 40 million unique users a month, Houzz has become a highly popular platform for design and renovation photos.
“People invest in pools for [a certain] lifestyle, and nothing communicates what someone is going for better than a photo,” says Liza Hausman, vice president of industry marketing for Houzz.
Form Pools & Spas in Riverton, Utah, has used Houzz as a portfolio and for lead generation for more than three years. Chip Galloway says the company sees two to three pre-qualified leads a week through Houzz. The fact that these leads are pre-qualified — since Houzz lists a cost range for services on each profile — is important to Galloway.
“I can’t tell you how many times I’ve met with clients who will be showing me an idea board on Houzz, and then they’ll be looking at pictures and say ‘Oh, this one’s from your profile — I didn’t even realize that,’ ” Galloway says. “They’ve saved a lot of our stuff because it appeals to them, but they didn’t even consciously know it was ours.”
Michelle Sparks, marketing and client services manager for Pool Environments in Plano, Texas, is on the company’s Houzz profile every day, answering questions from leads and posting new content. “Our niche clientele have done their research before they even contact us, so Houzz helps with the vetting process,” Sparks says. “They know upfront the type of work we do and how much our projects are. Usually the leads we get are very solid from Houzz.”
Galloway says a Houzz profile allows Form Pools to stay at the top of homeowners’ lists, even years later. “It places our name on the images [they save], so even if that project is two years from now, when they go back through their Houzz boards later, we’re at the forefront of their minds,” Galloway says. “Whereas, with other leads, if you don’t close the deal now, in two years they may not even remember you and will call someone else.”
Sparks says the platform is a huge lead generator for Pool Environments and that the designers utilize it in back and forth communication with those leads. “Sometimes the client doesn’t understand the lingo of the business or what to ask for,” Sparks says. “They just know they like certain pictures and save those and then share their Houzz idea board with our designer. And so the designer gets an idea of the scope of work the client wants to do.”
Just like the other major social media players, a basic Houzz account is free for homeowners and professionals alike. As you get started on the platform, Hausman recommends using the Find a Pro directory, looking at the professionals at the top of results for your area and pay attention to how they maintain their profile. “Use them as a benchmark because I guarantee you, they’re definitely doing well with Houzz,” Hausman says.
She also recommends adding new content and obtaining new reviews from customers regularly. “If you created a great profile in year one and you haven’t done anything with it in four years, you’re probably not seeing a whole lot happening,” Hausman says.
J.F.Y. Pools in the greater Chicago area started a Houzz account more than three years ago. While the company didn’t initially start a profile to generate leads, owner Nichole Ruble says it’s an excellent perk of being on the platform. “I believe the best success comes from the time put into it,” Ruble says. “The more time spent developing your Houzz profile and concentrating on your strengths as a company, the better success you will have.”
Differentiation is also important on Houzz. “Given that people are doing all of this research in advance on their own before they even pick up the phone to call you, what are you doing to distinguish yourself and make them want to call you versus someone else?” Hausman says. Her recommendations for a successful Houzz profile include:
- Professional photography to showcase your work
- Make asking customers for reviews part of your sales process
- Think about the questions homeowners ask you and answer them in advance in your business description
- Talk about how you work with and communicate with clients
- Add free badges to your profile for certifications and memberships (like
- the APSP)
The Best of Houzz awards also help your profile stand out. The Design Award is given to pros whose photos are saved most often to the most idea boards. The Service Award goes to professionals who are consistently receiving positive reviews from users on completed projects, as well as other activity determined through an algorithm Houzz utilizes.
Form Pools received the Best of Service Award for 2018. “I think the review process is more valuable on Houzz than other platforms,” Galloway says, adding that he sends review requests to clients after a completed project.
Success on Houzz, says Sparks, is not about quantity but quality. She suggests starting your profile with one or two professionally photographed projects and build upon that. “It’s just like a garden — you have to water it to get it to grow,” Sparks says. “You can’t just upload a few pictures and then never go on it and check your messages. You have to interact. It is time consuming, but it’s been beneficial to us or we wouldn’t do it.”