The Sales That Houzz Built

Spa dealers building a strong Houzz profile to obtain more leads

When backyard renovations are on the agenda, homeowners often look for pictures of completed projects to start their brainstorming. And with more than 40 million unique users a month, Houzz has become the go-to platform for home design and renovation.

“People invest in spas 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. “And there’s no site that does a better job of showcasing what they’re after — what that lifestyle is going to look like when you hire a professional — than Houzz.”

Like other major social media players, a Houzz account is free for homeowners and professionals. Hausman recommends new users start with the Find a Pro directory for the professionals in your area. For hot tub retailers, she recommends regularly adding new content and customer reviews.

In addition to frequent profile updates and reviews, Hausman says differentiation is important for standing out 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 include:

  • Professional photography to showcase your work
  • Ask customers for reviews and make it 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 badges (free) to your profile for earned certifications and memberships (like the APSP) to show homeowners you’re legit

Bill Renter, who manages the social media for Best Hot Tubs in the greater New York area, posts images to the company’s Houzz account weekly. “I think the key with Houzz is having good photography,” Renter says. “If you’re not good at it, hire someone. The more stuff you have on the internet, the more you’re going to get found.”

Bill Bean, senior account manager for Deep Ripples, a search engine optimization company in Indianapolis that handles social media for Royal Spa, says Houzz was part of a reputation management effort for Deep Ripples. “As the number of Houzz users has continued to grow, we’ve added efforts to generate leads and encourage customer reviews,” Bean says.

Houzz rewards pro users who continue to put effort into their profiles. The Best of Houzz awards program consists of two categories that recognize professionals with top-notch profiles. The Design Award is given to pros whose photos are being saved to the most idea boards. “Simply by doing the things that make their profile and their presence on Houzz strong and consistently uploading new projects throughout the year, pros are eligible to receive this award,” Hausman says.

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The Service Award goes to professionals consistently receiving positive reviews on projects completed in the past year, as well as other activity. When a professional wins either of these awards, Houzz provides a free promotional tool kit to encourage bragging rights. Houzz also provides resources to help professionals implement best practices toward the goal of achieving the Best of Houzz Awards, including webinars and e-books.

Virginia Leisure of Chesapeake has been on Houzz since 2015, but owner Doug Robinson admits it’s been nearly a year since the company has posted anything new on the profile. “It’s just a time factor,” Robinson says. “If we worked Houzz more, it would be better for us.” For Robinson, social media is second to TV advertisement and pay-per-click ads. He says he makes time for secondary mediums during the offseason.

Asking for reviews is easy, Robinson says: The Virginia Leisure sales team collects email addresses from customers at the time of sale. On big-ticket items, he plugs the emails into a Houzz feature that sends a review request to the customer.

Subscription upgrades are available for pros on Houzz and, after a year hiatus, Royal Spa has reinstated paid efforts. “The first attempt did not yield leads or website referrals,” Bean says. “I’m hopeful with the growth of the Houzz user base that we’ll see better results this time.”

This year, Houzz launched the Pro Plus Power Package, with new tools for website building and management. “This is a program that tries to take even more of the marketing work off the small business,” Hausman says. “Somebody comes to your Houzz profile and that looks great, but then they click through to your website, and it’s not mobile friendly. If they can’t use it on their phone, that ruins the experience. So we want to make sure that pros provide a consistent, well-branded experience.”

When a hot tub retailer adds photos or receives a new review on their Houzz account, it’s instantly available on the company’s website as well. “We’re really trying to make it as turnkey and consistent as possible,” Hausman says.

Robinson says the simplicity of using Houzz is appealing and he expects his offseason updates to the company’s profile will glean positive results. “You don’t have to hire a digital or internet guy,” Robinson says, “which is always nice.”