3 Surprising Facts to Drive Home and Garden Digital Marketing

As a retail category, home and garden is massive, and includes home improvement, furniture, decks, landscaping, lawn tools and the like. If you've ever thought about updating your kitchen, you already know this is an expensive retail category: The average cost of a kitchen remodel in 2014 was $55k! It's hard to enter Home Depot or your local garden shop without dropping a few hundred bucks.
As we enter the truest home and garden season, let's look at some key facts about this category, and understand how those facts drive strategy for paid search advertising. For more insights about home and garden, check out this presentation created by the folks at Bing Ads.
FACT ONE Home and garden has a Black Friday.
This means great deals and a great opportunity to connect with consumers looking to get an early start on their house projects. Home Depot and Walmart kicked off Black Friday on March 21st last year - setting in motion a trend that consumers love and retailers want to be part of.
If you're a home and garden business, whether small and local or large and national, piggy-backing on the Black Friday established by giants Home Depot and Walmart can drive your own sales.
Black Friday Strategy
Knowing that the nation-wide home and garden black Friday will come at the end of March, get your paid search ducks in a row three ways:
  1. Begin testing ad copy early. Track which combos get the most clicks and the most conversions. These are your winners, and will help you build a robust keyword list. For example, the ad copy that doesn't show great results gives you the keywords that you want to negative from your account. Ad copy that works well demands a higher bid.
  2. Make sure your ad budget is in order and well-supplied for this end of the month spending. Budgets often expire on the last day of the month, which could leave your campaign dark. Double-check payment methods and make sure your budget is covered at the end of March.
  3. Start tracking the competition for top keywords in early. A tool like Bing Ads' Campaign Planner can show you what advertisers are bidding for specific keywords, and you can look at their performance over time. This will tell you exactly what you're up against - how high you need to bid to show up ahead of your competition and what their trends are over time.
FACT TWO: Home improvement weather hits at different times across the country.
Total US home and garden retail spending is expected to hit $335 billion in 2015. Much of this spend is concentrated in the spring months of March, April and May. May is National Home Improvement Month. But May in Minnesota doesn't look the same as May in Louisiana. Using the calendar to building your paid search strategy can be a mistake - it's smarter to build a strategy based on geography.
Timing Strategy
  1. Take a close look at the obvious and respond appropriately. National chains should time the release of their paid search ads to coincide with the shift in temperate weather across the country. Rolling out a Spring Fever special in Colorado in March is laughable; but in New Mexico is makes perfect sense. Smaller, local home and garden businesses should be responsive to their local climate as much as possible.
  2. Be ready to respond to unexpected weather cues. A late-spring snowstorm means you need to adjust your lawn care ad to include snow blowers and snow shovels.
  3. Home and garden retail is best friends with springtime holidays like Mother's Day, graduation and Father's Day. Build off the momentum of these holidays to create ads that appeal to those consumers.
FACT THREE: Food gardening spend has grown 40 percent in the last five years.
One in three households have a food garden. This equals a spend of $3.5 billion annually. The fastest-growing age group is 18-34 year-olds, who have taken up the artisan and homegrown shovel with great enthusiasm. We can expect to see more growth from this age group, and even more food gardening across all age groups in the coming years.
Targeting Strategy
  1. Think carefully about building your keyword lists to hit the food gardeners in other likely areas. Adding keywords relevant to home canning supplies or garden baskets and decorations can show your food gardening ad to an interested audience.
  2. As with our timing advice above, key into the specific planting and growing seasons for individual crops and target your ads at these times. A special apple picking tool will be much more interesting during the peak season of September - November, less so in early May.
  3. Tailor your food gardening paid search ads to your region. Use your knowledge of food gardening to help educate your audience, offering an ad for heirloom tomato seeds on a query for "raised beds." This kind of specific targeting can yield great success.
1. Remodeling.net, 2014 Cost Vs Value Report, 2014
2. KDM P.O.P Solutions Group, April 2014
3. National Association of Home Builders, Baths Edge Kitchens for Most Common Remodeling Project in 2013, May 2014
4. National Gardening Association Special Report, 2014

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