A few weeks ago I wrote a post about Houzz and how I adopted a strategy that worked for me when I felt like I was rather trapped into keeping my profile up on their site.
Here is that post, you should check it out if you are a designer.
That strategy is still working and I reported some stats in this post I wrote the week after, that you might be interested in seeing.
In my Houzz post, I also mentioned Kate O’Hara, who was about to speak at the Design Bloggers Conference on Houzz strategy for designers. She is part of a very successful design firm, started by her mother, Martha O’Hara Interiors, who has received so much traffic and big project work from Houzz.
Kate commented on my post and suggested that she would be sharing some more of their strategy in her DBC talk. I was glad to have her comment and was anxious to hear what she had to say.
I’m sharing some of my biggest takeaways that I learned from her here today, if you didn’t attend the conference or if you were in the alternate session at DBC. I met her later in the conference and we were able to discuss in person as well.
She is a real marketing wizard, I have to say.
All Designers Seem To Share The Same Concerns About Houzz
First of all, she and their firm have some of the same concerns about Houzz that we all do.
One of the biggest has been the hangtags placed on photos and then the product that populates beside designers’ professional photos, basically shopping their room with the random vendors on Houzz.
As we all know, many of the vendors they offer up are not the same products that are in the photos, they are lower cost items typically, since Houzz is basically trying to appeal to more of a mass consumer audience.
Many designers feel that sort of dumbs down the design of the space and uses their images to sell product that Houzz makes money on, leaving the designer out of that profit.
It can also be offensive to many clients, who would not really want to see a bunch of cheap furniture look alikes tagged on the images of their homes. It just creates a bad situation for the designer.
Perfect Statement To Add To Your Houzz Images
Kate acknowledged this in her talk and shared how their firm is now dealing with it.
They include this statement on each of their photos on Houzz and in their main profile.
"Please Note: All “related,” “similar,” and “sponsored” products tagged or listed by Houzz are not actual products pictured. They have not been approved by Martha O’Hara Interiors nor any of the professionals credited. For information about our work, please contact email@example.com."
I have to say, I thought that was genius. After checking their Houzz profile I found how they answer the random inquiries that designers often get about where some of the products can be purchased.
"Thank you for your inquiry! These Custom Bernhardt Sofas are available through Martha O'Hara Interiors. If you would like more information and pricing, please feel free to contact us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. Best, Martha O'Hara Interiors"
Good response, right? “Custom” means that it is not available with a link click. They gave enough info to be informative, citing the manufacturer, but basically it is difficult for the end user to recreate that exact sofa with an online click link purchase.
It’s not that they are trying to hide information, even from Houzz’ user base, it is simply that an interior design practice does not go out and buy retail items and install in client’s houses. Right? So they are being completely honest here.
Here was another response I found to a question on a light fixture.
"Thanks for asking! This Made Goods Chandelier is available through Martha O'Hara Interiors. If you would like more information or pricing, please feel free to contact us directly at email@example.com. Best, Martha O'Hara Interiors"
They do supply the manufacturer’s name here. Of course, anyone can google that and find it then from a variety of retailers. However, I would say that at least people might go to Google then rather than Houzz to find that item.
Here’s one more response to a question on a chair.
"Thanks for the great question....! This Custom-made Lillian August Chair is available through Martha O'Hara Interiors. Please feel free to email us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information and pricing. Best, Martha O'Hara Interiors"
You can see that they have adapted their attitude of sharing info on Houzz while still holding on to the integrity of their project.
If you don’t feel like you can just throw in the towel over on Houzz, I think this is a great option.
Houzz Potential Project Inquiries
Another comment she made during her talk was that they definitely try to get their inquiries or potential project contacts off Houzz as soon as possible. They do not have back and forth conversations on Houzz with people who are inquiring about potential projects, but use that lead as an intro to email, call or refer them to their website for more info.
As she said, why keep up the conversation on a site where there are so many other designers popping up all over the screen every time they scroll or click a link? Move them away from the site for more correspondence or contact.
Here is their profile on Houzz.
Here is their website full of beautiful, high end work that really shines no matter where it is located on the internet.
If you don’t want to jump off Houzz completely, then Kate shared some valuable info that you should consider.
If you want to learn more about the petition that many of us have signed to try to get Houzz to pay attention to our concerns, please visit this link HERE.
Don't Feel Like Your Houzz Results Are Your Fault?
BTW, I know that often people who don’t have luck with Houzz feel like it is their fault or that they are doing something wrong to not get any good leads. I know that Houzz tells you what they want you to do to get seen organically in the algorithm and many people, including me, followed their instructions for awhile.
Of course, if one is not getting results, there is a tendency to look within or see what you might be doing wrong. Maybe you have not optimized your profile, have not gotten reviews, have not provided beautiful imagery to share on the platform.
I’ve got to say, I don’t get leads these days from Houzz and it is not because I haven’t tried or used best practices recommended by them.
Here is my profile check up that Houzz provides me. Pretty good, I’d say.
Here is my profile with 19 reviews.
I have 32 projects with 262 photos uploaded onto their site that have been there a number of years. All the after photos are professional photos, shot by a professional photographer unless they are “Before” shots and are then tagged as such with Houzz’ system. They have been optimized and labeled pretty well, in my opinion.
Doing what they say doesn’t get you guaranteed results. I’ve chosen to remain on the site with minimal interaction, automating as much as I can so that I can appear responsive but not waste time or give them traffic, such as I described in my previous Houzz post.
moving on in the future
Can you just hop off their site, taking down all your photos and leave a note that perhaps explains why?
However, I felt that....
......on a website where I had been active for many years,
......a website where thousands of my images had been uploaded into ideabooks,
......a website where at any point in time, given my blog reader base and significant design work in my community and then remotely around the world,
......that someone at some point might be looking for me on Houzz.
I felt that I needed to keep a profile and some type of communication.
I also didn't feel that expressing my disappointment with Houzz on my profile, on their site, was fitting for what I wanted my business to project in that particular location.
The people that likely would visit my profile there would not understand all the ramifications of my commentary about why I left Houzz, nor would they care.
They would be looking for information, imagery, design inspiration, possibly a way to contact me, and it might be offputting to an average user of Houzz.
Do what feels right for YOU
I recommend you do what feels right for you. I recommend you pause and consider before jumping to do something that perhaps might affect how a potential client who happened on your profile there might perceive you.
Learning about all the options available can hopefully help guide your path.
If it is one thing I have learned in blogging it is this.
No one really cares about YOU.
When someone comes to your site or to your profiles on other sites, they are coming to be entertained, educated, informed or inspired.
They are looking for what you can do for them.
It's funny, I have this one reader that, to be honest, I've taken off my email list before. She keeps coming back on. She keeps subscribing.
I didn't want to ban her, but I was a little tired of her comments at one point. She has reprimanded me in the past. She lets me know when I start appearing a little elitist and when she feels I am talking down to the non-designers.
At first, I got a little upset. This was my blog, if she didn't like it she could leave.
However, she also comments positively when I've been exceptionally helpful to the more typical homeowner/end user coming to my site. I've gotten to where I look forward to seeing her comment in that way because it means I'm projecting the kind of image I want to send out into the world.
I try to always keep that top of mind.