19 Apr PR For A Furniture Company
How Saxen Office Furniture Does Its Own PR
Saxen has three websites and three different marketing groups. The online store is saxen.co.uk which includes home and office furniture. For the local Scottish market there is saxen.com with an office furniture showroom, offering local businesses a planning, design and fit-out service. There is also a specialist ergonomic website (www.ergocube.net) which offers advice via the website or telephone and products. Ergonomic workplace assessments are also offered locally. …phew!
Do Your Own PR spoke to Nicola Gillespie of Saxen to find out how they do their own PR.
What PR have you had so far?
- Product shots in publications – examples: pink blush chair for a pink theme, red chair for a “get the look”
- An interview on a working from home nationwide networking website which was also posted via social media.
- Ran two separate competitions via social media (twitter and Facebook) to win an office chair and the other a desk.
- Gave a desk to a Bloggers networking event in London for a raffle – posted on their website and also on social media.
- Gave a desk and chair for a winners prize for competition run by a home networking group and a desk for a runner-up prize. Promoted on their website and also on social media.
- Applied for the local West FM Cream of Ayrshire Award. Successfully nominated for the category Best Workplace and came runner-up.
- Website launched in November 2012 – press release and blogs
- Ran a competition with the local school to design an office chair – a press release and blogs
- Sent invites to local press for official showroom launch in January 2013.
- Day of launch – offered cookery demonstrations by local Cook School and tours of an old lace mill (next door) to keep interest.
- Press release after event and blogs, write up in local paper, on local council webpage etc.
- Website launched in November 2012 – press release
- Press release locally to promote ergonomic workplace assessment
- Product shots in publications.
Tell us about what you’ve done to get that coverage?
We have signed up for the media request lists from Homes4Media (many are not appropriate, e.g. they are about kitchens & bathrooms) but there are some looking for gadgets (ergocube), chairs, bookcases, home office furniture etc (saxen.co.uk). We have also signed up for some other website media request lists with varying levels of success.
Prepared a press list initially for saxen.co.uk and obtained forward features lists. Have since prepared one locally for saxen.com. Some publications from each list can be used for ergocube.net but also need to look at adding more ‘health’ type publications for ergocube.net.
Started a blog (August 2012) which was initially only for saxen.co.uk but is now for all three websites.
Initially started a monthly Newsletter – now reduced frequency. We have social media (linkedin, twitter, Facebook, google+ and pinterest) set up for Saxen. Post on each regularly. Have increased followers on twitter and Facebook with competitions. Recently ran a networking event for local businesses from the showroom to help promote saxen.com and ergocube.net in the local market. Helps to get people talking about the showroom. Recently launched a YouTube channel for Saxen and have been looking at effect of embedding YouTube videos into the blog.
Currently planning an ergonomic campaign. Have had meetings with an occupational physiotherapist and a McTimoney chiropractor. Both are happy to recommend and promote the ergocube products and happy to be interviewed for our campaign.
How much time have you been spending on promotional activities?
Everyday to some degree. If I receive a media request we could respond to I try to do so immediately. Also do some sort of social media every day. Write and post between 2-3 blog articles a week.
What PR activities have you found work for you?
Media requests are a hit/miss as I haven’t found any related solely to the office furniture market. The product shot for the pink blush office chair did bring more traffic to the website for a short period. Although we have been running google analytics for some months we have only recently added the ecommerce section so it is impossible to know if this generated sales.
Targeted competitions such as the one for the bloggers and the one for the home networking group generate some interest and tend to provide appropriate social media followers with more likelihood for potential sales. Again as we did not have the ecommerce for GA at the time these competitions were launched it is impossible to know at this early stage.The blog has increased traffic to the website – patience is required as it takes around 6 months.The Saxen linkedin page (social media) and the employee profiles successfully bring traffic to the website.
And which ones don’t?
Competitions we ran ourselves via our own social media initially create a lot of interest (increased social media followers) but didn’t appear to generate any sales. The new followers tending to be ‘competition seekers’. The prize too seems to make a difference. For example the office chair (which could be used easily in the home) was far more popular than the home office desk which perhaps less people can accommodate.
Difficulty sourcing publications. There is only one specific publication for commercial office furniture and they tend to feature and promote designers and larger organisations rather than the smaller B2C companies like Saxen. Some home type publications may have a feature on a home office but they won’t do anything similar for another couple of years.
Social Media is mixed. Linkedin as mentioned is beneficial in bringing traffic whereas Twitter and Facebook have mixed results. Have more recently started Saxen pages on Google+ so and Pinterest and currently working on increasing followers on these two sources to see if they have any more benefit.
Monthly newsletter was too much. Noticed clicks were dropping off so stopped for a couple of months and re-started less frequently every 2-3 months seems to get more click throughs.
What do you enjoy least about PR and promoting yourself?
Promoting yourself is a bit like sales so if you’re not a natural sales person (I am not) it can be difficult. It is easier when you are doing something for your family. Saxen is owned by my sister-in-law and my mother. I feel I am promoting them and their company rather than myself. Sometimes you meet or speak to someone that is rude or abrupt but that happens in all walks of life. Saxen offer stylish, quality products and an exceptional customer service – having faith in the company is a confidence boost.
What’s been your highest point so far Publicity-wise?
Not big things – there are two things I initially remember giving me a buzz. Both were a couple of months into starting. After weeks of writing things and answering media requests and wondering if you’d ever get anywhere… the first time I saw something I had written in print and saw a product shot in a publication – huge smiles. Also after starting the blog and getting my first comments, likes/shares etc.
What have you learnt so far?
To answer this I would need to write a book. I have learnt much about writing, getting the right title can make a huge difference which isn’t always easy. The importance of trying something and giving it time and then looking back to see if it has or has not been successful. Much, much more and I am continuing to learn every day…
Do you have any time management tips for other people who are doing as much as you?
When you try something new decide on a period of time to run with it. Then look back and see if it has or has not been successful. Depending on results then adjust your time management accordingly. For example the newsletter I have reduced and the twitter and Facebook frequency have also been reduced. The blog has been increased and due to the increase of followers time on pinterest and linkedin needs to been increased. Be prepared to move the goal posts around once you know what is working.Try and not run too many ‘new’ projects at once. I have made this error and something will always have to give.
What are your plans for the future?
We are currently working on an ergonomic campaign which will predominately benefit ergocube.net. We have sent out a survey to get some stats and are collating articles at present. Due to start a competition in 7 publications and on 7 websites in mid April with two voucher prizes for saxen.co.uk
Also, continuing to work with social media. We have just had social media buttons added to each product on the saxen.co.uk website and plan to monitor this.