Earlier in the year, we announced our plans and priorities for 2013. In this post, we described our plans for a new and improved user interface (known internally here as “GoodBed 2.0″), in which we will begin offering mattress shoppers a more personalized guide through the process of deciding what and where to buy.
As a critical first piece of GoodBed 2.0, we have recently released our SmartMatch Mattress Finder. SmartMatch helps consumers find mattresses that are known to be available at nearby stores, and that are a good match for that consumer’s personal needs and preferences.
Ultimately, we expect that many consumers will use the SmartMatch Mattress Finder as a starting point for their mattress search. After answering a few questions about their personal mattress criteria, the Mattress Finder helps consumers discover models and brands that may be a good fit for them. From there, they are encouraged to begin “saving” the beds that look good to them. As products are added to their Saved List, we show them what store(s) they should visit in order to go try their Saved Beds in person!
Once they’re ready to head to the stores, they can take their Saved List with them on their phone, through the GoodBed mobile website. Built like an ‘app’, GoodBed Mobile shows consumers how to evaluate beds the right way while they’re in the store. As they lay on each bed, the app walks them through the simple questions they need to answer to determine how well that bed fits their personal needs and preferences. The app then keeps track of exactly which beds they like best, so they can make a more confident decision after trying a number of different models. Consumers that are less comfortable with smartphones will be able to experience a similar process by simply printing a list of the beds they want to try in a given store, which they can hand to the salesperson and/or use for taking notes during their “test rest.”
For consumers, the Mattress Finder enables us to deliver highly personalized information, which is especially critical in the mattress category, since every person’s mattress needs are unique. For participating manufacturers and retailers, the Mattress Finder will provide a powerful way to drive increased visibility and interest amongst active mattress shoppers.
If you have any questions about SmartMatch, please don’t hesitate to leave us a comment below. We look forward to your feedback!
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Here at GoodBed, our #1 focus is on building a great product. For us, this means both a truly world-class independent guide for mattress shoppers, and an unparalleled marketing platform for mattress companies. While we’ve always felt there is good reason to make product our top priority, we also realize that sometimes, our constant focus on making the product better causes us to fall short on helping our users take full advantage of the existing site! This is why we are so pleased to announce the release of GoodBed 101…
A little background
Over the past 12+ months, we’ve released a steady stream of immensely powerful marketing tools for mattress companies — many of which we make available at no cost whatsoever. It all started with the ability to claim your profile, which we first announced a little over a year ago. From there, we started piling on the goodness — we gave business owners 24/7 access to update their profile information, add promotions, respond to reviews, receive real-time email notifications, find out how many people are visiting their GoodBed profile, and much more.
All of the above-mentioned tools are completely free, and are super-easy to use — and yet, we’ve come to realize that many manufacturers and retailers didn’t even know about them! This even includes many of the hundreds of mattress companies that have already claimed their profiles! Upon realizing this, the magnitude of this lost opportunity to connect with mattress shoppers was simply too much for us to take…
What have mattress companies been missing out on?
As just one example, let’s take the ability to list promotions. If you own a mattress business and you ran a promotion this Veteran’s Day, think what a shame it is that NONE of the many people that came to GoodBed before deciding what and where to buy saw your promotion listed on the site (PS: we’ll have between 100,000 and 150,000 mattress shoppers on the site this month…!).
Worse yet, you may have even paid your local newspaper or TV station to advertise this promotion — only to have most people skip past the ad with their DVR or recycle the newspaper without seeing your ad. And meanwhile, you didn’t even list the promotion for free in the #1 place that consumers research their mattress purchase online!!
If the thought of this missed opportunity is making your stomach turn, it should! But don’t blame yourself, because we are taking full responsibility for not making this more clear to you before!
What is GoodBed 101?
GoodBed 101 is a collection of tips designed to help you get the most out of your GoodBed profile. To access these tips, you first need to claim your profile (which takes about 3 minutes, and once again is totally free…). Once you claim your profile, you can access the GoodBed 101 tips here anytime. And we’ll deliver them directly to your email inbox – one email per week for ten weeks.
Best of all, each tip is something you can do in 5 minutes or less. We know how hard it is to find time for things, and how easy it is to procrastinate. But we also know that for most of us, if we can accomplish a worthwhile task in 5 minutes or less, we’ll do it! GoodBed 101 will walk you through the lowest-hanging fruit with a clear explanation of how to take each action and how it will help.
The real fun of GoodBed is using the site to get more business! GoodBed 101 will get you on your way.
Over the coming months, we’ll be releasing some major changes to the site that will go much further toward connecting local mattress shoppers with specific stores and products in their area. Through GoodBed 101, we’ll make sure that companies that have claimed their profile are informed of these changes and know exactly how to take advantage of them! If you haven’t already claimed your profile, make sure to do so right away so you don’t miss out!
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With all the talk about the role of social media in marketing these days, many brands are turning to Facebook and Twitter in an effort to connect with today’s consumers. Adding further fuel to this trend, there seems to be no shortage of experts proclaiming Facebook and Twitter “must-use” marketing tools for businesses.
So, we thought it would be useful to take a closer look at our unique corner of the world, to see how mattress companies in particular are using these platforms and what successes are being achieved. What is the role of social media in the mattress industry? And what goals should mattress companies be prioritizing with this emerging media channel?
Warning: This is a lengthy (and rather wonky!) post, so if you’d prefer to skip the gory details and go straight for the key take-away’s, just scroll down to the Analysis and/or Conclusion sections toward the bottom!
A High-Level View
As a starting point, we focused our research on our industry’s 5 largest mattress manufacturers and 5 largest specialty retailers. This gave us a more manageable scope, and the success of this group seems like a useful leading indicator, since these are generally the mattress brands investing the most money and effort in Facebook and Twitter.
We started by looking at how these companies have been doing in collecting social media fans. Mind you, we know full well that measuring business success based on the number of Facebook “Likes” or Twitter “Followers” is no more accurate than measuring someone’s professional success by the number of phone numbers they keep in their contact list. But since so many social media campaigns have the express goal of driving Likes and Followers (eg, promotions or contests that you can enter by Liking or Following that company), we thought it would be an interesting metric nonetheless.
Here is what we found:
- Manufacturer A — 258K Likes, 0 Followers* (not using Twitter)
- Manufacturer B– 69K Likes, 5K Followers
- Manufacturer C — 42K Likes, 5K Followers
- Manufacturer D — 42K Likes, <1K Followers
- Manufacturer E — 3K Likes, 3K Followers
Total — 415K Likes, 14K Followers
- Retailer A — 6K Likes, 1K Followers
- Retailer B — 4K Likes, 1K Followers
- Retailer C — 4K Likes, 2K Followers
- Retailer D — 1K Likes, 8K Followers
- Retailer E — 2K Likes, 1K Followers
Total – 17K Likes, 13K Followers
A Deeper Dive on Facebook Engagement
Next, since social media marketing is supposed to be all about “engagement,” we thought we’d take a deeper look at how much consumer engagement is being generated by these Facebook efforts. To evaluate this, we used the statistics that Facebook provides for “People Talking About This” — which provide a total of any and all interactions that Facebook users have with this company through Facebook in the past week. We borrowed our methodology from a recent study conducted by the Ehrenberg-Bass Institute, an independent research group. Accordingly, we then separated out “New Likes” — which are included in the “People Talking About” number — to get a sense for how much existing fans actually engage with the company after the initial “Like.”
|# Likes||People Talking About||New Likes||Engagement||Weekly Engagement (%)|
A Deeper Dive on Twitter Engagement
While we were at it, we decided to take a look at Twitter engagement as well. To estimate this, we used stats on the number of @mentions of each brand over the past 30 days (as provided by Topsy) to get a sense for the frequency with which people are talking about that brand on Twitter. Comparing this with the number of Followers they have gives us a (rough, and probably overstated) approximation of how engaged these Followers are.
Note that these @mentions do not necessarily represent unique users (ie, the same user may be responsible for more than one mention of a given brand). Thus, relative to the Facebook engagement statistics (which are based on unique users), the Twitter statistics will tend to appear misleadingly larger. So, in an effort to make a more apples-to-apples comparison with Facebook, we assumed that each “mentioner” mentioned that brand 2 times in the past 30 days.
|# Followers||# Replies
(7 day avg)
|# Replies / User
(7 day avg)
|Weekly Engagement (%)|
So, what can we learn from all these numbers? Let’s try to add some useful context as to how these numbers stack up, before we summarize our conclusions.
Getting consumers to spread the word about things that may be of acute interest to other consumers — such as special promotions and events — turns out to be by far the best way for most mattress companies to use Facebook and Twitter. As any marketer knows, reach is a numbers game, so let’s take a closer look at some of the social media numbers in the mattress industry.
Overall: In aggregate, the 10 largest mattress brands have accumulated a total of 432K Facebook Likes and 28K Twitter Followers to-date. Facebook Likes are highly concentrated, with about 60% of the Likes coming from Manufacturer A, while Twitter Followers are more evenly distributed. It is very difficult to put industry-level social media numbers in context, but to get a sense for the size of the overall customer base, one can consider that there are probably about 200-250 million mattresses currently in use in the US, of which roughly 75% were likely made and/or sold by one of these companies.
Manufacturers: The 5 largest mattress manufacturers have an average of ~80,000 Facebook Likes. By comparison, the world’s largest company by revenue — Exxon Mobil — has only 8,000 Facebook Likes. On the other hand, successful companies in other industries have been able to amass upwards of 10,000,000 Facebook Likes.
Retailers: The 5 largest mattress specialty retailers have an average of ~3,000 Facebook Likes. Each of these companies has total annual sales that approach or exceed $100 million, putting them amongst the largest 25,000 companies in the US. So does that mean they are also among the largest 25,000 companies on Facebook? Probably not. It turns out there are over 1,800,000 Facebook brand pages in the world that have more than 1,000 Likes.
Much of the buzz around social media comes from the potential to “engage” our customers and prospects in a meaningful way. However, this is much easier said than done, especially for companies in the mattress industry, most of whom have never been known for high levels of customer engagement. Here’s what we found in terms of the success that mattress companies are having in engaging consumers using Facebook and Twitter:
Facebook engagement: On average, only 0.3% of mattress company Facebook Fans engage with that brand or its posts in a given week. While this probably seems very low, the bad news is that the real level of consumer engagement is probably even smaller, since this number includes disproportionately high engagement from employees, vendors, dealers, suppliers, and the like.
The good news is that most companies outside the mattress industry aren’t realizing sustained consumer engagement on Facebook either — it turns out that the average weekly engagement for all Facebook brand pages is only 0.45% and even the best brands on Facebook only have an engagement rate of 0.03% for any given post (that means that for every 10,000 fans, each post results in only 3 likes, comments or shares). This could be partly due to the fact that 4 out of 5 consumers simply don’t want to have a “relationship” with any brand, other than to get discounts from that brand.
Bottom line: consumers are on Facebook first and foremost to engage with their real-life friends, so even when they “Like” us, they are unlikely to engage with us. In fact, only ~3-7% of a brand’s Fans even see that brand’s posts.
Twitter engagement: On average, 0.6% of mattress company Twitter Followers engage with that brand or its posts in a given week. In some ways, it is not surprising that this number would be slightly higher than Facebook, especially when one considers the more “broadcast” nature of Twitter relative to Facebook. People are not following us on Twitter to see pictures of our kids — they follow us because they WANT us to forward them things we think are interesting, and for the same reason they are more likely to forward our things to others.
What happens to engagement as we get more fans: The more Likes we have, the less engagement we get. This inverse relationship has been found true across all industries on Facebook. In the mattress industry, our limited data bears this out as well, seeing that the manufacturer with the highest number of Likes (Manufacturer A) also has the lowest engagement %, while the manufacturer with the lowest amount of Likes (Manufacturer E) has the highest engagement %. Of course, Likes can be accumulated in a lot of different ways, which means that not all Likes are created equally — especially when they have been obtained in large numbers.
The real take-away here is that the way mattress companies truly stand to benefit from social media is as a “reach and awareness” medium, NOT as an “engagement and conversion” medium. The “engagement” that is happening on social media involves only a tiny portion of any given brand’s followers. One can certainly hope that this tiny group of fans can and will have a huge impact — but their impact will be measured in the number of other consumers they reach on our behalf, NOT in the number of fans that we convert into actual customers.
As for how the mattress industry is doing in generating reach and awareness through Facebook and Twitter, it would be fair to say that we are doing about as well as could be expected — maybe even better. Of course, this is another way of saying that we should temper our expectations from Facebook and Twitter in the first place. The key to getting “reach” via social media is in compelling consumers to share our message with other consumers, which is a tall order for companies that historically have only engaged with consumers once every 10 years. However, there is now clear proof that some consumers are willing to engage with mattress companies, at least to some degree.
The question that remains for mattress companies using social media is how cost-effective it will ultimately prove to be for the mattress industry, relative to other available tools for building awareness amongst consumers. While it is tempting to think of social media as “free,” this would ignore the very real resources that are required to design, promote and manage a successful social media presence. For industries that have naturally high levels of consumer engagement, the economics of social media are likely to be compelling relative to other alternatives. But for the mattress industry, the jury is still out.
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It is well-known that the vast majority of mattress shoppers research their mattress purchase online before buying, even though most mattress purchases occur in a physical store. But, where do mattress shoppers actually go for this research?
Looking for some current data on this, we did a survey in April 2012 of active mattress shoppers on GoodBed, asking them what is the most important source of information they rely on when making their mattress purchase decision (only one choice was allowed) — without limiting them to just online sources:
What is the most important source of information you will rely on when making your mattress purchase decision? (select one)
- Sites containing consumer reviews — 63%
- Friends & family — 8%
- Retailer sites — 8%
- Manufacturer sites — 6%
- Salesperson — 5%
- Retailer/Manufacturer Facebook or Twitter pages — 0%
- Other — 11%
We then asked the same question again to a different group of people, but this time allowed them to select multiple information sources, just as they are allowed to do in real life. Here is what we found:
Which information source(s) will you most rely upon when making your mattress purchase decision? (multiple selections allowed)
- Sites containing consumer reviews — 60%
- Friends & family — 22%
- Salesperson — 14%
- Retailer sites — 12%
- Manufacturer sites — 9%
- Retailer/Manufacturer Facebook or Twitter pages — 8%
- Other — 14%
- Sites with consumer reviews are far and away the most important source of information for mattress shoppers. Overall, more than 6 in every 10 mattress shoppers indicated that consumer reviews are the single-most important source of information to their purchase decision.
- “Friends & family” are a popular “other source” for information, but rarely are they the most important. Roughly 1 in every 5 mattress shoppers indicated that “friends & family were an important source of information, making it the second most important information source overall.
- Company pages on traditional social media sites — ie, Facebook and Twitter — simply do not play an important role in influencing mattress purchases. When asked to name the most important source of information, not a single respondent chose “Retailer/Manufacturer Facebook or Twitter pages.” When given the opportunity to make multiple selections, this was once again the least-selected option, and it was not once selected by itself as the only important information source.
- For people that rely on “sites with consumer reviews,” this is almost always the single-most important source of information for them. As evidence, the percent of people that selected this as one important source (60%) was virtually the same as the percent of people that selected it as the most important source (63%). More surprisingly perhaps, we can also see that for these same people, “sites with consumer reviews” are most often the ONLY source of information they will rely on — in looking at the individual response data, we found that over 70% of these respondents selected no other information sources as ones that are important to their decision.
- There does exist a minority of mattress shoppers that does not rely much on consumer reviews. For these people, the most important source of information is “friends & family,” followed by a roughly even split for “salesperson” and “manufacturer / retailer websites.”
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The best advertising in the world has always been “word of mouth” from real customers. But in today’s digital world — where over 85% of mattress shoppers research their purchase on the internet, and more than 2 of every 3 relies on reviews to help them make their purchase — conventional word of mouth is no longer enough. Today, you need to build online ‘advocates’ by making sure that your happy customers are sharing their experience on the web — and, in a place where active mattress shoppers will find it and trust it.
Much has been written about the critical importance of “monitoring” your online reputation — but online reputation is not just about playing defense. Increasingly, smart businesses are getting proactive with their online reputation by actually encouraging* their customers to submit reviews.
Why would you encourage your customers to submit reviews of your products or stores? There are two extremely important reasons:
- Greatly increase your chance of getting reviews from happy customers. Fortunately, happy customers vastly outnumber unhappy customers. Unfortunately, unhappy customers are much more naturally inclined to submit reviews — especially in the mattress category. Net, unless you encourage your happy customers to share their experience, their perspectives will not be accurately represented in your online reputation.
- Products and stores that have been reviewed get more business. Consumer reviews have long been proven to increase sales (even negative reviews are better than no reviews, especially for brands that are less well-known).
So, how can you turn your happy customers into valuable online advocates for your products or stores? Here are some helpful tips on that:
- Decide where you want consumers to submit reviews. Of course, consumers are free to submit reviews wherever they want, but most would rather post a review (whether positive or negative) in a place where they know you’ll see it. That said, be sure to provide an option that is independent and unaffiliated (consumers don’t trust reviews on company websites).
- When choosing which review site(s) to recommend, make sure to look for the following:
- Fair and balanced environment** — you don’t want reviews happening on sites with names like RipOffReport or PissedConsumer, where there is a natural bias against against businesses.
- Automatic e-mail alerts when you receive new reviews** — you don’t want reviews happening in some dark corner of the internet.
- Special response privileges for business owners** — you want to be able to respond to a review when you feel it’s appropriate, as a thoughtful and reasonable response can make a negative review even better than a positive one.
- High visibility amongst active mattress shoppers** — positive reviews don’t do you any good unless your prospects will discover them; and, when an issue arises, fixing it in front of your prospects turns a ‘customer service expense’ into ‘free marketing’.
- Just ask them! Getting your satisfied customers to share their experience is often easier than you think. For example, if you receive a thankful email or Tweet, let them know that GoodBed is a place where other mattress shoppers will benefit from their experience. There is a strong sense of camaraderie amongst mattress shoppers, so a consumer that has emerged successfully from the process is often glad to share their experience with their “fellow soldiers still in the trenches.”
- Publicize your reviews. Reinforce the cycle by linking to your GoodBed profile and other review pages from your website, invoices, newsletters and social media sites. This is the most subtle way to encourage reviews, and people that find your reviews before they buy are typically more willing to write a review for you after they buy.
Of course, not every happy customer will choose to write a review, but the impact of those that do will be large, and will allow you to manage your online reputation from a position of strength.
* While we encourage you to solicit legitimate testimonials from your customers, it is critical that you follow our review guidelines, which means no providing incentives for reviews (eg, discounts or freebies), and no reviews from biased parties (eg, friends and family).
** GoodBed is the leading independent research destination for mattress shoppers. To help mattress companies benefit from the power of consumer advocacy, we provide a free service for any manufacturer, retailer or store manager that allows you to receive an email notification any time a review is submitted relating to one of your products or stores, and also gives you the ability to respond if you wish to do so.