It’s no secret that DIY has become increasingly important as homeowners, often strapped for cash, choose to do it for themselves. And the virtual world is where they find guidance, answers, lessons and inspiration.
Popular magazine EasyDIY will now be making it easy for its readers – and a whole new community of ‘DIYers’ to access that world via a portal [easyDIY.co.za ] designed to help them make, maintain, restore, improve and of course, garden. Instead of having to surf the net to find the answers they need, it will all now be housed under one roof, so to speak.
Content manager Julia Boltt says while the site will carry magazine content, it will deliver so much more than a digital version of the print product.
“Yes, there will be some magazine content on the site, but not all the magazine content will be carried on the site. There will be news and updates, but initially news will be posted for relevance and not on a daily schedule. There will be daily updates from Ask Eddy and Top Tips as well as new content loaded on a weekly schedule,” she says.
“Ask Eddy has an anticipated turn-around time of 48 hours or less, depending on which experts we have to contact for an answer. We are hoping that the response time on the bulk of questions will be within 24 hours.”
The nature of DIY means users often need technical advice and this will be delivered by Ask Eddy as well as a technical team. They will provide practical and useful information and advice that will grow a participative community of DIYers.
Of course, video is a powerful way to show users just how it’s done. “We are looking at video content from a variety of sources, including some originated by easyDIY, some from our panel of industry experts, as well as user-generated content that readers/visitors will be able to upload on to the site,” says Boltt.
Wag the Dog Publishers commissioned research to help its team develop the site. It found that of the 15 000 respondents surveyed, 54% search for new ideas to improve their homes and look for special offers and 70% agree that it is worth paying more for quality. Fifty-five percent clean and maintain their own pools. A majority of the respondents said the most important room in the house is the kitchen and most believe in being as green as possible.
And what kind of DIY are they doing? The survey revealed painting was important, with 55% doing it for themselves; general repairs 36%; restoring 27%; plumbing 16% and tiling 15%. While DIY is a national pastime, men take most of the doing while women share, with men doing, the buying. Research shows that 80% of the audience are homeowners from urban areas and 20% from the rural areas. 55% of these are male and 45% are female. The target market is LSM 6-10.
The EasyDIY portal has no direct competition, says managing director of Wag the Dog, Ronell Buitenbos. “There is no direct competitor site per se, but anybody after the same ad revenue is deemed a competitor,” she says.
The site will be launched with a marketing campaign that includes social media advertising, print ads in EasyDIY magazine, billboards and Citilites, as well as at the Rand Easter Show. There will be a Facebook fan page, a Twitter feed and a YouTube channel for the video content.
“So far we have not had the ad rate come up as an objection, we will be signing up banner ads and not cost per click as most sites do these days,” says Buitenbos.
The publishers have a solid history in the DIY industry having launched DIY Trade News in 1986 and Home Handyman in the early 1990s. Buitenbos says easyDIY.co.za aims to form a partnership with advertisers who recognise value, are flexible with their offerings in terms of added value that goes both ways, and are committed to meeting all sales targets, thus ensuring its sustainability.
DIYers have different skills levels, and the portal will cater to that, as projects will be graded according difficulty. They will be able to access tips, hints, and plans, and will also be able to tailor their newsletters to reflect their interests.
The site goes live in March.