High-end clients bring higher profit margins, they elevate your reputation and can present opportunities to the most amazing projects that (bonus) also helps your design portfolio really stand out.
Whether you’re a seasoned interior designer or just starting out, targeting high-end clients is no easy feat, and we understand that. You’re probably wondering if it’s even possible to capture the attention of clients with bigger budgets? Especially when they’re unlikely to respond to the marketing strategy you use to attract your usual clients? We do believe it is possible and have even done the legwork for you so that you don’t have to. And, while luxury clients can feel like mythical creatures of design days past, they are going somewhere, searching for answers to their interior design challenges – which BTW you also have the solution to.
To attract luxury clients, you’ll need to differentiate your service offering – make it personal. These clients demand bespoke – so you’ll need to do your due diligence to know what’s going on in their minds so that you can offer the design solution they so desperately want.
Using these five proven tactics, luxury clients won’t seem unreachable anymore as you’ll be able to draft the perfect marketing strategy to attract and retain them.
Let’s get started right at the beginning: So, just who are these luxury clients anyway, and what defines the luxury market?
Who are these High-End Clients?
In its most simplistic definition, luxury clients are those clients with bigger budgets. But, deep pockets isn’t the only factor that deems them as high-end – there are a number of other well-documented attributes for clients within this niche market.
According to a 2009 study published in the Journal of Fashion Marketing and Management, consumers from the luxury markets generally look for exclusive items in an attempt to distinguish themselves from others. Hence they often hold exclusivity or the rareness of products as higher value as opposed to its functionality.
These clients are primarily part of the upper-income class and they are more likely to be exposed to upmarket media publications from which they draw endless inspiration. Another research paper published in the Journal of Marketing Theory and Practice in 2000, identifies the five main factors that impact luxury consumption being:
- Store atmosphere
- Patron status
While luxury clients are willing to pay more for unique and high-end services, they also tend to have higher performance expectations. This doesn’t only relate to the end result or the final product, instead, they expect the entire experience to be incredibly efficient, personal and streamlined. They are successful, well-researched individuals with incredibly busy schedules and prefer not to be a part of every decision that you make for their project – an attribute your regular clients would normally appreciate.
So if you want to create a strategy to attract these well-heeled clients, these factors and client behaviours need to be considered to enable you to draft your ideal client profile.
How to Create a Luxury Experience?
Luxury experiences are all about personalisation and high-end experiences so an average product or service won’t stand up to the definitive demands expected of the clients who occupy this market. That being said, your entire client experience needs to be distinctive. From your initial meetings and the design package you create to paperwork and cabinets you choose, everything has to reflect exclusivity.
Luxury clients have high expectations and strong opinions, especially when they are paying more for a better service. However, contrary to popular belief, this doesn’t always mean that they’ll only choose the best or the most expensive product. Some high-end clients who like to choose their own products may want to go for something that does not work with your proposed design. In some cases, they might even want a cheaper alternative to a product that you’ve recommended, and in such scenarios, you’ll have to let them take this decision after sharing your thoughts on the consequences as it relates to overall design aesthetic.
As you can see, even with a high-end project, you won’t always have full autonomy or control to execute your design vision. Many luxury clients, especially younger cohorts and self-made clients with strong entrepreneurial interests have adopted the always-involved mindset, having cultivated their own success with maximum involvement in everything they pursue. Naturally, these types of clients would want to be a part of the decision making process to get the best value for their money. It’s important to try and ascertain from your meetings with your clients where their headspace is and pay careful attention to certain nuances and cues to understand how much or how little your client expects to be involved in the project.
Zero in on the Details
The tiniest details can often be the most time-consuming part of a high-end interior design project. Without losing sight of the bigger picture, you’ll need to focus on every aspect of your project – and this includes the little things – to create a truly luxe experience and end product for your client. As an example, let’s say you’re meeting your client for coffee to run through the project status. Even though you may enjoy (as we all do) our regular hit of Starbucks (hey, salted caramel frappuccino), your high-end client is going to expect something a bit more sophisticated – even if it’s just for coffee. Remember, these types of clients hold luxury brands in high regard, and they are very particular about where they are seen noshing or grabbing a cup of brew.
Other examples that you can include to enhance your client experience from beginning to the end of the project is sending a handwritten thank you note after the client signs a contract or engagement letter with you. Include a box of chocolates or a premium bottle wine to round off the sentiment. Small gestures like these can help build your brand image and make your clients feel that they’ve signed up for something special.
Now that we’ve covered some background on this luxury client segment, as promised, here are our tried-and-tested strategies to help you attract and retain a steady flow of high-end clients:
1. Build your Brand
If you want to attract luxury clients, then your digital footprint needs to reflect that perceived brand value that illustrates your level of professionalism and expertise. Your business website is your online space to connect with your dream clients. Here are some of the distinguishing features of a premium website:
- User-friendly with a simple layout
- Unique, eye-catching and minimalist design with a limited colour palette
- Fast loading speed on all devices (mobile, desktop etc)
- Easy navigation
- Beautiful high-quality imagery that enables clients to see your work
- Clearly-defined Unique Selling Propositions (USPs) – the what-sets-you-apart stuff
- No distractions such as ads or a bazillion pop-ups
- Clear Call to Actions (CTAs) that allows clients to take the next step
According to Ipsos, 78% of luxury customers will do online research before making a purchase, so your digital presence including your social media channels and website experience could attract or repel luxury clients.
While the adage, “one and done” might be a good mantra to follow on a girls’ night out, it doesn’t apply to your online presence. Content for elements such as blogs or social media posts need to be frequent so as to build trust and brand credibility.
Remember, in order to attract high-end clients, your brand needs to be reflective of their needs. Everything you upload online will impact your brand, negatively or positively. So, before using your business’ social media accounts for a 3 am rant about a supplier, think again. Side note: Sipping and social media is the new drinking and dialling – still not a good idea. All the content you send online has to reflect your professionalism and your expertise, so ensure that you apply a quality control stage in your process. Remember, sometimes it’s a good idea to take a step back and return to your screen after a short break. Often, if we’re working on things too long, we cannot always pick up errors.
2. Good Photography for the Win
When a client looks at your website, they’re not as interested in reading your brand’s history as they are in seeing your past projects. If your project images don’t exude the sense of luxury, chances are that you’re not likely to grasp the attention of a luxury client for too long.
Many designers are unable to capture the images of some of their best projects as some clients post-project refuse to share them. Instead of facing this disappointment at the end of your project, inform your client at the outset that the project will be photographed – assuring them of the strictest confidentiality of course. This doesn’t mean that you should just take a few happy snaps from your mobile phone either. Enlist the services of a photography student with a penchant for architectural design or a professional photographer, if your budget allows. Give them a mood board of some of the image styles you want to capture and advise them where it will be used. This way, they also understand the best way to depict the setting.
Many interior designers choose to photograph their projects themselves to save costs and time. The price of beginner-level cameras varies between £370 to £750 so investing in one will be much more economical than hiring a photographer for every project that you do. However, if there’s a luxury project that you’ve completed and it looks magazine-worthy, hiring a professional might be a good idea, considering your end objective of attracting luxury clients with those images.
Remember, no matter how hard you’ve worked to deliver a stunning design, poor image quality and sub-par editing can impede your ability to attract the next luxury client. Leveraging beautiful, high-quality images is part of your sales armoury – it’ll speak volumes for your brand while you’re still blithely unaware that you’re being scouted by your next client.
3. Surround yourself with Good Company
If you want to attract luxury clients, you need to surround yourself with the right brands and partners who share the same goals as you. For example, many interior designers in the UK have opened a free trade account with us as this gives them access to luxury furniture brands at special prices, insight into the latest news and product launches – and having this insight is something that their high-end clients appreciate.
Taking these steps and making use of such premium partnerships can go a long way in helping you attract your dream clients. Surrounding yourself with the right people is also a key step in establishing your authority and credibility in the luxury market. When clients see that you’re associated with a brand that they trust, they’re likely to put their trust in you too.
4. Use Content to Build their Trust
The best way to build a luxury client’s trust in you is to show them that you truly are an expert in what you’re doing. There are several ways to do this, apart from surrounding yourself with the right brands, you’ll also have to make your content feel valuable. While you can keep a certain amount of content as premium, it is your free content that makes all the difference.
Any free events that you organise, podcasts, articles, newsletters and even your social media posts need to show that you’re an experienced professional with expertise that a client can completely trust. Your luxury clients will also appreciate seeing you go the extra mile and providing content or tips for free that other people would charge for. So use your WordPress blog or Instagram posts to share the highest quality, inspirational content that you can create and if you don’t have the time for this, you can hire freelancers to do it for you under a well-defined marketing strategy.
5. Review your Pricing Strategies
If you’ve been offering market rates on your website for budget-friendly clients, you’re not likely to attract high-end customers with those packages. Price is not a concern for most luxury clients and they’re willing to pay more if they believe they are getting more value.
So review your pricing strategy as well as your competitors because if you’re offering a significantly lower rate than others, clients may assume that you’re not providing quality or that you are inexperienced and don’t know how to price your work correctly.
Luxury clients usually associate higher prices with higher quality so along with the right prices, you also need to highlight quality and exclusivity in your marketing campaigns. Many interior designers are not charging what they are worth because they’re afraid of losing clients. But the truth is, good work speaks for itself and you’ve earned the right to charge for what your skills and your time are worth.
Remember that if you haven’t worked with luxury clients yet, it won’t happen overnight as luxury markets take a longer time to access. Building a premium brand for your business takes time and effort.
To this end, it is mission-critical to get organised and have a handle on your projects, so that you can build up a strong brand reputation and leverage this to attract those luxury clients. There are many tools on the market, but we love the fully brand-agnostic ProjeX tool that enables seamless client collaboration including client comments and approvals, the capability to share project progress and design options in real-time.
Cloud-based and built for interior designers – the platform will normally cost $99/month, but it’s currently free on a limited-time promo campaign. Sign up here.
Now that you have the tools to maximise your profits and the capability to source any product from any website, all you need to do is implement these proven strategies and start your journey to attracting luxury clients.
Remember, clients, luxury or otherwise, buy a solution and that’s you. Evaluate the design services you want to offer these high-end clients and go do that. Your brand is going to keep your business growing for years to come, so it’s always a good idea to invest in it.