Do you own an interior design business but can’t figure out your marketing strategies?
Is your business growing slowly but you still feel stuck because you can’t seem to acquire a steady stream of clients?
Are you dreaming of the days when you’ll have a number of clients, a profitable interior design business and become a leader in the industry?
If you’ve answered a resounding yes to any or all of these questions, then here are some practical tips and steps on how to establish a successful and highly sought after business with the right marketing tactics.
1. Start by Identifying yourself, your Clients and your Brand
Before you begin to devise marketing strategies, you’ll need to understand what makes you tick.
What inspires you?
What are your strengths?
What makes your design different from the rest?
Why should a client choose you over another interior designer?
Your answers to all these questions need to be very clear to enable you to uncover your uniqueness and let your clients know what they’ll be gaining when working with you. You should also use these answers to draft a bio for yourself and make it a part of your website, portfolio or social media like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Linkedin.
However, in today’s competitive market, identifying yourself is only the first step in a series of strategies that is sure to put you on the interior design map.
The next step you need to embark on is researching your target audience or your ideal buyer persona. Researching your target audience and creating buyer personas will give you a clear understanding of your ideal client. Using research and a series of simple questions and answers, you’ll have a better understanding of a client’s behaviour and what influences their buying decisions. Once you understand your target audience a tad better, you’ll be able to create more strategic and effective marketing tactics.
The simplest way to do this is by jotting down things they follow or like reading, for example, what groups or pages they are following on social media, what age group they fit into, are most of them married or single and most importantly, what are their pain points? Some other things you would want to look at are your client’s job titles, education level, income level and design preferences. You’ll then use this information to draft a profile or buyer persona of your ideal client to help you implement marketing strategies that target this group of people who are deemed to be best suited to respond to your marketing campaigns and outreaches. If you’re having trouble getting new leads, here are some Powerful Ways to Reach New Interior Design Clients.
The next step before you move on to creating a marketing strategy is to identify your brand.
Is there a story behind the brand?
How do you define yourself on a brand level?
What are the goals and motivations that drive you?
What distinguishes your brand from its competitors?
What values do you and your team members share?
By answering these questions, you should be able to draft a very clear branding statement that defines your brand and highlights the value it can deliver to potential clients.
2. Draft your Content Marketing Strategy
In this age of digital marketing, websites are usually the first point of contact between your brand and a potential client. So the first step would be to build an impressive, professional website with your logo and portfolio. The design industry is all about aesthetics, so your website should showcase your best work through the use of high-quality images and visuals. When potential clients visit your website and see how stunning your past projects were, they’re highly likely to get in touch with you. And, to move these potential clients into action, nudge them to take the next step and get in touch with you by including a Call to Action button at relevant sections of your website.
Call to Actions include phrases or words such as: Sign up, Connect with Me, Get Newsletter and so forth. As an example, see how we’ve made use of Call to Action buttons or CTAs on our fitted wardrobes page. On this page, we’ve used, talk to a wardrobe expert, schedule a virtual design consultation and book a showroom visit as creative devices to encourage the reader to take action.
If you don’t fancy yourself much of a writer, you can always hire a copywriter and a website developer to create a website for you. But, if you don’t have the budget for it, the easiest solution is to create a WordPress website. These websites are quick and simple to manage so you won’t be dependent on anyone if you’re stuck or looking to apply updates. There are many places offering WordPress beginner courses. With a number of built-in themes, templates and YouTube tutorials, you’ll easily be able to create a website that’s functional with a smart and clean design. If you’re developing the website yourself, the four pages that you must include are:
- About page (Tells the client who you are)
- Contact us page (Tells the client how to connect with you)
- Products and Services page (Tells the client what you offer)
- Home page (Gives the client a succinct overview of your business)
Once you have a website, there are tons of content that you can create in the form of blogs that will ultimately bring traffic to your website. Since you’ve already identified your ideal clients and their pain points, you can start by writing some how-to articles that address their challenges. These articles will show your clients that you’re an expert in solving the problems they’re facing and it will once again, increase the chances of attracting new leads. In terms of frequency, we recommend posting blogs at least once or twice a week for the best chances of ranking high on Google search results. To make sure that you’re making the best use of your time when it comes to marketing, here are 5 Tips from Designers on how to Save Time.
3. Master Your Budgeting Skills
Many new design businesses fail because of poor budget management that tends to turn potential clients away. Before you launch your marketing plan, create a budget of how much you’re willing to spend on it this year and what timeline will be followed as it relates to the spend. Even if you don’t have a big marketing budget, there are many tools designed specifically for small businesses to market themselves on a budget.
Finally, have a measuring strategy. Measuring your successes goes hand in hand with the creation of a marketing strategy. There are a number of free and paid analytics tools that can help you measure how well your marketing strategy has performed. Using these tools, you can assess what worked and what failed and how you can optimise your strategies for better results.
Apart from marketing budgets, there are a number of expenses and business finances that you need to keep track of. Using workflow platforms specifically designed for interior designers to help you manage a more efficient business while maximising your profits is highly recommended. In addition, it’s important to master your cash-flow by having cost-effective vendors, a well-developed pricing strategy and accounting tools to effectively manage other expenses like sales tax. You can get more budgeting tips from our blog, Tips to Help Your Client Stay Within Their Budget.
4. Keep Track of your Competitors
In order to assess your own business success and marketing strategies, it’s important to keep a track of your competitors. Look at how other interior designers in your area are getting their work. Assess what their website offers that yours doesn’t, what are their strengths and weaknesses and what online marketplaces or social media channels are they marketing or advertising their businesses on.
By researching your competition, you’ll be able to stay abreast of their marketing tactics and be able to reconfigure your strategies accordingly. When you’re offering something different and unique, your website visitors are more likely to convert into leads and ultimately long-term clients.
5. Master a Niche
As interior designers start out, it’s pretty common for them to take on every project they can get their hands on. However, some of these projects tend to zap too much of your time and energy and offer a low Return on Investment (ROI) yield. In the same way, there are projects that you’ll love doing even if the profit margin is smaller. This may not be a bad thing at all, since these niches are often what resonates with you the most and are projects that you excel at. These are the projects which help you build your portfolio and get more clients in the long run.
Find your strengths and market your brand with a focus on that niche. This could be anything that brings out the best in you – from home offices to creating child-friendly interiors. This boutique offering can be highly sought after, so market your brand as a specialist in these areas. It’s important to always maintain a balance between projects you love and projects that pay the bills. Having a diversified project stream also ensures you build up the requisite experience on the journey to building your interior design empire.
Growing a brand isn’t always easy, but with some clever marketing tactics and business tips, it can be a little easier. Check out our tried and tested tips on growing your interior design business.
6. Leverage the Power of Email Marketing
If your email is currently ending with @hotmail or @gmail, then the first thing you need to do is get a legitimate domain and upgrade to a professional email address. This adds credibility to your business and clients are more likely to get in touch or open an email from you. This is a very budget-friendly investment as it can be as low as £5 per year but considering the results, it’s definitely recommended.
Once you have a business email address, the next step is to work on your email marketing. Add a pop up on your website to ask for the visitor’s email address and if you want to increase the chances of getting it, just offer an incentive like a promotional code or a high-value piece of content like an eBook or a Tip Sheet. With your email marketing campaigns, you will then be targeting these leads with the end goal of converting them into clients.
You can start by simply sending out a monthly or bi-monthly newsletter in which you share some useful tips, promote your blog articles, or give them a sneak peek of your latest projects.
7. Keep up with Social Media Marketing
Once your website is up and running, the next step is to build your social media footprint. Many interior designers make the mistake of thinking that marketing is only limited to posting on social media, when it’s so much more than that. The real purpose of your social media account should be to connect with the target audience. So make sure that your posts are creative and interesting because if your audience likes them, they’re likely to share them with their friends and family, hence giving you more exposure. The most popular platforms for designers include Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest. The more platforms you are on, the bigger your reach will be.
Apart from posting regularly, also monitor the comments on your posts and use them to engage with your audience. You can also choose to collaborate or partner with other businesses and influencers to increase your reach.
8. End on a Good Note
In this business, your clients are not just buying a service from you, but they’re letting you into their homes and lives. Use your website to offer in-person meetings or video calls so the clients know that you’re willing to connect with them. Once the project starts, work on building a friendly and trustworthy relationship. Finish all your projects as you had started it – with a good, positive attitude. This will increase the likelihood of getting a positive review and referrals from your clients.
Once the project ends, make sure that you immediately send an email or a thank-you note to your clients. You can also send these to prospective clients after your first meeting to let them know that you value their time and offer your availability to answer any questions they may have had. If you’ve just completed a great project, here’s how you can increase your chances of getting the best client review.
The Interior Design industry is pretty competitive and challenging, particularly when it comes to marketing. But, implementing these handy tips will set you on a path to success to establish a great interior design brand. By implementing the right marketing strategies, you can easily attract the right audience and build a long-term relationship with them.