Interior Design Business Marketing
Who doesn't want to know the most effective ways to market and interior design business? Interior design marketing may be one of the most frustrating things for a designer.
While for a long time, word-of-mouth referrals was the go-to method for getting a consistent flow of clients, that can't be the primary method that you bank on for getting interior design clients.
There are many methods you can use to attract new clients for both the extrovert and introvert designers that can be equally effective.
One last thing before we get into the subject of interior design marketing - if you find that you lack consistent income due to a lack of clients, know that most likely this stems from not enough people knowing about your business.
Branding Before Marketing
Before you go out and start marketing your interior design business, you should have a brand in place. Your brand isn't your logo or the colors you use for your business. Your brand is a promise of an experience your client expects to have with your company. Your brand will help you to build a loyal following when it comes to what your brand promises.
It is essential that you understand what your brand is about so that you can effectively build brand awareness. When you have solidified what your brand is, then you can go on to deliver the message of your brand through your interior design marketing efforts.
Your interior design brand has a remarkable story to tell. Let’s talk about what a brand is and isn’t.
Your brand isn’t just a logo. It is the promise of an experience that your clients will have with you when they hire you.
It’s the personality of your business. Your brand won’t make you get more sales, but it will help you to connect with your prospects and further your relationship with the clients you’ve worked with.
Your brand isn’t something that people can hold or touch, but it lives in the minds of your customers. Their perception of what your company is all about.
Your brand must make an emotional connection with your client’s and tell their story. Knowing what their story is key to building a relationship with them. In the Astro Brand Alchemy course I’ve made the process of identifying your ideal client and creating a brand that they fall in love with easy peasy.
When we get to the visual components of your interior design brand, we then are talking about your brand identity that incorporates your logo, the colors that you use, the images you select, and the fonts. None of these elements will matter to the success of your company if you haven’t first identified who your ideal client is and what your brand identity is all about.
If you don’t have a logo for your business yet, you can create one quickly in Canva. Don’t stress out about this. Your logo can be as simple as a text treatment like this:
You will want to use your logo on all of your design work. You will want to place it on the photographs of your design work. You will want to put it on everything you send out. And I would suggest placing it on the part of your work that is not easily cut out by those dastardly design thieves! (Sad, but true designers may steal your work. If you can place your logo somewhere that isn’t intrusive, but in a tricky spot, they are less likely to take and repost your work as their own, BUT this doesn’t guarantee that they won’t, and there’s really no way to prevent fuckers from stealing shit 😒)
The colors that you choose for your business should be based on color psychology. If you already know who your ideal client is on a deep level, then you’ll have a pretty good idea about what colors they will identify with. If not and you’d like to do some research on color psychology, I suggest you start with this post by Elle & Company.
Choosing Images For Your Brand
Selecting images for your interior design website and blog posts can be a major pain in the ass. Know that when you do choose images you need to be aware of the legalities in using certain images. Here’s a handy poster to check when you’re wondering about using an image on your website that you do not own.
🌟A strategy that I like to use when selecting photos for my website is to imagine that every picture I choose would be one that would be in my business’s scrapbook if my business was a person.
🚨DO NOT USE STOCK IMAGES IN YOUR PORTFOLIO. If you don’t have any images for your portfolio of your own projects, then follow my tips here. It would be dishonest to share those photos on your website as a representation of your own work.
Choosing fonts can be a pain for sure. And depending on the website platform you’re using; it can be a pain to get them to show up on your website, too.
Now that we’ve gone through all of that, your work is just starting. Creating an interior design brand, in some ways, can be the easy part.
SEO + Content Marketing
When it comes to the most important things that I think you should focus on when it comes to marketing your interior design business, SEO, and content marketing are at the top of the list.
You'll want to create valuable content (whether that takes the form of blog posts, videos, infographics, case studies, etc.) that your ideal client wants.
The content you create should be found organically on your website via search engines and sent out on your social media platforms.
For your content to be found, you'll need to understand SEO (search engine optimization) to bring traffic to your website. Your goal with your content should be to establish your street cred with your prospects once they find you.
But why do you need to learn SEO? The lifetime of a social media post isn't that long. It can get lost in the feed (everyone will not see it) or it's posted when your prospect isn't looking for it. But to have content on your website, optimized for what your prospect is searching for ensures that it will be found when they are looking for someone just like you.
What's more, the more quality content that you publish means that you're building the authority of your website. It will take time, and you may find it to be "harder" than posting on social media, but because you're in this for the long haul, you really shouldn't leave the future prosperity of your business up to social media algorithms.
When it comes to the type of content you choose to create with a majority of introverts in my community, I'd suggest going with blogging. And before you say you're not that great of a writer, it is like any other skill meaning it takes time to develop. If you're in the other camp, then I'd suggest you do something where you make videos or do a podcast. Just know that with those formats, you still need to optimize your website for getting organic traffic to your website as Google's eyeballs aren't able to see. Yet.
Social Media: The Last Choice For Most Designers
I want you to think of social media like the billboards you see on a road trip. A sign like "Hot Coffee Ahead" is essentially what your post on any social media platform is. You're trying to catch the attention of your ideal client to get them back to your place (your website) as the coffee shop is trying to do with the road trippers.
Social media has been useful for a small percentage of interior designers. They often find that they waste more time and get little ROI for the time they've spent posting. I can't even tell you how many hours have been lost on social media (especially in Facebook groups) where designers with one another over their dismal prospects and then the wolf (aka some shitpreneur guru) will come into the group with an idea they say will save the day!
Often these gurus have found a way to game the system, and it isn't a strategy that will work long term. The algorithms will change, or the strategy doesn't work for how you like to market your business.
Remember the advice that everyone should do Facebook Lives as that was the only way to get seen in the News Feed? That strategy is now out as the News Feed is on its way out.
With any social media platform that you choose to use, take the time to evaluate the results of your efforts. As of today (2019), I’m going to tell you that if you want to use any social media platform, start with Pinterest as it is currently the best spot at the moment for interior designers.
When it comes to creating videos for those who aren’t shy about getting in front of the camera, you’ll want to employ the same strategy of answering the questions on your peeps minds.
You don’t need a fancy camera because the one on your mobile should be perfect enough. Unless you have some old person phone, then you will want to upgrade that shit stat.
You can create videos and upload them to social media as well as a post on your website in a blog post. Depending on the platform, they may prefer that you record the video using their platform and in that case, you’ll want to download it afterward and put it on your website, too, so you can repurpose your content, which is always a good thing.
When you embed your videos on your website, you will want to make sure that you have a great title, a description of your video, use keywords and ideally add in a transcription of the video.
Chatbot marketing is the new kid on the block and is becoming more popular by the day. You’ll see this used a lot with the Facebook Messenger. While you’ll lack the one on one connection that only you can do, you may find that it is a helpful tool help people by answering their questions directly.
An Editorial Calendar is essential to keep you on schedule with publishing content consistently as well as keeping you from running out of things to share that your audience wants the answer to.
You can create a spreadsheet with a calendar on it and then highlight the dates when you’re going to post. On that spreadsheet, you can then add in what topics you’ll be covering. I go into more detail here.
Because you’re a designer and not a meth head, you may want to use some service to publish posts on social media. (If you’re using Wordpress or Squarespace for blogging, you can schedule those posts to be published).
You may want to check out an app like Buffer or MeetEdgar. Spend some time figuring out a schedule for yourself. Picking theme days is a strategy that could help you stay on track. Do some batching of creating images and posts that you want to share. And some of these apps even recycle your posts for you based on your preferences.
Email Marketing: What More Designers Should Be Using
When it comes to finding something that works better than social media, you'll want to work to build your email list so that you can implement an effective email marketing strategy.
Email marketing seems so 1996, but once you bring these prospects to your website, your next job is to get them on your email list.
You do that by first signing up for email marketing service like Mailerlite.
You will create a list and a sign-up form so your prospects can hear more from you.
🚨Don’t wait to do this thinking this is something for the “experienced” entrepreneur. It isn’t.
You need a mailing list. Again, you NEED a mailing list. Once more, with feeling, YOU NEED A MAILING LIST. That’s how important this is.
Whether you’re selling paint color palettes or full design services, while you are building your business, I want you to keep this critical thought at the forefront of your mind.
You can have a Pinterest, a Twitter account, an Instagram, and whatever else that is out there, but if you do not have a mailing list in a place, you will be one sad 🐼panda.
What does this mean? It is a list where you have created real value and a relationship for your peeps by sending them emails directly to their sacred inbox.
Even if you have like a gazillion fans on Facebook or Twitter, the people on your email list are a little more invested. They want to hear from you and get your updates because they are likely to miss them in the social media blur. And if you get put into Facebook jail, this will be the only way you can communicate to your sweet little peeps.
Now why would people hand over their email address to you?
They don’t know you from Steve. Here are a few reasons someone might sign up for your list.
You give them a free guide to use like budgeting for their project, share your favorite retailers, or show them how to do something like accessorizing their coffee table
You give them a bite-sized taste of your skills with a tiny service
You create an autoresponder series of posts to make their life easier
This little freebie (and I do mean little) should be awesome and get your prospect some type of quick win. Whether it’s clarity and a plan or it shows them how to do one small thing successfully, your aim should be to provide some real valuable help.
Is your freebie (if it isn’t just your entertaining wit) something you could charge money for?
It needs to be. This “freebie” should be awesome - so awesome you could be charging money for it, but you aren’t because you’re awesome like that and want to prove your awesomeness. Got that? Awesome.
Once you get their precious email and deliver the freebie, you also need to email them on a regular schedule. Pick a day and stick to it. Put it in your calendar and make it happen every week. Yes, every week. People will forget about you if you don’t email them frequently. Worse yet, you email them once when you send the freebie and then wait a few months to send something when you have gotten the courage to email them again? Well, by that time, they will have forgotten who you are and what you’re doing in their sacred inbox and mark your email as SPAM. That is gonna suck.
So just keep a schedule and know that people will unsubscribe and you can do a happy 💃🏻dance about those folks. It means you’re weeding out the imperfect from the perfect.
When people sign up do they know what they can expect from you?
Tell them about your schedule you intend to keep if you are a wordy person and want to email them every night they need to know that before signing up. If you only plan to email them once a month let them know that too, so they don’t think you forgot about them.
What are you going to email about?
Are you going to be schizophrenic and not have a purpose? Are you going to email your fave pins from Pinterest? Are you going to send them free tricks and tips? Knowing what you plan to share first helps guide your emails.
When someone signs up to your list, is it creating a personal connection? Here’s how to make it that way.
Create an enticing offer written to one person – your ideal client. Not just “join my list”.
Have a double opt-in (meaning people must confirm they want actually to be on your list). People understand and will know they need to confirm their email address. Let them know that when they confirm they are one step closer to your free goodie!
Write something cute on the Opt-In Confirmation email about how easy it is to say yes to you with just one click.
Your “Thank You” email should obviously thank them, remind them how often you be giving them updates and tell them how to get their freebie. You may even include a link to download it in this email.
Now that you’ve created a list, you need to get people to give you their email address. Be your customer and figure it out this way - what would you want for free?
Wanna know how I keep my list thinking about me from day one?
First, let’s start off with what the big girls (boys) do. They use an Autoresponder. And you will want to do that, too.
When someone signs up for your email list, you should have a “Welcome Email.” After your person signs up and go through the confirmation dance, the last email your service sends them should be customized to include the following:
Thank them for signing up.
Let them know when they can expect to hear from you.
Ask them to invite your friends to your list.
After you have that finished, you will want to set up this next most awesome thing. This is one of my most favorite tips ever! It worked like a magic charm for me, and it can do the same for you.
Here’s a basic autoresponder series:
Valuable Content (this could be one of your popular blog posts) email
Valuable Content (this could be one of your FAQs) email
Valuable Content (this could be one of another helpful resource you have) email
Introduce your service related to the previous content emails that you just sent them with a “Call To Action” email
At the end of each of these emails encourage your readers to get in contact with you by either finding you on a social media site that you are active on, direct them to your sales page or to email you.
Sending that newsletter out
Now that you’ve committed to sending out a newsletter do not make this a big old fucking deal. If you’re blogging regularly or creating some type of content on a regular schedule, then you can simply send that to your eager readers.
You can also send them what you’re working on, where you’re shopping for cool shit, or simply send them a quick tip. Just make sure that you stay connected with them, okay?
And yes, thank you for asking. Even though you shared it on social media, it doesn’t mean they even saw it. 👋🏻Helloooo algorithms.
🌟And here’s a lil tip about your newsletter… make sure on every newsletter you have a link to your store. That way, your services are seen every time by your prospect. It’s a gentle reminder that you do sell services.
With whatever interior design marketing strategy you have decided to go with, please, please, puh-lease make sure that you are also getting people to sign up for your newsletter. EVEN IF you haven’t sent one out yet.
You will want to spend the time working on growing your email list and then cultivating relationships with your subscribers (that last part can be automated, and I show you how in the Society).
Should You Advertise?
Advertising should only be a consideration if you have the budget and even then you should spend your money wisely.
When it comes to advertising in a magazine, it's tough to determine the effectiveness of any print media ad. It wouldn't be my first option.
I'd first look into Google Ads and then Facebook Ads. How you target audiences on the platforms is different, and if you don't have enough of a budget to get started, you'll likely not get the results that you were hoping for.
Should you decide to start advertising your business online, hire a professional that can do the copywriting, and tweak the targeting of the ad for you. You'll be bidding against others to get your ad shown, so I can't give you a number to budget for your ads, but you may want to set aside at least $500/month.
Learn All About Growing Your Interior Design Business
Are you ready to dive in and skip the endless hours of googling? I’m here to help you cut out all of the confusion when it comes to starting and growing your interior design business with tons of on-demand courses, checklists and other valuable resources inside the Society.