Marketing your design business can feel a bit daunting, don’t you agree? You read all kinds of advice online about being visible on social media or attending trade shows and networking, but you don’t really know what the TOP marketing strategies for interior and product designers are… The thing with marketing online is this; what worked last year doesn’t necessarily work this year. And what works for somebody else, doesn’t necessarily work for you. Also, what works in some countries or cities, doesn’t necessarily work in your hometown.
Two things I know to be true:
+ Design entrepreneurs who invest time in learning online marketing have a more consistent flow of clients (and much lower costs related to marketing!)
With this in mind, I’d love to uncover some marketing methods and tactics!
So here comes a list of marketing methods that work for the experts and I will deep-dive into these methods below.
Let’s open up what these tactics really mean!
Creating a great brand
Serving a niche market
Examples of a niche market strategy
Your marketing materials and the offerings, portfolio and social media accounts should mainly feature the type of projects that you want to attract!
Being visible in magazines
”There is nothing like seeing your name in print when you are standing in line at the grocery store. (As ego-stroking as this is, it doesn’t often bring in any clients)” This strategy is pretty common; designers pay for ads in glossy magazines, or for PR companies that will make sure (?) that their products and services will be featured in media. While all publicity is good for your business, the ROI for this type of marketing may not be as good as you’d wish for.
Do the math…
So, what to do instead? –> PRO TIPS
There’s a great way to get publicity without paying (money that is) for that! Ask your favorite magazine if you can write an informative piece of content for them!
The smaller or more niche magazine you’re pitching, the more likely they want to feature your article. Small local papers are wonderful partners in getting your name out there into the community! By writing articles or blogs you are able to reach out to your perfect clients and share your knowledge. This is a win-win-win, which is the best business strategy ever!
WIN – magazine gets a great article for free
WIN – readers get to enjoy your expertise
WIN – you attract new clients
WIN – WIN – WIN. DING – DING – DING.
Being visible online
But here’s the thing…
What do people really mean with all this? And how can you make sure your social media marketing is giving you the ROI? You do measure everything, I hope?
Let’s break this into the most popular platforms for interior and product designers in 2017:
Facebook – the biggest online marketing and community building platform today. Facebook is constantly growing and the ways to monetize it are amazing. But you might have noticed that the organic reach hasn’t been really good (actually, it’s really bad in my humble opinion) lately, right? Luckily there are many great ways to use Facebook in your marketing!
Instagram – this platform is growing exponentially every day. Did you know that by 2020 90% of all brands are on IG? Globally. Massive I think! This tool is amazing for design businesses since we have so much visual content, and adding storytelling into the marketing mix, it’s one of the best ways to engage with your audience and show off your work. What’s also great is that Facebook owns Instagram so you can do cross-platform marketing with ease.
Pinterest – this platform is also great for people in the design industry, but also for sharing other types of content such as info graphs. Pinterest is a great tool to showcase your style and share boards with your clients. You can hide some of your boards and use them in your projects too. Pinterest also has a shopping function so this is a great tool for web store owners.
YouTube – nobody of the experts in the article actually mentioned this and let me tell you, do THIS right and you’re ahead of your competitors by a mile. A video is the new black, and it’s time to hop on the bandwagon.
I see many designers already use videos on their web pages, but what strikes me is that most designers don’t use them in their online marketing. What do I mean with this? I mean that they don’t share the videos on platforms such Facebook or YouTube.
LinkedIn – this platform is great for all professionals, but I think this is mainly used to connect with trade and colleagues in your industry. Which, in turn, is one of the best marketing methods mentioned by the Interior Design experts. A lot of business is gained through word of mouth and connections, so make sure you connect with your peers.
Just like when we talked about getting published in your local newspaper by writing engaging and helpful articles, the same ways you should use your blog. Share your knowledge, your past jobs, your customer reviews, and inspire your readers to come back for more.
If your readers find something interesting and helpful on your blog or website, they will want to come back for more. And they will remember you when they need services that you offer. AND, by creating relevant, great articles you will increase your visibility on Google search, which in turn will send you more people, and more potential customers. Which leads us to this…
1 Getting email subscribers
You want to optimize your website with smoking of technology and copy that will collect email addresses. Why? Because it’s the single most important strategy in online marketing: sending people emails. How to do this? The simplest (because, yes, there are more complicated ways to do it too) is to add an opt-in box (or popup, or screen take over, or whatever you like) onto your web page, and ask for the visitor’s email address.
What you need to do is that you first demonstrate the value you give to your followers (by showing articles and your previous work) and then you give them an offer they find hard to say no to. For example: ”15% off for your next purchase” That’s a kind of offer that works well in web stores. Or, “my 10 best tips to add color to your living room.” Something that they will find valuable enough to give you their email address.
2 Sending emails to your subscribers
Now, this is not really about you, just like any marketing; it’s about your customers and what value you can offer to them. Make sure you have implemented an email automation service that can send bulk emails and automated sequences to your subscribers. The more value you can bring, the more likely they will want to work with you.
put these things together! If you implement social media marketing, blogging, and email marketing, clever and targeting and retargeting, and different types of content, you’ll have a strategy that not only works but work like gangbusters.
Okay, still with me? Let’s move on to the next tips from the experts…
Consistency in marketing materials
This has to do with brand building and why it’s so important. But also, keep in mind that your marketing materials need to consistent and coherent. Example; if you portray one kind of style or personality on Instagram, make sure the rest of your marketing materials and assets have the same style. Logos, colors, style… they matter. People need to get an understanding of who you are as a business owner before they will work with you.
Website with high Google ranking
A great looking web page should be your priority. Not only because it showcases your work, but it’s also the place where you convert your random visitors to becoming subscribers and eventually, buyers. Let’s be frank – a designer with a crappy website doesn’t really give signals that he /she is very creative or detail-oriented, do you agree? Would you hire a designer with a crappy and outdated website to design your home? I wouldn’t. Also, most traffic comes from smartphones today, and if your website is not optimized for that, you’ll leave a lot of money on the table.
The whole thing with high Google ranking is really important to your business. As we covered earlier, you can boost your ranking by creating great, regular content that makes your visitors to, not only find your page but also stay there for a while. Because the longer people stay on your website, the better ranking you will get, and the higher up you will get in relevant searches. There are great tools to use, such Yoast.com. They also offer great trainings for all levels.
Being in television
This method was mentioned by a few design experts, and sure, it’s great strategy, but not so reachable for most of us. But, if being in telly is your dream, why not starting your own YouTube channel?
Sending handwritten notes
This marketing strategy was mentioned by some experts, and I’m not sure if this works. I have tried this, we have sent Christmas cards to retails stores that we want to work with, but without any measurable success. However, I do believe in sending some nice gift to your past clients! One great idea is this:
Create a small collection of something nice and branded you can send to your past clients! Like candles, or soap bar, or anything that is fairly cheap to manufacture and keep in stock, but a lovely little gift to show your appreciation. Want to learn how to manufacture your signature collection? Check this out.
Lastly, attend road shows, conferences, showhouses, and events that allow you to network with other interior designers and people in the industry. Word of mouth is crucial, and so are connections. Often a lead will come from an industry partner who we have previously worked with or even a client that had an exceptional experience and told a friend.