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Tough-love Business Coach. Marketing Magician. Inner Imposter Buster. Cocktail Connoisseur. And Queen Of Unpopular Opinions.
Interior design marketing can swallow you whole and leave you with less time for clients and creative design work than it takes to market. UGH! Stop trying to do it all and get super selective.
Yes, I know you’ve likely been told on a webinar, read in a blog post, seen in a video, or perhaps got this at a live conference, you have to be everywhere. No, you don’t. In fact, you only need to be where your ideal clients will see you.
The right interior design marketing for your practice is targeted, focused, and feels good. It’s going to capitalize on your strengths, instead of demand you shore up your weaknesses. And, perhaps most importantly, it focuses you on channels and formats that your ideal clients use. If you don’t know what channels and formats they enjoy, ASK THEM!
If you haven’t worked with your ideal clients or are just starting out, get good at googling. Google is a fast research tool to find out what your ideal clients are reading, where they hang out online, and what they’re looking for.
So let’s take a quick peek at FREE marketing tools.
Do you feel buried by blogging?
Is Instagram not nearly instant enough?
Are you running afoul on Facebook?
Does Twitter leave you in a tizzy?
Is LinkedIn failing to deliver the right leads?
And have you found it’s not happening for you on Houzz?
Sure there are more channels for interior design marketing and in this post, I’m going to tackle the goliaths that are free. I’ll tackle social media advertising and pay per click on Google in a separate post.
The key in any marketing is to be CONSISTENT and PERSISTENT with quality that attracts your ideal client. Marketing is a work in progress and you have to track your engagement, track results to determine what’s working and what isn’t.
Just doing marketing without being mindful of what’s working (delivering clients, projects, and PR) is a big hairy waste of time. Marketing is also NOT broadcasting or advertising, it is a valuable way to connect your talent, enthusiasm and expertise with your clients desire for design.
Blogging may not be a fit for you. If you don’t love to write and continually feel tongue tied and keyboard challenged, don’t go there. It isn’t a fit for every practice. And if you do blog, you’ll need to apply SEO (effective plugin for that is YOAST).
You also want to include rich images and ensure they are copyright free or you’ve garnered written permission. Full time bloggers in design are often not interior designers because they earn their living from ads, sponsors and placement and that requires full time attention.
If you are camera crazy with your cell phone, and your images are distinctive, then Instagram may be your perfect fit. This is particularly true if your market is millennials, Gen X or Gen Z. And if currently your ideal clients fit an older demographic, you may want to explore Instagram. When you plan to be in business 10-20 or more years, you’ll find your clientele getting younger and potentially more Instagram savvy.
It’s not just about sharing pretty pictures, you’ve got to master hash-tagging and engagement (more than just liking other images, it means personal comments and kudos.) And you’ve got to get savvy about Instagram stories, that will keep you at the top of the feed and relies more on the in the moment snapshots of the behind the scenes of your business.
Since twitter expanded to 280 characters, you certainly have more room to comment, quip, and opinionize. If you don’t love writing, it may not be for you, 280 characters can feel like a lot. While you want to include strategic hash tags, you don’t want to do as many as you might on Instagram. Different platforms require different strategies and each has their own nuances. That’s a key reason that it’s nearly impossible to do it all for interior design marketing without hiring a team to do it for you!
There are lots of folks on Facebook who aren’t on Instagram. If you are established there and have created a consistent and persistent routine of engagement, stick with it. While Facebook owns Instagram and you can share between the platforms, they require different types of posting. Facebook tends to be a lot more engaged and the quality of your images doesn’t have to be as great. While Instagram requires hashtags to get you found, and I recommend 11-15 of the 30 allowed on each post, Facebook wants only 1-2 hashtags.
If you are going after commercial design clients, then LinkedIn makes sense. If you are residential, it makes less sense. Many professionals are simply solely focused on business on LinkedIn and not thinking about their home life. They also tend to prefer professional updates, far less personal than Facebook or even Twitter. What’s your style? If you are a sharer and wear your heart on your sleeve, LinkedIn may not be a good fit.
Houzz works brilliantly for some and far less so for others. I’ve known designers who’ve invested thousands over the course of a year or more and got no results. And other designers who invested nothing and found themselves featured and attracting lucrative clients. There is no guarantee.
This is branding tool, far more so than a marketing tool. If you’ve got the resources and it feels like a fit, then consider it. Just be aware that you have to commit to a year minimum and may see no results. And those badges are buyable and mean nothing. In fact, every time you share a Houzz badge or include the icon on your website, you are advertising for Houzz, not for you.
And, when a client who is on your website, clicks any link to Houzz, while it takes them to your profile, it also tempts them to explore your design competitors which are conveniently located all over Houzz. Stop that, remove all Houzz icons and badges from your site.
Of the six marketing channels I’ve listed here, I recommend you focus on a maximum of two. Being consistent and persistent with two channels that target your hot and buying market is far more powerful than showing up randomly everywhere.
Beyond social media, there are many effective ways you can connect with your ideal client, often faster than online. Grab your FREE DOWNLOAD “40 Hot Marketing Actions to Grow Your Design Practice” here. You’ll only select 3 actions that feel aligned with your style and your personality, the impact can happen quickly!