If you’re in business for yourself, you’re not only a talented interior designer. You’re also the top salesperson and marketer for your interior design business. The success or failure of your business rests on your ability to:
- Successfully promote your services to the right audience (marketing)
- Convert high-quality leads into clients (sales)
But what if sales and marketing doesn’t come naturally to you? What if you love designing spaces but loathe self-promotion? Do you really need to invest your energy into selling and marketing your interior design business? Or can you simply rely on word-of-mouth marketing to do the hard work?
In this post, we’ll discuss why it’s crucial to develop sales and marketing know-how. We’ll also provide essential tips for promoting your business and converting prospects into leads.
Why You Need to Moonlight as Marketer
Let’s start things off with a disclaimer: You can’t depend on word-of-mouth referrals alone to grow your interior design business. While getting a referral is the best possible outcome from working with a client, it’s completely out of your control. Suggest as you might, you can’t force clients to tell others about you.
Instead, roll up your sleeves and spread the word about your interior design business. This is especially true in the early days, when you’re trying to establish your brand name and attract your first few clients.
If you run a smaller interior design business, you probably cannot afford to hire a dedicated salesperson or marketer. The tasks of attracting leads and converting them into clients rests solely on your shoulders. But even if you can hire someone to promote your interior design business, you still won’t be able to get out of your own self-promotion responsibilities. After all, it’s your business so you should be the biggest advocate.
Here are several important reasons why you must also be your business’ biggest promoter:
- You must hunt for new leads – You cannot sit back and wait for prospective clients to find you. Instead, you must look for them. It’s important to know who you’re looking for and where to look.
- Nurture your leads – Most leads aren’t ready to buy immediately. You must build a relationship with these leads until they trust you enough to buy.
- Turn leads into clients – After you’ve found high-quality leads, it’s crucial that you know how to convert them into paying clients. You must develop the right skillset to convince them that your service is the right solution for their needs.
Even if you’ve delegated these tasks to someone else, it’s still important for you to know how to do these things yourself. Otherwise, you’ll be at the mercy and direction of someone else to bring in clients for your business.
How to Promote Your Interior Design Business
Let’s discuss the basics of marketing your interior design business and closing the sale.
Step 1: Identify Your Ideal Client
Sales and marketing can be very overwhelming if you’re not sure where to start. This is an easy starting point: Know your ideal client.
Who do you serve?
The answer cannot be “everyone who can afford to pay.” Not everyone who fits that criteria will be interested in your services. Instead, you must identify exactly who will benefit the most from your services.
Build your ideal client persona by defining these characteristics and demographics:
- Age – What is the average age range of your target client?
- Gender – Which gender would you prefer to work with and why?
- Location – Where is your target client located? Even if you offer remote interior design services, you’ll still want to answer this question to better understand where your ideal client is located.
- Relationship status – Is your ideal client single, engaged, married, or divorced? Does your client have children? If yes, what is the age range of their children?
- Job title – What type of job is your ideal client most likely to have? It’s okay to list more than one job title here.
- Income level – How much do they make per year? How much are they willing to pay for an interior design project?
- Education level – What level of schooling did they complete?
- Hobbies/ interests – What is your ideal client interested in? Perhaps you can use this to cast a wider marketing net.
- Websites, magazines, books – Determine what publications and platforms your ideal client reads and uses. In other words, know where your ideal client likes to hang out. Then, set up a marketing campaign in their favorite hang out zone(s).
- Interior design preferences – What interior design style does your ideal client prefer? If you specialize in more than one style, it’s okay to list several here.
- Reason for seeking out your services – What has happened to make them suddenly reach out for your interior design services? Have they recently married, had a baby, or moved to a new home?
- Buying hesitation – What would prevent this prospective client from working with you? Do they know about your service?
Creating your client persona is definitely time-consuming, however it’s also beneficial because it allows you to narrow in on the specific group of people who are most likely to need your design services.
To take this exercise one step further, evaluate your favorite clients and ask the following questions:
- What made them stand out from the rest?
- What made working with them an enjoyable experience?
- How did they find your services?
Step 2: Understand the Client’s Journey
The next step in marketing your business is to understand the client’s journey.To grow your interior design business, understand the client's journey. Here's why: Click To Tweet
Realistically, your prospective client won’t go immediately from finding out about your services to booking you for an interior design project.
To ensure that your target takes the right steps, map out a client journey. Plotting your client’s journey will help you empathize with the client and see things from their perspective. Doing so will also help you overcome potential hesitations that may prevent them from hiring you.
Answer the following questions to create a client journey for your interior design business:
How they will find out about your service? (We’ll discuss this more in the next section on preparing a marketing plan.)
After they become aware of your service, how will you nurture them until they are ready to buy?
How will you make it easy for your clients to work with you? Will you offer payment options and installment agreements?
How will you encourage your past clients to refer you to their friends and family?
Remember that your client journey map can be simple or complex. The most important part of creating a client journey is identifying and then navigating around potential roadblocks.
Step 3: Prepare Your Marketing Plan
Now’s the time to create your marketing plan. Don’t be intimidated by the phrase “marketing plan.” A marketing plan is simply an outline of how you’ll attract new clients. You can create a solid marketing plan by following these tips:
Assess your current business situation
- Analyze your business’ strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (also known as a S.W.O.T. analysis).
- Also look at your competitors and figure out how your business is unique to theirs.
Understand your ideal client
- Create a basic client persona by using the questions from Step 1.
- Pinpoint the exact words that your clients use to describe their needs/ problems. You’ll use these exact phrases (i.e., keywords) to create a more specific marketing campaign on social media and within search engines.
Make S.M.A.R.T. marketing goals:
- Specific – What strategies do you want to implement to reach prospective clients?
- Measurable – How will you know when you’ve reached your goal? How will you measure your progress?
- Actionable – What precise steps will you take to accomplish each goal?
- Realistic – Are your goals possible and practical within your budget, time, and ability?
- Time-Oriented – How long will it take for you to accomplish each task?
Find your ideal client
Where does your ideal client hang out? You need to know this information so that you can advertise in the right places.
Set a budget
How much can you afford to spend, and for how long?
Because your interior design business depends on the constant intake of new clients, you must focus on ongoing sales and marketing efforts. Use these tips to reach your ideal client and keep them coming back.
Before you go, check out these related posts:
- How to Create a Business Plan for Your Interior Design Business
- How to Find Clients as a Newbie Interior Designer
- The Benefits of Choosing an Interior Design Niche