If you are an interior designer and haven’t yet signed up for a Houzz account – what have you been doing with your time? Social media marketing is vital for any business, and setting up a Houzz (pronounced ‘Howz’) profile should be top of the list for interior designers.
A hybrid social media/inspirational directory, Houzz’s aim is to connect homeowners with the correct home professional for their needs. The heavily-image based platform provides homeowners with tons of home inspiration, the ability to shop for homeware and the opportunity to find an interior design professional – all in one place! Houzz is essentially the one-stop-platform for anyone who is looking to renovate their home – so all of your potential clients.
Regardless of your interior design niche, whether it be kitchen design or space planning, Houzz is a great way to promote your business, show off your portfolio and gain new clients.
‘But how can I use Houzz for marketing my business?’ I hear you say. In this article, I’m going to provide you with eight easy steps you can take to utilize Houzz as a marketing tool for your interior design business.
1. Fully fill out your profile
The first step in using Houzz for marketing which so many people don’t complete, is to fill out your Houzz profile. Fully. Your profile is the first impression you provide potential clients with, and the only way to turn these potential clients into actual or repeat clients is to supply them with all the information they require to make a decision.
Your Houzz profile should include a little background about yourself – your story, your experience and your main skills. You should also list the services you currently offer and the locations you serve, as this may prevent any questions from individuals you are unable to assist.
Additionally, there are sections for you to fill out regarding the average cost per project and, most importantly, contact details.
If you fill out your profile with plenty of information about your business, you are more likely to make potential clients see you are the perfect interior designer for them.
2. Upload your projects
The second step to Houzz success is to upload your projects. Many Houzzers only upload a handful of images, that haven’t been shot professionally and are very low res. Don’t do this. As mentioned previously, Houzz is a very visual platform; users visit Houzz to seek inspiration and they will not find inspiration in images you shot on your camera phone in dim lighting. But you already know that. So, if you do not possess the qualities of a professional photographer, hire one to shoot your projects – it will pay off!
Before you upload your images to Houzz, optimise the file names to include suitable keywords for each image. If you leave the file name as DSC567, there is no chance of it showing up in search engine rankings (outside of Houzz). Take a look at your image, look at the interior style, colours, property type and make sure the image file is suitably and uniquely named.
When uploading projects to Houzz, make sure to name them – this looks much more professional, and can appear lazy if you don’t. If you’re struggling to think of a title for the project, simply use the location and project type (commercial, residential etc.)
For each project, make sure you fill out all the fields Houzz provides you with; these include vital pieces of information and will not only help you show up in Houzz, but in search engine results, too. Include a link to your website, a description of the project (what the brief was and how you achieved the finished look) and relevant keyword tags relating to styles, trends and products etc.
Providing as much information on a project listing as possible is a great way to show potential clients you know what you’re talking about when it comes to interior design. As well as this, each of the things listed above will help you show up in more Houzz results and increase the likelihood of your content showing up in search engine listings like Google.
Also, don’t forget to credit your photographer on each project – they’re certain to appreciate it, but don’t forget to check with them first that you have permission to share the images.
3. Create ideabooks
Step three in your path to dominating Houzz is to begin creating idea books. Think of ideabooks as the Pinterest boards of Houzz, full of interior inspiration. Ideabooks are a great way to show off your personal style, adding inspiration from a selection of images (either from your own portfolio or the Houzz image database), products and Houzz Stories.
When planning and naming your Ideabooks, it may pay off to do some keyword research and reap some SEO benefits from Houzz. Make sure you include plenty of images and a description (100 words minimum) that includes your target keyword and you will instantly maximise your potential to rank on Google.
With the ability to make ideabooks private or public there are many ways you can use them to market your business. For example, you may decide to make a public ideabook to demonstrate your knowledge of different interior design styles and trends to potential clients who are browsing your profile. This is particularly helpful when you are just starting out and don’t have a large portfolio of projects behind you.
Another way to utilize ideabooks is to create a private project portfolio for clients you are about to begin working with. Doing this is a brilliant way to personalise a client’s interior project and show you understand their style, wants and needs. You can either invite colleagues and clients to the ideabook and allow them to add items, or you can complete the ideabook and share it with a client once it is complete. Either way, ideabooks make a great tool for communicating concepts throughout an interior design project.
4. Follow & Engage with other users
Once your profile, projects and ideabooks are complete, your next step is to engage with other Houzzers. Just like any other social media platform, in order to grow your channel, you must engage with other users. This can be carried out through following other Houzzer’s profiles (you may also get some ideas from stalking them), leaving reviews if you know the user or have previously worked with them and liking and commenting on images.
Think about it, you want people to engage with your own profile; you want people to like your images, leave you reviews and be impressed by your portfolio – and so does everyone else! Engaging with other users is not only a form of flattery for said user, it also gets your profile seen and shows that you are active, which is exactly how you want to attract clients.
So go ahead and get liking!
5. Give advice and answer questions
You may not be surprised to find out that Houzz has it’s very own discussion forum labeled ‘advice’ in the main menu. The forum is a place for homeowners and professionals to connect, share their burning questions and give brilliant answers. Step five in your road to successfully marketing your business on Houzz is to give advice and answer questions.
By offering your expert advice on a variety of topics, you will portray yourself as an expert to the users of Houzz, whilst helping individuals out at the same time. And you know what happens when you help people? They trust you. Additionally, the more discussions you engage in, the more credibility you will gain in the eyes of Houzz, which will ultimately result in a Houzz Influencer Badge – and we all want one of those!
As well as being rewarded for helping the Houzz community, every question you answer will show up on your profile, thus demonstrating your knowledge to any potential client that happens to visit your profile. Make sure you are only offering your very best advice when answering questions. Veer away from answering questions for the sake of it – people can see through that. You may also want to think twice before heavily promoting your services on the discussions, Houzz dislikes this, just let your expertise shine through.
6. Get clients to leave reviews
If you have been in the interior design game for a little while now, you will have a collection of previous clients. Step six in this guide to utilizing Houzz as a marketing tool, is to get your clients to leave a review on your profile.
Ask them nicely, bribe them (just kidding), do all you can to get them to leave the review, but get that review! Of course, if your portfolio already consists of a collection of happy clients, you will need to do none of the above, because to your former clients, letting others know about your talents is a no brainer – you’re ace!
Having a selection of five star reviews and accompanying comments adds to your credibility, shows potential clients you are a talented professional and boosts your Houzz profile. The more reviews you receive, the closer you will be to receiving a ‘Recommended on Houzz’ badge – another one to add to your collection.
If you are just starting out in interior design and don’t have any previous clients, a great way to begin getting reviews is to ask your colleagues. They will no doubt have something to say about your abilities, work ethic and interior design style.
7. Get Featured by the Houzz Editorial Team
One of the final steps to marketing your interior design business on Houzz is to get featured on Houzz Stories. Articles on Houzz Stories are written by the platform’s editorial team and regular contributors. With advice and inspiration on a number of topics from interior styling to outdoor design and even ‘Houzz’ tours, being featured on Houzz Stories is the ultimate promotion for your business.
So how do you get featured? Well, you’re unlikely to become a contributing writer unless you have experience writing about interiors for another publication; if this is you, you can email their editorial team with examples of your work.
If you aren’t an experienced writer, there are other ways to get featured on Houzz Stories. You may have recently (within the last 18 months) completed a project that you think is the bees knees and have plenty of quality images showcasing the property before and after, to prove it. All you need to do is submit it to the editorial team for review. Take a look at previous projects Houzz have written about, and if you think you’ve got a few projects that would fit in well their requirements, submit them!
Additionally, if you or one of your clients has an amazing house – perhaps something a bit different, eclectic or personality-centred – you can submit the property to be featured within the platform’s ‘Houzz Tours’. Upload some quality images that showcase the property in its best light and submit them to the Houzz Tours team.
8. Consider Signing up to Houzz Pro+
Once your business has become a little more established and you’ve exhausted the optimisation of your free profile, you may consider signing up to Houzz Pro+.
The paid version of Houzz increases your visibility in the platform’s search listings, allows you to properly define your business by listing it in more than one category and gives you access to a performance dashboard.
The great thing about Houzz Pro+’s performance dashboard is that you can see how many impressions your profile gets and which of your images are clicked on and saved the most. This helps you to identify which images aren’t doing so well, and enables you to add better suited images for greater profile engagement.
Now that you’ve read my eight steps to dominating Houzz, you are more than ready to set your profile up and start reeling the clients in. If you only take away one thing from this guide, let it be that imagery is key. You will not attract potential clients without brilliant imagery of previous projects.
Refer back to this guide any time you need to and remember what a great marketing tool Houzz can be, if utilized correctly.