2020 hit everyone hard and it changed the interior design marketing landscape for good.
Some tactics that previously worked, now don’t.
Some strategies that didn’t work, now drive hundreds of leads to interior designers every month.
As you make your interior design marketing plan for 2021, make sure you’re including the most effective techniques that are currently working for other designers.
Whether you have a decent-sized budget for advertising or whether you are completely bootstrapped and have more time than money to grow your interior design business, let’s check out some ideas for you…
- Niche down even more
- Offer online interior design as a service
- Grow your community with blogging
- Build a tribe using email marketing
- Showcase your testimonials
- Focus on Instagram
- Offer free consultations
Niche down even more
There is plenty of advice to niche down your offering and there are so many reasons to niche down even further.
By niching down your services and offering you will:
- More frequently attract your perfect client
- Reduce the number of time-wasting leads
- Enjoy working with your clients as you’re doing the exact projects you love
The most successful designers I’ve ever met always have one thing in common – they clearly define their niche and know exactly what they need.
This is showcased in everything they do, from the services they offer, to the messaging on their website, to the imagery on their Instagram.
To do this consider your skills and what you enjoy the most, then how they best match the clients you wish to work for.
Follow your passions:
- Are you a colour fiend and love pops of colour in everything you do?
- Do you love coastal interiors and designing beach houses?
- Do you get a buzz from innovative space-saving solutions?
- Can you create spaces that inspire and entertain children?
- Do you love sleep and want to spread that love?
Use what you love to really define your message and target market. It may feel counterproductive to shrink the market you are trying to promote your services to but in fact, you are making yourself more attractive to your perfect client.
Showcase your signature style and skills in everything you do to attract your ideal client, if you specialise in creating incredible spaces for kids, then your Instagram should be filled with these spaces and happy kids. If you focus on beach houses then they should be front and centre on your website and portfolio.
Consistency in your messaging across your website copy, imagery, social media, and any other marketing material you use is absolutely crucial to define your brand, your unique offering and speciality.
Offer online interior design as a service
If 2020 taught us anything it was that you need to be able to adapt. Something I noticed early on was that designers offering online interior design services were thriving in the difficult times that the pandemic created.
I see this trend continuing and whilst there will always be a place for in-person design services once the pandemic ends, the ability to offer services virtually will remain extremely popular.
You will need to tweak your processes and offer to offer this service, for example, you’ll need to set up an online consultation using tools like Zoom instead of visiting in person, as well as potentially changing how you share your finished work to the client.
You’ll also need to teach your clients to send you good photos of the space to help you do your job more effectively.
When offering online interior design services, it’s best to group your offering into specific packages that make it easier for potential clients to see what they get.
It’s a very different process for prospective clients looking for online interior design services so you need to make it super clear.
This presents a great opportunity for a pricing technique called anchoring. Which is where you present multiple pricing options at different price points which you can use to persuade more potential clients to sign up.
You do this by creating three price options:
- A basic approach. Low cost and low time for you if someone signs up for this package. You price this low, say like £300.
- The better offering. This will likely become your best seller so make sure you optimise it for profitability. You can list this around £600.
- The premium package. This is generally designed to make the middle offer much more appealing but pricing it very high, you’ll also get a few clients to pick this option so it needs to be clearly a high price point product. Price this over £1,200.
The psychological principle of price anchoring is commonplace online for tools and other packaged offerings and can be used to great effect at converting more visitors into paying clients.
Grow your community with blogging
Blogging is proven to get more clients. A study by Hubspot showed that businesses that blog consistently receive 67% more leads than those who don’t.
A blog can be very powerful for your interior design business for so many reasons such as:
- Showcasing your skills as an interior designer
- Improving traffic to your site through SEO and social media
- Defining your brand positioning and offering
Using blogging as part of your interior design marketing plan for 2021 can supercharge your design business and become a client generating machine.
One of the most important factors when blogging is to not be too ‘salesy’ within your articles. – it will likely turn off many readers. Instead, feature your projects under more generic article titles, for example, you can feature your own projects under a blog titled ‘10 inspiring bedroom designs for 2021’.
This way you will build yourself up as an authority within your niche, driving relevant traffic to your blog and over time drive hundreds of potential clients to your site.
Additionally, blogging is a great way to make new connections within the industry. You can connect with other designers, bloggers and brands who can end up helping each other out in the future.
Build a tribe using email marketing
The single greatest investment you can ever make in your interior design marketing strategy is to build an email list.
The truth is that over 99% of visitors to your site will not become a client on that first visit, and almost 100% of them will never return, so getting some of them on your email list is an absolute no brainer.
Your email list will become a source of repeatable, high-quality clients who love your work before you even started working with them.
It’s also insanely cheap to get set up.
You can start for free with ConvertKit. You can get up to 1,000 subscribers before having to pay a penny for the tool – which is amazing,
Then simply send a monthly newsletter which can feature your latest blog posts, project photos, trends you’re seeing, etc and this should take no more than a couple of hours each month.
How to Grow Your Email List
Yes, you might find these pop-ups annoying but the truth is that they REALLY work! On average between 3 and 10 in every 100 people who see an email sign-up lightbox fill it in and sign up.
There are many tools out there that you can use for pop-ups, one of the best is Sumo (which has a free plan). Which allows you to completely customise the pop up with the headline, copy, call to action, images etc. – whilst being super easy to use.
Using dedicated landing pages to collect subscribers for your blog’s email list is a very smart move.
Creating landing pages can be incredibly effective, some landing pages can convert visitors to subscribers so well that over half of the visitors to that page become email subscribers.
Landing pages give you a central place to direct traffic, the chance to sell what your subscribers are going to get.
On a basic level, having a few forms on your website will drive some people to sign up to your newsletter. This is absolutely fine if you are very strapped for time, but to really jump up those numbers you need to incentivise them to part with their email address.
The Content Upgrade.
The faster you grow your email list, the faster you will get more traffic, and get more clients from your email list.
The Content Upgrade, a term coined by Brian Dean of Backlinko, essentially puts your lightbox pop-ups on supercharge and can increase the number of people who sign up by up to 5 times. So rather than getting 5 subscribers from every 100 visitors. You could get up to 25 additional subscribers from the same traffic!
Content upgrades are uniquely crafted lead magnets designed to be downloaded based on the post a visitor is reading, a hyper-relevant additional resource for the reader. For example, if you have a post about Hygge, you could add a specific upgrade with The Ultimate Hygge Checklist.
Remember, you must give your potential clients a really strong reason to sign up and you must keep them engaged
Showcase your testimonials
Having reviews directly on your site can do wonders for your interior design business. It will separate you from other interior designers in your area or niche and establish you as one of the best.
It can be a straightforward interior design marketing strategy to implment once you have a consitent flow of interior design clients.
Simply ask your clients to write a reivew/testimonial for the service you gave them – it’s important to do this right away after you’ve completed the project. The longer you leave it the less chance you have of the client leaving you a review.
Be sure to ask in the email to mention some specifics in the review that went particularly well during the process (you’ll know what works best) – this makes it super easy for them to write the review and send it back to you resulting in more reviews.
Once you have your reviews (and now you’l have more coming in all the time) it’s time to showcase them on your website. Here’s where you can showcase your reviews:
- Homepage – feature the best 2-3 reviews you have on the homepage of your website, these are what most people will read so make sure they are the absolute best ones you have.
- About page – featured 3-5 additional testimonails on your about page, these will be good if they talk more about you than the client project itself.
- Portfolio pages – if you feature a project on your site and have the review from that client, make sure you add it to the portfilio page on your site.
- Testimonial page – once you have at least 10 reviews – create a dedicated testimonial page on your site and list all of your reviews (even if they are featured elsewhere on your site).
Focus on Instagram
The best social platform for you to focus your time in 2021 as an interior designer is Instagram.
It fits perfectly within the interior designers marketing strategy with its heavy image focus.
The platform can be an incredibly powerful tool to increase awareness of your interior design business and showcase your style to potential clients all around the world (perfect for that online interior design offering).
Consistency is crucial. When someone lands on your profile they should understand exactly what you are all about. The style that resonates from your account through your posts should align with what service offering and website – which can make the differences between whether they follow you or not.
The quality of your images needs to be of the highest order and you should mix in some gallery posts and videos as well to see what resonates best with your audience. High-resolution images can add that extra edge to convert people from visiting your profile to pressing that follow button.
You should aim to post the same volumes of posts each day or week depending on how much time you have. It is better to post every 3 days than posting 3 times a day for a week and then nothing for a month. Using tools such as Later can speed up the process as you can schedule multiple posts in advance making it easier to maintain consistency.
When posting, you will need to make sure you are using the right hashtags. Users can search for Instagram posts using hashtags. This means they can find new accounts (like yours!) to follow. Using the right hashtags for your interior design business is a great way to attract new followers.
Particularly when you are just starting, you need to engage with other accounts to attract people to your profile. Like, comment and DM similar accounts to yours to add value and create great connections.
Offer free consultations
An extremely common question I get from fledgeling interior designers is whether they should offer free consultations or not.
Now there is plenty of conflicting advice on this subject, so thought I’d give my two-cents.
For me, it’s simply a case of time vs return.
Offering a free consultation, it could make the difference whether a potential client contacts you vs another designer. I’ve also seen it produce great results in paid adverts (Facebook and Google Ads) when used to promote services.
On the other hand, offering free consultations may lead to you getting more enquiries from lower quality leads who made not turn into paying customers. These can be a timesuck and drain your enthusiasm for your business.
When you’re new. You probably have fewer clients taking up your time with actual projects.
In this case, it makes sense to offer free consultations until you develop a consistent client base who can trigger referral business.
The best part, you can always retract it in future.
So give it a go, promote you offer free consultations.
If it doesn’t work. Take it off.
My Pro Tip: Have a clear definition of what a free consultation means for you and make this clear to your prospective clients.
- Define the length (e.g. 30 minutes)
- What will you cover? (overview of your process, the proposal of actions, etc)
- Have the potential client fill out an extensive questionnaire in advance so you don’t have to waste time asking the same questions, it will also mean they are more invested as they’ve spent time on the questionnaire.
Let’s make 2021 a year to remember for your interior design business with these marketing plans.