2020 handed the design industry both a massive challenge and opportunity.
On one hand, we lost the ability to network in person and our events and trade shows which are a huge part of marketing and sales as an individual designer.
On the other hand, the world’s attention turned to the home – the sofa with shot springs you may be sitting on and the Kitchen that finally needs an organizational overhaul. Our focus is how we can improve our spaces, live and work in them, and improve our quality of life as a result. Even companies have given employees thousands to incentivize them to improve their home offices!
What a time for the home industry!
As physical locations like restaurants, shops, and commercial spaces open up, we will likely see another wave of opportunity.
Designers can really utilize this opportunity to reach a new pool of customers by building or improving their online presence. Going forward, online engagements are going to be KEY for keeping your client pipeline full.
We’ve listed out a checklist of KEY factors to landing interior design clients online so you can line up a successful year:
Update your website:
Websites have often been the thing that falls on the back burner when we’re out working, attending events, etc. throughout the year. And then, in 2020, our website became our most important tool for making an impression! Having your website updated and stocked with the latest on you, your work, and your brand is KEY to generating leads online.
Incorporate these KEY pieces:
Mobile-friendly site design: more and more customers are coming from social and search via mobile devices. Mobile accounts for approximately half of web traffic worldwide.
Your latest projects: high quality photography
Peer proof: testimonials from your clients
Page speed: don’t hold up leads on slow-moving pages
Helpful and interesting content: share your expertise and part of your personality so people feel connected
Personality and branding: use consistent fonts, colors, logos, and image styles across your website and social media
Be intentional and consistent on Instagram
We all know Instagram houses vibrant communities of interior designers, enthusiasts or suppliers. It can be overwhelming and difficult to feel like there is a “place” amongst the popularity for designers. But it’s not necessarily about being hugely followed but rather this is another avenue for potential customers to find you, interact with you, and view your work. Think of it as another version of your website with a more personal, interactive touch. It is likely where someone, even if they meet you through your website or an event, take a look at what you’re up to IRL.
Nail this checklist for Instagram success:
- State your business name in your profile and bio. You don’t want people disassociating you from your work and being confused
- Compel potential clients with an elevator pitch in your bio. Share your style, accolades and your location so they know what to expect and want to learn more.
- Make a separate account for your personal life. Keep your business account clear, organized, and focused on delivering the content that your ideal clients want to see. You can save everything else for your personal page instead of trying to do both.
Example of a strong Instagram bio:
“Chicagoland residential and commercial Interior Designer. My style: vintage glam with modern elements. AD Pro featured.”
You don’t need to be featured in Architectural Digest! What makes you stand out?
Create strategic, branded content:
You need to deliver content regularly so people have a reason to follow you and potential leads are reminded of you when you do. Get on a schedule of posting 3-5 times a week. Sharing relevant content of your day-to-day life in stories is a great opportunity for engagement too.
You can plan far in advance and get a calendar set for the month with scheduling apps like Sprout Social, Buffer, Later, etc. It doesn’t have to be elaborate with carousels of photos for each post or wordy captions, just consistent.
Consider these ideas for your feed:
Images from your projects (if they are not in review to be published)
Your favorite products in room/lifestyle settings
Reviews and words of praise from clients
Tips and tricks – give them some insight
Just a few, decent personal photos to show potential clients who you are
Leverage your LinkedIn presence:
LinkedIn is a very potent tool to promote your business – even creative ones!
LinkedIn is not just the platform for job seekers and professionals. LinkedIn is a social media platform with the potential of gaining exposure for a business. It can be used to build relationships with brands, decision makers at companies for commercial work, and personal leads for residential projects. Linkedin gives you direct access to people who can become clients directly, partners, or even catapult you to new positions and opportunities. About 20% of the world’s billionaires are on LinkedIn!
In terms of tone, LinkedIn is more about educating the audience and showing your expertise in your niche and less about direct selling. Make a point to consciously grow your network by connecting with people who are KEY decision makers or potential clients and consistently post at least times a week.
You can share:
- a new project
- tips and tricks for commercial and residential spaces
- valuable news articles, etc.
The goal is to stay top of mind.
Send Newsletters worthy of opening:
It takes, on average, 8 interactions with your brand to make a sale or sign a client. That’s a lot! Ultimately, your goal from your website and social media is to get people in your network so you can continually reconnect and stay top of mind for when they are ready for your help. Your newsletter is central to that. It should be approached like an update from a helpful and an interesting friend, not from a pushy salesperson. These should be composed in a way that reconnects leads with you on a personal level, inspires them, and makes them excited for the next.
Think about these ideas for your newsletter:
- Include a latest project – wow them with before and after shots
- Lend a helpful design tip they can try at home
- Share latest industry news and tidbits you find exciting
- Offer a free consultation for a limited time as an incentive to get in touch
The more of a rapport you can build with your customers and leads online sets a valuable impression for a meaningful working relationship that could follow.
The pandemic has affected our industry deeply but it’s also created some amazing opportunities for us to come out stronger. Get ahead on your web and social presence and begin to reap the benefits as we make our way back!