Expanding your interior design business is likely a constant thought in the back of your mind. Because for today's business owners, the definition of success is growth. Growth means sales, and sales translate into success. But growing an interior design company takes time, commitment, the right tools, and at least some financial investment into marketing and promotions.
Unless you've found the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, you need to be savvy with what you invest your capital in. And while spending money on marketing and advertising is necessary for any company, no matter what stage they're at, there are intelligent ways to do it that can certainly deliver more bang for your buck.
Keen to know more? Read on to discover four ways to promote your interior design firm without breaking the bank.
1. GET ACTIVE ON SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS
Social media is a significant player in letting people know about your business. Think of Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest as your "Digital Portfolio." Posting on any of these platforms will increase your brand awareness and show a broad audience that your firm is active and has things going on. Furthermore, consistent posting stimulates engagement among followers as they'll be curious about what you'll share next.
Market your business with social media by uploading image-centric posts to build your brand, connect with your audience, and showcase your work. Refresh your networks and stay up to date by posting recent projects that link back to your website and drive traffic there. Connect with colleagues and industry peers, not just clients, to stay abreast of the latest trends and increase visitor flow.
The hot tip here is to know what platforms work best for you and leverage those chosen ones - you don't have to be on all of them. In fact, it's better to be more targeted and consider which platforms you favor as opposed to spreading yourself thinly across all. What good is it having a Twitter profile if a. it's not a platform your desired customers frequent, and b. you can't keep up with the posting frequently enough (Twitter is more of a microblogging "breaking news" site favored by journalists and politicians. Find out more about what social media platform is right for you by reading this article).
2. REFERRALS, REFERRALS, REFERRALS
When we think of marketing and promotions, we often consider outlets like social media, email campaigns, blogs, ads, and sponsorships. We don’t usually think of referrals as a marketing tool. Still, they are one of the most effective ways to promote your interior design business without spending an arm and a leg.
Since gaining new and repeat customers to build the business is a central goal for most design firms, the other key consideration is achieving the right customers - those who share your vision and whom you work harmoniously with. These customers who understand the value you and your design firm bring to their project are exceptionally profitable. And what's the best way to find these clients? Through referrals from your very best existing clientele.
Your designs and creativity are the essence of who you are as a designer and are critical to how you ultimately win clients. However, the way to instill trust, gain referrals, and attract repeat clients is to have an extra level of professionalism that will set you apart from other firms and solidify your business relationship.
By running a customer-centric design firm whose name is synonymous with care and attention to detail, you'll inspire your clients to talk about you and recommend you to their colleagues and friends at any opportunity. Birds of a feather (often) flock together.
Consider all the touchpoints a client has with your business and think, "how can I make this experience even easier and more seamless for them?” The extra effort to go above and beyond doesn't have to cost the earth and will pay off in spades. By building strong and loyal relationships with your best clients, you ensure a long and profitable future built on first-rate referrals that will promote your design firm without ever having to spend another dime.
4. UTILIZE DIGITAL ADVERTISING
If you're unsure where to start with digital advertising, don't worry, you're not alone. While there is a whole swagger of different options for this growth medium, you can boil it down to about four main ones: social media, paid search, native, and display.
While they all may differ in terms of where they appear and how they look, what they have in common is their cost-effectiveness and their ability to reach the exact customer demographic you're looking to target. With digital advertising, you can hone in on your ideal customer and get your ad and brand in front of them in a way that traditional offline advertising channels can not.
From gender and age to location and interests, digital advertising platforms such as Google AdWords offer flexible pricing options while seamlessly allowing designers to promote their specific services to desired areas and clientele.
Another benefit to digital advertising is the analytics you can access. And not just at the end of a campaign but throughout the ad's lifetime. This is a powerful feature as it means you can review and tweak the specifics of the ad while your campaign is still live. For instance, you're running a paid search ad and finding that the leads generated are all for projects under your firm's minimum starting budget. In this instance, you can easily and instantly add targeting criteria that specify a higher household income bracket.
Furthermore, being entirely measurable means that at any time, you can view metrics related to the number of impressions, shares, views, clicks, and the amount of time potential customers are spending on your page. This way, when it comes to the end of a campaign, you can determine how effective your ads have been and whether they've been financially worth it.
4. OFFER A FREE SERVICE OR GIVEAWAY
Everyone loves a giveaway – and the beauty of this promotion tactic is that the offer can be as small or big as you can afford to go. Of course, we've all seen these campaigns before; go in the draw to win X by doing Y.
Promotions like this can be used to grow your follower base on social media and generate buzz among those that engage. You can also use them to stimulate business with those you already have subscribed to your blog or newsletter or encourage referrals or repeat business.
You could even consider approaching another company or service that aligns with your firm's values to increase the giveaway value and tap into a pool of even more people. For instance, you might team up with one of your favorite vendors offering your design services for a design-consult service or one-room refresh with swoon-worthy wallpaper from Farrow & Ball (why not dream big!).
Partnering with another company also brings the added benefit of helping to strengthen your relationship with them as you work together on the promotion.
When deciding on the giveaway, consider the demographic of your target audience and what would appeal to them. And, of course, how you will promote it and what channels you will use to reach as many people as possible without breaking the bank.