HOW TO USE PAID ADVERTISING TO GET INTERIOR DESIGN CLIENTS IN 5 STEPS
In this post I’m going to focus on whether using paid advertising such as Facebook, Google or Magazines to attract interior design clients is suitable for you as an interior designer or architect and the steps to take if you’re ready to give paid advertising a try.
Paid advertising does work when done correctly, for the right purpose and within a marketing strategy. Still, if you’re specifically a start-up interior design business, then I’d say it’s much too early to be wasting your money on paid advertising 99% of the time. If you don’t know which phase of business you’re in, check out this post before reading on: https://www.idbs.online/strategies-to-start-or-grow-your-interior-design-business/
One of the biggest mistakes I see interior designers making is using paid advertising to attract interior design clients. They write a social media adverts, boost posts, pay for adverts in magazines or worse, pay exorbitant amounts per click on Google or Facebook ads and get the feeling that they’re in business. They think that the more they invest, the more potential clients will start ringing, and they’ll be working on that dream project before they know it! Unfortunately, converting potential clients (or cold leads in this case) into paying clients isn’t as simple as that. Simply writing an advert and hoping for the best isn’t a marketing strategy, and if you choose to use paid advertising, you’ll want to make sure that you have a cohesive system that converts before you start throwing money at it.
How do you know you’re ready to start using paid advertising?
If you’re thinking of using paid advertising in your interior design business, here are the steps you should take before proceeding:
1 | Understand How Paid Advertising Will Tie Into Your Overall Marketing Strategy
Are you using paid advertising such as Facebook adverts in your interior design business to get clients to sell your interior design services, or are you planning on selling a product, a passive income such as an e-book or course, or are you planning on creating brand awareness, engagement, extend your reach, increase video views to transform cold leads into warm leads? Before you even consider writing your first advert, you need to know what your advert is for!
For example, is paid advertising going to be your primary source of potential client lead generation? To rephrase that more simply, is the primary way you plan to secure clients is to use paid advertising? I hope not, but if it is, then you’ll want to know your conversion statistics and put aside a nice budget for advertising each month. This will need to be a key consideration in your business and marketing plan because you’ll want to ensure that the services you’re providing more than cover your business costs and allow for that hefty advertising cost.
As you’ve landed on this post because you’re probably looking to use paid advertising to get new interior design clients, I want you to know that at the time of writing, a typical Google advert for “interior designer London” might cost you around £20 per click (and that might not even be a potential client clicking but a competitor, spammer, student, someone looking for work, a trade supplier, your neighbour). So, if, say, one person per day clicks on your advert, your typical monthly spend might be around £600 – so you’ll want to make sure you’ve nailed the next few steps before you start throwing money into that one.
2 | Create Services That Make A Profit & Are Sellable To Your Target Market
Before you start using paid advertising to get clients in your interior design business, you need to make sure that the services you’re selling are indeed sellable, profitable and that you’re capable of providing them. You’ll also need to work out things like:
- How many clients do I need per month to reach my annual revenue goals?
- What’re the minimum number of clients I need and the maximum number of clients I can take on at any one time?
- Do I have the resources to provide the services I’m selling?
- Do my clients want the services I’m selling? (Don’t lie to yourself – get facts and figures).
- Will my potential clients, pay the amount for the service I’m selling?
- Have l ever sold this service to anyone for the price I’m asking, and is my overall strategy viable/profitable? (HINT: If your answer here is no, then you aren’t ready to use paid advertising – go make a sale first and prove that what you’re offering is sellable).
3 | Understand Your Potential Client’s Habits And On Which Media They Will See Your Advert
Once you’ve nailed your marketing plan and services and you’ve proven that your clients want what you’re offering (and will pay the price you’re asking), you’re ready to start looking into what type of paid advertising you should use in your interior design business.
So, what types of paid advertising should you use in your interior design business? Your main choices are:
- Social media | Such as Facebook advertising (also includes Instagram), YouTube, Tik Tok, Linked In etc.
- Search Engine Adverts | Such as Google and Microsoft Advertising (formerly Bing adverts). Note that these adverts will also show up on other people’s blog posts, websites and pages if you allow them.
- Print Media | Such as magazines (and I’d also include digital copies of those here too), local newspapers, flyers, real estate rounds etc.
- Local Business Advertising | This could be an advert in a local golf club, café, real estate agent’s office etc.
- Classifieds Websites | Where you pay for leads or adverts depending on the set up such as Gumtree, Craigslist, Yell etc.
- Service Provider Websites | That take a fee or an annual subscription payment to match professionals with potential clients (not necessarily interior design specific). These include sites such as Bark, Freelancer.com, Elance, Fiver etc. and
- Interior Design Referral Websites | Where you pay either a monthly/annual fee for leads/referrals, such as My Bespoke Room (UK), Havenly (USA), Upscale (CH) and Milray Park (AUS) etc.
There are others such as TV and billboard adverts etc., but if you have the budget for those, then you’d never have stumbled across our blog!
Now that you know your options, how do you decide which platform is right for you? Well, the final decision will be a combination of:
- Where your clients are likely to see your advert.
- Your marketing.
- Your marketing /lead generation strategy.
For example, you wouldn’t use Instagram adverts to get interior design clients if your clients aren’t on Instagram (because your potential clients will never see your adverts), and you wouldn’t advertise at your local high-end golf club if you’re selling e-design services (because they aren’t your ideal clients)! So before deciding which platform is right for you, think of your potential clients, their habits, and the right strategy to get your advert in front of them.
4 | Create A Lead Generation And Conversion Strategy
The next step is to understand the steps between your potential client seeing your advert and becoming a potential client. What I mean by that is that your advert is probably the first step in a chain of events for onboarding your potential client and turning them from someone who might be interested in your services into a paying customer.
For example, a simple interior design service conversion strategy might look like this:
A client sees your advert on Facebook >> client then clicks on the advert and goes to your website’s sales page that outlines your unique services (this could be a video or sales copy) >> client then sees a call to action to book a consultation with you (sometimes called a discovery call) to see if you’re a right fit/find out more/ask the price or downloads your welcome packet >> client calls >> client says yes to working with you >> client pays upfront invoice >> project starts!
This is one very basic formula! There is an endless number of ways you could create a profitable and successful lead generation and conversion strategy, so think outside of the box (or you could use one of the lame latest guru’s tactics that are being advertised to you on social media HINT: analyse their strategy for converting you into a paying client, and that’s typically the strategy they will teach you to convert your own clients… simples).
One thing to consider that I find with selling interior design services is that it’s a very personal service and clients typically want to connect with you as a designer before they say yes to working with you. Also, sometimes you can dismiss a potential dream client by having an automated system in place (especially if your clients are a little more old-school or face-to-face type people – or in my case, are more luxury or higher-end clients), so getting to know your client’s habits is imperative to making the right decision with your conversion strategy.
5 | Now You’re Ready To Create Your Advert!
Now that you know what service you’re selling, how this advert ties into your marketing strategy, your conversion and onboarding system and what platform you’re going to use, you’re ready to create your advert! Where do you start?
Follow these steps:
- Choose the visual format that works with the platform you’ve chosen (horizontal, vertical, HD etc.)
- Choose the text format that works with the platform you’ve chosen (long format, short format etc.).
- Choose a headline or image (or both) that gets your clients attention.
- Write copy that speaks directly to your ideal client’s desire for what you provide (and how you solve their problem).
- Provide an obvious call to action
- Test your advert (you might need to tweak or split test your advert before it starts to convert efficiently, but don’t give up on the first round.
- Monitor where your leads are coming from, your conversion statistics and your price per conversion statistics to see if your paid advertising campaign works profitably for you.
- Don’t increase the advertising budget unless the advert is converting (and you have proof).
- Continue to monitor your ads. The world is alive! Things change, stay up to date and keep adjusting as you need to stay on top of your leads.
Suppose your paid ads are converting. Congratulations. You’ve done the hard work. You deserve it!
I think it’s essential to finish up by saying that there are much easier, faster and cheaper ways to get clients in your interior design business. Although many architects and interior designer friends of mine use paid advertising to attract cold leads, I never needed to because my sales and marketing strategy successfully brought me dream clients without ever needing to advertise.
I suppose what I’m trying to say is that you should know that there are other ways to get clients, and paid advertising is only one way to generate leads – it’s also a costly way (especially if you don’t know what you’re doing)! Even though I don’t use paid advertising to find interior design clients, I do use paid advertising to sell other products and services online because it’s profitable for us to do so.
So my guidance if you’re starting, funds are tight, you’re selling a low-cost service, trying to gain experience, or if you haven’t been in business for long, is to find free or much lower-cost ways to sell your interior design services.
About the author
Jo Chrobak is the founder and CEO of The Interior Designer’s Business School. She has over 20 years of experience working in architecture and interior design, across the world on commercial and domestic projects from international hotels to developments and new builds. Her vast experience transcends industries to give her unique knowledge of processes and strategies which she passes on to her students to help them succeed as interior designers as quickly as possible.
Growing up in Sydney, Australia, Jo decided to travel the world in her twenties to gain experience and education from as many sources as possible. She graduated with first class Honours, top of her graduating class and a Bachelor of Architecture in 2007 and since then has worked on projects in Norway, Oman, The UAE, Egypt, Australia, Canada and across the UK and Europe.
She currently runs her architectural and interior design studio (www.jochrobak.com) and specialises in complex projects that require both architectural and interior design knowledge.
Jo is also trained as an Ashtanga yoga instructor, a life and business coach and is a passionate artist creating bespoke artwork for clients.
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