We proudly sprawl the words “interior designer” on our social media, business card and website, and we feel like we’re marketing our interior design services, but do your clients really know what you do?
Interior design is still a relatively new profession, with a fast-changing and evolving industry and a broad range of possible service offerings. Your clients are likely very confused about what it is you actually do. So, suppose you’ve put your title on your website and social media and think you’re marketing interior design services. In that case, it’s time to take a moment to revisit the most important element in your interior design business. The key service or services that make you money!
The Main Reasons Why Clients Won't Hire You Are Because:
Interior design is a personal service, so it’s time to understand your clients and get laser-focused on helping explain what services you’re offering and for who it is for – and communication is key!
It’s good practice to check-in and audit your services occasionally anyway, especially if you’ve recently changed any services or offerings. You can and should do this no matter at what stage of your career you’re at, but of course, doing this the first time at the start of your interior business is essential. If you want to know what possible services an interior designer can offer, then have a look at this post: “What Do Interior Designers Really Do“.
So grab a pen and notebook (I’m old-fashioned like that) and give yourself ten minutes to finish the following exercise. It could be the area of your interior business waiting for you to shine that spotlight on it and get it fixed. Let’s go!
This might seem a little left field, but it’s an essential first step. It’s unbelievable how many designers miss this when marketing interior design! Even if you’re focussing on e-services, people want to know who they are dealing with and at least a little about them. Imagine if you were thinking of spending a pretty penny on a digital service (let’s say a bespoke design for a piece of furniture), it might not matter where the person is located, but if you had to choose between someone who had all of the information clearly visible and someone who seemed to be hiding it (or mistakenly forgot to publish it), then you’ll feel safer investing in the person who is open and looks professional, even if they are ultimately farther away.
Also, publishing your location might be a legal requirement, depending on your business setup. So, to be trading legally, you might have to put your location for tax and legal purposes.
The biggest mistake you can make when marketing interior design services is to have a long list of offerings. You see it everywhere, and that’s why it seems so acceptable, but know that if you want to make getting clients easy, you’ll want to keep it simple! If you’re just starting out, choose ONE! Two if you must and three only as a last resort.
Take a moment to think about the most profitable service you’re offering. For those of you starting out, ask yourself which service requires the least amount of resources, money and time but can bring in the most. If you’ve been in business for a while, think about the service you love to provide the most and, if it’s not profitable, how you can make it profitable. Then, lead with that service. Write it out clearly: what’s included, how long it takes, what it costs, the deliverables, etc. Get known for something and do it well.
Your aim with this step is not to publish this (yet) but to get so clear on what you do that you can recite it in your sleep.
There is an art to creating profitable services, but an even bigger art to marketing interior design services! This requires market research knowledge and a bit of experience with the client type you’re hoping to attract with your services (or an experienced mentor who already has the specific market research, like me!) So, take a moment to think about why people have contacted you in the past and why they did it at that time. Had they just moved? Were they renovating? Did they need more (or less) space?
The problem with marketing interior design services is that there often isn’t much urgency. “Oh we’re thinking about refreshing the lounge so we’re testing some interior designers.” – This statement would make me run a mile! I prefer to hear, “I’m so sick of it, I need it done yesterday!” There needs to be a little bit of urgency as those people are ready to buy from you. They just need reassurance that you’re the right choice, and the easiest way to do that is to make it clear that you know how to solve your client’s most urgent problem with your leading interior design service.
Do you help renovators maximise their budget through resourceful design or help empty-nesters feel safe knowing their new home will see them through their older years? Whatever you do, know your niche, know your market and make sure to get the message across clear and simple. (If you haven’t nailed your niche, check out this post: How To Create An Interior Design Niche).
Clearly stating what you do and who you do it for is the single most important part of marketing interior design services! Practice saying it out loud in one sentence repeatedly until it’s ingrained and second nature to say it. Ask your friends to give you feedback on the clarity of your marketing message, and finally ask yourself, could a child understand what I do? Keep it simple. You’d be surprised how quickly arty, complex, over-descriptive language can send a client running a mile (no matter how great your portfolio is)!
Clearly stating what you do and who you do it for is the most critical part of marketing interior design services. Yet, it’s the one thing most interior designers overlook because we assume that everyone already knows what it is that an interior designer does. But we’re mistaken; clients have no idea what it is we do, so we need to make sure that our interior design marketing includes clearly stating it everywhere. That includes on our websites, branding, social media and when we speak about it to anyone!
Our services as interior designers are so broad – many interior designers don’t even know what they’re doing, so you have to be extra careful to ensure you’re being very clear about what you do. No, not all interior designers offer the same services, and not everyone is profitably marketing interior design services. Don’t be one of those designers.