Growing any business is hard, but when it comes to the interior design industry, business growth can seem particularly difficult. According to recent statistics, the number of interior designers increased by 19% between 2008 and 2018, which is higher than the average for all other occupations. What’s more, interior design services are considered a luxury purchase. And in a slower economy, consumers are less likely to pay for them. So with growing competition and a shrinking client base, how can interior designers stand out?
The answer lies in ensuring you're doing marketing for your interior design business right. You may already have a marketing strategy in place, which is great! But the thing is, clients don’t see your interior design company as separate components, but rather as a whole.
You could implement the best marketing campaign in the world, but if they have one bad experience with a customer sales rep, they’re gone. According to our partner HubSpot, 74% of people are likely to switch brands if they find the purchasing process too difficult, and 51% won’t do business with you again after one negative experience.
What you really need to do is to take a more holistic approach. Implement a strategy that incorporates all parts of your business - from marketing to sales and customer service. Enter the inbound methodology.
Marketing for interior design firms
As an agency, we advise all of our clients that are serious about growing their interior design company to adopt an inbound methodology. Why? Because inbound is a new way to market your business that strives to help people and deliver your message in a way that humans want to be marketed to.
You don’t need to interrupt anyone in their daily lives with messages about how great your designs are, or why they should choose you. If you do your job right, customers will come to you, not the other way round.
Sound good? Let’s take a little step back. When doing our research, we found plenty of online articles claiming to have the best interior design marketing tips. From ‘print more business cards’ to ‘attend more trade shows’, we’ve read them all. But is this really the right kind of advice?
While all of those things shouldn’t be ignored, they definitely should not be prioritised. Gone are the days of solely doing traditional marketing. We live in a digital world, and if you want your interior design company to stand out in the 21st century, you need to have an online presence.
Digital marketing for interior designers
Digital marketing, when used in combination with the right sales approach, can work wonders for your business. The only thing is, you need to use the right inbound strategy to ensure you’re using the right digital marketing channel, to reach the right audience at the right time. What’s more, by adding content marketing to your marketing plan, you’ll be able to easily convert your target audience into customers.
Let’s dig a little deeper into how the inbound stages of attract, convert, close and delight will help you grow your interior design business.
The inbound methodology for interior designers
Attract your target audience
Hypothetically, let’s say you’re trying to attract females in their 40’s, with a middle to high household income and a strong interest in home decor. Instead of going out looking for them, you attract them to your website by providing relevant and helpful blog articles. You know what questions they’re asking because you’ve done your search engine optimisation research. And you know they’re using Pinterest and Instagram because your social media marketing strategy is on point.
Are we starting to make sense? The attract stage is all about creating educational content and experiences to show you’re an expert in your field, and then promoting it through the right digital marketing channels. Why? Because 71% of buyers consume blog content before purchasing. From the newest interior design trends to decor inspiration and how to add more hygge to your home - the content topic ideas are endless. Be as creative as possible: whether an article, infographic or ebook, the more high-quality content you create, the better.
As at this stage you are largely looking to create brand awareness for your company, using channels like SEO and social media to promote it will help drive your target audience to your website. Combined with sales and customer service reps that are available to provide quick answers when required, you’ve set the perfect scene to start engaging with your visitors.
If you're looking for more advice on how to develop your content marketing strategy, then download our ultimate guide to content marketing for interior designers.
Convert them into clients
Once you’ve started driving the right sort of traffic to your site, the next step is to convert those visitors into potential clients. This is where the convert stage comes in. This stage is all about starting a relationship, and it begins the moment a visitor takes a desired action, such as downloading an ebook, signing up to your newsletter or booking an initial call.
Your goal is to build trust and answer questions, all while getting to know your leads better by analysing their behaviour. What topics are they interested in? What channels can you best reach them on? How often do they return to your site?
From a digital marketing perspective, you’ll need to reach them through email marketing and online advertising such as PPC or social media retargeting. Your landing page is key to converting qualified leads, so make sure you work closely with a graphic designer to make them look as on-brand as possible. A visitor filling out a form should always know exactly what they’re signing up for, what benefits they can expect and that they have the option of unsubscribing whenever they wish (in adherence with GDPR).
So how can we bring this back to interior design? Like any other business, you’ll want to promote yourself as an expert in a niche market. For the purpose of this example, let’s say you specialise in minimalist design.
Here are our step-by-step recommendations to ace the convert stage:
- Create a gated ebook on everything your target audience would want to know on minimalist style
- To download the ebook, ask them to fill out a form and sign up to your email newsletter
- Nurture your lead with periodical emails including tips, trends and ideas on minimalism
- Track engagement and open rates
- Be sure to have your sales team respond to any queries
If you are consistently providing them with quality and educational content, leads will follow.
Delight them over and over again
The final part of the inbound methodology is the delight stage, which ensures you provide an outstanding experience every time a customer interacts with your business. You want to exceed their expectations so they recommend your business to their friends and family - after all, nothing spreads faster (and is more effective) than word of mouth from someone you trust.
From a digital marketing perspective, this means using marketing automation, conducting social monitoring, and encouraging customers to leave reviews. There’s no better promoter to have for your interior design business than a happy customer, so ensuring you delight them every time is crucial.
Grow your interior design business
Before you go ahead and get started with the inbound methodology, you need to create a digital marketing strategy to ensure your hard work is helping you achieve your business goals. Have a look at our recent article on how to create a digital marketing strategy, or download our digital marketing strategy template to get started straight away.
And if you’re looking for a little help along the way, you’ve come to the right place. We’re a London based digital marketing agency, specialised in business growth in the property sector. We are a certified HubSpot and Google partner, meaning we live and breathe the inbound methodology.
Our team of experts is more than happy to walk you through how we can help your interior design firm gain a competitive advantage, generate leads and acquire new customers.