You’re a designer—your passion lies in creating stunning designs and utilizing your creative skills to help others. Lead generation is not something that’s expected to be in your wheelhouse, or at least not at first. Eventually, every interior designer and firm will need to start thinking with a client-centric mentality to ensure that they can keep the new leads coming in and continue to grow their business.
Of course, for many firms, this seems far easier said than done. You’ve already got so much on your plate with your various design projects. Do you really need one more thing to worry about? Unfortunately, if you don’t worry about it, your firm isn’t going to be around very long because you aren’t bringing in new business as you should.
The good news, however, is that you don’t have to invest a ton of time into the process. And when you incorporate it as part of your day-to-day work, you’ll see that finding new clients isn’t nearly as tedious or time-consuming as you expected. Your mid-size marketing budget gives you a lot more power when it comes to client acquisition, but here are five tactics that should be in every interior design firm’s strategy.
Cost: Free, unless you pay for memberships, networking events, etc.
Today’s consumer is informed, prepared, and nearly ready to make a decision by the time they reach out to your firm. You might be wondering how you can possibly reach them if that’s the case. The key is establishing your interior design firm as an authority within the industry and making sure that your brand visibility is strong.
You can do this in several ways, but building a strong professional network is a great start. Plus, in addition to all these authority-building relationships, you’re also connecting with people in related industries who may be able to refer new clients to you, and vice versa. Consider joining professional interior design associations, getting listed on relevant directories, and link building with other businesses to establish a strong online presence.
Cost: Free, unless you offer incentives or discounts
There are few things as effective as a good word from someone with firsthand experience. You can talk all day about how successful your interior design firm is, but it won’t make a difference. If you’ve got current and former clients talking about your firm, however, you’ll get all kinds of new leads and clients.
Word-of-mouth marketing includes reviews, testimonials, and literal “word-of-mouth” where people tell their friends, family, and others about your interior design firm and how professional, reputable, and high-quality your services are. You can offer discounts or free services to drum up more reviews, but you don’t have to. Sometimes, even just asking is enough.
However you go about it, you need to make sure people are talking and that the conversations are aimed in your favor.
Social media is no longer an option for businesses. It hasn’t been for quite some time. And you’ve got to do more than just show up—you have to get engaged and use your social media for all that it can do. Creating a profile is great. Using it is even better. Choose channels that will be most effective, such as Instagram for showing off your finished projects and sharing other design inspiration.
The cost here comes in hiring someone to set up and optimize your social media, as well as consult with you on how to keep your profiles engaged and relevant so that they attract the new clients you want. You could also pay someone else to run your social media for you, but make sure that however you do it, it comes off as authentic or your audience will not be impressed.
Google and other search engines rely heavily on your SEO to rank your website and connect it with people who are searching for what you have to offer. Therefore, if your SEO strategy isn’t on point and your website and off-page presence aren’t properly optimized, you are not going to be getting the recognition that you deserve in the SERPs (search engine results pages). This will impact your new client acquisition significantly.
There are some areas of optimization that you can undertake yourself, but it’s often best to hire a professional or a team of them to handle the full SEO audit process. They will do a complete audit of your website and every off-page listing and reference they find to your interior design firm, providing you with a full report of where things stand and actionable suggestions for improvement. Then, if you so desire, they will implement those actions and optimize your online presence so that it stands out above the rest.
Cost: $250-$5,000, depending on what you outsource
The connected world that we live and work in today makes it easy for you to outsource professional services and various tasks that you don’t want to handle yourself. Perhaps you just don’t have enough time with your design clients to deal with the constant influx of phone calls, online queries, and other communications that come in. The good news is that you don’t have to—you can outsource all this and so much more.
The virtual receptionists at Smith.ai can help you with your lead generation efforts by providing a 24/7 answering service to ensure you never miss an opportunity. We’ll also craft a unique strategy for you that includes our best services, ranging from appointment scheduling and lead intake to live chat on your website, and even assistance with your outreach campaigns to get those leads in the first place.