Too often, marketing tends to fall to the bottom of interior designers’ to-do lists.
Especially when things get busy, it’s easy for solopreneurs to focus on the work that clients are paying them to do. Often, that means that marketing tasks get temporarily overlooked.
Sometimes this can’t be helped. Your design work will always be top priority. But in other cases, the real reason marketing gets skipped is the absence of a simple, effective marketing routine.
I get it. Marketing can be overwhelming. It can encompass hundreds of tactics and approaches — everything from getting your name out there to actually closing sales and landing referrals. You need a reliable system that aligns with your business goals, and one that’s relatively simple for you to use every day.
By the end of this article, I hope to give you all the tools you need to construct a marketing strategy and routine that will work consistently for your interior design business.
The Importance of Consistency in Marketing
First, I want to make clear that a little bit of marketing every day — sometimes even just a few minutes a day — is much better than a marketing sprint every few months when your calendar is getting light.
That’s because landing new clients is all about establishing relationships, and great relationships require consistent contact. This is especially true in the age of social media and digital communication. Long periods of silence, stale social media pages, and blogs that haven’t been updated in months may invite speculation that you’re no longer working, or that you can’t keep up.
Perhaps more importantly, each time you stop communicating with your clients and prospects, they start to forget a bit about who you are and what you do. People’s inboxes and feeds are crowded. The longer you stay quiet, the more ground you’ll lose with them.
This is particularly relevant for interior designers, because design is both an luxury purchase and one that doesn’t often have a hard deadline for buyers. Compared to other industries, the sales cycle tends to be longer — often, it takes months. That means that if you wait until things are slow to ramp up marketing, you are likely to stay slow for months at a time.
Identifying Strategic Goals
The idea of “marketing” is a broad one, and you could easily spend hours on it each day. After all, big companies employ entire agencies and teams of internal staff to handle their marketing.
But you don’t need to employ every marketing tactic in the book to get big results. You just need to focus on the most effective marketing tactics for you — the ones that will meet the goals that are the most important to your business.
Let’s clarify those goals now.
If you’re unfamiliar with sales funnels, I describe them in detail in my post on how to get the best interior design clients. To summarize, people’s journey from strangers to your customers generally has some form of the following stages: Awareness, Interest, Decision, and Action. Ideally, you’ll have a plan to market to people in each of those stages. But for our immediate purposes, consider what stage you want to work on first.
For example, do people tend to book consultations quickly after they find out about you? If so, you might benefit from focusing on making improvements to the “awareness” stage. Or, do you have a large number of qualified leads that don’t seem to be translating into more consultations? In that case, you’d want to focus on the “decision” or “action” stages of your funnel.
Of course, you don’t have to limit yourself to just one marketing stage. But considering how difficult it is for working interior designers to set aside the time for marketing, I’d suggest starting with one at a time. You can always come back and address the other stages of the funnel later.
Once you know where you want to focus your efforts, it’s time to nail down the numbers you want to hit within the next month.
For example, if you’ve decided to focus on the “awareness” end of the funnel, you could aim to get a certain number of new social media followers each month. If your goal is in the “decision” part of the funnel, you might set a goal of converting a higher percentage of your leads into clients.
If you’re wondering how to choose these numbers, it might help to start by figuring out how much revenue you want to make per month, or how many projects you want to land, or how many new client contracts you want to sign — then figuring out how the funnel can change to make that happen.
For example, let’s say that you want to add at least one more project to your calendar each month, and you think your biggest potential lies in the “awareness” stage of the funnel. If you can estimate that it usually takes about 50 new social media followers to result in one paying client, your goal would be to get 50 new followers each month.
Making your goal quantifiable goal gives you a more realistic idea of the time it will take to reach it.
Choosing Your Tactics and Scheduling Them
Now that you have your measurable goal in mind, it’s time to figure out specifically what you’ll do to reach those goals.
Whichever tactics you choose, you’ll need to break the steps into weekly and daily tasks and schedule them. Instead of simply sticking them into your calendar, you should insert the tasks into your day where it makes sense and when it will be the most convenient for you.
Consider linking the tasks with other tasks you already do regularly to ensure that they happen, or making a new routine specifically for your marketing work.
For example, if your tactic is to post on Instagram three times a week, plan to get some shots stockpiled every time you take a trip to the local showroom, and then build Instagram into your routine after lunch as you’re already browsing social media. (For more on how to leverage the power of Instagram, check out my full post on the topic.)
If your tactic is to update your portfolio to reflect a more distinctive aesthetic to attract better clients, you can build a shot list for each project you’re working on now and make sure to upload them to your website at the same time you send the final invoice for the project.
If your tactic is to write an email autoresponder, schedule the writing for a time you’re already going to be sitting in front of the computer for other tasks (invoicing, perhaps). If you rely on a calendar for your hourly activities, give the marketing its own time slot like you would anything else.Building your marketing work into your regular routines is key to making sure it happens consistently. Click To Tweet
Your marketing schedule should break down like this:
- Daily – Perform the marketing tasks that you planned out previously
- Weekly – Check progress toward monthly goals and modify tactics as necessary (you can do this during the “CEO time” I talk about in my post about goal-setting)
- Monthly – Reassess or add marketing goals
The beauty of this structure is that by building the marketing into your routine in small daily increments, the habit of marketing is more likely to stick for the long term. Then, as the months go on, you can build other tactics and techniques and layer them in on top of the ones that are already working well.
Which marketing tactics work the best for your interior design business? Leave a comment below and let me know.