You have the skills and knowledge, and you’ve taken the first step to starting up your own interior design business. But when it comes to design networking and finding clients, you’re not quite sure where to start. Does this sound like you? Or perhaps you’re already heavily invested in your design career, but there’s been a lull in new business lately. Business owners are known for having to wear many hats, including being the primary salesperson for their services. It can be overwhelming at times, but selling your services doesn’t have to be. Read on to learn how you can reach potential clients and build your business at the same time.
Digital Networking Strategies
In this day and age, technology is heavily relied on for both business and pleasure. So it can be extremely beneficial to utilize digital media as a powerful design networking and marketing tool.
Promote Your Business on Social Media
It is becoming increasingly necessary for businesses to have a presence on major platforms, including Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, and Pinterest. Social media is at the fingertips of most of the world, and it has become useful for expanding one’s circle and discovering potential clients.
Gone are the days of high-pressure sales. Posting regularly on major social media platforms introduces your work to a broad audience and creates a sense of familiarity with them in a low-pressure environment. You can also use hashtags to make your posts show up in more searches and increase their visibility.
To fully take advantage of social media promotion strategies, you should maintain active involvement on major social media platforms. This includes:
- Liking and commenting on others’ posts
- Spending time in the “Explore” section on Instagram
- Researching hashtags that are relevant to your field
- Following accounts that could lead to potential referrals or collaborations down the road. You never know if the builder you follow might notice your work and ask you to design the interior of a project on which he’s been working!
Become an Interior Design Blogger
Starting a blog is another efficient way to network and make your business known in the digital world. An interior design blog can feature:
- Creative decorating tips
- Inspiration images
- Behind-the-scenes looks at projects
- Sneak peeks into the design process to show clients what they can expect from your services.
- Anything else that shows off your knowledge and expertise in the field!
Blogging will help you gain credibility and build trust with the public more quickly. Interested readers will follow along, and when the time comes that they need help with a design challenge, your business information will already be in their back pocket.
There are opportunities to reach a wider audience and increase the revenue stream for your business through affiliate marketing. You can use your blog to highlight products or services in your projects, and many companies offer commission for recommending their products. Not only could you potentially increase your revenue, but you will also expand your reach by appealing to the followers of the company you are promoting.
Tailor Your SEO To Optimize Design Networking Opportunities
For those on a limited budget, search Engine Optimization (SEO) can make all the difference for your business. SEO involves using analytics and keywords that are attached to digital content to increase traffic from search engines. In other words, it’s a little boost in search rankings for your business. The best part? It’s free!
To improve SEO for your business, you can start by paying attention to these factors:
- Brainstorm keywords and short phrases that you think your target market will search to find your services. Use an online research tool to confirm which of these phrases are searched most often and keyword difficulty (how many other businesses already have a high ranking for that search term.)
- Keep titles simple and unique: include a strong identifying keyword, limit to 55-60 characters, and use words like “how” and “why”
- Meta descriptions should be 1-2 sentences and include a very detailed summary of what readers can expect from your content. Don’t forget to include an identifying keyword!
- Use short paragraphs and bulleted lists
- Use headings and subheadings with keywords for visual appeal
- Call-to-action buttons that guide your reader and help them navigate to your services
If marketing services are within your budget, it can also be a good idea to consider investing in online advertising. Google Ads offers business owners the opportunity to promote services and products through search engines like Google, as well as on websites, videos, and mobile apps. Ads are pay-per-click (PPC), which means that you only pay for the ad when someone clicks on it. Major social media and e-commerce platforms also offer advertising services, including campaigns that start as low as $1 per day.
Launch Design Networking Email Campaigns
Email marketing campaigns are typically very successful in drumming up referrals and additional business from previous clients. Start an email list with current contacts who might be interested in your services, then focus on how to grow that list.
Use Lead Magnets
One effective tool for growing your email list is a lead magnet. Lead magnets offer free access to exclusive content, in exchange for the interested party’s contact information. This is a great way to identify who is interested in your services. You can build an email list, while also sharing your knowledge with potential clients. Examples of lead magnets include:
- Newsletters and updates about your business – new projects, events, behind-the-scenes, etc.
- Special offers for services
- Whitepaper – offer in-depth product recommendations, design tips, or other educational information that will teach readers something new
- Surveys and polls – show readers that you’re interested in their input; this helps you learn more about your audience’s interests so that you can improve the appeal of future content as well
Email Campaign Tips
Send out periodic email blasts to everyone on your list, as a gentle reminder of your services, and make sure your content offers something valuable to your readers. You never know when an email might reach someone at a perfectly opportune time.
Still not sure what to include? Here are some additional ideas:
- Introduction for new subscribers – describe your business, goals, background, anything you think will create a connection!
- Relevant industry information – share case studies, the latest news in interior design, etc.
- Calls to action – encourage readers to take immediate action
Find Additional Marketing Support
The challenge with navigating the digital landscape is that all of the design networking strategies listed above take time – time to learn, time to post, and time to grow. Outsourcing social media responsibilities for your design business can prove to be an effective solution. 4Dbiz offers marketing assistance from knowledgeable professionals who find satisfaction in collaborative work and celebrating business growth right alongside you. Contact Evelyn at 4Dbiz to schedule a call today!
Boost Your Design Business With Real-Life Connections
In spite of the emerging trend toward digital spaces, don’t overlook real-life connections either! There is something to be said for design networking in-person, as these interactions can make a more memorable and lasting impression.
Sometimes drumming up business is all about who you know. For example, Client A approaches you with a small renovation project. You’re not sure if you should accept because it will take up a lot of your time, but you ultimately decide it sounds like a fun project. When the project is finished, Client A is so happy with the results that she tells all of her friends about it, including Client B. Client B is a developer and has been looking for a solid interior designer to assist with a multi-family housing project. Client A’s referral could not have come at a more convenient time, which means you’ve just earned yourself more business.
In-Person Design Networking Opportunities
Look for opportunities to get involved in circles with which you aren’t familiar. Here are some suggestions:
- Collaborate with a contractor, builder, or even another interior designer who has a little more exposure than you
- Do some volunteer work and partner with local organizations to show how your business is an impactful contributor in the community
- Host workshops and special events at your own office or a public space to meet new people who might be interested in your services
- Design networking can also be outside the industry. Find people who align with your values. For example, if your niche is sustainable interior design, find referral partners who are also interested in sustainability (you will probably have overlap in your ideal client) – You’ll have to reword this, but you get what I mean!
It’s always a good practice to keep your ears open for new opportunities to meet people. Never underestimate the power of word of mouth!
Need a little more help getting started with design networking? Schedule a call with 4Dbiz today.