Seth Godin, one of the best minds we have today in the field of marketing, is notorious for saying that modern marketing boils down to the stories we tell, and the defining belief that, “People like us do things like this.” What that means is that you get people to buy what you are selling—like your interior design services—through empathy and telling true stories that resonate with your ideal customers. Creating a marketing strategy for your interior design business doesn’t need to feel overwhelming, but it does require that you dig in deep to understand the people you wish to serve and know what problem you are solving for them.
There are so many different aspects to marketing, including PR, but today I want to challenge you with three thought starters that will give you a place to begin. These aren’t generally easy questions to answer right away, so give yourself the time and space to test and to change. Once you know who your ideal client is, you can get started on these 15 creative ways to get new design clients.
3 Marketing Tools for Interior Designers
1.Marketing Yourself Through Price: People make judgments and assumptions about things based on cost alone. They also buy things that reinforce the stories they tell about themselves (I am successful, so I shop at Whole Foods, etc.). Just because something costs more doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s better. Think about something that you really love that costs more than another brand. Why do you like it? What story are you telling yourself about that product or service? When you are thinking about how to price your interior design services, you have to first think about the types of clients that you want and your position in the market. If you want really high-end clients, you may need to raise your prices. Why? If you price your services too low, clients who can afford to pay more will likely think you aren’t as good as someone charging more—even if that’s not true. What story do you think people are telling themselves about your service based on how much you charge?
2. Fulfilling Desires: To stand out, choose a desire that is not being properly addressed by many people in your industry. People generally choose one company or person over another not because it is necessarily better, but because it offers something different and because, “People like us do things like this.” What desire can you fulfill that will give you a strong position in the market? Big name designers like Martin Lawrence Bullard, Kelly Wearstler, and Darryl Carter have set themselves apart through their distinct styles. If you have millions to spend and love eclectic design, call Bullard. If you love neutrals, call Carter. If you desire to have the “it girl,” responsible for some of the coolest boutique hotels, call Wearstler. What desire can you fulfill in your market that makes you different from the rest?
3. Permission Marketing: Permission marketing is about sharing messages, insights, and resources to people who want to hear from you. It is the opposite of spam. It is talking to people who have chosen to listen to what you have to say. It could be through a blog, a newsletter, a podcast, or sharing on IGTV. How can you apply this to your interior design business? How can you add value to the customers you wish to serve? Better yet, how can you provide this in a way that will get people to want to share it with other people. How can you make it so good that people can’t help but talk about it? How can you create consistency around this?