I know you’re busy. So let’s cut right to the chase. This run down on how to get interior design clients will give you 15 ideas so you can take action right now.
If you don’t have clients, you don’t have a business. I know this because I have had a service based business relying on clients since 2008.
Some of these suggestions can be accomplished in a few minutes, while some are things to put in motion that will pay off over time.I have done most of these because they work for most businesses. Pay special attention to #7 and #9 because I have found them to be crucial in getting more word-of-mouth business.
Are you ready to ignite your business with new clients? Let’s go.
15 Creative Ways to Get Interior Design Clients
Make Your Client the Hero of Your Marketing: Stop what you’re doing! No really. Go to your website and answer this question: Who is the hero of the story on your website? Is it your client? Or is it you?
Many designers make the mistake of making themselves the hero of their marketing narrative. Your client wants to know how you can fulfill their deepest desires and solve their biggest pain points. You need to make sure that your website copy speaks to your ideal client and convinces them that YOU are what they’ve been missing. And YOU are the one who is going to swoop in and make all their dreams come true.
This is also true in your social media bio. While your bio should say who you are, where you are located, and how someone can contact you, it should also say what your ideal client is going to get from following you.Two of my favorite books on the topic of marketing include: Building a StoryBrand and This is Marketing by Seth Godin.
Utilize Permission Marketing: This simply means talking to people on a regular basis who have chosen to listen to what you have to say. It is the opposite of spam. It could be through a podcast, a newsletter, or a blog, but regardless of the medium, it’s a place you show up consistently. What this does is builds trust and puts you top of mind as you build an audience or email list. It is also a way to remind people that they can hire you for your interior design services.
Consistency is How You Win Social Media: Choose one social media platform and commit to showing up 5 times a week. If you are just starting your design business, it’s ok if you don’t have hundreds of professional images to share of your work. Instead, show pockets of your own home, share simple design tips, share resources and highlight shops you love. It is also a great way to promote your podcast, newsletter, or blog.
Promote Other People First: The design community is a tight nit group. Even if you don’t have a blog or podcast, you could do an Instagram Live or IGTV and interview other people in your industry. Ideas include your favorite interior photographers, prop stylists, home decor boutique owners, other designers—anyone that could add value to your audience. By promoting other people, they will in turn promote YOU. More people talking about you = more chances for people to know that you exist = more chances that your ideal client will find you.
Be Smart About Hashtags on Your Social Media: If you aren’t geotagging your photos and using location hashtags, you are missing out on a lot of potential new clients. If you are an interior design based in Charlotte, NC, you want to use the hashtag #Charlottedesigner. That way when people are looking for designers based on location, they will find you!
SEO Your Website: While I do think it is a worthy investment to hire an SEO pro, you can learn to do SEO yourself. If you are new to SEO, it stands for Search Engine Optimization and is how your website can show up on page one of Google. KeySearch is an incredibly powerful and easy-to-use tool, that allows you to look up key search terms to see how hard/easy they are to rank. For example, if you are an interior designer based in Denver, it is very easy to rank for “Denver Interior Designer.” That means with a little SEO power behind your website, whenever someone Googles that search term, you will show up on page one. It does take a little time to rank, but this is a very worth while investment. For more on how you can rank in Google, click here.
Form Strategic Alliances: One of the best ways to get new business is referrals. Start first by making a list of your “cheerleaders” or those people in your life who really believe in you and can help fill your business pipeline. They not only think you are the best at what you do, but they are someone that you know you can count on. Once you have your list, reach out to them and tell them you have a little room to take on a few more clients and to please spread the word if they know of anyone. Regularly touch base with your cheerleaders, whether it’s sending holiday cards or sending an email. Next, make a list of people you don’t know (builders, luxury realtors, interior design vendors) who would be on your dream list of cheerleaders. Send them an email to see if you can set up a quick get to know you call. Perhaps there is a way you can be mutually beneficial to each other.
Make Customer Service Top Priority: Word-of-mouth is one of the most powerful tools you have to getting clients. The more you can create an exceptional customer experience, the more likely your clients will recommend you to someone else. A few general guidelines: Return emails within 24 hours if at all possible, except on holidays and weekends. If a problem arises (a piece of furniture doesn’t fit, etc.) this is your responsibility to acknowledge, fix, and in many cases, pay for out of your own pocket. If your client is active on social media, follow and interact with them! If in-person visits haven’t happened for a while, check in and ask to see photos as things progress. Go above and beyond and act like you care…it goes a long way towards customer satisfaction.
Send Thank You Gifts: At the very least, when someone sends you a client, you should send the person who referred you a hand-written thank you note. A thank you GIFT, on the other hand, stands out. It also makes that person who referred the client more likely to send you even more clients!
The Gift that Keeps on Giving: When you finish a project, gift your client with gorgeous postcards of their home that lists your name and contact info on the back. That way when someone asks who helped them with their fabulous home, they have something tangible to share.
Start an Incentive Program: Come up with a way to incentivize your current clients to refer new clients to you. Corporate companies do this all the time. For example, Flytographer’s incentive program gave $50 to the referrer as well as to the new customer! It was a win/win. What can you offer that will incentivize people to refer you business? An hour consultation? A percentage off?
Keep in Touch with Past Clients: Often times, past clients are the ones that will rehire you for future projects—especially if they had a great customer experience. Find out when their birthday is and send them a card.
The Power of Celebrity Clients: If you live in a city like Los Angeles or New York, it would be wise to do a job “on trade” for a celebrity. This means that you design a celebrity’s home in exchange for being able to use their name/photos of the project in the media. Having just one celebrity on your roster gives you lots of credibility. Not convinced? Here are 5 reasons why you need celebrity clients.
Post-Pandemic: When it is safe to do so, start attending industry events such store openings. I met the interior designer who helped me with my home renovation at my client’s interior design store party. A furniture maker client of mine used to host design nights for industry creatives once a month. Find out what is happening in the design community in your town and start participating. Or better yet, start something yourself!
Get Your Work Published: Having your work published in a design magazine builds credibility and gives you more visibility to an audience that is already interested in design. In addition, if the magazine publishes your project online, it helps your website rank higher for SEO. That’s because high-quality external links pointing to your site help with something called Domain Authority. In laymans terms, it helps Google determine the popularity, relevance and trustworthiness of a particular page (such as the homepage to your website!).