The COVID-19 pandemic brought dramatic changes to our world, the American economy, and the business environment that interior designers practice in. Despite these shifts, consumers are still engaging interior designers in new projects – you just have to know how to reach them!
Earlier this month, panelists from flyte new media, a Portland, Maine-based digital marketing and web design agency, joined ASID New England for a virtual presentation on Attracting New Clients with a Sound Digital Marketing Strategy.
The panelists shared tips for positioning yourself for business success as we settle into the "new normal.” They even offered live critiques of several members' websites and social media accounts. Here are just a few of the key takeaways from this exciting program.
Director of Marketing
flyte new media
Digital Marketing Specialist
flyte new media
Designing an Engaging Website
When it comes to website design, photos are key for showing off your interior design work. Go beyond that and share details about the photos to paint a detailed picture of the project and your approach to the work. And, add a watermark to your photos so it’s clear who owns the photos and work – you!
Text content is just as important as photos. Text is what is indexed by search engines, and having quality text content with the right keywords will help your business show up in relevant search results. If you have pages listing the services your offer, expand the information available on your site by creating a unique page for topics like “Residential Design”, “Commercial Design”, “Hospitality Design”, etc. This will give your site more content to be indexed in search engines, and more opportunities for people to find your site.
When it comes to content, don’t focus on you. Instead, focus on your customers and what you can do for them. Changing your writing style to focus on your customers can have a dramatically positive effect on your website visitors’ experience.
Convert website visitors to customers by creating calls to action on your site. Each page should have one or more calls to action that give visitors the opportunity to click and get in touch with you immediately. For example: “Do you want your house to look like this? Contact us for a free consultation.”
Flash your credentials by listing things like “as seen in…” or “member of ASID New England” which gives you credibility among potential customers.
Usability is an additional consideration when designing your website. Make sure your site is friendly to those who aren’t technically sophisticated by ensuring navigation is clear, the font is an appropriate size and style, and content is easy to find.
Using Google My Business
If you're serving a local community, then you need Google My Business. This tool houses all of the information that potential customers will see when they search for "interior designers near me." As long as your profile is filled out completely you should generate more traffic or visibility for your business.
Don't forget – Google isn't a "set it and forget it" platform. You should keep your profile up to date and think of it as another social platform to update on a regular basis.
How do you get started? Simply search for "Google My Business" and request ownership of your business account. Once you have claimed ownership by phone or mail, you can start adding information, photos, and more, and have control over how you're seen in Google searches.
Getting Started on Social Media
The first step to starting on social media is identifying what you are trying to accomplish. Do you want to get new business, brand your business, or share information with other interior designers? Start by defining your goals so that you can align your social media efforts with your intended outcomes.
Once you have determined what you want to accomplish, decide on where you should spend your time. There are many social media platforms available, but it is important to make sure that your audience is on the platforms you are using too.
Instagram, Pinterest, and Houzz are great tools for inspiring others through photos, and people love to see before and after photos. LinkedIn is excellent for networking and building relationships with companies. Facebook has the largest active audience generally. And, YouTube is the best tool for sharing videos with others. If you’re tackling video, be sure you’re ready to do so – with the right equipment, videographer partner, or editing software, to ensure your videos are high-quality, as consumers have high expectations these days when it comes to videos.
After you’ve decided what social media platforms to use, post content at least three times a week, and focus your energy on where you see the most engagement – views, likes, comments, etc.
When it comes to social media, it’s not all about posting your own content. Interior designers should engage with other pages – designers, suppliers, industry associations – as well as with influencers in the industry who can help share your content or open the doors to new audiences.
Responding to Negative Reviews
What do you do when you get a negative review online? The first step is to acknowledge the review and respond to it, using empathy, and offering to fix the problem. If needed, take the conversation offline by sending your client a direct message, or give them a call to try to resolve a situation. The best outcome is that the client will retract or update their review when they feel the problem as been resolved.
Take into consideration the number of negative reviews your business has, as having one bad review won’t be the death of you or your business. Don’t lose sleep over one negative review, but if you notice that multiple people are sharing the same feedback, there may be something you need to address.
And, it’s totally appropriate to ask your clients to leave you reviews online! When you do, ask them to not just give you a star rating, but to leave a detailed review of their experience with you, your business, and any unique features of your business.
A special thank you to our panelists for this program:
- Liz Bell, Director of Marketing, flyte new media
- Rich Brooks, President, flyte new media
- John Paglio, Digital Marketing Specialist, flyte new media
- And our facilitator: April Elaine Powell, Allied ASID, AP LEED ID + C, Founder & Creative Director, SB ID Collective, and Co-Director of Communications, ASID New England