How Interior Designers Can Land Dream Clients Using an Overlooked Resource
And 5 Ways to Unleash its Power
The Million Dollar Answer
Have you operated an interior design business for the past 5, 10, 20 years? If so, then you’ve probably experienced first hand the vast changes happening in your industry right now. There is:
- More competition from a surge of new designers in the industry. According to ASID, not only has the ID industry fully recovered from the 2008 crash, but the number of interior designers is up about 12%.
- More online solutions available to potential customers, such as Havenly and Wayfair.
- The influence of HGTV on encouraging and empowering do-it-yourselfers to solve their own design problems.
Technology reduced barriers to entry in the design field, making it exceedingly difficult to get your branding message heard in this crowded space.
So, the million-dollar question is, how do you build a scalable interior design business with your dream client in a saturated and evolving market?
Not knowing the answer myself, so I turned to three interior design coaches to learn the secret to attracting ideal clients in light of this dynamic landscape. (Thank you, Gail, Monique, and Chelsea!)
To sum up four hours of inspiring conversations with these ladies, all three resoundingly agree: that there is no one simple magic secret to attracting ideal clients.
Instead, they answered the million-dollar question: building a successful interior design business and attracting dream projects takes proper branding, planning, and execution.
<drumroll, please>The Overlooked Resource Is….
As my interviews continued, one thing became clear, that designers are missing a rather large marketing opportunity.
Specifically, designers neglect, misuse, or underuse their website.
Right under your nose lies a resource with a proven track record of generating an on-demand flow of A-Class clients.
And optimizing your site to deliver business is not as expensive or as difficult as you might think.
A solid converting website needs two things for it to produce business:
First, it must have the right ingredients mapped to the right location.
In fact, I’ve put together an easy-to-read graphic that illustrates what ingredients to include and where these elements should be placed. Download your copy.
Second, it requires a concrete strategy.
Back in the day, your website could easily be just a place for potential clients to validate that your business exists, or to check out your stellar portfolio.
In my industry, we call that the “Build it, and they will come” philosophy.
It worked like a charm for a while. You could set it and forget it. However, if you want your website to do actual work and generate business, it requires a focused strategy.
Here is why it changed.
When I built my first website in 1994, there were around 9,300 sites on the internet.
Today there are 2.8 BILLION!
So, like the interior design industry, websites evolved to accommodate technology and accessibility.
Coach Monique touches on this idea in her motto: "Build it, market it right, and they will come."
My motto reads: "Build it to convert, nurture the conversions, market it right, and they will buy."
I know, it doesn't roll off the tongue as nicely, but it describes what it takes to kick your website up into the lead generating game.
Beauty Without Strategy Is Out
Today, marketing professionals judge a “good” website by how it performs, not just how it looks.
Good web designers build sites to support robust and effective site strategies.
I break down a site strategies into three parts:
1. Conversion – The process when a cold lead* transitions** into a warm lead*** by giving you their email address.
*A cold lead is someone not familiar with you or your business.
**A lead that transitions from one status degree to another such as cold to warm or warm to hot. This process is referred to as a conversion.
***A warm lead is a prospect that shows interest in your business.
2. Nurturing – The site incorporates, an automated relationship with prospects so that you stay top of mind when the warm lead is ready to buy.
3. Traffic – The site is positioned to attract potential clients to visit to your site through sources such as Google, Facebook or Houzz.
Your website is the epicenter of the online conversion strategy. It’s where it all happens.
Most businesses limit their strategy to increasing their spend on a traffic source. This strategy is more expensive than optimizing your site for conversions.
In fact, optimizing your site allows you to spend the same amount on traffic sources, but with a much higher rate of return on more closed projects. It’s the reason I list conversions in the number one spot.
Check out the example below.
Let's say you spend $100 on a Facebook ad and 1000 people come to your website.
Of those 1000 people, 10 give you their email address (1% conversion rate, which is good).
Of those 10 people, 3 people hire you (30% convert to a paying client).
For argument sake, let us say one client is worth $5000.
That is a total of $15,000 for the 3 people that hired you.
NOW, let's say you optimize your website for conversions.
Instead of a 1% conversion rate now you get a 3%.
With an optimized site, now of the 1000 people that come to your site, 30 give you their email address, and 9 people to hire you.
So you can spend $100 to make $15,000 or spend $100 to make $45,000?
5 Ways to Unleash The Power of Your Site
Okay, now you know the secret marketing resource and what makes up a website strategy.
How to optimize your website for conversions.
Let’s dive into the 5 most important places you can start:
1. Make sure you understand your ideal client.
I mean really understand them at a molecular level. Recognize their dreams and where they go to celebrate.
Understand the layers of their pain, and where they go for help.
Speak their language in your copywriting. Select images that speak to your ideal client’s needs and wants. Offer content as a Tylenol to their headaches.
This should all be contained in what is called a Client Avatar, which is your client’s profile with a face on it. If you haven't done a Client Profile, drop everything and complete one now! It is that important.
WARNING: Not all Client Profile forms are the same. The template I use with my clients is specifically designed for building a website strategy.
2. Always give your website visitors a clear call to action.
Tell your visitors what you want them to do such as, “Call Me,” “Contact Me for a Free Consultation,” or “Buy Now.”
3. This is a big one: add a secondary call to action, but this one is reserved for site browsers who are not ready to buy from you yet.
This is a fundamental ingredient for converting site browsers into prospective leads.
The secondary call to action relies on the law of reciprocity which has observed that it is human nature to give back to those that gave us something we value.
Gary Vaynerchuk wrote an excellent book on reciprocity marketing called Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook. I highly recommend it. It's the foundation of today's marketing principles.
4. Be contactable.
This might sound obvious. You might think, “I already have Contact Us page. Doesn’t that count towards being contactable?”. Yes it does, but you need more ways for prospects to get in touch.
Visitors to your site have a very short attention span. Make it easy for your prospects to contact you.
Always, always, always, add a contact form in the footer of each page. And put your phone number in the upper right corner.
Want a quick way to optimize for mobile? Add a link to the phone number that looks like this:
Try it: 720-772-1JMG
That way when a visitor views your site from a phone, they can click the link to dial the number. Cool huh?
5. While we are on the topic of mobile devices, your website must be mobile friendly, so Google does not penalize you in their almighty search engine rankings.
A mobile friendly or responsive website means the content flows like water when the screen size changes.
Check your site for responsiveness here: https://search.google.com/search-console/mobile-friendly.
To sum up, here’s the key takeaways from my conversations with the lovely ID coaches:
1. IDs confront a full and evolving industry.
2. A website strategy is the difference between an online brochure and a lead generating machine.
3. A website strategy consists of Conversion, Nurturing, and Traffic.
4. Know your ideal client: Here is my profile template just for websites
5. Use a clear call to action
6. Incorporate a secondary call to action to stay in touch with prospects.
7. Be contactable
8. Make sure your site is mobile responsive.
If you don't already have a coach, look these ladies up. They help interior designers transform their businesses so they can live the life they’ve always wanted.
As for me, I feel like I've only touched the tip of the glacier. I have so much more I want to share with you.
Is there a particular topic you'd like me to cover?
I value your feedback, so please leave me a comment below.