How To Find Interior Design Clients – Even though it may feel impossible, finding your first client is one of the most amazing experiences for a new business owner. It feels amazing when someone trusts you with their time, resources and dreams for a renovation or new home. When starting their businesses, many interior designers learn that there are some major challenges to getting new clients, including:
In the end, with enough time on developing your interior design business, you may be able to overcome many of these challenges and may even end up turning a career. While it may sound counterintuitive, being able to walk away from unpaid or difficult clients gives you a lot of bargaining power and the freedom to say no.
How To Find Interior Design Clients
We have outlined 12 expert tips to help you navigate the challenges listed above and develop a smart plan for how to get new clients for your interior design business.
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It seems obvious but probably someone in your personal or professional network is going through a renovation or even building a new home. Ask your network for referrals and, although it may not be necessary, consider lowering your costs initially to get the first few clients. It is worth letting your first clients know that you are offering them a “first time” discount price to build your portfolio and earn their referral to friends, family or acquaintances.
Develop the habit of practicing digital marketing efforts regularly, even if they are simple and you consider yourself a novice. The sophistication of your marketing strategy is not as important as your dedication to consistency. To ensure that you are spending time on the most important marketing efforts, we recommend focusing on at least the three areas below as they are closely related and complementary to each other:
Social media marketing is one of the best strategies for interior designers because many social sites are designed to promote media-based sharing and interaction. Posts with beautiful images or designs are best for social media because they have a strong visual appeal and can be digested quickly and shared easily.
Platforms like Pinterest and Instagram are especially important because they only support video and images and are often used by your potential customers as they create mood boards and look for design inspiration online. Social media is also the perfect place to keep your finger on the pulse of interior design trends to use in your own work and marketing efforts.
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Use NEO to share stunning 3D renderings of your designs that will capture the attention of prospects and followers alike. Tools like HootSuite or SproutSocial can help increase your productivity with post creation and scheduling. Bonus tip: ask clients if you can share pictures of their design project and if they would like to do the same as this will give you free advertising to their networks! Referrals on social media are some of the most valuable word of mouth advertising.
Paid advertising, whether digital or print, is also a very effective way to increase your brand recognition and reach new potential customers. If you are starting a new business or have a limited budget, consider digital advertising on platforms that provide access to your target audience but also give you strict parameters on the cost of each campaign. Digital advertising will allow you to test various ad features and determine which image, copy and messaging match the right buyers. When you find something that works, realign your ad budget to the campaigns that are performing better.
While your brand doesn’t need to be perfect, it’s important to let your personal style shine through and reinforce your desired brand image. In particular, you’ll want to develop a company name, colors, logo, visual performance information and other customer-facing brand elements that build trust and inspire confidence.
Creating a thoughtful brand will also make it easier to charge higher prices. People are always willing to pay more for premium looking providers, or those who have a reputable name in the industry. Don’t forget to include your brand on essential marketing tools for doing face-to-face business, including business cards, flyers, printed brochures, etc.
Interior Designer Leads
Practice automation in all aspects of your customer relationships. Professional behavior matters because people will return to you again and again for courteous, flexible service that accommodates their needs and requirements. Clients often use the same supplier for projects over many years because they like the personal experience of working with a specific designer. Some simple examples of professional business behavior include:
Effective testimonials can range from a simple, 1-sentence endorsement to a sophisticated video clip showcasing your best design project. Potential customers are looking for social proof to make sure you can do what you say. You should use positive reviews and testimonials everywhere, but the most important places to display reviews are on search engines, review websites, social media, and your website.
A well-designed portfolio is the easiest way for potential clients to determine if your strategy, experience and personal style all match their needs and preferences. When designing and building your portfolio, provide specific information to give your clients a helpful position, including the following:
The purpose of the portfolio is to show your inner design abilities through a successful project result and strong customer satisfaction.
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Give your information and marketing materials to anyone who interacts with your prospective customers, including general contractors, builders, interior decorators, and local stores that sell high-end furniture. These types of contacts are called correspondence partners. While they provide a service that is similar to (or related to) yours, it does not compete directly with your business.
This creates a symbiotic relationship where you can refer business to each other without giving away work. You can also find a more established interior design company or even a startup and ask if they need freelance help, or if they sometimes turn in projects that are too small or too bad. You may be surprised how many popular interior design companies have more requests for work than they can handle!
Your local area probably has a dozen or more companies dedicated to helping businesses grow and connecting potential buyers and sellers. Some of the most common local resources for starting your own interior design business include:
Sites like Houzz, Havenly, UpWork, Fiverr, were created specifically to help connect those in need of design and construction work with professional, knowledgeable providers. By asking a series of screening questions, these sites narrow down a prospect’s exact needs in order to provide the best match with a service provider. These areas are an excellent, low-risk way to get your first customers or a constant source of qualified leads as you grow your business.
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A potential downside to consider is that these websites will always have control over your pricing and communication channels with customers. Some interior designers prefer more direct contact with their clients and, accordingly, choose to find clients through other means.
Determining how to price interior design services and bill clients is one of the most difficult problems small businesses have to solve. There are several pricing strategies to help guide your decision. First, if you know how much you want to make, decide if you’re going to be a really affordable (low cost) provider or charge top-level prices. This decision should be based on your level of experience and abilities. Premium pricing is obviously where you want it most, but customers are willing to pay if you have experience, a resume, references and the ability to charge a higher price.
Second, set prices for hourly work and job-based work. Clients will often want to understand the total cost of your services based on the scope of work (ie, the total amount of time required). Having at least two pricing options will allow clients to choose what works best for them and ensure you get paid for the total time spent on a project.
Set up a simple payment system that makes it easy to send invoices to customers and easy for them to pay, either by check or credit card. There are many free or low-cost tools to help solo business owners keep track of their outstanding invoices and basic accounting tasks.
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Are you planning to start or grow your interior design business in 2023? Although 2020 has significant effects on almost every industry around the world, there is still good news. Here are some key statistics:
Of course, there is still a vibrant market of potential customers who need professional interior design help to bring their dreams to life.
For many businesses, their success throughout the past year has been the result of flexibility, flexibility and willingness to embrace new technologies and marketing channels. Interior designers who have harnessed the power of the “new normal” to take their business to the next level are still seeking and serving clients.
We’ve published a comprehensive, 40-page ebook to help interior designers navigate new strategies for running their businesses successfully. Packed with practical advice and tools from industry professionals, our eBook covers a wide range of topics, including:
How To Find Interior Design Clients
Having the right tools of the trade will make each stage of the interior design process easier and more efficient. Neo is a powerful interior design platform built with,
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