Sometimes Interior Designers Just Need an Excuse to Market

My coaching and consulting clients often come to me because they feel stuck. I hear them express sentiments like:

“I feel like I’m on a hamster wheel, running fast but getting nowhere.”
“Every year looks sort of like the previous one; I think there’s going to be a breakthrough, but here I am again.”
“We’re doing great work but everything still seems quarter to quarter. I wish we had a more secure backlog of sales.”
“We’re doing some great things, but it’s so hard to communicate that to our clients and other constituencies.”

Do any of these sound familiar to you? Well, I may have a solution. I call it “Renew and Relaunch.”

Let me start with the big overview, and then I’ll provide some of the details.

The concept begins with an excuse, any excuse to market. It might fall under the category of re-branding in some quarters, but the expense of developing a new name, logo, etc., may not be necessary. (A new or radically upgraded website may be necessary, but there are some very quick and inexpensive ways to do that today, like using the hosted service, Wix.)

At the heart of this “Renew and Relaunch” strategy is simply coming up with a reason to announce something new. You probably already have this is in the form of a great new project, a new capability (like 3D rendering software) a new product line and so on. You may even have moved more decidedly into a new niche.

Your job becomes to describe this “new thing” as significantly different from the overall description of your firm in the past. (That’s why a website update may be required, and that would be part of the renewal.) Understanding that a strategy is simply the capabilities and resources that you bring to bear in your marketplace will help you to identify what this new thing, or better yet, new story is.

When you’re ready to tell the story of what’s new and different about your firm, you have your excuse to announce. Now, all you need is an audience to announce it to, and the first and best place to do that is what I call your Christmas Card List, or CCL.

Your CCL is the list you keep (or wish you had kept) that includes:

  • Every client you’ve ever worked with
  • Every architect you’ve ever worked with
  • Every builder you’ve ever worked with
  • Every key vendor you’ve ever worked with
  • Every editor you’ve ever worked with
  • Everyone who has called in and inquired about your services (You do track them, right?)
  • Your close friends and relatives
  • Your employees…and their close friends and relatives

In other words, everyone you would send a Christmas card to if you were one of those who sent out hundreds!

Now, your Renew and Relaunch campaign is ready to go. You have a message and a market…all that’s left is the decisions about medium…how to reach your audience with your message.

Considering that your list will probably contain fewer than 200 names (good for you if there are more!) you can spend a fair amount per recipient, and I highly recommend that you do. This deserves more than an e-mail or Tweet.

In my 1-Day Marketing Plan Course (available free to Edge members on www.interiordesignmba.com) I argue that interior designers typically spend far too little on marketing, and what they do spend is spent on the wrong things.

I would seriously consider not only sending direct mail announcements to these individuals, but perhaps a gift. Or hold a “Grand Re-opening” of your business if you have quality office space. Or a “Thank You” dinner somewhere.

Coming up with a new and updated message, and communicating that to your core constituency, is a great “excuse” to get the buzz about your firm stirred up.

And it’s a heck of a lot better than another day on the hamster wheel!

Leave a Comment