online marketing 101 for interior designers photo by dttsp
In our very competitive industry, what online strategy have worked best for your business to secure and maintain a strong searchability and likability? (i.e.: increase social media followers, maintain top searchable spot on google, be easily findable etc…) Do you spend a ton of outsourcing money marketing online or is it mainly done in-house and organically? Has this really increased your profitability in your business or do you still find most of your referrals and work come from past clients and people you meet in person?

This thoughtful question came in during a recent Ask Me Anything, an offer to my subscribers to ask me anything and I'll give my best advice/opinion in less than 5 sentences.  Since 5 sentences is limited for this long in-depth question, I'll try my best to answer it in this post today.

First, most importantly, numero uno: not everyone's business is the same.  What works for one person does not work for everyone else.  Replicating someone else's success is not a way to achieve your own.

I am actually a little social media adverse, so my point of view in this is skewed in that direction.  In the beginning I tried to push myself to be more "visible" on social media, but that didn't work for me, because my heart wasn't really in it.  It could work for you.  I think that social media is a great way to market yourself, there are people who do it brilliantly and if you think that is the path for you, you should seek out their expertise.  I still maintain a Facebook presence and have a public Instagram account, but I don't consciously marketing on either one of them.  So here is my second tip: do what fits your business, your ideal clients and you.  You may have to play around a bit to see what falls into place: tweet up a storm, post several times a day on Google+, maybe you get in early on the next "hot" platform, or just decide that you want to post videos on YouTube.  Whatever you choose, do only what you have the bandwidth to do and do it well (#3).  Don't spread yourself too thin.

So, should you pay for someone to market for you online?  When you are just starting out, this is an unnecessary expense.  YOU should be the voice of your brand.  Social media is personal and interior design is very personal.  Your brand voice needs to be consistent and it needs to sound like you.  You've probably seen social media accounts that feel a little corporate, or vague, or generic, this is not something that you want.  Be personable and natural.

So what has worked for me?  Houzz, because I started my business anew in Arizona, this was a great way to be visible when I didn't know many people.  Also, the articles you read on my site are content marketing, when I write an article it adds content to the internet and anytime anyone searches for something I may have written about, I show up in the results.  I love content marketing because it is free, effective, and it provides a service to your potential clients.  They get something (information) and you get something (visibility).

I believe any marketing can work for your business, if you keep in mind my core tips:

  1. Not everyone's business is the same.
  2. Do what fits your business, your ideal clients and you.
  3. Whatever you choose, do only what you have the bandwidth to do and do it well.

Share what marketing has worked for you in the comments below!