My crystal ball predicts a mild recovery in 2011.
The tax bill passed in December 2010, and economic indicators are stronger for remodeling. The affluent are spending again. However, they are more cautious and value-driven than before.
What can you do to grow your business?
- Specialize. Create a specialty niche that capitalizes on a growing trend. It doesn’t mean you’re limited to doing that work, but it makes it easier to market your business because you will be known for that specialty. Neurosurgeons make 265% more than family practice doctors. Kitchen and Bath designers make much more than the average interior designers based on NKBA statistics and our findings.
- Create your own economy. (Some interior designers are swamped, congratulations to you!) Why? They spent their year marketing consistently. They revamped their websites, reconnected with past clients, used social media, increased their visibility with public relations and generally worked hard. Action: Create a 12-Month Referral Program for your business. One for past clients, one for current clients, and one for referral partners. Automate it with software like Constant Contact, Send Pepper or AWeber.
- Increase your visibility. Self-promote or hire a publicist. Create a 12-Month plan for Advertising, PR and Marketing. Make sure you have a Facebook Fan Page, Twitter Account, Optimized LinkedIn profile and an updated website. List your business on the Search Engine Maps for your area. Optimize your website to include the words, “interior design your city” on more than one page, create a blog and post at least once a week (make sure it is attached to your website) to increase your website traffic. Set a target for your media exposures. Don’t stop until you have commitments for the number of articles, public speaking opportunities, TV or radio interviews. Write blog posts for your local on-line newspapers. Get involved in your community.
- Joint venture. Find people who are in allied businesses and co-promote. If you’re not a specialist in window treatments, kitchen or bath design, partner with someone who is. Develop a relationship with a remodeler and create joint articles or press pitches about the latest trends. The media loves to hear about trends.
- Systematize your marketing. Some wise person said, “you never know which day you missed marketing that caused the phones not to ring months later.” Inconsistent marketing creates inconsistent results. Market, Market, Market. Marketing makes selling irrelevant. Analyze what you’ve done in the past. If you didn’t get a result after spending thousands of dollars on advertising, STOP!
Gail Doby, ASID and Co-Founder and Chief Vision Officer of Design Success University, is your shortcut to a more profitable and passion-filled interior design business. Download your complimentary copy of the 2010 – 2011 Interior Design Fee & Salary Survey eBook for more great strategies.