A new interior design business is already a scary and exciting process, but nothing is quite so nerve wracking as attempting to drum up clients. No matter what methods you use, self-promotion is going to be long term hard work, and gaining the customer base you need will take patience. But there are a few simple tips that may ease this process.
Polish Your Site
Having a website is becoming nearly non-negotiable. Finding interior designers online is popular because websites give clients a chance to get to know you in a low-pressure way, browsing a showcase of your talents and offerings before choosing to approach you directly about possible work. Since your website will be that all important first contact, make sure to include all relevant information: training and education, other credentials, professional associations, and your portfolio.
Design is your business, so give as much thought to the design of your website as you do to content. Many sites abound that provide interior design website templates geared to help you best display your skills. Idea book style pages can be developed to draw together many elements of design, headed by a virtual version of the proposed finished room. Stylish and professional background palettes can support portfolio pieces to best effect, and your vendors’ customer sites can also be linked to give your potential clients an idea of what and who you tend to work with.
Manage a Mailing List
Consider preparing biweekly or monthly emails highlighting discounts or specials, or discussing recent design trends. While effective mailers are just as much work virtually as their physical counterparts, they save you money on materials and postage. Plus, when sent directly to the client through a voluntary subscription, they are less likely to end up in the spam folder than a physical mailer might the junk mail.
Send your emails to existing clients, obviously, but also allow curious potentials to subscribe via your website. Introductory coupons combined with regular specials might entice them to make the final jump to hire you and get their dream project started.
Find Your Niche
Interior design is a broad enough category that no single designer could ever cover alone. Decide what your specialty is within interior design. Consider whether you looking to offer luxury makeovers, excel at simple but dramatic one-day jobs, or have another decided strength. Make your personal style, whether conservative and classical or progressive and post-modern, clear to your potential clients.
Narrowing the scope of your business will not only help you establish a reputation as a confident expert, but will let you focus on the kinds of interior design you really love to do, boosting your job satisfaction. For instance, you may love creating plush, sensuous living room window treatments for clients with tight budgets, but by not targeting, you risk being stuck consulting on how best to arrange taxidermy specimens in the den. Both are equally appreciated work for your customer, but if one gives you more pleasure than the other, it’s a good idea to pursue that.