If you are looking to expand your interior design business effectively, check out our expert and practical suggestions in the article below.
Make A Plan
Interior designers tend to excel at the visually creative side of their businesses. However, to grow you will also need to get good at all the other aspects of running a successful company including creating an effective business plan.
Such a plan needs to not only define where you want your interior design firm to be in the next 10 years, but how to get there as well. Indeed, it is this step-by-step breakdown of how you will achieve your business goals that is vital as it will provide you with a clear and easy-to-follow framework that will guide you through the process of expansion.
Build Your Professionalism
Next, if you want your interior design business to expand, professionalism in everything you do is crucial. This is because customers are much more likely to work with and recommend service providers that they trust, and being professional at every interaction and opportunity can help you forge this trust.
Happily, there are many ways you can show your customers just how professional your interior design business is. The first is to have a professionally designed website that showcases not only your previous work, and the products that you recommend, but also your business’s brand and values as well.
Similarly having a professional email address linked to your website is a must as this will instantly inspire confidence, and help you attract new customers. There will be plenty of opportunities for you to demonstrate your professionalism as you work with clients as well, so be sure to never over-promise things that you know your company cannot provide, and where possible overdeliver in terms of budget, timescale and quality.
Another thing that can help you to grow your interior design business successfully is to perfect the art of clear communication. This is because good communication is at the core of any successful business. After all, it's crucial for a positive customer experience.
By communicating clearly with your interior design customers you can avoid confusion, disappointments, and manage expectations, meaning they are much more likely to come out with a positive impression of your business at the end of the process. Remember a positive experience is essential when it comes to providing interior design service so anything you can do to maximize this will be helpful
To communicate clearly with your clients during the interior design process you must use a range of methods such as visuals including concept sketches, bubble diagrams, staking diagrams, 2D floor plans, material and mood boards, mock-ups, prototypes, and presentation models.
All these forms of visual communication both show and explain what clients can expect from the finished project. Having an effective process for doing this will help you secure more clients and ensure the ones you do get stay happier throughout the process, thereby increasing positive reviews, repeat business, and recommendations that will help you grow.
Build Your Team
While it's tempting to think that you can grow your interior design business all on your own, it's much better to delegate certain tasks and build an effective team that can help you achieve your long-term goals.
The major advantage of building up a good interior design team around you is that you get to benefit from their unique perspectives and specialisms. This means you can offer your clients the very best service possible, which again will help you to grow via recommendations, and reviews.
Become An Expert In Your Niche
Being a ‘jack of all trades, and a master of none’ is unlikely to help your interior design business achieve its growth goals. Instead, there is much value in picking a specific niche and making sure you get as good as possible at delivering services within it.
Indeed, by niching down, you greatly enhance your chances of being regarded as an expert in your area and the interior design company that everyone goes to for that thing. There are a range of actions you can take to help build your status within a specific niche too, including attending tradeshows and speaking or hosting a stall, as well as posting in-depth and detailed content to both your website and social media profiles relating to your specific niche. In this way, you will not only provide useful information to potential customers but also positively influence your business's SEO which means your name is much more likely to come up in the Google search results whenever someone searches terms related to your niche.
Update Your Branding
To successfully grow your design business you will need to carefully consider your branding. This is because clients will expect a company whose business is designed to keep up with larger design trends and that its visual branding reflects this. Indeed, a dated logo or color scheme can very easily discourage confidence in your brand and your design chops.
When updating your branding you must consider who you are trying to appeal to. Although as your business grows this may change. Ensuring that your branding matches the demographic that you are currently trying to attract is crucial for expansion success.
Choose Exclusive Products
Another way that you can grow your interior design business is to endorse high-quality and exclusive products within the field. By associating yourself with high-end interior products such as sinks, range hoods, bathtubs and tables you will demonstrate to your potential clients just how central quality and aesthetics are to your business ethos. Additionally, you may have customers come directly to you because they know you work with a specific brand and that is the look they want for their next project.
The good news is that some exclusive interior product providers like CopperSmith, offer great trade partner programs for their high-end products and design tools. What that means is you can expect favorable prices on their best-selling items, which allows you to provide the highest quality results to your client while maximizing your profit from the project.
Automate And Streamline
Streamlining your business processes is another way that you can help your interior design company grow successfully. This is because by spending fewer resources such as time and person-power on tasks you will be able to maximize your profits.
One of the best ways to streamline your interior design business is to embrace automation. Indeed, there are several options to consider here. The first is to automate as much of the day-to-day office admin as you can, which leaves you and your team free to focus on the more design-heavy and customer-focused tasks.
Secondly, using the best design software can help effectively streamline your processes and save you a great deal of time. There are plenty of software options to choose from as well including Blender, Planner 5D, SmartDraw and Roomsketcher.
Last, of all, the advent of AI has the potential to greatly reduce the workload of the interior designer. Allowing us to create multiple mock-ups showing potential designs to clients in 3D that can be used in conjunction with augmented reality, quickly and easily and so make the customer experience even more satisfying.
Market Your Business Online
A vital part of growing your interior design business is to leverage the power of marketing. Marketing is all about making sure your target audience knows your business exists and how you can help solve their problems. There are many appropriate ways to market your interior design business, the most effective of which you can read about in the sections below.
The first option you have is to embrace content marketing to help you grow your interior design business. Like all types of marketing, you must create content specifically for the type of customers you are looking to attract. For example, if your business is going after commercial customers such as restaurants, creating and publishing content that provides advice on residential interior design tips and trends won’t be effective. This is because it won’t attract the right type of client to your website.
However, by writing a well-researched and informative piece on how to perfect a restaurant interior design such as this post on copper planters, you can provide value as well as establish yourself as an expert in your niche, which should help lead to more conversions.
In addition to publishing content in the form of articles and blogs on your website, social media marketing can be very useful for the interior design professional as well. Once again for the most effective approach, it's important to go where your target market is spending most of their time, and where you can visually show off your design chops effectively. This means sites like Pinterest, and Instagram are the main social media platform picks for interior design businesses as they allow them to show their previous successful work, or draw new clients in with images of mock-up, mood and materials boards.
Another way you can drive more customers to your growing interior design business is through paid advertising. PPC or pay-per-click adverts online can be particularly effective for the interior design market for two reasons. The first is that they offer a shorter-term impact than other types of marketing such as SEO. Secondly, PPC ads are targeted specifically to keywords that potential customers for your business are searching for so they offer a good ROI.
SEO and local SEO
Last, of all, every interior design business that is looking to grow needs to use SEO and local SEO to attract more customers. SEO or search engine optimization is all about maximizing your chances of getting to the top of the search results when a potential client types in a term related to your business. The higher up the search result you are, the more likely that potential customer is to click through to your website and consider you for the job.
There are many things you can do to boost the SEO of your interior design business to help growth, including using content marketing with specific keywords. Also formatting your website properly with title tags and headers that also make use of keywords is essential, as is ensuring that your site loads fast and is optimized for mobile usage as well as desktop.
Local SEO is also a valuable resource for any interior design business looking to expand because it will help you tap into clients in your location. Successful local SEO posts will not only include geographical key terms but must also include detailed and useful information for the reader, something you can see at work in this example here.
Tap Into Your Old Client Base
In addition to marketing your interior design business to new customers, you can also grow by retargeting previous customs from your old client base. The benefit of this strategy is that it often takes a great deal less time and effort to convert a previous customer than it does to a brand-new one. This is because you will not be starting from scratch.
Instead, you will be building on the hard work, and positive regard you have already fostered with your client when you worked with them the first time. With that in mind, try using the personal touch and calling some of your best previous clients to see if they have any projects where they could make use of your services coming up.
Interior design is a discipline which never stays static. There are always new trends, materials, techniques and perspectives emerging. If you want to successfully grow your business you will need to stay on top of these and keep learning as you will need to apply what you know to your customers' projects.
Fortunately, there are many ways to stay on top of the trends when it comes to interior design. The first is to keep an eye on social media, and in particular the most visual platforms like Instagram, and Pinterest. There you can filter by specific hashtags relating to particular trends, or just scroll through design leaders' accounts to get your fill of current inspirations such as the big trend for garden firepits we are seeing right now.
Professional courses are another great way to stay on top of interior design trends, which will ensure that your growing business stays relevant in even the most competitive market. Where possible look for courses that are endorsed by professional organizations such as the ASID (American Society of Interior Design) or the CIDQ (Council of Interior Design) qualifications.
Additionally, a great way to keep learning and ensure your passion for interior design stays fresh is to enter one of the many national and international design competitions that run every year. To find out the details of the contents that are currently running visit the competition page of any professional interior design body such as the IIDA (Interior International Design Association)