Once upon a time, interior designers only had a few ways of putting the word out about their business.
The most effective way was to know people who needed your services, or people who knew people who needed your services. Referrals are generally slam-dunk sales, but not everyone has direct access to their ideal clients and, maybe, you want to be more proactive and intentional about your sales pipeline.
Another way was to join a networking group with your local chamber of commerce or a BNI referral group. But, as I’ve talked about before, networking isn’t everyone’s cup of tea.
If you were doing really well in your business, opening a highly-visible location in your town could do wonders – but it’s a huge expense that doesn’t guarantee business.
Thankfully, in the modern age, there are ways to reach your ideal clients better than simply “right place, right time,” and most interior designers have jumped on social media to put out their digital shingle and attract customers.
Though I see a trend toward designers preferring Instagram over Facebook to attract and court clients, I believe that Facebook is actually the more effective platform for marketing your interior design business.
In this post, I’m going to tell you why Facebook is better, and I’m going to show you three ways to effectively use it to find clients.
First, let’s take a look at your Facebook business page.
What’s that? No one’s seeing your posts?
I know. We’ll talk about why and what you can do about it in a minute. First, what I want you to know is that a Facebook business page is as mandatory as having a website.
And, here’s the thing – both must look fresh and updated.
Just like, if your last blog post was months ago looks a little bad for you, so does having a Facebook page that’s not updated regularly.
The rules about Facebook marketing and how we use it as small businesses change often, but, at this time, a Facebook business page isn’t meant to reach new clients without the use of ads (again, more on that later).
Look at it like this: you don’t expect your website to go out and do the marketing for you. Sure, you might have good SEO which brings people to your site with keyword searches, but having a site probably isn’t an active marketing tactic for you.
It’s the same for a Facebook business page. It just needs to look active; populated with useful content for when your ideal client finds you and goes searching for more information. That’s really how a Facebook business page benefits you: it makes you look good when clients dig a little deeper – IF you keep it updated.
Next up, your Facebook personal profile …
It’s against Facebook’s TOS to advertise your business or make offers from your personal profile – yet, people do it all the time and risk getting everything they’ve built on Facebook shut down.
Don’t do that. It’s the opposite of best practices and looks mighty unprofesh.
However, there are no rules against simply sharing what’s happening in your career.
Preparing a finish board for a client? Share it.
Meeting with a contractor to review progress? Share it.
Finishing up a project and snapping some photos? Share it.
Anything you do in your business can be shared on your personal profile, as long as it’s not making an offer or soliciting business.
People do business with others they know, like, and trust. Therefore, it’s reeeally smart to leverage every inch of real estate you have on social media – that includes your personal Facebook profile.
Feel free to network in groups where your ideal clients hang out and ask questions – preferably, about home design. Answer their questions, provide value, and add connections to your network once you’ve established some rapport.
Optimize your personal profile by adding your business as your current work location, so that when people find you, they get directed to your Facebook business page.
Finally, let’s talk Facebook ads …
Straight up: investing in Facebook ads is a surefire way to grow your business. Why? Because, when you invest, you usually demand an ROI. You stop hoping that the right clients will find their way to you, and you start engineering the process to make sure they do.
But, there’s a catch here …
When I say “Facebook ads,” what I really mean is: an entire sales funnel using Facebook ads to drive highly targeted traffic.
So many people tell me Facebook ads didn’t work for them, and what I find out is that they haphazardly ran a few ads here and there and didn’t get results that seemed worth the expense.
I get it. Facebook has definitely failed in educating the small business community about how to use advertising. But that doesn’t mean ads are a waste of money.
Ads work when you present the right offer to the right audience.
Before you ever run an ad to an offer – either an invitation to a consultation or an opt in, you first want to do an initial “awareness campaign” where you introduce yourself to your audience.
I don’t mean, create a post that says, “Hi, I’m an interior designer!” Nobody cares.
Instead, create a small batch of content that addresses your ideal client’s problems – the ones you solve as a designer – and run ads to those blog posts or videos hosted on your site. You should also include an opportunity within those blog posts to capture visitors’ email with a valuable, free piece of content called an “opt in,” “freebie,” or “freemium.”
An awareness campaign does two things:
First, it creates familiarity with your audience. Facebook isn’t just going to show your ad one time to each individual you target – they’re going to see it multiple times. Show up enough and people will generally accept you as the go-to expert in that field.
Second, it seasons your pixel. Sorry, that’s jargon, let me explain …
Facebook allows you embed a special piece of code on your site that basically allows you to collect information on the users who land on your site or interact with your ad for future retargeting.
Still jargony? Let me try again …
When you run an ad to a large group of Facebook users, you’ll be lucky to get only a small percentage of people to actually click the ad and land on your website.
Out of that small percentage, the same small percentage will opt into your newsletter (do you see now why it’s called a “sales funnel”?). Even though there were people who didn’t opt into your newsletter, it’s reasonable to assume they’re still, somewhat interested in what you have to say.
Facebook collects that data and stores it in your ad account so you can send ads to those people again, giving you unlimited second chances to capture them as an email subscriber.
Once you’ve captured them as an email subscriber, you now have permission to market to them with valuable content and offers.
And that, right there, is how you get clients – by creating content, specifically for your ideal client, using ads to put your content right in front of them, creating rapport by supplying value and then making an irresistible offer.
With the system I just described, it can be virtually 100% automated and foolproof if you’ve done your homework on your client and created the right offer.
Did you read that? Automated. Foolproof. Clients in your inbox.
Right now, too many interior designers are relying on referrals – which don’t always guarantee the leads are ideal or qualified. And referrals are completely unpredictable; I prefer what I can predict over keeping my fingers crossed.
Designers are also spending money on ads with consumer design websites that only give them exposure with an audience supposedly “interested” in hiring an interior designer.
As a business owner, yes, it’s much easier to simply purchase a spot in a directory – but you get no control over who sees you placement, and you’re basically just lumped in with countless other designers competing for the same clients.
Look at this way, you wouldn’t expect a client to let you have carte blanche with their home, without any idea of budget or style, would you?
No. You’re hired to create a specific outcome.
It’s the same with your marketing, only, this time, you’re the client demanding that specific outcome – highly qualified client leads.
Do you see how, this way, marketing becomes dependable and vital? You can easily plan for the creation of content because you know what to expect from it. You can stop wasting your time and money doing things that don’t work, because you’ve seen what does work?
And, best of all, marketing like this has allowed you to devote as much time and emotional energy to the reason you’re here in the first place …
Designing spaces for clients.