If you run a locally based interior design business, or you are a local freelance interior designer, it can seem strange to need to use online marketing strategies to get new customers.
After all, business connections are made at networking meetings, and work is obtained through word of mouth and repeat customers, right? Your reputation is king in your local area, yes?
Whilst these strategies do work, even if you are a locally based business, you still need to use a range of online marketing strategies to create a thriving local business.
So why do you need to be online? Because everyone is online these days, of course! (Well, ok, maybe your antiquated Aunty isn't online, but most people are!)
Back in the olden days (well, about 15 years ago) if you wanted an interior designer, you'd just open your Yellow Pages or Thompson Directory and look for someone close to you. Or you'd ask around and get a recommendation.
These days, the first place people go is online.
The Case for Search
If you need an interior designer in your local area, what do you do? You open google and type "interior designer Chelmsford" (or wherever you live).
Google returns a heaving list of interior designers that meet your search criteria (in this example, over 500 thousand search results to be exact!) but importantly, only about 18-20 search results get displayed on the first page of google.
No-one in their right minds is going to click through 500 thousand links to find an interior designer. You know what they do?
They don't get past page one!
That's right. Your potential clients won't get past page one of the google search. They will click on the top four or five links and make a decision about who they will contact from there.
So what does this mean for your business?
Ranking on page one of google's search results, towards the top of the page, is supremely important for your business.
Aside from searching on google, there is nothing more powerful than getting a recommendation from others about a service they have used.
If your friend Polly used an interior designer and she was really pleased with her work, then you are going to trust that interior designer to give you a scheme that you love too.
You trust Polly, Polly trusts the interior designer, therefore you trust the interior designer.
This is known as social proof.
But these days, we are all so busy with work and school runs and goodness knows what else, that we often don't have the time to stand around chit chatting to ask these questions.
We turn to social media instead.
Our networks these days aren't like they used to be. Our communities are increasingly digital, increasingly virtual.
And for the interior designer, that means that you have to be digital too.
When someone wants an interior designer, they will often post on Facebook, asking if their friends have recommendations. There's even a "looking for recommendations" option, it's that often used. Local facebook groups can be a great way to find new clients.
If someone is going to decorate a room and they need some inspiration for their design, do you know the first place they head?
That's right, they go online. They want to see images of "children's bedroom ideas" or "grey kitchens" or "luxury bathroom inspiration".
And where specifically do they go to look online? Sites like Pinterest and Instagram. And so, you need to make sure that you are also on sites like these, so that you can be seen by your potential customers.
How do you feel?
So how do you feel about online marketing? Is it something you feel confident about? Or something you'd like some help with?
If you need some help to set up your online marketing strategies, come and join the Interior Designers Hub. We'd love to have you join us.