Interior designers often struggle to find new clients. Believing social media is the answer to this challenge, they turn to these platforms to build their client base. However, they ultimately find that this is often nothing more than a black hole, something that detracts from their marketing efforts.

While the rich continue to amass wealth and purchase new homes or redecorate those they have already obtained, interior designers are not reaping the benefits. The client base of many in the industry is aging and business has slowed. Finding new clientele isn’t easy and designers are wondering why this is the case. 

A Major Challenge

Up-and-coming designers often struggle to find clients more than those with experience in the industry. Those who are just becoming wealthy often fail to recognize the value of interior design services. They tend to prefer do-it-yourself methods. 

HGTV shows encourage people to take on projects such as these. The show portrays complex and demanding projects as easy and effortless. In addition, they make it look like fun. Who wouldn’t want to do what Chip and Joanna Gaines do on the popular Fixer Upper program?

How Interior Designers are Impacted

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Unity Marketing and Home Trust International recently partnered to conduct a survey of more than 300 professional interior designers. According to this survey, interior designers state their number one challenge is locating new clients. 

A YouGov survey confirmed these findings. This survey found that individuals with a household income of $350,000 or higher and a net worth of at least $10 million don’t regularly turn to an interior designer for assistance. In fact, only ten percent do on a regular basis. 

Although many of these individuals do turn to an interior designer occasionally, this is not enough to keep these professionals in business. While one million households in America fall into this social class, only 100,000 rely on interior designers routinely. Why aren’t the other 900,000 doing so? Experts believe it is due to a lack of effective marketing. 

Effective Marketing

To reach these customers, an interior designer must make use of effective marketing. These techniques can only be considered successful when they actually generate new business. Word-of-mouth remains the preferred choice of most designers and has repeatedly been shown to be the most effective. However, social media has increased in popularity with these individuals who are using the networks to attract new clients, promote their work and build their business. 

Why Social Media Doesn’t Work

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Four out of every five interior designers maintain a presence on social networks. Nevertheless, only 17 percent of designers state that social media has been of help in promoting their business. In contrast, 85 percent of designers report word-of-mouth advertising has been of great help to them.  A company website is of more benefit than social media for those in the industry. 

Following up on the initial survey, Unity Marketing reached out to professional designers to learn what challenges they face when using social media. The study, known as Interior Designers & Social Media: Help or Hype? shows interior designers are unaware of which social platforms provide the best results. Measuring the effectiveness of a platform is something they have yet to determine how best to do. In addition, monetizing social networks is beyond their grasp. 

How Can Designers Change This?

Individuals working in this industry need to not only remain active on social networks. They must also know which sites to focus on and how best to attract the target audience. While it is nice to have people visiting the social network to see examples of the designer’s work or get inspiration, these visits only benefit the designer when the visitor turns into a paying customer. 

Designers need to recognize this and focus their efforts elsewhere. In fact, some clients are turned off by a designer’s use of social media. One designer learned a job was lost after the client, who was satisfied with previous work completed by the designer, came across this individual’s social media pages. The client felt this was a sign the interior designer was too public and this may affect their own privacy. 

Which Platform to Use?

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Interior designers typically prefer Facebook over other social media sites. Instagram comes in second with Houzz rounding out the top three. However, these same designers have found that Instagram is actually the most important platform followed by Facebook. The other platforms barely get a notice from the target audience. As a result, any time and money spent on these sites are simply wasted. 

To determine which networks to use, designers need to quantify what brings in clients and additional revenue. Shares and likes are of no help at this time. Only concrete data outside of these two measures will truly be of benefit. 

Marketing is Crucial for Designers

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To attract attention, designers must demonstrate their value to potential clients. This is done by creating offerings that have value, communicating them to potential clients and delivering on these offerings. Communication appears to be the sticking point, as an ASID survey reports 64 percent of designers today feel the public fails to understand the true value of their services. 

Designers need to evaluate every action they take on social media to determine if it sells more services and generates more income. If an action fails to do so, it needs to be altered or eliminated from the marketing plan. 

Don’t Rely on Faith

Hope should never be the basis of a marketing strategy. Faith is not enough to pay the bills. Designers need to gain new clients and add to their bottom line. For this reason, every designer needs to focus on multiple public relations outlets. Relying solely on social media is simply not effective. 

Knowing this doesn’t mean designers will follow through. In fact, two-thirds state they will add to their social media efforts this year. Sadly, many are likely wasting their time. An effective marketing strategy needs to include what to do along with not to do to obtain the best return on investment. 

Whitepaper - AB Testing Your Social Ad Campaigns - DL Image

A Great Strategy

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As word-of-mouth advertising continues to provide the best results, interior designers need to focus on getting their clients to spread the word about their business. This is where social media may be of help for interior designers. 

A satisfied client might share information about the business on their social networks. This requires no time or effort on the part of the designer. Simply asking the client to share his or her experience on these sites is often enough. 

If more help is needed, don’t hesitate to turn to a marketing agency for assistance. With their services, an interior designer will find he or she can take the business to a whole new level.


Author: Alexandria Swanson

Alex is a marketing project manager and serves as the primary liason between clients and all Bizop Media technicians.

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