Features

Marketing to Make Selling Irrelevant

Tips for staying in front of your potential clients
By Gail Doby
December 08, 2011

One of the biggest mistakes designers often make is inconsistent marketing. See if this applies to you:
• When you’re busy, you don’t market because you don’t have time, or you are concerned that you will have too much business.

• When you’re not busy, you’re worried because you don’t know how to get business when business is completely dead.

Here’s a paraphrase of a great quote worth keeping in mind: “You never know which day you missed marketing that caused you to have no business on a future day.”

If you are inconsistent in your marketing, your business will be inconsistent. The reverse is also true: If you are consistent in your marketing, your business will be consistent. Marketing is the habit you should repeat daily for at least two to two-and-a-half hours per day.

Marketing makes selling irrelevant because you build relationships and connections that lead to more business. You never know when someone is ready to make a buying decision, so it is essential to stay in front of anyone that might be a potential client or referral partner.

Our members often ask how much they should invest in marketing, and the answer is between three and 12 percent, which is the typical range. Designers toward the top of the range tend to earn more money.

What type of marketing works today?
A website is a necessity, but frankly, a blog may be a better investment of your time and effort. You can do the same thing with a blog, and it is easier to maintain. Fresh content is one of the keys to getting found online, and that is why a blog is so helpful. ($500 for a DIY with some outsourced graphics —five figures if you do e-commerce)

Google Places. You need to be listed and it is free. Just Google your website and “claim” your listing. Be sure to include all of the information Google requests—again, this is free.

A monthly eZine. If you aren’t sending out a monthly eZine, start in January. This is your opportunity to build a relationship with prospects and maintain a relationship with previous and current clients. Include an opt-in (name and email) on your blog or website to offer a free report or gift to get someone to become a part of your list. An effective list size is at least 1,000 people in your market. (Low cost. According to the Direct Marketing Association, this investment alone returns $42.08 per dollar invested.)

Facebook fan page. Some of you don’t have a fan page yet, and if you don’t know where to start, I recommend getting Facebook Marketing All-in-One for Dummies. (Setting up fan page is free except for graphics.)

Referral program. If you don’t have a formal one, now is the time to create one. Offer incentives or gifts when someone refers you. This includes clients.

Celebrity endorsement. Who has access to your Ideal Client? How can you develop a relationship with them to reach new prospects? Consider joint events to market to their current clients. Whatever you do, provide value to that person first. (Free except for a lunch, coffee or promotional expenses)

If you don’t have a marketing plan, this is the perfect time of year to create one. We recommend building your marketing plan first, followed by your marketing budget and then your overall budget. Then create a dashboard to monitor your progress for the year, and schedule the activities every single day.

If you follow these simple steps, you’ll be on your way to a more successful and profitable 2012.

—Gail Doby, ASID, DSA, IDS is the chief vision officer and co-founder of Design Success University, your shortcut to a more profitable and passion-filled design business. The new Interior Design Fee & Salary Survey will be published on January 5, 2012. You can download the current eBook and you’ll automatically receive notification when the new eBook is available.

Image: jscreationzs / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
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