Top Tips for Effective Marketing of Your Design Firm

October 7, 2022

Effective marketing is not always about what you do but about how you think about the process. The psychology of your approach to marketing is the first “think again” many need to tackle before trying to determine the best course of action to properly position their firm in the marketplace. And when the economy is threatening to contract, positioning for relevance should be the most important consideration for a business that wants to thrive and not simply survive.

How Do You Define Your Product?

You are selling kitchen or bath design, cabinetry, plumbing fixtures, lighting and all the rest. Yes, but so is the guy down the road and the woman two streets over. Relying on simply selling a physical product reduces your marketing efforts to who can convince the client they sell the best of those items. That is not enough in the competitive times we are in now unless you own the market completely.

In my firm, we sell a problem-solving creative vision – not cabinetry, plumbing or even design. Focusing our effective marketing on selling and executing a creative vision instead of just a physical product allows our talent and skills to take center stage.

Is Your Brand Promise Fully Developed & Embedded into Your Business Culture?

Everything we do from marketing to best practices is guided by our brand promise. This is not a kumbaya feel-good type of thing you get off a box of marketing Cracker Jacks. A strong brand promise is composed of multiple statements that define your “product” ethos to your prospects and clients and is a commitment to the feeling you want them to have from the first minute they engage with your brand.

Don’t whip out a one-liner mission statement and call it done. Contemplate and nurture specific truisms that outline what you want the convictions of your business ethos to project. Creating your effective marketing goals with intent and belief in these convictions provides the framework for a consistent and stable experience for your client or prospect.

Do You Need to Host an Intervention on Your Social Media & Website Best Practices?

Social media is one of the first places you will get interaction from a lead; next is your website. How your prospect interacts with your site or page influences the next steps they may take.

Š On social media, do you respond to questions and comments promptly? This tells people you care about their engagement.

Š Do you post often and with varied types of photos showing your work?

Š Are there misspelled words on your posts or website?

Š Is someone writing copy for you that speaks to your ideal client?

Š If you have a portfolio site, make sure those photos are optimized to load fast, or you will not only risk a waning attention span but also hits against your SEO.

Š Are your FAQs well developed? Our website speaks to things I want a client to understand about us but also be relatable to their problems.

Š Do you want the client to engage with a form or a human being? We prefer a phone call for a myriad of good sales reasons, but many do fine with online booking of appointments – especially smaller firms where there are not enough hours in the day.

Effective Marketing States Clearly Who Your Ideal Client Is

People want to see themselves buying your “product,” and to do this they must feel you are talking directly to them. Our website states: “We design, create and execute happy, functional homes for real people who want stress-free professional attention to detail from an experienced team. We got this.” I am declaring these aspects of our brand promise right under our portfolio on our home page. What am I saying to the prospect? We keep function and performance in mind. We are experienced. We are relatable to people who want problems solved. We have a team of professionals. Clients do not have to worry about the process or making mistakes. We are skilled and capable and handle it all for you.

Determine your highest and best sweet spots of strength. Define your “product” in ways that focus on the benefits to the client and not just features many products may share. The most effective marketing is built upon a strong base of intentional messaging, a well-defined target audience and a clear and consistent client experience.

By Cheryl Kees Clendenon, owner and lead designer of In Detail Interiors in Pensacola, Fla.

Photo: Vladimir Gerasimov/Adobe Stock