19 Ways to Find Clients for Your Interior Design Business

Use this guide to find the right marketing strategy for your interior design business. We are here to help you - no matter your marketing budget. Take a few of these ideas and start developing a marketing plan for your interior design firm.

Here's a list of ideas to get you started. Click a strategy to learn more or keep scrolling to read the entire article!

1. Start building a brand
2. Build a website
3. Claim your local listings
4. Find your niche
5. Get online reviews
6. Use email and snail mail
7. Buy interior design leads
8. Hire a professional photographer
9. Use social media
10. Expand your network
11. Print marketing materials
12. Incentivize referrals
13. Start a blog and post regularly
14. Track your leads
15. Use interior design software
16. Run a pay-per-click campaign
17. Join an association
18. Expand your service area
19. Do the little things


1. Start building a brand

First, It's important to choose a company name that you can build a brand around. Make sure it is not too similar to other local interior design firms. Need name ideas? We can help! Check out this article about choosing a name for your interior design business.

When most people think about "branding", they think about designing a logo, developing a slogan, and printing business cards. While those decisions are important, that's just one part of the equation. When it comes to building a brand, differentiation is key. What will set your business apart from the rest? Do you offer a satisfaction guarantee? Are you the most affordable interior designer in town? Does your company offer unparalleled customer service? Find what makes you special and communicate that to your customers.

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2. Build yourself a website

Having a website is no longer optional. Every interior designer should be working to build up their web presence. Your company's website acts like a digital storefront that's open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Building a website is not nearly as difficult as it used to be! It's also become much more affordable. If you have some basic tech skills, you might even be able to build the site on your own. Hosting should only cost a few dollars per month. Many hosting companies offer discounts if you are willing to pay for the entire year ahead of time.

A well-designed website makes a lasting first impression! If you are a designer, take this opportunity to show off your design skills. The homepage should look clean and polished. Most of all, it should reflect your design aesthetic.

While it's important for your website to look good, it also has to work! Do the site load quickly? Is it easy to navigate to the most important pages? Is your phone number is a highly visible location? Last but not least, it's important to make sure your interior design website is "responsive" or "mobile-friendly". This means that it looks great on mobile phones, tablets, laptops, and desktop computers. The text should be readable on every screen.

3. Claim your local listings

Are potential customers able to find your business online? Digital marketing is mostly about "getting found". Joining online directories and claiming your profile on review websites is one of the best ways to do this. Houzz, Yelp, Google My Business, Bing, and Angie's List are great places to get additional visibility for your business online. If your company is not represented on these websites, you might be losing business to a competitor!

Related: How Much to Charge for Interior Design Services

4. Find your niche

Interior design is very personal. While it's possible to be versatile, it's not realistic to think your design style and approach will mesh with every client. Is your style more modern or more traditional? Do you like clean lines or rustic accents?

At this time, it can also be helpful to develop a profile of your ideal client. Who do you like to work with? What types of jobs are most interesting to you? Do you prefer residential or commercial work?

Does your business also offer home staging services?
Check out our Home Staging Marketing Hub for additional resources.

5. Get more online reviews

More and more people are relying on third-party review websites (think Yelp, Facebook, or Houzz) to find local interior designers. If you do not have any online reviews for your business, you are already missing out!

Companies with high ratings and positive reviews tend to get the most exposure on these websites! This can mean more eyes on your work, additional visits of your website, and more calls to your work phone. Wouldn't that be nice? If you are not sure how to get more online reviews, you may want to consider using an online reputation management tool to simplify the process.

As reviews come in, make sure to read them! This feedback can help you grow your business and learn from your mistakes. Unfortunately, you may get a negative review from time to time. Don't panic! If you choose to respond, do so respectfully and politely. If possible, do your best to rectify the situation. In the meantime, encourage your happy clients to leave positive reviews.

6. Use email and snail mail to maintain relationships

Don't lose touch with your client upon completion of the job. You should take pride in building lasting relationships with your clients. You should be the first person that comes to mind when they need to hire an interior decorator in the future. Email is an easy and affordable way to keep the channels of communication open. Make sure to include a creative or catchy subject line. Will people be curious enough to open the email?

Direct mail (or snail mail) is another effective way to reach people. Our email inboxes have become overloaded with junk that our real mailboxes seem empty in comparison. You can send out a simple post card. You could send out a thank you note to show your appreciation for a referral.

7. Buy interior design leads

You can also find new clients by purchasing leads. There are several popular lead generation companies that sell leads to interior designers. These companies commonly offer "pay per lead" or "pay per call" programs. This means that you are only charged for leads that match your account preferences. For example, you may only be interested in purchasing leads in certain zip codes or for certain types of jobs. You can learn more about interior design lead generation in this helpful article.

8. Hire a professional photographer

Anybody can say that they do great design work, but not everyone can prove it. That's why it is important to show potential clients what you can do! Hiring a professional photographer to take pictures of your work is a great investment for any interior design company. If you are trying to attract a high-end clientele, blurry pictures from your phone's camera are not going to cut it.

Before beginning a job, make sure to take a few pictures yourself of the existing space. Hire the professional to take the "after" pictures. Showing the before-and-after pictures side-by-side is a great way to win over potential clients. Show people what you are capable of doing.

9. Use social media to build an audience

Is your business on Facebook or Twitter? Are you active on Pinterest or Instagram? If you are not familiar with social media at all, it can be difficult to know where to begin. You can start by creating an account on just one of these platforms. Your first "followers" will likely be your family members, friends, neighbors, and past customers. By posting pictures and sharing helpful design advice on a regular basis, you will start to see your audience grow!

While social media can be an important marketing strategy for some companies, it may not work for everyone. It can also take a lot of time to create good content and monitor these accounts. If you feel that you are not getting a good return on investment, your time may be better spent elsewhere.

10. Build relationships, expand your network

Networking is all about starting conversations and making meaningful connections. You never know when or where you will meet your next client. You could be in the carpool line at your kid's school or on the treadmill at the gym. The key is to be prepared! Try to keep a few business cards on hand at all times.

When you meet a new contact, follow up with a call or email. If you feel this person has the potential to be a great referral source, you may even want to set up a lunch or meeting right away. Don't let this person forget about you! Strike while the iron is hot.

11. Print flyers, business cards, and brochures

Believe it or not, there is still a place for printed marketing materials! While it may seem "old school", a well-designed brochure is a great tool to keep in your tool belt. This is particularly true if your typical client is over the age of 50. While younger clients may prefer to look at a photo gallery on your website or your social media accounts, older clients may prefer to have something that they can hold in their hands. You can also pass these out at networking events, conferences, trade shows, or home & garden expos.

12. Encourage and incentivize referrals

Referrals are the core of any successful interior design business. When someone is referred to your business by a trusted friend, you have already won half the battle. When you do great work and provide excellent customer service, your clients will naturally refer you. If you are able to develop a steady stream of referral business, your company will stay busy all year long. Say good-bye to your slow season!

Unfortunately, word-of-mouth advertising doesn't happen over night. Building a referral incentive program can be great way to jumpstart the process - especially if you are just starting out. For example, you could offer $100 gift card for any referral that turns into a sale. You might also offer a discount on future design services. Whatever you decide on, make sure you put it in writing and advertise the offer to your existing customer base.

13. Start a blog and post regularly

Blogging is one way to stand out from other local designers and get additional traffic to your website. Writing blogs can help to improve the search engine optimization (or SEO) of your website.

It also gives you an opportunity to share your knowledge and demonstrate your expertise to potential customers and referral sources. Don't be afraid to show off a little bit. Every time you publish a new post, make sure to share it on social media or put a link to the content in your email newsletter.

If you are unsure what to write about, we have a few ideas to get you started. Here are a few interior design blog topic ideas:

- Write about your design aesthetic and style

- Describe your pricing methodology

- Share helpful design advice, how-to guides, and DIY tips

- Document all the details of a past job (include before and after pictures)

- Answer a common question that you get from clients all the time

14. Track your leads

We cannot stress this one enough. Track your leads! This can be as simple as asking every customer, "How did you find us?". Keep track of the answers in a spreadsheet. Overtime, you will begin to notice some trends. You will see what's working and what's not. Then, you can invest additional resources in the marketing channels that are yielding the best results. You can also abandon certain strategies that are not working. This is a good way to figure out the best use of your time and your advertising budget.

15. Simplify your life with software

It's hard to be successful if you are not organized. If you need help running your business more efficiently, there are some interior design software options that may be of interest to you. This software can be used to track your time, manage projects, schedule appointments, prepare invoices, and monitor spending - all in one place. While there are many software options to choose from, we recommend finding one that is built with interior designers in mind.

16. Run a pay-per-click advertising campaign

Pay-per-click (or PPC) ads appear at the top and bottom of almost every search engine results page. When someone does a Google, Bing, or DuckDuckGo to search for "local interior designers", your ad could appear at the top of the page. You are charged when someone clicks on your ad (hence the name "pay per click"). This is an effective method of getting targeted traffic to your website.

?While there are no guarantees, pay per click is a reliable marketing channel for many interior designers. If you have some basic tech skills, you can probably set up your first campaign on your own. It's important to set a realistic budget and monitor your campaign regularly. If this feels overwhelming to you, you can outsource this work. Hiring a PPC agency to help you out is another good option!

17. Join an industry association

There are several benefits to joining a professional association. This may include greater online exposure for your business, vendor discounts, networking opportunities, trainings and conferences, and access to marketing and lead generation resources. Overall, joining an association offers supportive resources to interior design businesses so you don’t have to go it alone. Interior designers may be interested in joining the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID), Interior Design Society (IDS), or several other organizations.

Check this out: See what our members had to say about ASID and ISD!

18. Expand your service area

In some cases, you might find the local market is oversaturated. A new interior design business is popping up everyday. This can make it very difficult to find new clients and bring in revenue. By increasing the size your service area and traveling a little bit further out, you may have better luck bringing in new business. This extra travel may start to add up. If so, you may consider adding a fuel surcharge to the final invoice to account for the additional mileage.

19. Do the little things and do them well

It’s the little things that make the biggest difference! Show up on time, return phone calls promptly, respond to emails, and treat every client like your best client. If you delivery a valuable service at a reasonable price, your business will be successful. Positive word of mouth will keep new leads coming your way.

Last Updated: October 3, 2018

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