Interior Designers & Pinterest

Many Interior Designers have Pinterest accounts and quite a few of us use them. Here are my thoughts on whether or not interior designers should use Pinterest and HOW they should best use Pinterest.

http://pinterest.com/paulaovallev/color/

Here, for example is Paula Ovalle Vicuña’s beautiful pinboard of colors. Now, this and similar boards are great sources of imagery for colours for interior designers and of course there are other pins showing styles and colour themes and so on. If you had a board like this you could show your clients on your iPAD as part of your presentations.

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BUT think carefully about how you are going to use this as a tool to win more business. How are your potential clients going to be driven to you and/or your web site. Why is your potential client going to be looking on pinterest for work by interior designers. They MIGHT be using it as a means of selecting designers but IMHO I doubt that many potential customers will be doing that – some, for sure, but not many.

Now, your competitors may be using it to get some inspiration. So you’ve done a bit of work to help your competitors. That’s all well and good as others will reciprocate and you will benefit from that potentially. But that hasn’t got you any more sales has it?

If you are going to use pinterest for collecting and presenting images then it may be great as a productivity tool.

You have the option with pinterest of creating secret/hidden boards – that may be a good way forwards for those of you conscious NOT to help out your competitors!

So you have to answer this question: “Do my clients hang out on Pinterest so making them more likely to find out about my interior design skills from my Pinterest account?”.

IF you can answer that question positively then read on…

Effective Pinterest Marketing

1. Fill-in the Form! Setup You Account Properly – Gets the Basics Sorted Out

Your name (first and last), username, logo, About, Location and Website information should all be properly included. PLEASE if you can make sure that, for example, you use the same name as you do across all media – printed and electronic. It’s good for your ‘branding’. Verify your website and put your blog address in your ‘About’ section.

2. Be a digital stalker! Follow People – You build a following, which looks good to potential new followers, if you follow people. They often reciprocate. It’s a bit like Twitter in that respect. Perhaps look for people or boards with certain of your keywords on them and then follow those people.

3. In the Digital World, Content is King! Get content. Regularly seek out and add new relevant content. To be truly amazing you will, of course, add your own original content. Content may be the king but creativity rules the Empire of Design.

More?

Create a board and use it (link to it) on facebook or twitter to invite your other followers to discuss it.

When you blog you always add at least one great image right? Well make a collection of those great images on pinterest. That way you save a little time by using one piece of content twice.

Focus on the right content. Think always about your target customer. Only post what they are going to be interested in.

Put a url in your comments on pins to link back to the original content (your blog), Ibelieve I am right in saying that this URL is made clickable by pinterest.

9 Common Interior Design Mistakes (Marketing)

Mr Stanley Rao CEO of Champions group named one of the “100 Most Influential Global Sales & Marketing Technology Leader” by Marketing Times, Sales & Marketing magazine called him “The Man Who pioneered Marketing Outsourcing industry using Technology”. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Most lists have 10 points or multiples thereof. So, for a refreshing change, here are nine common mistakes made by Interior Designers in their business generation and, perhaps more importantly, how to avoid them. The article offers some sensible advice for designers who have some degree of responsibility for selling and marketing of their organisation’s design service and, whilst not a comprehensive solution to all your sales and marketing woes, it might just help a little!

  1. Not engaging the client: It is always great to understand what the client wants and deliver that rather than a variation of the last scheme you completed. You already knew that of course! However have you thought about the client decision making process? Try to understand that: your buyer; your consumer; and your decision makers could all be different people. Taking the example of a residential project (the principle also equally applies to a business to business project) your ‘client’ may be one partner but the decision maker could be the other partner and key influencers/users could be the kids. You need to engage with all parties to get “buy-in”.
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    Not listening hard enough: It’s easy to listen but often easy to not listen hard enough. In the sales process you may be inclined to talk too much. Ask questions, lots of them and make sure they are relevant. Try to ask open questions like “tell me about the sort of style you want to achieve” rather than closed questions which often do not get you correct information eg if you ask “Do you want red chairs?” your client may very well answer “No” but this has not told you that they want animal skin covered chairs!

  3. Attempting to ‘create’ demand: You might have been asked to do a specific job, say on one room. In uncertain times you may be glad about that. Nevertheless it is still a mistake to miss the opportunity of trying to broaden the opportunity.
  4. Don’t make too many assumptions: Well don’t make ANY costly assumptions. You might assume your client only has a certain budget. ASK those embarrassing questions about money and don’t forget that most clients have reasonable contingency factored in to their plans .
  5. Risk: All projects entail risk. Always have a ‘risk register’ (list of things that can go wrong). In advance, plan what you will do in the eventuality of any of those risks happening. Also for those truly monumental risks that may well be out of your control (and fault) then agree up front with the client what will happen in those circumstances. Otherwise the client will expect you to sort the problem out when it happens at your cost as it is ‘not their fault’. A simplistic example would be the removal of an interior wall which you and your client assumed to be none load bearing. The removal of a non-load bearing wall is straightforward but removal of a structural wall is not and is much more costly.
  6. Qualify new prospects: Your marketing campaigns, if well designed, should generate lots of leads especially if you have decided to invest heavily in those campaigns. After such a successful investment you will be energised to thoroughly follow-up all your leads. Great! Nothing wrong with that. Well nothing except that you only have limited resources to follow up the lead so make sure you focus those resources on qualifying the prospects and further refine your focus on the best prospects. Do not allocate equal resources. A simple rule for qualification is to follow ” BANT”: B – Existing Budget, or access to funds; A – Authority to approve and progress; N – A  Need exists to necessitate action; T – Timeframes are sufficiently clear.
  7. Failing to follow-up: Once you have qualified your leads properly it should then be a crime to forget to follow them up! Yet we’ve probably all done it at some point. The price of disorganisation is missed opportunity. Get some sort of system that reminds you to follow up people at the right time; be it a diary, your email package or a contact management system. If you work for a large organisation then what if the lead generator/owner is ill? How will their follow up actions be acted upon if no-one knows about them? What if you lose your diary or your PC crashes? Such errors can cost you tens of thousands of dollars/pounds/euros – a lot regardless of the currency.
  8. Not understanding your own product or service: New products and materials and methods are developed every day. (At KOTHEA, www.kothea.com, we introduce a new fabric design on average every month rather than having spring/fall collections). Keep up to date with innovations in your market. The best sales and marketing campaigns are a mix of customer need and product understanding. Take time to read trade journals, visit showrooms and talk to customers. Always ask questions.
  9. Measuring activity rather than outcomes: If your design practice is large enough to employ people at least part time in marketing or sales then you need to measure the impact of their activity.  Digital marketing is changing how business works. Is it best to have unquantifiable paper PR in World Of Interiors? Or is it best to send out 200 glossy brochures to past clients? Or is it best to have 300 clicks costing 50p/50cents each on Google Adwords? I’m not saying there is a right or wrong answer on this one but really, really consider the effectiveness of what you are spending and how you can measure it. Rest assured that your competitors are already doing that.