Whether you’re just starting out or well-established within the interior design scene, attracting the right clients requires intentionality in every area of your business. It’s a skill that means investing both time and resources towards building a meaningful brand experience and learning to vet projects that aren’t the right fit. While it can be tempting to fill your client roster with any work that comes your way, especially for those newer in their business, taking the time and effort to market to your ideal client will always pay off tenfold.
We know attracting the right clients doesn’t happen overnight, but with a thoughtful branding approach and actionable steps in place, it’s an important business goal that’s well within reach. If you’re feeling stuck on making it from A to B, we’re sharing the secret sauce to get those dream clients knocking on your door.
We realize this might sound like business 101, but the first step — and arguably the most important step — to attracting your ideal client is to understand that person inside and out. Put together a deep-dive case study covering where your ideal client lives, works, and plays, along with their average income level, main design pain points, and overall sense of style. Keep in mind that the type of clients you serve might shift as your business grows and evolves, and that’s ok. The key is having a full view of who you’re working to attract and how to best meet their needs. Once you’ve honed in on all of the above, it’s time to get to work.
They say “dress for the job you want, not the job you have,” and that idea is entirely applicable to your online presence and portfolio when working to attract the right projects. From the moment a client comes in contact with your brand, they should have a clear sense of who you are as a company and the type of clients you serve. This means everything from your Instagram grid to copywriting style to Pinterest boards to website experience are all working together to tell your brand story at every turn.
If you’re a designer who’s hoping to reach the luxury market, your online presence should be curated accordingly. Likewise, if family-friendly design work is your priority number one, ensure that your brand touchpoints help communicate that message. A well-planned online presence will attract like-minded people, rather than striving to be everything to everyone.
Learning when to say “no” is a delicate balancing act, especially for a new designer. Turning down work can be challenging, and even a bit scary. But vetting potential clients early on is one of the best ways to set yourself up for future success. By kindly passing on projects that don’t align well with your business goals, you make space for work that does. This might equate to turning down some projects upfront.
We highly suggest building a small network of referral designers. By having a short list of designers with a similar aesthetic who work in different areas or price points, you can kindly refer inquiries to a better fit. This not only serves the potential client well, it strengthens your relationships with fellow designers. Consider taking this even a step further. You can set up a reciprocal referral program, so both of you are being referred clients that are the best possible fit.
Once you’ve established your brand and signature style, you can count on the right clients reaching out more often. If you’re interested in diving deeper into the topic, we’ve compiled our best tips on How to Filter Inquiries + Say No to Projects That Aren’t Right For You.
If you’ve been around this blog for any length of time, you know we believe in the importance of developing a signature style as an interior designer. The true cornerstone of your brand, a signature style helps set your work apart. It builds an area of expertise, and ultimately, attracts like-minded clients who trust your vision. Of course, developing a distinct style doesn’t mean limiting yourself to one look, but it does involve maintaining a thread of aesthetic consistency that clients come to value and trust.
A signature style can also open up opportunities in the publication world, helping produce both visibility and growth. As you approach getting published, take the time to seek out platforms that align with your signature style. You’ll make it that much easier for an editor to say “yes.” To learn more, check out How to Get Your Interior Design Work Published.
So far, we’ve touched on several ways to bring clients to you, but don’t overlook the importance of reaching them. As you consider outbound engagement strategies, think about where that ideal client is spending their time online, and actively seek them out in those spaces. Not every dream client is on Instagram. This could include everything from gyms to salons to boutiques, country clubs, and so much more.
Refer back to that original Dream Client Case Study. Utilize Instagram’s Geo Tag search feature, to begin liking and commenting on people’s posts in the neighborhoods they they live in. Additionally, engage actively with the restaurants, shops and hangout spots they are in those neighborhoods. By liking, commenting and joining the conversation of a community, you’ll get face time with potential clients, even while working from home.
Have a favorite project or client you adored? Interact with their friend circle on Instagram via your client’s profile. Don’t be afraid to comment, like, and engage with their online content. Not only does this keep you top of mind, you might just make a great connection to land your next big project.
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IDCO Studio is a full-service creative studio for interior designers and boutique lifestyle brands. Offering bespoke branding, web design and social media content creation, we help brands built around beautiful living elevate their digital presence to represent the physical spaces they design. Our recently launched limited-release website templates are the perfect way for interior designers to get a luxury website on a budget. These templates allow designers to maintain control of their content. Want to work together? Shoot us an inquiry here.
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