Content-Driven Marketing for Designers

You’ve nailed your interior design process to ensure flawless execution. Yet, you likely haven’t given the same consideration to your marketing process. You might be doing things in the wrong order and possibly also missing some important steps. Let’s clear this up so that you are better prepared for marketing success.

Major corporations implement some of the most tried and tested marketing strategies, so it is always valuable to learn from them and see how we can apply it on a local level.

One huge lesson that they teach is that “content is king.”

Let’s use Super Bowl advertisements as an example as it is a rare moment of public transparency by these major corporate advertisers.

We all know that those 30-second TV ad spots cost advertisers millions of dollars to buy. But what isn’t as recognized is that the production costs for those ads are in the $1-5 million range.

About the Author

This blog was written by Ken Lewis, Managing Partner of Client Expander, a marketing agency exclusively focused on the design industry.

Ken and his team have been marketing providers for Studio Designer since 2013.

"Did a light bulb just go on in your head?"

If you listen to interior designers talking about marketing promotion, so often the questions are around whether to use Instagram or Pinterest—Facebook or Houzz. The focus is often about the channel and not about the content.

Yet, major advertisers have learned the lesson that the channel is only part of the story. No placement is enough to lead to success without a solid content strategy—which is why they spend up to 50% of their total budget on production costs.

Have you ever heard a fellow designer say something like “I’ve never gotten a client off of my Youtube channel”? A Youtube channel, like any platform, is only as effective as the quality of its content.

Content-driven marketing is a simple process:

  1. Identify your ideal client (target audience).
  2. Creatively explore strategies where you can educate, inform, inspire, and/or entertain them in a way that intersects with your brand.
  3. Create such content using digital mediums including writing, blogs, videos, podcasts, images, and/or infographics.
  4. Push the content out on the platforms that your ideal client uses—using both organic and paid promotion options.

Learning Through Reverse Engineering

With this new vision on marketing, revisit your favorite blogs, YouTube channels, or Instagram accounts. Try to reverse engineer their success—this is the best way to learn what works as you can understand it as an insider, as part of their attentive audience.

Go to your favorite online sources, then ask:

  • How would you define their audience? (Hint: you are likely within their target)
  • Do they educate, inform, inspire, and/or entertain you?
  • Are they using writing, blogs, videos, podcasts, images, and/or infographics?
  • How are they making this content appropriate for this particular platform?

Once you learn how others have made it, follow the same methodology in a way that is true to you and your brand, creating a new vision of what interior design marketing looks like for you.

Developing Your Content

You likely have a clear idea of your audience, but how about your approach? Do you have a plan and a budget to create great content that educates, informs, inspires, and/or entertains? Be clear on which approach you are taking as it makes content creation much easier and more consistent.

Do you have something beyond your project images to use as content? Are your project images enough to inspire people? Could they be presented in different ways to make them informative instead? (One solution that we have to this is that we create “Room Explainer” videos for our clients that describe a particular room/image in depth, which informs, as most interior designs are more about practical, functional living than about producing inspirational looks).

Photo by Expect Best from Pexels

Have you invested in a videographer to capture your design process from the initial design meeting all the way through to the installation? Do you have any content to establish social proof, such as video testimonials? Would a client be willing to give a video walking tour of their new interior? If not, you too would be a perfect tour guide! How about videoing your team of architects and tradesmen in action and discussing the project and how much they love to work with you? How about video in the studios of local furniture makers and artisans that make custom pieces for you?

When you include others in your content, they will share your content after you tag them on social media, amplifying its social reach. Ask them to add your content or video to their blog and you are likely to get a backlink which helps your SEO. If they don’t give you the link, just ask!

Get your creative juices flowing with content-driven marketing. Making content can be a fun, creative, and rewarding process. View it as art, not as an obligation, and you might even get so passionate about it that you end up with a much loved social channel that elevates your brand and brings you those projects that you most desire!

While many of our marketing clients prefer that we do the entire marketing process from idea to implementation, we do see that the best campaigns include collaboration. When our interior designer clients contribute to their content, especially in terms of professional video creation (or, secondary, through blogging), we’ve got their fingerprint to broadcast to the world. Nothing is better than that, as you are in a business of relationships and thus people want to know you before committing to you.

If you have questions, feel free to ask here.

Ken Lewis | Managing Director Client Expander

I’d love to hear about your experiences in content creation—so leave your comments below.

If you think that this blog was helpful, your friends likely will too! Please share it with your colleagues via social media and/or email.

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