As the rich are getting richer, they continue to build and customize their homes, both full-time residences and additional properties. Despite the investments in new homes, business for interior designers is not increasing. Instead, business for those in the interior designer profession is decreasing month over month as their client base continues to age. Currently, interior designers are having a real difficult time picking up new clients to uphold their customer base.
In a recent survey conducted across more than 300 professional interior designers by Unity Marketing, respondents indicated that finding new clients was the number one business challenge. The finding was further lamented by a YouGov survey. Among the wealthiest Americans, those that have a net worth of more than $10 million and household income of greater than $350,000, only 10% of them regularly use an interior designer. Both figures separately and together illustrate the gap.
In the current day and age, more and more customers are going down the do-it-yourself (DIY) route. With shows on HGTV and other channels exhibiting how easy it is to do a home makeover, homeowners have found it much more cost-effective and often less work to complete a small-scale remodeling or redecorating project themselves. While also making it look easy, the hosts of these shows also make it look like a lot of fun.
With the DIY path in mind, how do interior designers effectively reach out to the 90% of wealthy clients? The answer is effective marketing. In recent years, interior designers have turned to social media to attract new clients and promote their business. In a recent survey, 80% of interior designers indicated that they are active on social media; yet, only 17%rate social media as effective. In other words, for 8 out of 10 designers, social media underdelivers in terms of promoting their business to their clients.
Unity Marketing noticed the performance gap indicated by the original survey and conducted a follow-up survey in order to dive deeper into the social media challenge on-hand. The results themselves showed that designers do not use social media effectively: they don’t now how to measure its effectiveness, don’t know the best platform to use, and have not equated social media marketing back to financials. One designer in the survey even went as far to say, “designers are wasting their time. It makes them feel good while they are going broke.”
With the pros and cons in mind, interior designers need to work to find what works best and get rid of the rest. Designers need to evaluate which of their social media platforms actually work for them or are the most effective. Designers should follow four simple tips when planning and executing their marketing plan. First off, successful marketing is just as important as successful designing. Second, hope is not a strategy, they see the likes, shares, and retweets and assume it is working. Third, don’t throw away good time or money. In efforts to make marketing better, many will focus on social media, but more time on these platforms could potentially lead to a downgrade in future designs. Lastly, interior designers should be strategic with their marketing and make marketing truly work for them, at an individual level.