Promoting Design Business
Promoting design business is part of the specialist marketing mix of business. Word of mouth just isn’t enough to promote your business if you want to grow it in any sort of professional way. It needs careful attention and detail. It should be incorporated as part of your marketing plan.
As a designer you have project management skills. Promoting design business is easily set out as an on going project, administered with a timeline and detailed in a gant chart. Promotion must be continual and methodical to maintain your presence in the forefront of the minds of your existing and potential customer. It never stops.
How are you going to get the message out that you are offering your services and to whom? Promotion includes not only direct advertising but all kinds of other elements. At every opportunity you should be using promotional techniques. Listed below are physical and event items that I consider essential to promoting design business.
- All your stationery and marketing material must be cohesive and of the same design theme. Use a professional graphic artist to develop this. Interior designers are great at interior design but graphic design is a specialty in itself. This will help you develop your brand. Try not to make your brand your name. It has worked for some design companies but generally a generic name provides you with the ability to sell your design business in the future. This may be when you want to step out of the business or to include partners or associates.
- Your business card (get them out there at every opportunity) using both sides of the card. Use color and texture. Make it different and useful. Perhaps have them made from plastic with a scale on it or even calculation constants that may be useful to a property manager.
- Your product portfolio in the form of a brochure (A4 size with inserts so that recent projects can be included).
- An A4 branded folder so that all proposals that include more than 1 sheet of paper are included. Keep all presentation and information that you supply high class and professional.
- Stationery with your brand and mission statement or logo on it.
- Any vehicle you use for your work (even the family car for getting to your office and home) to have some form of signage on it.
- Any project you successfully undertake, get some form of media coverage. Press release if possible or at the very least advertorial in conjunction with the owner of the interior that you have developed.
- Any project that is being built get your signboard on for all the public to see. Sponsor safety or inconvenience signs to the project.
- If trading interior decoration goods, advertise.
- Social media. Use linked-in and other social networks to add comment and article to popular groups and columns that you belong to. If your design business name is cropping up in the property managers or realtors forum then isn’t that one of the easiest way to promote your business? Intelligent and thoughtful comment or ideas and opinions will keep you in the front of those property managers minds.
- Set up your mailing list/emailing list to cover every real estate and property manager in your area or people that you have met and had an introduction to. (Make sure you ask them if they are happy to be on a mailing list first. Ensure that your email stationery has the same graphics as your printed stationery). Property managers are out their dealing with property right now and could be looking for someone like you! Provide incentives for them to use you.
- Record before and after shots of the interiors that you have completed and include them on your website and as part of you email marketing system.
- With your email marketing system include items that will be of interest to your clients. For example property mangers will be interested to know the time that planning permission is taking or new building and construction rules that may effect them or there own clients. You will be aware if there is a new compliance item such as an upgrade of fire alarm or barrier free access system that may cost them money or indeed may save them money. Become useful to your clients without them having to pay for it. Become an authority in your industry
In summary these are a few essential ideas that will help promote your business.