Interior Design Business During Covid-19
COVID-19 has been rough on interior designers.
The economy slowed, lockdowns made it hard to work on-site, and supply chain issues caused major delays.
If you’re still struggling to get back on your feet, you’re not alone. Only 42% of interior designers say that their business has recovered from the pandemic. 32% say it would take at least three months to recover if the pandemic ended today. 5% believe it would take over a year.
Fortunately, there are some steps you can take to get your interior design business thriving again. There are even ways to take advantage of some of the changes the pandemic caused.
This article walks you through seven simple steps to revive your design business after the COVID-19 pandemic.
Read also – How To Start Your Interior Design Business?
7 Steps to a More Successful Interior Design Business Post COVID-19:
Many interior designers are still struggling, but it’s not all bad news.
The demand for new designs is out there. Some potential clients have an interior design project they’ve been putting off since before the pandemic. Others came up with new ideas for how to improve their homes when they were stuck in them for months on end.
To take advantage of these new opportunities, you’ll have to promote your interior design service. And you’ll have to adapt to a changed post-COVID world.
We’re here to guide you through it. Check out the top seven ways to revive your business.
1. Network, network, network
Word-of-mouth is a highly effective way to advertise your business. Even better, it’s free.
Make connections everywhere you can. A valuable conversation can happen at any time — that stranger at a party or parent at your kid’s soccer game might be contemplating a remodel and need your help.
Networking can be virtual, too. Maybe one of your Facebook friends just bought a new home.
There are a few extra things you can do to grow your network:
A) Join an association
Joining an industry association or professional organization has a lot of benefits. You’ll be invited to networking events, hear about project opportunities, and gain industry insider knowledge.
Some of the major organizations include:
- The American Society of Interior Designers (ASID)
- American Institute of Architects (AIA)
- Interior Design Society (IDS)
- International Interior Design Association (IIDA)
- National Council for Interior Design Qualification (CIDQ)
Your local area may also have industry groups.
Read also – Best Interior Design Communities
B) Attend interior design industry events
Interior design professional events are a great way to build your network.
Depending on the type of event, you might meet other local designers, contractors you can work with, prospective clients, or all of the above.
If you go to an event, collect contact information and business cards. Follow up with your new connections as soon as possible to discuss opportunities.
63% of interior designers anticipate attending an in-person event sometime in 2021. But if you’d rather keep it virtual, there are networking options for you, too. A few major events are still online only, while others have virtual and in-person options.
C) Let your contacts know you’re available
You’ve got space on your client list, but your connections don’t know that unless you tell them. Make sure you get the word out to professional connections, friends, and family that you’re looking for new projects.
They might just know someone who needs your services.
2. Promote yourself on local directories
Although it’s possible to have clients all over (see step seven to learn about expanding into e-design), your client base is probably heavily local.
Consequently, you want to get your interior design company on local directories. Here are a few to look into.
Nextdoor is social media for your neighborhood. People can buy and sell items, talk about local issues, get to know their neighbors, and seek out local businesses.
Small businesses can have their own page on Nextdoor. You can set yours up (or claim it if it already exists) for free.
Once you have a verified business page, you can post updates about your business, like new special offers, to the neighborhood newsfeed.
B) Google My Business
You’ve probably seen the company profiles that appear when you Google a business name or business type (like “interior designers near me”).
These profiles have the business’ contact information, reviews, pictures, and more. The service is called Google My Business, and it allows a prospective customer to quickly learn about a business.
To control the listing for your interior design company, you need to set up a Google My Business account and claim your business profile.
This is something you should definitely do. Many people turn to Google as their first source for information, and you want to make sure you’re taking advantage of that.
Here are a few tips for using Google My Business:
- Make sure all contact information is up-to-date
- Upload high-quality images of your designs
- Post updates and special offers on your Google My Business page
- Answer the questions posted to your profile
C) Facebook groups
Many cities and neighborhoods have Facebook groups for local members. Find yours and let people know about your business.
Any post on Facebook should be accompanied by high-quality photos that catch the attention of potential clients scrolling the newsfeed and show off your best work.
3. Ask for testimonials
Online directory listings are essential, but they aren’t enough for today’s savvy consumers. Potential clients want proof that you do outstanding work.
So how do they find out?
Most turn to online reviews: 77% of consumers see customer reviews as a deal-breaker or deciding factor in their buying decision.
Here’s the problem with reviews: people are quick to write them when they’re angry but often forget about them entirely when they’re satisfied. To get more positive reviews, you might need to remind your customers.
Don’t pressure anyone to write a positive review. Just let them know by email, social media, blog, or in person that they would be helping you out by reviewing your business.
Make it easy by providing a link to the review page (such as Google or Facebook) that you want them to use.
You can also feature reviews on your website. Embed Google reviews or gather your own testimonials from customers to put on your site.
Read also – How To Start An E-design Business?
4. Invest in marketing
You don’t have to be a digital marketing expert or spend a lot of money to get big results. Here are a few simple marketing tactics to get your name out there:
A) Email marketing
Email is hard to ignore. People can scroll past an ad or social media post without noticing it, but they’re less likely to miss an email sitting in their inbox.
With a free account on Mailchimp or a similar service, your interior design firm has a direct line of communication with potential clients.
Let your contacts know about your services and share pictures of your work. Get the word out about special offers. If you have blog content, share links to it by email to drive customers to your site.
Don’t have anyone to email yet?
The best way to build an email marketing list is by letting people opt-in to it. That way, you know the people on your list are genuinely interested in your business.
You can get people to sign up for your emails by adding a registration form to your website. Or, if you have a booth at any industry events, put out a sign-up sheet.
B) Social media
Every business should have a Facebook page. It gives you a place to interact with potential customers and post updates about your business.
People are used to businesses having Facebook pages, so they might search for interior designers on there. If you don’t have a social media presence, it makes your business look less legitimate.
Facebook isn’t the only social media platform in town.
As image-based social media, Instagram is another good way to promote your work. You might also consider making Pinterest boards showcasing your own designs.
With any luck, people will share your images and put your work in front of property owners looking for an interior designer.
Unlike the other marketing methods on this list, you can’t run ads for free. But even a small investment can help you reach your ideal client.
For example, you can use Google Ads to run ads based on search terms. You could run ads for key phrases like “interior designer in [your city]” or “home office interior designer.”
The internet users who see your ad aren’t random — they’re people who are searching for services like yours right now.
Facebook ads offer targeting options based on demographics and interests, so you can make sure your ad is in front of the right people. Many other social media platforms also offer targeted ads.
Read also – How To Market Your E-design Business?
Search engine optimization (SEO) can be intimidating if you’re not a marketing expert.
It doesn’t have to be. A few simple tweaks to your website can significantly increase traffic.
Focus on keywords. Obviously, your website should use the words interior designer or interior design. You should also make sure you come up in local searches by using phrases like “interior designer in Dallas.”
You can also use longer, more specific phrases. For example, “eco-friendly home design in Dallas.”
Another SEO strategy is to build backlinks. Backlinks are links to your website from outside sources.
The links need to be from high-quality sites — nothing spammy, or you might get penalized by Google. Local business directories are one option for links. Or, you can try to connect with relevant bloggers and see if you can write a guest post with a link back to your website.
Creating and maintaining your own blog is probably the most time-consuming item on this list, but it can be incredibly valuable.
Writing regular blog posts establishes you as an authority in the field of interior design. Each post is an opportunity to bring new visitors to your site.
Some things you could write about on an interior design blog include:
- Inspiration and ideas for different types of rooms
- DIY decorating tips
- Product recommendations
- Comparison posts, like quartz vs. granite countertops
- Examples of color schemes
- Absolutely anything you find interesting related to interior design
5. Take advantage of new opportunities
The pandemic has changed the way we live and work.
In some cases, that means new opportunities that your interior design company can take advantage of.
A) Demand for home offices
As many workers discovered in 2020, hunching over a laptop on the kitchen counter isn’t a viable option when you’re working from home every day. You need a dedicated, comfortable workspace — and it doesn’t hurt if it’s aesthetically pleasing, too.
Most Americans would like to continue to work from home at least part of the time. 35% would prefer a home-office hybrid, while 40% want to work from home full-time. And a lot of companies are going to allow or even encourage it.
That means a lot of former office workers are going to need a new home office design. If you’re willing to take on that sort of work, advertise it — you’re sure to find eager clients.
B) Changes in the workplace
The increase in remote employees is also affecting workplaces.
For example, many companies will be downsizing their offices since they don’t need the capacity. However, the same businesses might invest in a state-of-the-art video conference center to interface with the remote team.
There’ll also be more shared spaces in some offices as hybrid workers rotate between home and the office.
C) Redesigns at home
After spending so much time at home, many homeowners have had enough of their old style. Designing remodels will be especially lucrative for a while.
A few new trends have come about because of COVID-19. Clients are more concerned about hygienic surfaces. A year of removing masks or contaminated clothes upon arriving home has contributed to a rise in mudrooms on houses.
There are clients out there right now looking for interior designers for these types of projects. When you market your business, let people know that you can take them on.
6. Redesign with existing products
A serious obstacle for designers right now is the way that COVID-19 disrupted the supply chain. Furniture and other items are scarce.
The American Society of Interior Designers has been surveying industry professionals throughout the pandemic. In the early months, respondents’ biggest concerns were business development, client engagement, and business operations.
But these days, product availability has taken over as the biggest worry of interior design businesses, with 62% of designers listing it as a major concern. 50% have a project that’s delayed or on hold.
While we wait for production to get back to normal, it’s a good time to take on projects that won’t be disrupted by supply chain problems. Look for work that involves redesigning a space by repurposing existing objects.
Read also – Best Pricing Strategies for Interior Designers
7. Expand to online clients
During the pandemic, we all got used to doing a lot of things online. Consequently, more clients than ever will be open to e-design.
E-design is interior design that takes place completely online. Your client will share information about the space, its dimensions, and what they’re looking for. You’ll create a design that the client can implement.
All communication happens through email, video calls, shared photos, or other virtual methods.
If you haven’t moved into e-design yet, you should consider it now. Virtual design is a great opportunity for an interior designer — it has high-profit margins and will be a growing field in the future as the interior design industry changes.
The right tools make e-design easy.
Interior design software lets you upload a floor plan of your client’s space or draw it precisely. Even though you haven’t visited the location, you’ll be able to move furniture and decor around until it looks just right.
When you’ve finished your design, you can create beautiful, photorealistic 3D renders or even virtual tours to show your client what the finished product will look like.
Being a small business owner is never easy, and COVID-19 has been particularly harsh on these businesses. But you can bounce back better than ever.
Opportunities are out there, and you can find them by networking and promoting your business. Don’t be afraid to adapt the way you work and the types of projects you look for in the post-COVID world.
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