With help from the experts at MBASkool.com, we would like to share tips on the brand building process; the how-to steps you can take to better define your brand.
The oft-spoken phrase, “Variety is the spice of life” can mean many things, based on context and one’s openness to diversity. In a service business like yours, it may refer to the range of services you offer, but it may also describe the types and dissimilarities of clients you serve. In that case, variety may be problematic. When considering how diverse clients can be, helping you figure out when to say “Yes” and when to say “No”, may be one of our most important interior designer marketing tips.First, it’s true that there are times when the best thing you can do is refuse to work with a prospective client, regardless of the size or appeal of the job they have. Stated simply, some projects just aren’t worth the hassle.Taking the lead from an article at Houzz.com, the reasons for occasionally saying no to a client are pretty clear:“Not all clients who come your way are a good fit. Maybe they don’t have the budget to get the job done properly. Perhaps they don’t have a clear vision for what they want and keep changing their minds. Or maybe they’re looking for services you can’t provide.”While these are not the only reasons you may want to decline a design job, they are the most common. So, when you feel hesitant about accepting the work they need done, even if you're not 100% sure why, choosing to decline the project – politely – is the best way to avoid regrets in the future.For nearly anyone in a service business, the following experience is likely familiar: The more your client hears you say “Yes” to something, the more demanding they become. In the design business, this can quickly blow up a budget and make it impossible to finish the project on time.And yet, refusing a job can seem impossible because:
- You fear losing a current or potential client
- You fear getting a bad reputation
- You fear hurting their feelings
And yet, over-committing to difficult clients can just as easily cost you work, ruing your rep, and upset the person whose project you struggled to finish on time and on budget!How to Say “No” to a ClientWhen you decide that a design project is not right for you, letting the client know requires tact and a clear explanation if you want to protect your reputation. Explain your reasons calmly and rationally and let them know it’s not “personal”, even if it may be (for example, you think there may be a personality conflict).Whatever the reason may be, if you believe a particular design project (or client) isn’t a great match in the moment, it doesn’t mean they can’t be a valuable resource for your business. By letting them down easy, and if you avoid bruising their ego, they may be willing to work with you again in the future, or possibly offer referrals.Here are a few tactics you can use to gently say “No” to a client:
- Explain that your menu of services does not include exactly what they’re looking for.
- Introduce them to a designer or contractor who can accommodate their needs more easily than you can.
- Let them know that, because your schedule is already full, you simply do not have the time to handle such an important project the way you want to.
While it may seem counter-intuitive to refuse to work with someone who wants to pay you, as a smart business owner you must also protect your own interests. Even though you want your clients and prospects to like you, to have them give you referrals, and to have them believe you can “do it all”, there will be times when the best choice to make is to say, “No thank you”.NOTE: In common use, the common use of the introductory phrase is incomplete. It’s a paraphrasing of the line that comes from William Cowper's poem, “The Task” (1785), which actually reads, “Variety is the very spice of life, That gives it all its flavor.”Looking for more interior designer marketing tips, design trends, and product ideas? Get in touch with TD Fall today.
When an entrepreneur or business owner searches the internet for help with online marketing, one of the first things the “experts” mention is building your brand. Of course, this presupposes that everyone understands what that means. It occurs to us that we too may have taken this for granted when we post interior design marketing tips so, let’s clear up a few things about brand building for your design business.MBASkool.com, is a “one-stop management knowledge portal and a B-School community for all MBA students, professionals and MBA institutes”.According to the Marketing Dictionary they offer, “Brand Building is generating awareness, establishing and promoting company using strategies and tactics. In other words brand building is enhancing brand equity using advertising campaigns and promotional strategies. Branding is crucial aspect of company because it is the visual voice of the company. Goal of brand building is creating a unique image about the company.”To put it more simply, brand building involves creating a unique identity for your design business; finding ways to separate yourself from your competition by displaying extraordinary talent, creativity, and knowledge as an interior designer.“Oooh Kaaay”, you may think. “But, just how do I do that?”5 Brand Building Tips for Interior DesignersBrand building can be initiated with a well thought brand identity which can help create a strong brand image which goes a long way in consolidating the brand.Here we offer 5 brand building tips to help:
- Target a local audience – The first thing to remember is that, to a very large extent, your design business is extremely localized. Relatively few designers are able to appeal to, and reach, a national audience. Your clients and prospects will live and work near you and, should you happen to gain a broader reputation, that is a huge plus. However, for now, keep your focus on building your brand as a local designer.
- Narrow market focus – It’s virtually impossible to be all things to all people. Needs and tastes vary greatly, from homeowner to homeowner and from business owner to business owner. Building brand awareness among your target audience requires that you fit yourself into a niche that others are not filling, or that you believe you are better at filling. Stick with what you’re best at doing, do what you enjoy doing, and the rest will follow.
- Use images – Whether you carry a portfolio or use a website to promote your design business, high quality pictures of the work you’ve done has real power as a brand building tool. While smart phone cameras have improved dramatically in recent years, you should carry a good digital camera at all times. Remember – you can never have enough images of your design work!
- Website copywriting – Clarity and consistency are the keys to creating a message that speaks to the hearts of your target audience. They are also critical to enabling you to overcome the challenge of creating an identity that connects with them on a personal level. Finding ways to overcome the detachment and skepticism of your audience, and prospective clients, may be the greatest challenge faced by designers who choose to market themselves online.
When you create your website copy, or perhaps have it done for you, focus on an approach that personalizes online interactions, allowing you to speak directly to the needs of your audience and prospects, in ways that clearly outline the benefits of working with you.
- Testimonials and reviews – Back in the day, relying on word of mouth recommendations from satisfied clients was a realistic way to find new business. Today though, as more and more business is done online, you will need to add a Testimonials Page to your website. The key to success here is to ask your clients for a review of your work… And update the page regularly with fresh testimonials.
Creating a unique identity for yourself and your design business can be difficult. The competition in most markets is fairly stiff but, if you can focus you marketing efforts in two areas, you should have success. These two areas are: 1) what matters you as a designer, and 2) what matters to your design clients.When those two things mesh, you have found brand building gold!Looking for more new interior design trends, designer marketing tips, and ideas? Get in touch with TD Fall today.