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The Advertising Guide for Interior Design Businesses

The Advertising Guide for Interior Design Businesses

In our consumer-driven economy, we are constantly bombarded with advertising. Much of it we have grown accustomed to ignoring. Yet, businesses continue to spend billions of dollars each year on ads and find success doing so. So should advertising be part of your interior design business’s marketing strategy, too?

Why advertise?

For the most part, advertising is not about generating quick sales. It is more effective as a means to build brand awareness, encourage interest, and grow a potential customer base. While huge corporations advertise incessantly in order to keep themselves top-of-mind against their competitors, for some types of small businesses advertising works best when opening a new business, offering a new product or service, entering a new market, or reaching out to a niche target market. Advertising provides a way to introduce yourself to potential new customers through the media with which they are already familiar and whom they trust or have a relationship with.

Where to advertise?

Due to the high cost of television and radio ads (along with their inability to target specific audiences), interior designers had been limited for many years to marketing through print advertising, such as flyers, Yellow Pages listings, and newspaper and magazine ads. The digital revolution has changed all that. Today, designers have a range of relatively affordable options through which they can promote their businesses to prospective customers.

1. Print

Glossy print ads are eye-catching, but the reality is that for many small businesses print advertising generates too few leads. Much depends on where the business is located and what type of customer they are hoping to attract. Ads in specialized publications that cater to particular niche audiences are likely to get more notice than those in more general-interest publications. For example, an ad in a home or lifestyle magazine that caters to a wide readership can easily be overlooked, whereas an ad in a real estate publication with information about purchasing a vacation home has a better chance of reaching a potential client in your niche.

2. Google ads

Google is the world’s most widely-used search engine, making it an ideal environment in which to connect with consumers serendipitously. Google ads provide the opportunity to help raise your business’s website or blog to the top of its search results by including keywords that will best match a search inquiry. For example, you can tag your ad listing with “interior designer [your town]” or “residential designer [your town]” to separate your business from the many other design firms that are listed on Google.

Google charges on a “cost per click” basis for their advertising, which varies somewhat by type of business as well as by the level of competition of certain keywords. The average cost of a click will vary a lot, so it’s best to test out various keywords and compare them, rather than rely on an estimate alone. With some trial and error, you can see what keywords and what kind of budget is most effective for you. According to one study, small businesses in general earn an average of $3 in revenue for every $1.60 they spend on Google Ads. Google calculates the return is closer to $8 for every $1 spent.

3. Social media ads

Next to Google, the most widely used method of digital advertising is via social media platforms, particularly Facebook. On average, businesses pay around $1.72 per click for a Facebook ad, but costs can of course vary. If you know your target audience uses Facebook, placing an ad there can be worthwhile. If they are more likely to come across you on Instagram or Pinterest, consider purchasing an ad there instead. The amount of targeted data that these platforms possess for accurate and effective advertising is scary, but helps your business find its next customer.

As with any type of marketing, the return on investment depends greatly on how well you target your advertising, how well you message to your target audience, and how well you distinguish yourself from your competitors. Do your homework. Prepare a budget and a marketing plan. Try different strategies. Be patient and consistent. It takes time to build awareness and familiarity through advertising, and those who are in it for the long haul can be the most successful.

Contribute your experience to the survey and see your industry’s results this fall.

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