You CAN (and SHOULD) Judge a Book by its Cover!
Unfortunately or fortunately… I’m here to tell you that you CAN judge a book by its cover (despite what our mother’s told us)!
Your website is the hub of your entire online presence and a vital
representation of your company. It doesn’t matter if you are a brick and
mortar or home based business. It used to be that you could tell if you
wanted to do business with a company by checking their location, how
clean it was, what it looked like, if the people were friendly, do they
provide a great service, are their prices fair, etc. Nowadays, your
prospects look to get those questions answered by checking your website
first. So, yes, despite what our mothers said, people today do judge you
by your covers. But I’m here to tell you, that it’s not a bad thing. It
can be an excellent way to ‘get a leg up’ on the competition. This is
where a good design comes in.
Let’s take a minute to imagine that you had a brick and mortar store, in
the mall. Would you allow your salespeople to be dressed in shabby,
casual or super outdated clothes when they are dealing with your
customers? By making your staff dress professionally, you are telling
your customers that you care about quality, appearances,
professionalism, your credibility and much more. This simply shows that
yes, first impressions matter.
Similarly, the same is true with your website. If your website is put
together shabbily and looks like a 5 minute “quick fix”, you are
literally shouting to your visitors that you are not professional and
you do not care for quality.
Conversely, if you have a polished, well thought out, professional
website, you are giving your visitors the perception that you have given
meticulous attention to every detail and you care about your business
and the impression you make on your potential customers. You are
organized, focused, you really mean business and you will take excellent
care of them!
As a matter of fact… absolutely everything and anything related to your
company… needs to be well designed. From business cards to letterhead to
promotional brochures, every little bit matters. This is because as you
get out there and grow your business, these items become “the face” of
your business. Once again, think of the “salesperson dressed shabbily”
and you’ll get my point. Think of your website and business card as
miniature salespeople sitting on the desk of your prospect… subtly
selling and reminding them of you. Is your salesman dressed shabbily?
Got Bloggers Block?
If there’s such a thing as writer’s block… there’s GOT to be what’s called ‘blogger’s block’ too! Unfortunately, you may already know the feeling… intimately.
Do you ever have times when you just can’t write a single word?!
Either everything is all jumbled up inside your head or you’re drawing a
big fat blank. So, what do you do? I’ve written down a few strategies
I’ve used to help me get past “blogger’s block”.
1. Visit other blogs. Go poke around on some other
interior design blogs and read what they’ve written. Take a look at
blogs that inspired you in the past. And, here’s a really fun one… go
visit your least favorite interior design blogs. Why? Well, think about
it… by doing that you’ll come away with a ton of really great ideas on
what NOT to do. You can write all about those do’s and don’ts in your
blog! Pretty nifty huh?
2. Take a look at the comments on your interior design blog.
This is one of the best ways to find a topic to write about. You might
notice topics, ideas, or perspectives that you set aside for a later
date. Or, answer an email or respond to a comment someone posted there.
3. Comment on other blogs. Make use of your own blog
to comment on someone else’s blog. You do this by referencing the other
blog and expanding on an idea that they started. You can write a
different take or perspective on the same topic. Use trackback comments
if the site allows it.
4. Check out the news. Even though your interior
design blog is more than likely, NOT going to be related to the news,
current events or politics, there’s nothing wrong with checking out
what’s happening in the world lately. You might find out that Paris
Hilton has some new digs and is looking for design advice online (or
something silly like that, since she is sooo silly). Or you might find a celebrity’s house in Architectural Digest that you can write about.
5. Writing software and templates. Did you know you
can go online and search for creative or journal writing software? It’s
specifically there to help you with your writing. Oftentimes, they have
suggestions or topic ideas that can help you get started. Templates are
perfect for this and fun to use too. Just Google ‘free article writing
templates’ or ‘article writing software’ and you’ll find all kinds of
6. Walk away and forget about it for a bit. This
might be one of those times when your mind and body is in need of a
break. Get outside. Go to the beach or go shopping. Change your
environment. Get up and move around… anything that will take your mind
off your interior design blog will help. When you get back in front of
your computer again, you’ll feel so much better, refreshed and renewed,
and ready to start blogging.
There are so many other ways to get rid of blogger’s block you’re
bound to come across something that will click in your brain. Soon the
inspiration will start flowing down to your fast little fingers and up
onto the page in no time at all.
Don’t have a blog yet? Egads! Really? Go get my ebook “Boost Business with an Interior Design Blog” and
let’s get your blog set up! It’s sooo simple to do with my step-by-step
instructions. (I also put in lots of pictures. Yaay! I love it when
they do that.) So easy.
Or… you’ve got an interior design blog, but haven’t written or posted to it in awhile? You, my friend, need to check out my “Pre-Written Interior Design Articles”!
They’re perfect to use in your ezine, blog, etc. Put your name on them
as the author and get rid of that Blogger’s Block forever! Easy peasy.
How do YOU get over your “Blogger’s Block’? I’d love to know. Post a comment below…
Are you looking to increase your sales in the New Year? That’s a given.
But you may not want to spend more marketing dollars than necessary to
do that. Oftentimes I hear of designers that start new marketing
strategies because they aren’t making enough with the strategies they’ve
tried. However, that may not be necessary…
Let’s look at some ways you can boost your sales without increasing your marketing expenses.
• Upsells/Cross-Sells – Using upsells and cross-sells
in your interior design business can bring in alot more income. When
someone buys something, offer a related product or even more bells and
whistles to the one they are purchasing. For example offer contrasting
banding or trim on draperies. Ask if they’d like to use goose down in
their pillows instead of polyester. Many times your clients will take
you up on your upsell offer, and you’ve just increased the amount of
Joint Ventures – Find some joint venture partners
that will promote your product to their subscribers for either a share
in the revenue earned, or for a reciprocal promotion of their product to
your email list. Examples might be flooring contractors, kitchen
designers, window treatment specialists, etc.
• Start an Affiliate Program – Recruit your own
sales force in the form of affiliates. Set up an affiliate program where
people who sign up will receive commissions on any sales of your
products they promote. You definitely have the potential to make a huge
increase in sales when you’re not doing all the work alone.
• Keep in Contact with Previous Customers – People
who are already customers are much more likely to buy from you again.
Keep in touch and let them know when your favorite manufacturers come
out with new products that relate to their previous purchases. A great
way to do this is with an ezine newsletter filled with photos!
If you notice, none of the above strategies cost you any additional
money, except for maybe the basic cost of setting up an affiliate
program. If you’d like help with setting one up or getting your ezine
newsletter going, contact us at Barbara@HighDollarDesigner.com.
FREE Goal Setting Toolkit!
So how was your Christmas? Did you enjoy the holiday season?
Certain seasons and times of year really inspire us to do ‘specific’ things
don’t they? For instance, right now in January, it’s all about goal
setting and getting organized. You might think it ‘just comes to you
naturally’, but did you know that we’ve been ‘programmed’ to think that
For instance when you go into the stores right now, all the storage and organization products are out in abundance, front and center. You’ve no doubt heard more than one person talk about New Year’s resolutions.
They talk about it on TV. You probably have your own goals list, and
you probably have a plan to revisit your business and marketing goals
for next year. It’s very pervasive and very strong!
(I do talk more about this in much more detail in my ‘Seasonal Marketing’ ebook. Believe me, your eyes will be opened and you’ll start to notice it all around you, all year long! But I digress..)
If you believe in setting goals, like I do… you actually enjoy sitting down and thinking about the year ahead. There have been years however, where I bought into the “I’m not setting resolutions this year, I never meet them anyway”
(no wonder huh with an attitude like that!?) And that’s fine. I had to
go through that to realize the value of goal setting. And thank goodness
I’m back on track and setting a few goals for the upcoming year. Don’t
you find that you’re much more focused and get much more done when you
set goals? Me too!
Setting daily and weekly goals is one sure fire way to get
motivated and actually achieve more in a month than others do in an
entire year. I can bet it’s also on your mind as you head into 2013.
Doing something small every day that moves you towards your goal is far easier to stick with and achieve.
I’ve made goal setting fun and easy. I have a fun and colorful “Goal Setting Toolkit” that I use. It’s small and simple.
And, I’d like to give you FREE access to the template. You can Download my Goal Setting Toolkit printable here and save it to your computer.
Print it out on cardstock or thick scrapbook paper. Take about 20
minutes to fill out the cards and place them on your desk in a cute
little stand, for easy reference through out your day!
In the next few weeks, I’ll be hosting a workshop about how to market your business online in an easy, step by step manner… which will definitely tie in with setting your goals for the New Year!
Here’s my philosophy when it comes to blogging – I teach how to use your blog as a selling tool that helps you pre-qualify and pre-sell your services, so you get that next job much more easily. A blog is a great way for your prospects to ‘get to know you’ in a non-threatening way.
Your website (and your blog) reveal a lot about you. More than you probably know.
Your personality – expressed in the colors you use, the type of work
you do, if you have a specialty or a style. If you have video on your
site they’ll even get to see your mannerisms, how you talk, if you’re
pleasant or funny or personable or uber professional. Different clients
want different things.
With that being said, if
you yourself are not writing and providing the content for your own
blog, I’m guessing it would have to be pretty ‘generic’ so as to work
with ‘any’ designer. And it certainly would not reflect who YOU are and what you provide for your clients.
I think that Sherpa does a fabulous job at helping interior designers
get their name out there and improve their rankings in the search
engines. That is important.
However my blogging philosophy is in providing a more ‘personal touch’…
when it comes to working with me, my business, what I recommend, etc.
My readers get to know me first and foremost through my blog, my ezine
and through my videos. If they like what they read and it resonates with them, they get in touch. The same will work for you and your business.
I’ve listed below a few other ways people use their blog for business -
1. SEO – When you blog for SEO purposes, consistent
blogging helps you to ‘gain ground’ and boost your ranking in search
engines. Google just loves WordPress blogs. The more you provide new
content on your blog = the more Google likes you = and they reward you
by moving you up in the search engines.
2. Personality – When you blog as a way to reveal your personality and what you do for your clients, your readers get to know you. Ideally, the content
you put on your blog is more about you, your business, your ‘take’ on
things, your personality, what you recommend, what you don’t like, what
happened to you the other day on a project, etc. You see how ‘personal’ that is? When people go on your website to review your services, they want to get to know you, to see what it’s like working with you, how you handled a dilemma, etc.
Musing: So I’m sitting here, opening my mail. And I’m surprised at
how much mail I’m getting again these days. Used to be that I got hardly
any mail… now I’m seeing the trend of going back to snail mail and not
as much email. Hmmm…
Proves my point about postcards being a super effective way to get in
front of your customers eyeballs. I read the colorful, easy to read
items (postcards) first and foremost… and then move on to the letters…
Postcards are STILL a fabulous way to get your name and services in front of your clients.
Now that the holidays are in full swing, like you, I’ve been out
shopping, running errands and doing a lot more this time of year. It’s
been fun. Over the weekend, I noticed that Christmas really seems to be
‘in the air’.. everyone bustling about, spending, buying, being out and
But you know what I’ve really noticed? My spending and how EASY it is
to ‘buy’ things right now. It’s as if my own inner ‘resistance filters’
have been shut off. And although I’ve noticed ‘buying seasons’ before,
I’m REALLY noticing it this year. Why? Well, you know I have an ebook on
‘Seasonal Marketing’ right? I have to tell you, OMGoodness… it REALLY
I’ve bought things -
a) I don’t need
b) always wanted
c) never knew I wanted
d) never wanted before
What about you? Have you bought items you wouldn’t normally buy? I’m
guessing the answer to that question is yes! Next time you are out and
about… take some time to notice your own buying habits, especially right
now, as we are in the ‘thick of things’ during the Christmas season.
Think about how easy it is to part with your money. AND the expectation that you’ll part with your money.
Then start thinking about how you too can use the same smart
marketing strategies being used on you (that are working!) and turn them
around and use them for your own business! Very smart!
PS: I just purchased a large expense item that I’ve been eyeing and
drooling over for quite some time. It wasn’t on sale. There were no
specials or promotions. But I saw it and right then and there, I made
the decision to go ahead and buy it. It’s definitely a luxury item for
me! Talk about ‘Seasonal Marketing’ in action! It’s hard to resist! (So
why not use the same strategy for your own
benefit? Irresistible marketing!)
Nothing is more fun and festive than a contest. And, what a great way to help your site visitors and customers take action!
Think about it… everyone likes the idea of winning something. But how
in the world, as an interior designer, could you pull that off? Would
you have to give something big away to each and every person? Read below
for ideas on hosting an action-packed seasonal marketing contest.
1. The absolute best way to insure that your site
visitors take action and take part in the contest is to carefully plan
them so that everyone wins something. For example, all participants get a
percentage off, or all participants get a free report or informational
product, but the big winner gets the ‘big’ prize.
By giving every participant a ‘prize’, you’ll increase the amount of
people who participate because they feel like they are getting something
just for playing the game. At the same time you’ll want to focus the
contest itself on a specific product or service.
For example… You could have an ‘ugliest chair’ contest, or ‘worst
bedroom’ or ‘most inspiring remodel’, ‘quirkiest accessory’, etc. The
idea is to get your participants to take a photo and send it to you.
Then you can select the worst (or best) one. You can then offer free
tips on each photo.
2. Use all the social media you have at your
fingertips, to help with the contest. You can specifically have a
twitter contest by creating a hashtag that the contest participants must
use so that you can track the participants. Ask your followers to
re-tweet various contest announcements. This in turn will create a buzz
about your contest and therefore the seasonal product you’re promoting.
3. Your prizes should be either your own products
and services, or you can include a related prize depending upon your
niche. For example, if your niche happens to be custom kitchens or
cabinetry, a set of beautiful 3d drawings worth thousands of dollars
would be something that could generate a lot of buzz (not to mention
getting your foot in the door with a serious potential client).
One strategy is to offer a ‘hot’ or popular prize such as a new iPad.
However, be careful with this type of prize. You’re likely to get a lot
of participants who are merely hoping to win the iPad. On the other
hand, what I recommend is for your prize to be in harmony with your
target market so that anyone who participates in your contest becomes a
repeat buyer of your other products and services, not a onetime thing
just to win the prize.
You have so many fun creative opportunities for hosting a seasonal
contest for your interior design business. If you decide to try this
fun, marketing technique you just might be surprised at the benefits you
reap! Seasonal Marketing Contests get attention, they’re successful and
For more information on Seasonal Sales and Marketing and fun marketing tips, get our FREE Report… ’7 Benefits of Seasonal Marketing for Interior Designers’.
Promote your interior design business’ through all four seasons and
discover how to take part in the frenzy of holiday spending!
Communicating with clients is an art in and of itself, in my book. Demonstrating
genuine empathy and listening for their true wants and needs is a vital
skill for any interior designer and for building a solid relationship
with clients. And how to do that? I’ve listed a just a few of the ways you can strengthen your client relationships below -
1. Show appreciation – Everyone
likes to be appreciated. Showing appreciation to your clients creates a
bond like super glue, when they feel that you really care about their
feelings as well as their needs. You can let them know you appreciate
them through your words and actions. Hearing it from you over and over
again is important and helps them believe it. Another way to show your
appreciation is by offering a customer appreciation promotion. They’ll love having exclusive offers and will feel special.
2. Show concern - When clients feel that you aren’t too concerned about their problems or issues, they’ll look for someone else who is.
Be careful not to minimize any issue a client presents. Show concern for each situation and you’ll build a good, solid relationship with them. Continue to keep your sole focus on meeting their needs and gaining their they’re satisfied.
3. Show humility – Businesses make mistakes. Interior designers make mistakes. When that happens, admit to it, fix it and compensate your customers for their inconvenience.
Clients respond warmly to humbleness and are repulsed by those who
refuse to budge or admit any wrong. At times, the clients are in error.
While this may be the case, you may have to humbly apologize for their
inconvenience and then direct them to the page (or place in your
contract) where you state your policy or where specific details are
shown regarding your products or services. Again, keeping a humble
spirit and not a haughty spirit can help your customers respond better
while dealing with such situations that arise.
4. Show respect - Avoid
thinking about your customers as just a “group” of people. Don’t let
dollar signs be your focus by viewing your customers only as people who
spend money with you. Keep a humble attitude toward your customers by realizing that your interior design business thrives because of them.
Use their name frequently when you communicate. Care genuinely about
your customers’ feelings and be courteous to them in all your business
By displaying real human emotions of
concern and humility and by showing appreciation, and respect you’ll
build a good, solid relationship with your customers. When you build a solid relationship, you’ll also build a solid foundation for the success of your interior design business.
That is where a USP comes in.
A USP refers to a unique selling point and every business needs one! Otherwise,
you will be lost in the crowd of similar businesses. Think about what
your business offers that others don’t. That will be your USP.
If you’re stuck on what your unique selling point can be, consider the following:
• Excellent Customer Service – There may be many
interior design businesses offering what you do, but what is their
customer service like? You can stand out by offering service that goes
above and beyond the normal expectations.
• Do you offer a product that your competitors do not?
Or do you offer a product in a version that others don’t? For example,
if you are selling an ebook on Internet marketing, can you offer it as a
video course instead? Or a home study course that is delivered right
to someone’s door? Be creative here and check out what your competition
is offering; offer yours in a different format.
• Do you offer coaching/consulting along with your products?
Those are just a few examples to help you get thinking. Let’s go through a short process to help you create your USP.
Know Your Market
What is it that your market needs or wants? Do they need their
merchandise fast? Are they a busy bunch who needs their product on
audio so they can listen to it in the car? Get to know them and find out their needs. Then offer it to them and make it your unique selling point.
Study your competition. Know what they have and how they offer
it. Find a hole in what they have – something that is lacking and then
offer it to your market. You will already be way ahead of the game
because a lot of folks just start into business without ever checking
out their competition.
A USP is no good if you don’t follow through on what you have said. Make sure you deliver what you stated you would. Don’t say you can get their product there in one day if you can’t.
Create your USP, make it known and deliver on it!
Staying in touch with your clients to build relationships is
absolutely vital today. Do you send out a monthly or weekly email
newsletter? If not, you should be! Email newsletters can go a long way
to keeping in front of clients on a regular basis. Do you need help
coming up with great content and articles? Check out our Ezine Article
Packages for Interior Designers and start getting more clients knocking
on your door!