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How to Get Started Growing an Email List for Your Interior Design Business

digital marketing for interior designers email marketing generate leads for design business generating leads how to grow a design business interior design business marketing strategy marketing tips for designers Oct 06, 2023
How do I grow my email list to get more interior design clients | Best practices for email marketing

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LinkedIn has become an essential platform for professionals to connect, share insights, and grow their businesses. It is by far the best social media tool for professionals to meet other professionals. You can generate business through LinkedIn and should be taking advantage of all its many avenues.

However, your posts are one of many posts that are running through your connections feed. It is imperative that you invite your connections to your website with the intention of adding them to your email list.

What, you don’t have an email list? Are you kidding me? (Insert my shocked face here.)
For interior designers looking to make a mark in the industry, harnessing the power of email marketing can be a game-changer, especially if you want to grow your business beyond a solo practice.

In this article, we'll explore the incredible potential of email marketing for interior designers, share a compelling success story, and provide valuable insights for those new to the world of email marketing.


The Power of Building an Email List

Imagine this: You're a talented interior designer with a small but dedicated following on social media. One day, while browsing through a home decor store, you strike up a conversation with the owner, Sally. She's impressed with your ideas and asks for your contact information. Instead of just giving her your business card, you also ask for her email address. She hesitates but agrees.

Over the next few months, you diligently nurture this connection through email. You send her your latest design portfolio, share tips for home improvement, and even offer exclusive discounts on your services.

Sally begins to trust and value your expertise. One day, she contacts you for a major home renovation project. Once just a handful of contacts, your email list has become a source of valuable business opportunities.


Email Statistics Speak Volumes

Many small business owners assume that they can grow their companies through social media marketing and word of mouth alone. But, unfortunately, they are missing some important details that could impact them later on down the road.

When it comes to social media marketing, you do not own the social media followers you have. Therefore, if a change in the algorithm occurs (and it does so regularly), your reach could ultimately be affected.

On the other hand, interior design marketing through an email list is a completely different sort of growth. At the end of the day, you own the email addresses you have collected and can do with them whatever you want (within reason, of course!).

Did you know email marketing consistently outperforms social media regarding conversion rates? In a study by Monetate, email marketing had an average conversion rate of 4.24%, compared to just 0.59% for social media.

Email marketing has a much greater long-term value because you can continue putting your business in front of your prospective clients by popping up regularly in their inboxes.

According to the Data & Marketing Association (DMA), email marketing has an average ROI of 42:1. This means for every $1 spent on email marketing, businesses can expect an average return of $42. It's a cost-effective way to boost your interior design business.

Many designers are not taking full advantage of this tool, though. They fail to capture any information on their websites that would allow them to follow up with someone considering signing up for interior design services. Designers are making a big mistake by failing to capture email addresses at a minimum.

Even more interesting, personalized emails generate up to six times higher transaction rates. Tailoring your emails to your recipients' preferences and needs can significantly improve your chances of turning leads into clients.

Once you capture someone’s email list, you can essentially nurture them. This means you will send high-value emails consistently in an effort to move your prospects further along the sales funnel. You can do this on a much larger scale, reaching more people than one-off emails.

But how do you collect emails and build an email strategy that will move those prospects along a path to purchase your services?


8 Email Marketing Best Practices for Interior Designers

Asking someone for their name and email is a delicate situation. These days, our emails are so inundated with sales pitches and useless junk, that many of us have become weary of sharing our email address. Therefore, anything we sign up for has to be of high value.


Boost Your Email List with an Irresistible Offer

You will start by determining what you can offer that will have someone signing up without thinking twice. As I mentioned, it has to be a high-value item.

What do I mean by high value? It has to be educational, entertaining, or both. We typically call this a lead magnet. I have several articles on creating lead magnets on the Behind the Design Website.

You might want to consider a helpful checklist, a concise eBook, or any other valuable information such as the latest trends in interior design. Providing a compelling incentive will significantly increase your chances of gaining new subscribers.


Simplify Your Email Marketing Campaign with Easy-to-Use Forms

Setting up an effective email marketing campaign doesn't have to be a daunting task. In fact, it all starts with a simple form on your website.

If you don’t have an intricate website, don’t worry; you can start collecting emails and giving value easily with a simple landing page. Here is an example from the Behind the Design Website. 

In this form, we are clearly explaining exactly what they will get if they provide their name and email address. Your landing page should do the same by clearly stating what the visitor will get in return for filling out the form. Be sure to deliver what you promise. Once the form is completed, the visitor should be automatically taken to a thank you page. On the thank you page, direct your new contact to check their email – even their junk box. You will be sending the lead magnet via email rather than delivering it through the thank you page.

Pro-Tip: By delivering a lead magnet via email rather than a landing page, your recipient is telling their email service that you are okay and to let your emails through the junk mail protocols.

Develop a quick and hassle-free form that will only take a few minutes for your website visitors to complete. By keeping it short and sweet, you increase the chances of potential clients filling it out in its entirety.

Capture essential information such as the person's name and email address. You may want to ask for their city and state if you serve a specific geographic location. This will help you narrow down your email list to potential clients versus someone just looking to view your materials. Because if they are outside of your geographic area, you probably won’t be able to serve them.


Asking for Permission is a Good Business Practice

Although someone has willingly given you their email address, sending an additional email asking them to subscribe to your email list is best practice. Not every business does this, but it eliminates those who just want a freebie. Many email platforms will do this for you, and it is called a double opt-in, which means your prospect will request to join the email list. You are not legally required to do this per the CAN-SPAM laws.

You should never automatically add someone to your email list unless they have specifically given you permission. I notice this happens a lot from different vendors. They will get my email address either through LinkedIn or my website and automatically add me to their email list. This is a big no-no, as this is illegal per the CAN-SPAM laws.


Compelling Content Keeps Them Coming Back for More

You have captured their email; now, what do you do? It is time to start creating compelling content.
Your emails should provide value to your subscribers. Share design tips, before-and-after photos of your projects, and exclusive offers. Consistently deliver content that resonates with your audience.

The key is consistency. Even if you only have time to send an email out once a month, that is better than nothing. With that said, I recommend at least once a week.

Pro-Tip: As I mentioned, it is important to be consistent. Establish a regular email schedule so your subscribers know when to expect your messages. Experiment with different days and times to determine when your audience is most receptive to your emails.


Eliminating Unsubscribes By Delivering Great Content

You may or may not have noticed that in every promotional email sent from any brand, an unsubscribe button is included at the bottom of the email. This is another requirement of the CAN-SPAM laws. Your recipient must have the option to unsubscribe in every email. This little requirement is automatically in your email footer when you use any email platform such as Constant Contact, Mailchimp, Flo Desk, and so forth.

Interestingly, there are three main reasons people unsubscribe to emails.

The first is frequency. According to Hubspot, the most common unsubscribe reason is too many emails. Over half of those surveyed said they unsubscribed when it was too many. What is too many? Well, it depends on your subscribers and content value.

Large brands send out multiple emails a week or daily, and that drives me nuts. I often find myself unsubscribing from my favorite brands because they send me too many emails. It is a shame because I want to hear from them. I don’t want to hear from them every day.

I only recommend once a week unless you send a special announcement or series of reminder emails after someone has signed up for an event.

The second reason someone will unsubscribe is low-value content. Content quality is crucial to keep your subscribers opening and acting on your emails.

If you are not delivering high-quality content, email subscribers will leave you. To ensure you are giving high-quality content, keep in mind the 80/20 rule, which means 80% of your content should be educational or entertaining. In contrast, the other 20% should be sales or promotional. This seems to be the sweet spot for emails.

The third reason someone will unsubscribe is you not meeting their expectations. This can include many issues, such as being spammy, errors in content, or just not delivering what you promised.


Segmentation Helps Deliver the Right Content to Your Subscribers

Divide your email list into segments based on factors like location, preferences, or past interactions. This allows you to send your subscribers more targeted and relevant content, increasing engagement and conversions.

If you are just getting started, segmentation will probably not be a priority; however, if you tag your email subscribers by interest, you can then segment them, providing more personalized content.

For instance, if your lead magnet is a kitchen remodel checklist, you can safely make the assumption that the subscriber is interested in kitchen design. Most email software platforms will allow you to tag or segment your list by the different channels or offers. (Channels meaning how they came to your form.)

Pro-Tip: Email platforms will allow you to personalize an email with the subscriber’s name automatically. Remember when you collected their name on the form? That information can be used to auto-populate their email. In most platforms, you can easily select the option and it looks something like this: {{ first_name }}. You can add that anywhere within your subject line or message.


Don’t Forget a Call-to-Action

Make sure to include a clear call to action at the end of your email. Whether it's signing up for a service, booking a consultation, or attending a free webinar, tell your readers exactly what you want them to do. By understanding your audience and emphasizing your unique selling point, you can create a strong call to action that motivates customers to take action.

A clear and effective call to action (CTA) is crucial in any email marketing campaign. It is the driving force that compels readers to take action and move towards becoming a customer or client.


Tracking Your Metrics Helps Maximize Your Efforts

It is important to track your metrics to see how your emails are performing. You can make assumptions from your metrics that will help you provide better-quality emails in the future.

Metrics to Track:

  • Open Rate: Percentage of recipients who opened your email.
  • Click-through Rate: Percentage of recipients who click on one or more links.
  • Conversion Rate: Percentage of people who click a link in your email and complete the desired action, i.e. fill out a form.
  • Bounce Rate: Percentage of your total list that was undeliverable.
  • List Growth Rate: Percentage your list is growing.
  • Email Sharing/Forwarding Rate: The percentage of people who clicked the “Share this” button to post to social platforms.
  • Overall ROI: return on investment (total revenue generated divided by total spend)
  • Unsubscribe rate: Percentage of people who unsubscribe to your list after an email is received.

These metrics can be tricky and don’t always tell the entire story. For instance, if you have a high open-rate but a low click-through rate, then you may not be enticing your audience with the right offer. However, if you dig deeper, and even though the click-through rate is low, those who do click through buy, you may not have a problem at all. Rather, the content is clearly getting those who are in the buying mindset primed to purchase.

In conclusion, email marketing is a powerful tool that can transform your small interior design business into a thriving venture.

The story of turning a casual encounter with a store owner into a valuable client relationship demonstrates the potential of building an email list.

With the right strategies and best practices, you can leverage email marketing to connect with your audience, showcase your expertise, and, ultimately, drive growth in your interior design business. So, start building that email list and watch your business flourish in the digital age of interior design.


Join the Behind the Design Community

I wouldn’t be a very good marketer if I didn’t ask you to join our email, i.e. the call to action. If you find this helpful, be sure to join the Behind the Design community, where we are helping interior designers build stronger careers and businesses. My promise is to only email you once per week unless I have the best news ever, then maybe a second one here or there.



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