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10 Marketing Mistakes Designers Make and How to Prevent Them

digital marketing for interior designers how to find interior design clients how to get interior design clients how to grow an interior design career marketing strategies for interior designers Mar 15, 2024
10 Marketing Mistakes Designers Make and How to Prevent Them

As a designer, you know how to transform a space — you can take a nondescript room and make it something memorable. Maybe you even show off those skills on your website and social media accounts. But despite all that, you’re still not drawing in new clients!

Marketing for interior designers isn’t as straightforward as it sounds. If you’re having trouble building up your client base, you might be making one of these common interior designer marketing mistakes.

1. Not Narrowing Your Target Market

In the design field, it’s impossible to cater to every single kind of customer. If you try to, your would-be clients might see you as a jack of all trades and a master of none.

For example, if a local business is looking to transform its interior, would the owner choose a designer who works with residential and corporate spaces (as well as any design style)? Or would they choose someone who specializes in business interiors with the same general aesthetic they’re going for?

Most people would go with a specialist. If you take the time to understand your core audience, focus on them, and build your brand accordingly, you’re more likely to find success.

2. Writing Copy That Doesn’t Connect With Your Audience

When you’re trying to promote a design business, you probably don’t think of focusing on written copy. However, in a world where most clients find and select services entirely online, the copy on your website, blog, and social media accounts is what gives readers a sense of your brand personality.

Part of that brand personality is writing in an audience-appropriate tone. However, another part of it is focusing on what’s meaningful to your audience. If potential clients see that you’re aware of their pain points, they’re more likely to choose you.

For example, imagine you’re someone who would like to hire an interior designer but has a very limited budget. If you find a designer whose blog focuses on decorating rooms without spending much, you’d probably be more inclined to hire them than someone who focuses on upscale/luxury design.

3. Not Inviting Prospects Into Your World

If you’re wondering how to get interior design clients, take a look at your website and social media pages. Are they focused purely on your work?

If so, it may be time to diversify a little. If you can get people to connect with you, they’re more likely to connect with your brand. Both personal and professional stories make a difference!

Don’t feel limited to sharing only your own story. With their permission, you could even profile clients or fellow designers. Including video, audio, and other formats alongside text and photos will create an immersive, engaging experience for your audience of present (and hopefully future) clients.

4. Not Including Clear Calls to Action

If you’re asking yourself, “How to promote my interior design business?” even after you’ve begun marketing efforts, you might want to look at your calls to action. A call to action is a clear statement directing your audience toward their next steps.

For example, lots of people discover businesses through their blogs. The potential customer reads the blog post and sees a clickable link at the bottom that says, “Contact us to set up an appointment” or something similar. They don’t have to go digging for your contact information.

If you don’t have clear calls to action, your prospects may not be sure how to contact you. It’s easy to get distracted online, so they’re more likely to click away than to page through your website looking for a “contact” page.

5. Not Updating Your Website

The content on your website is important. But lots of designers get so caught up in keeping their content fresh that they forget to keep their site looking current.

Having an aesthetically pleasing website is important in any industry, but it’s especially crucial for designers. After all, if a potential client sees that your website is far from beautiful, they won’t think you can design a beautiful interior!

6. Not Creating an Email List

You know that social media marketing is an absolute must. But what about email marketing? A solid email marketing strategy can be an effective way to lure in more customers. But before you can even think about an email marketing strategy, you need to have an email list.

How do you build a substantial email list? Most people aren’t going to give you their email with nothing in return (unless they’re seriously interested in hiring you). The best way to get prospects to give you their email addresses is with what’s called a lead magnet.

A lead magnet is a kind of asset that offers some value to your customer. To get the asset, they need to give you their email. You’ve likely seen lead magnets before. Here are a few examples:

  • Ebooks
  • Checklists/lists of tips
  • Free trials
  • Free consultations


Once you have your lead magnet, don’t forget to promote it on your social media channels!

7. Neglecting to Network and Build Community

Going into business for yourself can start to feel isolating. Networking is great for professional development, but it can also help you bring in new customers. It’s especially valuable when you network with people whose careers are adjacent to interior design.

For example, having an architect in your professional network can be helpful. If that architect designs a space, the owner is going to want to perfect the interior once it’s built. The architect could then recommend your services.

Of course, this kind of relationship works both ways. If you recommend your business contacts when the occasion arises, they’ll likely return the favor!

8. Not Sharing Design Insights

A magician never reveals their secrets. But as an interior designer, you’ll probably find that revealing your secrets (or at least some of them) actually helps build up your business. If someone is looking for an interior designer, they want to make sure you know what you’re talking about.

Sharing insights can also earn you some credit with fellow professionals. If you prove yourself to be a design authority, your fellow professionals will be far more likely to refer clients to you. The better your online reputation, the easier it becomes to attract new clients!

9. Not Asking for Referrals and Testimonials

If you’re trying to hire a plumber, pick a gym, or choose a doctor’s office, you probably read reviews to inform your decision. If your business is backed up by reviews and testimonials online, more new clients are likely to gravitate toward you.

However, you might be unsure of how to ask for reviews. Here are a few strategies:

  • Ask your client to post before/after pictures and tag you
  • Ask for a review and give them a card with directions on how/where to leave it
  • Include a clickable link to a review site at the bottom of your invoices


Don’t be shy when asking for a review! Most people understand how much reviews help small businesses. If you’ve delivered great service, they’ll probably be happy to leave a review.

10. Not Paying Attention to the Competition

Putting together a successful marketing campaign takes some trial and error. However, many business owners forget that they can learn a lot from competitors. One way to kickstart your marketing strategy is to pick a few successful design firms (or individual designers) similar to you. Then, study how they market themselves.

Don’t worry about choosing designers in your geographical area. You just need to look closely at their websites, social media channels, and general marketing strategies. You’ll probably learn more than you think!


Ready to Build Your Business?

If you’re an architect or interior designer who struggles to find new clients, you’re not alone. It’s possible to market your services yourself, but most design professionals don’t have the time to master the art of marketing, create a specific marketing plan, and run their business all at once.

That’s where Behind the Design comes in. We started as a community for interior designers and architects, but we’ve grown to include architect and interior design marketing services. You’ve built a career around your skills — let us help you market those skills to new clients!



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