Having a strong website is essential to grow your interior design business.
In fact, a well-designed website will make you look professional, credible and trustworthy; it'll also help prospects and other businesses find you more easily. Although social media platforms, such as instagram or facebook, are great to showcase your work, you'll want a platform that isn't owned by anyone other than you: a website is truly yours and it won't be affected by algorithms or a platform shutting down.
In this article, I share, in collaboration with one of KVM's web designers, the 8 must-haves that you absolutely need for a successful interior design website. Ready?
01. A STRONG BRAND IDENTITY
Having a nice website is great but careful about using a generic template. Your branding needs to be clear and consistent throughout your website and other social media platforms. When prospects, or even your clients, visit your site, your branding should be recognizable and unforgettable so that, next time they see something done by you, they'll remember you.
I believe that before investing money in a website, you should spend time on your brand identity. Do you feel that your logo, color palette, graphic elements represent both you and your niche? Or do you feel like it does not align with who you are and your offer?
Remember that, beyond the actual website, it's the branding (logo, graphic elements, colors, fonts) that will give prospects a first impression - if it is bad, they may just decide to close your website because it does not appeal to them.
A strong brand identity will improve your website and make it appealing to your niche. Investing in a branding designer was one of the best things I did for my business; she elevated my business on different levels and, because I know my clients were also struggling with their image, we now offer a branding service for interior designers!
02. PORTFOLIO Section
A gallery/ portfolio is a non-negotiable as an interior designer. Prospects will want to see what you've done in the past, see if your style matches theirs and get inspired by previous projects for their own. If you don't have photos of completed projects, which often happens for online interior designers, include anything useful such as sketches, colored drawings and 3d renders. I highly recommend investing in realistic 3D rendering until you have photos of finished projects;
they will not only give your prospect clients a great idea about your work and get them excited about working with you but also give you a more attractive website. Websites that have no examples aren't visually appealing nor do they build trust or credibility!
03. 'ABOUT' SECTION - to connect on a personal level
Hiring an interior designer is highly personal: you are bringing in a complete stranger to design your most sacred space, your home. Think about prospects looking to hire you to build their dream home; you'll be spending countless hours together, won't you?
There are three key components that will make you different from other interior designers: Your style, your rates and your personality.
It's essential that you connect with prospects and you can do that by introducing yourself to them on a more personal level. Remember that people usually buy based on emotions, rather than logic. If your rates are a little higher than they budgeted for but they love you, they will find a way to work with you! Tell them about your hobbies, why you fell in love with interior design, fun facts, and so on...
I once got a client because she loved travelling as much as me and could relate to my life as an expat. Be vulnerable and let them get to know you a little, even if most of it will come through during your meetings. Lead capture is the first step!
04. A BLOG AND NEWSLETTER
Although technically not essential, a blog and newsletter are both great marketing strategies to capture more leads. If you've heard about SEO (search engine optimization) before, it helps you rank higher on google searches. (The higher you rank, the higher your number of leads)
The best way to increase your SEO is to update your website on a regular basis; therefore, by adding articles on a regular basis, you improve your SEO rankings.
The other amazing reason to have a blog is that you can share valuable tips with your niche. You attract the right people by posting about what they like, want or need.
For example, if you are a kitchen designer and write about the " My X top tips to choose kitchen tiles", you will be attracting people who are looking to re-design their kitchen. Some of them will use these tips to do their own reno but others will come across your blog article, then move on to reading more about you and might hire you.
The same applies for having a newsletter. Email marketing is one of the best techniques to talk directly with prospects to share tips, offers, latest news and close a sale. If they are really interested in your content, they'll keep opening your emails and, over time, you will build trust; once they trust and need your services, they'll reach out to hire you as their interior designer.
Having a blog and a newsletter is yours, which allows you to get personal, and they are great ways to convert more leads into paying clients.
05. TESTIMONIALS TO BUILD TRUST
What do you look at before you buy something on Amazon? Reviews.
I don't know about you but I look at reviews even for products that don't cost very much.
Do you not expect someone who will be spending thousands of dollars with your services to look for testimonials?
Testimonials are called 'social proof': If others have previously hired you and were happy with your work, prospects will feel that you are trustworthy. The best thing you can do is also add small case studies giving more information about the client, the project's brief and the result.
Video testimonials are obviously the best as anyone can write whatever they want online these days.
06. PROFESSIONAL & HIGH-QUALITY PHOTOS
An interior design website must have high-quality and professional photos. If the photos are low-resolution and badly taken, it will make prospects run away. You don't have to spend hundreds of dollars on a professional photographer but make sure your photos aren't blurry, dark and too small. There are plenty of tips out there about how to photograph interiors using your phone.
If you can't or don't have photos of the completed projects (maybe because it wasn't completed or the client isn't sending any to you), investing in getting 3D renders done is a great alternative to photos and will allow you to show more of your work in a way that'll make people excited.
Having a portfolio page that is easy to navigate is essential. I recommend adding details about each project such as location, client specifics (family? bachelor? couple?) and scope of work. Showing at least 5 projects is a great way to make your business appear credible and experienced so if you lack photos, get 3Ds or sketches done.
07. A SERVICE PAGE
Outline your services clearly to ensure you attract the right niche; it also prevents a whole lot of people emailing you because they are unclear about your services.
Are there smaller services/ fixed-price packages you can show the rate for to your website?
While it's nearly impossible to do for bigger projects, giving prospects an idea of the budget they will need to hire you is a good way to make sure you only speak to the people who will have the money to pay you.
As a business owner, your time is limited. Avoid getting on a call with just anyone interested in hiring an interior designer because most of them won't be a good fit for you.
08. CONTACT PAGE
It sounds obvious but make it easy for people to get in touch.
People have limited time and attention span; if they can't find what they are looking for immediately, they'll leave your website as fast as they got on it!
If you have a contact box, great, but also add your email address as an alternative. I sometimes need an email and hate when the only option is a text box.
The other thing that annoys me is when the location of the interior design business is not mentioned anywhere; how do you expect your prospects to know you are near them if you don't even say which city you operate from?
Having a website is a must if you want to grow your interior design business.
These must-haves will ensure that your website is as efficient as it can be to attract more leads, and convert the right ones for your business.
When you build your website, think about the key pieces of information your ideal client will need and always keep in mind what their pain points are so that you can create content around them.
Lastly, your branding and how it is incorporated in your site is as important as the layout. I recommend investing in both graphic and web designers to work together to build a successful and efficient website for you.
We now offer both services to interior designers so get in touch for more information or visit our services page.
See you next time!
Kristell Valentina Mouriès
Director, KVM Design