trade tales | Feb 22, 2019 |
How social media (Instagram) became 4 designers’ top marketing tool

The growth stage of any business relies on a strong marketing strategy. Interior designers Ashton Taylor Speegle, Maureen Stevens, Ameen Ayoub and Kate Lester reveal the tools that have proven most—and least—beneficial to marketing their brands and taking their businesses to the next level.

Kate Lester
Kate LesterCourtesy of Kate Lester Interiors

Be diverse yet consistent.
“In interior design, it’s true that the best marketing is a happy client, because word of mouth is our number-one way of getting new projects. For general brand exposure, social media (especially Instagram) has been an invaluable marketing tool. A photography-based social media platform is a place where our brand, work and aesthetic can really shine and flourish.

Developing a marketing plan early in the year (we do it in January) lets you diversify your efforts and stay consistent, which is key when it comes to any kind of marketing. Instead of spending your entire annual budget on a single ad in a shelter magazine, break up the outreach and keep it consistent throughout the year. We do email blasts once a quarter to stay top of mind, as well as monthly sponsored posts on Instagram and Pinterest. Traditional print advertisements didn’t work at all for us. I think it’s pretty rare that someone opens a magazine, sees an ad and hires a designer based on that single image and text. I am much more interested in investing in advertorials, which are successful because they read like editorial placement, or offering my expertise for articles, blogs or print media.” —Kate Lester is the founder and principal designer of Los Angeles–based Kate Lester Interiors.

Ashton Taylor Speegle
Ashton Taylor SpeegleCourtesy of Ashton Taylor Interiors

Tap a variety of talents.
“When looking to hire a brand agency or marketing team, I decided to compose my brand the same way I would an interior space: I wouldn’t use just one furniture line in a room, and decided not to use just one team for my branding. I used separate teams for logo design and brand identity, web design and photography. I selected the work I was most aesthetically drawn to for each contractor and my result has been a dynamic appearance that still falls within my identity guidelines.

Instagram has been my most beneficial form of marketing. Potential and current clients enjoy being part of the design experience—stories and posts allow me to share this. In addition to social media, I have also used print advertising in my local Luxe Interiors + Design magazine.” –Ashton Taylor Speegle is the founder and principal designer at Ashton Taylor Interiors in Houston.

Ameen Ayoub
Ameen AyoubCourtesy of Ameen Ayoub Design Studio

Know your neighbors.
“If you work or live in a small community, [networking through] word of mouth is one of the greatest ways to build your brand and garner business. As a luxury residential design and architecture firm, we’ve also found that connecting and reaching out to realtors has proven very beneficial for the brand. You have to be willing to engage with the community, and communication with others is key in doing business. While we’ve placed a few advertorials in publications with our target demographic, we’ve also found that networking via social media is a great marketing tool that is often more cost-effective and visual.” —Ameen Ayoub is the principal of Ameen Ayoub Design Studio in Los Angeles.

Maureen Stevens
Maureen StevensCourtesy of Maureen Stevens Design

Use social media to get personal.
“The most beneficial form of marketing for my interior design brand has been social media, which I highly recommend to designers for growing their business and engaging with others. We’re so lucky to have a platform like Instagram, as design lovers and creatives are very visual. In addition to regular posts, the launch of Insta-stories has been amazing in giving the public an insight into who we are and what we do. Not only does Instagram allow us to market our work and the final product, but it also allows people to connect with us on a more personal level, as we’re able to share behind-the-scenes and ‘before’ photos and videos prior to the ‘after’ versions showcasing picture-perfect, well-styled spaces.” —Maureen Stevens is the founder and principal designer at Maureen Stevens Design, which has locations in New Orleans and Austin, Texas.

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