Website 101 for Interior Designers, Architects and Creative Services
First impressions are important and with each new encounter another perception of your brand is established. Almost impossible to reverse, these experiences set the tone for whether or not a prospect chooses to do business with you. Your website is the front line and often the first thing potential clients see. It's important to use it to display your talents, show how exceptional your company is and how you stand out from the competition.
Design Squared focuses on representing high-net-worth clients and creatives like yourself. We'd like to take a moment to show you some of the ingredients to create a successful website that is true marketing channel and how to tailor it to reach your specific business goals. First, we need to ask you a few very important questions...
Does your digital presence
reflect your style and your work?
Is your website proclaiming your
strengths as a designer and creative?
Is your website serving as a
continuation of your work and an
extension of who you are?
If you answered no to any of these questions and aren’t happy with your current results, this may be a good time to review with us what changes could make a big difference for your business goals.
Design Squared specializes in marketing for designers based in high-income areas, as is shown through our work with some of the top interior designers in Northern and Central New Jersey. Some of our clientele include Jeff Haines of Butlers of Far Hills, Jennifer Connell Designs and Valerie Grant Interiors, just to new a few. We believe a website is the center of a designer's marketing plan and will guide you through the process of crafting a site that has all of the necessary elements to ensure that it is successful. It's crucial that your site captures the essence of the business, defines differentiating values, presents work in an eye-catching way and that it's developed within the confines of Google's ever-changing rules to makes sure it “works” as a marketing tool.
There is a lot of industry standard work that goes into designing any ol' website - from configuring a simple, easy to navigate main menu, to site-wide search functionality, to picking the right fonts. Over the course of our 20+ years of experience, there are some vital elements in the interior design field that we have found to be important in making a site successful:
- An interesting blog with stunning visuals to be utilized in conjunction with periodic e-newsletters or eblasts
- Beautiful galleries explicitly organized for exhibiting your photos
- A comprehensive press section to showcase your most recent published articles and/or awards
Blogs: A Visual Marketing Tool
Let's take a moment to talk about blogs - blogging is a versatile platform that can be used to announce your latest services, featured projects and keep up-to-date with the latest trends and/or news outside of your regular website. A well put together blog page is a perfect avenue to attract, educate, and inspire people while staying connected with your current customer base regularly and also providing unlimited Search Engine Optimization (SEO) opportunities to drive in new clientele. SEO Keywords are an important factor to consider when writing your content and should be geared towards targeting your specific audience of potential customers. These keywords will help get your website and blog ranked higher among Google, Bing and other Search Engines. Taking the time to address your readers adds a personal touch which ensures that they are properly digesting what you have to offer and has the potential to thrust you into the spotlight, boosting your site search results from page 6 to page 1. Don't be afraid to revel in your celebrations and openly share your major accomplishments with the world!
Our client, Jeffrey B. Haines of Butlersoffarhills.com, established his J. Butler Collection storefront on the island of Nantucket many years ago and requested the creation of a comprehensive blog to help unify his satellite office with his main design company, Butlers of Far Hills, Inc. We were able to elegantly showcase his unique Massachutes collection of fine home decor in a series of seasonal blog posts and e-newsletters which tied it back to his Far Hills, New Jersey studio website for "out-of-season shoppers" to utilize during the winter and spring months the island store was closed. This specific need demonstrates the importance of having an easily accessible and updated blog space so that future clients can accurately view the scope of your work, get a feel for your personal style and the levels of services you offer.
Galleries: Show Instead of Tell
Beautiful, visually dynamic photo galleries are one of the strongest assets a website can employ to display your products and services and should be used to show customers they can trust your company to deliver the kind of quality you promise. Adding image galleries to your website's content delivers powerful visuals that would otherwise take up valuable time and space if it were to be described through text to your potential customers quickly and efficiently. Quality trumps quantity and professionally shot photos act as evidence of your excellence of work while indirectly conveying the message "This is why I am the best at what I do," further reinforcing the reputation of your business. Investing in your website's images shows that you are proud of your work and not afraid to show it up front which fosters a feeling of trust and ultimately, a cohesive, easily recognizable brand image that fans will devote their time to following.
Up and coming interior designer Jennifer Connell approached us with the specific need to demonstrate the versatility between each of her already completed projects alongside a new service of accent pieces she coined as "House Candy." If you head over to jenniferconnelldesign.com, you can see an example of the fun, whimsical yet organized gallery with detailed information about each project side-by-side with hi-lighed tips that match Jennifer’s major selling points.
Press: Broadcast your Accomplishments
A well-developed press and media section on your website shows that you are a serious player in the industry and can lead to even more media coverage opportunities for your business. While a blog is meant to speak directly to your established readers, a press section speaks to journalists and target customers who may be seeking your previously published work and should be used to present your business's awards, featured articles, promotions and honorable mentions from both online and traditional media outlets. Likewise, potential customers and journalists shouldn’t have to hunt around your website for information they can use to research you and a press section makes it easy for them and to access all of your published work in one central location. Give the journalists everything they need by including digital assets for completed work and clearly state who your media contact is alongside their contact information should they need something extra for a story. Afterall, better media coverage leads to better business visibility and boosts credibility!
Valeriegrantinteriors.com is the perfect example of a website showcasing the need for an active press section. Valerie's work is periodically featured in both traditional print magazines and online blogs so she requested a central area of her site to be devoted to a collection of recent publications showcasing the various featured articles, advertisements, and stories that connect to her work as an acclaimed interior designer across multiple sources. This alternative online resource adds a second level of traction to her work on top of the paper publication and serves as a sort of “digital trophy room” for the designer. In addition to the featured article press section of her website, each of her awards and Houzz featured articles are listed across the bottom of the home page beneath a large slider featuring some of her work.
Achieving Website Success
The philosophy “show, don’t tell” is more commonly being used in all new website designs and goes a long way when drawing in new potential customers. Your prospective clients want to get a feel for your work, and you, before you ever meet them and a well-constructed and attractive website gives both you and your future client the peace of mind that who they are hiring a professional that matches their individual tastes and needs. If you would like to evaluate where your website is or discuss some of these elements, please feel free to contact us to get the conversation started.