What Interior Designers Need to Know About Digital Marketing Sales and Lead Generation

Tools to build commitment to your design brand at each stage of the lead generation funnel.

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By Marilisa Barbieri

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

The sales funnel map is part of the customer's journey. It is composed of digital products intentionally created to encourage your website's visitors to take specific actions at each stage of the funnel. The actions you want them to take are, for example, subscribing to your blog or downloading a free resource. The digital products associated with each call to action include your blog content and a PDF guide.

The progression of your potential customers into the sales funnel signifies a deeper commitment to your brand. At the top of the funnel, there is a broad net capturing visitors to your website and social profile. Not all these visitors will become loyal customers, only a fraction. Your goal is to turn visitors into leads and then customers.

The sales funnel is also called the lead generation funnel and has five stages: Awareness, Interest, Decision, Action and Follow-up. To move your leads in the funnel, you want to use different tools at each stage.

Related: Digital Branding for Interior Designers

The five stages of your lead generation funnel

1. Awareness

In the first stage of the funnel, you want to start a conversation with your potential customers and get them to realize they have a problem to solve and need to look into your brand.

You want to direct your networks — online and offline — towards your website. By reaching your targeted audience and directing it towards your website, you populate the beginning of the funnel. Instagram offers advanced targeting options that allow you to narrow down the specific niche audience you want to reach based on your ideal client profile.

Primary tools to start this conversation are social media, content marketing, paid advertisement, search engine optimization and public relations.

Related: 5 Steps to Discovering the Ideal Client Persona for Your High-End Brand

2. Interest

Once on your website, if you don't ask for the contact details of your leads, you can lose them forever. In exchange for something valuable, they are willing to give you their email address.

This valuable resource called lead magnet attracts leads. It enables you to secure their information and build a mailing list. It must contain information helpful to your ideal client, available only after signing up with their email address.

The goal at the second stage of your funnel is to turn your visitors into contacts by catching their interest. You do it by offering something valuable in return for their email addresses.

Landing Pages, e-books, guides, newsletters and case studies are tools to catch the interest of your leads and get their contact details.

3. Decision

When your leads are actively looking for solutions to their problems, they review prices, options, etc. as they reach the third stage in the funnel.

After collecting emails, you need to periodically send to your contacts newsletters about your projects, tips and insights, news, etc.

The goal is to connect with your potential clients by being personable and relevant. If you talk about their specific problems and present your design services as solutions to solve their pain points, you'll be able to resonate with them, authentically connect and build trust.

At this point, free consultation and email marketing help you build trust and guide them towards the next step.

Related: 8 Things I Discovered While Working With Affluent Clients in New York City

4. Action

At the action stage, your qualified leads are ready to buy your design consultations. Once you start building trust with brand awareness, you want to offer your design services. You might want to start with a small value product to encourage micro-commitments.

Examples are virtual design consultations. A trend started about five or six years ago, the demand for virtual design packages accelerated during the pandemic. Promoting packages on your website and virtual consultations allows you to tap into a new market and customer segment. Buying one of these packages represents a more efficient and cost-effective alternative than in-person consultations.

Creating interior design packages can represent an additional revenue stream in your business. You generate income without a huge commitment in terms of time and effort. It's also nice to have an option for prospects who contact you but may not be able to afford your services.

After receiving a taste of your work in the small value product, clients are more confident in committing to a higher value product and purchasing an in-person consultation for the complete renovation of their house. At this point, they buy your high-value product.

Finally, you consider exposing your customers to other options and add-ons not previously considered. Why don't you specify some products from your online store or offer your upholstery service? Complementary products and services that you sell on top of your interior design consultation are opportunities to cross-sell while presenting more expensive options are up-selling practices.

5. Follow-up

When you convert your visitors into leads and your leads into paying customers, it's essential to follow-up after selling your services. The goal is to generate referrals and good reviews resulting in more leads. Ultimately your funnel fills itself.

Before creating anything, you need to find out your customer's journey and how they came across your brand — list all touch points, create content at each stage and be ready to manage business leads.

Marilisa Barbieri

Business Consultant, Luxury Brand Expert & Educator

A luxury-business expert with an MBA and interior design and arts degree, Marilisa Barbieri helps companies elevate their brand value and increase sales of design service by revealing proven sales strategies employed by top luxury brands.

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