In this article, I will reveal your interior design business’s #1 asset.
You’ll learn why this asset is so important for signing more clients and growing your business.
You’ll learn how this #1 asset is foundational for the continuity of your business. If you lost everything in your business tomorrow, by having this one remaining asset, you would be able to quickly and easily pick up where you left off.
You’ll also learn how to acquire your #1 asset if you don’t already have it.
You’re focusing on the wrong things
Many interior design businesses focus on the wrong things when trying to attract leads and grow the business. They spend days and weeks researching the perfect CAD systems, the most robust project management and accounting tools, the spiffiest all-in-one tape measure/level tool and the highly coveted laser distance measurer.
Business owners ignore their #1 asset, so it is never acquired and their business never seems to grow. Although you do need many tools of the trade, they are all easily replaceable. There’s one asset that is crucial for getting leads and growing your business that is NOT easily replaceable.
Can you guess which is your business’s #1 asset?
Scroll down for the answer…
Your #1 asset is your EMAIL LIST!
Did you guess it?
I know, it’s not a fun, sexy gadget or a piece of gorgeous cloth to run between your fingers. However, it is absolutely essential that you have one, nurture it and regard it as you would one of your kids. OK, I may have gone a bit far, but you get my point.
By the time you’ve finished this article, you will know why I’m so adamant that your email list is your #1 asset, how to build one and what to do with it. If you already have an email list, keep reading, you may not be doing it right.
Why your Email List is your #1 Asset
The purpose of an email list is to communicate with prospects and clients on your terms. If you consider all the other ways to communicate online including social media posts & ads, Google ads, organic search and more, the one that you have the most control over is email.
- You send it when you decide to;
- You send to whom you determine is most appropriate;
- You personalize the email to help build the relationship;
- Your email stays in their inbox until they take action – unlike ads or posts that can easily be missed or blatantly ignored;
- You decide what you are going to communicate;
- You can determine subsequent emails you’d like the recipient to receive;
- Zuckerberg could change Facebook tomorrow to the detriment of your business, but you still have your email list.
The above are all things you have control over with your email list. Did I mention that it’s YOUR list?
Building an email list is a lot of work, at least in the beginning. But I assure you, when you make building your email list a priority, you will never regret taking the time and putting forth the effort to build it.
Over time people will drop off your list but even more, will join it. The goal is to continually increase the total subscribers on your list.
Email is dead? What? Nobody told me!
Some people want you to believe email is dead and that social media is the only way to get traction (or Google ads, or this or that). It’s not true. Email is very much alive.
According to Statistica, over 85% of adults still send or read email. This means, unlike social media where your customer may scroll right past your post, email marketing is more effective because users are more likely to get and read your message. People stop using social media all the time, they rarely close their email account.
3 Steps to Build Your Email list
Think about the email lists that you are on. At some point, you were convinced that by giving your email to someone your life or business would somehow improve. Maybe you were promised some amazing information in return for your email. Or, an ebook loaded with tips & tricks for your business. Or, the inspiration to lose weight. On and on go the reasons you would give up your email.
But let’s be honest, we don’t just give it away to anyone. If you’re like me, your inbox already floweth over. In order to allow one more piece of email into your box, I need a damn good reason. More importantly, you have to trust the person or business that is asking for your email. Your prospects are no different.
There are 3 foundational steps to building your email list.
- Setup the Email List Building Essentials
- Build Trust
- Ask for the Email
Step 1: Setup the Email List Building Essentials
There are three key tools you will need to support building your email list:
- Freebie / Lead Magnet
- Email Opt-In Form
Database to store the emails
ActiveCampaign is very affordable, has all the crucial features you need now and in the future and has excellent, responsive support. Open an ActiveCampaign account.
Mailchimp is another viable option. If you’re interested in the down and dirty on these systems and which one to choose, check out our article on email automation.
Freebie / Lead Magnet
Remember the overflowing email inbox? We all have them so why would we want more email? The key to encouraging prospects to give you their email is to offer something more valuable in exchange for the email. In the business, we call these “lead magnets”.
A lead magnet is an incentive that marketers offer to potential buyers in exchange for their email address or other contact information. Lead magnets usually offer a piece of digital, downloadable content, such as a free PDF checklist, report, eBook, whitepaper, video, etc. – Optinmonster
Find out what your prospects want and give it to them in the form of a lead magnet.
This is going to sound crazy, but you probably already have something that you use in your business. How about a document you use when planning a project with your clients. You could easily modify it to be prospect friendly by removing any jargon and replacing with plain terms they would understand.
Do you have a checklist you run through when consulting with a client? How about offering a “Master Bathroom Redesign Checklist”.
Designers are really creative people so I know you got this. Here are a few other ideas to get the creative juices flowing:
- 5 Awesome Before/After Kitchen Remodels (nothing inspires like photos!)
- The 9 Styles of Window Valances and When to Use Them
- How to Properly Measure a Window for Blinds
The reality is, you know a lot about interior design and your prospects want to know what you know. By sharing valuable information you are demonstrating that you understand them and want to help.
Think you don’t know enough? Poppycock! You just need to know more than your prospect.
Email opt-in form on your website to capture emails
Once your prospect has been enticed to receive the freebie you’re offering, they are directed to the opt-in form to collect their name and email. The design possibilities are endless in terms of presenting the lead magnet and opt-in form. You could “sell” the lead magnet within the body of a blog article with a link to the opt-in form. Or, you could embed the form within the body of the article so the user just inputs their name, email and clicks the submit button.
When the prospect provides their name and email and clicks the button, your form provider essentially sends the data to your email database via a link which is set up when the form is created. Below are 2 examples of opt-in forms.
If your website runs on WordPress, skies the limit in terms opt-in form options. Many WordPress themes and page builders even include a form module so you can easily build the form and place it on your webpages.
The key is to make sure the form is compatible with your website and your email database. In the WordPress world, OptinMonster, GravityForms, and ActiveCampaign all integrate very well together. There are others, but these are the ones I have the most experience with and highly recommend. More information about website forms can be found in our email automation article if you’re interested.
Discuss the options with your website provider to determine the best approach for the opt-in form and to have it set up and integrated with the email system.
Step 2: Build Trust in Your Prospects
You build trust by being helpful to your prospects. By loading your website with helpful, valuable pieces of information, your prospects learn to trust you and eventually will consider you an authority in the interior design industry.
Obviously, you can’t provide one-on-one help and inspiration to thousands of prospects. To share it with the masses you need to produce content. You know, blog articles, videos and more. That’s the beauty of digital marketing – create once, share forever.
When you create content that inspires and motivates your prospects, they are more likely to trust you with their email. So, start blogging!
We have a simple, yet effective blog post template you can use to get your thoughts out of your head and on the screen with ease. Just complete the simple form below.
Step 3: Ask for the email
Your email database is set up, you created your lead magnet to give away in exchange for your prospect’s email and your website form is ready to go.
Guess what? The only way you’re going to collect emails is if you ask for them! This is done by presenting the lead magnet offer at the appropriate time.
The opt-in form for your lead magnet should be strategically placed so when the person is learning about [insert lead magnet topic here] they are presented with the opt-in form that asks for their email. For example, a few seconds ago we presented our Simple & Effective Blog Post Template for Interior Designers opt-in form to you. The location of the opt-in form was intentional – right after we discussed the importance of blogging in building trust with your prospects. At that time, it made perfect sense to offer an easier way to write blog posts – using our Simple & Effective Blog Post Template for Interior Designers. If the form was presented any other time you may not have been as interested as the content was not related.
Here’s another example. Let’s say you wrote a blog article on how to redesign your master bedroom. At the point where you discuss blinds as a window treatment option, you could insert the opt-in form for your “How to Properly Measure a Window for Blinds” download.
I assure you, once you begin blogging you inevitably think about how else you can help and lead magnet ideas to become automatic.
So, What do I do with this email list?
Staying in touch is the name of the game.
For existing customers and prospects, send a weekly newsletter. The newsletter could include links to the content you created that week. Or, you could share other helpful content you came across and include links to those. I strongly suggest you create your own content though – it builds trust!
For prospects, this is where the magic of email marketing happens. Rather than wait for the prospect to come back to your website and see your new content, or read existing content they weren’t aware of before, you provide it to them. It’s absolutely crucial you are not selling at this point. You are building trust which is a requirement before the prospect will buy from you.
By providing ongoing, regular help (as opposed to “selling”) in the way of emails, the person is open to and welcoming of the communication.
Through a carefully crafted and strategically designed series of emails, you can build trust and nurture your prospect until they are ready to hire you. By that time, you’ve shared so much helpful and valuable information with them they have no choice but to hire you because in their mind, you are the expert and they trust you!
Set the email plan on automation and you are generating leads in your sleep.
- Don’t expect an email list of 1000 subscribers right away. It’s a process – an ongoing one. People will drop off your list and people will hop on it. The objective is to continually grow by acquiring more subscribers than you lose.
- Don’t run out and ask family and friends to subscribe to your list, unless they are legit clients or prospects. The last thing you want to do is send (and pay for) emails to people that will never benefit your business.
- Absolutely DO make building your email list a priority. Today.
- Get blogging. Your future customers need a reason to trust you and it starts with content. The more you do it, the easier it becomes. I promise!
- Open and set up an email system account. We recommend ActiveCampaign. Alternately, Mailchimp is good but as your business grows it may no longer meet your needs.
- Brainstorm possible lead magnets and create one!
- Reach out to your website provider and find out steps to adding opt-in form(s). Don’t have a website or website provider? We can help with that. Contact us to find out how we can help.
Let me ask you, what is your #1 business asset? I hope you said “my email list”!
Hopefully, you’ve gained enough understanding about email list building to make it an immediate priority for your business. It has the potential to launch your business forward and will absolutely set you apart from the competition.
Do you have an email list already? How do you use it? Do you agree it is a valuable asset for your business? Why or why not? Comment below or email me.
Please share if you think this information will benefit others.