Design

How to Market Your Interior Design Business Using Google Ads

How to Market Your Interior Design Business Using Google Ads

Whatsup! I’m Tyler and I work for Nick at Walls by Design. One of the various things I do for him is manage our Google Advertising. Nick has asked me to explain how you can use Google Ads for your interior design business. I use Google Ads to market interior and cabinet painting but you can follow the same template for interior design!

First and foremost, you have to be the better business to be successful in Google Advertising. Ultimately, Google Ads spotlight your competitive advantages. Let me explain, pretend we’re a consumer in the early stages of their decision-making process. We have already decided that we need help in designing our new home and now we are doing our initial search on the web for a designer. Generally, the first search is for something simple like “interior designer (location)”. I just did a search for interior designers in Boston and Denver. What you notice, regardless of location or service, is how every business’ Google listing looks on the web page. They all read as follows, “(Company Name) – (Service Offered)” with a brief and simple description.

When looking at the Google search, there’s no real insight to help you choose one over the other. Nothing special separates these businesses aside from their name and their wording choices. The reason for this is because they are limited in what they can put in their title/description. The main goal is to receive a first-page spot for the searched keyword because as consumers we usually don’t look past the first page, never mind the first link. That’s why Google Ads are so special. They are first page Google listings where you can put whatever you’d like, in this instance your business! That is why Google Ads is a spotlight on competitive advantages because it allows your listing to stand out from all the rest.

I’m not going to give you a tutorial or step-by-step instructions for setting up a Google Ads Campaign. Google already does a great job at explaining that. You can find out how here. What I will talk about, is some strategies and performance metrics to keep in mind when you set up your campaign.

The most common strategy is targeting relevant keywords. A painting business would target things like interior painting, painting contractor, painter in (location), etc. Good words for an interior design business would be interior designer, interior decoration, interior decor etc. Google’s keyword planner is a great tool to help make sure you’re getting as many keywords as possible.

The most important thing to remember about targeting keywords is to target phrase match keywords instead of broad match or exact match keywords. The best way to explain this is through examples. Let’s say interior design is the keyword. If you target that as a broad match, you can appear for any search related to interior design like interior decorating. This is bad because sometimes you show up for searches that are not relevant to your business at all. Exact match is when you just target that exact keyword. So if you were using exact match, you wouldn’t show up for a search like “interior design near me.” This is why phrase match is the best. Phrase match allows you to appear for everyone searching topics related to your business but without the risk of appearing for something entirely irrelevant. 

Something to always keep in mind when using phrase match is utilizing negative keywords as well. Negative keywords are used to block keywords you might not want your business showing up for if that word is searched. For example, since Walls by Design only does interior painting, I have added negative keywords related to exterior painting so people don’t accidentally call us to paint the exterior of their house.

The second strategy that you can use Google Ads for is targeting your competitor’s web traffic. Instead of targeting keywords related to your service you can target keywords related to a specific business. This is where being the better business really comes in handy. For example, one of our competitors has a comparison chart for the best painting company (them) vs the oldest company (unknown) on their website. The whole idea for this comparison is to make them look like they’re the better painting business. Well, when they compared themselves to one unnamed business it definitely looks that way. That is until we started targeting their audience. One of our most successful ad has the title “There’s a reason why (our competitor) doesn’t compare us to them” and the description “We were voted best painting contractor of 2016, come find out why.” The link then sends them to ‘Our Painting Contractor Difference’ web page.

So essentially anytime a customer Googles the name of our competitors business, the first thing they see is the ad created by us. This was a golden opportunity for a competitor ad, but unfortunately, that doesn’t always happen. As long as you have a competitive advantage over them though, it makes sense to target a competitor.

What I can’t stress enough is using the location feature for your campaigns. By targeting only the locations you service, you’re not wasting your Google Ads on useless leads. The only problem I noticed is that it doesn’t reach people who don’t have the location feature enabled. A moderate fix for this is to target city related keywords without the location feature on. For example “interior painting” will only be available in the cities I selected it to show but I will have “interior painting Denver” available worldwide.

Google does an excellent job at helping you create and manage your Google Ads. It seems like a lot at first, but like I said, Google is there to help. Google will constantly send notifications and reports to help you improve your campaigns. Listen to every suggestion it has. It’s the one that decides if your ads are quality or not.

If you do everything it asks, then it’s as simple as making sure you’re seeing a good response from using it. Keep in mind the average for all industries is a 5% click-through-ratio. It might not seem like a lot but anything over 3% is generally decent. Personally, I use the click-through-ratio only to measure how well the actual ads are doing. What matters most is tracking how people interact with your site after they click the ad. I use designated landing pages for this. A designated landing page for Google Ads allows you to gather keep performance metrics on the users who clicked your ad. The designated landing page for our ad is exactly the same as another landing page on our website, “Our Painting Difference”. The only difference is the URL and how the public can find it – only through the ad. This allows you to track how many people found the page through the ad only, as well as things like bounce rate, how long they stayed, and additional pages they viewed after. Another thing a designated landing page is good for is doing AB testing. You can have two identical ads lead to two different designated landing pages. This will help you improve upon the performance metrics on your website.

If you keep these things in mind, then you and your business will be golden. Don’t be intimated about diving into a head-first commitment with this form of marketing. It’s not a $1,000+ commitment like TV or radio but instead, you can do something as little as $10 a day. If you see a good return on investment then you can bump it up to your liking. The number of benefits that Google Ads has, far exceeds the risks. It really makes sense to at least give it a try. It’s worked for us so it can work for you too!

138 – Miami Interior Designer: David Charette

Britto Charette miami interior design

Miami Interior Designer: David Charette

Today in The Lounge, Nick chats with David Charette, one half of the Miami based design firm Britto Charette, from the Porcelanosa flagship building in NYC. Learn about David’s early days as a designer, his journey to Miami, and the lessons he learned from opening a design firm shortly after an economic recession.

Getting to Know David

David, a Michigan native, loves: to travel, shoes and Tesla. Unfortunately, he doesn’t drive a Tesla (he drives a land rover) but he finds himself drawn to the environmentally conscious concept and brand behind Tesla. His favorite accessory is shoes, Jimmy Choo being his brand of choice as they have a lot of options for men and garner lots of compliments. David’s parents were school teachers who taught him the importance of education, tenacity and to never give up. They also instilled his love of travel. He has been traveling since the age of two. Some of his favorite places are Florence, Berlin, Paris, and Hong Kong. In the US, he is drawn to the excitement of Manhattan and its many skyscrapers.

One of David’s strengths has been drawing and sketching. Growing up, he found that he was always putting together spaces, shapes and volumes and building models with Legos. He also had strong drawing and hand sketching abilities, which he now uses as a tool to communicate with clients to articulate his ideas. David began studying Fine Arts and Sculpture at Aquinas University in Grand Rapids. However, after receiving feedback that most of his work was architectural in nature he transferred to the University of Detroit where he received a Bachelor of Architecture (professional architecture degree). He taught 3rd-year studio at the University before he departed to focus on his professional work.

Although David is passionate about core and shell architecture, he found himself drawn to interior design due to the project time frame and increased client connection. When constructing a new building from the ground up, the process could take between 3-4 years. There is immediacy to interior design, where a project could be complete in around 6 months. With interiors, David found much more client contact and interaction with the end users. There was also more of a personal connection since people typically experience a building from the inside.

Professional Life

David began working at Smith Group where he focused on higher education, corporate projects, and top secret spaces. After this, he moved around a bit interning in Cleveland and Chicago before landing at the San Francisco office of Perkins and Will. At Perkins and Will he worked on one of his largest projects, Princess Nora University, for 45,000 students in Beirut. It was a fast-track project, going from design to completion in 4 years. Working on this project allowed him to live and work in Beirut as a member of the design team and also travel to Miami and Chicago for various team meetings.

At a trip to Chicago for NeoCon, a trade show for commercial interior design, David met his future business partner, Jay Britto. After a series of casual conversations, David noticed that they had similar tastes and he found himself growing increasingly frustrated with his experience in large corporate environments. Fueled by a lack of recognition for his participation in an industrial design project on display at NeoCon, Jay and David decided to work together and create their own firm: Britto Charette. As designers, they are both equally creative. They work organically; sharing most of the work and naturally dividing project demands. David calls his move to Miami a calculated risk. It is a very architectural city with large room to grow and invest.

Creating and Maintaining the Business

 

David accredits three steps to creating his business: a strong business plan, staffing, and technology. Opening in 2010 when Miami was beginning to come back from the collapse of the condo market, David and Jay invested $100,000 to start their business. After this initial investment, the partners began thinking about the space, and clients. They were fortunate as Jay was already working for himself and had an existing client base focusing on residential projects. They now find themselves with a staff of 10 full-time employees (a few working remotely) focusing on hospitality and retail in addition to their residential projects.

As a boutique design firm Britto Charette keeps the business lean. Their staff includes a Principal designer, Senior Designer, Junior Designer, CAD drafter and office manager that are broken up into project groups. They offer a competitive benefits package (401k and medical, PTO, vision and dental) as well as paid employee training. They find that big teams are challenging and 10-12 seems to be a good number to manage while allowing the opportunity to review and support their team.

When it comes to managing staff, David is a strong believer in delegating. Delegating allows employees to be a part of the process and fosters a collaborative learning environment. He also believes in strengthening his employee’s active listening skills. The presence of cell phones has become increasingly distracting in professional environments so rather than looking at smartphones during meetings, all of their attendees take notes which are then compiled into a master document. This allows staff members to be actively present and perceptive of client feedback and mannerisms, which is especially important with working across different languages and cultures.

David has been through 4 recessions in his professional life and has seen others struggle through the downturn. He has recognized that “fortune favors the prepared” and is guided by this principle. Often times an opportunity or experience can come up and if one is not ready for it then they have to decline. Being prepared readies a person to partake in opportunities as they arise. Through his professional journey, he has recognized that one does not always have to spend money to impress others and has now learned to manage money wisely. He advises others to look at their monthly expenses and to have 4 months of liquidity in their account that isn’t touched. Look at money as strategy and never go into debt to do something. Every time a check is received from a client 10% of it should go into savings and get reinvested into the firm. Currently, Jay and David are reinvesting in their company by redesigning their website and increasing the number of photo shoots.

Services

Britto Charette began using 3D printing methods for custom prototypes for their industrial design studio and the creation of custom furniture; however, they found that the final results were too small to be effective. They now do full-scale section mockups and they have been getting more involved with Virtual Reality on certain projects. The cost for the Virtual Reality technology is about $2500-$5000 and it gives clients the opportunity to walk through, zoom in or fly over a virtual room scene. The firm also utilizes 3D modeling for every project, with a typical project receiving 3-5 3D renderings, costing between $600-$800 depending on the size of the project and the number of revisions. Not only does 3D Rendering allow the client to visualize the space, the final images can be a great marketing tool and uploaded on social media sites to promote the business.

Marketing

Social Media can be a great tool to grow and promote the business but must be constantly uploaded and maintained. David advises to pick a platform that you like and support that one heavily. Also, always ask clients “How did you hear about us?” to gain insight and data for which marketing strategies are working. His firm uses HouzzPinterest, and Instagram as social platforms. Social Media has been such a successful platform for the firm that as of 2016, they have begun phasing out the use of paid printed advertisement. They found that sales increased after the removal of paid advertising. With paid advertisements, it was difficult to aggregate the data to define if a job came in the door as a result of the paid ad. They realized that people like to pin photos, enjoy liking posts and are frequently engaged in social media. With printed magazines, it is difficult to go back and remember where you saw something. Surprisingly enough, although they don’t have many followers they are constantly told by clients that they are looking at feed.

To Learn more about Britto Charette visit their website www.brittocharette.com

For more information on Industrial Design Products visit: www.bchomeusa.com

Sponsors

Porcelanosa – Check out Porcelanosa’s product Krion, a natural mineral based solid surface material ideal for kitchen and bathroom areas, retail or healthcare environments. It is an antimicrobial, nonporous and durable alternative to stone or ceramic.

Previously Owned by a Gay Man – Looking for something unique or sick of shopping second-hand stores? Visit www.previouslyownedbyagayman.com to find unique gently used items.

Next up Nick will be heading to Chicago for NeoCon and also visiting Julia Buckingham’s office in Chicago for the next long format interview.

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Wrap Up

If you would like to hear more episodes, please visit us on iTunes or on our website at TheChaiseLoungePodcast.com. Lastly, find The Chaise Lounge on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter or post a review on iTunes, you may even hear your review read live on our next podcast. With that said keep dreaming big, and keep designing a great design business. See ya!

120 – Sarah Blank: The World of Kitchen Design

Sarah Blank Interiors

Sarah Blank: The world of Kitchen Design

On this episode of The Lounge, Nick chats with Sarah Blank. Sarah shares her passion for being a kitchen and bath designer, how she started her own business, and what she loves about the industry.

Getting to know Sarah

Sarah is calling in from Stamford, CT, where she is working from home. Sarah enjoys Dwell for modern architecture and Period Home Magazine from a Classicist perspective – each at opposite ends of the spectrum. Sarah also enjoys a good handbag, red wine, and spending time at her Vermont vacation home.

How did Sarah get into design?

Sarah was working for her high school history teacher’s brother, Richard, for a summer. Richard was in charge of Bloomingdale’s windows. He told Sarah she needed to enroll at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York. She transferred and the rest is history!

After graduating, Sarah obtained a position working in kitchen design and has never left the industry. In 1994, she met Richard Sammons, a classical architect. Through him, she became involved with the Institute of Classical Architecture and Art. Sarah said that Classicism isn’t a style, but rather a language that you design by, rules and principles that are all about proportion.

Sarah loves what she does and believes in collaboration. Within her first year, Bunny Williams asked to do a job with her. Sarah loved working with her. Bunny is so good at what she does and is so down to earth. Bunny included Sarah in meetings with clients to see how she worked.

Sarah works mostly on kitchens, butler’s pantries, and master baths. Some homes have numerous kitchens with different sets of criteria. Kitchens need to be accessible not only for homeowners but also chefs and caterers. Kitchen designers have to blend all needs to be universal and usable.

What does the business look like today?

Today, Sarah’s company is small, which she likes. Kristin and Andrew are her designers, and Chip is her right-hand assistant. Her husband’s company does local construction and contracting and she works with a small group of architects and vendors she loves – mill shops, steel fabricators, etc. She mentions that you need to have vendors and people to make your designs happen.

Sarah’s husband also handles the business side and Andrea helps with social media.

How did Sarah start her own firm?

Sarah says she just knew she was ready to go on her own. She was with her previous company for 17 years and even gave them a years notice. Her first job on her own came from a referral. Sarah recalled how in the beginning, the team could focus on one project at a time, but now they are constantly juggling jobs to keep things in motion.

Sarah started her business in the basement, but then built an addition on her home. Soon, she built a studio, which was a learning experience with the classical language. The space was so beautiful and well designed that a plastic surgeon made her an offer she couldn’t refuse. She ended up selling the studio and now works out of a studio in Greenwich, CT.

Sarah says that execution is exciting for her and takes the most time. She can almost see into the future with her experience and being able to plan. Sarah recommends that you make sure you have contracts in order, understand the law, and do your job well. She has learned this from experience as well, from being involved in a lawsuit. Sarah loves what she does because of what she has been through.

Why kitchen and bath design?

Sarah loves classical architectural and says that you don’t need to be an architect to practice Classicism. If she could do it all over, Sarah wouldn’t change a thing. She uses her talent and ability to put together a home as a whole. What she does cannot be purchased online. Sarah tells us that homeowners want kitchen and bath designers that are detail oriented.

Sarah designs from the ceiling down. She doesn’t just put boxes on a wall, but rather integrates the kitchen into the architecture. It all has to flow. She focuses on the fundamentals of the room and brings a design point of view through her own experience. On the other hand, Sarah finds it tough when clients want things that won’t work or they don’t do what you recommend. She has had to walk away from customers knowing that it is the best decision for both parties in the long term.

Learn more on Sarah’s website feel free to reach out to her directly. She would love to help you in the industry and educate you on how to find success with kitchen and bath design

  • Wrap Up

If you would like to hear more episodes, please visit us on iTunes or on our website at TheChaiseLoungePodcast.com. Lastly, find The Chaise Lounge on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter or post a review on iTunes, you may even hear your review read live on our next podcast. With that said keep dreaming big, and keep designing a great design business. See ya!

73 – Chad James: An Interior Designer who found his Happy Place.

Chad James Group

Chad James: An Interior Designer who found his Happy Place

Nick gets to know his guest on today’s show of The Chaise Lounge, Chad James, “From an early age I was surrounded by a mother who was very creative and who really instilled this sense of creativity in me.” Chad attended Auburn on the path toward architecture but then later realized that interior design was the right path for him. His first position was as a design apprentice, pulling fabrics and running errands. Chad talks about the small projects he was given when he was first starting out.

Chad’s direction was solidified through a recruiter, who set up an interview with a company in New York, which eventually led to a full-time position in the big city. With the blessing of his mentor, Chad took the leap and moved north to the City for a while and then after a few years, he decided to branch out on his own, thus the creation to Chad James and Associates. After 4 years on his, Chad’s reputation proceeded him, and a separate firm contacted him, and he ended up joined that firm. Another 4 years passed, and Chad decided it was time to take a personal break, that included traveling and getting mentally and physically healthy. During that time, Chad decided it was time to go back to working for himself.

“I’ve always had this desire to create and to design, and the part of owning a business or a group, is that you don’t always get to solely design or create, because you are managing everything, it’s so little about designing anymore, if you allow it to be that way.”

Chad describes his business, which includes seven employees and Chad’s dog, who also acts as the go-to for any needed emotional support in the office. Nick and Chad talk about the differences between the first time Chad owned his business and the second time around. “I have not always reacted in the way that I probably should in the past, towards problems, or towards pretty much everything. I went through a period of life where I was very reactionary, and part of that cleanse and part of that moment that I took to regroup was for me to reset my mindset about how I was going to deal with things in life. I think that we have these moments in life that are tests in learning how to respond and learning how to respond, and we’re going to repeat that test until we get it right.”

I have this saying in our company, “If it’s not fun, we’re not doing it.” Chad talks about how this motto or guideline that helps him select the clients and the projects he chooses to take on. He also describes how his attitude sets the standard in the company, and how that affects his group, who will follow his lead.

Nick and Chad talk about what Chad took as far as what to do and what not to do from the other firms he worked with throughout his career. “One of the things that I learned in the last firm that I was involved in, is that every person on my staff needs time with me. I travel all the time, I’m in and out, I’m with clients, I’m there an hour then gone three hours. So if you have a staff that doesn’t feel like they have time with you or feel like they can approach you, then you’re going to find yourself in a place where productivity is not happening, because people don’t know how to move forward without clear direction.” Chad talks about his weekly staff meeting, where each staff member has at least an hour with Chad, to get his edits and suggestions on what they are working on.

Nick asks whether Chad prefers hiring someone who has experience or someone without experience. He describes the differences between the hiring process of support staff versus design staff. Nick and Chad talk about the importance in a small business, of checking each other’s work, and how everything that goes out with Chad’s name on it, crosses his desk first.

Nick asks Chad about how clients find him. “What I’ve found is plain and simple, its word of mouth.” Chad talks about the marketing that he does through social media platforms but describes word of mouth as the most influential tool for getting clients.

Chad describes his design process, “Every project starts with a design concept, and it’s drawn and its dreamed and realized on paper. After the concept is completed, that’s when we started specifying our products and our fabrics. After the presentation stage, we go to an estimate worksheet.” Chad describes the importance of the estimate worksheet, and how that process has helped them avoid mistakes.  “As a business owner you have to decide what you want to spend your money on, do you want to spend your money on mistakes? Or do you want to spend your money on rewarding your staff? I want to make sure that the money that our money is profiting is spent on our staff.”

Nick asks Chad how he charges for his business, “We charge a consulting fee, which is a set fee per square foot.” Chad describes how his process differs from the more typical type of the hourly charge for a designer’s time. “What I’ve learned is, if I can’t trust my client, how can I expect my client to trust me?”

Chad concludes his interview with Nick talking about some of his exciting new projects, and moving into a new office space. To learn more about Chad and his firm, visit his website www.chadjames.com or on Instagram under @chadjamesgroup, and also on Facebook.

If you would like to hear more episodes, please visit us on iTunes or on our website at TheChaiseLoungePodcast.com.  Lastly, find The Chaise Lounge on InstagramFacebook and Twitter or post a review on iTunes, you may even hear your review read live on our next podcast. With that said keep dreaming big, and keep designing a great design business.  See ya!

 

45 – Michael Wolk: A Hands On Designer

Wolk Background

There isn’t a project that leaves Michael Wolk Design Associates without Michael Wolk  personally approving it. He has always been a hands on designer that turns discussions into creations. Stemming from an early love of art, the Brooklyn born Michael Wolk attended  Pratt Institute where he graduated with an Industrial Design degree with honors. In college he started designing and building custom furniture as well as designing interiors for lofts. His design and furniture journey brought him to Florida where in 1984, after working for other companies and personally traveling the world; he chose to call Florida home. Focusing mainly on residential and hospitality design – the company has continued to grow.

The growth of Michael Wolk Design Associates has a lot to do with the style in which the company markets itself.  With everyone on social media, Michael feels you need to be more in tune with your marketing in order to increase market share. The studio used to rely on paid print ads but now they find publicity a better venue for building the brand, both in print and online. And of course a large portion of Michael’s business is ‘word of mouth’ (roughly 80% is referral/client relationship based). Michael believes that marketing and networking is farming not hunting, you plant the seeds and help it grow before you are able to see the returns.

If you would like to hear more episodes, please visit us on iTunes or on our website at TheChaiseLoungePodcast.com

15 – Fu-Tung Cheng: Kitchen designer turned whole home designer

Cheng Design House 6

Photographed by Matthew Millman

 

Fu-Tung Cheng

Photographed by Matthew Millman

Photographed by Matthew Millman

  • Based out of: Berkeley, CA
  • Where did you go to school:  UCLA and Univ. of CA at Berkeley
  • Drink preference:  Beer, wine, then a cocktail
  • Favorite place to work:  Puerto Rico
  • When did you start designing: at 38 – 17 years ago
  • Computer preference:  Mac
Photographed by Matthew Millman

Photographed by Matthew Millman

Starting as a kitchen designer, Fu-Tung owner of  Cheng Design, has become a very noted and successful designer.  He has a line of hoods that he designs for  Zephyr, he is a published author, documenting his work, was nominated into the National Kitchen and Bath Hall of Fame,  he designs homes all over California, and has a boutique line of sculptural concrete countertops — Geocrete™ .  Fu-Tung came to Denver to present on designing with concrete at an event I attended.  conc_at_home bookHis story of building a unique design firm was very interesting, and I thought it would be awesome to have him on the podcast.

To get in touch with Fu-Tung, contact him through his website at Chengdesign.com

If you would like to hear more episodes, please visit us on iTunes or on our website at thechaiseloungepodcast.com.

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