Marketing

S21 E2 – Hudson Valley Design Leader Maryline Damour

Maryline Damour is a designer based in Kingston, New York. Damour worked in marketing for most of her adult life until she bought a house in Kingston and began to wonder about the viability of working on interiors. But she dismissed the idea until an earthquake in her native Haiti helped her understand the importance of interior design and pushed her into her new career, which has included the restoration of a damaged but structurally-sound Haitian church.

270 – Natural-born Entrepreneur Timothy Murenzi

On this Christmas-week edition of The Chaise Lounge, Nick chats with Timothy Murenzi from Studio Tumo in Ontario, California. Murenzi is a lifelong entrepreneur who started his first business DJing for weddings and bar/bat mitzvahs on Long Island. He left when he was 18 to pursue an interior design degree in Tampa where he started finding work redoing bathrooms, starting with his aunt’s. SInce then, He started Studio Tumo and is constantly growing his business and tackling two to three large projects at a time with his team.

182 – Kevin Htain: Home Staging Extraordinaire

Today in The Lounge, Nick talks shop with Kevin Htain of Identity Home Staging, Real Estate Stager and HGTV contributor. Very well known in California, Kevin had an interesting pathway through the design world to end up as one of staging’s most high profile players. Find out more, in this episode of the Chaise Lounge.

The Business

Kevins start t in the interior design business was designing model homes and leasing offices with KB Homes as his first gig out of college. He began as a studio art major in school, but then realized he needed his creative education to have a solid business fundamental. That’s when he discovered interior design. He has since worked for powerhouses like Ikea and progressive businesses like Pacific Dimensions, a merchandising company that seeks to blend traditional staging techniques with cutting-edge design trends. It was the most unlikely of avenues that finally got him into the staging industry though…a call from Mom. She had heard about it from a friend and recommend Kevin look into it. The rest, as they say, is history. Kevin was enrolled in staging training just weeks later.

Staging and Interior Design…What’s the difference anyway?

Kevin believes that home staging is all about putting a home’s best foot forward; if it had legs of course. It is really real estate market driven, so one needs to understand that segment in addition to having a background in design and aesthetics. Interior design on the other hand, is all about customization and personalization. It is design for a particular person or persons in mind. Staging is much less personal but still geared towards that target client. California’s staging market is robust, so staging is seen as a valuable tool at a seller’s disposal. Staging works across the board; in all budgets. Its all about helping the property perform at it’s highest potential.

What it Takes

Kevin has a team of 7. They include his stylists and moving crew. It can be tough to maintain a team in this industry, due to the fast pace and the eventual burn out that team members can face. That is one of the biggest challenges to be overcome. Keeping inventory fresh is another critical factor in keeping installations fresh and having properties show at their best. Some brands are also beginning to position themselves to meet the unique needs of the staging community. Brands like Uttermost, Coaster, and Ashley offer pieces that are striking, yet lightweight and easy to maneuver. Always keep the price point of the property in mind and stage accordingly. The scale and colorway in a million dollar home is going to be different than your average home’s inventory. A really good stager understands this and can market properties effectively.

Getting into the TV Game

Kevin is proud to share that Identity Home Staging has worked on 46 projects with HGTV over the last 3-4 years.  There were originally contacted by the casting agency for the show ‘Flip or Flop’. Its been a great fit over the years and now Kevin will be contributing to the upcoming HGTV show ‘House to Home’. The next steps for Identity Home is to start their own furniture line.  Nick is excited to pass some connections along in that area and to questions why there isn’t a current HGTV show focused solely on staging (hint, hint, casting!).

IAHSP and Kevin’s Commitment to Training Staging Professionals

Kevin Co-chairs training for the International Association of Home Staging Professionals. He is passionate about attending as many of the events as possible and keeping stagers trained in the latest merchandising techniques. His biggest piece of advice to students looking to join the field of staging is to challenge themselves not only to focus on the design side but also to be really well versed in the real estate market. That combination of design knowledge and business savviness is a winning one. Just ask Kevin…he knows for sure!

Learn more about Identity Home Staging online at: www.identityhome.com

Via Twitter @identityhome, Instagram  @identityhome, and Facebook  @identityhome

 

Chaise Lounge Updates

Join Nick and Porcelanosa on their upcoming trip to Spain. Post a story about why you want to go with the hashtag #letsgotospain. Deadline extended until January 31st 11:59 pm.Look forward to your stories!

Download our E-Book HERE!

Resources

Upcoming Markets

KBIS – Jan 9 – 11

Atlanta Market – Jan 9 – 16

Dallas Market – Jan 17 – 23

Las Vegas Market – Jan 28 – Feb 1

Wrap Up

If you would like to hear more episodes, please visit us on iTunes, Spotify 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!

178 – Sharyn McBride: Where Travel and Design Collide

Sharyn McBride: Where Travel and Design Collide

Today in The Lounge, Nick chats with Sharyn McBride of Belson Design and Design ToursSharyn is located in beautiful Melbourne, Australia and is driven to expose her fellow Aussies to a design education that reaches far beyond her native shores. Find out more, in this episode of The Chaise Lounge.

Breaking the Ice

First and foremost…Nick wants to visit Australia and he isn’t shy about sharing it! After making that point clear, he learns some interesting fashion tidbits from Sharyn. She is a big fan of shoes as a go-to statement accessory. Her faves are colorful ankle boots. Though not necessarily a fan of the Ugg boot, she is happy to share that these are originally from her native land and that it was interesting to watch them evolve from house slippers to full-on streetwear. Her favorite room in her well-designed house is her master bedroom. It is truly her sanctuary. The only spot that is off limits is her garage full of finds from her travels abroad, which can get a bit messy! The best advice that she received from her parents growing up was to never give up and her mum’s especially sage advice: don’t leave the house without lipstick!

Getting into the business

Sharyn McBride started her career as a buyer in the fashion industry. She noticed a gap in the market after welcoming her own baby boy and created a line of embroidered bespoke baby blankets. Sharon fell gravely ill in the early 2000’s and faced a two-year climb back to health. It was at that point that she decided that she would exclusively pursue creative work. She knew that all of the efforts and hard work would give her that sense of joy and satisfaction; as long as she pursued her passion. Her interior design career began in her home and friends’ homes. It was also at this time that she realized that exposure and education equaled really great design. She traveled to around her native Australia and to the US; New York specifically. There she was able to learn more about show homes, such as Kips Bay and the design markets available to designers in the US.  Belson Design was launched soon after in 2016.

The Development of Design Tours

After having the opportunity to travel to the US, Japan and other parts of the world, Sharyn realized just how little exposure the Australian design community was getting. There were so many more resources to discover beyond her borders. There was an opportunity to give Australian designers access to show houses and masters of design such as Frank Lloyd Wright. Sharyn developed tours to the US and Japan that she now runs three times a year! Nick gave a great suggestion to set up US tour groups to come down to Australia…let’s see if this takes off! Sharyn is all for being a part of orchestrating culture absorbing trips.

Making time for Design

Despite running three 7-9 day tours a year, Sharyn still finds time to serve her clients through Belson Design. Her upcoming projects include a mid-scale home renovation and her very first commercial gig at tile showroom in Melbourne. She is mainly a one-woman show but has the helping hands of a part-time tour assistant and design assistant. She also has built great relationships with contractors, so her clients have that additional option if they do not have contacts of their own.

Sharyn is adamant about being confident as a designer and not being afraid to value your services as they should be. She charges per service for her initial contact with clients. She has differing fees for consultations, mood boards, and full design plans. Never let a client rush you into decision making. As creatives, we need time to absorb and create our plans.

The Keys to Successful Marketing and Presentation

Sharyn really believes in great presentation. That starts with a great website and business cards. These are just the initial tools, however. The magic is in pounding the pavement…network, network, network. Get as much exposure as you can. Our industry can be grueling with long hours and a lot of effort to get the ball rolling. Find avenues to shake hands with people; go to showrooms, design events, etc. Get savvy with your online exposure too. It’s easy to backlink with fellow businesses in the industry so that your website can be more attractive to Google. This is a great way to improve your presence online without a lot of monetary investment.

Belson Design has received most of their clientele through word of mouth and website hits. This leads to another important topic; photographs. Photos are critical in the design industry to showcase your work. No matter how small a project is, always takes photos. Even if you don’t have access to professional photography, visually documenting your projects is a must. Social Media is another visual platform for showcasing your behind the scenes work. Sharyn stresses the importance of authenticity on social media. Be present to doing what you’re passionate about and persevering even when the going gets tough.

Sharyn invites you to follow her Instagram @belsondesign. Learn more about Sharyn, Design Tours and Belson Design at: www.belsondesign.com.au

Chaise Lounge Updates

Find out about our Holiday Giveaway HERE!

Win a trip to Spain HERE!

Download our E-Book HERE!

  • Upcoming Events

KBIS – Jan 9 – 11

Atlanta Market – Jan 9 – 16

Dallas Market – Jan 17 – 23

Las Vegas Market – Jan 28 – Feb 1

Modernism Week – Feb 15 – 25

Design Bloggers Conference – March 4 – 6

BD West – April 4 – 5

High Point Market – April 14 – 18

HD Expo – May 2 – 4

ICFF – May 20 – 23

NeoCon – June 11 – 13

Wrap Up

If you would like to hear more episodes, please visit us on iTunes or on our website atTheChaiseLoungePodcast.com. Lastly, find The Chaise Lounge on Instagram, Facebook, andTwitter 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!

174 – Matthew Ferrarini: The Next Wave of Kitchen Design

Matthew FerrariniThe Next Wave of Kitchen Design

Today in The Lounge, Nick talks shop with Matthew Ferrarini of Ferrarini & Co, Kitchen and Bath Designer. Matthew works out of Philadelphia, but today Nick is catching up with him on location for a client in Miami. Turns out Matthew has interior design in his blood as the son of an interior designer mom and a contractor for a dad. Find out more, in this episode of the Chaise Lounge.

Breaking the Ice

Nick opens up about a favorite topic for a lot of guys…automobiles. Matthew is a fan of Tesla as an everyday vehicle and Ferrari for a higher end wow-factor. When asked about recent movies, Matthew shared that he recently got the chance to watch the movie Ma Ma with Penelope Cruz. Perfect segue to Nicks recent trip to Spain with Porcelanosa. Turns out Matthew been to Barcelona a few times and is also a big fan of Spain’s rich heritage, culture, friendliness and just overall coolness.

Getting Into the Business

Matthew attended Temple University (go Owls!) for a pre-law degree. Temple is well known for their law school, but somehow Matt just couldn’t shake the calling of design. While at school, he also pursued a certificate in interior design and construction management. He joined forces with his Mom and worked in the family business while still attending school. Upon graduation, he started his own company focusing on kitchen and bath with mom, Donna, as a partner.

From Humble Beginnings to Starting an Empire

Starting out was rough; very humble beginnings. Having lost substantial assets upon the split of his parents, Matthew made a grassroots effort to grow his business. Local marketing with flyers and an open mind is how Ferrarini & Co got off the ground. In the beginning, no project was too small and the business took pride in the work they did and the ensuing referrals. Good work and excellent customer service got them from a home-based business to a design office and showroom staffed with 5 people that accept clients nationwide.  

What it Takes

Matthew credits his success with clients to the broader view that he takes when designing his kitchen and baths. He doesn’t just focus solely on the space that he is tasked to redesign, but incorporates all adjacent areas to ensure a seamless flow. His knack for design really comes to light in space planning and problem-solving. Here is where his passions shine. He has made it a point to stay within his strengths and delegate the things he isn’t so passionate about to team members that are.

Accolades and the Way of the Millennial

Matthew Ferrarini’s point of view has earned him the National Kitchen and Bath Association’s (NKBA) ’30 under 30’ award. He believes in being progressive in his business and for a Millennial, that spells ‘tech’ heavy. Ivy is his software of choice to keep his business running smoothly. He transitioned from using a program that was more builder/construction directed and hasn’t looked back. He also uses Dropbox for file storage and Houzz as an avenue to work with clients using their lookbook feature. What seals the deal for a lot of his clients, is the use of photo-realistic renderings of what the space will look like prior to even lifting a hammer. As a value-added feature today, Nick is predicting that this will become standard in the coming years and you won’t be able to call yourself a designer without it.

Matthew believes in spending the time to find out as much about a client and their lifestyle as possible and creating one show-stopping design to present to them. Now that the business has grown, the marketing approach has certainly changed from the local flyer days. Ferrarini credits his storefront, referrals, and digital marketing through the website and online presence as the avenues that have gotten his name out there. His website is user-friendly, visually captivating and has something for every client. Even those that may not be ready to pull the trigger on a remodel just yet, have access to a free downloadable design guide. This gives the company a chance to get potential client’s contact info and stay on their radar for when they are ready to hit the ground running. Matthew invites you to check him out on Instagram @matthew_ferrarini.

Learn more about Ferrari & Co at: www.ferrariniremodeling.com.

  • Upcoming Events

KBIS – Jan 9 – 11

Atlanta Market – Jan 9 – 16

Dallas Market – Jan 17 – 23

Las Vegas Market – Jan 28 – Feb 1

Modernism Week – Feb 15 – 25

Design Bloggers Conference – March 4 – 6

BD West – April 4 – 5

High Point Market – April 14 – 18

HD Expo – May 2 – 4

ICFF – May 20 – 23

NeoCon – June 11 – 13

Wrap up

If you would like to hear more episodes, please visit us on iTunes or on our website atTheChaiseLoungePodcast.com. Lastly, find The Chaise Lounge on Instagram, Facebook, andTwitter 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!

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!

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