We all know how important it is to stay in touch with customers. And although times are tough, this is not the time to throw your hands up in despair. It’s actually a GREAT time to make some changes in your marketing plan and start doing more with less!  Take a look at a few free or nearly free ways you can connect with your customers.

Email Newsletters – Remember all those email addresses you were going to collect? They sure would come in handy right now. If you do have them, and are sending an email newsletter, good for you! Email marketing is an excellent way to stay in touch with clients because the costs are so low. Compared to newspaper ads, direct mail or the yellow pages, there’s just no comparison!

1. Start out using your website content in your email newsletter. You probably have articles, tips, tricks, etc that you can send to past customers.

2. Consider your customer’s mindset. People are interested in saving money right now. And although I don’t recommend lowering your prices, you can offer ‘package deals’. Put together a few ‘specials’ with varying price points. Get creative with your offerings and include them in your newsletter. A few examples are –

* Redecorate 1 room, 2 rooms, or 3 rooms.

* Take 25% off re-upholstery charges with the purchase of 10 yards of fabric or more.

* Take 25% off fabric valances with the purchase of cellular shades

* Free liner on the purchase of full length draperies

3. Remember to make it super easy for your customers to contact you directly from your email newsletter.

Phone Campaigns – The best way to keep customers coming back to you for additional services, is to routinely call them and thank them for their business.

Some designers call a select number of customers each week, while others do a big, all-hands-on-deck after hours call-a-thon over a few days.

I hear the same story from everyone: the delight their customers feel with this unexpected thank you. And many designers report customers asking about additional services from the designers!

This is also an excellent opportunity to update their contact information (ahem! get their email addresses…).

Surveys – Surveys are an excellent way to find out what’s on your customers’ minds. There are several online tools that are free – SurveyMonkey and PollDaddy are excellent for putting an electronic survey together. (You can also conduct a phone survey as well, if you’d prefer not to do one online.)

1. Be careful about what you ask. If you aren’t prepared to change your office hours or add parking space, then don’t ask about those things.

2. Be ready to share the survey’s results. Let customers know what changes you’ve made because of their participation.

3. Follow up by phone with as many customers as possible. Start out something like this, ‘We’re following up with a few of our customers to thank them for taking our survey. Would you like to schedule a few moments to review your decorating needs or concerns? Is there anything in particular we can help you with?’

4. Keep the survey short – five or six questions and a lot more will get completed.

These strategies are all free, or nearly free ways you too can market your interior design business. Times are changing, and so your marketing plan must change too.

If you’d like help with any of these, check out our ‘Done-for-You Social Media Marketing’ service for interior designers.

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