Despite the growing population of wealthy people and the rising middle class who are free to invest in designing and decorating their new homes, many interior designers are struggling. Instead of designers being drowned with requests from new clients, many struggle with an aging client base and are battling to find new clients. Some report finding it difficult to explain the value of interior design services to young, affluent people.

According to a recent survey by Unity Marketing in association with the Home Trust International, finding new clients are interior designers’ number one business challenge. A recent YouGov survey showed that only 10% of the wealthiest Americans who had $10-million or more net worth, “regularly” use the services of interior designers. Instead, many people are opting for the DIY route which has been encouraged by home makeover shows on television.

To reach your potential clients and bring in new clients, interior designers need to focus on effective marketing strategies. While word-of-mouth is still a potent way to bring in business, an increasing number of interior designers are turning to social media to promote their work and attract new clients.

According to Unity Marketing’s statistics on interior designers’ advertising strategies, however, close to 80% of professional interior designers are active on social media but only 17% of them rate social media as an effective tool for promoting their businesses. Word-of-mouth was cited as very effective by 85% of the professional designers who participated in the survey. In a nutshell, the study, which is entitled Interior Designers & Social Media: Help or Hype? indicates that 80% of designers say that social media over promises but under delivers when it comes to bringing in new business.

It’s not enough for interior designers to simply be on social media, they also have to publish the right content and participate in the right conversations to attract affluent clients. The interior designers using social media said that Facebook is by far the preferred platform, followed by Instagram, Houzz, LinkedIn and Pinterest.

Many designers find it hard to market their services, but they need to be as exceptional marketers as they are designers if they want their businesses to flourish. Interior designers need to carefully analyse which social media platforms are helping them attract the right type of clients and focus their efforts there. By communicating the value they add, the results they deliver and the solutions they create, they can appeal to the right audience at the right time.

One of the major challenges that designers encounter is how to communicate the value they provide to potential clients. While they may know how they add value, this knowledge isn’t always effectively communicated and delivered to people who could need their services in future.

According to a recent ASID survey, 64% of designers believe the public doesn’t understand the true value of interior designer services. Designers using social media to market their services need to continuously revisit the content they are producing and sharing to question whether they are communicating their value in a way that will lead to more people hiring them for interior design services. Any marketing initiative, including a social media strategy, takes time and effort, which is why your strategy needs to deliver tangible results that impact your bottom line.

The problem is that social media doesn’t seem to translate to measurable results and more profit for designers. If social media is only used as a PR tool, then it will assist in brand building but not necessarily bring in more paying clients because a designer’s target market doesn’t necessarily use social media to find an interior designer when they need one.

A designer’s most limited resource is his or her time. A marketing strategy eats away at this resource, so deciding what approach you’re going to follow is as important as deciding what you’re not going to do. If consistent social media marketing efforts have failed to yield results in the past, then it would be worthwhile to rethink your strategy. Time is money and any marketing avenue a designer chooses must deliver a return on investment.

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