Hello and welcome along to another edition
of Home Conscious TV. Today we’re talking about getting your first client. Where do you find your clients? This is one of the most asked questions of
any interior designer and I would say categorically that there are expensive ways and there are
less expensive ways of doing this correctly. I have learned the hard way over the years! Getting that first client is a very important
step. Many entrepreneurs and business books talk
about that first client that gives you proof that you are in business at all. I look at it as the start of the business
journey. It is a very exciting moment and defining
one. The first thing to say is that they can be
like buses; you want one, but three come along at the same time! It may well be that you
meet a client and the client picks you because they have now met you and they like you; and
this is something wonderful. But that happens seldomly. So how do you get your first client? Where
do they come from? Let’s look at the runners and riders.. Word of mouth is by far my most effective way to acquire clients. And word of mouth covers a broad spectrum of ways
from suppliers recommending you or clients recommending you, to hearing from estate agents
about a property to refurbish, to builders passing on their clients. all this comes under word-of-mouth. Mostly you get work from friends of clients. They want what their friends have. And if
they can get you to do what you did for their friends, then they’ll be pleased. You won’t get every job you go for. Some just want to meet you, some are just
throwing around ideas and want to talk it over with someone. Either way, recommendations can be lifeblood when you’re starting out. Because recommendations prove that you’ve done a good
job and people want to rehire you and book you based on what they’ve seen. Paid for advertising is easy money to throw
away and is for the larger companies only. Don’t even try to compete with them. Most of these campaigns are about brand awareness. You’re not there yet. Unless you have an injection of venture capital
forthcoming and want to spend it on full and half page advertisements. Do you get any return? I never have but those larger companies keep
their name in the forefront of people’s minds and it works for them. The exception to this is Facebook where you
can get really targeted. See Amy Porterfield on how to do it right. Promotion and advertorials within magazines
is something that can be done but it is a paid for placement. Yes it looks more like an article but you
are still paying handsomely for it. I have not had much traction from these. Far better to do features for journalists
that name check you. The good thing to realise about paid advertising
is that you will undoubtedly be included in other parts of the magazine if you already
advertise with them. Look at Vogue magazine. When they arrange for clothes to be in the
magazine shoots and photographed by famous photographers, they pick first and foremost
from the list of heavily invested advertisers Ralph Lauren, Fendi, Chanel etc. It is all
about the brands that advertise. The same is true of design companies. Promotions are only relevant if you have some
spare marketing money to spend on a 2 to 3 page spread that highlights your latest work of course. Nothing sells more than ‘before and after’
shots. From weight loss to health conditions and
from fashion style to hairdressing.. if you’re new and have no ‘before or after’ shots
then you’ll be relying on a picture of you and some text AND you’ll have to be clear
and convincing as to why they should feature you at all. My personal favourite is Public Relations This is one of the best ways to market yourself
and without spending cash. Writers and editors and journalists have space
to fill, even more so online. The trick is to find your market. Local often works wonders. Local magazines, local newspapers. Everyone thinks of themselves as global and
digitally that’s true but remember you have to travel to these properties to complete
the work; so do your suppliers. That’s no good if you are featured in a
publication 50 miles away and you and your suppliers are not able or willing to travel
the distance. Let’s look at the different ways that you
can engage these writers and journalists…. Look at your local mags. What are they? List them. Look for any interior pages. Do they have them? Look for local news pages. Does it have the name of the person who wrote
it? Sometimes it will have their email, other times you have to go to the masthead What is the masthead? This is a list of people
that compile the magazine. Sometimes it gives a contact email for each
of them, but mostly it doesn’t. If it does make a note of it. Now all you need to do is to email them. If there is no email, use the main contact
email and and mark it For the Attention Of (the name of the person you are trying to reach). If you don’t have their email, call up and
ask for it and explain you have a local business news story to give them. When you have the email, explain who you are,
what you do, what you offer and that you are local. Suggest an interview with them or a question
and answer written article that they can cut and paste into an article. Make it easy for them. Tell them you can supply images of you and
your work. A step up from this is to email the Editor
directly. if you can get the editors email, then brilliant. This is where you can be more bold with your
suggestions. How about a column? They haven’t got one?
You can do that! How about a three month trial? 200 to 300 words? That shouldn’t be a problem
for you should it?! Ask the editor to try it and see if people email
in with problems for you to answer and solve. Things to note: don’t be too over friendly,
keep it short, include a link to your website. Be patient. They have hundreds of emails coming in. If they reply ‘no thanks’ reply to them
and ask if they have any supplements that would be suitable for you to appear in. Be prepared for them to ask you to advertise
with them. Ask for the name of the person on the magazine
who you should contact with any updates and news. Keep your email or telephone call conversational. They want to know that you can speak as well as write! Keep it human. It’s always great when suppliers can pass
on their gratitude to you by recommending you. This has happened a number of times to me
and it’s always nice. Furthermore you tend to go out of your way
to help the new client as you want to do your suppliers proud and do a good job for them
because they have done a good job for you in the past. Recommendations tend to be varied both in
financial size and project detail but from suppliers, they tend to mean more because
it’s a recommendation from your peers as it were. if they didn’t like you or your way of working
they wouldn’t be happy to recommend you. The other crucial thing with suppliers recommendations
is that you can often get background detail on the prospective clients beforehand. I have had kitchens, whole houses, commercial
work and maintenance work from recommendations. Well worth the effort. I have not had many leads from residential
clients from social media but I have had commercial clients crop up now and again. Social media is more brand building rather
than attracting clients. Social media is also good for getting in touch
with your peers and the people that you want to contact and colarborate with. But two of these platforms are very important. these are Instagram and Pinterest. Pinterest and Instagram will showcase your
work because they are visual. At first you won’t have any work to put on
there but eventually you will and you can use these platforms to your advantage. But to start, just follow accounts that you
like and start building Pinterest boards and instagram accounts that reflect you and your
work. In conclusion I would say that there are many
ways to get clients and those are just a few of the ways that I have used both in the past
and currently in order to attract clients. Although, you won’t see any advertising from
me however. I have more than enough work coming in and
that’s through 100% recommendation which clearly works both for me and my clients. So that’s all for this video. If you have learned something from this, like,
share and subscribe and you’ll be ready for the next session. Happy Designing!

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