Remember when design bloggers were obsessed with their RSS feeds to drive traffic to their blogs. No? Maybe you developed your digital chops with social media like Twitter, Facebook or finally got interested when Pinterest started picking up speed? Now you’re probably obsessed with Instagram?
You may be up to date on the latest social craze, but what about all of those relationships you were cultivating with people using all those other tools and platforms who didn’t get the memo about your favorite platform du jour? All that time and effort you put in is lost because you don’t know who used to follow you, who used to get your updates or who may have still want to hear from you. Now when Snapchat, Periscope or whatever else looms on the horizon blows up, you’ll have to start all over again. Why? Because you don’t have a list.
Know this, if you don’t have a steady stream of the right kind of prospects, a wait list, or if you’re busy, but not that busy, it’s probably because you don’t have a loyalty program for your clients and fans.
Your newsletter is the foundation of your loyalty program.
E-mail marketing works. Why? Because it’s permission-based and according to every online marketing statistic, email is still the number one way for you to cultivate relationships with clients in every single kind of business and convert them into sales. When you’ve received permission to be in communication with clients and you’re in touch in a way that is reliable, authentic, value-driven and encourages action, you earn more. For interior designers, it’s particularly important in building relationships with those high-end clients you seek.
Because here’s the thing if I’m the kind of client who can afford your services, I’m probably a busy professional who doesn’t have a ton of time to spend on social. Even if I am constantly checking my phone, even if I pin for fun, I’ve probably only got time to check out my own feed or a tiny portion of the feeds of people who I like. Will I remember to check yours? Will your post hit show up at the right time?
However as a professional, or a human being in the 21st century, I always need to check my email. I’m also more likely to open email from someone I like, in other words you, especially if I know that your emails are worth reading. Because the underlying assumption is that when I subscribed to your newsletter, I signed up to be communicated with.
Even if I suck with email, even if I’m avoiding my inbox today, your message is still there waiting for me when I get back. Unlike your stream of social posts, your email doesn’t just go away. And because email allows you to make unlimited contact with me, you are more likely to catch a potential client at time when they’re ready to buy, one of the most important rules of sales.
Email By Numbers
Now I’m not suggesting you give up your efforts on social media because it’s a key component of your seeding strategy, however when it comes to building a tribe that you can influence, your list will bring a bigger return every single time. For example, when I started MeByDesign, before the business had that name, before I had a website or branded social media, I wrote a regular newsletter to a tiny list of just over 300 people and earned almost six-figures in sales in my first year of business.
Now I work with interior designers with several thousand followers on social media who haven’t figured out how to convert those into income for their business. Even designers who do convert on social are seeing a fraction of the returns they do once we add their loyal program into the mix.
But you don’t have to take my word for it. From a pure numbers perspective, email has nearly three times as many user accounts as Facebook and Twitter combined.That’s a whopping 2.9 billion. In fact, Facebook and Twitter combined make up just 0.2% of the number of emails sent each day. Not including spam.
A precedent has been set for customers to get offers and to buy things through email. So they not only have a high tolerance for it, but they’re actually more likely to be in a buying frame of mind. They’re primed. On Facebook, they’re ready to chat. On Instagram, they’re escaping their day looking at pretty pictures. They may click to figure out where they can buy that sweater you’re wearing, but a whole room? That’s going to require a conversation. That’s going to require them knowing what your process is and the value of your experience and expertise.
It strikes me that this could be why so many people think design services are cheap. Are you cultivating an audience who thinks that designing a room is as easy as posting a picture?
If you have products and you don’t have a newsletter, you are leaving money on the table.
If you plan to write a book and you don’t have a newsletter, you don’t have the infrastructure to support the number #1 way authors guarantee and boost their sales.
In the vast majority of cases, business-minded people do not go to social media for private, one-to-one sales conversations, if they’re serious. In my own case, my readers often hit reply on my newsletters to engage with. A few of those engagements will often lead to a sales call.
Worth The Wait
Even if you don’t see results at first—and interior designers who send out one or two inconsistently don’t—you will if you invest the same level of care in your communication that you do in design process.
Mirror the lifestyle your client aspires to back to them in a way that shows your firm is not only their design solution but also their friend and give them a reason to get in touch.