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  • Writer's pictureDominic Barker

Making 2021 Your Year In Interior Design

The latest announcements out of Number 10 have sparked a wave of (cautious) optimism across the UK. Maybe just maybe the next few months will see us take a few tentative steps towards what we like to think of as “normality”.

The trouble is, after 12 plus months of Covid induced restrictions, what will “normal” look like and more specifically, what will “normal” look like for the Interior Design sector? One thing is for sure though, if we don’t take at least some lessons from the last 12 months we will struggle to move forward in any meaningful way.

The broad concept of working in an office is unlikely to go back to how it was at the start of last year – “What? You really need me in the office at 8.30 on Monday morning for the sales meeting? We haven’t done that for 14 months but we are still smashing our targets. I’ll be on Zoom, let me know when you’re ready.”

But in the world of Interior Design what can be learnt in terms of marketing strategies for a post Covid world?

Well, my initial response would be a pretty straight forward – take some time out, sit back with a glass/cup of whatever you fancy and start looking at some of the key areas of your marketing strategy. It’s important to look at what has changed over the last year or so and the impact that has had on you.

Here’s some suggestions for places to look:

Let’s start with what should be an easy one – “Who are your target customers?”

OK, maybe not that easy but you do need to have a very clear picture in your mind of what your ideal client for 2021 looks like. What type of businesses or people do you want to work with? What is your niche? Don’t be shy, ask yourself, “what am I amazing at and who can afford me?”

Think about what has changed and adapt your target profile accordingly.

- This year businesses will start welcoming staff back into workplaces that have lain empty for 12 months. Time for a bit of a face lift?

- For a lot of high-net-worth individuals the pandemic has had little adverse effect. For the people you might want to talk to the wealth had not disappeared.

- Many people will continue to work at least partly from home and the kitchen table just isn’t cutting it anymore. Time to turn that second garage into the office of their dreams.

- The housing market is on fire right now, what opportunities does the offer you?

Once you have a laser sharp image of your ideal customer it starts to make things a lot easier.

For a start you can sense check all your marketing messages and choice of channels against the likely habits and tastes of that ideal target. Do they really use Twitter as their social media of choice? Will they respond to an advertisement in the local freesheet? Put yourself in the shoes of your customer and then answer the question again – if the answer is NO then don’t do it.

Secondly, now is a great time to review your social media strategy but one word of caution… don’t look at it from your point of view, once again put yourself in the shoes of your ideal customer (I told you that would be a useful exercise, didn’t I?).

Firstly, unless you have a dedicated social media department you don’t have time to use all the social media channels available or if you do you won’t do any of them well.

Focus on the ones that add the most value to your business, your service is visual (obvs) so Instagram, Facebook and Houzz should be your core choices (alongside Linkedin for business of course) and once you’ve made that choice make them work as hard as possible for you. Regular posts, original content etc etc all the stuff you know but this time commit to doing it.

Once you’ve gone to the effort of creating some killer content, whether it’s a stunning image or a journal entry that singles you out as a titan of the interior design industry – make the most of it.

Repurposing content makes all your effort work harder for your business – a 700 word journal article very easily becomes a 300 word 3 minute Linkedin read and in turn can be a 280 character Twitter post – easy, one piece of genius becomes three pieces of great content.

Last one to think about… I touched on it a bit earlier, but in this day and age content really is king especially in such a visible sector as Interior Design. Focus on keeping your dream client interested in what you can do for them through great content.

Excite them with stunning images of your recent work, impress them with you understanding of the industry through carefully crafted Journal stories and make them stop and think for a second with your inciteful analysis of the future of the Interior Design industry.

But, a word of caution, this takes time so set yourself realistic targets in terms of what you can produce and stick to them.

2021 will be a year of opportunity for many sectors including Interior Design, hopefully some of this at least has helped you focus on what you need to do to make it a great year for you.

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