5 Things High-End Design Firms Never Do in their Marketing

high end design firm black leather chair magnolia leaves clay pot white

Whether you want to establish your firm as “high-end” or simply elevate the professionalism of your existing brand, there are several marketing lessons we can learn from the crème de la crème of the design world. 

What do high-end designers do differently with their marketing? Or better yet, what do they never do in their marketing? There are 5 big things I’ve noticed.

As I go through each of these, I want you to know that in no way am I passing judgment if you are currently doing any of these things. Heck, I am still doing some of these things because O&B is growing faster than I can hire people. We all do our best depending on where we’re at. 

These five observations are simply to highlight what these firms are doing right and how we can learn from them. (Or high five ourselves if we’re already nailing it!) Come take a look…

1. High-End Design Firms Don’t Spend Time on DIY Topics

Unless you have a DIY-related service (such as a design course) or are selling products, you should not be blogging about DIY topics. 

However, that’s not to say that all “how to” posts are off-limits. There’s a big difference between a post called “How to prepare for an interior design project” and one called “How to pick the right color for your front door.” The former is a great topic for a potential full-service design client; the latter is better for designers looking to book color consultations as their number one service. 

That’s not to say that one is right or wrong — they are simply right or wrong depending on your goals. And you get to decide what those are.

2. High-End Design Firms Rarely (or Never) Talk about Money

High-end design firms almost never talk about money, and when they do, they usually avoid words like “cost” or “price.” (For our clients, we always use the term “investment.”) It’s not that money is a taboo topic; rather, most high-end interior design clients aren’t looking to get design on a budget. They are willing to finance a project that results in quality, style, luxury, and the professionals who handle it all for them.

Yes, money talks will happen, and they need to know you’re a professional at managing funds. But leading with that info in your marketing isn’t usually in your best interest. Your financial prowess is better wrapped into the professionalism of the services you offer, or over a candid discovery call.

Now, if you find that your ideal clients are concerned about keeping their project on a budget, that’s okay. If you love working with them and you’re happy with their projects’ price point, by all means, dedicate some of your marketing to discussing the ins and outs of budgeting a project! 

(See how content largely depends on who you’re talking to and what your business goals are? This is why we ALWAYS begin our projects with a Content Strategy Session.)

3. High-End Design Firms Don’t Go Off-Brand

Imagine that you’ve designed a beautiful, modern bedroom, from the sleek black bed frame to custom sconces to geometric art that brings the palette together. Now imagine that a traditional chair walks onto the scene and settles itself right at the foot of the bed. You didn’t plan for it. The lines are all wrong. And, good lord, it clashes with the color scheme!

Guess where everybody’s eyes are looking when they first enter the space? Yup. At that piece that doesn’t belong.

The same is true with your marketing.

Like design, your marketing strategy is made of several elements that work together — your website and blog posts, your newsletters, your social media platforms, etc. — and I’m not just talking about the aesthetics of it all, your written message needs to be consistent too!

Top notch design firms maintain their brand’s identity and integrity by never going off-script. There is no glaring outlier distracting you. Your experience of their brand is seamless, consistent, trustworthy, and beautiful — and their clients associate all of those things with high-end quality.

4. High-End Design Firms Aren’t Winging It

I think we have all seen businesses that look like they are just winging it. Most likely, you have also had that wonderful, totally stressful, just-wingin’-it experience at some point in your life or career. This usually looks like… 

  • trying too many things or switching lanes (no, you don’t need to be on TikTok)
  • launching one service after another (pick a few GREAT services and leave it at that)
  • inconsistency with your content (a blog post this month, skip 3 months, and then another one..)
  • nonexistent work-life balance (been there)

Now, I’m not here to tell you that you absolutely have to have your ish together all the time, because that’s unrealistic to expect of ourselves. But I can tell you that high-end design firms always look like they have it together. Know what I mean?

Sure, you should be personable. You can admit to funny, relatable foibles, keep it light, and see great success. But when it comes to your marketing as a whole, high-end design firms DO NOT jump tracks. 

  • they have a marketing strategy they stick to (the look, voice, message, services, presence)
  • they publish content consistently (it’s predictable and dependable)
  • their marketing reveals an elevated, finely-tuned customer experience (not all over the place)

Everything is intentional.

5. High-End Design Firms Don’t Settle for Less than Top-Notch Quality

When it comes to their public face, high-end design firms do not settle for anything below top-notch quality. This usually means:

  • professionally designed website and graphic design
  • professional portfolio photos, always
  • ongoing brand photoshoots (more on this here)
  • an unparalleled client experience from the very first touchpoint

It’s also true that many of these firms have dedicated marketing teams or outsource. If you’re in a place where you can do that (and you haven’t yet), do it. You will only see positive benefits from having dedicated people to manage the areas that are their zones of genius. Not to mention the joy and freedom you’ll feel when you can get those things off your plate!

If you’re quite there yet, that’s okay. Elevate your marketing one step at a time, hire help with just the areas that you enjoy the least, and remember that our businesses all grow at different speeds. 

Conclusion: 5 Marketing Do’s to Elevate Your Brand

Which brings me to my final point before I wrap this up… if we look at these 5 marketing DON’Ts of successful high-end firms, we can summarize them into a few DOs for us:

  1. DO share content that speaks to your ideal client
  2. DO prioritize your clients’ real pain points, not the ones you think they should have (like money)
  3. DO adhere to your established brand guidelines
  4. DO have an intentional, thoughtful marketing plan and stick to it
  5. DO prioritize quality in every area of your marketing

Together, these add up to a marketing strategy that helps your firm look even more professional, connect more easily with your dream clients, and at the end of the day (or a few months)… GROW.

To help you master numbers 1, 2, and 4 on that list, download our Content Strategy Workbook Here, pour yourself a glass, and get intentional.

See you next week!

Jaquilyn K.

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