How to Choose a Marketing Company for Your Design or Staging Business

How to Choose a Marketing Company for Your Design or Staging Business

The Kate Show | Episode 67

You finally hit a wall. There is no more time in your day - and you've already skipped lunch - but you still have a dozen more things to do for your business, things that you keep putting off, things that you don't want to do, things you just don't have time to tackle.

Let me guess... Those "business things" are marketing related, aren't they? I hear this from home industry pros all the time:

"I know I should be (blogging, pinning, posting, etc) but I literally don't have time. And I'm worried. Even though I'm busy right now, when happens when this hectic season passes? Do I really have to wait until my schedule is bone-dry before I can work on marketing my own business? That seems like too little, too late."

Here's the thing about my average client: She is smart as a whip, even if she doesn't realize it. She wants to plan for the future of her business. She wants to be strategic with her small to medium marketing budget.

And she DOES NOT want to wear all the hats any more.

Is this you? Are you so burned out and bewildered by the 1,000+ pieces of marketing advice flying in your face that you don't know what to do next? Are you so overwhelmed by marketing or even just your own client load that the thought of cranking out a blog post, a newsletter, or a month's worth of social media is completely ludicrous?

If so, it's time that you partner with a marketer. In today's episode of The Kate Show, I'm digging into exactly how to find the right social media manager, website designer, and marketing consultant, including what signs to look for and what questions to ask. Be sure to subscribe to The Kate Show on iTunes / Google Play.

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How to Choose a Marketing Company for Your Design or Staging Business

How to Find the Right Social Media Manager

If you're looking for someone to expertly take your social media from 100 fans to 100,000+, to land you the best shelter magazine features, and to get your account tagged by some of the best home industry celebs while new clients come pouring into your business....

You don't need a social media manager. You need a miracle!

Social media managers will work with the content you give them and present it to your ideal client on a regular schedule. This means it is still your job to provide content and ongoing direction as to who your ideal client is and what you do / don't want to see being posted. It is impossible for a social media team to understand your ideal client without taking time to get to know your business. This can be done through initial forms and phone calls but is most realistically done as the two of you start working together.

When selecting a social media manager, be sure to ask these questions:

Am I bound by a contract?

Not all contracts are bad. You'll need to give your new social manager at least 3 months to see if the relationship is working. As with all relationship, make sure you are communicating with them about what you do and don't like. Lastly, avoid contracts that extend beyond a 3-6 month period.

What results should I expect?

If they make lofty promises, run! The point of social media is to send traffic to your site. They can't and shouldn't promise anything beyond that.

How involved do I need to be?

They might want you to provide images or videos, which truly isn't a deal breaker and allows you to have more control over your business's visuals. However, if you're hoping they will generate all content for you, you need to let them know beforehand.

What industries do you focus on?

If your potential social manager works with everyone from bankers to dog sitters, they likely won't be aware of the many nuances in interior design, home staging, or workroom marketing. If that doesn't bother you, great, but if you want someone who can actually take the reigns on your social strategy, make sure you aren't the only home pro they've worked with.

Do I like how this social media company looks?

A company with great graphics and clear target client indicates the level of professionalism they'll bring to your social media. If their online presence looks cheap, cheesy, or half-baked, you might want to look elsewhere.

Choosing a social media manager might feel stressful, but it shouldn't. You don't need a huge management package that requires too much input from you and too much money out of your pocket. You just need someone who understands your business, your goals, and your target client and is able to post 3 times per week on a social platform for you.

How to Choose a Marketing Company for Your Design or Staging Business

How to Find the Right Website Designer

I've designed 70+ websites since starting my business in 2014, and I've realized one powerful truth: Website design is emotional - not for me but often for my clients. In fact, if you have a difficult time narrowing down what you like, if you lean on the opinions of other people to tell you whether your designer did a good job, or if you struggle with expressing your desires for your new website, you might be setting yourself up for a less than stellar experience.

Every website designer is different and there is no right or wrong design process. Make sure you fully understand their process and, most of all, be certain on whether you trust that process. If you worry about whether they will communicate with you enough, you need to initiate that communication and voice your concerns before signing anything.

Here are a few questions you should ask before signing a website design contract:

How many rounds of revision do I get and what constitutes a round of revision?

No experienced website designer will offer you endless revisions, which you can understand as a fellow professional. If you presented a design concept to a homeowner, got it approved, and started ordering product...only to have that client change her mind over and over...your contract would need to protect you as the creative. Website design is no different. Make sure you fully understand what a round of revision is, as defined by that designer, and get clear on how many revisions are included in the price of your website project.

How long does your website design process take?

While this can depend on how long it takes you to send them photos and information about your business, website design can take anywhere from two weeks to several months. Make sure your designer of choice is on the more efficient end.

What if I don't like the end result?

Keep in mind that websites are subjective. If your website designer was listening to your feedback, making edits, and offering input along the way, you shouldn't end up with a site you dislike (unless what you wanted going against best practices, but that's a whole other problem). However, if you suddenly decide you don't like the site, ask your designer what their hourly rate is for extra revisions. Again, no trustworthy website contract includes endless revisions.

That said, website designers aren't perfect either. Make sure you understand and approve of their design process and that you like their past work before signing any contracts.

Will you also write the text for the site?

I'm surprised by how many designers won't do this. I always have, and it is a huge selling point to my clients.

Do you add SEO to the text and to my images?

If they say no, they aren't building you a complete website. If they say yes but then suggest they add a separate web page for each geographic area you serve, they are not up to date on modern SEO standards, and you may want to look elsewhere.

Will you compress my images and / or stock photos for faster loading speeds?

You need this. Enough said.

Will I own my website or will you?

You need to be the sole owner of your site and have easy access to both the back end of your site and your domain host. If you paid for your site in full, no one has the right to hold it hostage in any way.

Do you charge ongoing fees for maintenance or updates?

You should only be paying them if work is being done. I highly suggest avoiding ongoing, monthly fees unless you know for sure that your website will actually need to be updated that often.

How to Choose a Marketing Company for Your Design or Staging Business

How to Choose a Marketing Consultant

A marketing consultant can guide you through the best way to design your website and run your social media as each relates to the greater whole of your marketing funnel, In fact, they will likely offer these services and more. Many home industry pros prefer to work with all-in-one marketing companies, and for legitimate reasons: It's just easier.

If you're looking for a marketing company who can do it all, here are some questions you'll need to ask:

  1. Do you specialize in my industry?

  2. Do you require any contracts or minimum monthly commitments?

  3. Will you approach my marketing cohesively, with all channels pointed toward a common goal?

  4. How often will you provide reports or updates on how things are progressing?

  5. How will we communicate to ensure that we both stay on the same page?

  6. Are you open to receiving and implementing my feedback, as long as it aligns with best marketing practices?

  7. What does your service package NOT include?

  8. Will you make recommendations or suggestions for marketing improvement as we build our business relationship?

Marketing consultation can occur monthly or quarterly, depending on how quickly your business is changing. Here are Socialite, our marketing consultations are monthly (or more) for up and coming businesses and quarterly for well-established businesses. That said, I make sure I'm available in between to address any issues that might arise.

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