How to Use Your Portfolio for Maximum Marketing
The Kate Show | Episode 79
As an interior designer, home stager, or workroom owner, your project portfolio is one of your greatest marketing tools. Today, I'm sharing how you can leverage your portfolio - whether it is large or small - for the biggest and best marketing impact. We will cover the big things you should always do before and after adding new project photos to your website, how to make them work for you across Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook, and why telling the story behind each project is absolute marketing gold.
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What to Do Before / After Adding to Your Website Portfolio
Before taking photos of your recent project, make sure you've hired the right photographer or, if doing it yourself, make sure your camera is of high enough quality. Either way, you'll also need to ensure that the space is staged and styled to look good on camera, that you aren't simply relying on a "point and shoot" method, and that you have excellent lighting. Shadows will make your work look shoddy, even if it happens to be some of your best work ever.
After your photo shoot is complete, you should have at least a dozen images in your arsenal. Ask your photographer or team member who is familiar with Adobe Lightroom to edit the photos as needed. This doesn't mean adding elements that didn't exist in the original image, but it does mean adjusting the lighting, smoothing fabric wrinkles, and highlighting different textures you used in the project.
When preparing to upload these images to your website, have your photographer or team member do the following:
Compress each image to ensure a faster loading speed on your website; slow speeds will only frustrate your website visitors. You can using the free image compressor linked under Resources below.
Add your logo watermark to each image. This is optional but always a good idea. This task should be completed during the Lightroom editing phase.
Change the file name of each image from random letters or words to something that Google can read for SEO purposes (e.g. name your recent kitchen remodel as, "kitchen-renovation-remodel-home-tour-city-state," and be sure to include the location of that project. This literally tells Google the who, what, and where of your work and makes it easier for you to appear in the right search results.
Once these tasks are done, your images are finally ready for uploading to your website. Your portfolio projects should be sorted by room type OR by project type. If you are a home stager with a large portfolio, you might want to sort by room type. If you are an interior designer with extensive, multi-room projects, you might want to sort by project type; this allows you to keep all photos of the same project together. If you are a soft furnishings fabricator, you might prefer to sort your portfolio by product type (draperies, shades, cushions, etc).
Avoid using slideshows to present your projects, as they are more difficult to view and can also slow down the loading speed of your website. Grid or Pinterest-style layouts are best, as they also make it easier for you to add collaborator and photographer credit. Be sure to ask anyone who was involved with your photo shoot if and how they'd like to be credited on your website.
How to Maximize Your Portfolio Marketing Potential
Images are worth a thousand words, and they don't lose their value when used many times over. Here are some helpful tips to help you get the most out of every project you photograph:
Install a "Pin It" button on your website to allow visitors to pin your images on Pinterest
Pin your own images on your Pinterest business account and include a link back to your website
Write a blog post for each project (separate from your portfolio) and tell the story behind what the client needed, how you met that need, and how the client felt afterward (emotions are what sell, people!) Share this blog post on Facebook every few months.
Post each image individually on your business social media accounts over the course of several weeks - and tag any related brands, vendors, collaborators, and photographers. A month or two later, repeat the process. Many of your followers won't see these images the first or even the second time around, plus no one minds seeing a pretty image more than once.
In your caption, point out your favorite aspects of the project. Also, be sure to include a call-to-action (CTA) at the end of each caption, such as,
"Want a space like this for yourself? Click the link in my bio or DM me to book a consultation."
This CTA is important. Once you've hooked a follower's attention, you should always tell them what to do next. You don't simply want them to "like" your image and keep scrolling.
After you post an image on social media, share it as an Instagram / Facebook story. You need to get the most mileage out of each image as possible. Not only was that photo shoot an investment, but your images are also the most efficient way to present your value to potential clients.
Lastly, and most importantly, include 3-5 images of your work in your email newsletters. This helps you get even more interested eyes on your recent project and allows for more direct, intimate communication between you and a reader. My clients often do this and it results in their email subscribers clicking reply to book a similar project. Often, people simply need a visual reminder of what you do.
As you can see, taking photos of your work is crucial to having enough marketing content to grow your business...but you can't just take the photos and let them sit on your computer somewhere. Use them. Share them. Blog about them. Include them in your newsletter. WORK IT.