In June 2020, Katie Hopkins, the former Apprentice contestant and self-styled ‘Biggest Bitch in Britain’, had 1.1 million followers on the social media platform Twitter.
Then, overnight, she had none. Zero. She lost the lot.
Where Did They All Go?
Well, they didn’t go anywhere. Twitter closed down her account, after mass complaints about her content. They removed her ability to communicate with over a million people. And there was nothing she could do about it.
What Does That Have To Do With You?
It highlights the fact that all those likes and follows you’ve spent time accumulating on social media don’t belong to you. Access to ‘your’ audience is gifted to you by social media organisations. As private companies, they can, and do, restrict your access whenever they want, for whatever reason they see fit.
It’s their club, their rules – and they’re doing it to you, right now.
Don’t believe me? Then read on…
What’s The Problem With Social Media?
For some business owners, social media is just unfathomable noise and yet another thing to add to their to-do lists.
But social media offers you the chance to create awareness of your brand, drive visitors to your website and helps you build an audience of potential future customers, all for free.
What’s not to like, right?
The lure of free access to millions of punters is too tempting for most of us to pass up. For the past decade, companies and brands have piled on to Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube and, more recently, Instagram, Pinterest, SnapChat and TikTok. All tempted by the bait of free advertising to an endless source of anonymous eyeballs.
But as more and more companies and individuals joined in, the sheer volume of posts made it impossible to read everything posted to your news feed.
Facebook, by far the largest social media platform, began to restrict the reach of organic posts (i.e. anything that’s not a paid ad), as early as 2012. By 2014, Facebook Business Page owners complained that only 16% of their followers saw their content. Today, you can expect your company’s Facebook posts to reach just 1-2% of your audience.
Social media companies encouraged you to build an audience for free, then started to take away your access and hoped you wouldn’t notice. If you want expanded reach today, you must pay for it. And, as we’ve seen, if you upset them, they can cut you off entirely.
So Why Would You Even Bother With Social Media?
For two reasons. Firstly, social platforms allow you to run highly-targeted paid advertising at reasonable rates. And secondly, just because the average Facebook organic post reaches 1-2%, this doesn’t mean your posts will reach such a small proportion of people. You just need to create engaging content that encourages shares and comments. If you know how.
But I think the most important thing to recognise is that Facebook is aiming for a day when organic reach is zero. And when that day comes, if you want to use a company Facebook page, you’ll need to pay. By that point, your audience of likes and followers will be worthless.
Why would you spend substantial amounts of time, money and effort on growing an audience when someone else has total control over your access to it? It makes sense to move your audience somewhere you control.
What Katie Should Have Done.
Admittedly, it would be unwise to try and promote your design business with the sort of content Katie Hopkins was pushing. But to coin a phrase of which she’d probably approve, she should have taken back control. In marketing terms, she should have migrated as many of her followers as possible away from Twitter and on to her email list.
Then, once they were signed up, she could have held forth on whatever topic she pleased, whenever she wanted to. No-one could have stopped her.
This Is What Designer-Led Business Like Yours Should Be Doing Too.
Not ranting and getting banned from Twitter – I’m referring to moving your audience to your mailing list where you can control it.
It’s a simple two-step process:
- you use social media to drive visitors to your website.
- once there, you encourage them to sign up to your email list, by offering them something for free.
Once you have an email subscriber list, you can build relationships and nurture interested potential clients, and practically no cost to you. And you’ll have total control.
The Rule of Seven.
Let’s face it. You’re extremely unlikely to sell a new kitchen or garden design, just by posting on Facebook or Instagram. You need to nurture people, educate them, and overcome objections and risk, especially when you’re selling high-priced design services. You can’t do that in one social media post, or even several.
You might have heard of the Rule of Seven, or the seven touches of sales or marketing. It refers to the principle that it takes seven ‘touches’ or exposures to your business before a potential customer takes any action. A touchpoint could be a social media post, or seeing your logo on the company van, or meeting you at a networking event, or seeing your advert in the local paper.
It takes considerable energy to maintain enough touchpoints to nurture a particular lead. If you base a large part of your lead-nurturing effort on social media, where access to your audience is being withheld, it only makes the job harder. You can’t even track interactions with individuals. But on email, you can.
Selling To Interested Prospects Is More Effective.
Most people recoil in horror when they think about picking up the phone to sell their services by cold calling. But social media marketing is just another cold sales technique.
What I mean by cold sales is that you don’t have any prior relationship with your sales prospects. By getting your social media audience, or your website visitors (i.e. cold leads) to sign up to your mailing list, they become warm ones. They are voluntarily waving their hands and telling you “we like what you are doing, and we’d love to hear more about it.”
So, you should tell them more about it, regularly, via email.
Consistent emails and newsletters help to build relationships, keep your company in people’s minds, educate, reduce risk and objections – all the while creating those essential touchpoints.
“But I Haven’t Got Time To Write Sales Emails.”
This is a popular response, but remember, your email subscribers are interested in your business. Doesn’t it make sense to nurture these people, who want to hear from you, rather than the anonymous eyeballs on social media?
It makes absolute business sense to nurture your warm leads first.
That’s not to say you abandon social media altogether. You just ensure your mailing list takes priority.
“People Don’t Read Emails.”
The opposite is true. As we’ve seen, social media reach is at an all-time low. But with email marketing, 90% reaches its intended recipient.
According to the latest UK data from Campaign Monitor (2019), the Home and Garden Design sector has the third-best email marketing opening rates, at 27.4%.
And while that’s considerably better than 1-2% over on Facebook, the email campaigns we run for our clients have average open rates of over 55%.
And people stay subscribed. Last year, UK-wide unsubscribe rates were incredibly low, at 0.2%.
Does Email Marketing Work?
We worked with a firm of architectural designers who realised they could not continue to rely on referrals for new business. We proposed they should focus on building their email list, which we segmented according to the services they offered – a segment for people interested in extensions; another for those who liked barn conversions, etc.
We wrote some simple, useful giveaways, each one tailored to the interests of a customer segment. We then posted about the giveaways on social media and encouraged potential customers to download them from the company’s website.
In exchange, we gathered their email addresses and their permission for us to send them email newsletters.
Subscribers then received one email newsletter per month. Each newsletter typically included four articles about various aspects of the business, including new projects, case studies, helpful guides (to local planning, for example) and company news. It wasn’t salesy at all. The tone we used was more along the lines of a trusted guide. Each newsletter became an extra touchpoint.
In 15 months, the downloads, and the monthly emails we sent out, generated £80,000 of new business. We converted 15.7% of new subscribers into paying customers.
And you don’t need a massive readership – this list has just 300 people, and our average open rate is 55.4%.
So, people do read emails. And they take action.
And the best part is those free downloads are still there today, continuing to bring in new subscribers and drive new business.
Marketing for Home-Design and Garden Design Businesses
When it comes to marketing, home-design companies have a lot going for them. You have great-looking products to sell, and you have compelling creative transformations and human interest stories to tell.
You provide aspirational services that enhance the lifestyles of your clients, and your services lend themselves beautifully to the creation of articles, videos, photography, brochures and social media. Perfect material for content marketing, social media and your email list.
You need a marketing partner who knows how to make it work for you.
We Specialise In Marketing For Home-Design Businesses.
We have a unique blend of experience at Keefomatic. As well as our work here, for the past 13 years, owner Keith Barker has been a partner in a highly successful garden design company. We’ve taken that niche home-design marketing know-how and combined it with 30 years’ of wider industry design and marketing expertise.
We use that mix of skills to help other businesses in the home-design sector. Our clients now include architectural designers, garden designers, interior designers and landscaping companies.
We have a proven track record of helping designer-led businesses to tell their stories and sell more services.
What Do We Offer?
Our job is to make you look good, help you demonstrate your expertise, win more clients, and convert more leads into sales.
We do that via a range of services including:
- marketing strategy
- content creation
- email marketing
- social media management
- paid social media advertising
- website design
- logo and brand design
- print design.
We understand what it’s like to run a small creative business as well as trying to keep on top of marketing and sales. I’ll give the final word to one of our clients:
“As a busy and expanding practise we were aware that we were giving no time to marketing, advertising, keeping the website current, etc., primarily because we didn’t have the time and knowledge to do so.
The monthly newsletter was something we had tried to do, but it was always on the back burner. Without your professional expertise, we would never have done it, and we’re delighted with the results.”
Find Out More.
If you find the idea of marketing overwhelming, we’re experts in marketing home-design businesses, and we’re here to help. The first step is to give me a call on 01530 588110 or use the contact form below.