As business owners, you and I both know that it sometimes feels like you have to pay big bucks if you’re ever going to get yourself in front of your ideal clients.
Facebook and Instagram ads can be pricey – and let’s not even talk about ad space in magazines, even if they’re small local publications. It’s enough to make you consider closing up shop to eat bonbons on the sofa (please no!) or get an office job.
But we also know we sometimes have to pay to play, which is why so many interior designers just like you take the leap to buy into HOUZZ.com‘s business level.
If you don’t know what HOUZZ is, no shame but seriously, where have you been?! Ha! Just kidding, but I’d venture to guess you probably already know that HOUZZ is a sort of database/social network/online community based entirely around interior design, decorating, architecture, home building, and home improvement. And since homeowners primarily use it as a directory to find home professionals, it’s a no-brainer for any designer to have a presence there.
At first glance, it may seem that unless you pay for a pro membership, you’re not likely to get seen by paying clients in your area who are looking for a designer on HOUZZ. On the other hand, I’ve also heard a few grumblings that the pro level doesn’t always lead to paid projects either.
But here’s the trick, in order to maximize your potential for visibility on HOUZZ whether you have the pro membership or not, you can (and should) optimize your profile.
What exactly do I mean by that? You may not realize it but there are multiple areas on your HOUZZ page where you can add information, keywords and even links to your blog posts. By taking the time to get in there and do a little tweaking, you may show up in more searches by local clients who will then click through to your website.
Let’s talk about the specific actions you can take right now – for free – to make that happen.
Fully Complete Your Profile
That sounds obvious, but it’s incredible to me just how many designers don’t fully fill out their HOUZZ profile. This is the very first step you should take right now if you haven’t done so already since prospective clients will be curious about you and your business after they get a peek at your projects. You want them to be able to easily visit your actual website or send you a message after seeing your profile.
Add your headshot to your profile. You could add your logo instead, but people don’t hire brands – they hire people. Let them see your wonderful face!
Pick a cover photo that represents the kind of projects you want to attract. I always tell my clients to lead with what they want when it comes to project images because like attracts like. If you add a photo others seem to love of a project where you used a lot of orange but you never ever ever want to have to work with orange again, do not use that project as your cover image!
List every city/area you work in under “areas served.” You probably won’t show up in searches for neighboring areas you’d be happy to get projects in if you don’t list those areas on your profile.
Take full advantage of the opportunity to speak directly to searchers by making your “About Us”/”Overview” area sales-worthy. Remember that people looking to hire you don’t just need to know about you – they need to know you understand them and most importantly, they need to make a connection with you. While I don’t always recommend writing your bio in 1st person (“I,” “we”), I highly recommend it here. There’s just something about using the 3rd person (“he/she,” “they”) on HOUZZ that feels cold and uncaring even if it feels polished and professional on your site.
Be sure to connect your profile to all of your other social media accounts. Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, Twitter – whatever platforms you’re on are all essential components of your online presence since they will drive people to your website, blog, and other content. If potential customers like the images of your work on HOUZZ, they’ll probably also enjoy all the other content you have to offer, so make it easy for them to find!
Use Strategic Keywords
When you build your website, the keywords, and phrases you use serve as some of the main ways for prospects to find you online. Google and other search engines latch onto these keywords, so when someone searches for them, your site will come up.
While you aren’t ranking in Google for keywords you use on your HOUZZ profile and photos, you can rank in HOUZZ searches for them! Every bit of text within your HOUZZ profile and projects is searchable – which means you need keywords that will help your ideal clients find you there. You should think about your keywords more like hashtags that will make it easy for people to find your content.
Using keywords in your content is actually really easy. Include them in both your profile and your project descriptions. To add keywords to your projects, go to your HOUZZ profile and select a project you’d like to edit. Here you can add descriptions and other info to your projects. Weave keywords (especially things like “interior designer your location”) into the descriptions you write for the project.
You can also add keywords to your project images, however, you have to be smart about them, only adding ones that will apply to that particular photo. You can add as many as you like, so be sure to add keywords for all of the furniture in the pictures, the colors, the type of room, the location of the property and your business, etc. The more, the better!
If you want more information about attaching keywords to photos, projects, and your profile, download this Optimize Your HOUZZ Profile – For Free!
I totally understand that the product information in your projects is often proprietary. But just bear with me here.
You may already know about how this feature works. Tagging products in HOUZZ is pretty similar to adding keywords, just a little more specific. You can tag any or all of the products you used in a project photo (you can even tag the walls of the room with detailed information about the color!) just like you would tag a person in a Facebook photo.
If you aren’t keen on the idea of letting the world know your product sources, consider using tags to your advantage. By tagging just one item per image that represents the level of the products you tend to use in your client projects, you’ll communicate a huge message that welcomes ideal clients and weeds out “looky lous.”
Furthermore, if any of the pieces in your photos are custom made, you can also tag those with a note telling visitors about them. This could very well put a stop to the loads of questions from HOUZZ users about where you got that fab piece! Huge time saver.
Link To Your Blog Posts (yep, that’s really a thing!)
Did you know that you can include an external link within a HOUZZ project that takes users directly to a blog post on your website? I mean, this alone can work some serious magic for your business, right?!
The only catch is that in order to be a good online citizen, you should be linking to a post about the actual project they’re looking at on HOUZZ. Otherwise, they could feel a little duped. And that means you have to have a post about that project. Which means that, yes, I’m saying you should write blog posts about all of the projects you have on HOUZZ specifically so you can link to them. I know it’s a tall order, but hey, at least it’s still free (as long as you do your own blog writing, ha!).
But the payoff is that not only will linking to posts help increase traffic to your website, it can also help get new subscribers to your newsletter and build up your blog comments, and of course, ideally, it can help you get great clients.
And by the way, you can add calls-to-action within those blog posts to transform them from simply being informational into being lead generators. You can direct a potential customer from HOUZZ to your blog post, then from that blog post to a landing page that leads them to a piece of opt-in content or to your services or contact page.
Reviews Are Key, Baby
You can post amazing photos of your work, write fantastic copy about your interior design business, and run one of the best marketing campaigns in history, but none of those can hold a candle to genuinely positive client reviews.
Word of mouth directly from a client to a prospect is one of the most effective ways to drum up business, and online reviews are almost as effective. Before someone hires you, chances are that they’ll do some research, including finding out what past clients have to say about their experience in working with you.
The more HOUZZ reviews you get, the higher you’re going to rank when people search for interior designers in your market. Every time you have a client, you should encourage them to write you a review on HOUZZ. All a customer has to do is click on the “Get Reviews” section of the site. In fact, you can streamline the process by sending them an email with a link that takes them directly to that page. Once they leave you a glowing review, you can copy all or part of it to use on your website, as well.
Don’t be shy about asking for reviews. I get it – it can feel awkward. But reviews are, by far, one of the most powerful marketing tools you have at your disposal. Having some fantastic reviews up on HOUZZ will really boost your profile, whether you are paying for a pro subscription or not!
Even if there isn’t a measurable ROI to prove it, having a well-executed, optimized HOUZZ profile is super important for any interior designer. It’s where so many people go when they are looking for interior designers to hire for their home project. If they come across your photos and projects, they might fall in love with your work, leading to a wonderful new connection! Just because you aren’t paying for a pro subscription doesn’t mean your HOUZZ profile can’t be an invaluable tool for your business. Simply use some of these tips to create a HOUZZ profile that will draw in new clients, and maybe even take your interior design business to the next level.
If you don’t have a ton of experience writing compelling descriptions for your projects on HOUZZ, or you want to have some excellent blogs to link to on your website, contact me today and we’ll talk about how I can help.