Kim Kuhteubl

Real is the New Black


Kim Kuhteubl of MeByDesign is back at it! Our good friend Kim, an inspiring and well-respected interior design branding expert, works with interior designers and makers of beautiful things for the home. Her book Branding + Interior Design has chapters on creating your online home and building your tribe and her new program The Charrette will help you put them into action. Here, Kim shares her two cents on how to make the most out of your online presence.

Photography courtesy of Heather Kincaid

When it comes to online marketing, thousands of followers definitely look sexy but how many of those turn into opt-ins, leads and sales? Unless your focus is e-design, most interior designers only need a tiny tribe that they can influence to have a six-figure year. So the best way to be on-brand online is to get real. Tell an authentic story to the people who really need your services in the places they are most likely to hang out.

Kim Kuhteubl

Here are a few tips:

1. Best Work Forward. Bulking up your website portfolio with a lot of projects might not make you look as experienced as you think, especially if the images aren’t professionally shot. Same goes, if you include projects that don’t reflect your taste, aren’t finished, or if they trigger bad-client memories when you see them. Think of your website as your online home and entertain in a space that looks and feels like you.

2. Focus On Connection Instead Of Cool. When you’re creative, there is a lot of talk about what’s cool and what’s not and that can be paralyzing. Cool means fashionably attractive or impressive, and it’s subjective depending on the audience. The creative process is usually a lot messy and if you’re innovating, you’re probably not in fashion: you’re growing. Instead, use your creativity to connect with and explore your relationship to ideas, people and things in a way that engages your curiosity. As you share those personal moments of discovery, whether via social media, or in a blog, or newsletter, you will likely find yourself in conversation with others who resonate. That kind of connection is so much more than cool. It’s miraculous.

3. Give More. You want to sell your services and show how good your work is, but have you given enough thought to what the benefits of the experience of working with you are for your client? What about the benefits that your clients don’t know they want, or need? Steve Jobs famously said, “A lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.” If your client is not familiar with the design process, part of your job is to figure out how to communicate the value of that experience.

4. Trust A Few. Focus on telling your story on a few platforms very well. Unless you are actively engaged with them, a handful of followers on Twitter, or on your Facebook business page, probably won’t keep your pipeline full. Although many social platforms allow you to cross post between them, each social channel has a different “voice”. So if you’re cross-ghosting—sending photos to Facebook via Instagram for example—and not following up, the subtext to your audience is that you’re not really there for them. However if the reason you’re still hanging on is because your ideal clients are where you’d rather not be, get some help to build an authentic presence there.

5. Turn On The Love Channel. Nothing moves the needle more than working with and being surrounded by things that you love. If the idea of choosing photos for your Instagram feed or a topic for a blog post or newsletter, leaves you stuck, get out of your head and into your heart. Our team uses tools like Planoly, Dropbox, and Buffer to collect and organize photography we love and stories we’re excited about, so that we can see them in context with one another before we post. Planning at least one full month of editorial in advance always makes me inspired to plan another one.

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