Email Marketing Best Practices for Interior Designers and Architects

I turn on my computer. I wait impatiently as it connects. I go online, and my breath catches in my chest until I hear three little words: You’ve got mail. I hear nothing. Not even a sound on the streets of New York, just the beating of my own heart. I have mail. From you.
— Kathleen Kelly: You've Got Mail

Learn How Email Marketing Works To Attract Better Home Improvement Clients

Email is one of content marketing's most successful methods to sell architectural and interior design services online. Why? Built Environment services are relatively high priced, the length of time from initial contact to signing up a client is lengthy and prospective clients conduct extensive research before committing. Email marketing is perfect for remaining top-of-mind and structuring a marketing narrative that will educate prospects about your design services. A Forrester Research report found that 11% of all online transactions originated from emails. Another report showed a 34% increase in the number of emails opened on mobile devices like iPhones and iPads from April 2011 to September 2011 compared to the previous six months. 

Email marketing campaigns have the potential to influence target consumers everywhere, anytime, and they're easily shared. Want an example? Look at the number of people staring at their phones at Little League games, in airports, and at Starbucks. Businesses simply cannot afford to miss out on this potential revenue generator.

Before embarking on your first email campaign, consider these four email marketing best practices,

Don't Purchase eMail Lists Or You Will Get Blacklisted

Instead, create the call to action buttons and forms on your website where people who find you online can sign up to get information about your services.

Create an RSS Feed For Your Blog and Publish Each Article as an Email

By far this is the easiest way to stay top of mind with your audience, but it's predicated on publishing blog articles regularly. Automatic posting can be accomplished with MailChimp.

Create Good-Looking Emails that Stay Within Your Brand Identity

Build an email template that conveys your brand identity and stick with it. Repetition is the key to using your brand to be remembered. If you change your fonts, colors and the look and feel of your images with each new e-mail, you will be forgotten because of a lack of consistency and professional identity.

Personalize Your Email Communications

No one wants to read an email and be left with the impression they are just another contact who is being sold to by some anonymous firm. Include the name of the recipient in the subject line and send emails based on the interests and behaviors taken from your website. Be customer focused with nurturing emails that speak to a person's needs. 

In a recent survey: marketing professionals stated their third biggest concern was how to grow and maintain their subscribers. The rule of thumb average is a loss of 25% of your subscribers annually from your email list. A misconception is that sending fewer emails gets better results and lowers unsubscribes. Research has shown there is no connection between frequency of emails and an unsubscribing rate. Instead, organizations should earn and maintain their subscribers by giving a clear indication to what they will receive and segmenting their lists based on consumer interests. Marketing automation software like and MailChimp makes this complicated process easier. 

Types of Email Campaigns

There are several types of email marketing campaigns. Each style has its advantages and disadvantages. For instance, we have all seen e-newsletters sent out by interior designers and architects. These benefit from previously published material and are intended to help increase brand awareness and traffic back to the blog or portfolio of images. The problem with e-newsletters is that they can be difficult to design well, and the call to action can be hidden amongst the content. If you decide to use e-newsletters as part of your marketing strategy, be aware that "Post & Boast" emails are minimally effective. Be careful. Ego driven emails that only discuss building projects you've won or show off your interior design work will soon be ignored.  

Another favorite style is using dedicated emails. These messages are usually related to only one particular product or offer and are sent to an entire e-mail database. Some marketers consider them similar to that of a landing page with the specific aim to convert the reader into a purchase. However, dedicated emails have a reduced conversion rate because they come across as spam and result in a high number of unsubscribers.

How To Measure Email Marketing Success

An email marketing campaigns’ success is measured using several metrics. One metric is the bounce rate - or emails that could not be delivered. There are two types of bounces, soft and hard. Soft bounces are where a mailbox may be full, or there is a problem with their server. In this case, you can resend the message at a later date. A hard bounce indicates an email address no longer exists or was invalid. However, it could also be because the recipient has banned your emails from their inbox. In any case - hard bounces can never be delivered. Delete these addresses. 

Click-through rate is the percentage of email marketing recipients who have clicked through to your website using a link in your email. This shows marketing professionals whether they messages were relevant and compelling enough for a recipient to seek further information.

One of the least important statistics is the open rate. This statistic is unreliable because the open rate count only applies to those who open the emails with the images and most servers block images unless the recipient clicks a show images button. Readers can be enticed by an attractive and interesting subject line, but feel let down by the first few sentences in the e-mail and fail to read the article, creating further statistical inaccuracy. Be concrete and keep the reader in mind. A subject line such as "The Top Five Kitchen Interior Design Trends for Home Chefs" is a whole lot more enticing than "XYZ and Partners Have Finished A New Kitchen Interior Design Project." Follow through with an email that lives up to the subject line and be certain to create linkbacks to your website where the reader can learn how these "five design trends" were implemented in a project.

Email marketing can be a very powerful marketing tool for your architectural and interior design firm. However, many marketing professionals are still using inaccurate assumptions and poorly conceived methods that limit the effectiveness of their email marketing campaigns. Keep up to date with email marketing best practices, landing pages, and list building, and you'll be able to attract interior design and architectural clients consistently and efficiently with a proven return on investment.

About Michael Conway
I'm the owner and strategist at Means-of-Production. My firm builds Squarespace websites, Houzz profiles, and content marketing and advertising solutions for architects, interior designers, design-build contractors and landscape design firms. Our all-in-one marketing tactics attract the right clients with exceptional architectural photography and brand messaging that sets you apart from the competition.

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