How many portfolio examples should I include in my interior design or architecture website?

You want to show your absolute best work. The projects you want to do more of. The ones your clients are most impressed by.

Here’s how your clients navigate your website

Here’s what happens on almost all interior design & architecture websites and the steps your visitors go through to look at your website:

Step 1: Home Page

Your clients quickly view your home page

Step 2: Portfolio Page

Over 50% will then click on your Portfolio/Projects/Work page to very quickly scan the work you’ve done. Put your absolute best work first.

Step 3: 1 Individual Project Page

This one is important! About 50 to 90% of your client will ONLY look at 1 individual project page. Usually, this is the very first one you give them! So it’s important that you don’t just put a random project in the first slow. Instead, put your absolute best, client’s most favorite project in that slot, always. Even if it is not in chronological order!

Step 4: Maybe your About or Services page

About 25% of your clients will look at an about/services page, which is often times the least visited page. Here, it is important again to show examples of your best work, one testimonial, and then lead them to the ultimate page: The Contact Page.

Step 5: The Contact page

This is where you want everyone to end up. Although, although 25% of your clients will go there. It’s important to have a button to lead clients to a Contact/Questionnaire/Schedule A Call page so everyone knows exactly how to get info from you to start a project.

So how many projects should you show on your website?

Based on the information above, you can see that most clients are just skimming your projects and look at a few random photos, based on what you present.

This means YOU are in control of how these projects are presented, and you most choose correctly.

There are 3 options you should choose from for your website when presenting photos:

Option 1 | Show everything on one page

This option is good if you are okay with showing only your best work. This guarantees that visitors to your website will only see your best work. They scroll down the page, see your awesome work, and then click a “Get pricing for your project” button. This optimizes the website nicely, and makes it easy to set up a website. This option also works great if you only have 1 or 2 projects you’ve ever done. And that’s okay, because most clients are not going to look at every single project page anways!

Option 2 | Show up to roughly 6 of your best projects

If you don’t like the idea of just 1 page for all your projects, then showcasing about 6 of your best projects is best. Again, most clients will only look at the first 1 or 2 pages you give them. So you need to put your BEST example first, your second best example second, and so on. In this option, you cut out your worst projects. No one needs to see them anyways! Unless they get in touch with you for a 2nd time, you can show smaller projects later as appropriate depending on the client.

Option 3 | Show every single project on it’s own page

This option only makes sense for one reason I know of:
Most architectural firms or commercial interior designers have clients who want proof of EXTENSIVE experience in their field. In this case, it’s not about nice photos, it’s about experience and expertise. In this situation, it might be good to show as many projects as possible to give your clients clear proof that you are very experienced.

Which option should you choose?


SMALL DESIGN FIRM
If you’re a smaller design firm, or specialize more in design aesthetic and less about function and technical work, go with option 1 or 2.


LARGE TECHNICAL FIRM
If your a technical design firm, commercial designer or architect, option 3 is best to showcase experience and trustworthiness.

How to ensure a successful results for your interior design website

Imagine choosing the wrong design firm for your new interior design website. All of the time, money and effort spent trying to get it right, only to see it fail. 

This happens everyday to countless interior designers and architects. With so many amateur and unfocused web development teams out there, and lots of misinformation in podcasts, blogs and books, there's a high probability that you'll choose the wrong path for your website. 


Here are 3 steps to take to ensure your next website design is a success:

1 | Choose a website design team that understands your specific industry
Every website is different and requires different technologies. It's like a heart surgeon trying to perform surgery on the brain. They are not equipped for the job! Hire an website firm with experience in the interior design industry, or an Ecommerce development firm for your online store. 

2 | Cast a vision for the final results
Tell your web designer examples of other websites you really like. This sets realistic expectations between both parties to ensure the result is successful, rather than leaving the final results to a guess. View examples from our portfolio for ideas on interior design or architecture websites.

3 | Figure out what you'd ideally like to have on your website
The more detail you can provide a web design team, the more accurate their proposal will be, and the less likely there will be frustrations by either party. Figure out how many total pages you'd like to have, how many portfolio examples or ecommerce products you'd like, and any other unique items like a blog, podcast, private login or other unique features.

Get a proposal for your next website design project by filling out this website design questionnaire.

Top 10 Interior Design & Architecture Websites

Don’t lose clients due to an old and outdate website for your interior design or architecture firm.

Here are the top 10 most popular interior design & architecture websites in 2019.

Should interior designers & architects use the StoryBrand framework?

The problem interior designers & architects have, is lack of focus on what their marketing message should be.

If you look at most architecture or interior design websites, they all have the same content. Usually, a super simple website with just a few photos, logo and navigation.

But they don’t tell you what their unique niche is, who their ideal customer is, what their unique or primary service is, and how to interact or take the first step on their website.

There are 3 things you need on your website

When designing a website for an Architect or Interior Designer, I recommend that you focus on 3 primary things to get your messaging clear on your website:

  1. Clearly explain the primary service you offer. Not just architectural design or interior design. Get specific. Super specific. Such as “Modern architectural design for large families in Seattle.” Think about it. If you do good work for that kind of client, then when they read that super-specific statement (large families in Seattle who love modern architecture), you’ll probably get every single one of those clients because you spoke directly to them.

  2. Explain your unique offering, approach or selling point. If there are multiple residential modern architectural firms in Seattle (which there are), then you need to explain why you are either better or different than them. If you have the fastest design approach, if you take care of everything for them, or include them in every step of the process, or are the most affordable, then differentiate yourself by explaining your unique difference.

  3. Explain how your clients can take the very, very first step in working with you. Most interior designers and architects have no Call To Action other than “Contact.” But this is way too vague. You need to lead people to get in touch with you, in a very low-key way. Such as: Take a project questionnaire, schedule a free phone call, schedule an appointment at our studio, take a project quiz. Anything that gets people to interact with your website in a very easy first-step kind of way.

I get these techniques from 2 of my favorite business authors: Don Miller from StoryBrand.com and Mike Michalowicz.

The Storybrand framework was developed by Donald Miller at StoryBrand.com - so credit goes to them for this information. His point of view is that people are draw to “Story” because it gets rid of all the extra unimportant information, and leads people step by step, from point A to point B. For instance, your clients aspire to have a new home to enjoy with their family, but they don’t know how to achieve it. So they come to you, who has experience in modernist interior design and can help them reach their goals with a clear design plan and strategy when ends in a beautifully designed home! Your website needs to tell a story which is super clear, super focused, and gets rid of all the un-important information.

The second is from Mike Michalowicz, who wrote my all-time favorite business book, The Pumpkin Plan. This book is about focusing on your unique offering, to a super specific type of client that you thrive in working with. Instead of trying to do all kinds of interior design projects for all kinds of interior design clients all over the world. figure out which clients you work best with, which work you love doing most, and focus in on that niche. Once you figure this out, you can apply the “StoryBrand” method to your website and business.

Here’s an example of how to do this for your own business

For example. I design websites specifically for architects and interior designers. I found that my interior design and architect clients were the most happy. I loved doing the work for them. Their websites turned out awesome. It has been a natural fit. So I updated my website to reflect this. I focused all of my marketing, blogs and emails specifically to architects and interior designers. Their is an instant connection, and we’re more likely to do business with each other.

Apply these methods to you own business.

By the way. Want a proposal for website design & copy creation for your own business?

5 Marketing Methods for Interior Designers & Architects


Your website will only work effectively if you can bring people to see it.

But you don't want just anyone to go to your website. You need to target a very, very specific small group of people and speak their language. Identify your customer's problems, and offer a unique solution. 

Bringing people to your website only works when you know who your best clients are. Figure out the following based on your previous best-ever clientele base (only consider your absolute best clients, not all of them):

  • Their average age

  • Their gender

  • What cities do they live in?

  • What problems do they face when it comes to your industry?

  • Where do they get their information about your industry?

  • What questions did they ask before they became a client of yours?


Figure this information out first before spending any money driving people to your website. 

After working with numerous interior designers, architects & professionals, below are the best ways to quickly get people to see your website, in order of quickest to slowest turn around:

No 1 | Yelp & Google Business
Any business that relies on local customers needs to be on both Yelp and Google Business. These platforms are totally free, and get you visibility in Google Searches almost immediately. Especially if you are one of the only providers in your area offering the service you do, such as a commercial architect or interior designer in a rural area, or if all of the accountants and lawyers in your area are rated poorly or have no reviews at all, you have a very good chance to being seen on these 2 platforms. If you have not already, sign up for these today at biz.yelp.com and business.google.com - do it right now!

No 2 | Direct Email & Mail Marketing
Spam is everywhere. But a very focused, narrow service to a very specific group of people is one of the best ways to bring people to your website. If you offer interior design services specifically for single family homes in a certain nice part of town, you can do direct mail marketing to just a couple hundreds homes, for relatively inexpensive, and direct your postcard specifically to your ideal type of client. The same goes for email marketing. Find who your best customers typically are, and target them with email marketing - directly addressing their unique problems. It won't look like spam because you're actually speaking to the right language to your ideal client. 

No 3 | Third Party Organizations
Market directly where your ideal customers spend time, whether online or offline, and advertise at third party organizations which specifically contain your ideal customers. Don't market to just anyone, figure out the demographics of your past best-ever clients. This could be an online forum, an online organization, or an organization which meets in person.

No 4 | Google Ads
This is extremely difficult to master, and I recommend you hire a professional. It's very easy to spend $500 USD in Google Ads and see no results. That's because you need to first perfect your website, then narrow, narrow, narrow your focus down to the most specific keywords and demographics as possible. This is a quick way to jump to the top of the list of Google searches, but be prepared to spend at least $300 per month to effectively gain leads. And make sure your website is optimized first to capture leads.

No 5 | Advanced SEO & Regular Blogging
This is the slowest method of all. That is because Google wants to see credibility and longevity from your website. Your website needs to be up and live for at least 6 months before Google will start to see it as credible. The more traffic you get to your website, the more you blog valuable content, and the higher quality the website functions overall, the higher it will show up in search results. I always recommend to business owners that an Advanced SEO integration and blogging for your website should be the last method on your list, because it is labor intensive and the turn around is slow. I've spent over 2 years blogging regularly to get about 3,000 visitors to my website per month, but it has been a ton of work to get there. It's been worth it, but I had to put in the time.

Again, all the advertising in the world will do nothing if you do not know who your ideal client is. Get very specific. Write it down first. And then start with marketing options No 1, 2 & 3 above before moving on to more expensive and time-consuming methods.

What To Include On Your Interior Design Website

Your interior design portfolio is an opportunity to showcase the story, uniqueness and approach of your design firm. Which means it needs to be very focused, clear and concise, without cluttering or confusing your ideal clients.

This means you should only be showing the content and services you want people to see. Not everything that you’ve ever done or everything people need to know all in one giant pile of information. Break it down into small pieces.

I’ve worked with many interior designers who only have 1 or 2 good projects to show on their website. But that is perfect! Because, from an analytics standpoint, your clients only look at the first one or two projects you show them. Most will not dive super deep into everything little thing you have done - at least not on the first visit of your website.

When you only showcase your best work, you’ll gain clients who gravitate towards what you do, without being overwhelmed with too many options, or seeing your less-than-stellar work.

When I look at the analytics of the over 100+ interior design websites I’ve designed for clients, there is a clear pattern:

100% look at your home page
50% look at your 1st portfolio example
25% look at your services or about page (it’s best to bundle these together)
25% go to your contact page

These are the 4 most important pages your website needs to have. Having more is just too much information.

But what about other common pages, like Press, a Blog, or Testimonials?

Only 1% to 5% of your visitors will look at those pages. On an initial visit to your website, your clients don’t care about reading your blog, or looking over a bunch of boring Press articles.

If you find some of your blog posts, press and testimonials are very important to your sales process, they should be nicely integrated with the 4 most important pages of your website: Home, Portfolio, Services & Contact. Include a testimonial on your Portfolio page. Show your most impressive Press article on your Services page. Include your best Blog Post as a PDF download on your contact page.

On those 4 primary pages (Home, Portfolio, Services & Contact) is where you need to tell your entire story, unique selling point, selling strategy and call to action. Because that is where 95% of your website visitors are going to look. So make it count.

On each of these 4 pages, you need a clear Call To Action - a way for visitors to engage with your website. This can include a Pricing PDF download, a full list of services PDF download, a project questionnaire, a free phone call, a way to schedule an appointment, as questions, etc.

Only once your visitors get on your email marketing list is when you bring them back a 2nd time to look more closely at testimonials, blog posts, and press articles to continue the client’s journey towards becoming a client.

For your Blog, Testimonials, Press and other pages, I recommend putting those in the Footer of your website. They’re accessible, but not prominent.

This strategy of all strategies I have done on websites for interior designers is by far the most effective. Only show clients what they want to know on a 1st impression of your business. Grab their attention with several ‘Calls To Action,’ and then slowly lead them through your sales process over time.

Email Marketing Strategy for Interior Designers

First, most businesses in the interior design industry don’t bother to do email marketing. They mostly stick witch social media.

Second, email marketing is more effective than social media. People take their emails more seriously for decision making, while social media is more for ideas and inspiration.

So if you’re not doing email marketing for your interior design business, you’re probably losing clients.

Email marketing is an effective way to engage your clients and get them familiar with your unique approach.

An interior design campaign through emails should not be all about you, your press releases, the awards you won. That makes your clients think your business is all about serving yourself.

Instead, it should be an opportunity to show how you and your clients are the right fit for each other. That you understand each other, and that it will be a good collaboration and mutually beneficial.

You should explain the following in some of your email marketing, one piece at a time:

  • The process your follow when doing an interior design project

  • What your clients can expect during the process

  • How do determine if you’re the right fit for each other

  • The opportunity to take a project questionnaire or to get pricing

  • Answer common questions your clients have about interior design in general or your unique approach

  • Showcase some before and after or client testimonials to show successful projects you’ve done before

  • Call your clients to action and make a decision to work with you

These are just a few ideas. And the great thing about email marketing is that you can keep trying over and over, every few days, and get better at it over time.

Just like people post social media on Instagram regularly, you should not be afraid to try email marketing on a regular basis. Somewhere around intervals of 3 to 10 business days (Or every 1 or 2 weeks).

Email marketing is an important part of your interior design marketing strategy that you shouldn’t ignore.

How To Capture More Leads On Your Interior Design Website

With your interior design business, you can be a lot more creative than other businesses in the way you capture leads on your website. 

Your clients are looking to you to provide creative solutions. Not only during the interior design process, but during the entire experience - from inquiring first about services and well beyond the final finished product. 

One of the most effective ways I have found to capture more interior design leads is by using multiple ways to interact on your website. Most of your clients want to see your work on your website, but you then need to provide them the "next step" to take.

The more resources and interactions you can create, the more likely someone will engage with your website and end up getting in touch with you.

Here is a list of ideas I've used for interior design websites that have increased the amount of ways clients engaged:

- Fill out a project questionnaire
- Download our pricing
- Schedule a free phone consultation
- Schedule a free in-studio consultation
- Take an interior design quiz
- Download our interior design process sheet (PDF download)
- How to prepare for your interior design project (PDF download)

These are just a few ideas. The possibilities are endless, and they should specifically address the unique way that you do business.

With multiple ways for your clientele to engage on your website, the more likely they will try out 1 or 2 of them. And that means, they get to become more familiar with the way you do business. 

If you just stick with the standard "Contact" page on your website, this is old, boring and unclear to your clients. They need you to give them the information they need in order to pick the right interior designer. And the more educated your leads can become about your way of doing business, the more likely they'll pick you over someone else.

To ask your interior design marketing questions, email me at design@jpwdesignstudio.com

Should You List Your Interior Design Prices?

If you have flat-rate prices, you may be tempted to show those prices on your website, so people know what you offer. After all, it seems transparent, right?

But you are giving away valuable information to clients and your competitors if you do this.

That’s why I recommend you make your prices available only if someone offers to enter their contact info, for the following reasons: 

  1. It ensures you capture some info from clientele so you can follow up directly via email or phone

  2. It prevents some of your competitors from gaining that knowledge (they don't need to know) 

  3. If someone is super serious, and truly want to know your prices, they'll enter their info - which means they're a better lead for you

This way, you can say something like:

“For our interior design pricing, enter your email address below”

Once they enter their email address, you can follow up more with more detailed information and capture them as a client.

About This Free Interior Design Marketing Course

Thank you for your interested in our free interior design marketing course.

This free course is designed to help you focus in on your business concept for your interior design firm.

As you know, there are lots of interior designers in the US, Canada and around the world. But what makes you unique? Why should someone hire you? How can you explain your business more clearly, and capture interested clients effectively?

We’ll cover these major topics in this course:

  1. Effective website design

  2. Effective email marketing

  3. Effective ways to capture new leads & interest

  4. Clarifying your interior design marketing strategy

  5. Identifying who your ideal interior design clients are

  6. Developing a process for capturing inquiries and convert to clients

In this course, I will be revealing the techniques I have used for hundreds of other interior designers, and nearly a thousand different businesses over the last 9 years.

And you’ll get this information for free. All that I ask is that you work to implement these ideas into your own business and ask questions along the way.

To get started, fill out the following form to apply for access to this course.

Within 2-3 business days, we’ll let you know if you are approved for the course.

 

Interior Design Marketing Stratgies

Instagram is a fantastic way to get your interior design work out to the world. But it is only step one in the entire marketing process.

As an interior designer, you must lead your clientele one step at a time between these 3 main stages:

  1. Discovery

  2. Inquiry

  3. Commitment

Most of your clientele from Instagram will be in the “Discovery” phase. This means, they are just barely getting to know about you and your company, and are likely not even interested in doing an interior design project. They just heard about you, and that’s it.

Over time, if they continue to follow you on Instagram or Facebook, they may eventually jump to the “Inquiry” phase, where they will begin to ask you questions or become interested in your interior design services. But this rarely happens unless they’re a raving fan.

To do a better job and getting more “inquiries” you need to get your clients on an process which actively helps them along the way and get them to the “Commitment” phase, which means they commit to doing a project with you.

Here’s how the process works:

  1. The initial discovery. Allow potential clients to discover you on Instagram, Facebook, friends and family, or email marketing to your immediate contact list.

  2. Capture their email address. Capture their interest with some sort of engaging tool on your website, like a Project Questionnaire, Quiz, Test, Free Phone Call, Free Interior Design Consult, Schedule A Meeting, Ask Project Questions, Ask The Designer, or any other creative idea you can come up with.

  3. Start the process of inquiry. Once you collect their email address, they enter the “Inquiry” phase. This is where you can answer all of the common questions your clients have like timeline, pricing, process, style questions, contract questions, how the shipping process work, how design concepts work. This should be an email series of many, many emails over time. Usually, about 3-4 in the first week, and then spacing it out every 3-5 days thereafter. Some clients will jump on board fast, others will commit within several months, or even a year! Keep at it, though.

  4. Ask for a commitment. After 2-3 weeks, ask your email list to commit to starting their project. This will lead to more inquiries, questions, and discussions, but the more clients can get comfortable with you and your business, the more likely they will commit.

  5. Continue the process between emails and your website. Most clients wont convert on the first ask for a commitment to a project. It’ll be several more weeks and marketing cycles, but keep at it. Email marketing and converting clients on your website is one of the most effective ways to capture business for your interior design firm.

Request an invite to our free interior design marketing course

This course is for select interior designers. To apply, fill out the following form. If you meeting our criteria, you will get FREE access to our online marketing course.