Marketing budget for interior designers


marketing budget for interior designers

Whether you are just starting out as an interior designer or have been running your own business for many years, marketing and advertising are absolutely crucial to your business growth. Both can significantly contribute to increased brand awareness, generating leads and sales, as well as to the financial health and success of your company.

But how do you know what marketing budget you should have and how much money you should be allocating to promoting your business?

In the UK, according to research by Alba SEO Services, 38% of small businesses asked spend less than £1,000 on marketing each year, another 38% spend between £1,000-£5,000, while 5% spend between £5,000-£10,000 and 14% spend more than £10,000. As you can see the annual marketing budget varies greatly and depends on the annual turnover your business generates, how long you have been running your company, your marketing strategy and business goals.

If you have been in business between one to five years the percentage of your gross revenue you spend on marketing budget might be higher than once your business is over five years old. This is because in the early days you need more visibility for your business to “get into the market”. The recommended marketing budget for the former might be anything between 12% to 20% and 6% to 12% of your annual turnover for the latter.

From personal experience we used to allocate 10% of our annual turnover to marketing which we incorporated into our pricing structure. That way we automatically were generating some marketing budget from each sale.

What should be included in your marketing budget?

As an interior design business, your marketing budget should outline expenses on branding, web design and content updates, email marketing expenses, paid advertising (Google, Pinterest and Instagram), professional photography (and styling), and printed branding materials. You may need to add more expenses in your marketing budget as you grow and get more established such as hiring a PR or marketing agency to help you out with daily activities.

The important point is to put your funds into marketing channels that will provide the best impact and results for your business. This is called well-targeted marketing investment.

For example, if you find that your organic reach on Pinterest or Instagram would benefit from short 3-month advert boosts that will help with more traffic coming to your website and generating more enquiries, use your marketing budget for these activities. Monitor the results and ROI so you identify what works well and what doesn’t very quickly.

This is where a marketing plan comes in handy. It should include your clear marketing objectives, and how the activities fit within your sales and PR plans for the year ahead.

The plan doesn’t have to be complicated to produce. If you have never done one before you can create a simple table or spreadsheet with the most important information that is organised with basic data such as total annual budget, how it is allocated to each marketing activity and results generated. Always keep the document editable and adjust it when needed.

What to do if you have no marketing budget?

You may find yourself in a situation where you have absolutely zero budget for anything marketing related. As it is essential to carve out some of the pounds that come into your business for marketing, you might need to either look outside of your business for help or use creativity to leverage free avenues available to you.

Here are some ideas:

Focus your efforts on free exposure and publicity

Without spending any money, you can leverage the power of free press in your local magazines and newspapers. Editors are always looking for interesting stories, professional tips and advice so get in touch with them and see what opportunities there are for your business.

TIP: Some media companies and interior influencers also have podcasts dedicated to a specific market niche or topic. Pitch your design expertise or story to them too.


Optimise your Houzz profile so local clients can find you easily. Keep your profile updated and build trust and credibility with past client’s reviews. Aside from your profile listing, get involved in the discussions on the platform where clients are looking for expert opinions. I have picked up a couple of local clients through the forum feature, giving a generic but valuable advice to people who ask for help.

TIP: Be picky when it comes to answering the questions. For example, if the question is already answered well, and you feel you have nothing more to add, move on to the questions where your expertise can help guide the person in the right direction.

Trade referrals

Building relationships and partnering with other local businesses who deal with your ideal clients on a daily basis is another great way to generate more visibility and enquiries for your business. Create a nicely-designed postcard or leaflet which showcases your best work and leave them a few copies that they can pass them to potential clients on your behalf. Local estate agents, kitchen and bathroom showrooms, furniture and lighting stores might be good starting points for you.

TIP: Network at local business events to meet key contacts.

Organise a free mini consultation event at a local lifestyle store

Another way to increase visibility for your business and get in front of potential clients is to partner with one of your suppliers or lifestyle stores on delivering interior design talks. Most clients are always curious to learn more about design and what goes into design projects behind the scenes, giving you an opportunity to capture this audience.

TIP: Pitch them a topic-specific event such as colour consultation, interior styling or window treatment basics.

Content marketing

From increased organic traffic to building an authoritative voice in your market, content marketing brings many benefits to your business. Sharing your expertise to both new and existing clients, think about what the most pressing design issues they might be facing and decide on topics that best appeal to them when they search online. The secret to successful content marketing is regularly published and valuable content that is unique and stands out above the rest. Don’t be afraid to share your brand story, behind the scenes of your projects and useful, expert information to establish yourself as the go-to expert that clients seek out.

TIP: Create a regular content publishing schedule covering 2-3 core topics. From supplier stories, project stories to tips and expertise, once you know what content needs to be created for when, you don’t get so overwhelmed and stressed out about it. Don’t forget to repurpose the content on social media and in your email marketing.

Inside our KNOWLEDGE SHARE membership we have special marketing budget templates, marketing plans and more detailed guides to help you create and use marketing budget in your business. If you want to find out about it more, please click or tap here.