Being a great interior designer is not enough to book amazing projects. To be seen by potential clients, you need to communicate the value of your services using up-to-date promotional tools. And to do that effectively, it’s best to get advice from a seasoned professional. But it’s not that easy to find one. Interior design marketing remains a niche area with not that many actual experts out there. Luckily, we got a chance to interview a top specialist in the field — Bobby Tsui, an LA-based marketing coach and entrepreneur.
Bobby had worked as a digital marketing expert in various industries. But eventually, he decided to focus on coaching up-and-coming interior designers. That was because he realized there was an urgent lack of effective marketing training for that category of specialists. And so, he set out on a mission to change that.
In 2018, Bobby Tsui founded his online coaching platform — The Same Circle Method. It’s aimed at teaching designers how to effectively showcase their work, appeal to their ideal clients, and stand out among competitors. All that — while staying 100% authentic and true to their own professional principles.
As an architectural visualization studio working with numerous interior design specialists, we totally stand by that. And we’re happy we got this opportunity to talk to Bobby and share his story, tips, and inspiration with you. So, are you ready to learn how to step up your marketing game as a designer? Then read on!
#1. Bobby, tell us about your background and how you first started working in interior design marketing. What attracted you to this field?
For 5+ years, I ran a digital marketing agency that specialized in working with the built environment. Then I began coaching interior designers more intimately with my group accelerator program, The Same Circle Method.
Prior to that, I’ve had marketing and branding roles in various industries including heading up the marketing department at a commercial design firm. That was a short stint because I was let go for not being able to find new clientele for the firm. It sparked the fire that led to consulting and coaching years later.
#2. Why did you choose to consult interior designers specifically?
Through my agency, I worked with growing multi-person design firms with large marketing budgets. And I was able to get a view of what it took to be successful with resources. I saw a gap in the interior design industry in terms of the level of marketing education that was available to business owners of all sizes. And I knew I could contribute to the industry in a meaningful way.
“I saw a gap in the interior design industry in terms of the level of marketing education that was available to business owners.”
#3. What kind of interior designers do you work with in terms of the type and scale of their projects?
I mainly work with designers on the residential side, and I work with everyone from decorators to designers and design-build firms. Whether you’re offering e-design packages, work with vacation rental owners, or work on multi-million dollar design and renovation projects with a team of designers under you, I provide leveraged marketing skills that support everyone along the spectrum.
#4. Now, tell us about The Same Circle Method. What is it about and how did you come up with it?
The Same Circle Method was born out of my experiences in helping designers put themselves out there! It has since morphed and versioned into a polished framework that provides a simple way for you to authentically and effectively put yourself out there in your interior design marketing so you can stand out, become known for meaningful work, and book aligned clients!
“The Same Circle Method was born out of my experiences in helping designers put themselves out there.”
#5. What was the biggest challenge when you first started The Same Circle Method? How has the company and The Same Circle Method itself developed since then?
The biggest challenge was understanding how people learn and implement. This had a lot to do with education as a construct. And I quickly learned that I needed to improve my design for how my instruction was facilitated.
For example, I learned that accountability was a huge factor in getting things done in your business. So, I’ve since hired an accountability coach to assist designers in my program. Without one, I wouldn’t dare call my program an accelerator! That aside, I’m constantly updating the tactics and strategies and simplifying the process so they’re more manageable for the average business owner.
#6. What marketing channels do you think are the most efficient for interior designers?
Instagram and Facebook… with one caveat — when split between personal and business profiles on Facebook, redirect your time and attention onto your Facebook personal profile, not your Facebook business profile.
“When split between personal and business profiles on Facebook, redirect your time and attention onto your Facebook personal profile.”
#7. Do your clients use 3D visualization in their work? And if yes, what for?
Yes! The use of 3D interior visualization is often stated as part of their process and a value add for those who have difficulty with visualizing the outcome otherwise.
#8. Can you share your favorite success story of a client of yours?
I’ve found that the best success stories with my clients are the ones that have clear messaging in common. Like my client who provides fresh contemporary styling and trendsetting design to high profile executives and athletes who desire customized luxurious homes so they can fully express their identities from the work field to their home sanctuaries.
Take your design presentation to a new level with interior rendering
Before we first started working together, she struggled to define and communicate her value. The other designers in her area were booking all the projects and she thought surely that must mean there was something missing from what she had been doing so far. And talking about herself as part of her interior design marketing activities just wasn’t comfortable for her at the time.
But we found her voice. And that voice reached aligned audiences when she made the shift to focus on clientele in sports entertainment who valued contemporary and trendsetting design. She booked a project worth upwards of $300k from an ecstatic client who was blown away that she was able to find the perfect designer for this high-end, home remodel! And it was all from a single video.
“I’ve found that the best success stories with my clients are the ones that have clear messaging in common.”
#9. What do you think makes a successful interior designer?
An unapologetic desire to talk about and promote yourself because you’ve owned the story of your life.
#10. What’s next for Bobby Tsui? Are there any personal or professional goals you have yet to achieve?
I am on a mission to innovate the best interior design marketing practices by creating a world-class product that will lift the tide for all the budding designers and decorators out there. To learn more about what we’re doing, you can visit www.thesamecirclemethod.com.
We’re grateful to Bobby Tsui for this great talk. It gave us a deeper understanding of how important it is for designers to find their unique voice and present it to the world with confidence. We wish Bobby further success in his coaching and other entrepreneurial activities.
We hope that the insights from this interview will help you promote yourself more efficiently as an interior design professional. And if you’d like us to do an interview with some particular expert next time, do not hesitate to leave your suggestions in the comments below.
Looking for professional 3D interior visualization services to improve your project presentations and interior design marketing campaigns? Contact us at ArchiCGI and get unbelievably photorealistic CG images for concepts of any complexity!
Content Writer, Copywriter
Ana is a content writer for ArchiCGI. She has a passion for design and architecture - and for talking about it. Outside of work, she is a fan of sci-fi movies and a street food connoisseur.