?I recently received the following question about the marketing importance of designer showhouses which prompted me to write this article: "How do maximize my marketing when I am asked to do a room in a showhouse? They take a lot of time which takes me away from my paying clients and I usually spend a bunch of money on supplies and other items that I want to make sure I recoup. Are they even worth it?" Before agreeing to paint or stage a room at a showhouse, you have to first find out how the event is going to be marketed and what type of marketing you are allowed to do yourself. If the showhouse isn't going to be marketed well or if you aren't permitted to do your own marketing during the presentation of the house, then you probably won't see a good ROI (Return on Investment) of the time and money you put into the project. If you are allowed to do your own marketing, you must decide how much time you want to put into the marketing of your specific room in addition to the time you spend actually creating the room. You should at least be willing to create and print a stack of "one-sheet flyers" for the showhouse visitors (see article at /art_onesheet.htm) to entice people to hire you for their creative projects. You should also be prepared to spend many hours at your room to speak with attendees, answer questions, and show off your work while the house is open to the public. Attendees like to speak with the artist or decorator and usually need to make a personal connection to feel comfortable enough to hire the artist for additional projects. Showhouses also present a great opportunity for you to exhibit your work to people whom you think would make great clients. So, spending some time and money to mail invitations about the showhouse opening to potential customers is always a great idea. Adding the information to your website and in your newsletter are also fantastic ways to help promote your work as well. If the showhouse does not present a great opportunity for marketing that will help you bring in additional work and you are not willing to do your own marketing, then it's not in your best interest to spend the time and money to get involved. But, if you are willing to roll up your sleeves and do the marketing work necessary, then showhouses can be a big asset to helping you build your client base and increase your income.
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