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So much work and creativity goes into a perfectly crafted and insightful email. Unfortunately, there’s many instances when you look at the statistics of your email and you noticed something that’s equal parts deflating and disappointing – minimal click-troughs and much more unopened emails than expected. It may feel like an uphill climb to achieve the status of the upper echelon of email marketing, but in actuality, it’s not rocket science. Start with these four basic tips for effective email marketing.

Make it Count: Only send an email if you absolutely, 100 percent have something to say. If you’re filling your followers’ inboxes with unimportant or mundane information, they’re more likely to unfollow your business and unsubscribe from your email list.

Spam is for Eating, Not for Emails: OK, let’s be honest, no one really eats Spam, right? Check out this website to make sure you’re in compliance with BCP Spam Guidelines for businesses. You may be accidentally sending out email content that may appear to be spam when the email server vets the content. No matter how well-written or highly informative your content is, if the email isn’t within BCP compliance, you’ll face the pitfalls of the junk folder!

Develop a Voice: Each brand in every industry has its own unique voice it utilizes when addressing clients. Use the principle terms employed within your industry, and personalize them in order to create a more conversational tone. Write using a quicker pace! Long-winded emails will more than likely be discarded before the reader makes it through the second sentence. Also, adjust the flow of your email so the most important information is listed first.

Show Your Benefits: Don’t sell your service; sell your benefits. When you position your service as something someone can buy, its less attractive because you’re not showing the end results the user will achieve. Think about those fitness infomercials that litter your TV screen after midnight – they sell you on the six-pack abs and chiseled arms-not the actual exercise and work you have to put in to get them. Put yourself in the shoes of the consumer and think, “what am I going to get out of this service?” and construct your email with this thought in mind.

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No matter the industry, size of your business or type of goods or services, having a strong brand presence is vital towards growing and sustaining a business. It reminds me of the old adage “if a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound”. If your brand isn’t making noise, turning heads and gaining referrals, then does it really exist? While I may speak in hyperbole of the existence of your brand, it clearly isn’t possessing strong brand awareness.

Plain and simple, brand awareness is how well a consumer identifies with your brand and your business. To properly engage an audience with the process of brand awareness, it’s essential to use every medium of advertising and marketing possible. Digital platforms, personal statements, and overall customer relations are the most accessible and prominently used methods of building brand awareness.

At this point, in our fast-paced digital age, advertising your brand through social media is second nature. Every business and brand has a Facebook and Twitter so it’s easy to get lost in the shuffle within your marketplace. Make a conscious effort to set yourself apart from the more “traditional” social media outlets, and cater your presence toward a more personal bond with your consumer. Use avenues like a blog posts and Pinterest boards to give an inside look into how your personal brand functions as it relates to your mission statement to build brand awareness.

To further expand on creating a personal bond between your brand and your consumer, it’s best to follow a two sided approach: customer service and a personal connection. If it’s done correctly, both of these methods can be achieved together and can certainly go hand-in-hand. When dealing with a potential consumer, the manner in which you approach your relationship can speak volumes. Always speak to the consumer the way they need to hear the information and not the way you wish to say it. Every consumer will have a different level of education on their industry and marketing principles, so do the research on what they need specifically and share the information with them in an easily digestible manner. Dedicate yourself to making the consumers’ needs your priority and you will undouble gain trust of the customer and increase the presence of your brand.

High brand awareness suggests that the brand is easily recognizable and accepted by the market in a way that the brand is differentiated from similar competitors. The ultimate goal of any business is to be immediately thought of by your target market when they’re ready to purchase your services.



This week’s blog post is written by guest blogger, and Associate IIDA Member, Jane Hallinan. Jane recently organized two speaker series for the Pittsburgh City Center designed to inspire and urge women to “lean in.” 

To me, there is nothing more inspiring than the dog-eared, text underlined, torn out, and cut apart pages of a magazine. Some of my favorites include Nylon, Interior Design, and, this time particularly, IIDA Perspective.

When faced with an event committee’s equivalent to writer’s block, I found the answer within the IIDA Perspective Fall/Winter 2013 issue. The Pittsburgh City Center wanted to embody our organization’s mission to provide relevant, meaningful, and powerful programs that support our Members in their ever-expanding roll as a design professional. With page after page of worthy contenders, it was “Leaning In” that captured our hearts and minds while speaking to the historically blue collared and relentlessly working architecture and interior design industry that passes through the generations of Pittsburgh.


Photo Credit: Kayla Scott Photography

What obstacles do our female colleagues have in obtaining advanced leadership roles in the architecture and design industry? Who has forged through despite an anything but linear path to make it there? Most importantly, how can we inspire action?


Photo Credit: Kayla Scott Photography

The Pittsburgh “Women’s Roundtable” event was created to answer those questions and included a panel of 6 seriously kick ass women. Subsequently, after its overwhelming success, “Women & Negotiating” precipitated as a follow-up event

Here, I’ll share three essential points from the dialogue that began at these events, making it clear that this industry is anything but the boy’s league:

  1. Learn to say no. Sometimes this can actually mean saying yes to something else. Take the challenge, adapt, and capitalize on what comes your way.
  2. Acknowledge leadership from the middle. Recognize the difference between ‘lead’ and ‘manage.’
  3. Have supporting data, be tactful, and get comfortable with being your own champion.


    Photo Credit: Kayla Scott Photography

Although Interior Design is comprised primarily of women, it still requires that both men and women come to the table of this issue. (Special thanks to the 3 men in the audience at Womens Roundtable!). The world is changing, the gender gap is narrowing, and opportunities are forcing us to think differently. Felice Silverman, IIDA, Past President hinted to this in the aforementioned Perspective issue, “We all know the ‘rate of change’ has changed. We live and work at an exponentially accelerated pace…”

There has never been a better time to pick up a magazine, rip out a few pages, and make change happen.

Header Image created by Leah Silverman

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The always innovative and ever-expanding company, Unbranded Designs, has created the Iconic Reinvention Design Challenge – a breakthrough competition centered around timeless furniture revitalized for a modern lifestyle. Participants are asked to select an iconic piece of furniture and recreate it, making it relevant to today’s manufacturing processes or materials, or the way people live today.

“This competition is all about reinventing classic furniture you love,” said Sameer Dohadwala, Co-Founder and CEO of Unbranded Designs. “These items are staples of the industry with the opportunity to reimagine them for modern day.”

Contestants can win prizes ranging from T-shirts, a featured blog piece, and as much as $1,000 in cash. However, entering the Challenge can bring far more benefits for a designer than prizes can provide. The opportunity to gain exposure as an innovative designer and have your work seen and judged by some of the biggest names in design; Jason Hall (Charlie Greene Studios), Chris Hacker (Herman Miller), and Harry Allen (Harry Allen Design), could be the most invaluable reward of the Challenge.

“The biggest reason to take part in the competition is the recognition you receive when you enter, and when a project is selected,” said Dohadwala. “It’s also an amazing outlet to grow as a designer and have your work critiqued by some of the biggest firms in the industry. It’s truly a great learning experience.”

Unbranded Designs is a global community that helps discover Design ideas and distribute them to industry professionals. Their overall goal is to support and connect cutting-edge designers to manufactures around the world.

“Unbranded Designs is really about empowering designers,” said Dohadwala. “Our philosophy is to introduce our designers to big markets.”

Submissions for the Reinvention Design Challenge are due by July 23, 2014. For more information on Unbranded Designs and the Iconic Reinvention Design Challenge, click here.



You may have noticed a change with regard to IIDA Government and Regulatory Affairs (aka GRA) recently. We no longer refer to our legislative affairs as GRA but instead IIDA is using the term “Advocacy.” While subtle to some it underscores an important change in the way IIDA views the way in which we advocate for our Members.

IIDA is encompassing more of what our Members actually do – which is advocate and set good public policy on the state level through the support of licensure by the introduction of title and/or practice acts. The use of the term advocacy, as our Director of Advocacy, Emily Kluczynski points out, is a term that is more relatable and less intimidating.

“I think advocacy is warm term that everyone can relate to.  I think members say, ‘Even though I may not be an expert on the legislative process, I can learn the basic tools and be an advocate for my profession.’  Grassroots advocacy is something we try to distill in our members from the moment they join – whether it’s at the student or professional level,” said Emily Kluczynski.

Emily started with IIDA last December, and during her time she has already made advocacy and legislative affairs less daunting for our Members by holding monthly calls, attending Capital Days in Jefferson City, Missouri, attending Chapter and Coalition events, and producing up-to-date resources for Members. Through the these efforts IIDA is making the legislative process less intimidating and more accessible.

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2014 IIDA Career Bootcamp™

Design students who attended NeoCon 2014 were able to jump start their careers by attending this year’s IIDA Career Bootcamp™. The esteemed Bootcamp panel of professional Interior Designers featured Fred Schmidt, IIDA, LEED AP, Jocelyn Stroupe, IIDA AAHID, ASID, EDAC, Alissa Wehmueller, IIDA, and Olivia Zabel, Associate IIDA, who shared stories and tips on how to effectively get a foot in the door to the Design industry, how to best prepare a resume and portfolio, do’s and don’t’s of being a Design professional, and what it takes to be a licensed and successful Interior Designer. Check out the video below!