Episode 045: Sales Funnels Made Easy with Kate the Socialite



Show Notes

My next guest is the fabulous Kate Greunke, also known as Kate the Socialite. She is a podcast host, marketing consultant, and the founder of Socialite, an international marketing agency for home professionals.

Kate and her team help home industry pros feel confident in their online presence and increase their perceived value so that they can charge the rates they want, get the projects they need, and grow a business they love.

In this episode, we chat all about how marketing should be simple and effective rather than cumbersome, expensive, and a guessing game.



About Kate

Learn more about Kate and her team at Socialite Vault and Kate the Socialite.


Connect with Kate

Connect with Kate on Instagram @kate.the.socialite, and don’t forget to check out her podcast The Kate Show.


Connect with Michelle

You can follow Michelle on Instagram or join her Free Facebook Community!


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Michelle: Hello everybody. Welcome back to the podcast. I am excited that you're here. We are the Designed for the Creative Mind Podcast, a business podcast for creatives and interior designers, which is basically one in the same, but I want to welcome Kate the socialite today. And.

For those of you who don't know Kate, she is a podcast host a marketing consultant, the founder of Socialite, which is an international marketing agency for home professionals, Kate and her team work closely with interior designers, home stagers window treatment specialists and professional organizers to set up sales funnels, revamp their online presence and grow their businesses with simplicity and ease.

Hence, the reason she's here today. So welcome Kate. Thank you.

Kate: Thank you so much for having 

Michelle: Oh, my gosh. I'm so excited. I really had a great time meeting you. We actually met for those of you. And the audience we met at Rick Compos, at the Design Biz Retreat, the design-build survival guide.

So if you're following along on the podcast at all, you know that Rick and I have a lot of guests that cross over, but it's just such a great little tribe. And I had the pleasure of meeting Kate there. She was the keynote, one of the keynote speakers, and just killed it by the way. I think the feedback was amazing for everybody.

Kate: Yeah, it was really fun. I loved that it was a more intimate setting and I was so grateful to be one of the people going last. You went, I don't know if made first. Yeah. Well, and of course you killed it as well.

And that made me relax because I don't have much public speaking experience and I've been podcasting for four years, but I don't have much experience speaking live and in-person and you were so comfortable up there and I was like, okay.

She can do it. I can do it. And that just really was a nice way to you paved the way for me. So thank you.

Michelle: Yeah I love public speaking. But especially in such small groups and so friendly and everything it's yeah, I think that's also. Some of the stuff that you've talked about is just like, be your own brand, be yourself.

And you were just so comfortable up there. And I'm so excited that you're here to share some of that information with our audience today because in my paid program, the interior design business bakery, as well as in the free group, the Launchpad, it comes up all the time. So you know how like what's a sales funnel what's, you know, and I just recorded.

So this is going to be perfect timing to go together. So let's just dive in. What is a sales funnel and why do you need one?

Kate: Yeah. So a sales funnel is something that scares a lot of people because I think, okay, that sounds expensive.

It sounds like I'm going to need a whole team to set up and operate this thing. But a sales funnel is really just creating a path through the woods for your ideal client to easily walk on, to get to your front door, make it something they want to walk on, make it attractive and make it so tailored to your ideal client that it actually deters bad clients.

So people who will try to shop you waste your time, hagle your prices, things that designers don't need in their lives. And a sales funnel is something that starts with it can start with a social media presence, but social media is not all that to everyone. It's not the end all be all because what if it goes down?

Kate: Yes, which happened when we were at the Design Biz Retreat. And I was just sitting there fist-pumping, like, see, this is what I'm talking about. People's emails didn't go down, but social did.

And I was so fired up that day. But yeah, so social media can be one of the first steps in a sales funnel, but what really is the first step is like your physical presence in your community.

Word of mouth referrals, the friend who referred you to her cousin. People like that are going to be the best way to get your sales funnel started because that's the oldest form of marketing.

And if you say, "well, word of mouth referral is really like the only way I get clients." That's perfect. That's fine.

That's not wrong. Yeah. And do you want me to go through every step because I don't want to just like do a verbal dump.

Michelle: Whatever you feel is appropriate. We can do a follow-up podcast in the future. 

Kate: Yeah. I'll give you guys like the bird's eye view of this. When people meet you on social or in person, the first thing they're going to do is Google.

This means they're going to end up at your website and I know you've had other website professionals on your podcast, so I don't have to go over that in great detail, but your website has to do more than look pretty. It actually has to be set up well for SEO.

It needs to have a homepage that acts as a sales page, which means you can't just throw an image on there and try to be super minimal and cute because that doesn't serve you or your clients also have to have a lead magnet because if someone's not interested in contacting you right away.

They'll just leave your website. But if you've got a lead magnet up there that gives them a reason to opt into your mailing list, they're like, "all right, I'll do that."

I want what he or she is offering. And that is your golden opportunity because their email address is current.

And from there, you'll need to have a welcome email set up. You'll need to have ongoing monthly email newsletters so that you can nurture that lead. You don't need to have a long, complex sequence that you did ahead of time.

You just need the welcome email that delivers the lead magnet. And then you need the ongoing email newsletters that talk about what you do or a recent project.

Keep it all very focused. Don't throw too many topics into one newsletter. It should not be your diary. It should not be your travel journal. It should be "here's a project we did". "Here's how we transformed the space for the client". "Here's how the client felt because..."

Or you just, if you don't have clients yet, because we deal with a lot of new designers in my agency, then we just talk about "how do you transform that really ignored bedroom in your home into a guest bedroom."

Explain your process. That helps to educate your potential lead and realize, Hey, you are the man or the woman for this job. And that is where we are seeing in my agency.

People are booking projects. They're getting repeat clients. Those clients on their tiny little mailing list are forwarding their newsletter to someone outside the mailing list.

That third party ends up hiring the designer and it ends up being this big happy family. So that is a sales funnel. 

Michelle: That is awesome. And I love the passion that like, as soon as you started talking, I could just see you let's back up just a little bit. How did you get involved in this industry? 

Kate: So, yeah, so I started my business in 2014, just as a copywriter for anyone who had a business.

And I didn't have an ideal client. I didn't understand email marketing or marketing in general. It was a very depressing, difficult time for me to be honest.

And About 2015. So about a year later, I took B-School by Marie Forleo. And that helped me determine who my ideal client was. And I realized that, you know, the few clients I had in the home industry were my favorites because I'm a creative entrepreneur.

You guys are creative entrepreneurs. It just really meshed well. And I decided to focus just on that. My husband was a lead carpenter for a remodeling company at the time. So I also kind of had that insider knowledge. And then it just took off from there. My business grew when I stopped trying to serve everyone.

Michelle: That is such a valid point because we try to be all things for all people. And once you narrow it down and say, here's who I am, here's who I serve. And here's how I do it. Yeah, 

Kate: I know. Yes.

Michelle: Well, I love hearing that your process is what we teach interior designers too.

Kate: Yes. And unfortunately, what I see happening a lot right now is everyone is trying to be like one or two specific interior designers in the industry who are killing it right now and is awesome for them.

But for the people who are trying to mimic them right down to stealing the verbiage off their website, which I never condoned that's a problem.

You know, and people really do need to stand in their own space and be like, "I admire this person, but I'm not them. I am me". And that is still valuable to people. 

Michelle: And just for those of you listening, you are perfect, who you are. Like, you do not need to be anybody else. God made you in his image and you're a child of God.

Don't water that down. Just stand in your own presence and stand in your own badassery and just own it because we all have something special a very priceless about us.

So whether it is you know, you, your mother who stays at home and your house still looks lovely, bring that to the table of interior design.

You're a business person who, you know, got out of corporate, bring that to the table. Like there's so many beautiful things that we each embody and that's, I can't get enough of that. 

Kate: Yes. And the interesting thing is. Even if people have a very colorful background, like maybe they didn't go straight to design school after they graduated.

Yeah. Maybe they didn't like that doesn't devalue them. That just shows what a well-rounded life they have lived. It's not something to hide or be ashamed of. And I say that because I do get a lot of people asking me, like, how do I write my bio? And somehow camouflage the fact that I was in a different industry for 20 years.

I'm like, "don't hide that's who you are and that's actually going to resonate with people and it might actually end up attracting your ideal client because they'll have so much common ground."

Michelle: Yeah. I think that I struggled with that quite a bit when I was first getting into the industry and I felt like an imposter.

And once I got over that again, just like various avenues opened up. Yeah. So speaking of avenues. That's not really a very good segue, but let's talk about email marketing because we touched on it in regards to what you were just talking about with your sales funnel and your email marketing is currency, but, and I've got another podcast coming out.

The importance of emails, like getting an email list and, you know, the lead magnet, what are some ideas for lead magnets also called also known as a freemium. I call them a freemium because it's a free premium giveaway.

But why do you need an email list and how do you go about it. 

Kate: Yeah. So those are very loaded questions.

So you need an email list because that is the best way to stay in touch with people. Not everyone uses social. And what I have found is a lot of high-end designers. Work with clients who are not active on social media.

And if they do end up following the designer on Instagram, for example, it's during their project because they want to see photos or it's after because they want to see photos, that's purely selfish on their part. Totally fine.

And if they are active on social before contacting a designer, they are what we call silent stalkers, which means they're not going to comment or like they may not even follow you.

Let's go to your profile and check out your stuff. And then they're going to go Google you and do more research. So they're not even using Instagram as a determining factor in whether or not to hire you.

It kind of blows a lot of people's minds because we've been told for so long, Instagram is where it's at and I have no problem with Instagram, but if you expect it to bring you new business, you're going to be very disappointed.

That's why email marketing is so important because email has been around for decades and everybody has, yes, everybody has it. Everybody checks it.

Most people check their inbox several dozen times a day. So as much as we say, we're sick of email. We're really not. We're kind of addicted. Like if I pick up my phone, that's where my thumb goes.

It is almost embarrassing, but it is, I'm like, oh, messages, great read and delete today.

So the reason why we want to focus more on email is that doesn't have an algorithm that can't get taken away from us. It is land. We own. Property that we rent on social media is just rented property. We don't have any control over what changes they make and whether or not people see our content.

But with email, we can reach people. Plus it's a much more personal interaction because it's coming from you to them. It's not sent out to the masses.

So based on those things alone, you're able to reach more people more consistently in a more personal way. It does make. Specifically for interior design easier because interior design is a very intimate relationship-based service.

Michelle: And that's something that's very important is that you need to have your voice out there so that people will hear it and resonate with your messaging. How large does the email listening to be? Like, what if it's only like, I mean, we all have to start somewhere. If you've got five, you've got 10, you've got 50.

Like, does it have to be big to provide a result?

Kate: No, it doesn't. A lot of our clients come to us with about 12 people on their list and they're so embarrassed by it. You know, they're practically whispering it to me in emails or on phone calls and I'm like, "Hey. If one of those people hires you, it is worth the effort you put in."

But that again is where we're seeing one of those 12 people may not hire them, but they will forward the email to someone else and that person ends up hiring them.

So it's just really about putting your word of mouth referral network on steroids, bringing it into 20, 22 at this point. Now we might as well just say that because we're at the tail end of 20, 21 already.

And. That's why it works so well, whether you've got a tiny list or you've got a list of thousands. 

Michelle: I love that. And what you had said earlier and compounded it just now, is that the person who receives the email may not be the one who hires you, but they forward it to the person who does. Yeah. So it's just like throwing a stone in the water and watching the ripples.

It doesn't have to be a big stone.

Kate: Yeah, absolutely. And also it's not just other homeowners that will receive it, sometimes magazines, get it. Which is very interesting. Like if you have someone on your mailing list who works at a magazine, maybe you met them at some point.

We have had our clients be contacted by the magazine saying, "Hey, I love your newsletter. Can we feature you?"

Michelle: I know that sometimes people are thinking, "well, I have to write a newsletter and I have to, you know, write a blog" and all of this stuff.

Like, what's the difference between your newsletter and your email marketing plan and your blog. Could you just consolidate it and do it together.

Kate: Well, yes and no, you can certainly use the same topic, but the layout has to be entirely different because if you write a blog post and let's say it's 500 to 700 words, And then you email out that entire thing, or you email a snippet of it with a read more button.

What you're actually doing is taking people who are in your mailing list already, who are already at the end of your sales funnel.

And you're sending them back to the beginning of your sales funnel because a blog post is actually at the beginning of your sales funnel.

It's purpose is to be here to on social media. So it lives at the beginning of the sales funnel. Do not send your mailing list back to read a blog post when what you really want people in your mailing list to do is either forward the newsletter or contact you book a consult book, a discovery call.

So that's why you have to be very careful now. Just directly copy and paste and reuse them. Now, if you have a blog post on a topic that you really want to talk about in a newsletter, you could make a condensed version of that. But then the call to action is not go to your website to read more. Instead it is a book, a discovery call to take the next step with us.

Michelle: And interesting. I think I might have been doing some things backward, so. By getting eyeballs on the website. Doesn't that increase the SEO.

So would we not want them to go back to the website and just continue to get more Google juice or you just want to keep them kind of separate? So you're saying the blog post is the beginning of where you want to start bringing people in.

And then once they're into the email list, that's when you want to convert them into paying clients or referrals or something like that. So it's, that's very intentional. I was trying to do too many things at one time. I think I do a newsletter and I also send a blog out. I can hear the wheels turning.

Michelle: Yes, exactly. I love this. 

Kate: Yeah, I have this conversation with a lot of people because obviously if we can recycle content, let's do it. I am a future fan of that. I will turn my podcast, show notes into a blog post and then into a newsletter. But it is so rare that I ever have people go back to my website to finish reading something.

I want them to book something with us. I want them to sign up for our membership. So the call to action is always intentional, what is my end goal? What do I want them to do?

I can only tell them to do one thing. What is it? And that's why in a newsletter, you can't say, "oh, go check out my Instagram. Oh, go check out my new blog post."

Because it's like, people are like, well, I'm not going to do any of this. I'm so confused and overwhelmed. So that's why you have to have one ask and make it a good. 

Michelle: Oh, that's amazing. And not just, it's also, I think one of the things that you did really well at the retreat, and I know it's just because you're the expert at it is that you made, you broke it down.

So that marketing was so simple and effective versus trying to be again, trying to be all things to all people, but from a marketing standpoint, not from a design standpoint, right? 

Kate: Yes. You have to have a very specific message. 

Michelle: I love that and a very specific. So, what I just learned is that your email list has the intention of being a referral or converting to a client.

Whereas your blog post is the beginning of the sales funnel that you had mentioned earlier in our conversation.

Kate: A blog exists for SEO, which is search engine optimization, which is why, if you have people from your mailing list, clicking back to yours.

That's not really helping your SEO because it has nothing to do with the search engine in Google analytics.

You'll just see people have the direct link to something and that doesn't help you. 

Michelle: And that's why people need to hire people like you. Instead of listening to me, talk about just enough to be dangerous. So I'm a huge fan of outsourcing the shit that I don't understand. Well, like my bookkeeping and my social media and the stuff that.

I knew enough to be dangerous, to get started in my business, but once I could quote-unquote, afford to pay for it, I couldn't afford NOT to because the experts like you elevate everything because you know what the heck you do. Well, so tell people how, because they need you. 

Kate: We help our clients in a few different ways, but it's all very intentional.

I do not believe in throwing things against the wall to see what sticks, because I've tried that and it is a waste of time and money and makes me hate my busy. And none of us should be in business hating what we do.

So we offer complete sales funnels, which is quite simple in that we're going to help you figure out what you should say on social media and whether or not you should even be on social media, but maybe you only need to post once a week, or maybe you do need to have a heavier presence on there.

It's not a one size fits all. And then we provide lead mag. And client guides so that you really have a professional presence and a way to grow your mailing list. And then we provide the ongoing email marketing and as some of our higher package levels, we also provide the blogging because some people really want to increase their SEO so that they can more easily promote the lead magnet so they can get people in the mailing list for the purpose of converting them with email marketing.

Michelle: Yes. They all work together simultaneously. Okay, good. I'm going to skip ahead and go a little bit out of order, actually, you know what, here's what we're going to do next. I have a segment called rapid fire Q and a, where it lets people get to know you a little bit better just as an individual, and then we'll share how our audience can find you.

And then I'll put all that information in the show notes as well. So I love to talk business and this just, I love the marketing aspect of it. It's. That's a sweet spot for me, obviously, I'm not as good at as I thought it was, but that's okay. 

You're good at many things that I am not good at, and that's why we all have our specialties and that's why you need to outsource.

Okay. So the next segment is rapid-fire Q and a, and nothing's off the table. Okay.

So, okay. We're going to start off easy. Favorite food?

Kate: Ice cream, chocolate anything.

Michelle: Yes. Yum. Yum, yum. Left-handed or right-handed?

Kate: right-handed 

Michelle: coffee or tea?

Kate: Coffee

Michelle: Dream travel destination?

Kate: Anywhere in the north woods. I am not a city girl. 

Michelle: That sounds lovely. So quiet.

 Michelle: Favorite superhero? 

Kate: Superman.

Michelle:  What did you want to be when you were growing up?

Kate: A lawyer

Michelle: last time that you laughed until you almost paid yourself 

Kate: on vacation, last week. When my two-year-old said to my husband, "Dad are you kidding me?" It was adorable.

Michelle: So darn funny. My daughter right now, she found a cartoon in Japanese that she loves. And now she's like, "Dad, I'm watching Japanese" adorable.

Oh, my gosh. It's exhausting, but yes, it's fun. Super fun. When was the last time you took a nap? 

Kate: I don't know. Really with like, I don't know. 

Michelle: Are you in that person before children? 

Kate: No. I can only take a nap if I'm really sick.

Michelle: So it's not a good thing to take a nap in your life. What's your favorite book? 

Kate: So I really like dystopian fiction things like the hunger games.

Michelle: Oh, that sounds good. That sounds very good. What genre of music do you listen to? 

Kate:  This is a very weird fact about me, that my husband can't stand. I am not huge into music. I like some country music. I mean, it is Wisconsin. So like I'm into that. I'm to a point like me, some Taylor Swift, even after she left country.

But otherwise, I love silence because my brain has so many things going on. Yeah. 

Michelle: And being an introvert, it's just overstimulating. So I have found it because I'm an introvert as well. I love listening to music with no words. Yes. So like jazz or classical, or even like something on the calm app, that's just some nature sounds in the background or something.

And my husband just figured that out. He's like, oh, like, And now if it's a road trip or something it's different, but put on some jazz, I'm automatically a nicer driver.

I definitely recommend that. So this morning, I, first time we put Christmas carols on.

And so today's, we're recording this the day before Thanksgiving. Y'all if you're listening we put that on and it was just all instant. And it was so just peaceful and then Gigi broke up and then it was no longer possible. 

Michelle: So last question is if you could have dinner with anybody dead or alive, who would you invite?

Kate: I would actually really like to meet Elon Musk. I would love to speak to him. He like he's so out there he's so innovative. And I know that he brings out a lot of strong opinions and people, but he's a businessman. And I would just love to know more about his philosophy because you, you don't just overnight become what he has become.

 Tell me your secrets. Not that I want to become a billionaire or trillionaire or whatever the heck he is, but I love the mindset behind it.

Michelle: Well, it's also important to learn from others that have locked in a successful path before us, and just learn to dream bigger than what we might've drenched before. And he definitely has taken it to that. 

Kate: Oh my goodness. Yes. The whole space exploration thing is just. Yeah, 

Michelle: I heard that might be 20, 22, 20 23. It might actually be ready for commercial use. You could pay to, you could pay to take a cruise around. I don't know where, but 

Kate: it will not be signing up for that because I don't even like planes.

Michelle: Yeah, no pass on that, but it's pretty crazy that's not actually. Star Trek. All right. Well, Kate, thank you so much for being on the show today. I know our audiences loved everything. I've loved everything. I've learned some really cool stuff today. As promised, tell our guests or tell our audience where they can find you.

Kate: So you guys can find me at katethesocialite.com. You can also find [email protected]. Socialite Vault is our membership where we provide sales funnels and email marketing for people. And you can also check out my podcast. 

Michelle: Love it love. Love it. And yes, I do think that Socialite Vault is Something that a lot of listeners will benefit from. It's so much easier to have. It's just take my money around earlier for me too.

Well, for those of you who can benefit from even more resources surrounding the business of running your interior design business, join the growing community on my Facebook private group, it's called the Interior Designers Business launchpad. I help on their weekly. Live and just do a little mini-training on a variety of topics.

And Kate, you should join over there as well, so that I can tag you and introduce you to people when they're looking for help that you offer.

Yes, I would love that great resource. Yes. Well, thanks for being here and thank you audience for listening, and please don't forget wherever you're listening to drop a quick review because it definitely helps keep the podcasts.

Until next time.

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