10 Marketing Secrets for Architects
Use These Architectural Marketing Ideas to Sell Your Services
Many architects begin their careers with grand ideas of designing stunning buildings. All of you have the potential to do this, but you may not be able to achieve your goals as part of a larger firm. You may feel as though you’ve become little more than a cog in a machine. For many, this is the impetus for striking out on their own.
Starting your own architectural firm brings a lot of challenge. For one, you face an enormous amount of competition. There are thousands of architectural firms across Australia. Some of these offer very specific services, whereas others take a full service approach. In any case, you need to figure out how to sell architectural services if you are to stand any chance of competing against them.
This can be difficult for a new firm. After all, most architects prefer to focus on their work. Some do this to the extent that they neglect the business side of things. However, you do need to come up with some architectural marketing ideas if you hope to raise your firm’s profile.
That’s where this article hopes to help you. Let’s look at 10 marketing secrets that all architects must know if they want their firms to achieve success.
Secret #1 – Build a Strong Website
The key to selling architectural services is to stay current with the latest marketing tools. This is something that many architects forget when it comes to their firm’s website. Without a strong focus on the quality of your website, you can’t engage in any form of digital marketing for architects.
Your website should serve several purposes. Of course, you need it to generate leads, otherwise you won’t have any clients. However, it should do much more than that. Your website should inform clients, and inspire them with examples of your work. Your firm’s website needs to stand out, which it can only do if you have case studies, articles, and a portfolio. A standard list of your services isn’t going to cut it in the modern digital environment.
Many architects also fall into the trap of using dated websites. They forget that their websites provide their firm’s first impression. If your website looks drab and dated, many clients are going to assume that’s what your buildings will look like as well.
Keep your website up to date. Use recent case studies, ensure your team members all have their own biographies on the site, and add fresh content regularly.
Secret #2 – Get Professional Photography
Take a serious look at your portfolio. Check the gallery on your website, and examine any photographs of your work that you send to clients in your marketing literature. Showing what you can do is a key aspect of selling architectural services, but you can’t do that if your photographs look amateurish.
You need to take professional quality photographs of your work if you’re going to impress clients. Remember that most of these clients won’t have the time to visit the buildings you’ve created. However, they’ll still want to see what you can do, which means they’ll rely on the photographs you provide.
Not all architects have the gift of taking great photos. They don’t understand issues such as lighting, or correct angles. This leads to a collection of drab photos that do a poor job of selling architectural services.
Bring in a professional photographer to avoid this situation. Yes, it may be an added expense. However, you’ll soon discover the benefits when your professional photographs start attracting more clients.
Secret #3 – Focus on Lead Nurturing
Nothing comes cheap in the world of architecture. Your clients will spend thousands, or even millions, of dollars on your services. That’s a huge investment, which means a client needs to feel confident in your firm and its ability to get the job done.
As a result, lead nurturing is key to selling architectural services. Without it, your clients will assume that you don’t care enough to keep them informed, which they will believe is an attitude that carries over into your work.
Remember that building trust with a client takes time. Getting them interested is just the start. You need to provide consistent information to show that your firm will get the job done. Many architects use newsletters, which allow them to talk about their skills and recent work. A good newsletter will establish you as an authority in the field, which will raise the confidence of any prospective clients.
However, you should also consider an automated lead nurturing campaign. This will allow you to send different messages to leads at various points of the sales process. As long as you take care of your automated messages, you’ll keep the line of communication with your leads open. This is key to developing trust.
Secret #4 – Build a Referral Campaign
What happens after you’ve built something successfully for a client? Does that client recommend your services to others? If you don’t know, then you may be missing out on a great method of selling architectural services.
Your satisfied clients can act as a marketing tool in their own right. After all, word of mouth is extremely powerful, especially in an industry like architecture. If you provide great customer service, alongside quality work, your clients will want to talk about you. As a result, convincing your clients to sell your services for is one of the key business development strategies for architects.
But how do you get them to do that? This is where a referral campaign can help you.
Secret #5 – Pay Attention to Social Media
You already know about the importance of digital marketing for architecture firms. However, this encompasses much more than your website. You need to create a strong online presence across every platform available.
The simple fact of the matter is that the majority of your clients use some form of social media. Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, these social networks create opportunities for you to interact with the people who may be interested in your firm’s services.
As a result, you must pay attention to your social media channels. Do not allow them to stagnate. Instead, treat them in the same way as you do the blog on your website. Post fresh content, and make every effort to establish yourself as an authority in the field. Share pictures of your latest work, and encourage people to follow you for more of the same. As you build your audience, you gain access to a group of people who can share your content with those who may not have seen you yet.
Lastly, never ignore a question a customer sends via social media. Instead, take advantage of the opportunity to talk about what you can do. You’ll establish your authority, while keeping your clients happy. Many even use the questions they receive through social media as inspiration for articles and blog posts.
Secret #6 – Remember the 80/20 Rule
Many people will tell you that 80% of the money your firm earns will come from 20% of its clients. These heavy-hitting clients are key to a successful marketing strategy. If you can’t keep them informed, your efforts at selling architectural services to other clients may not mean much for your firm.
Take some time to identify your repeat clients so you can work out who spends the most amount of money with your firm. In doing this, you may identify patterns that tell you what those clients really want.
Create new marketing campaigns that focus on the needs of the 20%. They are your ideal customers, so you need to keep them informed. Furthermore, these marketing campaigns may also help you to attract similar clients who want to achieve what your current clients achieve.
As a result, focusing on the 20% could even be your route to finding more clients that fit the profile of those you want to attract to your firm.
Secret #7 – Take Advantage of Local SEO
If you’re reading this article, it’s likely you have a small firm. While these tips are just as effective for large companies, it’s smaller firms that really need a helping hand with marketing.
Your small firm probably operates on a local level. As a result, you need to focus your digital marketing and search engine optimisation (SEO) efforts on the local market. Targeting regional keywords is a great way to shoot up the rankings quickly.
So how does it work? Well, the key thing to remember is that most people will add local qualifiers to their searches. Instead of typing “architects” into the search engine, they’ll type “architects in Adelaide”, or something similarly regional. Optimising towards your location means that you stand a better chance of appearing in the search results for these more specific searches.
There are several keyword checking tools that can help you with this. For example, Google AdWords’ keyword checker offers a general overview of the number of searches made for a keyword, alongside the competition you will face. Use these tools to target your SEO.
Secret #8 – Find Your Unique Selling Point
What makes your firm different to all of its competitors? If you can’t figure out the answer, your prospective clients won’t be able to either. They’ll just see another architectural firm among a sea of companies, and they’ll have no reason to pick you out from the crowd.
So how do you determine your unique selling point? The first step involves looking inwards. Think about how you want your clients to view you, and use that as your means of selling architectural services. For example, you could specialise in designing buildings in a particular style. Or, you could set your firm apart by being more responsive to your clients’ needs than other firms.
Secondly, you need to look at how your competition is selling architectural services. If they’re doing the same things as you, then you aren’t unique. Worse yet, if your competitors have offered services for a longer time than your firm, you may come off as an imitator.
Know what you want to be, and know what your competition does. This will help you to find your unique selling point, around which you can focus your marketing campaigns.
Secret #9 – Develop Your Business Partnerships
Many architects don’t see their networks as part of their marketing strategies. They build contacts within the industry, but don’t lean on them when they need help.
Your network is one of your main sources of business. The people you meet, both in and out of the architectural sector, are a great way to deliver information to people you have not met yet.
Remember that business is all about the relationships you build. This is something that new firm owners struggle with. Who you know can play just as much of a part in your success as what you know.
As a result, you must take advantage of any opportunity to get in front of fellow professionals. Attend local business conferences and publish articles in trade magazines. Furthermore, take part in public speaking engagements. You’ll meet more professionals, who can expose you to new opportunities.
Secret #10 – Submit Your Work for Awards
Recognition from your own industry is ideal for selling architectural services. After all, if other architects think your firm does great work, potential clients will think the same.
You must submit your work to any relevant competitions and award ceremonies you can find. Most regions have local awards shows that you can take part in, but it’s the national awards that will really sell your services. Even being a nominee for a major award will boost your firm’s profile. However, winning is something that you can base your marketing literature on.
The key here is being choosy. Submitting your work for every award you can find may not benefit you. It takes time to find awards, and the time you spend on submissions may be better spent on your clients.
Instead, find a small collection of relevant industry awards that you think you have a chance of winning. Focus your submissions on them, and make sure to advertise any nominations or wins.
Those are a few architectural marketing ideas that will help you to find more clients. While each of these secrets work well on their own, the best marketing strategies pull this advice together to create a cohesive plan.
However, you need to ensure that your firm can impress with its design portfolio before you start selling architectural services. ArchiStar Academy can help you. We offer a range of courses in the latest digital design software, which will help you to create the perfect models for your portfolio. Contact ArchiStar Academy today to find out how we can help you to develop the skills you need for selling architectural services.
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Posted on 10 Dec 2018