Marketing is anything that will get you more work and promote your services. So don’t limit yourself to thinking marketing means just advertising or Instagram influencer woo-woo.
Many architects scoff at marketing and take it lightly – and so do many other technical professionals, but marketing is everywhere, whether you notice it or not.
Hopefully, This article will give you some outside-the-box ideas for marketing your architectural business and focusing on activities that will get you the most ROI for the least amount of effort and investment.
Let’s look at what proper marketing for architects is – from the ground up.
The pillars of architectural marketing
First of all, you need to understand that marketing is not just a set of techniques or hacks. A complex ecosystem of activities and the mindset unites them with common goals.
Real long-term architecture marketing strategy is about building the proper foundation which will affect everything you do in the future, from how you price your services to how you communicate with clients and deliver project updates.
Marketing is based on several main components: you, your offer, your customers, and your activities.
These are the positioning and branding parts of marketing.
Basically, you need to answer the question, “why should clients pick ME among other architects” – and the answer needs to be clear and obvious.
You must pack that answer into your elevator pitch and internalize it as your mission statement. Be specific and vivid with your pitch.
This is the part of marketing where you focus on personal branding and making yourself stand out as a unique professional that appeals to a specific audience.
For instance, getting certified with sustainable building design systems can be a great way to boost your value as a professional. Same goes for changing the way you charge your clients and how you make your pricing appealing to certain groups.
This is where you make the services you offer more appealing.
Architectural services may seem straightforward, but you can still pair them up with many other things that will skyrocket the value of your offer.
Think of service combinations that make a lot of sense to your target market – and partner up with other professionals that offer them.
PlanMan offers a co-consultants module that lets you seamlessly manage any work outsourced to other companies and professionals.
This is an easy way to stand out and differentiate yourself from your competition.
This defines the group of potential clients for your architectural services.
Industries, object types, designs and trends you work with, price ranges – all of that helps define your target market.
These are the practical techniques and methods you are using to implement your marketing strategy. Let’s go over some of them in detail.
First and foremost, you need to think of marketing activities in relation to channels. Channels refer to the ways you are getting clients, and there are appropriate strategies and tactics for every channel.
Your best bet would be to master one channel first and maximize your ROI there. After that extrapolate your experience and techniques to the next one.
Avoid trying to get several marketing channels to work at once, because you will burn out and get no results with either.
Word of mouth is still the best, the oldest, and the most powerful marketing channel there is.
Naturally, in order to get referrals, you need to be good at what you do, but there is more to it.
First, you need to make your customers actually feel good after working with you, and most of the time clear communication alone can get you that.
Knowing how important proper communication and customer support is for your future business, we’ve developed and added an advanced client communication module to PlanMan. An intuitive client portal where they can see all their past communication with you, all their documents and deliverables. This gives a way better impression than having to sift through mailboxes looking for your updates.
Make it easy to refer others to you – be accessible easily. Having a developed online presence helps.
You can run referral marketing campaigns where everyone sending you a new lead becomes entitled to some sort of a bonus, be it a discount or an additional service they get.
Another thing to keep in mind is – your old clients are your best new clients. Anyone who has spent money on your services in the past will feel way more comfortable working with you again instead of betting on a new architect. For that reason – always stay in touch with your past clients.
Following up may feel uncomfortable at first – but you need to change your perspective of that. Yours is just one of the dozens of emails they get daily, it’s not a big deal.
This is the quickest, the costliest, and the most knowledge-demanding marketing channel an architect can use.
If you want results without wasting money or constant guesswork – consider working with a PPC professional.
Keep in mind that setting up and optimizing your PPC campaigns will cost you some money, so be prepared to spend to earn.
Organic traffic (SEO and Local SEO)
This marketing channel can be relatively cheap, but it requires persistence.
SEO stands for “search engine optimization” and basically means producing content and publishing it on your website so that it starts accumulating organic traffic from Google. In a nutshell, you try to cater to Google searches of your target market with your website.
There is obviously a lot more to it, so check out our guide on blogging for architects.
Local SEO means building mentions of your architectural business on relevant platforms online – they are called citations. Consistent local SEO citations.
Content marketing for architects
This includes blogging but is not limited to it. Content can come in any shape and form – blog posts, tweets, YouTube videos, printed handouts, and a lot more.
Content marketing means strategically producing content across all mediums and platforms so that it works together as a large funnel that educates, engages, persuades, and converts the audience into customers.
When planning out your content marketing strategy be aware of the content marketing funnel – with top of the funnel being informative content that educates readers about the architectural services you offer, and bottom of the funnel being the content that makes them give you a call and arrange a meeting.
Keep in mind that you will not see any tangible results from content marketing for a while, so you need to be patient and persistent with it. Don’t spread yourself too thin, pick a platform where you are certain your audience is and master your content creation on it.
Email & subscriber marketing for architects
Email and subscriber marketing opportunities are virtually endless because architecture is fascinating – especially if you’re fascinated by it.
Running social media can be a lot of fun, it can give you architectural ideas and fire up your creative fuel.
However, always make sure you are tracking the effectiveness of your activity. An active and tasteful Instagram account may be contributing to your brand and stroking your ego, but could still be ineffective for finding high-end clients.
Coming up with marketing ideas as an architect
There are several major ways you can come up with marketing ideas as an architect.
1. Take care of the basics
First take care of all the boring basics – create an online presence, work through your branding and positioning, create an ideal client persona, plan out social media posts, build your local profiles, listings, and citations.
You’d be surprised at how much creativity you would be getting by simply following to-do lists. Taking care of the basics gives you a chance to have a fresh look at your own business.
2. Watch the competition
As you work on your marketing strategy, pay attention to what other architects are doing. Everyone is marketing themselves, even if it seems like they’re not.
By watching your competition, you won’t necessarily have to repeat everything they do to the T, but you can get ideas for subtle promotion that would make you stand out.
3. Talk to professionals
Consider booking a call with a marketer or an agency that specializes in marketing services for architects.
That will help you get realistic and practical input regarding all your goals – and help set the right expectations too.
4. Learn from other industries
You don’t necessarily have to do what architects are doing – do what plumbers or musicians are doing to sell their services.
Adapting unusual services to your marketing strategy can get you way ahead of your competition, if done right.