If you want to grow your practice, no matter how excellent the quality of your work is, you need to market yourself. Many old-school architects believe that your work speaks for itself, and referral clients will just keep coming if you plan and design great buildings. Unfortunately, that is not entirely true.
People who talk that way are often at the top already, primarily due to multiple factors they didn’t even notice or consider.
For beginner architects, getting new leads and clients is as important as actually delivering work. Of course, you’re not marketers and don’t have to be – but there are specific mindset shifts that will lead you to get more architecture clients. Let’s go over some of the points.
1. Work with past clients better
Many ignore this and miss out on a lot of new projects. But, as the saying goes, your past clients are your best new clients. That holds especially true in architecture, where word of mouth and referrals are more powerful than in any other industry.
Satisfied past clients that remember you and view you as an authority are one of the most critical assets of your architectural business. However, to sustain and nurture these relationships, you need to turn client work into a system.
Here’s a set of ideas for successful client relationships in architecture –
Be sure to communicate with the client clearly and regularly before, during, and after working on a project.
Share news and success stories
Showcase some of your other projects, explain what you did and why explain how and why this fits into modern trends and efficiency.
…but in a non-intrusive way. Birthdays and holidays are a must, but you can also develop something more creative.
Automate and unify as much as possible. Use the client communication module of PlanMan – it’s explicitly designed to maximize the effect of your client communication.
Your interaction with past clients ultimately aims to get referrals and more projects. In addition, excellent communication will help brand you as a friendly and easy-to-deal-with professional.
2. Run a website and a blog
Yes, this makes sense in 2022 as much as in any other year. A website gets you your real estate online – you own 100% of it, it’s cancellation-proof, and it provides you with first-hand data on your buyer audience.
Blogging is a long-term strategy, but time goes by fast. A blog helps you both establish authority and get organic traffic from Google. You can blog about your observations, showcase your work with a detailed explanation of trends and materials, review industry developments, and much more.
Find out more about blogging ideas as an architect.
3. Raise your prices
This is a non-obvious trick that many beginner architects overlook. As you determine your hourly rate, remember that larger-budget clients are usually easier to deal with and bring about high-end referrals.
See this post on the general philosophy and mindset behind charging more than you do now.
Bumping your pricing, when done correctly, maybe the move that boosts your revenue and gets you new levels of clients.
4. Get publications and exposure on other platforms
All exposure is good for you in pursuit of bigger and better architecture clients. Good thing that with the number of architecture blogs and magazines, it’s easier than ever to showcase your authority by publishing articles and guest posts.
Follow these blogs and mags to get ideas and author your own pieces:
See this blog post on architectural writing for further guidelines on growing your writing skills.
5. Use advertising – but minimize guesswork
Print ads still play their role in targeting architecture clients. However, online ads may help you tap into your audience as well.
We suggest working with professionals here since the learning curve is quite steep – set aside a budget and have your ads run on several platforms for a couple of months. This will give you data and ideas for branding and further refining your offer to target different types of clients.
6. Lead generation automation
You can buy or scrape architectural leads and use tools to cold contact them – but a way easier method is letting your name and expertise generate leads.
Educational content gets excellent results – some marketers have found that up to 94.5% of new architecture leads come from visibility, expertise, and knowledge showcased through educational content.
7. Brand properly
Branding means more than just logos, fonts, and website design. It’s also about the message you send while speaking, writing, and posting on social media.
Organizing your work, interacting with clients, and managing projects contribute to your brand perception—the most successful architect project management platforms like PlanMan are must-have tools.
8. Speak & network often
With Covid restrictions being over, more and more architecture events are taking place. Try to put yourself out there and speak as much as possible. Even if it seems hard at first, it’s just a skill that can be mastered like any other skill. Complete several public speaking courses to feel more comfortable.
Study the topics of other speakers and put together a pool of themes you are knowledgeable about and would have fun speaking on. Then apply for events – and you may be able to refine your topic with the organizer further.
This is a challenging and demanding activity at first, but it pays off in the long run. Every delivered speech contributes to your brand and sets you apart from the competition.
9. Have a strategy and stick to it
Most architects give up marketing because they don’t stick to a strategy.
To develop a successful marketing strategy as an architect – focus on your client’s audience and centre your exposure around their interests. Showcase the value your work brings and the value they would expect.
In architecture marketing, don’t chase complexity. Simple stuff consistently works better than a genius strategy with a sloppy on and off implementation. Designing a perfect plan is not as important as sticking to it.
Another essential thing to remember in your quest for new clients is not to spread your efforts too thin—master one marketing channel before moving to others. For instance, if you’re running ads on Google – make sure they are profitable and get you a steady flow of leads before moving and applying your experience to Facebook Ads.