Marketing for architects presents a unique challenge. On the one hand, it is an essential ingredient for success. On the other hand, most firms are small to medium sized and do not have the resources for dedicated staff to create and publicize their brand. The good news is, being smart and strategic about spreading the message does not require a huge budget.
The guidelines below are a great start to creating successful marketing for the modern architect.
Don’t Be Anti Social Media
Social media is not a fad. It has taken its place on the cultural stage and has developed into a venue for people to talk about their lives. For some reason architects have been sluggish about joining that conversation. Professionals, who have taken the social media plunge, recommend developing and optimizing free profiles with Houzz. They also suggest using Facebook, not just by adding a page for your business, but by starting a Facebook group. A group page allows firms to be more creative and send notifications to followers’ personal profiles alerting them to new content.
Build a Great Website, and They Will Come
A major component of your brand is your website. It’s worth the time and a share of your limited budget to make sure it is designed to reinforce your brand and tell clients exactly what you want them to know about you. Be sure it is well structured and easily navigable with plenty of relevant blogs.
Try to include personal information beyond your CV, such as what inspires you, your architectural philosophy, and your firm’s mission statement. Beware of creating a site that is aimed at other architects. Instead, put yourself in potential clients’ shoes and provide the information you would want. Remember, especially in the case of residential clients, they are choosing a professional to be responsible for the design of their most important—and most expensive—investment.
Talk the Talk
The modern architect’s best marketing tool is networking. Whether you are at the hairdresser, coffee shop, or in line at the grocery store, strike up a conversation and let people know who you are and what you do. You never know which one of those seeds you planted will take root and lead to a new client.
Another excellent networking tool involves talking in a more professional capacity. Seek out speaking engagements that position your firm as an authority and builds trust in your business. If you are not one who relishes public speaking, pick someone in your firm who is more comfortable behind a podium. It’s all about solidifying your brand credibility.
Keep Those Cards and Newsletters Coming
Regular email newsletters are a great marketing tool for architects. Low cost and proven effective, a periodic newsletter keeps you fresh in mind when someone in your circle knows someone in their circle who needs an architect. Make sure your website has a link to become part of the newsletter chain.
Don’t be a Dinosaur
You may not be ready to integrate the latest tech into your design process, but it is what your clients expect. If you are not prepared to wow them with impressive presentations that include 3D imagery and virtual reality, they may choose another firm that is. In today’s architecture world, a virtual tour is worth a thousand words. There is cost involved, but as the tech becomes more efficient, the prices are becoming more manageable.
Community Service Will Serve You Well
Becoming an integral part of the community by getting involved with local charities or groups that align with your target market is an inexpensive way for your firm to gain both respect and instant name recognition.
While there is no magic marketing bullet that will automatically attract clients, there are plenty of common sense practices that can showcase your firm in its best light and create buzz that gets you the right kind of attention.