Architecture Marketing - Your Blueprint to Better Projects
Are you looking for more– or simply better– projects? Forget cold calls and intrusive ads. Instead, set up an architecture marketing strategy that works for you 24/7. This article is here to make sense of it all.
Marketing isn’t just for huge corporations with an endless budget to burn. Quite the opposite. If you choose the right strategies, you can see a constant flow of leads without breaking the bank. It does, however, require you to invest time and mental capacity. But believe us, you’ll be happy you did.
Though marketing is a huge topic, we summarized everything you, as an architect, need to know about marketing your practice.
Start with Your Why
You’ve probably heard buzzwords like corporate mission or brand vision.
Though they are important concepts, they are often vague and hard to come up with. We suggest starting by simply answering: Why? Why do you do what you do?
This is the first step in getting the right type of clients. When they resonate with your why, you won’t need to convince them. Also, it helps you build a marketing strategy that is aligned with your architectural values.
Write down your why, and be as clear and precise as possible. Then, include your how and what, i.e. the services you’re offering and the types of projects you want to work on. Think about all the ways you bring value to your clients.
Understand the Market
Customers. Understanding your customers is paramount for getting their business. Can you clearly define who is in your target audience? You may have a vague idea right off the bat, but you need to dig deeper.
Imagine an ideal client. Name them, think about what they do, and empathize with their situation. What are their needs? Frustrations? Budget? Where would they go for services that you’re offering?
Competitors. It’s worth analyzing other architects who offer similar services. It helps you find your competitive advantage. What is it that you do better than your competition? You’ll only know this when you know what they’re doing.
Boost Your Marketing Assets
1. Your website
In 2023, no architecture practice prospers without a proper website. If you don’t have one yet, this is a gentle reminder that you need to start today.
A website is no longer a nice-to-have, especially for freelancers. Nowadays, Googling a specific service or product is a crucial step in the buying process.
What they see and how they feel after visiting your architecture website is what ultimately influences their decision.
Is your website up to the task? Here’s a handy checklist to evaluate:
If you get less than 10✔️s on this checklist, you need to update your site.
Would you like a website that checks all of these boxes? We recommend building your site with Archifolio. Why?
- Your site will automatically be optimized for mobile, desktop, and tablet.
- It’s the fastest way to build a website, it’s so easy and intuitive.
- You’ll find guiding questions and copy-templates, to help you add compelling text for your compelling projects.
- You’ll start designing from existing layouts, so you won’t lose time not knowing where to start.
- We’ll take care of the technical tasks (e.g. SSL certification, quick loading time, optimized images), to spare you the headache.
- You can buy or connect your own domain name easily.
2. Your portfolio
Nowadays portfolios and websites go hand in hand. However, since they make or break your prospects of getting new projects, it’s worth focusing on your architecture portfolio separately as well.
How can you make the most of it?
- Showcase as many stunning images as you can.
- Give context to your design decisions. How did you get to that result?
- Pay attention to the project descriptions. Make sure that it’s worded without any jargon, and that it’s easy to understand even by a non-architect.
- Highlight how the client was involved in the process and how you made their dream design a reality.
- Mention the design challenges, and how you overcame them.
- Show if your design has been featured in any relevant publications or if you got any awards for it.
Architecture Marketing Funnel
It’s time to select a strategy. Think about what goals you want to achieve and find out what you need to do to get there.
A considerable part of knowing where your next project will come from is utilizing your marketing funnel.
Your funnel shows what stages your clients go through before deciding to hire you.
- Before entering your funnel, your potential customer has never heard of you.
- When they first hear about your practice, they enter the awareness phase. This is their first impression, so make it a good one.
- A crucial step in the funnel is the consideration stage. Here they already have you in mind, along with your competitors. They are now gathering information to make the best decision.
- If they liked what they saw, they get to the action stage. They will pick up the phone, or write you an email, and become your actual clients.
- When they have a successful project, they will become your advocates. They’ll start telling their network about you, which helps more people enter the awareness stage.
How to use it?
- Identify what the first traction points are (or should be) that bring potential clients into the funnel.
- Think about how you can help those in the consideration stage. What will make them get to the next step?
- Analyze what makes your customers take action. How can you make the process smooth?
- Find out if you have a “leaky funnel”. Are many potential customers dropping out at a certain point?
A common mistake
At first glance, it seems like a good idea to only focus on the bottom of your funnel. To target those people, who are ready to convert with messages like “hire me”.
However, you need to keep in mind that these people only make up 3% of your potential customers according to the theory of the Client Demand Pyramid.
The key to long-term success is setting up your architecture marketing strategy, so it supports customers in all stages of your funnel. Thus, when they get to the action phase, you have no more convincing to do.
The Most Effective Marketing Tactics For Architects
Now, let’s look at the actionable steps to building an architecture marketing strategy that brings you the right type of clients.
Getting to know the right people in the industry is crucial. Go to all the tradeshows, keep in touch with your peers, and attend all community events where your potential clients might be at.
This is not a short-term tactic though. Your aim is to build worth-wile relationships. It may not directly be the person you meet today, but a friend of a friend is more inclined to hire you than a complete stranger.
Build a “networking kit”. This consists of your elevator pitch (a short, snappy introduction of your practice), your website with your master portfolio, and some sort of business card. Thus, you can sweep any potential client off their feet, no matter the situation.
This is an untapped opportunity for so many architects. Before, where we talked about not targeting only the top 3% of all your potential clients. The other 97% might not resonate with the “hire me” message. However, you can help them get to the top of the pyramid by offering valuable content that
- helps them gather information,
- shows how professional you are, and
- builds trust with your brand.
It can be any type of content you’d enjoy creating, but try to get to know the preferences of your audience. Create videos about your projects, start a podcast, or write blog posts that answer the most common questions.
If you’re wondering what you should create content about, we recommend Googling
- “hiring an architect” in *your location*, or
- *your service* in *your location*.
Then, scroll down until you find the relevant questions. It should look similar to this:
These are some questions that your target audience wants you to answer.
Now, you can come up with great content where you showcase your expertise. Afterward, it only takes a bit of tinkering around with the SEO settings to even appear in the first few Google search results. This means more exposure and more leads.
This is our most recommended tactic, since if you do it well, you get a nearly automatic lead generation process, bringing in leads 24/7.
Social Media presence
No, we don’t mean intrusive, all-over-the-place ads on Social Media. We mean creating inspirational and engaging content. This goes hand-in-hand with the previous topic.
Social media is a great way to build a base of interested followers, and therefore it helps you spread your message. Also, it helps you promote your involvement in the community, and also shareable content gets you more visibility.
Don’t think that emailing is old-school. It’s a valuable channel to convey your message to potential leads. Our recommendation is to collect your potential customers’ email addresses by offering a free downloadable PDF of value. Make sure to get their consent to send them promotional emails, and then, either create an automated campaign or send them newsletters regularly.
Word of mouth and old leads
Word of mouth is a powerful tactic. Out of all these tactics, this one has the highest conversion rate. However, this is one of the hardest to manage, scale up, or measure.
However, an often-forgotten tactic is reaching out to old leads and previous clients. They already have an idea of who you are and what you do, so staying in their minds is just as powerful as what they think and say about you.
This list is by no means exhaustive. There are more channels to reach potential leads, however, these are the ones we recommend as part of your architecture marketing.
This is where all those small, and seemingly insignificant things come into play. Your messaging (no matter the channel), should incorporate your why, your audience’s pain points, and your competitive advantage. Also, having different messaging strategies for the different stages of your funnel is the most effective way to guide everyone to the next step.
A good message is never about you. Form your message so it paints a picture of the desired outcome of your clients.
This guide was written to assist you with building a marketing strategy that strengthens your architectural practice. We, here at Archifolio are all about helping you find the right type of projects to turn your creativity into a lucrative and enjoyable career.
Marketing Manager of Archifolio, Architecture Portfolio Expert & Tiny House Enthusiast 🏡