As an architectural firm, your primary focus is on your clients, creating exceptional plans, and designing buildings that engage and inspire others. What may fall by the wayside, is the marketing of your firm’s services and areas of expertise. However, investing time and resources into your marketing efforts – your website, promotional materials, client communications, and social media outreach – is a crucial element to growing your business and your brand.
The following are eight key activities to consider when establishing best practices for marketing your architectural firm:
Create an engaging website featuring visually captivating client work
Your website is often the first place future clients will visit to learn who you are, what services you offer, and what you have produced for others. As a design firm, it’s imperative to showcase an engaging website with straightforward, easy-to-absorb content that makes it easy for visitors to immediately grasp what you do, why you are unique, and why they would want to hire you!
A website with a professional look and feel will immediately establish and elevate your brand. Highlighting project profiles with interactive client work, such as scrolling photos and short videos, will allow future clients to visually immerse themselves in your work. Your goal is to draw them in and captivate their interest in working alongside you. Click here for specific tips on creating an exceptional website.
Invest in high-end photography for your marketing materials
Investing in high-end photography for your website, promotional materials, proposals, and client facing documents will give clients a feel for the level of work you produce and your attention to detail when it comes to design and presentation. People are naturally drawn to captivating visuals and photography over words, so it’s important to ensure your photography is successfully telling your brand’s story in visually compelling and dynamic ways.
While you may be able to take your own photographs, the investment to purchase high-end stock photography, or have a professional photographer capture your design renderings, client projects, team headshots, interior office spaces, etc., will elevate your brand and your marketing efforts. Once this investment is made, you’ll want to ensure any physical marketing materials are printed on high quality materials to further enhance your branding and the client experience. Remember, anything you do for your own brand is how clients will perceive the work you will do for them. Read more here about the importance of quality photography for your business.
Feature a blog on your website to showcase your work, special projects, and industry expertise
As we have referenced in previous marketing blogs, the typical funnel strategy of “marketing equals sales” has evolved over time and companies have adopted a more fluid model to their marketing efforts. This process starts with attracting a new wave of consumers by putting out meaningful content through digital platforms, such as blogs. A monthly blog can be a mix of content, such as featuring an area of your firm’s expertise, an opinion piece on a new industry trend, or changes in your industry of which you are on the forefront. You can also use blogs to support your public relations efforts by announcing new client projects and staff hires.
Adding blogs to your website also helps with Search Engine Optimization (SEO) efforts and allows the organic search process to work more efficiently for you. To learn more about SEO strategies for small businesses, read one of our recent blogs focused on small business SEO services.
Create a following on social media with dynamic content and regular updates
In today’s world, a social media presence is a natural extension of any professional business and a seamless way to increase awareness, create a brand following, and grow your sales funnel. If you haven’t established social media pages for your business, you will first want to determine where your potential clients are likely to be perusing.
For example, depending on your target market you may want to establish business pages on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube where you can regularly share meaningful and relevant content relating to your business, brand, and projects. Choose the platforms that make the most sense for your business and future clientele. If your marketing staff is lean, you can engage an outside firm to maintain these pages for you to ensure regular posts, consistency of your brand messaging and visuals, and ensure your response time to potential clients is timely and professional.
Establish regular email marketing outreach to current and prospective clients
When business gets busy, it can be challenging to keep up with all the audiences with whom you need to communicate – current clients, future clients, partners, etc. Establishing monthly/quarterly email marketing outreach to these audiences will ensure you stay top of mind when they’re looking for a firm to hire or refer. There are numerous CRM tools in which you can invest in to make this process a seamless one, such as MailChimp, MadMimi, Constant Contact, etc.
These CRM services allow you to upload your contact lists on a regular basis, create email content templates, add visuals, and stay connected with your core audiences in whatever frequency you need. Additionally, you can segment your desired audiences and track who is opening and reading your content.
Speak at industry conferences and publish articles in industry journals
To establish your expertise in the architectural industry, explore opportunities to showcase your specific industry knowledge by speaking at local or national conferences, sit on expert panels, or contribute content to industry articles and op-ed pieces. Third-party validation of your industry know-how can often act as a catalyst for clients to seek out your knowledge and areas of expertise.
You can also thread these opportunities throughout your other marketing efforts by sharing links to industry conferences, videos of your speaking opportunities, and published articles on your website, social media pages and in your email marketing outreach.
Establish partnerships with other AEC industry professionals for referral business
Establishing trusted partnerships with other industry professionals should be a primary focus of your business strategy. Working alongside others in your field, and adjacent fields, will open doors to business opportunities you might not have otherwise been considered for or have known existed. Networking with other industry professionals to understand their core business offerings, and how you can complement each other, will establish trusted relationships over time.
Actively submitting RFPs and pursuing business opportunities with other firms will benefit your business in the long run by allowing each partner to highlight their areas of expertise and work in collaboration. Highlighting how your firm works well with others often leads to repeat business and an ongoing referral network that extends well beyond the first business opportunity.
Hire a professional marketing agency to manage your brand and marketing efforts
If you’re ready to begin implementing these best practice marketing strategies for your architectural firm, but don’t have the manpower or bandwidth to manage it all, you can engage a marketing agency to assist you that specifically supports AEC clients. Where to start? Check out these tips for finding the right marketing agency for your small business.
We also invite you to reach out to our professional team of marketing professionals at Threaded Marketing Group in Charlotte, NC to explore how we can best help you grow your brand, marketing presence, and business. With a focus on helping small businesses in the AEC industries thrive, we would love to work alongside you!