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5 Proven Marketing Tools for Promoting Your Architectural Firm
You’ve worked hard to build your architecture firm. You do excellent work and you’ve managed to land some impressive projects. But you don’t feel like you’ve maxed out your potential.
Maybe you’d like to grow faster. Perhaps you’d like to be invited to bid on more or bigger projects. Or maybe you’re not attracting enough of the kinds of clients you want. It doesn’t have to be that way.
If you’re like most architects, you’ve relied on word-of-mouth to attract clients and have opportunities to bid on projects. But with the number of architects on the market all competing for the same jobs, some of whom may be more established and better connected than you, referrals probably aren’t enough.
According to Enoch Bartlett Sears, AIA, who writes about selling for architects, “Effective marketing is the process of making your prospects aware of the value your design firm provides and persuading them to take the next step in your process.”
An architecture copywriter can help you create marketing tools that help you achieve those objectives.
Your best marketing tool should be your architectural firm’s website. It needs to accurately represent your brand and professionalism.
Your architectural company’s website should include the following at a minimum:
About the company – Who founded it? How long have you been in business? Where do you practice? What is unique about what you do?
Services – What services do you offer? What are your capabilities? What types of projects do you seek out? Practice Clarity, which counsels architects on business growth, recommends you clearly state what makes your firm unique.
“Having a sharply defined position for your architectural practice goes a long way in setting your firm apart from others, particularly because so few firms have a position statement that identifies who they are, what they do, for whom, and to what benefit.”
Your Work – What are some of the projects you’ve worked on? Include photos and descriptions.
Testimonials – What do your clients say about you? Why do they like working with you?
Contact – Make it easy for people to get in touch with you. Offer your name, phone, email and mailing address at a minimum. Don’t make them fill out a detailed form asking information you don’t really need at this point.
Unsure of how to write any of the above sections? A professional copywriter for architects could help you put into words all of the wonderful reasons why clients should hire you.
Many architects have embraced the blog as the perfect medium for them to stay in touch with their existing clients and attract new ones as well.
Writing a blog positions you as an authority in your field. It allows you to showcase your expertise and give your perspective on issues related to architecture. It becomes a place where you can share information about developments in the profession, identify trends and educate others on architectural design.
As an example, consider writing an article about the growing AEC (Architectural, Engineering and Construction) industry. Describe this trend in which architects, engineers and construction professionals collaborate on residential, commercial or industrial construction projects to ensure their smooth completion. Include some stats such as: AEC is a growing global market and is expected to reach $10.5 trillion by 2023. Experts also expect it to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 4.2% between now and 2026. Additionally, the global AEC industry has experienced 40% annual revenue growth for 16 years straight. This kind of information is directly relevant to your target market and positions you as a leader at the forefront of the AEC industry trend.
Archipreneur writes that a blog “can provide a great space to show your sketches, announce latest projects and discuss new developments in the firm” and in the industry.
No matter what content you choose to write, your blog will help give your firm visibility and keep it top-of-mind for upcoming architectural jobs and referrals to others.
There’s a story behind every structure you’ve built. You deserve to tell it. Case studies are the perfect format for describing your accomplishments. And they’re so easy to write. Just answer these questions:
Challenge – What was difficult about this particular job? What obstacles did you have to overcome? What parameters made the project so difficult?
Solution – How did you meet those challenges? What creative solutions did you apply? What pitfalls did you avoid? And how were you uniquely skilled to be able to develop your solution?
Results – How’d the project turn out? Is it functional? Is it attractive? How did all the elements come together to make this project a win for both the client and you?
Testimonial – Was the client pleased? What did they like best? What specific components amazed them the most? What do they say about working with you?
Build up a series of case studies that showcase your experience and special talents. Every time you complete an architectural project, you ought to write a case study about it.
Not comfortable writing case studies yourself? Work with a case study copywriter who can get the job done with ease.
There’s nothing wrong with tooting your own horn, in a tasteful way of course. You should make announcements to the press in the form of press releases every time you win a big project bid and complete a substantial project.
Press releases are an important part of growing your brand and extending your reach to bigger, better clients.
The essential components of a press release are the same elements you find in your typical newspaper story:
Who – Who built this project? What entities were involved?
What – What was the project all about? What makes it special? What did you accomplish?
When – When did the construction process occur? When was it (or will it be) completed?
Where – Where is this project? Why was this location chosen? And why is it a good fit for the project?
How – How did you go about designing this project? What details factored into your design plans?
Once you’ve answered those questions and perhaps tossed in a quote or two, weave all the facts together with some creative copywriting and you’ve got your press release. You can send it out via a national press release distribution service or to your own mailing list. Don’t forget to also post it on your website where it can be found by prospective customers.
Not comfortable writing press releases? A press release copywriter can help.
Contrary to what you might think, sales letters aren’t only for new architectural firms just starting out. They can be a great way for any firm to find new clients.
One strategy that works well is to hone in on a niche. Say, for example, that you’ve recently designed a drug treatment facility. It was a difficult project because you had to take into consideration factors such as security, privacy and the mental state of the would-be occupants.
Now you have all this specialized knowledge. In fact, you’re experts in this niche. So why not attempt to get more drug treatment facility projects? A smartly written letter that explains your unique expertise in this area and sent out to prospects could be just the thing to win you new projects.
Here’s another example. An architectural firm based in Costa Rica has carved out a niche as home designers for wealthy American clients who want a vacation home on or near Costa Rica’s beautiful beaches.
The company purchased a mailing list and had a sales letter copywriter create a targeted email promoting the benefits of a vacation home in Costa Rica along with the architectural firm’s special abilities to create spectacular second homes.
Creating and publishing useful content is one of the best ways to attract new clients and gain their trust. As an architect, doing your own copywriting probably isn’t the best use of your time. Fortunately, there are freelance copywriters who are happy to take on that burden, allowing you to stay focused on your design projects.
What’s nice about working with a freelance copywriter is you can hire them piecemeal for specific projects without having to pay a retainer fee for a full-service marketing firm or ad agency. Determine what you want done, ask the copywriter what it will cost, and then let her get to work. In just a few days you’ll have finished, polished copy ready to start generating leads for you.
Ultimately, what you spend on professional copywriting will come back to you many times over in building your brand and attracting clients and projects to your architectural firm.