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Marketing Tips for Architects [2020]

Table of Contents

Generating more architecture leads

The architectural industry isn’t typically built upon repeat business. Getting qualified new leads every month is what keeps thriving architecture businesses alive.

Marketing has evolved so fast most businesses are struggling to keep up regardless of the industry. How can you leverage your strengths and improve on your weaknesses to get get more traction?

Losing sight of potential projects in your pipeline is at its core the reason architecture firms struggle with growth. If you can’t wait for the tips and tricks, scroll past the analysis section to get more of the marketing hacks for architects.

Where do architects say their leads come from?

When you poll architects today about where most of their leads come from, consistently “word of mouth” is in the top two answers.

ArchitectureQuote Poll: 23 successful architecture firms in Denmark

If you could secure new architecture design projects through a more automated approach, would your business be doing better?

The short answer is of course, “yes.”

Architecture firms haven’t changed their approach to lead generation much in the last 50 years

The majority of architects admit they are reluctant to adopt new software tools and channels for driving customers.

The result is less proposals are going out and less projects overall are won.

We ran a poll with 23 successful architects and found that on average their firm was submitting 0-1 new proposals per month.

Not enough proposals per month for growth

Why are architects having trouble getting new leads:

How Marketers Can Change Your Business Model – KlintMarketing.com

Too many unknown, unknowns:

Good Economy = Great Times for Architects

The current architecture services market is less competitive… but what happens when economy slows down? Will there be the same amount of architecture leads today for your company as there will be next year?

If you’re not competing each and every day for market-share and business is booming either way. Life is good.

Why should architects change their approach to generating leads if there’s no issue at the moment?

The economy and home buying power of consumers has fueled the economy for the last 10 years. The issue is that things are changing.

The housing market up to the end of 2018

For the first time in ten years, home prices have not gone up.

It’s simple supply and demand. If there are less architecture projects and just as many architecture firms around; Someone is going to lose out.

How can all the architecture firms remain competitive and profitable if they’re competing for fewer projects?

In the long run, modernization of your processes will be one of the key differentiators of the design firms that thrive and those that fade.

How are you changing your business development practices to prepare for a slower economy?

What can you do to improve your lead generation within your own architecture design firm?

Is Word of Mouth the Only Approach in 2020?

architect handshake

Architects need to stop relying so heavily on traditional methods of getting new projects. Especially if you’re in residential sector, you are leaving money on the table by not looking at how to boost leads from other channels.

Just like lawyers and dentists, architects say referrals are as major source of new architecture projects.

Becoming more adaptable to today’s business environment requires diversifying efforts across all channels. This means looking at organic reach, social media, and exploring more digital marketing techniques.

How the Modern Marketplace has left Architecture Behind

Architects expect to continue to get referrals and introductions like it’s the 1960s.

There are two fundamental obstacles that prevent “word of mouth” from being an effective in generating substantial leads for architects:
visibility and reach. 

Networking event

Visibility:

While there are more projects available in total than ever before, people still have the same amount of in-person reach. There are more architecture firms in existence today than ever before as well.

Why are architects expecting to hash out deals at events like they did 50 years ago?

Reach:

If you’re only focused on the traditional methods of engaging with potential customers, you might make some waves at events and in the eyes of your architecture customers. You are however missing the

Why solely relying on referrals isn’t working:

Events are important given there’s seemingly more opportunities than ever, spending time on a one for one basis at events in hopes of getting a new client might not work as it once did.

Quick Tips for Architects That Want More Referrals

conference networking

How can architects get more value and leads out of regularly attending events?

Encourage all architecture team members in the company to attend events

After-work networking events are great spaces to gain an edge by learning and making new connections.

Being represented at events is huge way to show off your firm and build your brand.

Encourage your employees to go by posting events on internal communication channels and in office break rooms. Leadership needs to encourage people to go.

Consider offering incentives for those that attend events outside of work hours in the form of recognition, awards, small bonuses, gifts, days off, commissions, and swag (shirts, mugs, etc).

networking events architects
Networking events

Force yourself to follow the “4 minute rule”

Only spend a maximum of four minutes with every new contact at an event until you’ve met 20 people.

Find out what they do and who the highest priority is, then go after the highest priority people again (at the same event) for a longer dialogue.

Connect with everyone on linkedin on the spot

Linkedin will super-charge your network and allow you to retain all the connections you’ve made in the span of a night. It’s especially helpful if you’re bad at remembering names (like all of us).

Nobody is doing this:
After the event, post a status on linkedin with a few pictures and tag the event organizers and the new connections you’ve made at an event. This will not only increase your company reach but also boost your personal brand as well.

Use a CRM to manage your newest architect connections

Our memories are short. The day after the event, take a few minutes to add the new connections you’ve made at the event into a CRM. Include notes so you can remember what potential the deal may have in the future.

Email Automation with Merge fields for a friendly “architect hello!”

If you’ve managed to grab a business card then you should add them to a personalized general outreach message using merge fields.

These merge fields give the chance to enter their names and your message will read like you’re reaching out to them individually.

Architects and Digital Visibility 

Architects by nature are artists and often point to the fact that they were schooled traditionally in design not in digital marketing or business development.

And there’s nothing wrong with that. At all! But this also means we can consider these elements of the business, a challenge. Not something we have to avoid.

Increasing Digital Visibility for Architects

Architects need to step up their digital marketing game. Plain and simple.

Updating the user experience (UX) of your architecture websites

What does bad UX look like? Imagine if you came to a website seeking architecture services but then experienced something like below.

Ling Cars – Car rental site with bad UX

You might consider taking your business elsewhere if it’s not aligned with your expectations.

Improvement opportunities for your Architecture website:

How conversion forms improve sales of your architecture services

Turn more web visitors into customers.

Many of these people have found your site and may eventually make a financial commitment. Why are you making it harder for them to commit to a conversation?

Example of a conversion form on ArchitectureQuote

Conversion forms are a “zero touch” method that allows architecture clients to enter your sales funnel as “leads” to eventually become paying customers.

The benefits of using conversion forms vs an email address

frictionless forms by clearbit
Friction-less forms allow for faster conversions and less abandonment
  1. Quickly build a lead list


  2. Tripwire forms allow you to capture visitors via downloadable content


  3. Exit pop-ups with good offers grab visitors before they leave


  4. Better tracking on which pages and forms convert


  5. Increases monthly subscribers for newsletters


  6. Launch effective referral campaigns


  7. Segmentation of users = more relevant user experience


  8. Establishing a stronger pipeline based on A/B testing


  9. Lose less deals – integrate all incoming leads with sales tools


  10. Increase your conversion rate with less hassle to get in touch


  11. Capture interested potential clients while they’re looking at you

Having a conversion form is an essential building block in creating a relationship between the architect and potential client.

Architects must make it easy for website visitors to get in touch via a form at the top of their homepage, landing pages, and other pages of the site.

If an architecture firm could save one deal per year by allowing clients to more easily convert on a website, they would have more than enough development money to afford the updates.

Why placing email address on your architecture site doesn’t work

How to implement a conversion form?

I you’re just trying to capture leads on a simple wordpress site there are dozens of tools like contact form 7 or WPForms that can do the job.

A quick search of “wordpress form plugins” will turn up dozens more.

An architect’s website with a conversion form which yields direct communication is immediately perceived as more engaging and approachable to its target market. Try this. It works!

Content: Architects don’t create enough

content
Example of Blog Content – ArchitectureQuote

A crucial function of any architecture design business is to show off what makes them unique and maintain active relationships with clients. How can you do any of that with a static three page site?

Content can be the biggest opportunity to scale your company if done correctly.

User Intent – Content Marketing

Social Media Tips for Architects:

Social media is one of the most under utilized channels for content and has turned into a content desert or an after thought for architects.

How architects can improve their social media game

social posting tools
SoMe posting and scheduling tools

An architect’s work is normally carried out away from the clients’ viewing, as a result there is an immediate lack of visibility between these two parties.

Give your content a chance to delight current and new customers by regularly releasing great content across multiple channels.

Where are architecture firms listed?

A simple quick way to build some online visibility is to get listed on directories and listing sites for your niche.

Warning: This is a small win, don’t use this as a bullet proof marketing method.

local directories
Citation guide for small businesses – Integratedigitalmarketing.com

You need to decide which one’s are worth your time and even money, but it’s worth a look.

If you’re not being found in a google search and they don’t know about your website already. How else will people discover you?

Honestly… What do you have to lose?

You’re fighting with your competitors over a very limited set of search phrases. You need to be doing everything you can to match the competition and even more to stay ahead.

The unfortunate side of this technique is that it’s one of the only ways architects are currently marketing themselves because it resembles the traditional methods of print advertising.

This is not a successful strategy. Don’t go all in on listing sites. If we searched for architects like we use a phonebook today, this might work. But we don’t.

No Inbound Marketing or Marketing Funnel or Sales Funnel:

marketing funnel architects

To maintain an engaging online presence that yields future client leads, architects need to prioritize establishing a marketing funnel.

After someone “converts” on your website (they get in touch), what happens?

What is the sales process? Is there a process?

Usually top management or the person in charge of sales cobbese together something in the way of a system. Surprisingly it’s a lot less organized than other industries.

Steps to the sale defined for architects:

Sales Process Conversion Funnel

Step to the sale example:

  1. Lead comes in (inbound)

  2. Contact is made

  3. Lead is qualified

  4. Meeting set

  5. Needs defined

  6. Proposal created

  7. Proposal approved

  8. Negotiations

  9. Contact Signed

Do you have a defined sales process with rules and compliance for each step along the way?

Setting clear and defined steps after a prospect gets in touch allows you to take a process driven approach. The goal is unified across all departments, convert more prospects into paying customers.

Get a CRM

After an email or a lead comes in and you’ve qualified the potential customer. How are you tracking the next steps? How do you avoid losing customers due to disorganization?

There’s a name for tools that allow you to follow every architecture lead along the journey to becoming a paying customer. This type of tool is called a CRM (customer relationship management).

There a ton a inexpensive and enterprise level tools like Salesforce, Pipedrive, or Close.io. You can set up funnels in the matter of a few hours and monitor all sign ups.

Defining your sales process:

sales process for architects

Ask the right questions and it becomes incredibly easy to discover if you’re missing a step in the sales process.

Questions to ask the sales team at your architecture company:

Warning: Make sure you’ve established a good rapport before asking a sales teams a ton of pointed questions.

If your sales team can’t answer these questions with ease or the answers are confusing… You may have an issue with your funnel.

Having a system in place will allow architects to monitor and evaluate prospective clients that are trying to get in touch.

They also should be able to have a robust reporting system that allows them to optimize their approach.

Setting up the marketing funnel and sales process in your architecture firm

Architecture firms should strive to track the progression of a client’s behavior that led them to eventually make a purchasing decisions.

Marketing tech stack example

Getting serious on implementing a variety of tools can be a nightmare if it’s your first time creating a marketing tech stack.

Work with a growth agency like Klint Marketing to help to implement your marketing tech stack.

The goals of your marketing funnel simple:

If you implement the framework, the result is getting more leads and closing more deals

Very few architectural firms are focused on inbound marketing. There’s an opportunity for the architects and design firms that start doing it well.

Get a DealFlow Tool: Sign Up With ArchitectureQuote for fresh leads:

architecture quote logo
Leads for Architects – ArchitectureQuote

When business is good, everyone is happy. What happens when leads slow down to a trickle?

How do architects keep the lights on if they are only working up to their latest deal? New projects can come from anywhere.

All architects should sign up with ArchitectureQuote to receive a steady stream of alerts for government Tenders and apply to each one that fits the architect’s own capabilities.

A progressive architect should be the first firm to set a meeting with organically generated leads with people seeking their services.

Plan to work on smaller freelance style projects via third party websites to keep the architects in one’s firm busy without having to lay people off.

Conclusion

There are definitely struggles cracking the foundation of the architectural industry. Adapt to current working climates now so you can more quickly scale in the future.

Architects need to break free of tradition and work smarter. The first step is recognizing the problem.

Definite changes that align with the moving dynamic of today’s business environment and purchasing decisions. Take chances and experiment.

The field of design has become more segmented, with more options and alternatives for clients to pick and choose from.

Architects are now competing against interior design professionals as well as home improvement stores, both of which cater to more budget conscious clients.

Since architects cater towards more exclusive, wealthy client they must to everything in their power to offer a complete package. Today’s world establishing a personable relationship, needs to be a part of that package. 

Now with more digital platforms and competition there is a greater need than effort to produce content across different channels in order to capture more leads on your own website.

It is then crucial for architects to have a responsive and engaging online presence that emits visibility and the opportunity for a relationship with the architects to be established.

However the job isn’t done once you’ve managed to capture new prospects. Your sales process and funnel will ultimately be the difference in nurturing leads into paying clients.

Word of Mouth will never be an the only effective alternative to the expansive reach of a solid digital online presence and strong sales funnel.

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