7 Fresh Marketing Ideas To Get New Architecture Clients
Regularly bringing in new clients is vital to your practice's success.
If there are no emails or phone calls coming in, there's no guarantee of work that keeps your business healthy.
If you're like most architects, it's likely that a bulk of your clients come to you from word of mouth.
Word of mouth referrals are fine when they happen frequently enough, and are the project you actually want, but they don't come in regularly and you can't rely on them all the time.
Would you like more projects that suit you best?
Maybe you want more new builds projects? Maybe you prefer smaller residential extension works that are quick and relatively straightforward?
You might think that there's not much you can do to ensure you consistently get the jobs you want, and more of them.
That's not true.
There are people out there looking for your services every day, and you're the one that can help them in return for their business.
So how do you get those clients to ring the phone or send you an email?
Glad you asked!
Why should Architects use digital marketing?
If you're an Architect, the market can be competitive, with often numerous practices operating in a city or town, and covering a wider radius.
Because of this, you need to make sure you are doing some marketing activity so you make it onto the shortlists of your potential clients.
In the past, local businesses such as Architects would advertise in local magazines, newspapers and maybe have leaflets posted through people's doors.
These approaches can be expensive while not providing much return on the investment of your time (which is always valuable) and money.
You also can't find out exactly what you get back from what you spend.
Today, with everybody having smartphones and access to Google, everybody's first point of call is hitting the search button and checking out the top results.
They may also ask friends, consult social media, and check local online business directories.
This means you need to be appearing in those places people are looking!
Plus, even better, whether you invest nothing other than time, or you invest in some digital advertising, you will know exactly how much you're getting back from your investment, meaning you can make smart decisions about where you best spend your efforts.
I've helped many businesses, including architects, fix up and increase their digital presence and generate new clients, customers or sales.
I know that it isn't simple to market your business, especially when it's not your skill set or specialty.
Drawing on my experience, I've put together a fresh list of new ideas that you can use to bring in new business and stand out from the crowd.
Digital Marketing Strategies for your Architecture Practice
Get your notepad out, a cup of your favourite brew, and read on for your new marketing ideas for 2019 and beyond.
Architect Marketing Idea #1: Build a great website
If you haven't got a website, you've got to start here.
This is your online home. It needs to work on desktop computers, phones, tablets, and everything in between.
Making sure you have a website ensures you are at least visible online, and allows potential clients to trust that you're legitimate and professional.
Layout is important, and this is done best when it adapts to each screen size.
A competent developer knows exactly how to do this, and it's common practice.
You don't want to try and fit very long lines of text on a phone screen, as it'll be too small to read.
You'd be surprised how often this is the case with local business websites, architects included!
You also need to be sure that all of your details are correct and up to date.
Don't lose new business leads to old addresses or typos, that's waste that nobody wants.
Architect Marketing Idea #2: Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
SEO is the practice of making sure your website is ticking lots of boxes for search websites, primarily Google, so that they can show you in the top results of user's searches where you are relevant.
You should always make sure you at least have basic Search Engine Optimisations (SEO) in place.
This can be as simple as making sure your page titles are descriptive of the page's contents, and any images are described with 'alt tags' in the code.
For example, you may choose to create a page such as your About page with a title of 'ABC Architects - Architect in Cambridge', and explain the other areas you cover in your text on the page.
This will help search engines like Google know that you are relevant to people searching for 'Architects in Cambridge' or whatever your town location is.
SEO is its own practice, and there are more advanced elements that a professional would be able to help you with, but at least ensuring you have the basics in place is a great start.
There are plenty of beginner's guides to SEO out there, such as Moz's one found here.
Architect Marketing Idea #3: Paid Digital Advertising (PPC)
As I touched on earlier, advertising online can be more targeted and bring about measurable results, so you can be sure exactly what you're getting back for your money.
That may come in the form of new business leads, engagement, page likes/follows, website visits or whatever your end goal may be.
The key difference in cost structure between putting an ad in a local newspaper or publication and running them online, is that you are (usually) only charged when somebody actually clicks on your adverts - that's why it's often referred to as Pay Per Click advertising.
The two most popular digital advertising options for small businesses are Facebook Ads and Google Ads.
Facebook allow you to advertise to potential customers in a very targeted, detailed way, based on various specifications such as age, gender, location, interests and much more.
For example, if running adverts to local residents for your Architecture Practice, you may choose to target people living in your town +3 miles, between the ages of 35 - 60, with an interest in home improvement related things such as Grand Designs.
The great thing about Facebook is both it's hyper-targeted platform and the engaging content types you can use - so your ads can be in the form of just text and an image, or can include videos, carousel ads (which can show multiple projects or products), plus other types like Canvas ads which provide a rich content experience.
This makes for more engaging content that users will be more likely to interact with.
Google offer a different option which can also be useful.
First and foremost, the Search Adverts allow you to put together a simple text-based advert which show on search pages of your choosing, for example you may choose to advertise on the search term I used earlier 'Architects in Cambridge'.
Some search terms will have more competition from other advertisers, and as there are a limited number of spots, a bidding system is in place.
This means you decide how much you are willing to pay per click on your advert, and Google will show your advert, as long as you are in the top X number of highest bidders.
Google also have other options, for example you can advertise on YouTube between or at the start of videos related to your target audience.
You can also advertise through display adverts which show on other websites, but as these can also be less of a good match with the host website's content, they can be seen as irritating unless done well.
Architect Marketing Idea #4: Get on the Local Directories and Websites
Although as an Architect you may be willing to travel for site visits and to meet clients, you may often prefer to have projects that aren't so far away, so being visible on local directories is a great place to start.
Many local towns, cities and counties or regions will have their own business directory pages.
Sometimes these may be local newspapers, or independent organisations centered around the area itself.
Check out your local sites, and most of them will have a way to contact the manager of the page to add your practice's details.
There are also the bigger players, such as Yell.com, Yelp, LinkedIn, Facebook Pages and Google Business Listings.
Make sure you sign up to their basic plans at least, so you appear on their pages too.
This also builds trust for your practice, which is very valuable when you're looking to bring on new clients.
Making sure you're on these directories is also really helpful for SEO purposes.
Make sure you do it as soon as you have time!
Running a practice takes hard work, and there are always problems to solve for your projects.
If you don't feel you have the time to work on your website or marketing, you could ask me for more information on how I can help you get these things done.
Architect Marketing Idea #5: Social Media
With Facebook having billions of users, this is a key example of the power of social media, and how you can be sure that at least some of your potential customers are using social media.
Sounds obvious, but sometimes people write it off altogether and miss out on its offering.
Social media is about community and content, first and foremost.
Using it regularly to interact with your audience, your local community and so forth, builds recognition and that all-important trust.
This can be through your practice's business page, or your personal account if you're comfortable about that.
Creating content and sharing on social media is also a great way to interact with your potential clients.
Sharing short and snappy videos, tips and tricks, latest projects and other interesting content are all good ideas for getting the most engagement from people, which you can later nurture into relationships and projects.
You can run competitions or special offers to encourage maximum sharing and interest from the community.
Sometimes these are best done through local groups, so search for your town, city or county name on Facebook under the groups section and see if you can start engaging with people there.
You don't need to use every single social media platform for your architecture business.
Being a discipline like architecture which lends itself so well to imagery, I would recommend sticking to two platforms such as Instagram (great for sharing photos of latest projects, for example) and Facebook (Better for communities and video/longer text posts), and use these two platforms regularly - at least once a month.
This is much better than trying to manage 5 different social media platforms and failing to update any of them.
The above is just an overview with some simple tips, there are a lot of resources out there for you to learn more, or you can get in touch with me and I'll happily answer your questions.
Architect Marketing Idea #6: Get Your Ratings Up
As an architect, you must not only be able to do the work, you must also manage clients and their projects from start to finish and provide a great service whilst doing so.
If you've ever bought something online, and there's a good chance you have, you've probably checked out the reviews before deciding to purchase.
Reviews build trust and confidence that this product or service will solve the problems of the individual.
We all know how important those 5 Star reviews can be.
When you've completed a project for a client, make sure you ask them to leave a review online for your business on sites such as Google Business and Yell.
This will help your potential customers who are doing research on Architects to choose between you and another company, and that's why it's important to get some on there.
If you think your clients are unlikely to leave you a review out of the goodness of their hearts, you can create an incentive for them to leave an unbiased review (buying good reviews is bad news), by offering them a bottle of wine or a voucher in exchange as a little gift.
Also make sure you make it easy for them by sending them the exact link where they should leave a review!
If you could use some help managing your online presence, or following up with clients asking for reviews, get in touch to see how I can help!
Architect Marketing Idea #7: Create a Referral Scheme
Use your past clients to bring new ones!
A good referral scheme can be a brilliant way of bringing in new business. Make sure you design it so both parties get something from it.
For example, you can offer a set amount discount in % or £ for the new customer who's been referred, and a gift of a value such as a voucher OR discount off a future project for the past client who referred the new business to you.
This creates an incentive for everybody to share your business with each other, and is a win-win situation for you and everybody else.
Many companies use this to great effect, and there's no reason why you can't use this for your practice to bring more of the work in that you actually want.
Find out how much more revenue you can generate online
Use my handy checklist and worksheet to find out what you could earn from your website, and how to make it work better for you.