A digital marketing guide for architecture and design companies that will put your firm on the right track to long-term, sustainable growth.
Digital marketing for architecture companies can be confusing or even overwhelming at first. Marketing requires a great deal of learning to understand the various channels and opportunities.
And you must keep in mind budgets and look for the most cost-effective ways to attract and retain customers. Digital marketing offers clear analytic insights and a simple way to connect with your target audience.
To guide architecture and design firms in ways to build relationships with customers online, we’ll explain key terms and marketing strategies for your industry. Once you’ve completed reading this guide, you’ll be ready to start engaging with prospects through lead generation tactics.
Digital marketing includes a wide variety of online communication strategies and tactics. It includes all web-based activities your architecture firm engages in to help make your target audience aware of your business, promoting your services and signing on new customers.
When engaging online, your goal is to attract the attention of your target audience and get them to engage with you online through your website or other third-party locations.
These online activities are far more affordable than traditional marketing (i.e., print materials, billboards, radio and TV ads, etc.). And digital marketing provides better insights and analytics than traditional ads do.
Historically, architecture firms used the following techniques to bring in new business.
And while these are excellent ways to build relationships, they are passive and require that you have some pre-built relationships, which isn’t always the case for new firms.
To be proactive, architecture firms should engage in the following strategies.
Content marketing helps your firm showcase its expertise. It’s a very encompassing term that includes blog posts, eBooks, webinars, videos, emails, text messages and much more.
These different forms of content can help you engage users the way they want to learn about architecture services. Content marketing could be an introduction to who you are and what you do, or it could be a way you stay in contact with existing customers as a reminder of your services or to introduce new services.
When evaluating your content marketing, you need to look for ways to engage your audience at all points of the buying journey. Too often, organizations only consider getting prospects to hire the architecture firm.
Instead, make sure you have effective and engaging content for every phase of the buying journey, from awareness to hiring your firm.
Benefits of Content Marketing: Increasing brand awareness, building trust with potential customers, showcasing expertise, and aiding in SEO strategy.
Challenges with Content Marketing: Results take time. High quality content is also more expensive.
Search engine optimization (SEO) helps architecture firms get discovered online when local people or businesses look for services. The higher you rank on search engines, the more likely you’ll be to earn clicks from prospective customers.
SEO is not as simple as inserting keywords into your website. It’s a complicated strategy that includes backlinking, website infrastructure, outstanding hosting and more.
Search engines are a great way to find relevant information and answers to questions. Potential clients complete research online before selecting an architecture firm, making Google is a great place to target new customers.
Benefits of SEO: Increased website traffic.
Challenges with SEO: Takes time to begin seeing results and requires in-depth knowledge and expertise.
Search engine marketing (SEM) allows you to purchase the top locations in search engines. This is especially beneficial for companies still building out their SEO strategies and not yet ranking in the top positions for relevant keywords.
But purchasing ads can also be valuable if you’re ranking well but want to extend your reach or engage with new customers via a campaign.
SEM can be a cost-effective way to reach your target audience. But the key to making SEM work well for you is to be highly targeted in the keywords and audience you target. And you need to carefully consider how to get visitors to take the next step with your firm. Without a plan for converting these visitors, you won’t see much return on your investment.
Benefits of SEM: Fast results.
Challenges with SEM: Only works as long as you’re paying for it and you might face fierce competition for top ad spots. Additionally, you need a very clear understanding of what your target customers are searching for.
Search engine marketing is a form of PPC, but you can create pay-per-click ads on a variety of channels. This might include social media, search engines or display ads. As the name indicates, you pay for the ads when someone clicks on them.
Generally, these ads are initial awareness ads. One of the challenges some firms see with these ads is that they attract people looking for one-off services, such as an architect’s sign-off on plans or a quick blueprint.
Much like SEM, you want to consider how to get these individuals to take the next step with your company to make the cost of these ads valuable.
Benefits of PPC: Generates targeted website traffic.
Challenges with PPC: Requires regular ad optimization based on results. Very high price.
Social media marketing for architecture firms includes all efforts you engage in on social media. This could be organic or paid and includes social selling on sites like LinkedIn. Creating customized content that resonates with your audience is the key to succeeding in social media marketing.
Engaging visuals will be essential to showcase your work and the value that you bring. Social media marketing should also include engaging users with other forms of content marketing, such as white papers or eBooks to help guide them through the buying journey. No one digital marketing tactic works on its own for architecture firms.
Don’t get caught up in having a profile on every social media channel out there. Instead, focus on the channels that are most appropriate based on your audience. The goal is quality over quantity here. But always consider other tactics from this digital marketing guide for architecture to combine with your social media efforts.
Benefits of Social Media Marketing: Generating brand awareness.
Challenges with Social Media Marketing: Requires additional tactics to convert users from prospects into customers.
Read our dedicated blog post on this topic: Tips for Social Media Marketing for Architects >
Email marketing is a crucial channel for helping move customers along in the buying journey. Capturing an email address from a website visitor can help you build an ongoing relationship with them.
Email is a great way to stay in contact with potential customers and previous customers to keep them engaged. But because email is such a heavily used marketing tactic, getting email opens and clicks can be challenging. It takes careful consideration to make sure you’re sending the right messages to keep your audience reading your messages.
When used well, email marketing helps you showcase your expertise while building valuable relationships. Make sure you’re collecting good opt-ins to your email list though instead of purchasing email lists or searching out email addresses on public websites.
Benefits of Email Marketing: Lead nurturing, relationship building and earning repeat business from existing customers.
Challenges with Email Marketing: Many organizations are not consistent with it or strategic in segmenting their lists. Instead, they just blast their full list with any news, and it makes some people on the list tune out.
You could have an outstanding social media, PPC and SEM strategy but never see conversions from them without a clear lead generation strategy. Getting traffic to your website is only the first step in engaging new customers on your website.
Lead funnels include many steps, including the following.
The most effective funnels have content marketing pieces for each phase of the buying journey. That means that every piece of content marketing won’t push prospects into becoming customers but urge them to move to the next phase of the funnel.
Benefits of Lead Generation/Funnels: Targeting ideal audience and converting them to customers.
Challenges with Lead Generation/Funnels: Engaging a broad target audience. Requires a clear understanding of how to move people through a buying journey and an understanding of reasons why they might not be moving from one stage to the next.
Video marketing is another form of content marketing that helps you engage with a prospect how they want to engage. People who view videos tend to retain 95 percent of the message compared to just a 10 percent recall with reading text.
Video is also outstanding for showing a process or product that’s hard to explain without visuals. Some social media platforms also provide the opportunity to engage in live videos, such as on Facebook or YouTube. Using these tactics can help you urge customers to watch with fear of missing out or limited time viewership.
Benefits of Video Marketing: Improving engagement and reach on social media, websites, etc.
Challenges with Video Marketing: You won’t see instant results. The cost of production can be prohibitive.
No digital marketing guide for architecture and design firms would be complete without marketing automation. Marketing automation helps you reduce repetitive tasks. Software helps trigger marketing activities based on actions a prospect or customer takes. This might mean sending reminders to people who started the registration process for your webinars but didn’t quite make it to the end of the form.
Or, it could mean reaching back out to someone after you quoted a project or they requested a quote on your website.
Generally, marketing automation systems sync to client relationship managers (CRMs). You can connect automation software to social media or paid advertising platforms to add further value to the actions it triggers.
Benefits of Marketing Automation: Time savings and faster responses to common customer inquiries.
Challenges with Marketing Automation: Implementation takes time since it requires connections to various technology platforms and some technical know-how. The tools required are expensive.
Events, either in-person or online, help you build a relationship with your customers or potential customers. Virtual events are especially popular since they require less time and commitment from both you and the attendees.
You could host Q&A sessions to explain processes or new regulations in your area. Either way, events can provide new prospects and build greater awareness for your marketing firm.
Benefits of Events and Webinars: Building relationships and increasing your reach.
Challenges with Events and Webinars: You’ll need to put in serious time and effort into an event or webinar.
Closing our digital marketing guide for architecture and design firms is the concept of listing building. Creating profiles on various platforms and directories will help build awareness for your business and aid in your SEO strategy. To get the best results, you’ll need to ensure that your entries are consistent across all platforms.
Be strategic about the platforms you target and make sure they have low spam ratings for SEO purposes to make sure these listings don’t backfire on you.
Creating listings can offer customers an opportunity to share reviews about your company. This word-of-mouth advertising can further solidify your firm in the minds of prospects as one that is desirable and trustworthy.
Benefits of Online Business Listings: SEO boost, online reviews and brand consistency.
Challenges with Online Business Listings: You won’t be engaging with prospects directly.
If you need a digital marketing strategy for your architecture firm, contact New Light Digital. We have expertise in the industry and know how to help firms gain awareness and convert prospects into customers.
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