Attraction Marketing for Architects: The Basic Why’s and How’s
Questions before you start:
- What is your business?This is more in-depth than a simple “I am in the Architectural business” answer. You need to define what area and focus your business has now… and where you see yourself going within the next 5 years or so. The reason for this is you .marketing for architects need to focus on specifics, not just generalities. Everyone marketing a design business is in the design business. What do you do, or want to market, that makes you stand out from the others? I specialize in Energy Efficiency. How about you?
- Do you have a website?This is critical to every business in today’s marketplace. If you don’t have a website, you might just as well be conducting your business out of the trunk of your car. If you are operating out of your car trunk, then a website makes you look like your business is much larger than it really is.
- Do you have a Portfolio or Catalogue of your products or services?You need to show off what you can do, based on what you have already done. This builds your credibility as well as becomes a source for samples of what the client can also have done. No matter how many years you have been in business, if you don’t have one put together, you look no different than someone else just starting out. Be proud of your designs.
- Can you make money from the clients that don’t buy your product or service?Strange as this may seem, this is a very important step in developing your credibility. Since your credibility takes time to develop, you need to find a way to pay for that process until you can use your credibility to sell yourself. This will be explained in greater detail in a future article.
Now, to get started:
Once your website is up and running, you will need to add a few things to it:
- Sign up for Affiliate Programs.These are free links from other businesses that allow you to sell their products or services through your website and they pay you a commission per sale. You just put the coded (in your name) links provided from them on your site. The client clicks on these links and is taken to the affiliate’s site where they buy something, the same way they would have if they went there direct, but since they arrived there from your site… you get paid a commission. How great is that? You don’t deal with the client, the money, delivery, complaints or returns… you just cash the check. Remember when choosing which affiliate sites to promote to pick products and services that compliment yours… and not the competition. Also, remember to buy from yourself. You may say that as an Architect, you don’t see how this applies to you. My answer is for you to be as creative here as you are in design. Look into one of those easy design software packages. No I’m not saying your clients should use them to design, just to put down on paper what their thoughts are. I find this to be an easier way to communicate the client’s desires to me. Not every visitor to your site becomes a client, so provide them with a means to access the products they will need for construction.
- Start and online photo Gallery. There are a number of freeand pay sites that will host your portfolio. Start with the freeones and work your way up to the pay ones. The free ones are just that… free. They have a number of great features, but the pay sites have many more. By starting your own portfolio site you can link to it from many different sources including your own website as well as blogs… and even other sites that you don’t own, but give permission to link to your portfolio. The more links you have going to your site, any site, increases relevance in the eyes of the search engines and increases your SEO (search engine optimization). Plus, you only need to change pictures in one place, and it automatically changes them on all linking sites. I know a few designers that sell some basic plans that they can make changes to. Think of it this way, if someone buys a plan from you in digital format, but wants to make some changes, who do you think they will go to for these changes?
Education is the Key:
Education is the key to success in anything, especially in business… and by extension marketing. Too many prefessionals leave the marketing to referrals. Architects whould get most of their work from them, but they have to have a starting point. Funny, but what I am describing here is actually a form of building a referral base. Using Attraction Marketing as your focus means you will be using an entirely new set of tools and rules to market your business online. The importance of developing a systematic, cohesive strategy to place yourself in the front of everyone you want to as an “expert” in the field you’re business is in cannot be minimized. If you want to be known as the “go to person”, you need to prove you are worth going to… thus the “expert” tag needs to be believed by the client viewing what you are presenting to them. Make it count, and make it organized… cohesive. A sloppy, disjointed approach can do you more harm than good. Think of that presentation to your client. How organized and cohesive is that? Just apply that same end result here.