August 10, 2023

Essential marketing strategies for architects

The architecture industry is extremely competitive, with firms constantly trying to get an advantage for the next project. Having essential marketing strategies for architects in place is a MUST to stand out in this crowded market. These can enhance firm visibility, show expertise, attract new clients, and maintain relationships with existing ones.

This blog post looks at some of the essential strategies architects to consider in digital marketing. We’ll look at ways you can implement each of the following:

  • Understanding your target market
  • Building a strong online presence
  • Implementing content marketing strategies

Understanding Your Target Market

Identifying Your Ideal Client

One of the most important marketing strategies for architects is knowing WHO you want to work with. Figure that out before trying to pick the right words – or post the right thing in the right place. Not at the level of “senior housing operators” – you need to go deeper. The ONE ideal client who is exactly who you are looking for – you can dig in by creating a client avatar. When you do this, it is the client you WANT – write to THEM, not the one you took because you had to.

Selling to everyone is selling to no one

When you create ONE ideal client you have all the qualities – and concerns – of your ideal client at your fingertips. It’s easier not to generalize and easier to recall the specific details when it’s one “person.” You use it for everything – social posts, blog posts, and new text for your website. Post and do everything talking directly to that ONE person. Narrow your focus and stand out!

stand out and sell to your people

Your ideal clients will see themselves in it – and know YOU are the authority. This is selling to YOUR people – and not people you don’t want to work with (also valuable information!). Hootsuite’s post about how to find your target market in 2023 is a great resource. It says “your target market sets the tone for your entire marketing strategy.” Agreed, Hootsuite! (check out the article – there’s a great breakdown of exactly what to do – with examples.)

Get started:

  • Create an ideal client profile, including things like budget, what projects they are interested in, and location.
  • Use market research to understand what your potential clients need and want.
  • Use this client profile to guide your marketing efforts and ensure that you’re reaching out to the right audience.

Understanding Your Competition

THIS is an essential marketing strategy for architects that can really make a difference. Here is a common scenario: you identify the competition – and may know them casually by competing against each other. Most of what you know is from their website or a few former employees to them, current employees to you. You tuck what you know away and rely on it to inform decisions rather than doing proper research.

Researching is key to a marketing strategy for architects

Big challenge with that approach: architects tend not to share a lot of what they are doing on their websites. There could be relevant info you just don’t know about – because they haven’t posted about it. Dive deeper! Consider a SWOT analysis (grab a template from Forbes here), or platforms like SEMrush and Ahrefs to analyze competitors. Once you do the initial research the platforms can track them for you. Then you’ll know you’re up to date.

Get started:

Building a Strong Online Presence

Creating a Professional Website

Here’s a marketing strategy architects can easily start with: your website. It is a much bigger asset than many architects realize. It is your online home. A place to show off your work. ProTip: as amazing as your architectural photography may be, other architects are NOT your clients. Create a professional website that your CLIENTS want to read (regular words, please!). Tone down the use of formal names, and use language more common to your clients.

I learned directly from your clients how much it annoys them when you use formal names on site visits. As one client said (in exasperation), “Just call a window a freakin’ window!”. You can hear more of what that client had to say in this quick video.

architect marketing strategy – planning and doing

Like most things – a key to success is being prepared. Here, consider mocking up a calendar for updates alongside your marketing plan. You can add items relevant to a secific week or month ahead of time, it makes it less overwhelming – and more relevant.

Get started:

  • A website is often the first point of contact for potential clients (everyone Googles!). Are you making the first impression you want?
  • Include a portfolio (with words!), information about your team and services, and client testimonials to build trust. Don’t forget to highlight what makes you different than the competition!
  • Make sure your website is easy to navigate, mobile-friendly, and optimized for search engines. Go with clear over clever – confused people leave!

SEO for architects

SEO for architects can feel scary. I’ll be honest – if you are just starting you’re probably better off hiring someone. You don’t want to lose potential website traffic – which could result in a job – trying to save a few dollars. Website optimization is not something that is mastered in an hour (she says from experience). Take a look at Google’s SEO Starter Guide and see how it feels.

Leveraging Social Media

Social media marketing for architecture firms can be a good tool as part of an architect’s overall marketing strategy. It enhances your visibility and reinforces your brand. It’s very important to have consistent branding and messaging across all platforms AND your website. A cohesive visual identity is crucial for gaining recognition and building trust.

Create for your ideal client (not other architects)

The number one tip to leverage social media? Get started. Show up. It is not widely used (well) in architecture so it is an area where you can quickly get ahead. As above, your clients are not architects. Show things that matter to THEM. Tell the store of it – with words. Show how you solved problems they have so they can see themselves in your work.

Get started:

  • Create accounts on Instagram, Pinterest, and LinkedIn to share your work and engage with others.
  • Share behind-the-scenes content, and highlight staff and fun activities to show culture. Include industry news, and tips that provide value to your followers.
  • Hashtags and geotags help increase your visibility and reach a broader audience.

Implementing Content Marketing Strategies

Truth time, friends. There is a time and a place for DIYing marketing. It is NOT for SEO or for developing content marketing strategies. Do those wrong and it’s time and money wasted. Or worse because of all the lost time and impact you COULD have had. Spend the money to get it done right the first time.

That said, here’s where you really want to lean on your architecture marketing contacts. Content marketing for architecture firms may feel confusing, but it can be a huge asset in expanding your visibility. Hang in there and ask your favorite marketing person for help.

Discuss your priorities with them. A marketing plan for an architecture firm maps out what will help most in content marketing. A thoughtful approach and clear plan help make the most of resources and maximize visibility. Just remember to keep the focus on what your clients want to know and read about.

Blogging

Marketing strategies will not work for architects, no matter how well intended, unless you know two things before you start: 1) What your clients are interested in learning about? and 2) What will you actually DO? I have seen many great ideas crash and burn because they felt forced. Your sweet spot is what you LIKE writing about, and/or what is in your wheelhouse. Talk with your friendly marketing people for help or to get more info.

Next steps:

  • Publish blog posts regularly to share your expertise and insights
  • Write about what your ideal client wants – mix professional and personal so they get to know you.
  • Use SEO tools to increase your visibility and attract more website visitors. Try ubersuggest and moz for keywords, Semrush and Ahrefs for SEO, and Yoast as you work on the post itself.

Email Marketing

Email marketing is getting more popular and has fantastic ROI. Hubspot shows that you get an impressive $36 for every $1 you spend on email marketing. It can be a powerful tool to keep your brand in front of potential clients. You can nurture existing relationships, and woo future clients by showing them who you ARE. Email marketing is great for sending newsletters, project updates, staff or client profiles, promote events or discounts, and more. Just be sure people opt in so you comply with the CAN-SPAM ACT.

A few ways you can get started:

  • Offer a free resource or newsletter subscription on your website.
  • Send regular emails about projects, staff, fun facts, etc., to keep your list engaged and updated about your firm.
  • Personalize the messages to help nurture relationships with potential clients and encourage them to hire your services.

DIYing marketing vs working with someone

Okay, let’s talk reality. Many firms do marketing on their own – believing they absorbed enough from the previous firm’s marketing. Or they don’t realize what marketing offers – because it’s not what they do.

Trying to do it all yourself is one of the biggest mistakes architects make. I understand the need to budget, of course, but you don’t know what you don’t know. You can end up way off base. Not your fault, just a fact. I would hate to see you lose a project you could have won if you’d only had the right help. And – a real marketing strategy for architects specifically could be a total gamechanger.

Don’t look back

Get help when you need it so you don’t look back. You are going up against firms that have marketing staff. Those in-house marketers do this work all day every day (I know – I was one of them!). You can’t compete with that. If you want another perspective on the math, see Adobe’s article about understanding ROI in digital marketing.

Conclusion

Marketing your architectural firm requires a comprehensive and strategic approach – yep, you need to keep at it. Understanding your target market and building a strong presence that represents YOU online helps make you more competitive. Effective content marketing can give you a better edge to attract more clients and grow your business.

Want to learn more about your ideal clients?

Check out the recent post about how an architect personality is the ultimate marketing strategy. Included is information about how you can apply it to your architect client relationships. By customizing even further to meet their needs – and natural way of making decisions.

For an unofficial but fun assessment see the “Which iconic building are you?” quiz. I created it to go with the article above-referenced article. Your personality type is also revealed, with custom resources and additional information custom for your type.

Ready to be the only architect clients think of?
The ULTIMATE marketing solution - The EDGE helps you stand out, build better client relationships FASTER, and WIN.
tell me more

which iconic building

ARE YOU?

See what sets you apart from everyone + get strategies for YOUR UNIQUE PERSONALITY to stand out and win more!


take the quiz!

free quiz!

Get more
savvy secrets
I'm Barb
I’m a 20-year architectural marketing veteran sharing resources and insights from my architect-adjacent life. Useful information with stories and humor.
learn about barb

what iconic building

See what sets you apart from 
everyone + get strategies for YOUR UNIQUE PERSONALITY to stand out and win more!


take the quiz!

hey!

Sign up to be part of the pack!
+ EXTRAS, just for insiders...

are you?

Ready to be the only architect clients think of?
 The ULTIMATE marketing solution - The EDGE helps you stand out, build better client relationships FASTER, and WIN.
tell me more

+ show Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Learn it, love it, and leverage it so you do what you do - only better.

How to use the architect personality to win clients

Make clients want you and only you

Increase your client worth by 1,000% (not official) by including this plug 'n play BENEFIT CHART in proposals. Show why you are the EXACT architect clients want - in ONE page.

Ten Tricks for Better Insta Photos

Trust fund gluten-free scenester PBR&B hot chicken. Poke try-hard vegan pop-up. Banh mi meggings before they sold out.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit, sed diam nonummy nibh euismod tincidunt wisi enim ad minim veniam.

FREE download ↓ 

I'm Barb
I’m a 20-year architectural marketing veteran sharing resources and insights from my architect-adjacent life. Useful information with stories and humor.
learn about barb

hey there!

Ready to be the only architect clients think of?
 The ULTIMATE marketing solution - The EDGE helps you stand out, build better client relationships FASTER, and WIN.
tell me more

what iconic building

ARE YOU?

See what sets you apart from 
everyone + get strategies for YOUR UNIQUE PERSONALITY to stand out and win more!


take the quiz!

I'm Barb
I’m a 20-year architectural marketing veteran sharing resources and insights from my architect-adjacent life. Useful information with stories and humor.
learn about barb

hey there!

Ready to be the only architect clients think of?
 The ULTIMATE marketing solution - The EDGE helps you stand out, build better client relationships FASTER, and WIN.
tell me more

what iconic building

ARE YOU?

See what sets you apart from 
everyone + get strategies for YOUR UNIQUE PERSONALITY to stand out and win more!


take the quiz!