Online marketing is crucial for architectural firms. It’s usually cheaper, more measurable and faster than traditional (offline) promotion activities. We list here eight key types of digital marketing for architects:
website development & design
social media management
online registers & marketplace presence
marketing strategy & planning
search engine optimisation
architectural content creation
Read further to decide which ones are worth considering and will benefit your architectural company the most. Note that we first focus on the essential marketing activities and then analyse those more sophisticated. Introducing them in that order would likely be the optimal marketing plan for your practice.
1. Start with the website for your office
The website is an extended business card and concierge for your practice that’s available 24/7. Many clients say that if something is not on the internet, it doesn’t exist.
That’s a trendy millennial euphemism. It means that a company lacking an online presence is perceived as suspicious, hiding something or not caring about their clients.
Yet, even if you prefer privacy, you and your firm are not invisible online. Your architecture office can be still found in public company registrars like Companies House in the UK or State Department sites in the USA, for instance.
Even when you don’t have a website, you are still displayed in the Google search results. Because of that, it is a no-brainer to take control of what people will learn about your business. Here’s an overview of the different roles the website plays for an architecture office.
1.1 Use website as an extension to your introduction
With a website, you no longer need to be a travelling salesman. No one wants lengthy introductions with eco-unfriendly printed folders and litanies of what services you provide and who your clients are.
Quite often, it is enough to mention your name or the practice name and architecture specialisation. If your listener at a trade fair or coffee meeting is interested, they can learn more at their convenience. They can comfortably view your portfolio and further contact details on your website.
They don’t have to rush and can give it proper consideration in the comfort of their home. Perhaps together with their spouse or other family members involved in choosing the architect or interior planner.
It may be even more critical for architects that work on a B2B basis. Sharing necessary architectural certifications and credentials to assure you comply with local architectural regulations is more comfortable online. And also more convenient - no one likes to make hasty decisions on the go. They prefer to have control over it and the website provides that.
1.2 Establish credibility
Having a website is now a standard. Even food trucks and handymen have their websites. Companies without websites are often perceived as suspicious. Many think they are unregistered businesses, avoid taxes, or just side gigs of students who do not intend to pursue the venture long term. Having a website gives you the ability to build your own narrative to show your experience and authority.
1.3 Get found online
Even when you run a small architecture studio, it pays off to be found online. Those few visits every year could turn into valuable opportunities. They can keep the flame of interest for people that saw your physical office on the way back home. They may point the way to you for an eager architecture student that wants to work for you. You may even be found by a journalist planning to interview you.
On top of that, you can also be relatively easily found on Google Maps, especially if you are one of just a few architects of particular specialisation in your city or town. Or maybe you are the only professional with specialised in historic buildings’ renovation?
As a rule of thumb, you should first assure your company is found when searched by its name. Then you can actively influence how your audience will find you using search engine optimisation techniques described in chapter 6.6. They will make you visible for searches related to your services and industry, expanding your audience. And your website is the best space to draw them to.
1.4 Gather your potential clients on your website
Visiting your online site is the breakthrough in contact with any client. Coming from a social media platform to your website is the digital equivalent of visiting your studio after being impressed with your work at an exhibition.
Website is also an invaluable point of concentration for your readers. When they see you on Instagram or Facebook, they are anonymous to you, and you can’t spark their further interest. They would need to at least like or follow you. Even then, your visibility will be limited by the functionalities and algorithms of the intermediary platform.
A website gives you more opportunities and more control over how you interact with visitors. You could ask them to subscribe to your newsletter if they liked your home decor ideas. They may download your guide to victorian house retrofit in exchange for their contact details.
You can go much further with that and follow your audience with customised ads after they leave your website. Did they read an article about home office design? Show them your best home office project when they visit a design portal later on. You can also make a delicate appearance on Facebook with an ad. Read more about that in the remarketing section of this guide.
Those actions will help you make the most of the attention your practice is getting online. However, if your aspirations are more moderate, there is still one curious reason to have a website.
1.5 Claim your architecture brand name online
There are over 20 architecture practices in London alone with Smith as the owner’s surname o or part of the office's name. Imagine that’s your surname and you introduce yourself to a potential client you’ve just met.
Unless you have a reasonably visible website, they will likely confuse your practice with one of many others owned by other Smiths. Then, they will probably realise that only when it’s too awkward to withdraw.
Quite important is owning a simple and memorable domain address like smitharchitects.com. The sooner you create your website, the sooner you can claim your domain and prevent someone else from getting it.
An easy to remember website address means you will not have to tweak the name to find an unoccupied domain name.
The name of our marketing agency for architects is an example of just that. Architects work with physical space. And we help them get clients and establish their presence in digital space to promote their services. Hence we are getspace.digital which doubles as our company name and website URL.
1.6 Get more website visitors
There are three principal ways to attract more website visits. They require different levels of effort and spending.
You may put the effort in influencing the position on which search engine place you with relation to relevant search phrases. It has a tremendous impact but takes time and expertise. You can read about it in chapter 6.6.
Bit faster solution is buying ads that will direct online traffic to your website. It is straightforward - you pay, and you get visits. However, it can be challenging to make it work efficiently and avoid burning your budget for nothing. In chapter 6.4, we discuss how architects may use ads.
When you don’t want to take the risk or commit to an effort disproportional to your knowledge or abilities, there is one more option. Starting your social media activity is an excellent next step after you have the website.
2. Build a social media presence for your architecture practice
Setting up social media profiles is much easier than building a website and very rewarding if you do it the right way. For many businesses, such profiles can act as the main point of contact with customers. You are probably already running your private Instagram account. It is very natural for many architects and it helps with networking. There are however some things to consider to make the cost to benefit ratio more favourable.
2.1 Choose appropriate social media platforms
You wouldn’t like to see a coffin exhibition between cheerful Instagram photos. You are also not looking for investment bank reviews while scrolling Facebook on Sunday afternoon. Choosing an inappropriate social platform can make your communications unbearable for your potential audience even when your intentions are pure.
Instead of seeking attention on every platform, you should first choose up to three of them.
Leverage each platform’s uniqueness to target your client personas - groups of people with demographic features that make them likely to become your clients.
This approach will allow you to establish a meaningful presence and focus on the most efficient channels first. Most likely, one of them will be Instagram unless you can’t showcase your work visually. Once you’ve chosen the right social media outlets, it’s time to create your profiles.
2.2 Populate your business profiles & be natural
Even the passive or reactive presence on social media is way better than nothing. But why to settle on the minimum? Almost all such platforms have their internal search engines, and that’s quite often where clients will look for your services. Populating your profile will make your architecture office gains visibility, and you may also receive some visits and enquiries there.
When populating your profile, provide as much information as possible. It will improve your visibility on those platforms as search algorithms usually favour complete profiles. You will also gain credibility once found.
Mention all the logistic details such as the opening hours, contact details, business address or service area. Regularly update all the profiles and announce changes such as temporary closure of the office.
Adjust your language to the medium, but retain factual details to clarify what your company does. Sometimes it may involve choosing the business sector from a list of only about 20 generic categories or choosing a price range from 1 to 3 dollar signs. In such cases, it’s best to take a look at a few competing profiles for reference. You may also read the descriptions provided by the platform to make more educated decisions.
2.3 Be responsive & respectful
Make sure you will be notified about the messages and comments. Set email notifications or even better push notifications on your mobile or desktop. Sadly, if you are not quick to respond, your potential customers may go to your competition.
What’s more, many social media platforms (e.g. Facebook) display statistics about how quick you answer your clients. Fortunately, you may often create automated responses to many inquiries to address them before entering the chat.
As all social platforms have different dynamics, you may expect a mixed bag of enquiries and messages. On LinkedIn, they may be very formal and on-point.
Facebook conversations will be more relaxed, and you may also encounter spammers more often. Instagram and Pinterest environments will encourage the exchange of visual content and interactions with creative professionals.
No matter which interacts with you, always keep it professional and relevant. You may never really know who is on the other side. Moreover, messages can exist forever and may be used as written proof for what your company stated.
That calls for a non-conflict approach because your company won’t stay anonymous, while messaging people may message you incognito from a fake profile. On a positive note, the same client can message you years later and see your friendly response from the past.
2.4 Commit to regular posting or at least updating
If you have a social media profile, at a minimum, you owe your audience up-to-date information about your business status. There is nothing more frustrating than visiting a closed office that was supposed to be open or booking an online call that will be unattended.
It is, however, much better to keep your audience on social networks engaged continuously. You can share valuable content regularly. For Instagram it can mean daily, but for LinkedIn rather weekly. When you don’t have time or motivation to post regularly, commit to documenting your achievements. When you finish your project - share it on your profiles.
When you move to a new office, write about it and add a few photos. Same when you attend that prestigious conference or just hired an intern. Even if you post once per quarter, it will leave a trace of commitment. After a few years, your architecture office will be significantly more credible.
2.5 Link your social media with the website
People differ in their habits of how they interact online. Add social media handles to the website to let them choose where they want to follow you. Also, place the link to your website on each social media profile. You may also link to the pages with your services’ if there is a built-in option to showcase your products or services on that platform.
Moreover, you can link social media with your website with so-called tags and pixels. They allow advertising on social media to those that visited your website. It is the same functionality that allows a sports snickers firm to display the ads of their new pair of running shoes on Facebook after you visited their website.
It is very effective because those that already visited your website are much more likely to hire you than an average person that never interacted with you online before. You may want to read more about why you should commit to retargeting your website visitors with social media ads.
2.6 Observe and learn from analytics
When you put more time into the management of your social media profiles and start to see some engagement, track it. See how many views and likes your posts have. See which groups are most active when you share your insights with them.
Track on which days and at what time the engagement is highest. It might seem boring, but it makes a difference over time and there is a multitude of free marketing tools for that.
When you identify what works and what doesn’t, you can focus on the most efficient activities and grow your following faster. Use internal analytics tools on the platforms, such as Facebook Creator Studio (that also covers Instagram) or have an agency provide you with multichannel insights generated by an aggregator tool.
For website, analytics use Google tools such as Google Analytics. It is also tremendously helpful to understand which channels generate visits to your website and the cost per visit if you use paid advertising.
3. Register your architecture office with relevant directories & marketplaces
Apart from text search engines and social media, your clients search for architectural services on dedicated business platforms. Starting with Google My Business, there are plenty of directories that may be used to find your practice. Many of them function locally, being available in certain countries.
Other serve only specific industries. Also, not all of them are worthy of your time. Presence in some of them might even harm you or cost you some money without giving any benefits.
Make sure to check every directory before registering for it. Even if you are being registered to such websites by a marketing agency as part of Google positioning, it may be potentially risky. Familiarise yourself with every considered directory.
See how they present other businesses - if they have a well-thought directory and sorting algorithms. Read their reviews and the fine print in their user agreement. You wouldn’t like to be found next to some cheesy ad banners or on a list of random businesses, between a car wash and nail salon, right?
You may also consider signing up to a platform being a marketplace for the architectural services. There are a number of such platforms and they vary greatly. Some of them may list a number of services attributed to various categories. Others might focus on creative services or those related to the building industry.
There are also some that just offer access to unstructured notice boards.
Depending on how they work and what traffic they bring they might either be a ghost town or a sort of intermediary or aggregator taking a cut from your fees in exchange for projects or leads. It is worth approaching them all with a fair bit of scepticism and verify their claims.
Even if you will find a platform with a majority of hourly rates from $100 to $1000, that’s not a guarantee you will get such a project, maybe those freelancers never acquired any project that way? We are planning to create a guide for using such platforms. You may subscribe to our mailing list to get informed when it’s released.
4. Boost results with paid advertising
Paying for ads gives you that edge of an expanded reach. The idea is promising - pay the platform for greater exposure, and they will smuggle a bit more of promotional content that they would normally accept. You will sell more, make some profit and repeat that… But why then don't you see all the companies advertising all the time, as much as possible?
4.1 You can buy ads, but not the results
Yes, ads give you more exposure, but it is not limitless and not effortless. In the short run, you would like to advertise if ads generate revenue or sales margins higher than the cost of running them. And that alone requires from you much more than just forking out the ad budget.
First, your ads will have to be efficient. That means attracting high rates of clicks from relevant audiences. After your potential customers click on your ads, you have to keep them engaged and meet their expectations with your offering.
It’s unlikely they will buy your services straight away. You will have to establish some contact with them and show your expertise in architecture. Also, the user experience has to be impeccable to make their journey down the sales funnel easy and pleasant. Otherwise, many customers may give up.
Even the most creative ads need to be followed by effective communication, customer service, competitive pricing, sufficient work capacity and many more things. Let’s now understand better how the ads work.
4.2 What’s the mechanism behind the ads?
The majority of social media & search engines generate a significant portion of their revenues from intermediating in advertising. That forces them to balance the amounts of ads and organic content continually. Their primary goal is obviously to profit, but they can’t make it without pleasing (or at least not annoying too much) the platform users.
If Google would suddenly serve you 90% ads and just 10% of non-sponsored content, how would it look? You would search for the case studies of successful architectural marketing only to find 90 ads of related services before the first page of organic results.
Sponsored links might often only partially match your search, showing you the case studies of architecture projects or other industry’s marketing campaigns. Such an experience would drive you to another search engine or encourage you to ignore ads.
All the platforms use top-performing algorithms developed by the best programmers and mathematicians to optimise this trade-off between user experience and ad revenue. As a result, most outlets use auction systems where each advertiser bids to get potential customers' attention.
Many platforms consider the quality and relevancy of the submitted ads, favouring ads that are perceived as engaging. They also offer multiple mechanisms for ad distribution and pricing. For instance, they may charge advertisers for impressions or clicks. Consequently, they would show ads to audiences more likely to follow the link or watch a whole video.
Advertising systems are complex, but all social media construct them to balance the quality and quantity of ads. They have many controls to ensure that aggressive, deceiving, or irrelevant advertising will not happen for too long and won’t pay off. It is not only manually flagged by users but also screened by automated systems.
Such actions allow platforms to maintain high standards and protect their ad revenue in a longer timeframe. All of this emphasises the importance of creating impeccable ads but also choosing appropriate platforms to run them.
4.3 Choose the right medium to advertise your architecture office
Google dominates the browsing engine market, but the majority of social platforms try to occupy a well-defined (but still relatively populous) niche. They differentiate by offering varying functionalities that appeal to different groups and satisfy their distinct needs. That’s reflected in the advertising capabilities which differ in format, mechanics and cost.
You will find CEOs spending time on LinkedIn or Twitter during their working hours, but not on Facebook. Well, at least not officially. On LinkedIn, you can even personally reach them out with sponsored InMail at the time of their online presence.
People spend on average more time on Facebook than on Twitter. That likely makes the impression of a single ad cheaper on Facebook, but not necessarily more cost-effective, because Facebook probably won’t have as much work-related data as LinkedIn.
Also, their users often scroll fast and are used to ignore ads. Then, there are different types and placement locations of the ads within the same platform. Placing a mini ad on the side of Linkedin could cost less than 1 cent per view, but only one person out of many thousands will click on it. And some of those clicks might be misclicks…
When looking for the right platform to advertise on, consider who your dream customers are, where and when they spend time online. Take into account the targeting possibilities and ad formats available. Most importantly, reflect on what you would like to achieve from your advertising campaign.
4.4 Choose your paid advertising goals
Every platform offers a number of different ad types and pricing approaches. Such options will often help you to align advertising with your short-term business goals. If you are looking to attract more likes or followers to your business profiles on social media, there are designated ad types for that.
Need more visitors to your website? Encouraging purchases of your products? All such objectives correspond with a specific ad type. Just like the event promotion, getting subscriptions and boosting job listing reach.
When it comes to paying, you can often choose what constitutes your actual goal. Do you want to make people aware that your company changed its name or contributed to a charity? Then your goal is maximising impressions of your ad. Or maybe you only care about the website visits? Then you want to pay per click to only be charged for what’s relevant to you. How to make sense of it?
4.5 Effective advertising is long term game
Advertising requires combining marketing knowledge with the insights gained through practice. No sociological model will describe the exact customer behaviour and because of that, it takes time to achieve optimal efficiency. The rules and best practices defined by the ad platforms and marketing guidelines are just the tip of the iceberg.
The less obvious part of the work is climbing up the learning curve for your business segment. Gaining an understanding of how to advertise architecture practice to your unique audience may take time.
Think about it as a tuning process - you have a number of marketing principles to follow, and you confront their applications with reality. Then you test some assumptions against others with so-called A/B tests. You may want to find, for instance, which statement is more convincing to your client.
Having delivered 5 similar projects or having been awarded a practice of the year by a local architecture institution. You can test it statistically to see the results and leverage only better-converting ad copy. Every week you may get a 2% or 5% decrease in cost per click or your potential customers would return to your website a bit more often.
Then, over the course of months or years, and after many tweaks, your ads will become much more efficient.
4.6 Find advertising balance & get to know your customer
Now, let’s come back to the dilemma stated at the beginning of chapter 6.4. Why wouldn't you pour as much money as possible into advertising? Well, it would just be a waste of money above a certain saturation threshold.
Ads deliver your message, but they won’t magically sell your product. Even if you would be able to personally come and speak for 5 minutes with every resident in your neighbourhood, that would not suddenly triple the demand for architectural services in general, right? It takes time and effort to find that sweet spot for advertising spend and to realise what social media users are worth targeting with ads.
Ads are also great for gaining more unbiased information about your potential customers - confronting the world outside of our social bubbles. Even when you think that you are the best architect in your city for planning private medical practices, that might be because you make an excellent impression face to face and most of your clients are from your extended social circle.
When you reach customers who don’t know you, you can learn more about other things they care about, especially when working remotely and not making a face-to-face appearance.
5. Follow a marketing strategy
When you are planning to grow or change your architecture practice, marketing strategy is a must. You have to lay out how you will align your marketing efforts with business objectives.
Yes, it is mainly about getting more clients or better projects, but also about investing in the future of your business.
Exploring new markets, testing new methods and learning about your customers help stabilise your business and minimise risk.
5.1 Choose the planning horizon
Depending on our architecture practice size and how mature your marketing domain is, you may plan for just a few months ahead or even a couple of years. It rarely makes sense to plan for much longer than that, because it is hard to estimate how the market will evolve in the next decade and what will change in the industry.
Usually, it’s optimal for small and medium practices to strategically plan the marketing for the next 12 months. That would typically include a more detailed plan for the next quarter and establishing task pipelines for the next few weeks.
5.2 Define your strategy considering assets & strengths
When thinking about strategy, consider how you can leverage your strengths as well as what you would like to achieve and what you are willing to put in as the practice owner. Maybe your planning office is well-established, and the significant part of your strategy would be showcasing the happy clients and the projects you delivered for them?
Or perhaps your unique advantage is how fast you can complete your project and want to emphasise that aspect of your offering?
5.3 Expect delayed results
One of the pains of marketing is that the gratification is always delayed. Especially, when it comes to services of high value like architectural planning. You should keep it in mind when planning your marketing strategy. Despite that, try making the most of the process and benefits stretching over various business areas.
In general, you might be able to sell the fastest with Google, using ads that target customers already looking for services like yours. The longest is to build the brand or community and attract clients with inbound marketing. It is also the most sustainable.
5.4 Quantify results & create feedback loops
To make sure you make the most of your marketing efforts, expand your knowledge (or partner with a specialised agency) and gather feedback. Various platforms present different opportunities for that, but there is always a way to learn effectively.
Even you’ve lost an individual project, analyse your proposal and gently ask for feedback. Marketing tools & analytics platforms such as Google Search Console or Google Analytics also bring invaluable feedback. They will allow you to analyze your website visits.
You might learn quite a lot by investigating how long the visitors stay on individual pages, how they navigate them or which way they discovered your website.
5.5 Create marketing checklists
You can remember all the marketing tasks you have to do, especially if it takes you just a few hours per week. But what happens if you are ill or start experiencing a creative plateau? Having well-thought-of checklists can go a long way. It is easier to stick to them and go through a to-do list than reinventing the wheel every time.
If you do something regularly, create a checklist or a knowledge base with procedures. It will set standards for promoting a new blog post or how you interact with your prospective clients as they move down your sales funnel. It will also save you time.
5.6 Commit to marketing your architecture office to get the results
It takes not only time but also regular work. When you repeat your efforts, be that posting engaging articles or advertising, you are gaining awareness. A specific person that could be your client might see you 10 times and not take any action, but the eleventh interaction might be successful as your architecture practice already seems familiar.
Also, in the complex environment of data sharing regulations and interacting online, it is often not easy to attribute results to the cause. Those that saw your ads or your posts might use multiple devices in many different locations and then they may recommend you to their friend who never saw your business online.
6. Position your architecture practice in Google
Google is how people search nowadays. Making your company easy to find in the search results for relevant searched phrases is crucial.
Apart from paid Google ads (and also Bing ads), you can rank your website organically through the process called search engine optimisation or SEO.
In practice, it means addressing hundreds of factors that determine your odds of appearing at the top of the website lists for relevant searches. You can read more about how SEO works, but in a nutshell, it is a combination of:
creating high-quality content, friendly to both Google users and Google technologies
establishing the peer-reviewed authority of your website
making user experience flawless
describing your pages well in the search results
many more factors such as domain used or keyword density.
How your website performs against the criteria (which are not precisely disclosed by Google) is evaluated by their algorithms that scan websites and validated by users. For instance, how long people stay on your website is a signal about your content’s quality impacting your ranking over time.
6.1 Build a competitive advantage with SEO
It is not an easy process, and it takes time, but the rewards are tremendous and long-lasting. Just imagine how helpful it would be if one in four people looking for services like yours would end up visiting your website at no extra cost!
6.1.1 Ranking is “winner takes all” game
Ranking your website in Google is also almost an “all or nothing” game on the keyword level. It means that if you are first in the search results, you get the largest piece of the pie, often 20-30% of all the visits. If you are on the third page, probably only competitors or industry analysts will be patient enough to get that far and visit your website.
6.1.2 Choose search keywords to target
Search queries vary in competitiveness and popularity. It merely comes down to demand and supply. People express demand for information and companies, bloggers and authors supply content. As you may expect, commercial topics will attract more publications.
The hobby-related topics that are hard to monetise will not get as much coverage. When confronting it with how many people search specific phrases every month, it is possible to assess whether a particular keyword combination is worth ranking.
Some search terms are extremely competitive and thus exceptionally difficult to rank. For instance, “video editing software” is one of those, because the competition between the creators of such software is worldwide and takes place almost exclusively online. Another example is the “insurance quote” because it indicates the willingness to buy.
Quickly Architecture offices have quite a fortunate position and still a lot of possibilities. Even when you are one of the hundreds of local architecture offices, you still stand a chance to dominate some search results.
Unless your practice employs over a dozen architects, it might be challenging or not worthy to be the number one for the most popular search terms.
You can, however, focus on those keywords that directly relate to your specialisation. You may also target those searches that happen early into the customer journey. Ranking number one for some less popular search terms can attract clients to even small architecture practices.
Maybe you can create the best list of ideas for a loft conversion refurbishment that could become your customer magnet?
When choosing keywords to target, you should focus on their relevance. It’s better to get 5 website visits from people with particular project requirements that only a handful of competitors can deliver, rather than having 50 visitors looking for unspecific residential architecture services.
Although rankings change, after initially establishing your position in a certain niche, you will likely retain a similar standing for months. If you pair a high position with efforts to manage your sales funnel, it may bring you a steady inflow of clients for months or years.
Indeed, there will probably be new competitors entering the market, but you might already have been much ahead of them and continue moving forward before they even start. Also, architectural services are still a promising ground for SEO initiatives.
Just think how often you looked for some industry information and it was quite tricky to find the answers quickly.
6.2 Aim locally or globally
Another important aspect of Google positioning is that you can focus on targeting only local clients or finding them globally if you deliver projects remotely. Sometimes, you might offer one type of service locally and another online. Then you should combine both strategies. All that has an impact on how your SEO efforts are going to look like.
Local orientation will include placing you on the map, specifying service area and generally emphasising where your practice is located. When working internationally, you have to be mindful of the geographical coverage, language and local regulation.
Some companies may even decide to develop multiple language versions for their website or create separate local versions for each country. That’s especially the case when they have independent practices across different countries or subpages for other cities.
6.3 SEO is complex and continually changing
Google employees do not disclose the exact parameters or precise logic behind the algorithms and factors that determine how websites are ordered in the search results. It is, in a way, a guessing game, but not a random one. It is informed by a very high number of good practices.
Some of them are highlighted in statements and guidelines published by Google. Others are discovered by marketing firms and professionals through experiments or simply emerge from marketing know-how.
Every few months, Google’s algorithms change following the idea of continuous improvement. Their machine learning systems are increasingly better in processing text and identifying the intentions behind searches and relevancy of the available answers. Because of that, what worked a few years or even a few months ago, might no longer work.
There has been no shortage of tricks and manipulations, especially in the early history of SEO. Many greedy marketing wizards did unimaginable things such as repeating a keyword hundreds of times with the white font on the white background just to trick search engines.
It is now a thing of the past. It is next to impossible to deceive the thousands of top programmers from Google with the company’s over two decades of experience and get away with it. Especially that some cases and disputes are also reviewed manually.
6.4 Be natural and don’t break rules
The only strategy winning long-term is to put effort into genuine work, including content and different SEO aspects. There is no magic pill, but architecture offices still have great opportunities to rank for many queries. As Google wants to assure the best and most relevant content is displayed for every search, align your goal with theirs and you will be rewarded with high and relevant traffic to your website.
6.5 Hire a specialist
Yes, you can do it yourself. But it will take a lot more time and effort. You would likely be better off putting it into an architectural project or gaining experience working for an architecture company. Choosing a company that understands SEO and the business of architecture and matches your quality standards is the best option.
It will help you rank faster and will protect you from sudden ranking drops, which are common among those who used ingenuine (or so-called black-hat) SEO techniques, such as submitting your domain address to low-quality directories or unnaturally and excessively repeating the keywords.
7. Share your architecture expertise with quality content
The primary way of expansion of your website and SEO efforts is to create more high-quality content. It also goes way beyond that, because you might need it for publications on other websites or press releases and to convey your marketing message in more effective ways.
7.1 Focus on a niche or your strengths
When writing a blog for SEO, it is not enough to produce high volumes of content and publish them regularly. It is more important to provide content that is relevant, insightful and suited for your audience. It is often better to focus on niche areas that directly relate to your scope of services. You should be objective in your writing, but you may still showcase your strengths.
7.2 Educate & nurture non-architects, but don’t brag
Try always to provide the readers of your text with knowledge or value. Make it a balanced composition of information, data, examples and opinions. Be precise and easy to understand. Use the language that expands the horizons of your clients.
Avoid meaningless words. Every office considers their work best and the most excellent investment of all. Never simply compliment yourself. Instead, outline your awards or summarise your past projects with tangible claims. Refer to a study that found that hiring a qualified architect like you brings a 23% better utilisation of the rooftop area.
Or you may bring up that your projects increased the theatre room capacity from 80 to 96 customers under covid-related gathering restrictions. That would be an indisputable fact - your clients can count them!
7.3 Be professional yet natural
Speak as you would with someone that has limited knowledge of your work and variate your language. If you expect a particular blog post to be the first set of information about a specific topic, your reader will consume, use simple language and explain terms and ideas. If your recipient is going to be an industry expert, you may go more in-depth.
In doing that, try assuming the customer’s point of view, focusing on what matters for them, but not giving up on your insights and perspective. For instance, you may tactfully emphasise that a customer on a budget would be better off with less flamboyant, but rather high-quality furniture that will last and match changing decor trends.
Also, avoid strong criticism, especially if you are not planning to expand on that topic. What is clear to be a faux pas for an architect might be a client's dream that needs the right direction to evolve into something extraordinary.
7.4 Be present on industry portals & forums
If you frequently work with specialised services and products providers, it might be worth joining various thematic forums. You may establish valuable and lasting partnerships with producers or creators of bespoke furniture or firms that install custom made objects like jacuzzi tubs or standing office desks.
Also, you can find their architectural photographers in your area. Even if you wouldn’t get extra referrals or commissions there (some countries forbid such activities), you may learn about emerging industry trends and include them in your work.
7.5 Spend time on online PR
Contribute to online articles released by architecture & business journals. It may drive traffic to your website, build backlinks that will boost your SEO, and it will significantly increase your credibility. You can present your publications on your website, mentioning that your expertise was used in articles published by the likes of Archdaily or Forbes.
7.6 Decide if you like writing or consider outsourcing
Not everybody likes writing. Even if you do, it is not easy to be an efficient content creator and understand the SEO principles. Some architecture authors might have those unique abilities and like to write, but they mainly work as architecture & design magazine editors. Architects rarely do it as a hobby because they are already one of the most overworked professionals.
When you use a marketing agency specialising in architecture, they will know what content already performed well for other architects. They can estimate the results and benchmark them against other practices.
8. Build a community or following
It’s great to be in direct contact with your audience and share your insights and offers with them. Sometimes it may make you think about creating a community, like a Facebook group or even a dedicated platform.
8.1 When is it worth it?
It is always worth building your audience around carefully selected communication channels. However, for the best results, you have to communicate with them regularly. That can vary drastically.
If you work with business communities or developers, you may communicate quarterly. Plus you should additionally reach out when there is an opportunity to work on a project or when the competition starts. However, it’s different when your architecture projects are short and serve individuals.
You can then promote them with leisure-time content that people would gladly read in their free time to i.e. decorate their interiors and communicate more often. Then, it makes sense to create a dedicated subchannel for that. The next question is whether your audience should engage in discussions between themselves.
8.2 Do you need community or one-way communication?
That mainly depends on whether you want to remain the only authority in that domain. There might be, however, an extra value for the users to be derived from peer-to-peer communication.
A Linkedin group for building industry professionals is an excellent example of a group where a bilateral exchange of information works well. It’s because the architects, building contractors, and construction project managers all have something to say about AEC. They may specialise in the scope of their work, but none of them is the only authority in the building industry as a whole.
On the other hand, a plastic surgeon would rather not create a Facebook group to not risk having their brand associated with potential discussions about cheaper (and dangerous) body alteration methods. Also, there are topical areas that might make your customers shy to belong to.
If you specialise in low-cost home revamps, you either would consider one-way communication or at least not name a Facebook group that exact way. “Clever home transformations” would likely be a better name to market it, avoiding the emphasis on the money-saving part.
8.3 Send email newsletters
Email newsletters are a great option to start with. You have a full control and direct access to your customers. Also, the software for editing them and sending is relatively cheap, and the free subscriptions would be more than enough to cover your initial pool of subscribers. It is technically easy to sign people up with a pop-up newsletter message on your website.
When launching an email list, always remember to comply with data protection and processing regulation. Make sure you only send your emails to those that willingly joined your mailing list and let them unsubscribe with one click if they want to (but ask them why afterwards).
8.4 Host webinars
If you can gather a number of prospective clients and provide useful information to them, webinars might be a noteworthy addition to your marketing efforts. Choose the topics that relate to your niche.
For instance, if you work with developers, consider speaking about regulatory changes, alternative building materials or solutions that save money. Be creative and find something that presents a value to them.
When targeting your webinar to individuals, appeal more to their interest. No matter who your audience is, the key is to use this communication form to the fullest. You should also optimise all the stages preceding and following the webinar.
Understand your audience’s needs before the webinar, accommodate their questions and offer them something special during or after it.
Also, take the best care of the logistics, using reminders and making it technically easy to join the webinar. It’s also common to prepare a unique service type, limited time discount or additional materials packed with knowledge exclusively for participants.
8.5 Create social media groups
When you decide to foster bilateral communication on your very own social media group, do it properly. That means you should be vetting those that join the group to not allow fake accounts and spammers.
You can do that with pre-screening questions or manual approval. Despite that, you should still moderate that forum. You do not necessarily have to approve every post manually, but you have to respond to notifications alerting you of spam and indecent content. You should also consider screening the group regularly to remove low quality of overly promotional content.
Besides that, prepare a concise list of rules for your group and make sure it is lively. Apart from sharing your content, you can start discussions. Consider publishing or gathering resources and making lists and foster cooperation between the members. Especially when it is not competitive with yours.
8.6 Create a portal or log-in zone
If you provide educational services or courses such as DIY, you may consider creating a forum on your website. It may give you more elasticity and also enrich your content inventory. The downside is that it takes a significant investment of time and resources to convince people to register. That’s especially the case when resources are abundant on other platforms with an already large user base.
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