Architects and designers are always on the ‘client-chasing’ hamster wheel; on the lookout for the next job, even before the current one winds up. Finding ways to reach out to potential customers and generate new business is one of the most prominent challenges architects face today.
In India, an overwhelming majority of architects are freelancers, sole practitioners or have their own small, boutique design studios, that don’t have big budgets allocated for marketing.
For architecture firms, big or small, clients are the life-blood. Bills won’t get paid without new clients and projects onboard. So, in this age of relentless advertising and persuasive social media, how can design professionals from small firms and stand apart and win new projects?
The answer is simple. Architects must become marketer of their own services. Here are a few strategies that can help architects to define a marketing approach to get ahead of the competition and win more projects and clients:
Put together a marketing plan
Creating building designs and highly detailed drawings is one of the key skills an architect possesses. Likewise, they should craft a blueprint of their marketing plan. A carefully drafted marketing plan outlines and highlights the crucial areas, and optimizes the entre process, making its implementation easy, effective and speedy.
For this, the first step is determine which field they want to focus on; architecture/interior design is a broad field and by finding a niche, architects are positioning themselves as the go-to place for the specific service. A niche is a tightly defined subcategory or a specialization, and where they have a strong advantage over others.
In architecture and design, one can specialize in various distinct fields such as healthcare, retail, public housing, project management, historic preservation/conservation, town planning, workspace design, home design and more. On creating a niche, they have defined and identified their set of target audience.
all marketing collaterals can be developed targeting the specific audience to which the niche can cater.
The execution phase
Armed with the knowledge of the target audience, design professionals can now develop all business and marketing collaterals in sync to the niche they serve. The implementation of a good marketing plan entails a series of steps, starting from conducting local survey, to exploring all various channels to connect with the target audience to successfully building an online presence. Before initiating any communication, it is mandatory to know about the prospect intimately. A comprehensive local survey can unveil strategic information about ongoing project in their desired geography and also shed light on customer insights, the channels they frequent, their needs and preferences. This will help to customize their message/communication, ensuring that all content is relevant and valuable to the customer, eventually increasingly the chances of architects being heard by potential clients. By understanding their pain points, what keeps them up at night and what their major concerns are when it comes to design, architects can effectively address some of their perpetual problems and ensure a solution.
Direct marketing such as email marketing and promotional messaging can be used to build a good rapport with prospects. The strategy should be to not sell one’s product and services directly, but rather focus on solving the customer’s problems related to design and disseminating valuable information that leaves an impact in their lives.
Building a impressive portfolio is also vital to a marketing plan; they should invest time and efforts in creating attractive 3D design, which will add credibility and generate interest among potential customers. In today’s customer centric business environment, this is a sure shot way to win a client’s trust, and loyalty, and a crucial element to brand building.
Do not underestimate the power of the internet/social media
Clients tend to work with professional they can trust, someone they know. For this, the primary goal should be to position themselves as the go-to place for design-related services and establishing themselves as the expert in the field. The best course of action would be to create and consistently nurture a professional website, professional blog and an engaging social media profile on popular platforms such as LinkedIn and Facebook.
Through creative, relatable and appealing content that caters to their specialization/niche, architects can create a buzz in social space, and engage users locally and globally. Powerful internet marketing techniques such as boosting Facebook posts are additional ways to enhance presence online. These robust techniques will maximize reach and elevate presence in such a way that everywhere the client goes; they will find information on the architect in the form of articles, reviews, maps, videos and more. To gain a competitive edge, it is mandatory, to position themselves as a knowledge authority on a particular field.
Ultimately, content is key. By leveraging their expertise and knowledge, design professionals can create enticing content providing solutions for some of the most perplexing problems to garner attention and gain a strong presence in the fiercely competitive market.
The article has been contributed by Mr Chetan Singh, Founder & CEO ,iSticker