If you’re a small architectural firm, you may have quite a small budget for marketing as with the rest. That means you have to be strategic about it to attract new work. The good news is, there are plenty of ways to make this possible, even for free.
Architects have been mostly slow in adopting social media as a strategy, regardless of the fact that it crawls with real potential clients. Social media is no fad. People come here to talk about their lives. There are social media sites that are meant solely for architects to connect with potential or existing clients, and there are those that are for everybody, such as Facebook or Twitter. The idea is to pay attention and join the conversation.
If there’s something you absolutely have to invest in as an architect, no matter how limited your marketing budget may be, it’s a professionally designed website. It’s a core component of your brand. Most importantly, it must be a website created with your clients in mind. In fact, everything you do contributes to your brand, from your website to your office and even your car. At the end of the day, you should build a brand people can trust.
Networking is like planting seeds – you’ll never know which ones will sprout and give you a new client, whether directly or through connections. So go around and spread the good news about what you do, but be sure to keep it authentic.
One of the cheapest yet most effective ways to market your architectural firm is sending out regular newsletters through email, both to your existing and potential clients. This should keep you top of mind if anyone in your circle starts looking for an architect.
There’s a lot of technology now that you can use not just to boost your efficiency at work, but also to help you manage your client’s expectations. For example, with 3D visualization and modeling tools, you and your client can see what the building is going to cost or look like before the space plan is completed.
Online marketing is cheap and effective, but that can also be true for offline strategies. One basic example is involvement in community groups. Find a group that is consistent with your target market or with people who can link you up with your target market. You can join, say, an animal rights group to meet vet clinic client prospects, or just pet lovers who might be thinking of remodeling or building new houses.
Finally, make sure your existing clients are happy so they will talk about you in all the positive ways. Note that word of mouth is still the most powerful tool you can use for marketing. Clients speaking well of you, is marketing.