Architects & Content Marketing Tips, Communication and Growth Advice, Construction Guide
Architects & Content Marketing: Communication and Growth
Oct 1, 2020
Revealing the right content strategies for architect websites in 2020: does targeted advertising limit growth?
Niche Target Groups in 2020
Architecture website marketing is a far cry from small-item e-commerce marketing. Strategies often implement high-spec, visual advertising limited to the company website. After all, it is here that potential clients gain their first but intensely-decisive impressions.
In this scenario, attracting individual visitors seems like an unnecessary or inefficient expense; it is preferred to concentrate on businesses and individuals that are more likely to purchase your skills and knowledge. In other words, most architects implement over-targeted marketing strategies.
However, commercial and residential architecture has an extremely broad, young fan-base. These future business owners may, in a few years, require commercial properties. Similarly, the fan-base represents future homeowners who may or may not want a personalized residence.
At present, these visitors merely like, follow, and share visual content. As time passes, the best, most appropriate, and more repetitive images stick. This is the core of brand awareness, a concept that, in terms of architectural websites, is more likely to focus on B2B advertising and local or regional clients rather than on the general public.
Certain marketing channels, such as social media platforms, are often seen as separate from the world of e-commerce, especially in a construction setting. What good are likes and follows? How many of the people behind these reactions have both the intent and the funds to commit to your services?
Rather surprisingly, this does not matter.
An active presence on social media is just that – continuous availability to small client-, slightly larger potential client-, and huge non-client-bases.
During the initial phase of non-specific communication, it does not matter if the person commenting on, liking, following, or sharing your information has the means or intention to purchase your services. His or her positive action drives others to take note of your online presence. This is enough.
When architects invest in social media marketing for this purpose alone, further benefits will start to emerge.
These include more website visitors (traffic), contact from like-minded engineers, construction companies, designers, and even higher ranking in search engine results pages or SERPs due to the increased website traffic.
Architect-Specific Content Trends in 2020 & 2021
We all know that selling a blueprint is nothing like selling a pair of slippers; many architects tend to shun mainstream marketing strategies. However, the fact that even searches are becoming visual (image searches) makes most mainstream campaigns workable in the construction and design sectors. All you need to do is make a few tweaks.
Within the Experience Economy, luxury items – including personalized premises – are less likely to suffer from client irritation and impatience. And according to Forbes, over 70% of consumers say positive experiences improve their brand loyalty. US consumers are also prepared to pay 17% more when buying from a brand with a good service reputation.
As architecture is innately consumer-centric, customer experience is relegated to the quality of materials, standard of contractual work, and your availability. A permanent digital presence on social media channels means the latter of these is covered.
Eight Seconds of Visual?
You have probably read reports saying that the human attention span is on a decline. Many generic sources report a drop in the human attention span from 12 to 8 seconds between 2000 and 2015; this data is not correct.
If your attention span lasted just 8 seconds while driving on the motorway, there would be a mass of evidence to support this statement.
“How much attention we apply to a task will vary depending on what the task demand is.”
Dr. Gemma Briggs – Psychology Lecturer
Current marketing trends do reduce the need for longer attention spans. A shorter, more powerful video ad is the latest fad. In reality, marketing strategies are teaching Internet users to be less attentive.
Again, as visual commodities, design, and architecture do not need to limit their second-phase (truly interested parties) advertising campaigns. For the earlier phase (building awareness regarding your capabilities and service), creating a short video using a video editor is acceptable and standard.
But surely, the only important standards for architects are national, regional, and sustainable building standards? Posting longer or shorter ads or videos for any artistic service should not limit itself to the many rules that bind less-creative sectors.
Architect-specified products are more likely to remain unchallenged; a co-marketing scheme with the correct supplier or installer is another means of spreading the word and attracting leads. This makes sense to a supplier as your approval increases consumer trust in their product. Co-marketing does not necessarily work in a similar way for architects, and you must be careful about picking the right co-marketer.
Co-market with a generous handful of contractors, suppliers, and manufacturers – but always improve on the transparency of their online presence. While these are not your competitors, exceeding their website information and digital presence on forums and social media should be your goal. If your manufacturer does not list prices, include a PDF that does. If the company does not answer customer questions outside of their website, make sure you do in your social media groups.
Co-marketers are the equivalent of online influencers – if you can advertise your affinity with popular, trusted services and brands, your company automatically becomes more trustworthy. On the other hand, if you back a completely new and innovative solution that takes off, your name will be heavily associated with its rise.
International co-marketing with a competitor is another option. Without the need (and investment) to set up a sister company, you carry out tit-for-tat advertising with an overseas competitor that sends geo-targeted clients to the most-suited architect. While remote working blurs your company borders, sticking to your knowledge-base (final heading) may reinstate many of them.
Reach Unexplored Audiences
The first thing that increases audience interest online is an exciting picture that gives a realistic impression of the product.
If you type “house floor plan” in the Etsy search bar and scroll through, you’ll see page upon page of computer-generated images. Within this setting, a photograph of your completed and real design will scream your professionalism from the page.
For architects, Etsy is an unexplored platform. There are plenty of advertisements for interior design services and renovations but very few for custom architectural services.
An architect fits in with the ‘one-off’ and ‘handmade’ artistic product brief for Etsy sellers – you produce custom designs. Even so, architects are uncommon on this platform that attracted over 45 million buyers last year. For constructive assistance with your Etsy presence from one of the few agencies that deal purely with Etsy marketing, contact EtsyGeeks.
Finally, bringing in the numbers of (perhaps) budding construction company owners, property developers, and private homebuilders requires two different tactics – fast and slow.
The fastest way to increase the number of visitors to your website is to buy traffic. This means you pay a company to send people gathered from that company’s own huge websites to your site.
Ensure your provider only deals in human traffic, not bot traffic. Paid traffic can provide visitor numbers that none of the slower strategies can even attempt to achieve; for small to medium businesses, a massive boost in numbers spread over a week to a month is a cost-efficient brand-awareness strategy.
Website traffic for sale may sound a little dodgy; however, most marketing agencies include paid traffic in their campaigns simply because it is cheap and does what it says on the packet.
Safe and communicative web traffic providers such as webTrafficgeeks allow you to order human visitors in their tens to hundreds of thousands spread over a period of up to one month (this will prevent your website from becoming overwhelmed).
You can choose up to three quite broad niches (target groups), as well as specify age groups and visitor country of residence. If you buy website traffic, you are implementing one of the very rare marketing strategies that requires minimal work.
It is essential to add that paid traffic is not a single strategy; run it in tandem with another campaign. For example, launching a new Facebook group and ordering thousands of twenty-something visitors from your part of the world who are part of a social media niche and interested in design and sustainability. This is the kind of setting where paid traffic well exceeds expectations.
Expertise is King in construction and design. Expertise is also a limiting factor – every member of the general public is used to non-experts waffling on about things they have very little knowledge about. When the public comes across genuine expertise, it is highly appreciated.
To boost website traffic and brand awareness, share your knowledge for free. Not because everyone deserves to know what you have learned after years of study and experience, but because your competitors are sharing theirs. This is a keep up with the Jones’ sacrifice that the digitally-present architect cannot ignore.
Publish guides, case studies, and architectural look books to show off your skillset, solutions, and style. Provide a question and answer section on one main social media channel that provides simple but useful answers to structural and sustainable design problems.
For example, moderate an own group that deals solely with innovative flooring systems. Your expertise must fit the topic precisely. If you are an expert in two or three modern flooring solutions, you should include these solutions in the group name rather than use a generic term.
The Future is Bright
With magazine websites such as this one, any great design can be displayed to global audiences. However, blogs and articles on your website depend heavily on SEO skills; most appear in response to a search phrase.
There’s nothing to say a luxury item – such as a complete commercial and residential design project – cannot be sold on social media. And with face-to-face meetings on physical properties becoming ever more rare thanks to remote working and the COVID-19 pandemic, knowing whether your website visitors have the capacity to purchase your services or influence someone else to purchase them is impossible.
All we can do is spread the word through the visual proof of our successes. This is the type of media that designers know best. In other words, modern visual marketing strategies are right up the average architect’s street.
Comments on this Architects & Content Marketing advice article are welcome.
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