Last Updated: 9 months
How to create an effective marketing plan for your architecture firm? Check the essential elements of architectural marketing.
To reach wider potential clients, architects try different approaches to market themselves as an architect or marketing architectural firms. But should you handle it in-house or hire a marketing agency? Which marketing resources are better? These decisions can be tough for businesses of all sizes. In this article, we will explore the pros and cons of marketing yourselves versus hiring a marketing agency, comparing traditional and online marketing strategies, exploring the opportunities to bring offline traffic online, and unveiling the key metrics to consider for online marketing performance optimization. Find your answer through this article.
Part 1. Should Architects Hire a Marketing Agency
Part 2. Marketing for Architects: Traditional or Online Marketing
Part 3. Offline to Online: Make Good Use of Design Event Networking
1. How to Utilize online marketing together with offline marketing
2. The Key to Bring Offline Traffic Online
3. Benefits of Bringing Offline Traffic Online
Part 4. 3 Useful Analytics Tools to Measure Architecture Firm Marketing
1. Google Ads
2. Google Analytics
3. Google Search Console
Part 5. Boost Marketing for Architects: Understand Your Metrics
1. Low Quality Score, Low Landing Page Experience
2. High Impression, High Position, But Few Clicks
3. High Bounce Rate, Low Pages/Session
Part 6. Troubleshooting and Optimization Tips for Architects
1. Troubleshooting Checklist
2. Optimization Tips – Know Your Business
When it comes to hiring a marketing agency or marketing your architectural business by yourself, it can be a tough decision for most. People who take the outsourcing side will tell you that an architectural marketing agency can bring expertise and result in effective marketing campaigns, while those taking the in-house marketing side will think outsourcing to an architects marketing agency is costly having to pay for the fees, retainers, and commission and you have few control on the marketing strategy and campaign.
From my point of view, for long-term strategy, I will recommend establishing your own marketing team so that you are able to set the most practical marketing strategy that conveys your vision, values, and unique selling proposition the best, and to choose the best possible marketing approaches that meet your industry characteristics the most. But whether to hire a marketing agency or not depends on the current stage of your business, the key lies in whether you have a reliable marketing project leader that has a rich knowledge of your business and the industry and has certain marketing knowledge at the same time.
Know Your Business
Don’t Know Your Business
|Have Knowledge on Marketing
|Senior staff in charge, establish an in-house marketing team
|The marketing specialist in charge and establish an in-house marketing team collaborated with senior staff (business-related questions consulting).
|Don’t Have Knowledge of Marketing
|Outsource first. Senior staff collaborates with the marketing agency.
Learn marketing skills and grow the in-house marketing team gradually
By developing your own marketing team, you can make informed adjustments to the campaign strategy and choose the best marketing approach and channel based on the specific situation of your business.
So, which marketing approach is better? Traditional offline marketing or online marketing? Some say traditional marketing is dead, is that true? Actually, traditional marketing such as fryers, brochures, events, and trade shows is still powerful.
Related Article: Marketing for Real Estate Agents
Whether to pick traditional or online marketing depends on your current business model and the client demographic:
If you are specialized in large-scale commercial, institutional facilities, and hospitality projects, online marketing can be a great help, being able to target potential clients without location limitations. Many developers are no longer limited to partnering with local architects and designers. They are constantly on the lookout for top-notch expertise and experience and seek out professionals with a proven track record in handling similar projects. Utilizing online marketing for your architectural firm presents a unique opportunity for you to attract international clients and secure lucrative projects on a global stage.
But if you are more familiar with local building codes and regulations and would like to target homeowners, local businesses, educational institutions, healthcare facilities, and government agencies, utilizing traditional offline marketing would be a better choice. In the previous article: Must-attend interior design events of 2023, we’ve discussed how architects can network and get leads by attending and reaching out to potential clients.
One drawback of offline marketing is that the impacts of offline marketing are not easily measurable: You network with potential clients at the event or trade show and exchange business cards with them. But if your potential clients don’t act during the event or shortly after the event, chances are you forget when and where you get this business card or email address as time goes by. Moreover, you have no idea how much they are interested in knowing about your business and miss out on the chance to follow up and turn them into clients. The best practice of a healthy marketing strategy is to combine offline marketing with online marketing.
#1. Social Media
When you are preparing the events, (as an exhibitor), it is important that you include your social media handles in the brochure, business card, and even on the booth design. Social media is the most direct method to bring offline audiences online. They can follow your Linkedin, and Behance accounts and take a deeper look at your business.
#2. Free Giveaway
Run a giveaway campaign to offer event attendees a free PDF checklist, a useful tool for their business, offer a QR code to the form, and fill in the contact form to get the free material/tool sent to their email. This can accumulate a list of blog post audiences who are interested in the content you are offering.
#3. Spin-Wheel-Play Discount
Offer a spin-wheel discount during the event, those who submit their email can have a chance on spin-wheel play, and if they win, they can get a discount for their first order. With spin-wheel-play, architects can not only bring offline attendees to your official site but also incentivize visitors to your client.
The key to bringing offline visitors to your official website is a QR code. Type in the website link, source, medium, and campaign name, and paste the generated link into the QR code generator.
In no time, different styles of the QR code are shown for your option. You can download and use the code on your event marketing material to easily redirect offline visitors to your website.
QR code can not only save potential clients’ time by directly landing the page rather than typing long website links or searching from search engines but also makes it measurable and have a clearer understanding of how many clients engage with your offline campaigns.
There are many powerful marketing methods you can choose from, content marketing, social media marketing, public relations, email marketing, advertising campaigns, event marketing, affiliate marketing, and more. If you don’t utilize powerful analytics tools to measure the traffic, you will find it hard to tell which marketing methods work and which are draining your marketing budget.
To understand your online marketing impact better, there are 3 useful Analytics tools from Google you need to install and well configure – Google Ads (only if you run a Google PPC campaign), Google Analytics, and Google Search Console. It brings you a handful of insights if you make good use of it.
Google Ads enables you to run text ads, shopping ads, display ads, video ads, etc. You can choose the best type of ad that fits your goal and your business. My advice is, to start with text ads first and start small. To make sure every penny is spent efficiently, you need to check the campaign reports frequently:
- Check search terms on daily basis, add negative keywords for those not relevant;
- Keep an eye on the quality score of the keywords, modify ad copy to see if it gets better;
- Disable keywords that cost more but generate fewer or no conversions;
- Bid higher for those with more conversion;
Google Analytics is powerful to measure your marketing, whether you run a PPC advertising campaign or not. There are more comprehensive reports offering you more insight into who they are, where they find us, and how they engage with your content.
Traffic source and Landing Page:
Visitors’ country and demographics
Engagement Events and Geography
Google Search Console is another powerful tool from Google, helping architects understand which pages have more impressions, which keywords have a higher position, and which countries your visitors mostly come from.
Now that you understand what reports to check and what metrics to pay attention to. It’s time to understand metrics that do perform not well enough.
For example, for a Google PPC advertising campaign, check the quality score in the Google Ads account, if it has a low Exp. CTR (low expected Click-Through Rate), rewrite the AD copy to make it compelling to attract potential clients to click through, if it has a low landing page experience, it is possible that either your website loads slowly, the content is not readable, or the content on your landing page is not helpful for your clients.
In the Google Search Console report, if you see any pages with a high impression, high position, but low CTR, and few clicks, it is possible that the page title is not compelling. If this happens to one of your blog posts, it is very likely that you can get it solved after rewriting the compelling title of the article.
In Google Analytics UA (Universal Analytics), there are other insightful metrics such as Bounce rate, Pages/Session, and Avg. Session Duration to show which pages are attracting your potential to stay longer. These metrics are useful for me.
If the bounce rate of your page goes above 80%, pages/session goes under 2.5, and so on, it is possible that most of these visitors enter your website, don’t navigate to any other pages, or click on any button and leave. That is another indication that they are not attracted by your website content.
Note: Google Analytics UA will stop processing data on July 1st, 2023 and Bounce rate and Pages/Session will go, and Avg. Session Duration will be replaced by Avg. engagement time in Google Analytics 4.
If everything looks normal but conversion is low, it is very possible that your landing page needs some modification. You will need to conduct a troubleshooting checklist and see whether or not:
- the landing page clarifies your business scope clearly;
- you convey the unique selling proposition well enough;
- your portfolio session showcases your previous work in a stunning visual way;
- your social proof and value-added service are added;
- whether your call-to-actions are in a conspicuous position, and compelling enough;
In the previous paragraph, we’ve mentioned the importance of getting a senior staff or someone who knows your business well. Here is why: You know your business, and you understand the pain point of your potential client, therefore, you offer the service or solution your clients are exactly expecting. Therefore, when you study your marketing report and compare it with the troubleshooting checklist, you know what to optimize. For the business scope, USP (unique selling proposition), social proof, value-added service, and call-to-action, I am sure you have many ideas on how to optimize for better performance, as you know your business well.
But for portfolios, many architects showcase completed projects on the website to attract potential clients. However, relying solely on photographs may not always capture the full potential of your design due to factors such as weather conditions and shooting angle. That’s why you should try our service: Using 3D renderings to create stunning visuals that simulate your buildings, their surroundings, and the lighting in their optimal state, regardless of external factors like weather conditions.
By leveraging Imagist3ds 3D visualization, you can capture the attention and interest of potential clients, enticing them to further explore your services. Imagist3ds offers 3D architecture visualization services for the past 13 years and has taken residential, commercial, and government visualization projects from all over the world. We pride ourselves on focusing on details and happy customer experience by having 1-on-1 project managers continuously follow up on project progress and have positive feedback from 98% of our clients. Don’t leave your portfolio to chance – elevate your portfolio to the next level with a breathtaking 3D rendering portfolio and leave a lasting impression on your audience. To know how to collaborate to bring your exciting projects to life, please send a project brief and get a specific quote for your project.