Marketing for Architects

Marketing for Architects
Lucy works exclusively with for architects

Monday, 17 December 2012

Don't forget to tell your neighbours and family about your business

Do your parents actually know what you do?  Have you reminded your next-door-neighbour know what kind of architecture you practice?  Have you told your cousin with who your dream client would be?  You will probably be seeing a lot of friends and family over the next few weeks - so this is another chance to communicate your marketing message.

This is not the place for the 'hard' sell - and you may naturally prefer to be self-deprecating, pessimistic or 'honest' with you nearest and dearest.  But in my experience, focus and consistency in the key to effective marketing.  By articulating to everyone, what you want, you also reinforce the message in your own mind and increase your motivation and self-confidence.    

I have also found that by any doubt is easily transmitted not only to the listener but to yourself.  As with clients, family and friends prefer chatting to someone who is positive about themselves and not whingeing about themselves.  Think about thus now and practice a soft version of your elevator pitch suitable for friends and family.

So in the nicest possible way - I recommend giving an upbeat message about your business to as many people as possible and let your friends and family know what your dream job would be.  

You may be surprised - they may be able to help.

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Why you need to go to all the parties you can

The run up to Christmas and New Year is a time of parties.  All architects should take advantage of these parties to network with existing and old clients, other construction industry professionals who may influence the selection of architects and make new contacts.  It's also an opportunity to refine your marketing message - make sure people are upto date with who you are and what kind of buildings you want to design.

So here are some reminders before you leave work early to go to a Christmas drink's party or 'bonenkai' (Japanese end of year drink's party):

  1. Look the part - architecture is about people as much as buildings - and you personally embody the image of your brand - do you like like an architect?  At the recent Architect of the Year Event, I was struck by how the majority of architects had turned into anonymous business people.
  2. Carry a stack of business cards and hand them out - everyone forgets names
  3. Rehearse your elevator pitch - this is your quick introduction which effectively communicates your marketing message.  For more guide-lines on what to say in your elevator pitch look at my website
  4. Be positive and upbeat about your work - everyone prefers to do business with successful people
  5. Enjoy yourself - clients choose to work with people they like and who are fun to do business with
  6. Don't enjoy yourself too much (and don't tweet when you've had a few too many glasses of champagne)

Monday, 10 December 2012

Targeted marketing

Is your marketing message what your clients want to hear?  Are you telling them things they want to know? Or are you just pushing information about yourselves?  Is your website a catalogue of buildings? Is your marketing activity targeted - or is it a scatter-gun effect? 

First you need to 'segment' your market - group potential clients who have shared interests or values: this might be by industry sector (retail, office, residential), or by client type (private-domestic, commercial developer, public sector) or geographical location (local to your office, regional UK, international).  Then 'profile' that group - identify who they are and research the issues they share.

My clients are architects - so I make sure that all my marketing material includes a sexy image of a building:

This usually grabs their attention. It does not have to be a building, and it is not always appropriate to be promoting a particular architect, but images work well for my target clients.  For my Christmas cards, I have commissioned a range of colourful kitsch Christmas images:

As I write my Christmas message in my cards, I am now thinking through what issues are most affecting architects at the moment - and what service might they need in the New Year?  I am taking the RIBA Business Benchmarking report as my starting point, and know that 60% of architects practices do not have a business plan.  So my marketing message will be about planning for future success, and perhaps reminding people about the courses I run in central London.  I always feel the start of the year is a good time to review business and adjust objectives for the coming 12 months.

Please contact me if you would like more information.

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

The power of social networking

Architects are beginning to wake up to the power of 'social networking' - LinkedIn, twitter, facebook, tumblr, pinterest, flickr, google +  ... 

Here are a few guidelines for making the most of the opportunities on-line to raise your practice's profile.

1       Be clear about your objectives
  • why are you talking on twitter?  
  • why are you posting updates on facebook?
  • what is your message? 
  • who is it for?
2      Use the appropriate 'social media'
  • who are your followers and where are they on-line? 
  • with whom are you hoping to connect?
  • which social media are your potential clients following?
  • is it the press you are hoping to develop a relationship with? 
3       Keep it short and snappy
  • blogs and updates should be 'tasters' - inspiring the reader to want to know more about you
  • tone should appropriate (beware of whingeing)
  • beware of posting updates late at night, after drinking or when you are upset
4       Be consistent
  • your image on the internet should be a true reflection of your 'brand values'
  • decide whether you are posting as yourself or your practice - don't mix them up
  • keep to the point 
  • have fun and experiment to find out what works for you


    • I recommend setting aside a short time each day or week to maintain your on-line presence - 30 minutes at lunch-time, or Friday afternoons for example - try to remain focused so you don't end up frittering time away
    • Creating company pages on LinkedIn and facebook does not take long - and can increase traffic to your own website - try to update them a least once a month
    • Understand that LinkedIn works best for business-to-business relationships - great for connecting with other construction professionals and if you work in the commercial sectors.  Look for shared interest groups like hotels or MIPIM.
    • Facebook can be most powerful if you work in the private sector for domestic clients - however respect your clients' privacy and get permission before talking about their homes on the internet or posting photographs
    • Twitter can be very effective for developing relationship with the press - Anna Winston of BD on-line said recently that twitter was the best way to make contact with her
    • Understand that everything you post becomes part of the public domain - if you join in a discussion in the AJ LinkedIn group for example, your comments may be edited and published in the print edition