The following is a guest post by Bruno Souza of Black Swan Media. Submit your own idea for a guest post here.
The single biggest problem that you as an architect can face is not having enough clients. It doesn’t matter how skilled you are, how amazing your tools are or how nice your presentation is, if you don’t have enough clients then you don’t have a livelihood.
When it comes to marketing, most people look for magic pill solutions or complicated methods or “the next big thing,” but the truth is that marketing is simple - it just takes work. And because the best solutions are often so simple, they’re the first ones to be overlooked.
What makes marketing for architects just a little bit more complicated is that the gut reaction to most marketing tactics is “I don’t understand this topic, it’s too complicated, it won’t work for me." So most architects are left in a limbo of not having enough money to hire a marketing agency but not being able to overcome the hump that comes with learning a new skill.
But if you can just get over that hump, in this article you'll be introduced to the top 5 most effective marketing strategies for ambitious architects. These marketing strategies work for anyone no matter how big or small your firm is.
1. Use SEO to Rank for Local Keywords
Even if there are not that many people searching for architects in your local area, there are still at least some. And some is better than none. Ranking on Google for local architect-related keywords is the easiest way to start bringing in a couple of leads each month. Keywords such as “architect + your city” are often low on competition and page 1 rankings can usually happen in 3 - 6 months. For more information on this topic, then read this guide: Local SEO For Small Businesses - How to Get Started.
As a bare minimum to increase your visibility on search engines, you should sign up for a free business listing on Google My Business. If you’re absolutely brand new and don’t even have a logo yet, then you can get multiple sketches designed for $10 on freelancing sites like Fiverr. To make things easier, Google My Business has a free and simple to use website builder that you can connect to your listing.
2. Use Search Engine Optimization to Rank for National Keywords
What kind of questions do your customers most frequently have? Chances are that there are X number of questions that a high volume of potential clients is searching for. If you’re someone who can work nationally, then consider ranking for these questions as a keyword.
The strategy behind this is that if your customers are looking for answers and you provide it to them, then you’re already on the way to closing them. Answering questions by ranking a blog post gives you a chance to showcase your expertise to the people are looking for it. Not only are you building trust right off the bat but you’re having customers reach out to you instead of you reaching out to them.
3. Sign Up for Local Directories, Listings and Freelancing sites
There are literally hundreds of business listings online that you can sign up for. You can dramatically increase your online visibility by spending an entire afternoon signing up for listings. The easiest way to find these listings are through google searches such as “free business listings for architects,” “list of free business listings,” or “business directory + your city.”
You’ll end up with a huge list of potential options - make sure to go through and sign up for every one. To get you started, here is a list of 50 free online business directories in the USA from Backlinkfy.
After those are taken care of, then move on to freelancing websites. Sign up, build out your profile and see who reaches out to you. Some of the most popular freelancing websites include Fiverr, UpWork, and PeoplePerHour.
4. YouTube Your Work
We recently saw a comedian joke that you can search for pretty much anything on YouTube and find extremely popular videos. As an example, he searched for “folk death metal” and sure enough, the first video had over 1 million views. Architecture is a lot more interesting than folk death metal (sorry folk death metal fans) and you can bet that it’s easy to capture an audience on YouTube for it.
Watch a few architecture content creators and notice what makes their videos popular and then just add your own flavor or twist to content creation. These days phones have such advanced cameras that you don’t even need to go out and buy a camera.
So why create YouTube videos? The truth is that most of your viewers won’t be customers. However, over time, you’ll build authority. If a potential client sees that you have a YouTube channel and that 20,000 people subscribe to you, then they now have 20,000 more reasons why they should listen to what you have to say.
In the end, it’s a great way to build social proof and authority even if you’re a complete beginner.
5. Instagram It
Getting your first few customers is the hardest because the first thing people want to hear is a success story. And if you’re new to the trade, then you probably don’t have that many. So what do you do instead? You build social proof on social media.
There are hundreds of interesting facts about architecture that people would be entertained by. Everything ranging from design concepts to structural concepts is enough to capture people’s imagination.
Get on Instagram and start sharing these interesting facts. To start building an audience from scratch, find the big player pages in architecture, see what hashtags they use and then use them yourself. If you want to automate the whole marketing strategy then use an app like Buffer - you can spend one afternoon and automate an entire month of Instagram marketing.
Each of the strategies mentioned in this article deserves an in-depth article of its own. Hopefully, one of them has caught your eye and you’ll take to the internet to learn more about it!
Black Swan Media Co.