You’ve done brand research, nailed down a solid marketing strategy, and are making an impact in the industry. But it’s important to measure the success of your strategy to make sure your architecture firm is connecting with prospects and driving new business opportunities.
Below, we’ve identified five architecture marketing tools that will help your firm evaluate if it’s on the track to more leads, higher growth, and broader brand visibility.
One foundational building block that helps you understand the business opportunities driven by your marketing efforts is the CRM (Customer Relationship Management).
There are so many options available that offer a wide range of automation and integration features that it can be hard to identify the best fit. Whether you choose software like Hubspot, Marketo, Cosential, Deltek Vision or even an open source solution like Zoho, it is a wise investment to find a system that suits your current needs and allows you to connect your outreach efforts to prospects and clients.
Don’t be paralyzed by finding the perfect system that will last forever (there is no such thing). As long as your data is portable, you will be able to migrate or update systems down the road as you grow. On the flip side, if your team selects a CRM system that is heavily tied to AEC focused back-office, accounting, or other operational systems (like Deltek, or Cosential) – the decision to “outgrow” a CRM system may become more difficult since there is a wider base of users and processes to consider. Opportunities for improving a CRM component become more difficult when other operational fucntions are working smoothly and adding value. This is a balance to evaluate with a more holistic view for your overall firm needs.
Ideally, your CRM will help you connect conversion and traffic information from social, email and online channels with real world opportunities, proposals and new business. This allows you to see how your marketing efforts are working together to support your new business pipeline.
Remember, Microsoft Outlook does not count as a CRM (unless its tapped in to Microsoft Dyanamics), though it is technically possible to start with Excel and a lot of elbow grease!
- Website analytics
You can learn a lot by understanding how visitors interact with your architecture firm’s website through analytics. Google Analytics is an incredibly powerful tool that your firm can leverage with appropriate training and setup.
Once your website is properly configured, Google Analytics or other systems like CrazyEgg, Clicky, or Adobe Analytics can provide not only the raw traffic data, but dive deeper into visitor behavior and engagement patterns to help guide your content development efforts. You can help answer questions like:
- Which blog posts had the longest engagement times?
- Which paths most effectively promote a conversion to a lead (contact us)?
- Where did those visitors who came in from your latest email campaign spend their time?
- Are your blog posts optimized for the critical keywords and phrases?
Once you and your team understand how to interpret the overall analytics picture, this tool offers valuable direction on how to adjust your marketing efforts.
- Meaningful engagement on social media
Most firms no longer question the importance of having a social media presence, but it’s important to know if you are having meaningful conversations as a result. Certainly, visibility is one major benefit of consistent social media. And when marketing architecture services, a picture is worth a thousand words (a la Pinterest). But simply talking at your clients is missing the greater opportunity of social media.
Use other tools (like your CRM backbone) to identify clients you want to engage through social media. What LinkedIn groups have they joined? What are they talking about? With a little bit of planning, your firm’s business development team can engage in those conversations and build another level of recognition with key clients. Consider the specific types of content that will drive engagement on a each platform (Much of the content that plays well for LinkedIn will be different than what you pin for example).
There’s more evidence (or even specific features in the case of Twitter on Google) that shows how search engines are continuing to consider social media in search algorithms, so relevant discussions can have a wider impact beyond peer-to-peer visibility. Using Google Analytics to track social engagement and website patterns will help you learn the impact social media has on your firm.
- Direct feedback from clients
We sometimes forget to ask clients, “Where did you find us?” And that’s not surprising considering architecture is a highly relationship driven industry.
Subtly begin to probe clients on how they found your firm. Did they find you on LinkedIn? On Pinterest? At a conference or industry event? It’s important to know the channels that helped boost your firm’s credibility so much that the prospect contacted you.
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Introducing website, social media, or traditional marketing anecdotes into conversations can be an indicator to the unseen interactions that helped move the lead from a prospect to a client.
- Regular brand research
Recent research shows that firms that do frequent research are more profitable and grow faster than firms who do occasional or no research (see the figure below). Even with all of the sophisticated tools at our disposal, periodic research on overall brand visibility will help verify that your architecture marketing efforts are continuing on the right track – and probably identify some gaps that require adjustments.
Ultimately, the great litmus test is, of course, the increase in revenue and profitability. But without these five basic tools to understand what efforts are paying the greatest dividends, you’re unable to understand the marketing efforts that are working and which need to be adjusted in order to meet those revenue goals.
- Download Hinge’s Content Marketing Guide for Professional Services Firms for tips on creating content that builds credibility and demonstrates expertise.
- For more hands-on help on becoming the next Visible Firm®, register for our Visible Firm® course through Hinge University.
How Hinge Can Help:
Hinge has developed a comprehensive plan, The Visible Firm® to address these issues and more. It is the leading marketing program for delivering greater visibility, growth, and profits. This customized program will identify the most practical offline and online marketing tools your firm will need to gain new clients and reach new heights.