When it comes to marketing architectural services, determining the appropriate allocation of marketing efforts can be quite the uphill battle. Unfortunately you’re not the only firm selling architectural services, so how do you market your services, engage your clients and ultimately demonstrate that your firm is the only one your clients should consider working with?
Here are ten tools that many AEC firms use to effectively market themselves:
LinkedIn is a great for building your brand, becoming an industry expert and nurturing your contacts. You should be posting articles and white papers authored by your firm in LinkedIn groups you belong to. Also make sure to actively post and engage in LinkedIn group discussions. You can’t just have a profile and expect people to find out more about you and your firm. You have to be an active participant to make your efforts worthwhile.
- Email Marketing
As firms are sending out fewer direct mail pieces, email marketing has become one of the most commonly used marketing tools for AEC firms. Firms are now using marketing automation tools to send out e-newsletters, e-brochures, links to recently published articles, and nowadays even company holiday cards! The important thing to keep in mind when using email marketing is to make sure you’re giving your contacts valuable information (and not sales pitches) and that you’re tracking the activity and level of engagement your contacts have with your content.
- Search Engine Optimization
If you’re looking to increase your online lead generation or online rankings, than you should probably invest some of your time and money on search engine optimization. Researching keywords, optimizing your content and link building will help increase your firm’s relevance and authority online.
- Articles and White Papers
Authoring articles and white papers can work two-fold. First, they create credibility for you and your firm in your area of expertise. Secondly, it’s fresh content that is great to use on your website to increase website traffic and rankings.
- Speaking Engagements
Attending conferences, tradeshows and association events can be an effective educational and networking tool, but when it comes to marketing your firm and becoming the leader in the industry, actually speaking at an event will reap you far greater rewards. You will be presented as ‘the expert’ that people want to turn to for answers.
If you’re already writing articles, white papers and case studies, you’re well on your way to having most of the content for your firm’s blog! Repurpose existing content into short digestible pieces of information and post them on your blog as a series. It’s a good rule of thumb to post a minimum of one blog each week to create a consistent and substantial pool of readers. Don’t forget to have a simple call to action at the end of your blog to encourage readers to engage with your firm.
- Guest Blogging
Still not sold on the idea of creating and maintaining a company blog? Or maybe you want to just test the waters? Problem solved…become an active guest blogger! It’s a great way to build your online reputation with a specific audience without the stress of coming up with weekly fresh content. Start creating relationships with expert bloggers so that when you start your own blog, you’ll have someone in your court to guest blog for you.
More people are turning to Twitter for breaking and up-to-the-minute news. Posts of 140 characters or less are meant to be clear and concise. Use Twitter to post important news about your firm, changing regulations, or simply post an article you think might be useful for others in your industry.
A short, 2 to 3 minute, compelling brand video is perfect to post on your website to establish and strengthen your firms voice in the industry. Client interviews and video case studies are also great candidates for videos as they speak to the experiences and relationships your clients have with your firm.
Although we don’t have research findings on Pinterest yet, the site is definitely emerging as a popular promotional and collaborative tool for AEC firms. Firms are pinning links onto their boards to showcase recent project work, to share their current inspiration, and they’re also pinning images to give a glimpse into their firm’s culture. Only time will tell how effective Pinterest is for AEC firms, but for now, it’s a great way to provide a visual representation of who your firm is.
Relying on one marketing tool alone is not enough to give your firm sufficient results you’re bound to be looking for. First realize how much time and effort you are willing to put towards marketing your firm, next develop a plan and then finally stick to those goals. Results won’t happen overnight, be patient. Good things do come to those who wait!