The Top 3 Architecture Firm Marketing Mistakes (and How To Fix Them)
In this article, you’ll discover my personal definition of “marketing” based on my work with architecture firms from around the world — as well as the three most common marketing mistakes I see architecture firms making (and how to avoid them).
In short, marketing is the process by which project leads are generated for an architecture firm. If you want to win better projects or increase your income, increasing marketing activities is the key.
Architecture Firm Marketing Mistake #1
Architecture firm marketing mistake #1 is not marketing at all.
According to the State of the Architect Marketing and Sales Survey, over 40% of firms surveyed don’t actively market. There are many reasons firm owners hold back when it comes to marketing, including being too busy, not knowing where to start, or having invested in marketing in the past with no results.
These firms fall back to their default: just doing the work and waiting for good projects to show up. This is what I call “hope marketing.”
The fix for this mistake is simply to do some marketing. However, it’s important to do marketing that actually works. Read on to discover how to market effectively by fixing the following 2 architecture firm marketing mistakes.
Architecture Firm Marketing Mistake #2
Imagine for a minute that we’ve just met, and I invite you to a party at my place. However, I give you no directions. I don’t tell you who will be at the party. I don’t tell you what the party is for. I don’t tell you what to wear. And I don’t tell you what time the party starts.
How likely is it that you will show up at my party? Is it likely you’ll track me down to wring this information from me?
Unlikely, unless I’m Brad Pitt, and this is the party of the century.
Now, imagine instead that when I invite you, I tell you specifically what to expect at the party. I tell you how to get there and where to park. I tell you that the party starts at 7:00 p.m. but advise you to show up fashionably late at 7:30 p.m.. I tell you it will be a small, intimate event with only 30 people, two of which will be your favorite celebrities.
How likely is it now that you will come to my party?
Marketing is a lot like giving someone a party invitation. We need to tell our target audience very clearly what to expect and what we want them to do next.
In marketing speak, an invitation is known as an “offer.”
Architecture firm marketing mistake #2 is not having a good offer.
To create a good offer, we need to tell people exactly what we want them to do, how to do it, and what they will benefit from doing it.
Compare the following two examples of a common architecture firm offer, the “free consultation”:
Offer #1: If you have a project you’d like to discuss, call me at (555) 555-5555 for a free consultation so we can discuss your project.
Offer #2: Considering a building project? Book your free Professional Project Diagnostic call. On this 20-minute phone call, I’ll ask you the 7 clarifying questions I’ve developed over 20 years of architectural practice so that you can identify any potential project roadblocks. You’ll get clarity about what you need to do right now to lay the foundation for a successful project. If I can help you, I’ll tell you how we work — if not, I’ll recommend someone who can.
Which offer do you think is more compelling to a potential client?
Once you have a good offer, the next step is to present that offer to your ideal potential clients.
Architecture Firm Marketing Mistake #3
Architecture firm marketing mistake #3 is not tracking and measuring your results.
You’ve created your offer, and you’re now getting that offer in front of your ideal clients. If you aren’t tracking your results, you have no idea which approach is working and which is not.
Is social media the best investment and use of time? Or face-to-face networking? Or that trade show you went to six months ago?
The numbers don’t lie, so the only way to be able to increase your leads effectively is to know which marketing efforts are working best.
And — what’s measured improves. Just by measuring your marketing activities and results, you’ll see an increase in booked projects and revenue.
In summary — we can flip these “marketing mistakes” around into 3 marketing rules:
- Actively market
- Have a compelling offer
- Measure and track your marketing activities
And the best part is — marketing can actually be a fun game, once you get the hang of it. So get out there and win the game!
Enoch Bartlett Sears, AIA, is an architecture firm growth consultant. He’s famous for helping architects win better projects and fees through effective and unique business strategies.