Close to 9 out of 10 people who are looking for a new architect are doing so online. Whether it's to research different builders, or maybe to find a contractor for their bathroom renovation, the web is where most clients start. That's an opportunity to get in front of your potential client and present them with an offer they cannot resist.
This guide will teach you how to create a website that is both beautiful and brings in new clients, which is the ultimate goal of any architect. It will show you how to use your website as a tool for attracting new clients, while also making sure that it has all the elements of an effective inbound marketing strategy.
The first thing we need to cover is what exactly an architecture website should look like. What does this mean?
Well, let’s say that someone wants to look up information about architects in their area - what kind of information could they expect on such a site? A typical architecture website has fancy design and a section of past projects and that's it.
Unfortunately that's not enough, it also needs a blog that is updated regularly with content that answers your customer's questions.
In summary an architecture website should at least have the following features:
and articles about architecture trends and customer focused content.
These can all be used as part of your strategy for attracting new clients.
Creating a strategy
It's a well known saying that a problem well defined is a problem half solved. Now, before you spend money on $1000 website first think about the problem you're trying to solve.
Why do you think you need a website? What prompted you to think about having a website? Maybe you don't even need a website, you probably need to start creating videos, or you need to invest more in social media ads, or you need to come up with a better offer for your services?
Once the real challenge has been identified, you then come up with a strategy.
A strategy is the plan you create to achieve your goal. It's important to have one, because it helps guide your decision-making and keeps you on the right track.
Creating a strategy is an iterative process that takes time and effort, but it's worth it in the long run. To create a strategy for your architecture firm:
Create an overall vision for what success looks like for your website, including metrics such as number of visitors, time spent on site, etc.
Identify specific goals based on this vision (e.g., generate more leads).
Create an action plan that details how each goal will be achieved (e.g., blogging once per week).
Each of these steps is important, but the most important step of all is creating a strategy. Without one, it's easy to get off track and lose focus on what's most important.
Before starting on any project, I always ask my clients, "who's your target customer" and almost always the answer is something vague like people who want to build, or "I do commercial buildings". That becomes a problem because it's too general and it's hard to create a message that fits everyone.
You need to do some research in order to create a website that is tailored to your customers’ needs. The first step is understanding who your customers are and what they want. You can start by asking yourself:
Who are your potential clients?
What type of people are they?
Where do they live?
How old are they?
Once you have this information, it's time to learn more about the specific needs of these potential clients and how they will use your product or service.
To do this, you map out your customer's buying journey. See, Your client is not going to just wake up tomorrow and say "I want a design for xyz building", they go through a process, from deciding they want to build a house in the first place, buying a piece of land and other things that come before that until they hire an architect to design the building.
You need to understand what's going on in your customer's mind at every stage, so that you can create messages that are directed to a specific customer at a specific stage in the buyer's journey
Have you ever read text on a website and found yourself thinking "This isn't really saying much"? Or maybe "I wish there was more information about this."
Good copywriting goes beyond just writing for the sake of getting words on screen—it tells potential clients exactly why they should care about what's in front of them.
When I tell people that I consult as a web designer, most are surprised at how much time I spend writing instead of designing (around 70%). The copy (text and message on the website) is assembled first using the information we gathered during customer discovery so that the design is adapted to suite the message.
Writing attracts readers so they can absorb information better; it engages them by inviting them in with interesting content; and it makes them feel comfortable enough to stay longer than 10 seconds (which means more page views). This is why we want all our projects' stories told right from the beginning!
Design and development
You must also consider that your website is likely to be visited by a multitude of devices, such as laptops, tablets and phones. Your design should be responsive so that it works well across all these different screen sizes and orientations.
It's important to keep in mind that users won't just be visiting your site once or twice—they'll come back again and again over time. So you need to make sure they can get around easily on their first visit so they'll want to return regularly!
As you're designing your website, you'll need to keep in mind how you plan to attract visitors. You might have the best design and content in the world, but if no one can find it online then what's the point?
Blogging is the most powerful tool in an architect's marketing arsenal. It gives you an opportunity to communicate directly with your audience and build relationships that can lead to new clients.
So why isn't every architect using blogging as a strategy to bring in new clients? The time involved in writing content can be a burden, you have deadlines to meet, a business to run and other admin tasks on your hands. It also takes time to start getting results of your blogging efforts.
To begin, look at your buyer personas and brain storm the topics they are interested about in each buying stage. If they want detailed information on energy efficiency measures like solar panels or insulation materials, then include some relevant articles on those subjects as well. Your goal should be to provide everything a person could possibly need when it comes time for them to hire an architect.
Add the topics to your editorial calendar and each blog post whenever possible should have a content upgrade, a related guide, or service or anything that you can use in exchange for a visitors' contact information.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for Architects
Search engine optimization (SEO) is a way of making sure that your website appears at the top of search results when people search for keywords related to your architecture and construction.
Here are some tips for getting started:
Use keywords relevant to your business in the title tags and meta descriptions of each page on your site.
Optimize images with descriptive alt tags and captions that explain what they are and why they should be seen (don't forget about image size).
Keep pages short and focused on one topic at a time so users can easily find what they're looking for without getting overwhelmed by too much information or too many choices.
Focus on creating an experience that is optimized for your actual clients other things come later.
You should also invest heavily into SEO (search engine optimization) so that when potential customers search Google or Bing for "architect" or something similar related terms will show up at the top of their results page.
Converting to leads
In the world of web design, a lead is an expression of interest in your business. A lead might be someone who visits your website and fills out a contact form, or purchases a product on your site.
The goal of converting visitors into leads is to get them to do something that gives you some type of insight into their interest level for what you have to offer.
The first step in developing a conversion strategy is making sure you’re measuring it correctly by setting up goals (more on this later).
Once those are set up, there are three key metrics that will help judge whether or not you have a good conversion rate:
Conversion rate — this tells us how many people are actually converting from being visitors to leads after being exposed to our message
Average value per purchase — this tells us how much revenue each sale generates for our business as well as how much each visitor contributes towards overall profits; basically it shows how valuable each lead is.
To convert visitors into leads you need to set up landing pages that will ask for contact information in return for something valuable, maybe a free consultation on the best custom home design for a family of 5 or a complete guide on purchasing land to build on.
You can also embed forms in blog posts with more information on the subject topic. Your contact page is also another lead capture form that should be optimized for conversion.
Closing the deal
The next step is to close the deal. This is where you'll guide your customer through the buying journey and make sure they know they're making the right choice by choosing you.
Here are some things you can do:
Focus on the customer. Understand what their goals are, where they started in their research, and where they want to go next. That way, you can give them a clear path from start to finish that shows them how working with you will help them achieve their goals. This is called lead nurturing
Create irresistible guarantees that let potential customers know there's no risk in using your services or product (more on this later).
Provide a clear path to conversion. If someone has visited your site multiple times but hasn't taken action yet, it means one of two things: Either there's something about your website design that's holding back conversions; or there's confusion about what actions need taken next so people don't know what button to click on next when making a purchase (or whatever else action is desired). In either case, make sure each page gives visitors an easy way out—a clear call-to-action button at the bottom of each page would be ideal—so they feel confident making purchases without feeling overwhelmed by information overload or unnecessary steps along the way.
So basically after you have collected leads through landing pages, and embedded forms in the previous step, you guide your potential clients through the process until they are ready to buy your services.
Delighting your customers
One of the best ways to delight your customers is by upselling complementary services
Upselling complimentary services also helps with retention rates because people are less likely to leave when they feel like they're getting more value from their purchase than anticipated. This also makes customers feel like there's room for growth within your business relationship—which may lead them down paths where you can charge even more money down the road!
You should also reward customers who refer other clients in order or give testimonials about how great their experience was working with you as an agency (especially if these individuals have been repeat customers).
They'll appreciate being recognized for helping build your business—and hopefully return the favor by referring even more clients through word-of-mouth marketing campaigns such as referrals from friends at networking events hosted by local organizations.
Lastly, just do a great job and be nice human being.
In this guide, we've covered the basics of web design and how it can be applied to your business. We've talked about what tools are available to help you create your own website, and how to use them. We've also covered some common pitfalls that architects face when designing a website, and we've provided helpful tips for overcoming these challenges.
If you're an architect who is looking for help building their own website or simply want to learn more about the field of web design, this guide should give you all of the information that you need in order to get started.