The Benefits of Collaborative Partnerships –
How Architects and Designers can leverage the skills of a marketing consultant without the overheads
In today’s dynamic world, a marketer has to be versatile and wear multiple hats. They have to be a tech wizard, data analyst, social scientist, great storyteller, and the list goes on.
And as the market shifts, so do changes in trends and the emergence of new technologies, whereby small businesses are left with only two choices: learning new skills or getting left behind.
Of course, it’s impossible for anyone to possess all these different skills and be an all-knowing geek. That’s why you need a marketing team!
The challenge that many architects, designers and small businesses face is trying to find the right marketing person to help them grow. It’s like finding a golden unicorn that will solve all their marketing problems and be able to implement them simultaneously.
When you’re on a shoestring budget, you will always want to go for a “marketing person” that might be able to deal with content writing and social media posting but lack the needed skills for other critical tasks. And the marketing landscape is so much bigger than this!
Today, marketing is now audience-focused, so marketers must have the expertise to craft and implement strategies that address your target audience directly. There’s no point in having staff with no lead generation knowledge wasting precious time trying to implement campaigns.
The other option is to entrust all the work into the hands of a marketing consultant or a marketing agency.
Now, here’s the much-anticipated question, won’t that cost an arm and a leg? The answer is ‘no’. Hiring a marketing consultant will cost you less than hiring and managing staff, and you will have more free time to do other productive tasks.
But finding the right marketing agency is absolutely key. Some of the considerations that need to be made is around specialisation. Does the agency only focus on SEO or Social Media, and do they have the ability to look at your business, and how you allocate your marketing budget, with the bigger picture in mind?
Also, there are marketing agencies that will want to tie you to a long-term contract and offer a completely outsourced solution. Yes, the marking agency could deliver on their promise, but you may be forced to take a loan to finance the initial expense. And what plan do they have for you when things aren’t going so well? Are they flexible enough to help you pull through?
But there’s still some silver lining in the cloud; there are marketing agencies that may work with you collaboratively. This implies that you have the freedom to outsource some of the workload while also handling some of the campaigns under their supervision. This is a viable option if you are looking to save money, but be ready to take full responsibility for the campaigns’ outcome.
One of consulting’s closely guarded secrets is that you need someone who holds you accountable – someone responsible for documenting your goals and calling you to order if you deviate from the “plan,” because you’re finding it hard to maintain focus. Also, a seasoned consultant emphasises the incredible amount of value you will derive when you achieve your goals.
So how do you secure the future of your design or architecture firm? You do things step by step. Whether you are trying to land your first client, gain more clients, or look for high-paying clients, finding the perfect marketing consultant is critical to achieving your objectives. And it all starts with excellent planning…
With a wide range of marketing options at your disposal today, architects and designers don’t always use the right marketing tactics to achieve a favourable return on investment. The chances are that you’re missing out on some effective offline and online strategies to boost leads, sales, and profits.
Before you can successfully choose a winning strategy for your business, you need in-depth marketing experience and knowledge, as well as an accurate assessment of your brand’s unique selling proposition.
Monitoring the progress of your marketing is also essential. Without accurate data about your traffic source, the number of your visitors, what they do, and why they are not getting in touch with you, you will struggle to make any meaningful marketing decisions.
Above all, you won’t know what works (so you can double your effort on it), and what doesn’t (so you can save money and time).
It’s surprising to see many businesses spending hundreds or thousands of dollars monthly on social media managers, advertising, or SEO without analysing their data to see if their marketing effort is yielding any result. Also, too many people focus on traffic when they should be focusing on conversion. Once you know how to get interested visitors to your website and prospects that respond to your sales pitch to make purchases, you can take your business to the next level.
That’s why it’s best to always see the result from the beginning.
This is where a marketing consultant can be extremely helpful. Marketing consultants are an objective resource. They will listen to every idea and suggestions and craft a perfect plan for your business goals. In fact, one of the best skills of a consultant is that they are good at managing office politics and finding a way to get the best out of the team. This is because they are seen as “outsiders” who have no vested interest other than the business’s overall success.
After carefully crafting your marketing plan, you’re then faced with the interesting part – implementation. Here, you can choose to handle it yourself or hire a marketing agency to do the job. Or, you might want to take the route suggested earlier – work collaboratively with a marketing consultant and implement campaigns yourself under their strict supervision and coaching. You will learn a thing or two without having to do any comprehensive studying. You will also save money.
In the end, every business is different. Every business will have to develop its own laid-out marketing plan, but below are some of the most commonly used and most effective marketing activities relevant to the design and architect industry. I’m also including some tricks and tips on the things you should be putting your focus on and how beneficial a marketing consultant can be for your business during that process.
Every designer or architect should have a strong presence on Instagram. You can easily take and upload breathtaking images of your projects and get loads of people looking on them. You will have access to your account regardless of where you are in the world, which is perfect if you run into a potential client, and you quickly need to show them some of your work, even if the shots were taken long ago. Many editors of top magazines comb Instagram regularly. Wouldn’t it be amazing if you could showcase your most iconic and best work?
But do you know how to use it effectively for you business?
Make it a habit of reviewing your Instagram analytics. You will find that by going to “settings” and instantly seeing which posts are performing and which ones aren’t. It’s pretty easy to reach lots of people on Instagram. Post images similar to those that get you the most engagements, and stop posting what’s not working.
What you now need to do is to review your best performing posts and figuring out the elements that made them successful.
- The photos you used – Was it a lounge room, a bedroom or a specific design?
- What did the caption say?
- Which hashtags did you use?
- What specific time did you post it?
- What relevant tags did you use in the photo?
There so many times when you struggle with finding the perfect content to post. This is where a marketing consultant comes in while you handle your social media account. They are still supplying you with the strategy and supervision, but you are not paying them to be fully in charge of managing your entire marketing process.
Managing Your Customer Relationships
Many clients have been able to strike new deals and business just because they followed up someone they didn’t initially. People’s inboxes are spammed to death – it’s important to keep a record of your conversations with project leads.
Even analysing bad leads that never left, or weren’t a good fit, can give you insights into how you can better improve your sales process or mechanism.
- Were there issues with the quality of prospects?
- Should you have done more follow up?
- What was the success rate like when closing leads?
- Which part of the sales funnel presented the biggest challenge?
- Can you determine the projected revenue value of the signed contracts?
- Using the information above, what’s the average value of a lead?
The market place is full of many CRM tools. Zoho, Insightly, Hubspot, and Trello are amazing tools and come with free options to give you more value for your money. A seasoned marketing consultant can help you put the right things in place to bridge the gap and close more sales.
Branding and Collateral
Most designers and architects spend too much time and money at the start of their marketing journey. They will commit so many resources into a fancy website, graphics, and photography, blowing out their marketing budget before defining their audience and how they will reach them.
Yes, all of these are essential. But, paying a web developer $10,000 when starting out won’t guarantee conversions and sales. Sometimes, you need to keep things simple – and that includes your website. It would be best if you were focusing on grabbing your visitors’ attention, showing them how you can improve their lives while showcasing a carefully chosen aspect of your best work.
If you’ve gained some traction: the launch frenzy is over, and you feel the need to break new grounds. Now the way you present your company is of much importance.
Here’s the point where a marketing consultant can become extremely helpful as they have some great connections you don’t. Most of your connections are probably people in and around your industry. Marketing consultants have connections such as web developers, programmers, writers, professional photographers, graphic designers, and others who can help put your marketing campaign on overdrive.
Depending on where you are in your business journey, a seasoned marketing consultant can analyse your genuine needs and your available budget and see what can be done cost effectively, and still look amazing!
Design or architecture isn’t something you buy week in week out. Most potential architecture clients would probably not need more than once in their lifetime. That means you need to exercise patience. You need not capture the customer’s attention while they’re in the process of checking out.
The most valuable types of customers stay with a designer or architect for years; they get used to their brand, capabilities, and ideas. The ideal client has you in mind, even when they aren’t interacting with you. Successful architects look to builds this kind of relationship, so they are not in a hurry to go for a quick sale.
More notably, they don’t compete with thousands of other firms trying to get the attention of a small group of prospects searching for a designer or architect in their state every other day.
To grow and build that relationship with your audience over the years, you must build your marketing around staying in touch. You can achieve that in several ways – most businesses rely on social media. Still, email seems to be the most effective at reconnecting with your fans repeatedly until they are hooked.
Why you should start emailing your contacts
Starting an email list is also a good way to diversify and bulletproof your brand against social media’s unpredictability. Email marketing has stood the test of time and will likely outlive social media. I usually recommend starting with Mailchimp as it’s free for the first 2,000 subscribers. You can start small and build from there. Ask your social media followers to opt into your email list (put their loyalty to test).
Studies also reveal that social media remains a powerful tool for getting new visitors to view your project and brand – but keeping them and cementing that relationship is best achieved using emails and other platforms.
Again, you can implement your email marketing campaign under a marketing consultant’s supervision, which moves you closer to achieving your ultimate business objectives.
Writing works for many marketers for a reason – it makes it easy for you to be found online. The best thing is that it’s a type of content you can create as many times as you want, even using your average high school writing skills.
You won’t post pictures of your work all the time, but you can share helpful tips and ideas about excellent architectural designs with writing.
Some architects will write how-to guides, and others might prefer to write analyses and opinions of the latest industry trends. Some are happy writing about their day-to-day activities to help educate those around them. Others will love to write about various designs and the designers that inspire them.
But how does one know the topic to choose? It’s essential to pique your audience’s interest and find a way that has a positive impact on the quality of service you’re offering to your clients. Another idea could be to interview a current client and transcribe the conversation.
You might think you are a terrible writer, but there’s always a way around this type of challenge. One option is that you write the article yourself and let a marketing consultant help you brush it up. Or perhaps you have a rough idea about what you want to say in your in head, but not sure how to piece it together. A consultant can use their skills and help you put them together and structure it in an entertaining, engaging, and inspiring way.
Lead Generation, Lead Magnets and Clickfunnels
Clickfunnels is a revolutionary lead generation and sales funnel builder designed for small businesses to help them automate their sales process online. This means you can set up funnels for subscriber lists, sales, and even special offers.
First, you create social posts that aim to appeal to your specific audience, you then send them to your landing page that contains more information that warms them up before allowing them to opt into your email list or schedule a call. Once you have their emails, you can follow them up with an expertly crafted email series that helps you earn their trust through relationship building.
Now, let’s take some time to explain what a lead magnet means. It refers to an incentivised offer given away to landing page visitors in exchange for their email address or other personal information.
If your visitors are getting introduced to your brand for the first time, they are still in the awareness stage, and your lead magnet needs to:
- Introduce you and your brand to them
- Portray you as an expert that they should listen to
- Persuade them to join your email list so you can begin the relationship-building process
- Contain resources like case studies, guides, and reports
Some are in the deliberation stage and still weighing up their options. If you want to win them over, your lead magnet has to provide a solution to their pressing problem. Videos and case studies are perfect for this purpose.
You also need to be prepared to show and tell them your expertise, why your approach is unique, and why your offer isn’t for everyone. Hopefully, you should be able to provide some unique insights.
Why you need a lead magnet
The main idea behind a lead magnet is to help them get closer to where they are ready to do business with you. Prospects might have subscribed for a free guide, but that can lead them towards a free consultation where they can learn more about your product or service.
This is even of greater importance if your prospects are at the deliberation or awareness stage of the purchasing cycle. Regardless of the amazing first impression of your prospects about you, if you fail to tell them what to do next, they will leave and never come back.
Start your marketing journey today
Designers and architects are intelligent people, and the marketing tasks they need to perform are pretty easy; so why is it that they never get to do them?
While it seems like a simple task, some little details and steps are hard to remember, let alone successfully implement week after week, month after month.
Instead of putting in the necessary work consistently, they choose to do what’s convenient for them. You might choose to set up several social media profiles in one day and never post anything on them. Then you try every shiny object you hear about, at least once, and finally throw in the towel.
You are not likely to achieve results without putting in the work. And sometimes, all you need to stay inspired and successful is someone to guide you, hold you accountable, and help out when you need a hand.