Architecture firms looking for new clients often expend all their resources on owned marketing efforts, like ads and mailings. They may fail to pay attention to the information that already exists — and is available to clients — about their firm. This existing information can significantly influence the success of the firm’s marketing efforts, either positively or negatively. Firms would be well served by paying attention to their public profile before they heavily push out owned marketing efforts.
Let’s look at what a public profile is, why it matters, and what architectural firms can do to elevate theirs.
What is a public profile?
First, we should clarify what we mean by a public profile for architecture firms. A firm’s public profile is made up of three components: how well known the firm is, how well regarded the firm is, and how quickly the firm comes to mind.
Having a public profile doesn’t mean your firm is well-known to the entire world. What matters for architectural firms is recognition by their target audiences. For example, residential design firms are targeting homeowners, while commercial design firms are targeting businesses or organizations. The more well-known a firm is within its target audience, the better its public profile.
It’s not enough just to be well-known; you also have to be well-regarded. Just because people know who you are doesn’t mean they think highly of you. Firms should monitor their public profile on a regular basis to check for negative coverage, like bad reviews or negative press. Keeping a positive profile within your target audiences is key to attracting new customers.
The final test of a public profile is how quickly the firm’s name comes to mind when people are identifying firms for potential projects. This is a litmus test for the first two components. If your firm is well-known and has a positive profile, you will likely come to mind when people are looking for firms for potential projects.
Why a public profile matters
There are a few advantages to having a well-regarded public profile:
- You receive more opportunities for better work. Through referrals and recommendations, you will find that more opportunities and better work find their way to you.
- It supports your recruitment efforts. A positive public profile influences not only potential clients, but potential employees as well. Future workers will see your company as a great place to work based on the external validation of a public profile.
- It increases the likelihood that you will win awards and gain press. The more high-visibility your profile, the better your chances of winning awards and gaining press for your accomplishments.
- It creates interest in what you’re doing. This supports long-term project opportunities with clients that will need your services in the future. Even if they aren’t looking for a firm right now, your visibility will keep your firm top-of-mind, making potential clients more likely to consider you when an opportunity arises.
Without a public profile, you could have the best firm in the world, but no one would know. It pays to invest in your profile so potential customers and employees can find you and learn about the benefits of working with you.
How to elevate your firm’s public profile
There are a variety of ways to elevate your firm’s public profile. Some are meant to target your digital footprint and others are real-life.
Being active on a variety of social media platforms is a good way to expand your profile and your digital footprint. Depending on the type of client you are looking for, you should target different platforms. For example, residential customers can be found on Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook. Commercial customers are more likely to be found on LinkedIn. Using this information, you can focus your efforts on the appropriate platform and specifically target the type of customers you are looking for.
Be sure to also support your project partners on social media. For example, congratulate a general contractor that your firm works with when they complete a major project, even if it isn’t yours. If you provide support for your partners, they will be more likely to support you as well.
Use videos to capture project tours and interviews with architects and project owners. Videos can be posted on your website or shared through social media. They will help potential customers get to know you on a more personal basis. In addition, hearing feedback from past clients lets future clients know what to expect when working with you.
Sponsoring local charities and events in your local area can help improve your profile. Most sponsorships come with advertising and a chance to interact with participants. Focus on events or causes that include your potential clients.
Blog articles can be used to highlight projects, share firm news, and educate potential clients. Articles don’t have to be lengthy, but they should target keywords and ideas that potential clients would use when searching for your services. You can expand your reach by using proper search engine optimization or SEO tactics to move your content up in search results. In addition, blog articles can be shared on social media.
Your firm’s contact information should be listed in local and national directories, particularly those around architecture and construction. Sample directories for architectural firms include Architizer, Archinect, and Archello. Be sure to completely fill out your profile for these directories. The more information you provide, the easier it will be to find you.
Your best marketing comes from the mouths of your employees. Train your staff to be spokespeople for your firm. They should be able to give an elevator pitch about the company, discuss the types of projects you work on, and detail the services you provide. This will ensure that your crew is ready to tout your company whether they’re at networking events or talking with friends.
Awards and contests
Submit applications for awards and contests to highlight your work. Be sure to submit for relevant awards. It doesn’t pay to fill out an application if you have no chance of winning because your project doesn’t meet the award qualifications (for example, using a project in New Jersey to apply for an award given for New York projects). Make sure you allocate resources to these applications, as they are a great way to get positive press in the industry.
Your profile matters
Having a positive, visible public profile provides better work opportunities, attracts potential employees, and keeps people interested in what you’re doing. There are a wide variety of things you can do to improve your public profile, including posting videos, blog articles, registering for directories, and training your staff to be spokespeople for your company. Focusing your efforts on these strategies will increase the reach of your active marketing activities, which can lead to greater success.