Sometimes, our work with a new architectural firm has an added layer of complexity: helping to convince senior partners or managers that a fresh digital strategy is needed. While it’s not always the case, sometimes younger stakeholders want to see the company take a more active role on the web, whereas more experienced members like to stick to established channels for lead generation, like referrals and printed mailers.
This difference of opinion can be driven by lack of familiarity with the digital world, or differing views on what constitutes “risk.” Regardless of the cause, we try to help our clients to bring everyone on board at the beginning of the engagement. This helps us to be more effective and better positions the firm for success.
There may be times, though, when you can’t get your firm to engage with an agency because leadership doesn’t understand the benefits. Here’s how you can help your colleagues understand the need for new marketing channels or a bigger digital footprint.
Don’t Paint Marketing as an Either-Or Exercise
Investing time and resources into a digital marketing strategy doesn’t necessarily mean you have to take away from your existing efforts. If anything, what you do on the web should enhance your in-person activities (more on this below).
Show senior partners that a lot of what marketing does — like giving presentations of work and demonstrating the firm’s expertise — can be accomplished online. For example, videos can be distributed on social media, and case studies can be turned into downloadable white papers. Pursuing one strategy doesn’t have to mean giving up another. In fact, a new lead who is able to view your work online is more likely to contact you than one who has to call or email you to learn anything about your firm.
Emphasize the Potential to Gain a Wider Reach
No matter how effective you’ve been in your previous marketing with your sales outreach efforts, there’s no doubt you can get in touch with more prospects using the web than you can without.
When you consider the cumulative reach of search engines, social media platforms, digital ads, and email newsletters (as examples), you get a huge pool of potential clients. When you add these to your existing contacts, you might find the opportunity to double or triple your revenue.
Show the Value in Attracting More Qualified Prospects
One of the best things about a successful online lead generation campaign is that it brings you qualified prospects week after week. These are people who already know about your business, understand their own needs, and are looking to take the conversation further.
Qualified prospects are the best prospects you can get. They tend to close quickly, and at higher margins. Attracting more of these leads is good for your bottom line, but it also allows you to focus on the work that represents a perfect fit for your firm rather than chasing down opportunities that don’t fit as well.
Show Them How You Can Go Around the Competition
Some architectural firms lament the loss of opportunities that can arise when a proposal is unsuccessful. It’s never easy, though, to win business when you have to go head-to-head with several (or dozens) of your closest competitors.
By pursuing an aggressive online marketing strategy, you can reach some prospects before they ever issue an RFP. In some cases that might allow you to outmaneuver your competitors altogether. In other instances, you may still have to submit bids and proposals, but you can help the prospect frame their request in a way that is favorable to your company.
Illustrate the Opportunity to Enhance Existing Lead Sources
All of the tools and strategies that help you build a successful online lead generation plan — like being active in social media, generating blog posts, and offering white papers — also work to enhance your existing marketing efforts.
For instance, you can point to these reference materials when following up with referrals or show off video clips during industry presentations. Being smart with your digital strategy just gives you more tools to work with while increasing your reach and allowing some prospects to come to you at their own pace. It’s always a good idea to have more ways to tell your firm’s story, especially when they work cost effectively and don’t interfere with other activities.