Marketing Books For Architects, Interior Designers, and Builders

MARKETING BOOKS EVERY ARCHITECT, BUILDER, AND INTERIOR DESIGNER SHOULD READ

MARKETING BOOKS EVERY ARCHITECT, BUILDER, AND INTERIOR DESIGNER SHOULD READ

While books remain at the center for most learning experiences, the challenge of crafting timely advice for digital marketing has never been greater. Best practices and proven strategies frequently change, from day to day in some cases.

That said, books are still a source of comprehensive, in-depth knowledge, and that remains true for content and inbound marketing, even if all books—including those being published as we speak—contain a point or two that may no longer be actionable. With that in mind, we’ve crafted a short list of books that every architect, builder, or interior designer should read to get an understanding of the inbound marketing landscape. These works are the foundation on which blogs and other shorter posts build, and they should be at the core of your twenty-first-century marketing knowledge, too.

Inbound Marketing, Revised and Updated: Attract, Engage, and Delight Customers Online By Brian Halligan, Dharmesh Shah

Inbound Marketing, Revised and Updated: Attract, Engage, and Delight Customers Online is designed as a guide to growing your brand’s online visibility, as well as engagement with visitors to your site or social media platforms. The book is a collaboration among many of the inbound marketing world’s leading bloggers, with an emphasis on those managing startups—an apt segment for smaller built-environment firms that don’t have big marketing departments. As a guide, the book is relatively comprehensive, with information and advice on generating memorable online content, as well as ideas on the latest trends in lead nurturing and visual marketing. If you’re still operating a primarily traditional advertising or marketing campaign, this book will help you understand why outbound marketing has declined and the benefits of switching to an inbound campaign. This includes advocacy to move away from traditional marketing options like direct mail, cold calling, and massive emails lists. For the authors, the shift in marketing is an opportunity to engage with customers at a deeper level, answering their questions and helping them shop online, which more and more are doing each day. Of course, part of that process is going beyond just attracting leads and teaching you how to turn those leads into paying customers. The conversion process is another focus of the book, although, as the authors note, much of the heavy lifting to grow conversions starts with high-level inbound marketing to the right audience or niche within your industry. The book is a useful introduction if you’re just starting to manage a marketing strategy transition. While it may not be the most in-depth of all resources, it covers each core topic with enough detail to help you know what other books might be useful additions to your marketing library, whether that’s more information on blogging, harnessing the power of social media or building backlinks to your domain.

Content Rules: How to Create Killer Blogs, Podcasts, Videos, eBooks, Webinars (and More) That Engage Customers and Ignite Your Business By Ann Handley and C.C. Chapman

Content Rules: How to Create Killer Blogs, Podcasts, Videos, eBooks, Webinars (and More) That Engage Customers and Ignite Your Business is another guidebook that focuses on how to deploy content on any channel that will capture the interest and build the trust of your Web visitors. It has information on posting content to platforms like Google+, Facebook, and Twitter, as well as a content generation for YouTube videos and your blog. In short, the book attempts to provide a roadmap that connects your inbound marketing content with your brand and services. Bridging the gap means answering questions like “What kind of blog post will make people fall in love with my design?” or “How can a YouTube video create trust with my viewers?” While the book brings out common themes and ideas, it also utilizes case studies to reinforce points and provide concrete examples of how businesses achieved these goals. One of the key points is creating a unique voice for your inbound campaign. The authors argue that this voice should be authentic, bold, and resonate with your buyer persona. All content generation should reflect this voice whether it’s using social media to draw visitors back to your blog or crafting a YouTube video to put a human face and personality behind your brand.

Epic Content Marketing: How to Tell a Different Story, Break Through the Clutter, and Win More Customers by Marketing Less by Joe Pulizzi 

Epic Content Marketing: How to Tell a Different Story, Break Through the Clutter, and Win More Customers by Marketing Less takes a bold stance on inbound marketing by decrying the digital “clutter” that makes it so difficult to reach consumers in modern marketing. Named one of five “Must-Read Business Books” by Fortune magazine, Pulizzi’s work offers a pathway for business owners to break through the noise and bad information rampant in digital marketing channels. Much of Pulizzi’s argument focuses on the need to create content that customers seek out, rather than content that interrupts their life. This principle is at the core of any inbound strategy. However, Pulizzi goes further than most, demanding that marketers eschew production of mediocre content, even if it fits neatly within topics of interest to potential consumers. For “epic content marketing,” the solution is to be able to inform, entertain, and compel your potential customers to act without them recognizing your efforts. And while this is about the quality of content, it’s about timing, too. Only when the right content is delivered at the right time can it have the desired impact. The result includes influencing the recipient to purchase as well as to share your content. Achieving this perfect balance, according to the author, is the path to exponential sales growth. For readers, Epic Content Marketing: How to Tell a Different Story, Break Through the Clutter, and Win More Customers by Marketing Less promises to help you uncover your content niche that both attracts and retain customers; craft a content marketing mission statement; establish a process for generating and maintaining epic content on your site and other platforms; develop a functional plan for social media and email marketing channels; and measure the performance of your content marketing efforts. Translating these goals into principles, Pulizzi defines an epic content marketing strategy as one that fills an unmet need or answers a customer question; is delivered consistently to consumers; is written in an authentic, human voice that employs humor when possible and appropriate; provides a distinct opinion rather than a neutral perspective; avoids “sales speak” that greatly devalues content; and prizes the generation of top-quality content for a chosen niche. As a well-known expert, Pulizzi employs case studies from large corporations that include LEGO, Coca-Cola, and John Deere, among others. That said, the book still has value for business leaders of all types, even if the achievements of the case studies need to be adapted to different circumstances, as they almost certainly will for built-environment firms of nearly any size. Case studies are supplemented by ideas and strategies for businesses of all sizes. As a side note, new arrivals to content marketing will appreciate Pulizzi’s first section, which covers the history of content marketing. Additionally, the final section includes some checklists to help get your epic content marketing strategy off the ground.

The New Rules of Marketing & PR: How to Use Social Media, Online Video, Mobile Applications, Blogs, News Releases, and Viral Marketing to Reach Buyers Directly By David Meerman Scott

Inbound marketing sometimes bleeds into areas traditionally covered by public relations, and an understanding of both serves modern businesses well. Author David Meerman Scott includes this interaction, and how to get the most out of it, in his book The New Rules of Marketing & PR: How to Use Social Media, Online Video, Mobile Applications, Blogs, News Releases, and Viral Marketing to Reach Buyers Directly. This benchmark work blends informative coverage on marketing, public relations, social media, emerging trends, and useful tools. For those just starting out, they will appreciate the work’s step-by-step action plan to develop an integrated marketing strategy from scratch. This means offering a pathway to communicate directly to your buyers, whether through press releases or social media posts. Like all inbound marketing strategy, the book argues for engagement through content with the ultimate goal of translating visibility into sales. It covers marketing operations for a range of business, large and small as well as for-profit and not. Some of the most valuable parts of Meerman’s work are the case studies, which cover often ignored platforms critical to inbound marketing for the built-environment world, such as Pinterest and Instagram. Meerman is a prolific author, and the fourth edition of The New Rules of Marketing & PR: How to Use Social Media, Online Video, Mobile Applications, Blogs, News Releases, and Viral Marketing to Reach Buyers Directly is his eighth book.

All Marketers Are Liars: The Underground Classic That Explains How Marketing Really Works—and Why Authenticity Is the Best Marketing of All By Seth Godin

Seth Godin’s All Marketers Are Liars: The Underground Classic That Explains How Marketing Really Works—and Why Authenticity Is the Best Marketing of All focuses on three questions that every marketer or business owner needs to be able to answer. First, what is your story? Second, will the people who need to hear this story believe it? And third, is it true? Godin taps into the human mind and its ability to evaluate similar products differently, from shoes to cars to wine (and the glass it’s served in). To convince people to spend four times as much for a car with almost identical features, Godin argues, marketers need to find the story people want to hear and want to believe, and then communicate that story—regardless of how true it is. That said, Godin also argues that there is a line marketers cannot cross when the story they communicate doesn’t just tell us what we want to hear but deceives us, what he terms the threshold from “fib to fraud.” He singles out much-maligned telemarketers, politicians, and cigarette manufacturers for violating this sacred tenant. For marketers, then, the key is to understand the worldview of potential customers and tailor the narrative to that understanding. Because, in the end, Godin argues, everyone loves a story, and great marketers are the best storytellers our world has to offer. We know you have plenty of books piled up on your desk or in a queue on your reading list, but these marketing books are must reads before you get started on your inbound campaign. Perhaps even more importantly, as we noted at the outset, they provide the framework in which to interpret new industry developments or take advantage of free content posted to blogs. And while we’re glad you took a moment to read ours, make sure you take the time to read our recommended books. It’s step one of your next great marketing strategy and the best way to grow your built-environment business.


About Michael Conway and Means-of-Production

About Michael Conway and Means-of-Production

My firm builds Squarespace websites, Houzz profiles, and content marketing and advertising solutions for architects, interior designers, design-build contractors and landscape design firms. Our all-in-one tactics attract the right clients with exceptional architectural photography and brand messaging that sets you apart from the competition. Contact me for a free-of-charge consultation and marketing review. It takes about 40 minutes and you'll be provided a list of actionable improvements designed to solve your specific marketing problems. 

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