Online Content Marketing Ideas That Attract Leads For Architects

a strong presence in organic search, Requires on-page copy that immediately encourages readers to dive deeper

a strong presence in organic search, Requires on-page copy that immediately encourages readers to dive deeper

While content has a role in all of your marketing efforts—advertising PR, blog or website homepage—not all content succeeds by taking the same approach. With each marketing channel, crafting (or recrafting) your content to fit that channel and its audience perfectly is how you take content from functional to successful.
And that's where so many get bogged down in modern content marketing—not knowing how to translate content into real marketing results for your business. When it comes to content for an architectural firm's website, you should have several goals.

  • First, you should be looking to build immediate trust with your visitors. If you're hoping to have a strong presence in organic search, you need on-page copy that immediately encourages readers to dive deeper into your site and your company.
  • Second, you need to make sure your content reinforces your brand. That doesn't mean that all architectural firms need to take on the same brand identity, but your content—from design to tone—should reflect a consistent brand messaging.
  • And finally, your content must engage your audience. We say "engage" rather than "entertain" because the idea of entertaining content doesn't translate to all industries, architecture included. That doesn't mean you can create entertaining features to engage your audience, but it does offer flexibility for your brand. If you're managing major projects for large corporations, you can engage your audiences in other ways—without the burden of entertaining them.

So if you're ready to refresh your on-page copy, take a look at our ideas that lead to real sales results for your business. Choosing the unique path that works for your specific business is how to make content work for you.

Building Trust By Establishing Your Firm as an Authority 

Organic search is unique in its ability to drive new visitors to your site—fresh eyes that may have never heard of your brand or know anything about your business (other than its near-match for their keywords). Capturing the trust of the unknown visitor is all about establishing your authority. A previous era that relied on word-of-mouth recommendations has increasingly less influence due to the Internet's capacity to put any Web user in the world on your homepage with a simple keyword search.

How do you establish that authority? With content that demonstrates your expertise in your field. This content could exist on your website in a variety of formats, from downloadable PDFs or other large-scale projects, like e-books, to simple outlines of your services for on-page consumption. This informational content is critical for defining your authority as a business.

A key with any piece of content is balancing the informational versus promotional aspects. To capture new clients, blogs should provide informative knowledge and have a call to action that takes the reader to a landing page. Content for your website outside of the blog may be able to get away with a more promotional bent. You can explain a topic and also what has made your firm an industry leader.

Where's the balance? For one, make sure someone outside of your immediate customer base would want to read the article. Remember, not every visitor will be in the same stage of the buying cycle, and you want to provide content that does more than just convert the potential customer in the final stages of vetting architects.

Likewise, if you do make claims about your firm's achievements, see if it's possible to find statistics that prove your worth, whether that's revealing your firm's longevity, scale, or geographic reach. Think about why your current and past customers chose to hire you and then seek out statistics that offer objective answers to their concerns.

A news section or blog on your site can be a great way to tap into industry trends and demonstrate your broad industry knowledge. Your potential customers are looking for a forward-thinking architect, and including information or commentary on recent events connected to your industry or niche is an important way to demonstrate your position of authority within the broader industry.

Highlighting past projects through in-depth case studies is another tremendous on-page offering for your Web visitors. If your architectural services serve several industries, a dedicated landing page for each combined with on-page copy and a supporting case study is a proven strategy for marketing results. Maintaining separate landing pages helps keyword targeting and, as a result, provides closer content matches for organic visitors—the type of close content matching that reduces bounce rates and increases conversions.

For the on-page copy, consider providing an overview of your services, as well as historical information that reveals the depth of your experience and expertise. Pairing this content with your downloadable case study for that specific industry is the perfect way to capture new leads for your business. Just add a request for an email address to access the case study, and you will have generated an industry-specific lead for your firm.
If you have the budget, before-and-after photos or even a time-lapse video of construction can augment your text with inspiring imagery. In the case of a video, this offers another media outlet that can help your firm be found on another platform, like YouTube. Implemented correctly, a small image of your video may appear as part of a rich snippet within Google organic search results, which may make the difference when it comes to earning the click-through from prospects.

Part of the success of on-page copy, as well as longer content pieces, is positioning your firm as the solution to the problems your clients face. For an architectural firm, this could include highlighting your ability to provide open, airy environments or building efficiency into limited spaces. Whatever your niche, demonstrate how your firm can move your potential clients from problem to solution and handle every challenge along the way.
If you want to look toward the future, consider dedicating a page to promoting your firm as being on the forefront of the industry. You can do this with content that offers a glimpse at the future of architecture. Certainly, you could also tackle this topic in a news section on your site. The general public interest in future trends will also give your content or commentary a greater chance at broad visibility through social sharing.
Social sharing, by the way, isn't just for your own internally generated content. Use social media to promote other designs that you find inspiring. Avoid the temptation to become purely self-promotional. If you're concerned about drawing attention to the work of another competing company, choose interesting designs of projects that are outside of your immediate geographic or sub-industry niche. Draw connections between your work and what's going on throughout your industry to further your authority.

Define Your Brand With an Authentic Look With Writing and Images

Developing content ideas for built-environment businesses is not a one-for-all strategy. Even as the business world continues to shift from face-to-face to telephone to email interactions, there has been a resurgence for the need to connect personally with business partners.
When set within the context of Web content, the answer for personalization has been an honest look at your brand. If we focus on just images (yes, images are an important part of your content), this has meant a shift away from stock photos and toward real pictures of your office and staff. This can be a great place to jump ahead of competitors that continue to rely on an outdated visual strategy.
And as an architectural firm, if you're not employing photos of your recent work, you're failing to capitalize on one of your greatest advantages. While a firm specializing in back-end Web development may not have much in the way of stunning visuals, you can provide a powerful statement about your brand through authentic images. Rather than explain your process and achievements, you can demonstrate them to your clients with stunning visuals.

Still, defining your brand goes well beyond images. If you want to be on the forefront of the architectural industry and feature bold designs, consider using on-page copy to challenge your visitors to take that step, especially if they may be tempted to go for a safer route rather than selecting a bold, visionary design.
Once again, you can begin to leverage your content through the power of social media. Social media is a way for you to engage with your followers and put a face on your company. You can Tweet or Instagram photos of active projects or even show potential clients a "behind the scenes" peek at your work environment. Seeing a dedicated staff working through challenges helps them understand the concrete processes behind your work and justify investment in top-quality architecture. Of course, these same images are also a great fit for your website.

And while, as an industry, architecture maintains a certain gravity not present in all lines of work, that doesn't mean every piece of content needs to be serious. If you offer home architectural services, why not highlight (through a blog or news commentary) the latest designs of pop culture icons or other famous figures? You'll be able to feed your firm into a popular news stream and also position yourself as an authority qualified to offer feedback on a major project.

Drive Deeper Engagement With Copy That Captures the Imagination

Establishing the authority of your business within your industry and developing your unique brand are two critical steps that your website copy can help you achieve. If the content on your site already achieves these aims, you can focus further development on engagement.

Intuitively, engagement might make more sense for news or sports website, with an infinite number of polls, comment sections, and even giveaways. These don't necessarily translate into every field, and certainly it requires a unique perspective to find functional use in the architectural field. That said, the opportunities are there. And, best of all, they might represent the best place to outshine your competitors.

You can start by making sure that, if you have a blog, you take the time to respond to each and every comment. Readers are reaching out to you for a response, and demonstrating your engagement with your clientele helps put a personal face on your brand and show your vested interests in client needs. Often, this type of engagement provides you with additional content ideas or offers the opportunity to push readers to another section of your site with more detailed information, like a case study.

If you've recently completed a project, you could create a contest that challenges visitors to take the most iconic photograph of your new building. Request that they post the images to social media accounts or submit them and place them on your website. The winner could earn a signed print of the original architectural blueprints, or something else that seems fitting and relevant. This type of engagement is a great way to build awareness and get press about your latest accomplishment with minimal investment.
Contests can also play a role in your philanthropic efforts. If you regularly offer pro-bono services, there's no reason that you shouldn't use that philanthropic effort to generate awareness about your brand's social responsibility. For example, you could increase engagement and drive traffic to your site by selecting three finalists for your services and then have visitors' votes determine the winners. Each potential winner, in turn, drives traffic to your site to gain more votes. This is a particularly effective strategy if you're offering your architectural services to various non-profit agencies that may have powerful for-profit partners on their boards or as benefactors.

Now More Than Ever Your Website Is Your Public Face

As we noted at the top, organic search has increasingly become the source of a majority of leads for many businesses. And even if that's occurring more quickly in other industries than in architecture, that shift is still occurring. Put another way, what is the last product or service you purchased that didn't involve, at some point in the process, a trip to the company's website?

This shift has made the content on your website only more and more important. Blogs are an obvious and flexible source of content for your company, but that shouldn't neglect the importance of other sections of your site, from on-page copy on service pages to news sections and in-depth case studies.
To win the business of organic search visitors, it's critical that your website content focuses on defining your company as an authority that has a unique and compelling voice within the broader industry. Once you're able to push this content out to your clients, the next step becomes engagement. After all, visitors only become leads after an engagement. How you choose to engage depends on the voice and vision of your brand.
Regardless, make sure that vision defined internally and displayed prominently, through words and images, on your site. Don't be afraid to be bold: Content marketing drives results at its most authentic and personal. Start that process today, and you'll already start pulling ahead of your competitors.


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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