Online Marketing for Built Environment Small Businesses

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Built environment firms - architecture, interior design, design-build contractors and landscape designers - with less than ten employees often have a hard time allocating time for marketing. In place of time allocation, small firms often overspend on advertising because it's easier than developing a marketing strategy.  If you think that being a small business owner means that you will likely to be trampled by the competition if you don't follow the pack with print and radio advertisements, think again.  The Internet has created a level playing field where small companies can be just as effective as large ones at attracting the right type of clients. The key is using marketing automation software and writing exceptional content.  It begins with spending time architecting a robust online marketing plan before you dive in will ensure your budget and efforts are used efficiently. It all starts with a highly usable, easily updated website that is content rich and answers questions your prospects have. A beautiful website is nice, but if nobody sees it, what’s the point?

The way Search Engine Optimization (SEO) was conducted during the first 20 years of the internet is all but dead. Don't be scammed by SEO spammers that send you email solicitations. Clear, concise written content that has a variety of highly searched, minimally competitive keywords is what will get you found now. Getting found online is directly tied to the number of pages and blog articles on your website. A greater number of pages on your website will result in higher ranking on "search engine results page" or SERP's and more visitors to your site. SEO is the process of improving your company’s exposure by ultimately improving your ranking on a search results page. There are multiple optimization methods that you can use to increase the visibility of your firm's online presence and capture sales leads at a fraction of the cost of traditional advertising. 

Keywords  - Keywords are recurring terms or phrases you should use that best describe the product or service you are offering. They are most easily added to your website through blogs. Let's say you are a landscape, designer. Already, there are two obvious keyword choices, but what kind of audience are you targeting? What services do you offer that competitors don't? These are some questions you can ask yourself when deciding what keywords might work best for your generating desired prospects. Choosing highly-effective keywords is an art and requires that you keep a thesaurus at hand. SEO is the act of seeking synonyms for the terms you want to be associated with and crafting phrases that more narrowly define the ways you want to be found. If you own an interior design firm, "Interior Design" is a broad term that is highly searched and should be used but by itself is is ineffectual. Consider modifiers combined with interior design that expand the word into a "long-tail keyword phrase" such as Mid-Century Modern Interior Design, Boston's Residential Interior Design Professionals or Commercial Office Interior Design. Just remember to be careful and avoid keyword "stuffing", which will get found out by search engines. When they suspect it, your site could be penalized by Google, never to bee seen in search again.

Landing Pages - Landing pages are all about lead capture. Offering something valuable to a visitor in exchange for contact information will result in a list of prospective clients you can email.  Someone likes what you offer but wants more information? Give them a free e-book to download or provide a free webinar that helps them better understand the services you provide without being "salesy".  Information that increases their knowledge and interest will position you as a thought-leader and act a mnemonic when it comes time to buy. 

Content and Blogs - The written content on your website should be engaging to a visitor, especially to a prospective client. In addition to using keywords and providing information that draws their attention, educate them on the benefits and values of your products and services. Encourage return visits by keeping your blogs thoughtful, inviting and current so that there's always something new to read. Encourage engagement with a form that allows readers to sign up to receive your blog via email. 

Analytics - Periodically check your website platform's analytics tool to determine if your web marketing strategy is working. Look to see what terms people are using to found your website, which articles are driving the most traffic and what pages are the next pages they click on to after coming to your website. Tweak pages that are working best and make major improvements to those that aren't. Analysis and management of your website - honing it and making it better - increases your chances of attracting and converting visitors. Ongoing maintenance will increase site rankings and visitors.

Web marketing is an art and a science, and you want to be viewed as the expert. Your goal is to promote your product as having the best benefits of all the competition. Smart web marketing techniques increase visitors, generates leads and converts them into paying customers. Then repeat customers. With the right techniques, your ten person firm has every potential to grow the number and quality of clients.