In this first Marketing For Architects blog post we look at why architects generally struggle with promoting themselves to get new clients and what to do about it.
After you go through this blog post you'll have a much better understanding of what good marketing looks like so you can apply it to make more money in your business and get clients who appreciate what you do.
In addition if you find watching video better than reading an article simply scroll on down to the bottom as there is a video version of this blog post down there.
Now, I cover a lot of advanced stuff on this site so I decided to get back to basics.
I take a lot of this information for granted because I have been studying and applying it for so long.
And I need to appreciate that not everyone has.
In fact most marketing I see from architects isn't great.
But there are very good reasons for that which I’ll share with you in a minute.
So to put an end to that I put together a series of these blog posts so you too can get the underlying philosophy and strategies behind being a ninja architectural marketer.
There are going to be around 9 or so blog posts starting with the basics.
And then we’ll move into strategy.
And finally, I’ll show you the tactics themselves so you can deploy them for your own business.
I am going to tell you something now: a lot of this material will challenge you.
Some of it will be like trying to solve a puzzle.
Marketing for architects isn’t so much a subject to learn.
It’s actually a WAY OF THINKING and looking at how other people will interact with you & what you offer.
I’ve tried to make it as easy to follow as I can but there are parts that are not only hard to describe but even harder to distil into simple sound bites you can easily digest.
Anyway, I’ve done my best and am going to share everything I know and have learned about marketing over the years.
I hope you get a lot of use out of this series and wish you all the best in using this information TO INCREASE YOUR INCOME AND FREEDOM OF CHOICE for you and your family.
Let’s get going!
Before we get to the reasons why architects make such terrible marketers we need to look at why bother learn marketing in the first place?
The kind of marketing we’re going to discover here isn’t taught anywhere, even in marketing degree courses.
It isn’t taught anywhere and as a result must be self-taught.
And I’ve seen this over and over again, self-taught marketing Architects become wealthy, this information WILL make you a millionaire.
But to learn it we must know what it is.
Marketing is a combination of things:
Good marketing is about UNDERSTANDING THE PERSPECTIVE OF THE OTHER PERSON, how they think.
It’s about understanding the words they use to describe things, and then communicate with them using THEIR favourite communication not YOUR favourite communication.
So you need to start listening behind the words, start listening for what people are really saying, listening for their emotional drivers, their motivations, their fears, their frustrations, their wants, their desires, where they're trying to go...
It’s about BEING UNDERSTOOD and someone who really wants to understand.
And then packaging what we offer as architects to help them get the results they're looking for.
Marketing expertise leads architectural services that market themselves.
Great marketing clearly communicates to prospective clients that they are buying a result, a desired outcome, delivery from some pain/anxiety they’re feeling.
The service you offer is a MEANS TO AN END they're seeking.
If you talk about your architectural services VS "I understand the outcome you're trying to achieve, I understand your fear/frustration/pain, I understand what you want to be delivered from and I've created something that if you hire me it will deliver it for you, it will get you to here, it's a means.”
And keep talking about them and their needs and how your services will deliver what they want.
The point is this:
…It's about them and the outcome that they're seeking.
Until you get that you must stop talking about how great you and your services are.
You must start talking about them and their needs and the results or outcome they want or benefit they're seeking.
Otherwise, you'll be banging your head against a wall.
Ultimately, understanding marketing allows you to build the marketing INTO your architectural services.
So when they see the service, on its face they see it's what they need to solve their problem.
Then marketing and selling becomes easier as all you're saying is "I understand your needs and this is what will deliver the result you're looking for".
That’s the high level view of marketing and I don’t expect you to quite grasp this just yet.
It took me a long time to think this way and that’s what marketing is.
It’s a WAY OF THINKING and by the time you finish this series of marketing fundamentals for architects blog posts you’ll start thinking this way too.
Marketing for architects is about getting clients for your business.
If you don't know how to get clients, then you don't have security or stability in your business - it's that simple.
The core skill is going out and getting clients in the door.
Most people won't go out and get clients for their architectural practices.
Most businesses die - their founders losing precious money, time and energy.
If you ask them why their business failed, you will consistently hear a common theme: "I didn't have enough clients."
What we have learned from our society, school and parents block us from getting clients.
We have a BIAS AGAINST MARKETERS AND SALES.
We think it’s about people coming to find us not the other way around.
Business success is very different from job success.
People bring mindsets from their jobs to their business.
We tend to bring a "job mindset" with us as we build our businesses.
JOB SUCCESS IS ABOUT REACTIVELY DOING WORK, AND BUSINESS SUCCESS IS ABOUT PRO-ACTIVELY GETTING CLIENTS.
In our jobs we are re-active because someone else took the risk and responsibility and hired others to help them.
We are not aware of all these things.
We don’t understand that the owner doesn’t get a pay-check.
The more we work in a job the more we think that is how the whole system works.
Starting a business means being pro-active.
When you start your own business you get a shock to the system.
Getting clients is really where it is at.
Are you willing to do whatever it takes to succeed?
The willingness to do whatever it takes is key to succeeding with marketing.
You'll often have to step outside of your comfort zone to have marketing success.
You will have to face and overcome your fears of embarrassment, rejection & "pushing" people.
This isn't about doing anything unethical, but it is about breaking through your fears.
You may have to walk up to people and ask for their business.
If you don’t you might as well give up now.
Whatever your biggest fear is, it will come up.
We forget what it was like before we became an architect.
Our communication with ourselves changes as we become an architect and our ego gets attached to these changes.
We think we are smart & important.
We have blind spots and ego attachments that prevent them from being able to do good marketing.
We think people should listen to what they say and they are stupid if they don’t.
They see how valuable their knowledge and expertise is but the ego distorts this into becoming self-absorbed assholes.
Marketing and sales are viewed as being BELOW THEIR LEVEL OF SOPHISTICATION and they shouldn’t stoop to that level.
Architects are purists & artists and want to really help people without manipulation and watering down their message of what they do.
They don’t want to resort to saying something salesy to get a potential client’s attention.
And they see salespeople and think I don’t want to be that.
There's a way of maintaining a high level of ethical integrity and a real caring for other human beings and a purity for your desire to help them with their projects.
And there’s a way when working with them to give them your best in a way they can hear & acknowledge it and get the best results.
BUT ALSO, when they don't know you, like you, or trust you yet you communicate like a laser beam so you get through and cut through all the clutter of daily life.
It’s been estimated that we get hammered with over 10,000 marketing messages every day be it online, TV, billboards, etc
You need to cut through all that and land your message.
Until another human being out there makes the decision within themselves that 'this is right for me' and they take out their hard earned cash and they trade it for your architectural expertise.
NOTHING ELSE MATTERS WITHOUT THIS.
Them hiring you is the oxygen in your businesses body.
Having positive feedback on your services is one thing.
But you need to be trading money for your services with them, otherwise you won’t last long.
There is friction to this as we will discuss later.
They don't take it personally.
PERSISTENCE to find the things that do work and roll them out and scale them is the difference maker.
Most people try something it then doesn’t work and they then say “well that strategy doesn’t work!”
Remember Thomas Edison and his light bulb, the legend says it took his 10,000 attempts before he got it to work.
You as the marketer get to be that inspiring interesting person that pulls them out of their apathetic moderately depressed and dull life and makes things interesting.
Remember the reality they live in.
Never assume that they are just like you because they probably aren’t.
Architects usually think their ideal clients are just like them, motivated, smart and driven, etc
They probably aren’t like that at all.
Dedication to creating marketing messages, cutting through the BS, reaching the prospective client, motivating them to take action is just as important as learning your area of expertise and skill in the first place.
This is us proactively going where potential clients are found and getting in front of them with your marketing message.
These are all the things you do to get in front of prospective clients.
We have online pay per click ads on Google or Facebook.
It can be print ads in magazines or local papers.
Or TV or radio ads.
And it can be networking events with potential clients.
ADVERTISING IS OUR FIRST TOUCH POINT WITH POTENTIAL CLIENTS.
This is proactively finding people yourself, one to one, asking questions about their needs, and getting them to tell you what you need to do to get them to buy, then closing.
You need to have a process in place that does all this.
This is what happens AFTER we advertise and have gotten their attention.
Whenever a client takes an action (clicking on an ad, subscribing, completing a survey, buying, hiring us, etc.).
A CONVERSION IS A PREDETERMINED METRIC OF A POTENTIAL CLIENT TAKING AN ACTION WE WANT THEM TO.
The real money is not in getting the client in the first place, it's in getting them to buy MORE stuff from you.
It’s about having things to sell them besides what you offer.
THIS IS WHERE JOINT VENTURES COME INTO THE PICTURE.
Or 3D modelling of the clients project on top of the drawings & design.
It’s about having something else you can sell them.
It's 3-10x less expensive to sell something to an existing client than it is to go out and get a new client.
Find out what your client wants to buy before/during/after or instead of hiring you.
This is the back-end and is where the real money is made.
This is where people who visit your website give you their contact information because you have something valuable on your website that they will trade their details for.
This means you can follow up with them with offers for your services to your hearts content.
So Commit Yourself To Learning And Mastering Marketing.
It's the most important thing you can for the success of your business and your financial future.
We tend to behave in relationships with how we see ourselves and how we define ourselves in the world.
To succeed in business, it’s important to identify yourself mentally as a marketer.
As someone who pro-actively goes out and uses the tools you’ll learn in this series of blog posts to get clients for your business.
If you have unconsciously avoided learning marketing and sales because you had biases or prejudices against these professions, now is time to change this thought process!
In this first Marketing for Architects blog post, answer these questions:
Where have I avoided the identity of “marketer” in my life and in my business, and why?
What can I do today to begin shifting my identity from a reactive job mentality to a proactive marketing mentality?
What fear will I need to overcome to succeed as a marketer, and what will I have to do to overcome it?
In the next blog post we shall look at reinforcing what we have discussed and installing what I see as the 12 key marketing mindsets to lay the foundation for you & your business.
If you find watching video easier than reading a blog post then this is for you!
My name is Declan Connolly, founder of Affluent Architect.
I’ve been designing homes since 2000.
I started my own practice in 2009.
And now I teach Architects from all over the world how to generate Custom Residential projects for their practices.
And after all that, I can safely say:
The ‘normal’ way of educating potential clients on the benefits of hiring an Architect…
...is NOT THE ANSWER to getting great clients & projects.
If that worked Architects wouldn’t find themselves in the constant battle of:
❌ Talking to people only interested in free advice…
❌ Writing proposals for people who only use them as a fee shopping exercise…
❌ Being underpaid & treated like a commodity…
These problems happen because Architects haven’t been taught something crucial:
How to articulate the value of their services in a way that impacts their clients on an EMOTIONAL level.
Instead, they try to ‘logically’ educate potential clients on:
❌ Reasons to hire an Architect…
❌ Project process…
❌ How they deliver their services, etc…
But high-quality clients don’t care about these things.
In fact, they view these things as OBSTACLES to them getting their new home.
It’s like when someone books a flight for a holiday.
They don’t care about the number of rivets in the plane & the stitching in the seats.
All they care about is enjoying their holiday at the end destination.
Similarly, all that matters to the potential client is the new home.
Along with all the lovely lifestyle benefits it will give them.
All the ‘logical’ based approach does is position Architects as a ‘set of plans to get the permit’.
So, here’s how we fix this.
My Architects attract creative residential projects with clients that pay top dollar for great design.
And the key to this is my proprietary A.V.I.D. Method (Articulate Value & Influence Design Method)...
…which creates marketing messages that emotionally connect with their potential clients.
This A.V.I.D. Method has been developed by trial & error in the real world since 2009.
And it’s the only method specific to the single-family residential market for Architects on the planet.
It’s enabled me & my Architect students to:
✅ Work with celebrity clients on their new home like Mark Owen from the pop band Take That...
✅ Work on jobs that have been featured on the TV Show Grand Designs…
✅ Work on homes worth as much as $18.75 million…
And the secret to this is something I learned when I was struggling to get decent projects for my practice.
I had hit a brick wall and decided to study how past Architects managed to do it.
And who better than Sir Norman Foster himself.
He got started in the high-tech industrial market.
Which is a super-competitive market against far bigger and more established firms.
Sir Norman Foster didn’t go and try and ‘logically’ educate potential clients.
Instead, he described what his target clients’ businesses would be like AFTER they built one of these buildings.
And once I applied this same principle to Custom Residential it completely changed the game for me.
Describing a potential client’s life AFTER they have built their new home is what gets their attention.
✅ It instantly creates trust & respect because we are describing what they really want...
✅ It creates an air of 'exclusivity' & ‘uniqueness’ around our services which clients pay more for...
✅ Defines who our target clients should be & where to find them…
However, it must be done in a certain sequence.
And that’s exactly what I’m going to show you on a special Case Study recording.
Where I show you how the A.V.I.D. Method works.
As well as how it creates my students’ marketing for them which saves a bunch of time.
This Case Study also shows you loads of examples of our students' marketing that is working like crazy in the Custom Resi market:
So, if you're sick and tired of being treated like a commodity...
And you want to finally work with appreciative clients who value what you do…
…get paid the fees that you deserve & have a great income for a change…
…and work on fulfilling creative jobs without sacrificing time with your family…
Then let’s get the A.V.I.D. Method working for your practice.