Content marketing for Architects is a wonderful way to win the clients’ trust and loyalty. As a 3D rendering company, we’ve been working with different types of architectural cgi and know just how beneficial and profitable the subject is. For while intrusive ads irritate prospects, high-quality content provides them with valuable information on how they may improve their lives – using the services advertised. It allows to keep in touch with all the groups of customers – attract attention of new clients and maintain the interest of the existing ones, encourage those who are ready to start the cooperation and engage those who are just thinking about it. This way, content helps the architect to get more orders and raise the commercial success of the firm.
According to the Content Marketing Institute study in 2017, content marketing generates 3 times as many leads as traditional outbound marketing, and costs 62% less.
Moreover, high-quality content will work for the architect in the long run. Unlike the ads that provide only the short term sparks of the customers’ fancy, it will ensure a strong online presence of the business and attract clients for many years. To build a lasting relationship with the audience, the content marketing has to be implemented within a well thought-out system. Want to build an efficient strategy and get the fame of a thought leader? Learn 7 steps that will help you create a powerful content marketing system.
#1. Create the Portrait of an Ideal Client
To make sure that content marketing for Architects hits the target, it’s crucial to understand clearly who his audience is. To do that, one needs to collect the data on the existing customers and organize it in the CRM system or just an ordinary Excel file. After that, it is necessary to analyze all the info, summarize it, and create a generalized image of an ideal customer – the client avatar. To develop the latter, the following data is required:
- demographics – the name, age, location, occupation, level of education, annual income.
- goals and values – the primary goals the ideal client pursues, as well as personal and career ambitions that drive him. This info will help to create the content relevant to customers and show that the architect’s attitude to work meets all expectations.
- challenges and pain points – what difficulties related to the architectural sphere the clients encounter. What thoughts keep them up at night? Identifying these will allow to create the content that hits the target. This knowledge will contribute to creating lead-driving articles, white papers and adverts.
- objections and roles – the doubts people usually have about the architectural services as such and things that readers want to know before starting cooperation. This info will help to handle the objections effectively and without pressure on the reader who doesn’t like being sold to – through articles, or Frequently Asked Questions section on the website page. As for the role, it means that before writing, the Architects need to understand whether this buyer persona is the decision-maker or he reports to someone else.
- sources of information – where the clients get the info about the architectural services. It will help to identify the channels the target audience uses – for instance, write guest posts to relevant blogs.
#2. Decide What Will Interest Your Avatar
Next step of the content marketing for Architects is to understand what prospects are looking for. So when it’s clear who the target audience is, it’s time to see what sort of information will be of interest to them. For that purpose, it’s crucial to take into account that prospective clients have different levels of awareness about the architectural services. Some are already looking for contractors, while some don’t even know they need ones. As a result, distinct content should be created for them:
- Top of the funnel – targets the prospects who are completely unaware of the brand. So ToFu attracts attention of the audience, introduces the company and builds general awareness about its work. The content at this stage does not sell but educate, help, entertain and inspire.
- Middle of the funnel addresses the audience having a special need and already looking for solutions. MoFu shows the architectural services as the best option to tackle the task while promoting the brand.
- Bottom of the funnel is created for clients who are ready to start a project. Now that they know what they need, since they trust the architect, it’s time to start a dialogue with them – using a free consultation offer, for instance, or project evaluation.
#3. Choose Channels for Content Promotion
This step literally defines whether content marketing for Architects will be a success. So how does one find the right channels for business promotion? There are 2 essential things to do before proceeding: conduct a thorough competition analysis and define the exact goals to achieve. The latter will help understand what to look for, while the former will show where to find it, how to measure it and the exact figures to strive for.
Once that data is gathered and analysed, time to choose the channels to invest into. Here are the most promising ones for the architects to explore:
- Blog works best for the top and middle of the funnel clients. Blogging allows the Architect to build reputation and trust, inspire prospects, as well as tell the unique story of the brand – which makes it so much more relatable to readers. Blogging requires different types of content: articles, case studies, behind the scene news, even videos. Furthermore, if the materials of the blog are SEO-optimized and the publications are made regularly, they will occupy top ranks in the search engine. It will help to attract both prospects looking for solutions and customers ready to start a collaboration.
- Social media targets mostly top of the funnel prospects, attracting attention to the brand or the architect’s persona. Strong social media presence has the power to boost website rankings and prove the trustworthiness, for many people go on Facebook and Pinterest before making a decision. Customers feedback, shares and comments – prospects need to see them all.
- E-mail is useful for middle and bottom of the funnel clients. The best thing about email marketing is that it allows to stay top-of-mind while providing the audience with valuable content. Moreover, it’s a more personal way for Architects to communicate with target audience, as it allows to divide readers into segments according to their interests and send the letters that are tailored to their needs. Which makes a perfect base for building trust with customers – one of the main objectives of content marketing for Architects.
- Events are effective for middle and bottom of the funnel customers. Events may include open lectures, master classes and meetings, aimed at sharing exclusive knowledge while letting Architects establish personal contact with visitors.
#4. Make the First Post
This stage often proves to be a challenge for those who have no previous experience in content marketing. However, it’s crucial to publish the first post before building a plan. For this allows Architects to understand the time it takes to write and test the reaction of the audience. As a result, this first experience enables to develop a realistic marketing plan.
#5. Create the Content Plan
Content plan is a working document that turns all the information obtained at previous steps into a clear roadmap. The plan is usually created for a long period of time, which may vary according to the business needs – from 1 month to a year. For the first time though, it makes sense to start with a shorter term – for a successful content marketing for Architects is all about research, trials and errors, trends and building momentum. In a nutshell, it’s usually tough to predict in advance every newsworthy event in the future, so the plan will require adjustments anyway.
The structure of the content plan may hugely vary, depending on the strategy and the workflow. Hence a huge number of templates – each chooses what suits him best. Normally, the editorial plan contains the following data:
- Keyword – the query the target audience uses to google the topic in question. One can find key phrases using services such as Google AdWords, Keyword Planner, Moz or Semrush. It’s necessary then to understand what exactly people are looking for when using this query – which will define the focus.
- Topic – the name of the piece. To identify the most interesting subjects for the target audience, Architects can take a look at competitors’ publications – and see which posts gained the most comments, views and shares. Speaking about the blogs and SEO, it’s a good practice to check on the websites that occupy the top position for the query of interest. And to learn what topics are trendy in the architectural sphere, one can use BuzzSumo – a great online software showing the most popular content according to different criteria, such as a number of shares or links. The best option, however, is to turn to what the customers ask and want to know – remember their questions and ask the current clients what they would appreciate to learn from a professional architect.
- Time of Publication – the time and date for the content piece to appear. To keep the reader’s’ attention and high ranks in search engines, the publications have to be made regularly, at least once per week. Moreover, it is important to make new posts at the peak time, when the potential customers may see them immediately.
- Responsible for the Publication – the name of the person who is in charge of creating the piece or getting it done.
#6. Use Several Forms of Content
As far as the formats are concerned, there is a huge number of options to choose from. The most performing ones are blog posts, videos, imagery, and podcasts. Let’s review them in brief – to understand the strengths and benefits of which.
The numerous benefits of blogging include SEO-friendliness, possibility to build an image of an expert, and getting the content that can be reused in other formats and channels. There is a large number of post formats that would suit any goals of content marketing for Architects. For instance, How-tos, Case Studies, Lists, Statistics, Questions and Answers, Comparisons, News, Checklists – and many more. Quite a variety to choose from, for every goal and topic.
High-quality imagery makes a great addition to blog posts, and is an asset for social media. In the first case, images serve to break up large chunks of text, illustrate a point or add a visual interest. Besides, search engine favors posts with optimized images and promotes its ranking, which gives the piece a higher chance to be seen. As for the social media, imagery helps to draw attention to the case studies about the recent project.
Getting high-quality images to empower content marketing is a piece of cake for Architects now. Any type of visuals can be got with realistic 3D rendering. It’s easy, all one needs is to provide a brief, and then get the imagery showing the project in photoreal quality. Moreover, it offers new possibilities. The wonderful thing about CGI is that it doesn’t need the physical existence of an object reproduced. Therefore, Architects can get breathtaking pictures of long-distance projects, properties under construction and even projects that the specialist would want work with but hasn’t yet.
Video is a time-proven way to catch customers’ attention, boost engagement online, grow brand awareness by 157%, and improve seo ranking. For according to Hubspot, landing pages convert by 80% more with a video embedded. Moreover, Youtube reports that each year mobile video popularity increases by 100%. Quite an asset, isn’t?
As for content marketing for Architects, one can use video in email, on social media, and Youtube. It is a perfect format for introducing the brand, giving helpful tips, and even making spectacular case studies. In fact, many successful Architecture firms maintain youtube channels where they showcase their amazing projects, share design ideas and inform on what’s new in the industry.
Podcasts are great for establishing trust with prospects and developing online reputation as an expert. Easy to produce and inexpensive, they allow to reach out to a broader audience. And what audience: according to a study conducted by Edison Research in 2016, podcast subscribers tend to be wealthy. They are probably too busy to read anything that is not work-related, so they listen to podcasts – while driving or working out. Another factor in favor of this type of content is that it is relatively new territory in architectural market. Which means there’s room for creativity and opportunity to get attention.
#7. Follow the Plan and Measure the Profit
Now’s the time to measure results. To understand where to invest resources, it’s crucial to follow the plan and track the performance of each channel. But merely creating content, however excellent, isn’t enough. To bring clients, content marketing for Architects needs exposure – which means promotion. By investing into promotion one makes sure that articles, videos and posts will find the audience and bring prospects to action.
So in a few months, one needs to count the number of publications in every channel and measure their performance according to the metrics previously set. Whatever these are, it’s necessary then to calculate how many actual clients the content brought. For building reputation and getting new contracts are two separate goals. Based on the data, the Architects may find out which channels bring clients. This will allow to make conclusions as to where to increase the activity and which channels to drop altogether.
As you can see, efficient content marketing for Architects is a profitable undertaking. It won’t give immediate results, but it will constantly work for building a strong reputation and bring the harvest in the long run. All in all, the task to create working system is not so difficult provided one follows a step-by-step guide. This way, the architects will be able to understand what, where, for whom, and how to post in order to win the customers’ loyalty and expand the business, and how to optimize the system.
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Irma writes articles and marketing copy for ArchiCGI. Her dream is that more people discover the power of CGI for architecture. Irma is into neuromarketing, ruby chocolate and Doctor Who series.