I have mixed reactions from construction consultants on the need to add a Blog to their static website (more on that another time). They range from not knowing what a Blog is to thinking that this is probably the domain of others in the know!’ They have neither the time nor the inclination. Anyway, what would we blog about? Do you think there are real benefits to adding a blog in to the marketing mix?
Having said that, Blogging for the sake of it is not particularly helpful or purposeful, as I have discovered. The best way to edge forward in to the proverbial Blogosphere is to ask yourself the question, WHY, before you do anything else. If you are serious about Marketing your ideas and creativity with others an outline plan of action will suffice to get you on the road least travelled by many architects.
Based upon research a very high percentage of your customers surf the internet for information and adding content on to your site will create exposure and raise awareness of your brand. This is one sure fire way of getting known by your audience.
Here are some helpful tips on why I think it is worth taking the plunge.
1. Attract an on line Community
All Architects need clients, whether they come through the door or visit your website. To be honest, most sites are quite boring with little or no place to interact with them other than a contact form. That may be a good start, but. I believe it must move on from there. A good Blog will help generate interest in your business and help retain new and existing customers. They will get to see the type of work you do, the people you work with and hopefully develop a feel for the personality of the practice. Once someone subscribes to your Blog you have an audience.
2. Educate, Inform and Listen
Informed and educated visitors to your Blog will become confident enough to buy from you. We all hear about relationships being about trust. If you educate and inform your readers about best practice, good value and a reliable name in the industry they will interact with your site. Unlike a static website; a Blog creates a forum for two way communication. This is a bonus for you! This will give you an insight in to the kind of requirements and preferences your audience is looking for. Comments, Feedback Forms, Surveys and Polls become Market Research Tools helping you to market your practice better. This interaction can also be measured with tools like Google Analytics.
Tell your audience what you do each day including issues like putting together a feasibility study, submitting a planning application, appointing a structural engineer and why. There is much to do in the education process and your website could become a really good resource.
3. Retain your Audience
How many well intentioned people start a business Blog but fizzle out after a short while? Plenty! And there are some very good reasons why this happens. Bear in mind that it takes time to develop credibility in the market place and gain trust. If you are sincere and helpful in your desire to develop a simple and easy to understand blog people will read and sometimes even respond. If you then timetable the writing of your posts you will it will help by creating anticipation. Stick with it. You might only have 20 followers but they are there because they are interested in what you are saying. Keep their attention!
4. It Gets You Thinking about your client base
You are an architect with a business to run. You have your off line marketing co-lateral in place and a website. Review your track record and experience in business. Who buys from you? This is your target audience and it is these people you are writing to. Share your passion with them, write to that client that you enjoy working with and tell him or her about your creativity and show them you have technical ‘know how’. I was recently asked to market a particular service for a client. After looking through their website I discovered there was nothing on their site relating to this service. They were offering a service but telling no one about it. People want information from a source they can trust. That information will include telling your audience why they need you and what you can offer them.
5. You are telling others what you do
This is what we do and we can do this for you. In this economic climate it makes sense to use every medium available to us to tell our audience about what we do best. It is also an opportunity to educate your audience about how we do it and why. A Blog is an effective tool for communicating with employees, suppliers and customers by sharing knowledge, expertise and creative ideas. Write about ‘Sustainability’ and ‘Environmental’ issues and why they are important in putting together a brief for that next project. Don’t be afraid to write a technical post about new regulations and legislation which will affect design and planning applications. Help your customers understand the real issues before they embark upon a project. They will thank you for it.
The next post will be about content – ‘What to blog about!’
If you want a Blog
If you do not have a Blog we can help you set up one and train you in how to run and manage it or we can do it for you. Don’t procrastinate, contact us.
I am not alone!
Here are a few good examples of Consultants who are currently blogging;
Mark Stephens Architects – Architects
“…I have been blogging for almost a year now, best thing I have done webwise, ever! Very search engine friendly,is a constantly updating website, and mine incorporates twitter & flickr feeds. I can update it from my phone or ipad in the field” Follow Mark on Twitter – http://twitter.com/architectmark
Design Your House – Resource for Home building & Renovation
“We are passionate about our subject and run the ultimate information website for home owners by architects” Follow Krystyna on Twitter – http://twitter.com/DesignYourHouse
Studio Klaschka – Architects
Established in May 2001, Studio Klaschka Limited is a London based studio of architecture & design, aiming to deliver considered design led solutions supported by professional knowledge, experience and technology. Follow Philippa on Twitter – http://twitter.com/studioklaschka