Here’s a simple approach to building an effective architectural, engineering or construction business marketing strategy. If you implement these three steps correctly, you’ll be 80 per cent of the way to being successful. (The remaining 20 per cent are all the other valid approaches you can consider — and it won’t hurt to apply them — but you’ll be most of the way there when you start here.)
One: Define what truly makes you different from your current and future competition. Note that every word in this sentence is important. Differentiation — the “stand out in the crowd” quality that defines your business identity must be clear, obvious, and demandingly effective.
Be wary of clichés here. If you want to dare say “we have great customer service” then this phrase only works if the second point on this three-part test is absolutely overwhelming. Your differentiation doesn’t need to be excessively complex. Look for where you really are the only provider of a profitable product or service (or you do what you do in an “only” way) to get started.
Two: Gather sincere testimonials from current and recent former clients who will be willing to share your differentiation message.
These can be emails or letters, social media comments, videos (easy to do these days with a phone), that demonstrate your clients really have found value in our service. In some cases, you simply need to ask. The best time to ask for a video or written/email testimonial would be when you receive one orally. Sometimes you can help the process by turning the oral comments into words for the clients’ approval. Obviously, don’t fake your testimonials — you’ll be caught out in the end.
Three: Finally, learn the basics of website and social media marketing.
Yes, you can hand over much of this work to consultants, employees or contractors, but I think basic appreciation and understanding of web processes will give you an edge, if only in truly understanding what can be done and in avoiding the various scams out there for things like search engine optimism. Many services are free — though you’ll have to spend some time and energy in learning what you need to know. And there are reputable consultants who can guide you and encourage you to develop your skills. You may find these from your relevant trade groups/associations at their conferences.
If you get the three points above right, you won’t need to spend a fortune to be effective at marketing. In fact, I would suggest even if you are a very large business you would achieve good results with a budget of a few hundred dollars a month or less (and you probably succeed with virtually no budget if you are a smaller organization.)
You can reach Mark Buckshon by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or connect with him (for a personal conversation) here.