You know the type of clients your firm is looking for, but you aren’t sure what to say on your website to help them see that they’re the perfect match.
Likewise, you might be having trouble dealing with low-quality leads with unrealistic budgets, who don’t understand or value what an architect does, or don’t share your values at all.
Luckily there’s a simple change to your website that will help.
As a marketing coach for architects, I’ve helped lots of firms to better communicate who they’re for and not for through their website.
Here are the three questions you need to answer clearly and directly on your website so that you can attract your ideal clients, and turn away less suitable prospects.
The first thing we need to figure out is what type of client we are looking for.
What does your ideal client believe about the work you do? What shared beliefs and values should they have? What type of personality would fit best? What are they looking to get out of the process? How long are they planning to stay in their new project for? What is their financial situation and project budget? How ready are they to get started? How well do they understand the role of an architect?
Write down your answers to these and any other questions that come to mind when you’re thinking about what makes for an ideal client.
Bullet points are all that’s needed, and the fewer words the better.
You’ve worked out who your firm is for, but what about the other side of the coin?
Who are you looking to avoid? Who is simply better off working with someone else, or perhaps someone other than an architect?
It might be a client with unrealistic expectations about their budget, someone who expects architects to low-ball their fees, or someone who has a design solution in mind and just wants it drawn up for them.
Write down whatever you consider an immediate red flag or disqualifier in a potential client. Again, bullet points are fine, and the more succinct and clear you can be at this stage the better as well.
Finally, it’s time to speak to some of the concerns your potential clients are likely to be thinking about at this stage of the process.
Do you only take on a handful of projects each year, meaning new clients should expect to wait 12 months or more to get started? Are you a much smaller team than many of your competitors? Or a much bigger team? Are you looking to attract work in a sector where you don’t have much experience? Is it that your fees are significantly higher than most other architects in town? Are you located hours away from where your clients are building?
By addressing these and any other potential objections directly with confident and clear copy, your ideal clients will feel re-assured that you’re in control and that they don’t have to worry.
At the same time, if any of these realities about your practice are deal-breakers for potential clients, it’s best to steer them away now rather than go through a costly sales process with a lead that won’t ever turn into a paying client.
Now that you’ve developed a set of concise bullet points covering each of these areas, your next step is to get them ready to go on your website for potential clients to read.
You can re-write your list into a few short paragraphs or simply leave it in the form of bullet points.
The most important thing to get right is to keep the language as simple and matter of fact as possible.
Your visitors don’t want to see marketing spin or how big your vocabulary is. Our goal here is to be clear, confident and just get straight to the point.
Once you’re happy with the copy, you should place it somewhere on your website where visitors can easily find it, such as your about page, service page, process page, or your contact page.
And here’s a longer form version from one of my coaching clients, Kuzman Architecture, which feels a lot more conversational than the example above.
"Before we launch into a blurb about us, here’s a few things we know about you…
You have a project and are seeking an architect, the alternative isn’t an option. You know that engaging an architect will give you a bespoke home and you appreciate the value this will add to your lifestyle. You acknowledge that the fees we charge reflect the personal service and attention to detail you’ll experience when you work with us. You want your project in capable hands, your needs to be understood, your opinion to be heard, your budget and time frames to be respected. These things are important, but we know you also want more.
You want to live in a house that uniquely reflects you. You want to enjoy the design process (let’s face it, it can take as long as the build). And you also want to make sure this building you’re creating is doing something good for the environment with energy efficient design and high quality local materials. You’ve researched, you’ve found us, and you like what you see!"
Kuzman Architecture’s copy is doing a great job talking about the studio’s values and priorities, while addressing potential objections like relatively high fees for quality work and the concerns clients might have about architects not listening to them.
Have a go at answering each of the three questions, reduce your list down to your most important ideals, then put it up on your website for visitors to read—you’ll be shocked what a difference it makes.