Marketing to architects and designers requires a unique strategy of building trust and demonstrating the reliability and quality of your products. Architects and designers aren’t looking to be sold on products; they are looking for resources and solutions.
If you can consistently provide the information they are looking for and become their go-to resource, you will build trust and long-term clients. To get started, read on for 5 tips to market to architects and designers.
1. Know Your Product and the Architect’s Needs
With any successful marketing strategy, the first step is to understand your audience and their needs. For architects, they are looking for a product that solves a particular need. You need to educate them on your product, explain what problems can be solved or how the product will bring value to the projects. You’ll need to include product performance data, details, CAD drawings, specifications, case studies, and provide great images. All this information should help the architect solve a problem or meet a need.
Most architects searching for answers want to gather the information, compare resources and come to their own conclusions. That means the more clearly you can state the unique value of your product and provide them with all the information they need to compare your product to others, the more they will come to trust your company and the resources you provide.
2. Become an Expert Resource
Whether your product is the best fit for a project, or not, you should share the information you have with architects. They will come to trust you so that when your product is the best fit, you’ll be the first choice.
To become an expert resource, you can:
- Include case studies of products.
- Provide downloadable digital models, without requiring any signup.
- Provide all product dimensions and specifications online.
- Make prices, or price ranges, easily available.
- Include video demonstrations of installation when possible.
- Provide links to building codes related to your product.
- Include applicable certification compliance such as LEED.
- Provide interactive lists of local product availability and sourcing.
All of this information will help architects become more informed and build trust and awareness of your products and your company.
3. Have an Exceptional Website
Your website will most likely be the first touch-point an architect will have with your company and products. Architects notice details, from color variations and lines to the overall aesthetic. Your website should be visually clean, with high-quality photos, and easy navigation. If you have a low-quality website, they will assume your product is also low-quality. If you want to see how architects think, take a look at their site. See how they use images to tell a story, see how they provide information on their work and see how the navigation works.
Your website is the vehicle to provide all the expert resources that we’ve discussed. On a dynamic website you can provide resources like:
- Real-time product availability
- A login area
- Updated product descriptions in clear, precise terms
- A well-calibrated search function
- Testimonials throughout the site.
- Call to action for sales and product information
- Digital downloads
The search function will also build architects’ loyalty. Often architects will know exactly what type of product they need and just want to see what you have available. Your site should quickly provide this information.
Product testimonials and demonstrations throughout your website, ideally videos, will help engage the architect. Research shows that 92% of consumers trust recommendations from other customers. This is especially true of architects if another architect is willing to recommend a product.
You also want to make sure you have clear calls to action throughout your website. This can include pricing guides, product samples, continuing education courses, and sales tools.
Finally, don’t forget to make sure your website is responsive on mobile devices. In 2019 80% of users used a mobile device to search the internet (mobile stats).
4. Make it Easy to Get Samples
Architects typically need to see and feel a product. You want to get your product into their hands as often as possible. For this reason, you should always offer free samples. Include a link to order free samples on each page of your website to make it easy to order product samples. Offering samples is also a great way to capture contact and project information.
5. Offer Continuing Education
Architects need to stay up to date on AIA continuing education, which presents a unique opportunity for building product manufacturers and fabricators to provide this education. AIA continuing education gives you the opportunity to showcase your industry knowledge while introducing your product category. Well-written courses can highlight your product’s unique features while keeping the information “educational”.
In addition to doing the traditional lunch and learn presentations in person (once we can start visiting the office again), consider video conferencing, webinars, and having a video version of your course on your website. You can also look at offering your courses through a third-party group such as AEC daily. Having AIA courses regularly available will increase brand awareness while providing architects with necessary continuing education credits. Continuing education is just as much a marketing tool as advertisements, collateral, social media, and all the other traditional marketing initiatives.
Wrapping it Up
To market to architects and designers, you need to put them first and present your product to fulfill their needs. Become a “problem solver”, be their go-to resource in your industry. This should be the mindset of all your salespeople, your marketing team, and management.
Enjoyed this article? Want to learn more? Need help? contact Shawn Donovan with Donovan+Associates, we provide strategic marketing services for architectural building product companies. Call Shawn at 813.220.0039 or send us an email in our contact form.