Why Architects Need Customer-Focused How To Guides For Marketing

Using Downloadable Guides to attract new clients

Using Downloadable Guides as a Lead Generation Source

Prospective clients will exchange contact information for guides that educate prospects on the services you offer. Offering guides is the fastest way to build a contact list.

Giving prospective clients information on hiring an architect can prepare them for construction and attract qualified customers.

Guides or "white papers” should be part of any marketing plan for architects. They establish your firm as an authority, build brand recognition and generate leads. Traditionally, white papers have been used in the Business-to-Business space. Company X writes a white paper to sell its services to company Y. Most architectural white papers are designed to educate industry professionals, not consumers. But the tide is shifting, particularly for residential architects. As consumers become hungrier for expert-level information, white papers become more enticing as Business-to-Consumer opportunities.

Guides Help Prospects Understand What Architects Do

Your potential clients will love educational papers that provide concrete and detailed information on topics that illustrate the importance of hiring an architect. Maybe they’re searching for information on the costs of green vs. conventional buildings or the value of hiring an architect over building a typical design or modular home. If you provide valuable information they can’t get elsewhere, most people will be willing to exchange an email address for a download. This is an excellent way to generate leads.

People researching your services in search engines will find your guides online and visit your website. Once there, they will exchange contact information for the guide. This contact information allows you to send emails that further educate and entice prospects to use your services.

Elements of a Desired Guide or White Paper

The key to white papers is great content. Choose topics based on what your clients want to know. What kind of questions do they have about residential architecture? Bonus points if you can come up with topics that few other architects have addressed online - your content will rank higher in search results when there’s less competition. A white paper topic should allow for in-depth analysis. Otherwise, you’re better off saving that topic for a blog (although blogs are a critical part of any marketing plan for architects).

White papers must be engaging, informative, thorough and well-written. If they don’t come off as polished and professional, they have no place in any marketing plan for architects. They should incorporate visual elements, including charts and photos, and calls-to-action that offer readers a free consultation or some other perk. Keep in mind, too, that white papers designed to answer questions or address a problem, not to be a sales pitch.

Other elements of excellent white papers include:

  • Search engine optimization (SEO) to boost your rank in search engines

  • An attention-grabbing title to draw readers in

  • A table of contents

  • A summary portion to give readers an at-a-glance idea of what you’ll be covering

  • Column breaks and bulleted lists to break up the text and add visual appeal

  • Reliable and well-sourced data and statistics

Guides that Generate Leads Get Shared Online

A well-thought-out marketing plan for architects does more than create name recognition; it generates leads. Social media and blogs, while an important part of any marketing plan for architects, don’t require readers to provide any information in exchange for content. Marketers probably wouldn’t find much success in that because it would limit exposure. 

White papers are a different beast. Because the information is helpful accurate and have more value than a blog, you can require readers to provide an email address to see the content. People are willing to share your guide/white paper when they believe the content is unique and thorough enough that it cannot be found elsewhere. Keep this in mind when planning your premium content, and you will start pulling in more qualified leads.