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I would like to open a discussion to share marketing/advertising strategies among small residential design firms. Most of my business is word of mouth but I would like to broaden my reach and target a few specific neighborhoods. Please share any strategies that you find particularly successful. I have researched HOUZZ Pro, Angie's list, marketing postcards to specific neighborhoods, more frequent social media posts and ads in local Home and Design magazine, but have never used any of them and am not sure of their effectiveness or if they are worth the investment.
Thanks in advance,
SOLA-SOLE ARCHITECTS LLC
Thanks for your honest feedback. I was not convinced that Angie's list or Houzz pro services would be very helpful. You voiced my concerns.
I appreciate your response.
We subscribe to HOUZZ too. We do indeed occasionally get a decent referral because of this. However, be very careful about downloading or sharing anything on the HOUZZ site. There are internet "trolls" who peruse everyone's' website or blog that gets stuff form HOUZZ for copyright infringement. We just had to settle out of court for a significant sum simply because we shared an article off the HOUZZ site that has a photo embedded in it from a photographer that claims HOUZZ had no permission to use his photo. Until HOUZZ gives us real assurances on this we have decided to take any links we shared from them off of our blog. Too big of a risk.
Peter L Pfeiffer, FAIA President & Founding Shareholder
Comprehensive Design | Innovative Building Science
1800 W. Sixth St. Austin, TX. 78703 office 512 476-8580 x101 cell 512 426-3306
When I went out on my own 25 years ago I joined the local chapter of Business Networking International (BNI). They have a great program of networking round tables. You can't just attend meetings though. You have to be very active in the group teaching fellow members how to market for you and learning what their needs are. Better yet, become a chapter leader and frame the membership around professions related to architecture, engineering construction, real estate development and real estate financing. It does work. I was soon getting 60% of my work from this group and the referrals snow balled. I have retired now and just teach but I still get referrals and requests related to that group.
Thad A. Broom, AIA Emeritus
332 Laskin Rd. Apt 534
Virginia Beach, VA 23451
Tel: (757) 618 1125
I have used Google AdWords, Thumbtack, and Bark. I have gotten one client through Houzz, but I only use their free listing. The paid version struck me as expensive for what I thought it likely to produce. Of the three, the first two were initially successful in generating inquiries while Bark has never generated any useful contacts. AdWords gradually diminished in effectiveness, which I attribute to a more crowded marketplace. I never could make any sense of their keyword priorities and was eventually put off by their charging for clicks that were coming from people who would never use our services. Thumbtack was also initially useful but changed the way they charged and tended to produce weaker and weaker prospects over time. At present, I use none of the services. I do get inquiries from people randomly scanning the web for local architects, who then visit our website. I recommend a simple website with useful information rather than just a display of your work. It won't necessarily help you in specific neighborhoods, but it will help prospective clients find you.
Christopher N. Carley, AIA
C.N. Carley Associates, Architects and Planners4 Vernon St.
Concord, NH 03301
Thanks to everyone for your responses. I appreciate you taking the time to respond. We have some great work-generating options to look into.