5 Marketing Trends To Watch

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2018 Marketing Trends

Five Marketing Trends Architects Can Use Right Now

Marketing Trends to Try in 2018

When I started my career in marketing communications three decades ago, the internet was only beginning to change everything. Once those changes started, they never stopped. Clearly, the internet has sparked many marketing trends that come and go. But from year to year, a few take hold, reach deep into the way we work, and provide for new approaches to marketing and business success.

Working in marketing every day, I watch the trends closely, looking for the next "new thing" that can give our clients an edge. 

The trends I'm watching this year have their roots in fundamental, proven marketing strategies. A few have emerged over the last few years, recently gaining more widespread accessibility and proving their value.

Best of all, some of these trends are the perfect fit for architects looking to get more impact from their marketing efforts. You don't have be to cutting-edge in your approach to marketing to incorporate these trends into how you market your architecture firm. 

How to be heard above all the noise

Studies have found that the average person sees up to 5,000 ads every single day. Marketing must now work in this complex and littered digital landscape, which can overwhelm customers but also give them greater choice and control in the way they interact with businesses.  With all this noise, how do you make sure your message gets to your target audience?

Hint: Shouting louder is not the answer.

The key is to not get stuck in a rut or fall behind. These are the top five marketing trends we see giving architects an edge in 2018:

#1 Live Video

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Video continues to dominate social media and consistently gets the highest levels of interaction and engagement from followers.

When our team attended the Social Media Marketing World conference in 2016, it seemed every conversation and every presentation had something to say about video. At the 2017 conference, it was all about live streaming video. It was touted as the game changer we were all waiting for. 

So it's no surprise that live streaming video has the edge for marketing impact. Studies have shown that viewers watch live streams 3x longer than pre-recorded video.

This is great news for architects because it means a live video, which is simpler to produce, can be more effective than a costly scripted and produced video.

Even better, live streaming tools are more readily available, easy to use and right at your fingertips with Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Not sure what to talk about in your live video? No worries! As an architect, you have great visuals and action to work with – here are three ideas to get you started.

  • Take a walk-through showing an in-progress look during construction of one of your projects.
  • Live stream from the ground breaking or grand opening event.
  • Share a behind-the-scenes look at your team at work.

If you’re nervous about going live, do a few practice runs and record video on your smartphone to review and adapt your "on air" style. In no time, you’ll be a live-streaming pro!

#2 Brand Purpose

Twenty years ago, the concept of "Corporate Social Responsibility" was popular with the biggest companies, as they looked to balance social, environmental, and financial stewardship. But the idea of giving back to the community has long been woven into the work of local businesses.

In the jargon of today, people talk about "brand purpose" as the aspirational mission tied to an organization's day-to-day business.  Architects have great potential to demonstrate brand purpose with their communities.

Maybe it’s focusing on LEED, or designing buildings that promote environmental sustainability, or creating workspaces that lead to happy and productive employees, or dedicating a percentage of work hours to serving specific needs in community development or public space design.

Consider the value of devoting a specific amount of time to a cause that aligns with your values. Whatever it is, incorporate related messages into your marketing—whether it’s your website content, e-newsletters, social media, presentations, etc.

Younger business owners and leaders, in particular, gravitate toward organizations that truly practice what they preach when it comes to brand purpose.

Architects who reflect a deeper purpose and goal in their daily actions, projects, and communications will get noticed as leaders.

#3 Growth-Driven Tactics

Not all marketing efforts have the same end goal. However, growth-driven tactics are marketing trends and techniques aimed at increasing traffic - the people who get to your website or contact your firm.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is one of the more popular–and powerful–ways to improve website traffic. SEO is what helps your website get found when people search topics related to your business.

Improving your SEO takes some time:  It's not an overnight ride to page one on Google. One of the secrets to success is having high-quality content on your website. It's not enough to have a standard list of services, you need content written with the specific keywords (the terms and questions) people use in their searches.  

Having solid SEO and content strategies for your website is an effective way of being found by people who are actively seeking information about architecture-related services in your area. Keyword-rich content can improve your "organic search" traffic – simply put, people who see your link come up in their search results.

Of course, you can also use paid ads to gain a top position in search results. Depending on the search terms you want to be found for, this can be become a significant marketing investment. 

Keep in mind that once you get people to your website, there needs to be a way for them to take action. This is typically done by using a call-to-action button, then providing them with a form to fill out. That will allow you to capture their information, so you can follow up with them.

The other good news about SEO is that as technology improves, there will be more search options for consumers, which means more ways for you to capture traffic. Make sure your SEO techniques are up to date with current best practices. In 2018, make a concerted effort to focus more on SEO.

#4 Instagram

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If Instagram isn't in your marketing strategy, this is the year to consider adding it. Since Instagram is a highly-visual social media network, it tends to be a great fit for architects!

In 2017, Instagram announced that 800 million people use the app every month. And its latest addition, Instagram Stories, outgrew Snapchat just one year after being released.  

However, Instagram is not right for every firm. If your target audience is people over 55 years old, or if your work is largely corporate or industrial, Instagram may not be the right place to find your best clients. But, if you design great starter homes or specialize in renovation or restoration that would appeal to younger clients, Instagram might be a good platform to test out some targeted marketing. 

It's also worth considering using Instagram as part of your recruiting strategy. Its popularity with the millennial generation (especially 21 - 35 year-olds) can make this a good way to get in front of prospective new hires. 

Instagram continues to get higher engagement levels compared to other social media platforms. Improved advertising options, including highly-detailed targeting options, make it easier to create specific marketing or recruiting campaigns.

#5 Ease & Accessibility 

New and developing technologies make many daily tasks easier and less time-consuming, creating greater expectations – and shorter attention spans. 

How easy is it for someone to contact your firm from your website? How many clicks before they find the phone number, the email, the form to fill in to contact you? How can that be simplified? And maybe even made more inviting and enticing in the process.

We have found success using apps that allow appointment and call scheduling directly from the website. For some firms, the pop-up web chat can work well, as long as someone is available to engage with the chat as soon as it comes in. 

The digital age we live in makes instant contact and immediate response a basic expectation. 

What's Next?

Consider which of these trends fits within your current marketing strategy. Which would help bump up your efforts? Is there one that you can adopt and move on quickly? Maybe there's one that will take more time to get comfortable with, but gives you opportunities to try something really new.

If you're feeling a little overwhelmed, you are not alone! We're here to help. Click on the big red button to get started.