The last few times I’ve given marketing seminars to architects, I boldly went where I haven’t gone before. I asked the audience straight up if they thought that architects, interior designers, engineers and other design professionals were using a formula to develop their websites.
I was met with a resounding YES. The components themselves – beauty shots, portfolios, discussions about context and client service – aren’t necessarily the issue. The degree to which this information has been strategically framed and organized, both graphically and with language, is.
As my audience did, you too would know if this applies to your site – if, for example, it could better capture what’s important to you.
So, returning to the premise of this article, if architects know that their websites are predicable why are they selling themselves short?
Confusion – Marketing is visual and artistic. When used to broadcast an architect’s practice, it can sometimes create confusion between the roles of the architect, the marketer and the graphic designer. Clarity about how to leverage the unique value that each of these professionals brings to the table can be the first step towards a website that goes beyond an online portfolio and delivers meaning and intrigue.
Risk – Doing something different always involves risk. And winning in a creative field always involves doing something different. Architects know this better than most. Confined to the scope of an architectural project, risk might be easy to assess. However, outside one’s area of expertise risk tends to get inflated. Learning about best marketing practices, purchasing behaviours and case studies, from a professional marketer can help you to reassess and devise risk management strategies that don’t limit creativity.
Value – Why invest time, money and energy and assume risk when you have low expectations for the return on your website? Expectations can become self fulfilling prophecies. So, just because the return on a formula website is limited, that doesn’t mean that the same limitations apply to a website that breaks with convention to showcase what’s genuinely powerful at your firm.
While we can all agree that there’s a key role for many of the standard components to the predictable website, architects are so much more. They are thought leaders, strategic thinkers, game changers, business people, advisors, planners, historians, visionaries and more.
If you find your own website to be predictable, understanding how to remove the barriers above would appear to be the next step on the road to creativity. So, ask yourself…
If there was little risk involved and the potential higher than I first presumed, how bold would I go with my firm’s website?
About Sandra Bekhor
Consultant to law, accounting, architecture, medical and consulting practices. Connect with me on LinkedIn.
Marketing and Management Coach for Professional Services Firms