The COVID-19 crisis has created unforeseen circumstances for people worldwide and is having a significant impact on the global economy. Within this crisis, the architecture and building materials industry are not exceptions. The cancelation of trade fairs and architecture events, for example, are driving manufacturers and building products suppliers away from their traditional physical opportunities to meet prospective clients. Many are now being faced with the question; in this complex scenario, how can you promote your products and materials while respecting social distancing and avoiding physical contact with architects and clients?
Mark Mitchell, building materials sales and marketing expert, suggests reinvesting travel and trade show expenses into digital marketing, in order to boost your brand’s online presence. Digital channels allow you to reach thousands of architects without leaving your office - and without getting on an airplane. But how can your brand stand out in the crowd of competitors online?
As experts in architecture and the digital space, we’ve put together a list of ideas for manufacturers on how to strengthen the presence of your brand online:
1. Work on your website and improve its SEO
As obvious as it may sound, you need a digital platform to showcase your products. The first step is to make sure that your website is up and running, and that it includes all the technical information that could be relevant for architects. It’s important to have a search engine optimization (SEO) strategy that will allow architects to reach your website, helping your brand appear in the best positions in search engine results. In terms of content, it’s important to use the keywords related to your business, while also using phrases that address some of the main concerns architects have about your products. Do some research, find out what architects are searching for, and create content accordingly!
Search engines such as Google prioritize websites that are linked to other “well reputed” sites; that is, if your website is linked to other sites with great ranking, the ranking of your website should improve too. Basically, being part of a consolidated online community gives your brand extra “points”.
Projects featured on ArchDaily highlight the product and materials brands used by architects, giving users the relevant technical information they need to make decisions. This not only presents the perfect opportunity for product placement, but also helps your brand to increase its Google positioning by being mentioned by the most visited architecture website.
2. Help your customers with valuable and engaging content
In order to gain more visibility among your customers, you will need to engage them through useful and valuable content. Some leading brands have included a “blog section” in their websites where they publish interesting content and high quality images about their products, such as infographics, how-to guides, expanded list posts or case studies showcasing the work they have done for past clients. You can also share great content through videos, which have truly dominated social media!
If quarantine has brought something positive into the lives of many people around the world, it is the opportunity to dive into new activities that we did not have time or energy for beforehand. Learning and delving into topics of interest is something that can actively engage people working from home, such as webinars (or 'online seminars') that provide an in-depth look into your services and products, and will catch your customer’s attention.
In this post you can find tips on how to generate content that is relevant and interesting to architects:
How to Generate Content That's Interesting for Architects (Part 1: Use a topic of interest related to your product)
As marketing shifts away from its earlier, more traditional format, it's almost unthinkable that a company solely try to reach potential clients though conventional ads. And if we're talking about reaching architects, this is even more unimaginable.
3. Use Social Media to stay connected with your customers
Whether it’s to stay in touch with friends and families, or to keep up on how others are getting through the crisis, people are using their social media accounts more than ever. These channels will enable you to share the useful and engaging content you worked on in the previous steps, in order to expand the limits of your website. Try to think of your social media platforms not only as a way of showcasing your products, but more importantly, as a tool to stay in touch with customers and better familiarize yourselves with your audience.
If you need to choose one social media platform to focus your efforts on, stick with Instagram. It is not only one of the most popular worldwide, but also the one preferred by architects due to its visually-driven content. To learn more and become an Instagram expert for your brand, check out this post where we provide important tips that can help your company capture the attention of your target audience and stand out from your competitors:
Instagram is one of the most popular social media platforms in the world, with more than 1 billion users searching and discovering new images, videos, brands, businesses, and content every day. According to Instagram's User Survey, 60% of people stated they discover new products on Instagram, and more than 200 million Instagrammers stated that they visit at least one Business Profile daily.
4. Consider selling your products online
To keep their operations active, many traditional stores have implemented online product purchase systems with home delivery, reporting a 30% increase in online consumption. Although the construction industry has been slower to embrace digitization, suppliers are beginning to make their product catalogs available online. In the United States alone, the percentage of construction materials that were purchased through e-commerce in relation to the total of supplies sold has doubled since 2011.
It is already proven that architects can work from their homes. If your company can add to their remote workflow by allowing them to choose materials and products at any moment, along with a delivery service to their working site, your brand will stand out from the crowd.
5. Go to the channels where architects are
If you are already on top of these first steps, it’s now time to expand your online presence. Think about which channels architects are spending their time on and what they are using for inspiration and research. Architects will probably reach your website at the very end of their design process, when they have already decided which products and materials they are going to use in their project. But in the first stages, in which they are searching for inspiration and references, they will be using niche sites such as ArchDaily. During the first stages of their creative process, architects need to look at other projects and images, which are essential during their search for inspiration. This is the perfect time to showcase your products. Architects spend a lot of time on ArchDaily because it is the one place where they can find the largest curated library of architecture projects online, along with relevant information on the materials used, with over 500,000 architects visiting the site on a daily basis. For context: this is twice the amount of visitors at one of the most important trade fairs, during six days!
Having your brand on ArchDaily makes you an important part of a digital community and gives you the opportunity to connect with thousands of architects and designers from all over the world, all without moving from your desk.