How to become and Architect?
Many architects affirm that websites do not produce leads. And the leads that do come through don’t turn into paying clients. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be done.
By nature architects are visually inclined; we like images. We assume our prospects are similar and that our best chance to catch their interest is with eye-popping pictures. This is where architects go wrong with web design.
Architect’s websites have a predicable format: a prominent portfolio page, a services page, and an about us page. As architects we have worked hard to win commissions and design buildings. We are rightfully proud of our work and want to display it to the world, especially to our prospective clients. We think our work is what differentiates us from other architects. We think that if our prospects like the buildings we have designed, they will take an interest in our work and hopefully choose us for their next commission. Mistakenly we assume that the best use of our website is to focus on our work.
For our purposes, sites that follow this format are called brochure websites. Brochure websites, as the term suggests, don’t offer more than what a prospect can get from a physical brochure.
Ok, So What’s the Problem?
Nothing really, if your goal is to showcase your projects. If however, your goal is to generate viable leads- your website needs a redesign.
The problem is that 99% of architect’s websites are not designed to capture new clients. They are designed to showcase the architects’ work. Architect’s websites look like they were designed for architects!
In other words, the problem is that your website is all about you. It is about your work. It is has your bio. It even has your name on it! Let’s be realistic here – unless you happen to be Zaha Hadid or Steven Holl, the prospect doesn’t care about you and much less your work. They don’t care about your firm, where you went to school, your cat, your current work or all of the past projects that you’ve done- although I’m sure they are great.
Potential clients care about themselves, their needs, and their wants. In their search for an architect, what the prospect cares about is simple: finding an architect they like and trust who can meet the goals of their project.
How to use the Web to Become the Prospect’s Architect
So how does one become the architect the prospect likes and trusts? Aside from face-to-face networking, your website is the best tool to make this happen. And here is the secret sauce: become an educator. I’m not talking about a know-it-all, in-your-face, I am the expert type of demeanor. I refer to a more subtle, cooperative kind of sharing. The goal is to shove so much value towards your prospects that they have no choice but to choose you as their architect.