Stepping out into the world on your own can be a big step, but with the power of the internet, it is no longer necessary to do this without any backup whatsoever. Unless you have a non-compete, you can get started with your own business while still working. Regardless of whether you are dipping your toe into the water or plunging head-first, you are going to need to know how to market yourself.
As an architect, you need to prove your vision and skill, and the best way to do that is to go online. People will hear about you first online, and even in the instances where they were referred to you or saw your work in person, they will want to explore other projects you have designed next.
Having a great website and digital presence and knowing how to market yourself will be instrumental in establishing yourself as a great architect and designer. It’s a lot of hats to wear, but with this guide, you’ll see that it’s absolutely doable and will help you expand your influence, establish your reputation, and of course, will help you win over clients.
Create a Great Portfolio
The first projects you need for your portfolio are ones you have worked on. If you only worked on a portion, then be very clear about what that portion was. This is the resume or CV portion of your portfolio and is very important to help connect you to work you have done and to help showcase the fact that your work has been used and is standing somewhere out there.
You will also want to work up some creative ideas. There are so many great ways to do this. You can create a series of beautiful properties that showcase your individual design and have both the internal floorplan and 3D mock-ups of them. You can also rework famous spaces to show how they can be better altered. People will need your work for renovations and new projects alike, so showing both examples can be exactly what you need to win over the hearts of clients.
The work you put up must be professionally created. Programs like Cedreo allow you to create both 2D floorplan designs and 3D designs, so clients can see your vision in crystal clarity.
Choose a Visual-Based Website Theme
You need several things to set up a website of your own. You need a web host, a great domain name, a content management system, and a theme. Just look up how to choose a great, memorable domain name and set up a professional website. Once those standard steps are done, you will then want to go online to find a premium theme that is perfect for visual artists. The theme will have a great portfolio focus and be responsive both on desktop and on mobile. Responsiveness is key. It can be hard to see a digital portfolio and engage with it properly when you are on your phone. When you consider that most people will be finding you online through their phone, however, the importance of a portfolio that looks great on mobile and can be easily interacted with becomes apparent.
Optimize Your Website
A great way to optimize your website is to look at it from a search engine standpoint. Google looks not just at the content but the quality of your site when it determines your domain authority and rank. Optimizing your site for Google will automatically make it a better site for people. Some key areas you will want to invest in adding on top of the standard recommendations are an FAQ site, which is great for ranking on voice searches and to also add written descriptions of everything visual on your site. Writing descriptions is great to make your site more accessible for the visually impaired and is great for your ranking.
Create All Relevant Social Profiles
Create profiles on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Houzz, Behance, and if you are interested in more viral marketing opportunities, TikTok. You can showcase your designs, your experience, and you as a person.
Optimize Your Profiles
Each profile needs to be its own facet of your brand. Don’t cross-post, but instead create content for each one. The content can be linked to the same base content – a blog post, an article you published, or a new project – but the posts on your social media should be optimized for that platform. This is the best way to get your content to go further, though there are a few cases where overlap can happen.
For example, if you create process videos of your projects, you can easily start building an audience on TikTok and on Instagram since the tools are fairly similar. The easy way is to just download the video on one and post it to another, but to get the most, ensure your socials are clearly visible on the video so people can find you elsewhere.
Build Authentic and Organize Marketing Strategies
Social media is social, which means to grow your account, you need to be engaging. This means commenting and engaging with people in your field. It means being a part of fun trends, making jokes and videos, and above all, having fun with it. Consistency and fun are two of the best strategies for growing your account and showing your talent and unique approach. Combine these with a few more traditional digital marketing strategies, and you will be golden.
Get in Front of Your Audience
Finally, know you will want to be featured in architecture accounts. This can be on social media, on website, and especially in magazines. Find a list of ten brands to start with. Local brands are a great launching point for this strategy, as they will be happier to feature you as a local voice. Don’t just think about putting your work forward, either. Get your name and ideas out there as well. Pitch article ideas, create fun visuals, and so on. If you get published regularly, you’ll have a greater platform to get published on larger, more international publications later on.