When I’m called on to assess marketing strategies for architectural, engineering and construction businesses, I look at the basics: What are their unique strengths and advantages, and how well are they relating to and serving their current clients. These qualities need to be defined/improved before taking specific marketing steps.
After we conclude the initial review, almost always my first priority would be to review and recommend website improvements, because here we can achieve the highest and most rapid return on investment for marketing projects, certainly compared to advertising and the long-range networking and business development potential from association and community service.
The reasons why websites are so important include:
- Even if you achieve most of your new business through referrals and word-of-mouth, almost inevitably potential clients will check out your website before they call. A great website will validate their referral decision; a bad one might turn off what could have been a great new client.
- Many times, people have heard about you but aren’t quite sure about your business identity. So they search Google or other search engines. You won’t be discovered unless you have a well-designed and content-rich website.
- A well-structured website’s content will provide the fabric for social media marketing and other outreach efforts. You create the content once, and recycle it in different places, at virtually no effort or cost.
- Finally, there are people looking for your product or service who simply don’t know about you at all. You can try to reach out to these potential unknown customers through expensive advertising campaigns, or you can make it easy for them to find you with an effective website.
The good news is that effective and high-quality websites do not need to be expensive. And you generally don’t need to spend sizeable sums on SEO consultants and services if you set up your website properly, and include plenty of frequent useful content, which can be generated through a blog or simply produced videos.
In my opinion, a website can be built from anywhere near zero to about $5,000. If you take the latter number, and allow that it probably has a lifespan of about three years before it needs to be redesigned, you need to invest less than $2,000 per year in this initiative. There are ways to do the work much less expensive; the issue becomes how much you value your time and whether you will benefit more by doing the work yourself or contracting it out.