The #1 question in selling design services is seldom asked out loud but ALWAYS requires an answer:
“Why should I hire you over all other options, including the option of doing nothing?”
If you do not provide an answer, then either someone else will or the compelling reason to choose you is missing.
You need a Unique Selling Proposition in the digital marketing of your architecture firm.
As Wikipedia says,
“A Unique Selling Proposition (USP) refers to the unique benefit exhibited by a company, service, product or brand that enables it to stand out from competitors. The Unique Selling Proposition must be a feature that highlights product benefits that are meaningful to consumers.”
So here is what we know so far:
1. Each advertisement must make a proposition to the consumer—not just words, product puffery, or show-window advertising. Each advertisement must say to each reader: “Buy this product, for this specific benefit.”
2. The proposition must be one the competition cannot or does not offer. It must be unique—either in the brand or a claim, the rest of that particular advertising area does not make.
3. The proposition must be strong enough to move the masses; i.e., it attracts new customers as well as potential customers.
Your competition is often not who you think they are
Some think their biggest competition is another architect, but, in fact, your biggest opposition is the client doing nothing. Your answer needs to eliminate this option as well.
Think back to when you made the decision to join our A-Team Mastermind group or another group. You needed to evaluate your options. They were probably something like this …
● Do nothing
● Work marketing out on my own
● Get help from AMI
● Get help from someone else
Of the prospects we fail to convert, I would guess 90% choose “do nothing.” We failed to give them a good enough reason to take the plunge. You can’t win ‘em all (and you don’t even want to).
3 places you can differentiate yourself
- Information gathering phase: We are the (insert differentiating claim) educators of tools and resources for (insert niche).
- Specific advice phase: We are the (insert differentiating claim) advisors for (insert niche) looking for pre-design advice.
- Hiring the architect phase: We are the (insert differentiating claim) for (insert niche) looking for design.
Categories 1) and 2) above are so easy to dominate because no other architect ever thinks to compete in the pre-design phase. If you win either of the first two, then you already have the client on board, and winning the design work should be automatic.
But still, let’s look at how you can win even if you fail to capture the prospect before everyone else with your Monkey’s Fist and LCC.
Design differentiation in digital marketing for your architecture firm
The best way to find a unique differentiator is to ask yourself these questions:
1. What do I do that's truly great – better than all other architects?
2. Does my Unique Selling Proposition clearly resonate with my target market?
3. Is there an opportunity/gap/void in the marketplace that I can fill?
4. Can I make my USP short, easy to say and catchy?
5. Can the Unique Selling Proposition start a conversation?
6. Can I offer a great guarantee?
7. Can what I do give my clients more speed?
Some possible answers to question #1:
Your results – Can you get a result that impresses your ideal client?
“Our developer clients often get 25% more dwellings legally accepted onto a site than officially listed by the building department.”
Your networks – Do you have access to people who give your client an advantage they will value? Do you know people in the Building Department who can facilitate your permit process even as others struggle?
Your methodology – Have you developed a process that reduces risk or guarantees speed or certainty of outcome?
“Over the last 17 years, only 3% of our projects have ever run over budget. The industry average is 47%.”
Your status/awards – If you have them then you might as well beat the drum.
Your risk level – Does your process reduce risk to the owner, budget or schedule? This is by far my favorite because this is where you claim your specialist status. Most of your competition will never think to claim a niche and if you define the niche small enough, then you can become #1 in a category of one.
Most think that being good across a wide range of styles makes them the ultimate all-rounder. Unfortunately, in the eyes of the typical client, you merely appear to be a jack of all trades. This is a low-level status that will lose you projects rather than be your advantage.
“Richard Petrie specializes in designing and building high-performance homes. Our homes are 90% more vitality efficient than council standards and, because we use our proprietary high performance methodology, you will often not pay any more for a ‘Porsche’ house than others are paying for a Lada.”
Being a specialist is the easy way to win phase 3. People always gravitate to the specialist because there is an assumption that you know more and will do a better job. The specialist is usually seen as the low-risk option.
If you win in the information-gathering phase or the getting specific advice phase, then you may have already won, but to hit a grand slam home run, you should find an advantage in the design phase as well.
Especially since I have just told you how.
Learn more about the impact of digital marketing for your architecture firm here: https://archmarketing.org/why-digital-marketing-architecture-firms-makes-impact/