The Shock and Awe Box is a great architect marketing resource. This marketing tool will give potential architecture clients a way to become familiar with you and your best projects.
In this article, I’m going to outline how an innovative Shock and Awe Box can work in your favor. Just remember that most architects aren't even doing this in the first place, so you'll be ahead of your competitors from the very beginning.
The Shock and Awe Box may be an actual box or a folder, but either way, it predisposes the prospect to feel good about you before you ever meet in person. The idea is to send the Shock and Awe Box prior to the first meeting (or the LCC).
You can find more information on how to get paid for those initial consultations (LCC) on our post, get paid for architecture advice. By sending your potential architecture client this thoughtful ‘gift', you will be considered an expert and be thought of first when they are ready to hire an architect (or recommend one).
Potential architecture clients will love this Shock and Awe Box!
In order to outline what a Shock and Awe Box should include, we are taking a peek inside the Shock and Awe Box used by Rachel Burton (principal of Swallowtail Architecture at swallowtailarchitecture.com and AMI Mastermind member) that is sent to her potential architecture clients.
Guides and booklets
“The 6 Essential Tips for a Successful DRB Submittal on Sullivan’s Island”
“How To Hire An Architect”
“The Truth About Why It Costs More To Build On Sullivan’s Island”
The above titles are the free guides Rachel offers that speak directly to her niche. We call these helpful booklets a Monkey’s Fist (or an educational resource) that is written and distributed to prove your expert status within your niche market. How can you speak to your niche?
Another great item to include is a few recent copies of your monthly newsletter.
Be sure to organize the album around a theme that will pull the reader in. A random collection of your own personal favorites will not do this. What themes can you develop?
Try a guide to the region's architectural styles with highlights (maybe a photo book) of your work
Articles and press releases
Known as “Tear Sheets,” these professionally formatted and illustrated sheets (usually 1-2 pages) can function as promotions for you. They communicate that you are known and worth writing/reading about, that you are connected to the media and you have interesting projects. Be sure to write and include press releases on the types of projects that you want more of. If your article has been published on ArchitectNews.com, include that too!
Whether you have appeared in a magazine or you create a spread yourself, include a project story with color photos, all beautifully formatted. Ask the magazine for a PDF of the article about you and print it on heavy paper. To do your own layout, choose a template and use your best project photos.
This page gives you an opportunity to answer all the questions that your potential architecture clients ask most. How much does an architect cost? What do you need to give your architect? Perhaps this will take the form of a checklist on what the clients need to provide to you or what to look for in terms of qualifications of different architects. If you are a Mastermind member and have some of our Done For You content, such as a customized article or FAQ sheet, include it here.
There are so many possibilities in this area, and your free gift doesn’t have to be expensive. While receiving a free gift is heart-warming, it cues social behavior, too. Think about it: When someone gives you a gift, you want to give them a gift, too.
Get creative with your gift. We've heard of some brilliant affiliations in which a gift is locally-sourced. This works especially well when the potential architecture clients will be moving from far away and have yet to fully explore the area. Free gifts can include items such as stress balls, tea, coffee, magnets, keychains, mugs, and more. Get creative with it!
Choose gifts that resonate with your work or with who you are. It's yet another way for the prospect to get to know you.
Other items to consider
Another great option is to include a map that is local to your potential architecture client that lists the projects you’ve completed in that area.
LCC Offer – This is the Low Commitment Consultation and it might include going to look at a prospective property with someone, the Needs and Options Review, a one-hour meeting plus conceptual sketches … you'll need to refine and package your idea, perhaps as a written offer.
There are many great options to include in your Shock and Awe Box. The most important factor is to bring together items that outline and detail who you are and what you stand for as an architect so potential architecture clients will know what you bring to the table.
As an example, you can see one of our Mastermind clients unwrap her own Shock and Awe Box here.
*This article was initially published in AM Labs, the official newsletter of the Architect Marketing Institute. AM Labs contains information and tips from the world’s leading architect marketing coach, Richard Petrie, and other AMI staff. For information on how to get an annual subscription, you can visit our contact page.