The Holidays are here; it’s time to develop next year’s Marketing plan, you should have the rough draft in place ready to complete by now.
We share a simple methodology using a cascading content marketing strategy that shows you the simple steps to develop your architecture, interior design, and engineering firms yearly marketing plan.
“The Cascading Content Marketing Waterfall for Architects, Interior Designers, Consultants and Engineers in the Design and Construction Industry.”
A successful marketing plan clearly defines your content marketing messaging roadmap and uses data to optimize your content strategy spreading awareness of your professional skills and expertise to attract qualified core income generating clients.
Companies and marketers with a documented content marketing strategy are five times more likely to succeed. Why? Because when they are working more efficiently and effectively, in alignment with their marketing plan and defined goals the success rate of getting the firm across the finish line is much greater than those who don’t work with a plan. Working this way is no different to your teams working on projects. You have a defined schedule with targeted dates for the completion of each phase of the work.
Your marketing plan should include a master messaging roadmap that will be your strategic plan and tactical implementation plan for your firm. It should also include Business development and sales materials as they interlink.
“Your marketing whether on screen or off must deliver clear messaging, with offers content that provides value and connects to your audience by building trust.” – Peter Lucking
What is marketing? You may wonder why we ask that question? Many Professional firms confuse marketing with business development and sales!
Marketing is about identifying your key differentiators, developing your message, and establishing a positioning within your market(s). As an example, Marketing is advertising, event promotion, website content, and building thought leadership through public relations, white papers, PowerPoint presentations, webinars, etc. – these are all marketing strategies (or at least first cousins to marketing). Source: Marketing Materials Content Branding Solutions, Cheri and Peter Lucking
Let us begin by working smarter to reduce the time it takes and help you focus on results.
1. Set SMART Content Marketing Goals
Get targeted, be specific. Answer the simple question of HOW or WHERE?
- Increase your Blog traffic by XXX
- Grow your following by XXX
- Be the Speaker at XXX Conferences this year
No more wishy-washy answers.
Specific goals must be measurable.
- Present as a speaker at XXX conferences
- Increase targeted website traffic by 50%. Measure it with google analytics
- Reach XXX downloads of our White Paper
- We will measure the success of an article by the number of contacts that XXXX makes
Tie every goal to action. Be accountable.
Just like an NFL team “two-minute drill,” Architects, Engineers, and Contractors content marketing needs to orchestrate an intricate strategy of actions to get results. As Content marketers we need to address the “How: (Action) behind the “What” (Goal).
- Create one new lead-generating content asset, each month, that has correct SEO to attract new qualified clients and potentially grow your email list
- Advertise and promote your whitepaper on LinkedIn to target audience groups
- Review your SEO keyword strategy by Mid-January and improve as needed to maximize website traffic
- Create a marketing plan by December 15
Be realistic, how many New Years Eve resolutions make it to March? It is important to dream and set goals that will push our abilities.
How do you know what is realistic? Gather the team. Look at last year’s numbers, and the overall direction your market area is headed.
For example, when the Design and Construction industry starts to take a downturn Cities often start to develop Performing Arts projects.
Set a deadline, a delivery date for your goals. You do this process for all your projects. Marketing for your firm should be no different.
Take the time to create goals that are specific, measurable, actionable, and realistic with a “Time” for delivery.
- Our Thought Leadership white paper will go out in the first week of each quarter.
- Our Thought Leadership knowledge piece on Sustainable content will go out in the third week of each Quarter etc.
Your Website is an Inexpensive 24/7/365 Sales Prospecting Machine working for $0.55 Per Hour – $1.00 Per Hour
(based on a $24K – $50K website with a lifecycle of 5 years)
Why Not Make It Pay for Its Self-100 Fold?
We are ready to start.
2. The Cascading Content Marketing Waterfall for Architects, Interior Designers, Consultants and Engineers in the Design and Construction Industry
An effortless fun way to develop your Marketing Plan: Use the downloadable PDF outline (image below) as the agenda for your teams yearly Marketing Plan meeting. Project it on the monitor and follow the cascade.
Set up and utilize your teams preferred concept development tools from post-it notes, touch screens, simple whiteboards or super sticky easel pads with a lot of wall space.
A. Set your Marketing Goals
- We start with Identifying your High-level business objectives. You may know your Mission, Vision, Values, and Goals but does your team? Now is the time of year to refresh your vision and align your teams’ goals.
- Define your Market, what is your area of expertise? What does the Market need?
- Define your ideal Targeted Customers. What are their major concerns and problems? What keeps them up at night?
- How can your Brand Awareness solve their problems with content that answers their concerns and problems?
- Where should your Brand Positioning be in the market?
- Lead Generation. How do you presently generate leads?
- What is your Unique Selling Proposition (USP)? Why should a client use you?
- What is your Pricing and Positioning Strategy? How are you priced compared to your competitors? Why can you charge more? Define the reasons clearly and objectively.
- Marketing is about building relationships, developing leads, and communicating benefits and value. How is your firm engaging and talking to your clients? Are you the Market Leaders the Knowledge Experts the go-to team? If not why not?
- Identify your Superstars. These may be your area leaders, for example, Cultural experts or Restaurant thought leaders and designers. Put a face to your team, create and encourage your superstars. People by experts, people buy people. You should be marketing with and for these leaders.
- Develop a simple Conversion Strategy that nurtures leads, creates and rewards sales and has the opportunity to upsell or cross-sell.
- Build A following. How? Discuss your firms’ white papers and thought leadership opportunities. (these will help and guide your promotion strategy.
- Customer Retention and Loyalty. When was the last time your superstars had time for a coffee with a client? Develop a client list with dates for your superstars to meet and chat with past and future clients. (Note: Complete Later).
- Send out Invitations to tour completed projects together as a, one year, five-year, review
- Show a client through an innovative project that may interest them
- Play golf or have a pint. Just do something together.
Once you have reached consensus and set your Marketing Goals, it is time to take a break.
Need help Orchestrating Your Marketing Planning Meeting?
Give us a call Now 303-362-0498
B. Develop Your Promotion Strategy
Make sure you have healthy snacks on the table as you quickly summarize the marketing goals as people gather. Now let’s create a promotion strategy to meet your goals.
- Topics these are working titles for content assets from, presentations and marketing both on and off-line, to articles that solve your client’s problems. Simply, the ‘what’ topics. For Example:
- How to Successfully Fast Track A Project
- New Trends in Healthcare Design
- Colorado Regional Escalation Report
- Kitchens for Professionals on the Go
- Modular Precast Bridge Design Saves Erecting Time and Money
- Infrastructure Developments – Solving the Last Mile
- Sustainable life-cycle costs for XXX buildings
You get the hang of this brainstorm, have fun, and create some hook lines and thought joggers.
- Online Marketing Content Assets. Now divide those working titles into thought leadership articles, white papers, blogs, and potential keynote speaking opportunities and presentations. Assign each content asset a champion, a Superstar, a thought leader.
- Marketing – Advertising Promotions Channel Strategy. The when, where, and how. Before we start this, we need to develop an understanding of social media and its content lifespan.
Are You Ready for An Eye Opener?
Life Cycle of Social Media Content to ROI
Now before we jump into the process, get a good handle on all your marketing efforts and channels. Evaluate what you are presently doing.
- The half-life of a tweet is around 18 minutes according to Moz. You tweet lost in the wind of the internet
- Facebook’s Life Cycle 2 hours and 30 minutes for 75% of impressions and engagement
- Instagram posts by top brands receive 50% of their comments within the first six hours and 75% within 48 hours. Are You a top Brand?
- LinkedIn’s Life Cycle is 24 hours
Source: (Social Media Online Classes, 2018)
Evaluate your content assets, the life cycle costs, to determine your best long, and short-term marketing strategy and Return On Investment (ROI) for the time and cost of producing your content assets.
Imagine a Content Thought Leadership Article like the one you are presently reading costs $2,500 to produce including the integrated graphics and infographics. If you post it on Twitter or Facebook, you have a very expensive article that’s life cycle is minutes to a handful of hours! Not a very good return on investment, and not sustainable.
Are your clients hanging out waiting for your post on social media? Probably not! So, a longer Life Cycle is a benefit that will allow targeted clients to find your post, if it has proper SEO, for years to come.
For Architects, Interior designers, Engineers, Consultants and Firms in the Design and Construction Industry – Thought Leadership content posted in your blog gives you the best bang for your buck and biggest reach if it contains correct SEO and is linked back from LinkedIn and other short-lived social media channels.
To Maximize the Value of Your Blog Post:
- Share it on multiple social media networks
- Increase your posts life cycle time by updating your posts over time to make them evergreen, sustainable, and valuable
- Use images in the posts to increase viewer retention and engagement
- Use infographics, charts, and tables. Showing is better than explaining in many cases, the graph above is a great example
- Utilize LinkedIn for your thought leadership posts
- Consider Pinterest for onsite construction project images and updates
- Consider a YouTube channel
Ok, now you have an idea of the life cycle of some media channels let’s get back to your Marketing — Advertising Promotions Channel Strategy.
- Marketing – Advertising Promotions Chanel Strategy. We recommend you consider a mix of channel strategies working in unison to reinforce your experience and thought leadership skills. You want to be perceived as the Knowledge Experts and the go-to firm in the field.
- Try to set up a quarterly cycle, so asset content is always fresh and cycles through whitepapers to thought leadership articles to online presentations.
- Do not overuse your email funnel series. You’ll wear out your contacts. Use your emails to inform your list of articles of interest and upcoming quarterly white papers.
- Look for places your targeted clients gather at like conferences, LinkedIn groups, and associations. Now put together an article of interest or presentation proposal that will get your firm to be speakers at that event.
- Press Releases should be used to announce beneficial content, a new book, a special award, etc.
- Content Conversion Strategy. Now that you have identified your qualified suspects it is time to attract them and convert them to Clients. Focus on delivering relevant value. Content conversion should be a natural component of the flow and not the prime motivator.
- Is your website content custom? Is it targeted? Do you want to read it? If not, fix it.
- Do your articles portray your thought leadership and expertise as the go-to experts in your field, are you sharing knowledge?
- Chose your topics tied to your business goals that answer your client’s questions, include industry insights and fact-based content thoroughly researched.
- Use Google Analytics to find your top performing content and create relevant call-to-action (CTA) for each piece.
- Make useful free downloads, free sign-ups, and content upgrades.
- Do you have a call-to-action (CTA) on your site?
Source: (Correia, 2013)
Do not Be a Marketing Dinosaur: Put a Digital Content Marketing Plan in Place
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- Identify Joint Ventures and Partnerships. Potential partners surround you now in the Design and Construction industry.
- Cross Marketing. For example, you are a specialist in XYZ… What do your clients always talk about? “Being on time and on budget.” Why not partner with a Cost Consultant or Quantity Surveyor to develop an article with infographics or a presentation together on how to stay on budget.
- Joint Venture partnership on life-cycle Concrete or steal Frame?
Identify who you can Joint Ventures and Partnerships with and Set aside a date and a time for that call.
- Referral Strategy. How many referrals have you missed because you do not pay a referral commission?
- Put a referral strategy in place.
- Ask clients for referrals
- Ask associates and the consultant team for referrals
Take a ten-minute break
Marketing Content and Materials
From Marketing, Business Development to Sales nothing will happen if you do not schedule time.
- Keynote Speaker Proposals identify when, where and who will attend and submit the proposals in time to be included.
- Identify Keynote speaking opportunities, the proposal due dates and conference locations. Chose conferences where you are already in the market, then branch out
- Research Guest Post Opportunities and make contact
- Content Asset Creation. Someone must write the copy and content. Do you have the time or should you outsource it, should you use a ghostwriter or expert niche writer and editorial services? Decide on your Content Assets then develop a plan for delivery – In-house or outsourced:
- Marketing Overview. You should now be ready to create your yearly, and quarterly content marketing schedule, and outlining your distribution, timing, and mix. Don’t overstretch your team. Consider a Partner.
- Sales Materials Branding and Messaging. You should take a cursory look at your sales materials, from cut sheets to team organization charts to check that your messaging follows your marketing goals. Also, identify pieces that would help in the creation of your Content Assets.
Setting a realistic budget that matches your marketing goals, promotion strategy, marketing content, and materials assets creation costs, is key to success.
What Should Your Firm Budget? Ballpark Numbers
Website Monthly Content Marketing Plans:
We recommend that you get on a plan as it will save you substantial dollars in the future. You will get a discount for a yearly contract
- Small Practice $1,100
- Medium Practice $2,200 (recommended for growth) this has all the bells and whistles most firms need, from white papers to SEO, and LinkedIn
- Large Practice $4,800 up. Three (3) partners or company thought leaders, etc.
If you can create your content in-house great, but a couple of thousand dollars will not get you a qualified niche writer.
Conference Submittals and Attendance
Remember you should be speaking to your target clients, gathered in one room!
- Submittals as a speaker Fees $500 – $3000
- Conference Registration $1500 – $2500
- Conference Hotel Room Rates $250 – $350 + tax
- Travel and expenses
We budget five thousand per person as working number including travel and expenses.
Website Refresh – $250 to $500 per page
New Website / New Content – $500 – $1000 per page fully SEO’d etc.
Does Your Marketing Director Have the Time to Do This in Addition to Their Normal Packed Workload?
Hire them a Specialized Professional to Help and Guide
Actionable Time – Staffing and Workflow
Now make sure you have followed the SMART Content Marketing Goals and schedule the hours for each task.
Metrics to Measure your marketing Plans Success
We recommend reviewing your yearly and quarterly master messaging roadmap monthly with weekly targets. Adjust for trends.
It is important to have metrics to track and measure success. We’ll go into this with another article that will follow.
When you know the outline of all your pieces, you can create an executive summary that combines all the pieces with a marketing budget.
A well thought out marketing plan serves as a resource to get your content marketing started. Always test each piece to see the results and adjust your plan for maximum success.
If you need help try this:
FREE Marketing Plan Generation tool from HubSpot or Give us a call Now 303-362-0498
Need help Orchestrating Your Marketing Planning Meeting?
Give us a call Now 303-362-0498
As the Creative Director of Content Branding Solutions, I put your Brand Strategy and success first. Our team offers a wide selection attraction marketing services for the Design and Construction Industry.
“Our goal is to increase your sales.”
- Increase Profits with Attraction Marketing – Tips to Expand Your Architecture & Engineering Firms
- Is your Website up-to-date and Properly Tagged? Do you need a Website Refresh?
- Activate Your Brand with Thought Leadership
- Thought Leadership, Copywriting, Branding for the Construction Industry
- Refreshing Your Architectural Website?
- 30 Questions You Should Ask Yourself Before You Start Refreshing Your Website
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World-class websites ▪ Digital marketing for the Design and Construction Industry
- SEO Copywriting Strategically Placed SEO SEO Brand Messaging Unique Selling Proposition
“Professionals should utilize built-in SEO with Attraction marketing copy, for sustainable organic growth.” – Peter Lucking
- SEO Articles/Blogs; be the knowledge expert / optimized with targeted keywords, Weekly SEO blogs, and Syndicated Blogs.
- B2B Copywriting ▪ Content Copywriter ▪ Attraction Marketing Copywriting ▪ Architectural Copywriting ▪ Content Marketing Copywriting ▪ Online Copywriting ▪ Content Writing Services ▪ Website Design and Copy ▪ Social Media ▪ Press Releases ▪ Marketing Materials for the Design and Construction industry.
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