Newsletter | May/Jun 2010

May Marketing Tips

by Leslie Golden
Identify your niche and be the expert
While we know design is universal, the client wants to know that the individual they are hiring has the specialized knowledge to meet the project needs. Identify your strengths, unique benefits of your service and market to reinforce this message. Give lectures, blog or provide newsletter to provide information and establish your credibility.

Shore up your Existing Base
Repeat customers are easier to find than new ones. Can you provide useful information that will keep you on the top of their heads as the “go to” architect? Find a unique way to thank your costumers (avoid the traditional Holiday card as it gets lost among all the others). Pick a different day and a unique way to set your self apart from your competition. Consider your strengths and customize a thank you or marketing piece that is reflective of that quality.

Expand to new Clients
We all know that the economy is tough and the architectural and construction industry has been hit the hardest but no one should be unemployed – if you have been laid off from work consider yourself self employed - until that changes. Many larger firms (working in the public sector) need to partner with smaller, minority or women owned companies to meet goals set by public agencies. Get certified as a Women Business Enterprise (WBE), Small Local Emerging Business (SLBE), Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) or Underutilized Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (UDBE) with your local City or County Regulatory Agency. Get certified with as many agencies as possible, attend RFP’s and offer your services to larger firms. You may find a win-win situation. Put these certifications in your promotional material to distribute this information.

Post your residential portfolio on It is a web site with over 30,000 pictures posted by Architects, Interior Designers and Landscape Architects. The more pictures you post the higher your ranking. You will have an opportunity to write a description of your firm, post photos, videos and more. Look through the web site to see ways to engage your potential clients in a dialog. You can create idea books and discuss design issues which you feel are important and will be of interest to others.

Increase Accreditation
While the economy is still slow, expand your accreditations to increase your market appeal. Individuals and public agencies are recognizing the need to develop in a sustainable manner. Expand your expertise through accreditation; USGBC LEED AP, Build it Green - Berkeley, California High Performance Schools – CHPS, Bay Friendly Landscape Guidelines from and others. Any and all of these will help you position yourselves in the new economy. Third party raters are a growing industry and will be another source of income.

Pro Bono
Providing Pro Bono work will help the Community, get you working again and can be a valuable tool in increasing your professional exposure. Your local school, religious community or other non profit organization can use your skills and help promote your services. “The 1%” is a non profit organization created to connect non profit organizations with design professionals offering Pro Bono services. Their web site also has a place to publish your previous Pro Bono work. Get yourself out there! Refer to the “Third Annual Survey of Pro Bono Services” included on their webpage

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