Page C1.1 . 28 June 2000                     
ArchitectureWeek - Culture Department

 

 
QUIZ

Expanding Your Practice through Web Marketing

by Jonathan Cohen

Every architecture firm, it seems, has a web site, but how effective are these sites as marketing tools? It depends how you use them. During the 1990s, many firms placed their billboards on the information highway by setting up a promotional web site. It might have included a portfolio of work, some high-sounding statements of design philosophy, perhaps a client list, and news of current projects.

Then they waited for the phone to ring and usually were disappointed. Just like other forms of unfocused advertising, a splashy web site probably is not a very effective way to generate new work. Good marketing is targeted to specific groups or individuals that you have identified as potential clients of your firm. Just as with a paper brochure, a web site is only effective as a marketing device if it you have placed it in front of an appropriate audience.

But web sites do have a place as part of a comprehensive marketing program. They are inexpensive to create, cost nothing to distribute, and can be updated very easily. Promotional material such as photography and renderings that you may have created for a paper portfolio can be reused on the Internet at almost no cost, and you can also use media like video and QuickTime VR that don't work on paper at all. Using templates, frames, and other devices, you can easily recombine your collection of marketing materials into a series of interlinked sub-sites directed at specific types of potential clients.

A web site is an excellent way to educate potential clients about your capabilities. It's also a wonderful platform for displaying your particular expertise and sharing some of your knowledge with the world at large. If you have written an article or white paper that might be of interest to others, by all means put it on your web site or make it available for download.

 

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ArchWeek Photo

The web site for Foster and Partners succeeds in explaining the firm's philosophy and character to visitors.
Image: Foster and Partners

ArchWeek Photo

More than a collection of pretty pictures, the web site of Foster and Partners explains recent projects through text, photos, and diagrams.
Image: Foster and Partners

 

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