6 signs your architecture firm needs a marketing makeover

If you had to step outside of your architecture firm and give your architecture marketing strategy a score from 1 to 10, what would you rate it?  

While many of us would like to give ourselves a 10, the hard truth is that marketing can be difficult to measure accurately.  

Sure, there are signs that you can look out for, but they don’t always provide you with the full picture.  

When an architect’s marketing strategy is effective, their identity, personality and values shine through to the client. That makes it an easy decision for the client. 

But when an architect’s marketing is off, the client doesn’t really know who the architect is, what they stand for and whether they will be a good fit. It also makes it much harder for prospective clients to find you in the first place. 

Architecture marketing can be overwhelming for many architecture practice owners. That’s partly because marketing is constantly changing. Something that might have worked for your practice five years ago might no longer be relevant. There’s also plenty to keep up with – such as websites, social media, email marketing, photography, etc.


So, how do you know if your marketing strategy is working? What are some ways to tell if you’re wasting time and money on marketing activities that are barely making an impact?  

One way of gauging if your architecture marketing strategy is working is if you’re getting constant inquiries from prospective clients.  

However, sometimes, it’s not always that easy. You might be getting new clients, but what if they’re the wrong clients? Or, worse: what if your marketing is leaving you money on the table? You’re getting a handful of new clients per year when you could be getting five times that, and you don’t even know it? 

Here are the six biggest signs that your architecture practice needs to update your marketing strategy:

1. Your work has dried up.

If you notice that the phone isn’t ringing as much, or you’re not getting as many inquiries on your website, we suggest you look at your website first. Are your contact details readily available for a prospective client to find? (Yes- that means including your phone number!)

Does your website appeal and speak to your ideal client, or is it full of “archi-speak”?

Then, analyze all of your other marketing activities. Are you active on social media? Do you stay in touch with past clients?

If work has dried up, then you’re likely going to want to make marketing a bigger priority in your business.

2. You’re working with the wrong clients.

Maybe you are getting inquiries, but they’re not from the clients you want to be working with. Many architects – particularly startup architects – will say ‘yes’ to projects that are not a good fit. That’s because they are afraid that if they turn down this project, there might not be another opportunity soon.

If your goal is to build coastal homes for retired clients, then you need to be marketing to those exact clients. Your ideal clients should be able to identify themselves in all of your marketing materials. Bonus tip: don’t be afraid to say ‘no’ to clients. Saying ‘no’ is one of the most powerful tools you can have as a business owner.

3. You’re not getting the recognition you desire.

If you’re doing outstanding work as an architect, but you’re not getting any recognition, there’s a good chance that your marketing strategy (or lack thereof) is holding you back. Getting your work published and winning an award are definitive ways to boost awareness and credibility in the industry, but they can take time. What marketing activities are you doing now to help set you up for the future?  Perhaps you need to find new ways to tell your story and those of your clients.


4. You haven’t updated your marketing activities in a few years, or at all since you’ve started your practice.

Marketing has shifted dramatically in the last few years with the rise of Tik Tok and Instagram Reels. That’s not to say that you have to go create a TikTok account today, but you might want to consider adding videos into your architecture marketing strategy. Videos are a great opportunity for potential clients to see who you are and what you’re about.

5. Your budget has changed.

If your practice is growing, so should your marketing budget. Marketing doesn’t have to be a massive expense, but it should align with your business goals. If you want to target those bigger clients, then do what it takes to get in front of them.

On the flipside, if you find that you are spending way too much on marketing and not getting any results, then analyze the return on investment from your spend. This can be as simple as recording a few marketing metrics each month to see if your ROI is trending in the right direction.

As Archibiz Mentor Jacqui Kirk points out, “you can be savvy with marketing.”

“There are lots of things you can do that don’t cost money, such as speaking at an event, adding an announcement to an email signature, or picking up the phone and having a conversation with a client,” she added. “I’ve seen lots of architects spend a lot of money  – say $40,000 – for a brand identity that looks pretty but then sits in a drawer.”

6. You’re spending all your marketing dollars on project photography.

Finally, project photography.

Project photography can be a huge expense for architects, but it shouldn’t take up all of your marketing budget.

For example, you could hire a videographer to create an engaging video that communicates your value and tells a story. You could also subscribe to a CRM (client relationship manager) platform that helps you stay organized and front of mind for clients. Or, if you need to update your website, why not hire a developer who could do it for you? There are a many ways you could divide up your marketing budget, so we suggest you explore all of your options before blowing it all on the most expensive architectural photographer in your area.

If you’re looking for more guidance on your marketing, we offer Marketing, Branding and Sales Strategic Reviews. You can learn more about our Marketing Reviews here.