Using video to help market your architectural firm is intuitive, as the medium puts your process and projects on glorious visual display in a way unmatched by static photos and text-heavy collateral materials. Drone footage, social media video reels, website videos, including how-tos, and video leave behinds at architectural presentations are all ways to enrich your messaging, build awareness and position your business using video.
To say video marketing is one of the hottest mediums for building a recognizable brand is an understatement. And since architecture and design are visually heavy, it only makes sense that architects turn to video content as a way to enhance their digital presence and create awareness of their specialties and strengths. It’s Marketing 101: Visual Edition.
“In a Content Marketing Institute’s recent survey, 75% of marketers say they created or used video (all lengths and formats) in the prior year, ranking second in format popularity with short articles/posts (89%) in first,” CMI reports. “Video also is the most popular area of investment for 2023. More than three-fourths of marketers plan to invest in it.”
Other evidence supporting video’s growing popularity comes from Statista, which reported, as of November 2022, 86% of marketers used videos on Facebook for marketing purposes, YouTube was the most popular social media video platform among marketers (90%) and TikTok was used by 35% of those surveyed (even some B2B companies). This data reflects human consumption of video overall, particularly since the advent of streaming. A quick look at HubSpot’s insights on how video consumption is changing reveals the future of videos for marketing purposes.
If you’re not an architect or principal in a firm already advocating for video in your marketing, we created a brief guide with ideas and resources for inspiration for using video to impress clients and prospects and gain a brighter spotlight for your architectural business.
Consider the following five recommendations for video marketing as a promotional tool with architecture:
Use 3D animations
Not all videos you create will be for marketing purposes to start, but that doesn’t mean you can’t use them as digital assets over time. Creating 3D animations helps clients get a feel for your project design, which can be a strategic way to bring your concept to life when others can’t envision what you’re proposing. A high-quality animation can look as lifelike as real video footage, which provides you with an opportunity to realistically showcase how a project should look even before construction.
Use those same videos to present your specialty and skills in your firm’s virtual portfolio later. Any 3D animations that helped get a prospect to become a client should be considered visual testimonials. A vital benefit of visualization is you need not worry about what the weather might be doing on any given day and you don’t need to fret about lighting.
You get to choose the environment and light that best emphasize the value proposition of your concept. (You can also show how natural light will interact with the space at different times of the day and how the building will look like in different weather conditions, all of which help clients imagine the completed project.)
What kind of 3D visualizations work well for marketing purposes?
Exterior animations are useful as a project begins, as most prospective clients want to understand how others will see their structure, whether it be residential or commercial.
Flythrough animation can highlight architectural design and the surrounding area, so prospective clients can see where their structure would fit with (or stand out from) the landscape.
“This type of 3D animation shows the building from far away while focusing on the surrounding area,” writes Swedish architect and CEO of Creative Visual Studio Mihajlo Ivkovski in his blog. “The camera can then zoom in to get a better view of the outside design, such as landscaping elements, driveways, pools, and terraces. Flythrough animation shows how the exterior and its surroundings interact. It can also show the property from the inside, as in the above example.”
When—and if—you want to focus on the interior ideas for a project, straight interior animation, mixed animation and walkthrough animation are visualizations that deliver.
Interior animation does exactly what it sounds like it does—shows the interior spaces of properties. Interior animations can be used to show before-and-after comparisons, different design options and functional features, Ivkovski writes, emphasizing that “an interior animation can show every corner of the space and help prospective clients establish an emotional connection.”
Mixed 3D animation is a combo of interior and exterior space, which may be best when selling the overall idea of a structure.
“The most popular and efficient is the one where the camera ‘flies’ around a building, and then takes viewers inside via the front door to show each room,” Ivkovski writes.
Walkthrough animation is used primarily for interiors and can give the perspective of a person moving through rooms, including closeups of the space. It can be useful when the focus has moved beyond the exterior of a structure, or when the exterior isn’t really an issue, such as with home renovation where the focus is almost always interior.
3D animations can be edited for use on social media, but they really shine on an architectural firm’s landing or pillar pages.
While a building itself is a distinct asset, its contents can be reused for future projects, according to CGIFlythrough.com.
“3D modeling and rendering companies have vast libraries of pre-made objects, including decor, paraphernalia and even people models. The same scene can be modified to be set in different locations, time of day, and even exude different feelings from viewers with clever lighting and parallel open windows. With relatively low workload, 3D animators can provide architects with essentially the same, but slightly altered marketing materials to be used again in the future.”
Create social media content, including video for blogs and showy snippets
The architectural field is, to understate the obvious, visual. Having video content for your social media profiles combines a visual storytelling vehicle with an industry that IS a visual story.
If you’re consistently posting video content on Instagram, Facebook, Houzz, YouTube, Pinterest or even TikTok, there’s a higher-than-average chance a prospective client will see it and choose to work with your firm in some capacity. Post regularly (consistency is crucial), and have a stockpile of videos to make staying consistent easier. Videos with various angles and different views can elongate a basic video into several shorter pieces of content for your social media profiles.
Social media is also an effective venue for your explainer videos or industry insights. When you offer accurate and helpful tips on “how to ask an architect about” or even steps required to complete a contract or proposal, you’re shedding light on what you do. Part of the allure of architecture is that most people don’t understand it. It can seem magical and mysterious. Pull back the curtain. Become a trusted guide for scaling architectural obstacles or common pitfalls in design and construction. You can do it all using video in social, including blog content.
Showcase both your process and completed projects with video
After a building you’ve designed is completed by the contractor, ask to have a professional videographer create a walkthrough. This is an effective way to help your clients see your vision come to life in a way that looking at drawings or animations can’t always duplicate.
You don’t always need to focus on the completed product, either. Short videos on your process, or the seven phases of architectural design can help prospective clients trust that you have the experience and expertise to successfully complete a project. Humanize yourself and your work.
Display your creative core
Getting creative (we know you’ll love this one!) is one of the best ways for architects to use video marketing as a promotional tool. Your theoretical or fantasy designs can create content that will go viral—particularly among your colleagues and those in the architectural know.
Such designs might even catch the eye of a potential client who has a similar design style or visual ideas as you. Even if the design you’ve created isn’t real, there are still those who will likely find value in what you’re able to envision, as it can often lead to a conversation, which leads to a quote and eventually becomes a new project for your firm.
Although the contest is dated, this example of concepts going viral is relevant today.
Create video testimonials
We mentioned that 3D visualizations that motivated clients can work as a type of testimonial, but so can the old-school video version of a client, a designer, an engineer, a contractor or a vendor speaking specifically to what they appreciated or admired about your process or final work.
Testimonials work best if the person addressees how you solved their pain point, or how you worked efficiently and under-budget—or whatever mattered to them. When it’s a non-specific testimonial, it still has value, but when a testimonial focuses on a specific, it creates tremendous social proof.
No need to make these long. Short videos are effective on social media and in presentations. For guidelines on length, see Hootsuite’s suggested length for videos.
Our caveat on this topic is, of course, that video should be part of a researched plan that helps you reach your marketing goals and objectives. Don’t embrace video just because it’s fun (it is!), but because it’s functional and effective as a marketing tactic.
Let Us Help with Your Video Marketing Goals
At ER Marketing, we help architectural firms come up with winning digital marketing strategies. We’re highly skilled at social media marketing, specifically YouTube and other video marketing platforms. Contact us today to start a conversation.
Video marketing allows architectural firms to visually showcase their process and projects in a way that static photos and text cannot match, helping to build awareness, enhance messaging, and position the business effectively.
According to a Content Marketing Institute survey, 75% of marketers used video in the prior year, ranking it second in format popularity after short articles/posts.
As of November 2022, 86% of marketers used videos on Facebook, YouTube was the most popular social media video platform (90% of marketers), and 35% of surveyed marketers used TikTok for video marketing.
Exterior animations are useful for showcasing how a structure will appear to others, while flythrough animations highlight architectural design and the surrounding area. Interior animations, mixed animations, and walkthrough animations are also effective for showcasing interior spaces.
Architectural firms can regularly post video content on platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Houzz, YouTube, and TikTok to engage with prospective clients and demonstrate industry expertise. Explainer videos and insights can also be shared to educate and build trust.
Architectural firms can collaborate with professional videographers to create walkthroughs of completed projects, providing clients with a realistic view of the design. Additionally, short videos on the architectural process can build trust and humanize the firm.
Architects can create content featuring theoretical or fantasy designs, which can generate viral interest within the architectural community and potentially attract like-minded clients who appreciate their unique vision.
Yes, video testimonials from clients, designers, engineers, contractors, or vendors can be powerful social proof. Testimonials that address specific pain points or highlight efficient work are particularly valuable.
Short videos are effective, especially on social media. For length guidelines, it’s advisable to refer to recommendations from platforms like Hootsuite.
Yes, video should be part of a researched plan aligned with marketing goals and objectives. It should be embraced for its functional and effective qualities rather than solely for entertainment value.