The advantage of being an architecture firm is that clients come to you for specific services. No one randomly calls your firm in search of building maintenance or catering. Your clients and potential clients have a good grasp of what you might do for them. The disadvantage of an architectural firm’s marketing efforts is the same as the advantage. Your prospective clients usually turn to you with a specific need, which makes lead generation a little trickier.
Considering all the ways you can market your firm’s services, paid advertising—PPC or pay-per-click—may be the smart digital marketing strategy that makes a difference in your lead generation success rate.
If you’re not already familiar with PPC, it may seem like just another set of initials to know in an already acronym-rich industry, but consider our take on what you need to know about it, why it is important, and why all architecture firms need to use this method.
What is Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Advertising?
Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is a type of online marketing where companies pay to make it to the top of Google search and other related products. It allows your firm to stand out from the competition while simultaneously helping potential clients discover who you are.
The PPC model is beneficial for both your firm’s marketing efforts and Google or Meta’s business model. For you, PPC is expedient because it provides an opportunity to advertise your services to a specific audience who is actively looking for related content.
For search engines, well, do we really need to explain how they win? Ok, we will. For Google and Meta, the pay-per-click model creates a primary revenue stream. Google and Meta provide free services, including web searches and social networking, to their users, but they can make money on their free-to-user products with PPC paid advertising.
Yes, you’re paying to have the privilege of showing your digital advertisement in these search engines and some firms might balk at the idea of the added cost and “paying” for what should be free results of an online search.
But those seasoned in marketing architectural services know they’re fortunate enough to have a select enough field that PPC creates the fastest way to see results. Also, a well-crafted PPC campaign can be cost-effective to you because the value of each click (or visit) from a potential client surpasses the cost of the click paid to Google or Bing.
Why is PPC Marketing Important for Architecture Firms?
Let’s start with the most important reason PPC is important for your architecture firm: Your ideal customer is already looking for you. Remember the advantage of being selected for specific services? Your potential clients are right now typing in search keywords to find a firm that offers your services within the community in which you work.
When you use paid advertising, you ensure that you’ll show up at the top of those listings. The person who used Google search to find your ad is already planning—wanting—to work with an architecture firm. The battle is already half-won. Connecting the person who wants your services with what they are already seeking creates a warm lead from the start.
Is PPC Better Than SEO?
In the wrestling match that can exist between PPC and SEO (another set of initials?) architecture firms worried about their marketing budgets may question whether pay-per-click advertising is better than search engine optimization (SEO).
The truth is intricate because your architecture firm needs both. PPC and SEO have different functions, even though they are both primarily based on keywords. SEO is effective for a long-term marketing plan, as it is both somewhat free and still gets your architecture firm to the top of the keyword listings.
But SEO is a long game, dependent on quality SEO writers and strategists, and it takes quite a bit of time to achieve those first-page rankings. And that’s also assuming your competition hasn’t had similar strong SEO writers and strategists and doesn’t first establish an imposing stronghold.
With PPC, you can challenge that first-place-in-line by simply placing ads for specific keywords and you to get instant gratification results versus having to wait weeks, or even months, to start attracting new leads.
How Important is a Good Landing Page for Lead Generation?
While we’re talking lead generation for your architecture firm, let’s reflect on the importance of pairing your paid ads with a solid and inviting landing page.
Just as you wouldn’t send a beautiful, engraved book-style invitation on cotton cardstock for a dull party, right? Pay-per-click ads are like that. (Emphasis on the click.) When someone follows your paid ad to your website, you want to make sure it is equally and seamlessly connected. Think continuity from paid ad all the way to contract signing.
Make it easy for potential clients to get the information they want and need, while they provide you with contact information by filling out a form or setting an appointment on a calendar app. You don’t want to make potential clients jump through hoops to get to your services, so make sure your landing pages are as clear as possible and effortless to navigate.
Budgeting for PPC Advertising in Your Marketing Plan
When it comes to budgeting for paid advertising, there’s no right or wrong approach, but it is important to remember your marketing goals first.
Consider how many leads or clients you really want to attract in the next 90 days. While it might sound good to keep you—and everyone in your firm—fully booked, that may not be feasible. A better-defined goal might be associated with brand recognition, so you would alter your budgeting to reflect that you want to achieve 250K views of your ad in the next 30 days.
See what we did there? By setting a clear goal, you can backtrack and determine the cost of paid advertising to get you there. It’s easily measurable, which always makes the number people happy. (Btw, most reputable marketing agencies are more than happy to help figure these numbers out on your behalf, or assist you.)
Must-Knows About Google Pay-Per-Click Ads
Now that we’ve discussed all the reasons why you should use Google pay-per-click advertising as part of your marketing efforts, let’s dive into the important factors of how it all works.
Display Ads vs. PPC Ads
Let’s clarify the difference between display ads and pay-per-click ads. Display ads are often based on what’s called cost per mille (CPM), which is just a fancy marketing term for how much you’ll pay per thousand impressions of your ad. PPC ads are based on how much it costs when someone actually clicks your ad and goes to your website. There are benefits to both, so be sure to weigh the pros and cons before starting a campaign.
The keywords you choose are what you want your ad to be tethered to. This means that if someone looks up that word or phrase on Google, your ad will be in the mix of what shows up on that page. While keyword research can be a bit tricky for architecture firms, understanding the basis behind it can really make your campaigns far more effective.
As a sidebar, consider this background on keyword types:
Informational keywords are those entered by people surfing around looking for information. They can seem to have intent, but not always and, if it’s there, it’s vague. Directions “tire store directions” or general searches “how to get rid of wasps” are informational keywords and not worth spending money for with Google.
If you’re using branded keywords, you’re probably using your company name. This is particularly effective for companies and businesses with well-known names. Architectural firm names don’t usually fall into this category (which would include companies such as Walmart and Macy’s).
Vague keywords are considered generic keywords and usually include what sounds like categories or topics. They’re often referred to as short-tail keywords, like “shoe repair,” “plumbing,” or “athletic shorts.” With generic keywords, the intent of the search is unclear.
Do these people need plumbers, or are they searching for job prospects or training? You get the idea. It’s too vague to draw conclusions.
Transactional keywords can indicate purchase intent. If the intent is somewhat clear, but not yet crystalized, it’s labeled a commercial keyword. Examples would be “Adidas running shorts” to “plumbing repairs.”
Locational keywords are just that based on location, which can be hyper-specific. These include home services and eateries, but architectural firms fall here too. It can be a city or region name, such as “landscape design San Diego.” It can also be a search to show ads from companies “near me”, such as “pizza delivery near me” (one we use often!) or “landscape architecture firms near me.”
Long-tail keywords consist of more than three to four words and are usually hyper-specific also, such as “landscape architects specializing in outdoor gardens.” Long-tail keywords are entered by people homing in on something or someone specific and tend to be highly
The price of paid ads fluctuates quickly, even multiple times in a single day, which is why you set what’s called a maximum bid. This ensures your cost doesn’t go over that limit. If the ad campaign you’ve chosen is at a higher cost than this figure, your advertisement won’t display.
Let Us Help Drive Traffic to Your Architecture Firm Website with PPC
While this is a high-level view of paid architecture firm advertisement, it does provide a good foundation for why you should consider this type of digital media, and many effective marketing tools are out there to help you narrow your focus and create winning campaigns.
If it seems too daunting to tackle alone, our team at ER Marketing can help. From PPC to display ads, we can help you choose the best keywords for your architecture firm or group (even if there are only two of you!) that lead to connections with your target market and potential clients. Contact us today to start a conversation.