Are You Marketing Your Work The Right Way? - PlusSpec

Architects, Designers and Builders need to show off their work. It’s without doubt the most effective way to market your business and generate new leads.

However, are you marketing your work in the right way? Because there is a wrong way, and it does way more harm than you think!

It goes without saying that your company branding is one of the most important aspects of your business. But our advice is that you learn how to cultivate your brand and make sure that all of your marketing (especially images) reflects your brand.

Photography

There are two kinds of photos that Design and Construction Professionals could or should be posting: Built work, and on-site ‘progress’ shots.

It’s crazy how wrong we can get it when presenting our projects with photos. Let’s face it, we all think we can take pretty good shots. And who needs a camera when you have a phone, right?

Built (finished) Work

This by far the most important marketing material that you can create. But the sad truth is that the quality of the image is equally as important as the quality of the project. And this is where so many companies fall down.

People want images. We live in a visual world with a thirst for more pictures, less words. But the photos need to look good. They need to emphasize ‘professionalism’.  You may have designed or built the most amazing project in the world, but if the photos that you showcase it with are of poor quality, trust us when we say that no matter how good the project is, your potential customers will judge the project poorly.

Timing is also very important. Don’t have photo’s taken until everything looks good. I don’t know how many times we see design and construction professionals showcase Built Projects that are actually unfinished, or before the site has even been cleaned and tidied!

The lesson here is don’t be in a hurry to take photos, especially if you’re taking them yourself. Don’t just take a few happy snaps at the end of a job because you’ll be too busy to come back later. Schedule a time with your client to come back once everything is looking good. Note: You don’t want to wait too long either.

If you aren’t passionate about photography, and don’t want to invest in the right equipment, why not hire a professional building photographer? Although Built Photographs will cost you (whether you take them yourself or not), you should think of it as a marketing expense. A lot of design & construction professionals deduct this cost from the project profit, and then see it as less money earned on that job. But if you are showcasing a project through images, this is a marketing cost, not a project cost.

The big lesson here is, if you can’t do your work justice through professional-looking photographs, it probably isn’t worth marketing that project. Do a testimonial instead.

Onsite ‘progress’ shots

This is the place where you can upload all of those shots taken from your phone. Onsite photos don’t need to look professional. People just love looking at images of a building coming to life, and don’t connect the quality of the images with the quality of the work.

However, don’t upload onsite progress shots onto your website and then leave them as the Built Work. This happens way more than you think!  One way to prevent this is to only upload onsite progress shots in Blog posts. If you have a page on the project, don’t include these shots. Just link it back to the relevant Blog Post.

Or, just make it very clear that this project is ‘In-Progress’.

Presentations/Renders

If you are producing design images (from software), the same rules for photographs apply to these too.

Always be aware of the marketing message.

If it is for schematic/design-thinking purposes, then hand sketches (scribbles) are totally fine. So are rough looking images taken from your 3D software. However, our suggestion is that you keep these simple, and more explanatory than aesthetic. Click HERE to check out an excellent example of explanatory images, by Austin Maynard Architects. We love this!

If you want to ‘sell’ the project on the other hand, you’ll need to spend more time making the images from your 3D software look amazing (often with additional software, such as Photoshop, or rendering software like Thea for SketchUp, or Lumion 3D). However, if you want to produce photorealistic images they share the exact same rules as Built Photographs.

One of the things our customers love about PlusSpec for SketchUp is that you can quickly learn how to make amazing images straight out of the box. This is perfect for anyone who doesn’t have the time to take images to the next level with additional software. And if done right, these images can still be used for any kind of marketing – from process to showcase images.

Drew Povey joined RubySketch in 2015 and now heads up the Melbourne Office. He has a Masters of Architecture, a B.A in languages, and a Diploma of Business.

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