When clients are choosing a firm to bring their architectural woodworking projects to life, they want to know they’ll receive an accurate estimate, a streamlined experience, and guarantee of product quality. That’s why many clients include QCP specifications in their bids.
But even when you provide an outstanding service and your architectural woodwork adheres to all the necessary AWI standards, one project is just one project. To develop an industry-wide reputation for quality and integrity, and to ensure your firm’s long-term success, you need a strong client engagement plan.
Why is a client engagement plan important for architectural woodworking?
When you form strong partnerships with clients, they’re far more likely to bring you repeat business. This adds high lifetime value to your firm, and enables you to divert time spent finding clients into time spent earning contract fees.
Who should I reach out to?
In the architectural woodworking industry, it’s unlikely that you’ll have much contact with the end users of your products. So, engaging clients for long-term success relies on developing a trusted professional network. The first step should be to establish partnerships with architects and general contractors, as they’re most likely to subcontract you for projects.
Remember, even if you produce high-quality architectural woodworking products, you need to connect with other professionals in a way that resonates with them. While quality is certainly important, architects and general contractors also want a guarantee of reliability and compliance, as your work will reflect on their future reputation.
How to reach your ideal audience
Your client engagement plan should approach raising awareness of your firm using several different marketing channels. This lets you reach a wider audience. Here are some fundamental methods every architectural woodworking firm should use to find, contact, and re-engage clients.
Develop your personal brand
Before you start printing leaflets, posting online, and striking up conversations, take a step back and consider how you want your firm to be perceived. Ask yourself:
- What’s my story? Why am I in the architectural woodworking industry, and what do I want to do here?
- How am I presenting my skills, experience, and character? If I was a potential client, what would I think about my firm?
- Am I communicating in a way that’s suitable for my target audience?
The way you act, speak, and write affects how people perceive your brand. When you know the kinds of clients you want to engage, and present yourself in a way that’s appealing to them, you’re more likely to attract leads and build good rapport. This is the foundation for building strong partnerships and growing your firm with repeat business.
Use your existing industry network
Even though there are plenty of ways to raise awareness and advertise your services, nothing is more powerful than good word-of-mouth for building a positive reputation. Your friends and colleagues already know your worth, so start by asking them for an architect or general contractor to put you in touch with potential clients.
Once you’ve completed a project, ask the firm that contracted you to recommend you to others. Also, ask them to leave a client testimonial as social proof of your quality architectural woodworking and customer service, and take pictures for use in a portfolio.
When you establish common ground with potential clients through a shared network and personal recommendations, they approach you with a positive mindset right from the start. This makes it much easier to negotiate a contract, and lay the foundations for an ongoing professional relationship.
Build a website
Spreading the word about your firm through your personal network is highly effective. But after a few days of phone calls, emails, and networking events, you might wish clients would just come to you.
By setting up a business website, you offer active, qualified, and engaged clients a way to learn about your firm for themselves. This saves you a great deal of time, and gives people the space they need to explore your bio, services, and past projects so they can confirm you’re the right choice for their project.
Make sure the content on your website reflects your personal brand, discussed above. Use those same questions to identify how you can stand out in the industry, and what clients want to know when they land on your website.
In terms of content, every website should contain a homepage, an About Us section, a portfolio, and a contact page. By keeping things simple, you can make sure visitors get all the information they need as quickly and clearly as possible. You should also invest time into search engine optimization (SEO) to help you rank highly in search results.
Tailor your content
Another great way to boost SEO and engage visitors is by regularly adding valuable content to your website. As well as the images in your portfolio, consider adding short case studies to explain the project requirements, the challenges you faced, and how you overcame them. You could also demonstrate your expertise with a blog, or simply post about topics that would resonate with your target audience.
Post on social media
A great balance between the personal aspects of networking and the accessibility of a website is social media. Direct messaging, posting, and commenting are excellent ways to interact first-hand with potential clients. You can also post links to your portfolio and blog to drive traffic to your website.
When it comes to social media, the trick is to develop a keen understanding of your audience and tailor your content to suit their preferred platforms. LinkedIn is a great place to discuss the operational and business factors of your firm. Facebook lets you give followers a short summary of what you’re up to, and encourage them to get in touch. And Instagram is perfect for a super-quick image post that raises brand awareness.
Be sure to use one or two appropriate hashtags in your post, and engage with industry groups to make sure your content reaches a qualified and invested audience.
Advertise your services online
With Google ads, social media promotions, and pay-per-click campaigns, it’s never been easier to advertise your services to your target audience. It’s a highly convenient way to put a quick message in front of thousands of qualified individuals to drive them to your website and raise brand awareness.
Or, if you feel the digital advertising world is too saturated, choose a more traditional industry media campaign. Where digital ads often interrupt people when they’re trying to read an article or watch a video, they might be more receptive to a well-made leaflet or a spread in a reliable industry publication.
What is QCP?
At the start, we mentioned that many clients use QCP specifications. But you might be asking, what is QCP?
The Architectural Woodworking Institute’s Quality Certification Program (AWI QCP) gives firms an internationally recognised stamp of quality for their woodworking products. By passing the certification and earning your license, you confirm to clients that all your projects meet AWI standards. This guarantee of reliability, quality, and compliance helps your firm stand out in the industry, and is a fantastic method of building a positive reputation and securing well-paying, long-term client projects.
Explore our architectural woodworker guide
This article is just an overview of the methods woodworkers can use to engage clients for long-term success. But to find out how your firm can reach architects and general contractors to grow your business, take a look at our free guide.
Inside, you’ll find comprehensive information on:
- What clients you should be targeting and why.
- How you can engage your audience and prime their interest.
- What marketing strategies will put you in contact with your ideal clients.
- How you can guide leads through a successful customer journey.
- Ways you can establish credibility and trust for long-lasting business partnerships.
Download our woodworking guide today, and learn how to engage clients for long-term success.