3 Reasons Architects are Not Pursuing Your 3D Visualization Company
We’ve all been there as 3D Architectural Visualization studios — where we want Architects to see just how badass our designs and renders look. So, we try to sell them with our portfolio and more. But, just how well has that worked out?
It’s time to ditch that “Look at me!” approach.
Instead, our marketing strategy needs to scream, “How can I help you [the Architect] accomplish your vision through my impactful 3D Visualization services?”
What Exactly are Architects Looking For?
And What Turns Them Off?
While conducting interviews with various Architects, speaking to members of the AIA (The American Institute of Architects), and referencing quotes from seasoned decision makers from architect firms, Faraday 3D and our field researchers gained epic insight about optimizing our services…and you can too!
Let’s focus on what Architects are looking for in 3D ArchViz studios, from the marketing/pitch to workflow expectations. We will target:
- What Architects are saying about 3D studio marketing and pitches
- How to be that “go-to” resource for an Architect’s 3D Visualization needs
This article is not about making your designs better or how to create a rockstar portfolio. It’s about making YOU better as a multi-facet Project Manager and getting you to see the big picture.
3 Reasons Your 3D ArchViz Studio is Overlooked
You’ve got leads. You’ve got prospective Architect referrals. Yet, only 25% of them will even take a bite from your 3D Visualization services. If this sounds like your studio, then you most likely fit into 3 main categories:
- No balance in product/client focus
- Horrible pitches
- Chaotic workflow
Marketing books and classes always tell us to “sell what our customers want”, right? Well, let’s avoid the “BS” marketing techniques that continue to fail us and address what Architects say—in reality— about their interactions with ArchViz studios, shall we?
Image by Faraday 3D
#1 You’re Obsessed with Your Competitors
and Not Your Clients… and They Can See That!
Mistake: You know everything about your ArchViz niche and know nothing about Architects.
Many 3D studios get lost in the cycle of keeping up with their ArchViz competition than staying current with the growing trends and needs of the architect industry.
Solution: Get baptized in their industry.
You can’t say you have a niche in “Architectural Visualization” and not immerse yourself in the architect industry waters to some degree. If you are not able to demonstrate that you are savvy in both ArchViz and the architecture industry, then you will appear as just another 3D artist to Architects.
Let Architect See What YOU See
Make It Accessible and Simple.
Don’t get me wrong. You need to keep up with (and exceed) your ArchViz competition. However, potential Architect clients need to visibly see the relevance of what you offer in comparison to other studios.
“Don’t just tell me all the wonderful benefits of your product. Make it easy to compare your products to others. And make it relevant to one of my past or current projects,” an Architect from the AIA explained.
A Senior Project Architect of the SmithGroup further confirmed, “When outsourcing visualizations, Architects want to be educated upfront. Don’t simply tell us why your studio is better. Show us why so that we have all the resources up front to make an informed decision about you for our projects.”
And it is up to us (the ArchViz studio) to make their decision as simple as possible.
Show confidence and let those comparisons shine (when needed).
Show your potential clients the differences between your studio and other ArchViz studios. Find a way to be straightforward and transparent about your 3D product(s), services, and timeframes for work completion in contrast to your competition — and align that directly with the potential Architect’s personal projects.
Be A Part of Their Ecosystem
A constant response we obtained through an AIA networking event was that Architects position themselves as a part of a “thinking and visionary community.” “We’re influenced by many things within our direct industry and indirect surroundings. This thinking community is the space in which we want to be engaged.” Your studio’s goal should be to impact the architect process and become a part of their visionary ecosystem (their thinking space).
During recent AIA member interviews conducted, all respondents reported they are most highly influenced to respond to sales pitches and presentations that “inspired and fueled their initial vision”. “When you play inside our ecosystem, the benefits of an architectural 3d visualisation product are the natural resource we will see as a necessity of the Architectural vision,” an AIA member revealed. Alright. So you ask… what are the best ways to engage these Architects?
Stop Pursuing Architects…
Communication is key for potential Architects. And guess what? In the U.S. alone, 90% of consumers read online reviews before visiting your business. That’s mind-blowing, right? According to a recent Forbes Business report, online reviews have been shown to impact 67.7% of purchasing decisions.
So, what does your online presence communicate to Architect leads?
They are researching you…beyond your portfolio and case studies.
…Especially in the U.S., as there are a plethora of company review sites that offer instant free data on your company (even if your 3D studio is international). Examples of such sites include Yelp, Glassdoor, Angie, and other popular review sites that you’ve never heard about if you’re offshore.
Oh, snap! And Architects have their own members-only review sites, too.
“I was going to consider a 3D studio for our project until I saw negative reviews on Indeed and Glassdoor by 3D artists that worked for them before”, revealed a residential architect firm in Chicago. “We decided to respond to a more knowledgeable 3D studio that had better reviews and showed interest in our process.”
While Architect Engineers remain busy, their Project Designers and assistants are receiving your cold emails and company-related LinkedIn requests. Not only will they visit that amazing website you sent them, but they are typing your name in worldwide search engines to “get educated” about you — your personal profile AND your studio activity. This matters very much.
See Yourself Through Their Eyes
An Architect in Dallas, TX asked our researcher, “How do I know that a small studio can produce quality work for my project if they are always asking for advice on social media?”. Several other Architects unanimously responded in a survey, “It’s good to see 3D studio artists increasing their skills, but we highly prefer confident experts over learners.”
This is another reason why it’s critical to work in their ecosystem. While we (ArchViz studios) seek forums for design feedback as a positive source, Architects may view this as a red flag. So, be careful in how you present yourself (everywhere) online.
Ask yourself these questions:
- What are search engines and forums saying about my studio?
- Do I respond to social media comments/questions timely?
- Do I ever engage in Architect communities or just my comfy ArchViz groups?
- Do I present myself as an expert or just a learner… or both?
- Do I have any Architects in my circle that leads can see?
- Do I pop up in consumer review websites? What have my freelancers posted about me?
Always remember: your goal is to attract, not distract. When Architects see a bunch of positive things about your 3D studio across the net, they will pursue you. Work from within their ecosystem — become what Architects want to see and not what other 3D artists see about you.
Image by Faraday 3D
#2 Your Pitches Suck
Why? Because you don’t understand the Architect’s process and communication methods you’re emailing…or you are not properly revealing you do.
Reveal How You Understand the Architect’s Process
Senior Associate at Parkin Architects Limited, David Brown, shares reasons for his Architect company’s process, stating, “BIM allows a building to be constructed virtually, prior to putting a shovel in the ground. This process permits us to discover interference and construction-related problems before they arise – saving project costs and delays”.
Within your pitches or cold emails, you should be connecting with Architects by showing them you researched their company. Show them that you truly understand the Architect process, not just your process.
For example, try adding hyperlinks from their company blogs or past Architect project data to reveal you understand and already immersed yourself in their process — even if it’s a simple process.
Your 3D Visualization service is merely 1 out of 1,000 that is being pushed in front of Architects. In our research, we discovered a crap load of attributes that many Architects reported as a “turn-off” about 3D studio pitches.
Complaints from Architects
About Your 3D Studio Pitches:
“We must have a 3D company that knows how my firm works, the types of projects we take on, what’s important to us personally, and how we like to communicate.”
“Don’t send me a pitch through emails after you just got through selling to my affiliates or partners that same day — in the same manner. They may not know anything about my exact process and neither do you. No good.”
“I won’t even look at a small studio’s emails. We look at those correspondences as random emails if they haven’t even tried to connect with us before that sales pitch.”
Ouch! But, it’s the darn truth. ArchViz pitches and emails can’t be a “cut-and-paste” template that you tweak a little with each company.
Solution: Remember, in an Architect’s ecosystem, the core of engagement is not your sales pitch, but your relationship building.
A cold email is “cold” for a reason.
Warm it up by:
- Connecting with the Architect in-person, through social media (online), or architect conferences
- Using the subject line of an email to remind the Architect how you met
- Learning the Architect’s process before sending a pitch
“We’re sick of impersonal email marketing. My architect company receives over 300 emails a day from 3D artists and manufacturers.”
“Stop sending multiple emails. Your studio’s name will be marked as spam and never seen again.”
“Tell me something in the sales pitch about your 3D product that directly relates to my previous projects. I can tell when you’ve done your research or not. “
“Portfolios that focus on exterior 3D designs, although the email touted his interior 3D design experience. I can tell it was a template email and that 3D studio knew nothing about our needs.”
Solution: Always make that email personal to the Architect and their projects. Educate and respond like an expert. Like a true boss!
- Surround more of your 3D Architectural Visualization pitch around their current projects, not your previous projects
- Educate the Architect about your 3D product with backlinks to your case studies, blogs, knowledge-base pages, or other product/service material; Use backlinks in keywords as you describe your services, but don’t overdo it. Find the right balance based on the Architect’s communication style
- Respond timely, show confidence as an expert, and check your grammar. Attention to detail is everything, especially as a 3D Visualization studio
Speaking of timeliness and organization, how’s your workflow coming along?
#3 Your Workflow is Crap
Don’t just have a great 3D render—be a great 3D Project Manager.
The 3D Studio Workflow from Hell
“We don’t outsource our 3D Visualization needs often. When we do, I don’t want the 3D company to focus so much on their prices. We can talk about that after you learn about my current project needs. I tend to skip over companies like that”, an Architect Manager bluntly expressed in an interview about one of her worst workflow processes experienced.
Another Architect explained, “We decided to just hire an in-house 3D artist because studios seem to be a bit disorganized and unprepared. When the studio’s 3D artist became ill, our whole project was delayed and it was hard to see real-time progress on our images.”
Don’t be known as “that” studio. Is your 3D studio making the same mistakes by not having a solid contingency plan in place that your Architects can see up front? Would you ask your friend to jump out of a plane without showing him the parachute? Well, that’s way your leads feel if you don’t show them how you will execute their 3D Visualization solution.
Workflow Begins from the First Contact
to End of Project… Beyond
Starting to see the big picture? Awesome!
Always look at your pitch and overall online presence as a part of your actual workflow. In our article “Avoid New Client Workflow Chaos”, we discuss what a 3D project workflow should look like and ways to prevent issues within your sales funnel, such as:
- Bad online first impressions
- Giving prices to a potential lead without a 3D roadmap session
- Onboarding process confusion
- Weak work cultures
- Failing to analyze your outcomes
Ask yourself these questions:
- What am I doing to make the Architect’s workflow simple and streamlined?
- How can I explain my workflow will save the Architect money and time in my pitch or email?
Architects need to know that working with your 3D studio will not be a trip through hell and back. As you can see, they will overlook your emails and pitches if you don’t show you understand their work process or recognize their need for simplicity.
Solution: Briefly explain how your workflow gels with their personal process and makes everything easy and affordable for them in the end. Don’t rely on emails as the only mode of communications, either.
Workflow Strategies that Rock!
Here are some examples of Faraday 3D’s past, present, and future workflow strategies for our clients.
Alternative to an Email-Only Approach
Right now, we suggest using Slack for all of our clients. For each new project, a new channel can be created. Platforms, such as Slack, make it extremely easy to add people and view the history of a project. Other 3D studios have seen a deeper user engagement when using alternatives to email communications.
Offer a Client Portal
Through a simple plugin, we can offer a client portal that improves our customer collaborations, saves time and costs, secures data, and increases the productivity of both our Architect clients and our studio.
We use Trello to optimize workflow tracking. Trello is just one awesome example for 3D Architectural Visualization studios, offering an easy, free, and (most importantly) visual way to manage and organize our Architects’ projects.
Gaining Visual Feedback
Having a one-stop shop for getting comments, feedback, and reviews about your Architects’ projects can help seal the deal. Faraday 3D uses Filestage to obtain real-time, in-context feedback on our work and create annotations. Your 3D studio can really make Architects feel more confident, knowing that they can work collaboratively with their team and yours.
Be an Industry Expert…
Not a Product Seller.
Your Ultimate Solution
If you don’t remember anything else, remember these three lessons:
- Architect or arch-viz marketing agency are naturally looking to be educated, not sold
- Strive to fuel their company’s vision (make it personal)
- Make your workflow known (what to expect/ease and convenience)—in your pitch/email
Your Overall Online Presence Matters!
Don’t believe me? Occasionally, get a U.S. VPN (IP address) and see what they see in the search results after typing your studio’s name or team members’ profiles.
Educate them first, product/service promotion second.
Try not to let a cold email be the first time they ever heard of your 3D studio. If so, then go extra hard in showing them that you know their process, past, and current projects — that you are already a part of their ecosystem. Build a relationship first, even if it means a simple connection on their social media page(s). They do check that.
Remain Responsive from Beginning to End — and Beyond.
If they don’t get a timely answer from your studio about your services, they’ll move on to the next one. Have a process and contingency plan in place to increase response time.
The “Look at me” syndrome and impersonal cold emails. Get rid of those.
- If you’re only communicating with Architects based on your company goals, and not making it relevant to them, it won’t work
- You can’t win with Architects through mass selling methods and template emails. Architects don’t respond to traditional 3D sales pitches. They want a studio to keep them engaged through education and personal resources only. Be an all-around expert!
- Ask the right questions. Connect with their past and previous projects. You must first build relationships and learn about that particular Architect’s ecosystem before pitching (or sending a cold email)
Has Faraday 3D’s guide been helped put the puzzle pieces together for a better marketing strategy with your potential 3D ArchViz clients? Do you have the insight to share about your 3D studio’s workflow process? We’d love to hear from you. Connect with us to stay up-to-date on our Knowledge Base articles, guides, and future resources.
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