If you need a question answering or some more information on a topic; where do you look for answers?
If you need to know how to make spaghetti bolognese, buy a new pair of trainers or get directions to the train station, where do you turn to first?
For most of us, the answer is the internet.
And, contrary to popular belief, architects are just like us too.
When they need to find a specific product, do some research or get some inspiration they open a new tab and use a search engine to get some answers.
In fact, a recent study found that 98% of architects prefer to research building products online.
In this post, we’ll be delving into, how to reach the millennial architect, what goes into a winning construction products website, and how to use design, layout and content to encourage architects to specify.
Reaching The Millennial Architect
Millennials now make up a large proportion of the workforce. This means they’re digital natives, who grew up with technology and have it seamlessly entwined within their everyday lives.
Why is this significant to construction products websites?
Digital natives opt to look online first, they use the internet and social media to find out what their peers think about products and solutions before making a decision. Because of this, your website needs to become your top salesperson. It needs to answer all an architect’s questions and provide them with a frictionless experience before reaching a purchasing decision.
Millennial architects want to draw their own conclusions, gather their own information and deal with a salesperson when they’re 99% on their way to making a purchase order.
How Can Your Construction Products Website Provide Value To An Architect?
We’ve learnt that architects are spending more time than ever using construction products websites and directories. So how can you set up your website to provide them with a meaningful experience that answers their questions and provides them with the resources they need to:
- Work more efficiently
- Solve their common problems/pain points
- Do their job better
First, let’s talk about design, this is the look and feel of your website. Architects by nature are people who appreciate a stylish design with unique features. Something that’s both practical and user friendly but also sleek and consistent.
The design of your construction products website needs to incorporate your branding, that’s your colours, logos, fonts and personnel. Keep it consistent across your online and offline presence. This should create a cohesive structure that will make your company recognisable before someone even sees your logo.
But your brand isn’t just the way it looks, it’s also your company values. So make sure you incorporate your value proposition (VP) and unique perceived benefits (UPBs). These explain to potential customers why they should do business with you and what makes you stand out from the competition.
Include high-grade photography and even video footage of your products. It’s worth investing in top quality imagery to show off your products on-site and on a finished project. This shows professionalism and creates a killer first impression of your building products in action.
How frustrating is it when we can’t find our keys or the directions to a friend’s house?
This same frustration happens for architects when they land on your website but can’t navigate their way to exactly what they’re looking for. Your homepage is your virtual storefront, so it must give an overview of what you do and contain an easy to navigate menu.
From there, each page must follow a logical pattern that leads to another page, otherwise, you’ll end up with a high bounce rate. A bounce is when a website visitor enters a page but then exits off it, without continuing to another page on your site. But remember to keep it simple, each page should be accessible from 1 or 2 clicks. Use a footer, dropdowns or CTA’s to achieve this.
I’m going to break the content down into 3 the types that architects will expect to see on your construction products website.
Your website should contain blogs, videos, eBooks, and more, that answer the questions architects will have in their mind when specifying the product you specialise in. Demonstrate your expertise by producing quality content that shows a deep understanding of your field with empathy for the everyday struggles an architect will face.
Research what architects are currently talking about in your niche and then find a way to add a fresh perspective to the discussion. Blogging is also a key component of a search engine optimization (SEO) strategy and will push you up the search engine results page (SERP).
This includes BIM files, CAD drawings or even something as simple as product dimensions. Access to downloadable digital models is quickly becoming an expectation of construction products websites. You need to help an architect to envision your product in their designs so make it easy for them. Have them free to access and readily available on your construction products website.
This is where you can show off the work you’ve done on previous jobs to build trust, particularly with new clients. Case studies, testimonials, and reviews give context to how your product has successful been installed and applied, to provide peace of mind to new/potential clients. The importance of this can’t be understated, in 2020 87% of consumers read online reviews, up from 81% in 2019.
The above infographic shows the importance of the 3 types of content on a construction products website. 68% of architects use Google to find inspiration for their project, so create featured insights on your website which inspire and educate. 89% look for technical information on the manufacturers or suppliers websites, so make it readily available and free to access. And 91% choose a brand based on good results when a product is applied to other buildings, this can be shown to them using case studies and reviews.
Architects are looking for a few things on your construction products website. But it boils down to one key theme: they want to quickly access the information they need at a time that suits them.
They don’t want to fill out forms, have to make phone calls or have more questions than before they started.
By setting up your website with the architect in mind you make their job easier. If you consistently do this, by providing them with useful accessible information, then when they’re ready to specify it’s your construction product website that they’ll turn to.