As highlighted in our recent feature “How to Sell to Architects in the Amazon Age”, it is no longer enough for building-product manufacturers to market themselves solely through trade shows and lunch-and-learns. The internet has changed everything; architects now expect a seamless online experience when researching building-products and materials for their projects.
That’s one of the reasons why Architizer has developed an online specification tool for architects that is both easy to use and good-looking to boot. These qualities make the platform an ideal place for manufacturers to market their products and enhance their visibility among some of the world’s largest architecture firms — but brands need not stop there. The top manufacturers never stop developing their own website as the internet evolves, ensuring they remain relevant and accessible to architects and the broader construction industry.
For best practices, we looked to metal cladding manufacturer Zahner, whose website ranks among the best for content marketing and the online presentation of building materials. The following five factors help to make their products irresistible to architects, and are well worth considering for your own website:
1. Create a visual feast for the eyes.
We’ve talked at length about the potential of great imagery to help persuade architects in selecting a particular product, but Zahner’s eye for aesthetics goes beyond photography to encompass their entire website. A slick, stylish layout includes digital swatches of every material and finish the brand offers, along with clean graphics that allow the manufacturer’s products to take center stage.
2. Go behind-the-scenes.
A powerful way to build trust in your brand is to give architects a view into the design and fabrication of your products. Zahner artfully demonstrates its manufacturing prowess with high-resolution factory photographs and well-produced videos of the making process. One such clip shows the incredibly satisfying performance of high-tech machines creating delicate perforations in metal façade panels. For architects, this is more than eye candy — it increases trust in your brand and adds legitimacy to products. The value of this can’t be underestimated.
3. Create custom design tools.
Zahner has created an online application for its striking ImageWall perforated panels, allowing designers to input images, dimensions and material and see a visual preview of their façade. The application possesses great visual appeal, but also delivers accurate pricing on the spot — a huge advantage for time-strapped architects assessing the feasibility of specifying the product for their project.
4. Collaborate with architects.
Your strongest asset is your satisfied clients, and the projects that you help them create. Zahner’s case studies act as great testimonials, but the way the brand presents them online goes further than many other companies. High quality construction photographs tell the story behind each building, helping architects to see the installation processes involved as well as the innovative products themselves.
5. Tell your story.
While imagery is central to Zahner’s marketing magic, the written word also plays a part. The company’s blog, a well-written, creative account of the brand’s work, is a powerful asset in two ways. Firstly, it forms a window into the brand’s history, highlighting expertise built up by the team over time. Secondly, fresh content helps the company remain relevant to existing customers, highlighting industry trends and innovation that position Zahner as a thought leader in its field.
Each of these approaches complements the next, with a cumulative benefit that grows over time. “Evergreen” content — that is, content that is not time-sensitive and remains relevant to prospective clients long into the future — provides an increasing return on investment with each new visitor to your site. For this reason, it is well worth investing in good quality online marketing that works hand-in-hand with your Member Profile on Architizer to build trust in your brand and win repeat business.
For more marketing tips and tricks for building-product manufacturers, check out “5 Proven Social Media Tricks for Building-Product Manufacturers”.
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All images and videos via Zahner.