Lead Generation in the Digital World
Cold-emailing is amongst the most popular promotion tools within the design and architecture industry. While successful at times, the method is rarely useful as these firms tend to have pre-existing lists of trusted consultants and strong relations with the local professionals. For newly-founded businesses and those looking to expand, social media holds the key to penetrating this growing market.
While a solid social media ecosystem is needed to augment the overall brand presence and enhance market visibility, only one platform can directly contribute to lead generation–LinkedIn. With over 13mn members in the Middle East and a newly-launched Arabic version, LinkedIn is the go-to professional network that can significantly enhance business development. For professionals in the design and architecture industry, this can be done by using a combination of these two approaches.
In this industry firms are selling expertise. The most significant asset a design firm has is its experts, and thus, business development should be directly linked to them. Every employee should be treated as a brand ambassador, and his/her LinkedIn presence should reflect this. Employees should be encouraged to optimise their personal profiles to highlight their current positions within the company with a direct link to the correct company page.
Employees can enhance the company’s presence by connecting to the right professionals, contributing to industry-group discussions and publishing industry-related posts. LinkedIn has over 25,000 MENA groups where professionals discuss industry best-practices and share the latest trends. By contributing to these discussions, employees can establish themselves as experts in their fields and subsequently contribute to the overall corporate image. The same can be done by publishing public posts that highlight an industry trend or a “how-to” feature.
As with any online networking site, optimisation is key. A company page should include an accurate description of its activities, a list of services, a list of specialties, a link to its website, and a physical address. In addition to providing page visitors with all the relevant information, optimising the page also enhances search engine visibility and gives the corporate website a higher search engine ranking (known as off-page optimisation).
Once the page has been properly optimised, the followers’ base has to be increased. A high number of followers gives the page credibility, and hence one should invest in LinkedIn Follow Ads. The ad dashboard allows marketers to target by location, company (e.g. regional property developer, architecture firm, etc), job title (decision makers), as well as groups (industry-specific groups). While a very specific target audience will yield a higher Cost-per-Click (CPC), it will ensure that the right followers are being reached and garner a higher engagement rate.
As the follower base is increasing, content needs to be shared in order to keep the followers engaged and highlight the company’s achievements. Unlike other social media channels, LinkedIn content should only consist of press releases announcing new tenders, projects, as well as corporate news. The voice of the page should differ from that of Facebook and Twitter’s, as it is targeting a different and more professional audience.
LinkedIn also allows page owners to create separate “Showcase Pages” within their main page that focus on different aspects of the company’s activities. Designers and architects can create different pages to highlight different types of projects by use or the different services offered by their firms. Each page can be targeted to a different audience who’s interested in a specific project type or service. The content will then be more personalised and can include case studies showcasing the firm’s expertise.
The platform also offers solutions to allow markets to reach the right professionals. Sales Navigator and the recently-launched Lead Accelerator allow B2B firms to easily identify prospects and connect with them. As opposed to cold pitches, these tools enable relationship nurturing and hence provide a higher lead generation rate.
Ayman Jaber is the Brand & Communications manager at LA CASA Architects & Engineering Consultants. He has experience in architecture marketing and is a Google Certified digital strategist and media planner.