What do you do when your business isn’t going where you want it to, and the economy is slowing down before your eyes?
You could hunker down, minimise expenses and accept any work that comes your way…
Or you could just change the rules of the game.
Playoust Churcher was doing all the right things. They had a website; they had a very good SEO company managing that website for many years.
Their SEO was topping all the Google searches… but business still wasn’t happening the way they wanted it to.
“Although we were getting plenty of leads through our SEO service, they weren’t always the leads we wanted, so we were wasting a fair bit of time filtering out which clients and which jobs we really wanted to work with.”
The building industry is a six-month lead indicator for the rest of the economy. Brett knew that the industry was slowing down. He felt very strongly that it was critical to increase the company’s engagement with prospective clients and get their business name out there. Brett knew he needed more than just SEO to engage his clients.
The team began some DIY digital marketing to personalise their site and engage with their visitors.
“We tried to do a bit of digital marketing ourselves and we wrote a few blogs and things. As architects, we love writing. But our blogs became a description of the projects themselves rather than anything customer focused. Everything was from an architect’s point of view – we found it fascinating, but it wasn’t actually meeting any customer needs!”
Blogging was delegated amongst the team, making it hard to maintain a consistent style and tone.
The articles weren’t hitting the market point for their clients and, without a holistic strategy, they weren’t having a significant effect on sales.
The truth was that the team simply did not have the time to commit to a full digital marketing strategy that would achieve what they wanted for their business.
Brett first heard Deb speak at a business group they both belong to.
“I was intrigued by her process; it was very different from what we’d been doing, and I knew immediately that this was that missing element I’d been trying to identify.”
Brett booked an initial consultation with Deb and was even more convinced:
“Brilliant Digital’s process sat really well with me – we are a very process driven business and that’s what frees up our creativity, so I immediately felt comfortable with the way Brilliant Digital works. I was very interested in the storytelling. I realised that our website had a lot of beautiful images of stunning homes we have created, but no story. Which is ironic, since, as architects, we are all about building homes that tell your story!!
In short, I didn’t even ask the other directors – I just knew this was the right path for us. Luckily for me they are all really happy with the results!”
“When we first sat down with Deb, she straight away identified several unique points about our business that we weren’t capitalising on.”
Deb sat down with all the staff and drew out their unique stories.
There was a wealth of skills and talents amongst the team that wasn’t being communicated to prospective clients.
“For instance, as well as being an architect, I am also a property valuer. One of the services we provide is maximising value in clients’ current properties as well as creating new homes. Deb helped us to see that this is something unique to our business and we needed to tell that story.”
Deb also worked with the team to determine what they wanted to do with the business and the directions they wanted to pursue. Equally importantly, they identified the areas they weren’t so passionate about.
When Brilliant Digital rebuilt the Playoust Churcher website, the messaging was very clear in identifying who Playoust Churcher is, and what they do, for whom.
The new website reflects that from the moment customers land on the first page.
“We now have a website that showcases our projects and tells our story about who we are and how we solve our clients’ problems.”
The Brilliant Digital website for Playoust Churcher is structured in a way that takes visitors on a journey, strategically educating clients and filtering out the wrong leads as well as attracting the right ones.
“We no longer get requests to build carports or pergolas, thank goodness. People can see from the get-go that we build and renovate high-end homes. The leads we get now are the leads we want. It has really freed up a lot of our time.”
The new website has also shortened the team’s sales cycle.
Prospective clients spend a lot of time perusing the website, so all the important information is there for them to absorb at their own pace.
By the time people sit down with us for the initial interview, they know what the business does, they know what they want and they are ready to purchase.
“The sales cycle is definitely shorter. Our customers come to us already knowing who we are: our building philosophy, our capabilities and the sorts of projects we are interested in. They’ve investigated our previous work and decided that we are the right team for them.
Our customers all spend significant time researching us and our projects before they pick up the phone.
Thanks to our website, by the time they walk through our door, they’ve already decided they want to work with us.”
One of the things Deb was very insistent on was that the team put up personal profiles – and photos – of all staff members on the website. Not just CVs and successful projects, but personal profiles.
These profiles have been the single biggest point of feedback from Playoust Churcher clients.
“The level of positive feedback really took us by surprise.
In our business we are working in and with people’s personal space. It is their post-tax income and we are creating spaces for them to live their personal lives. I don’t think I fully appreciated how important it was to have that two-way transparency.”
The personal profiles allow clients to see who they would be working with and choose whether they think the team would be a good match for them, without wasting the business’s time.
Even online, we make our purchases based on emotional responses. People do business with people – not websites or corporations – and they choose to do business with people they feel good about.
“Our clients tell us that they felt they knew who we were as people, which made them feel more comfortable having us in their space.
Our clients now come to that first interview already having decided that they want to work with us. It has really given us an edge over our competitors and made it much easier to build deeper relationships with our clients.”
“Working with Brilliant Digital feels like I have my own in-house marketing team. They understand our business so well. I feel like I have a legion of experts – designers, developers, strategists, writers, SEO experts, marketers – who are both fully invested and genuinely interested in my business.”
Playoust Churcher architects are synonymous with hands-on precision, flair and perfection. It was important that their website reflected that.
“In designing the website, we were very particular about fonts and text alignment and all the tiniest of details. For our clients, quality is paramount and the devil’s in the details. Brilliant Digital understands this about us. They give us all the licence we need to make sure everything is absolutely perfect to our unique specifications.”
“I was initially quite nervous about the technical side, about what would happen if the site failed. Building our first website had been a very stressful exercise and I wasn’t eager to repeat the process.”
Brilliant Digital’s websites are specifically designed to minimise downtime – layers of protection are built into the design – and an operations team monitors the site 24/7.
Brilliant Digital guaranteed Brett (twice) that Playoust Churcher’s site would not fall.
“Stephanie [of Brilliant Digital] has been true to her word. The website was up and running in six weeks as promised. I couldn’t believe it, actually. Our first website was such a long, tortuous process. It was quite a significant contrast.
Brilliant Digital has done everything they said they would do. We’ve never had a problem, even with all the increased traffic from the new marketing campaigns. We’ve been very happy.”
And so have we! Deb Croucher reports:
“I love working with Playoust Churcher. They’re a fantastic team. It is absolutely critical to me that Brilliant Digital delivers on our promises – integrity is everything to us, and we do whatever it takes to keep our word.
It is worth every atom of effort when we see Playoust Churcher getting such great results so early on. It’s so rewarding for us. Playoust Churcher really is a unique business. They do amazing work, and they really deserve the great results. I couldn’t be happier for them.”
Brilliant Digital clients never have to worry about what’s being done to their sites, or where their money is being spent.
Brilliant Digital sends a ‘weekly wrap up’ email each Friday, detailing all the work completed and the time spent on each account during the week.
“They are transparent in their dealings and fully accountable. It’s a great assurance; I love it. As a business, we’ve since taken the ‘weekly wrap up’ idea for our own clients.”
Playoust Churcher believe that the biggest value add has been the ongoing marketing strategy. “We are architects. We don’t have the time or the expertise to do this to the standard we want for our business.”
The Playoust Churcher market is expensive, high-end homes.
They are the Aston Martin of architects – their clients simply expect more.
“Our website is our biggest marketing tool. It’s a living, moving, evolving representation of who we are as a business. Brilliant Digital makes sure there is always something new and exciting on our website that reflects who we are and reinforces our clients’ confidence in us as a high quality, innovative and creative firm.
Brilliant Digital monitors the analytics and sends Brett regular reports on what’s working and what needs to be tweaked. Brilliant Digital assigned writers (Sarah and Sara) to deliver beautiful content for the site regularly. Brilliant Digital keeps the same writers assigned to each account to maintain consistent style and to ensure the writers’ knowledge of the business stays up to the minute.
“Again, it’s that level of detail that gives me confidence that everything’s being taken care of.”
SEO is important, but it’s more than just that.
“Brilliant Digital is fully engaged in our market strategy. We feel we have a team of experts working with us to win us new projects and to get our story out.
The writers are very thoughtful in every piece they create. Everything reflects an aspect of our business we want to showcase and how we solve customers’ problems. They are very very good at what they do, and the results have been outstanding.”
“Have we got value for money? Absolutely!”
Through Brilliant Digital’s ongoing digital marketing strategy, Playoust Churcher’s enquiry rate has increased from one per month to five or six per month – a 500-600% increase – even though the economy is slowing down.
Over 60% of all enquiries now come directly from the website. Brett anticipates that will increase to about 80% in the next two months. The new website is structured so that unproductive leads are filtered out.
Leads that do come through the website are much more likely to convert to sales.
“It’s early days yet but all the signs are very positive. If we can convert even 25% of those warm, qualified leads each month, we’d be over the moon. It would give us enough business to begin to be more selective about what we take on, even with the slowing economy. It would give us the freedom to really hone our projects to align with our professional interests, and that’s the dream.”
It may seem counterintuitive to begin a new marketing campaign in a downward economy, but at Playoust Churcher they like to think outside the box. That’s what makes them so good at what they do. Even with the slowing economy, Brett is not concerned about marketing his business.
“It’s an enormous weight lifted from my shoulders. I have professionals doing it all. The team is very proactive. They think about what we need and they come to us with their ideas. Brilliant Digital have become partners; they feel like part of our business, now. I think back to when we were trying to delegate blogs amongst ourselves in our spare time, thinking we were saving money. Nope. I’d never go back. It’s taken an enormous amount of stress and pressure off me.”
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