Considering the complex nature of the work, it’s unsurprising that most engineering firms will focus the majority of their attention on operations. However, like any type of business, engineering companies should also rely on a productive, effective marketing and sales operation in order to ensure that the value of their services and skills are reliably communicated to high-value potential clients.
Arguably, audience targeting is even more important for engineering firms than other kinds of businesses. Engineering clients often have very specific needs and maybe trying to solve extremely intricate and detailed problems, heightening the importance of being able to identify exactly who you are marketing to, and exactly what they are looking for.
Achieving this requires a very deep, robust connection between both sales and marketing departments and is one of the most successful ways to demonstrate to your prospective clients that you have the knowledge and skills needed to deal with the issues that they are facing. Engineering companies may also benefit from investing in innovative customer relationship management (CRM) solutions that use advanced analytical processes through the tracking of customer data.
So, what can engineering companies do to get better results from their marketing campaigns?
1. Use Regular, Relevant Content
Relevant content will drive value for your audience, regardless of whether or not a sale is imminent. In fact, only one-third of buyers believe that salespeople effectively communicate business value, according to recent polls by Gartner. If you’re relying wholly on salespeople in order to market and sell your engineering services, you are likely missing out. After all, providing and effectively communicating value should be the top priority for anybody selling anything, including highly technical professional engineering services.
Providing regular, relevant, and high-quality content provides you with a way to put that value across to your potential clients while also doubling up as an effective marketing tool. You can utilize a company blog to demonstrate your engineering expertise and know-how, or keep readers in the loop about the latest developments in your company, making no secret of the value that you provide and all the reasons why a prospect should choose you over the competition.
After all, prospects are looking for highly intelligent, experienced, and knowledgeable engineering companies to work with, and providing educational, informative content is one of the best ways to demonstrate that this is you.
2. Be Readily Available for the Client
Sales experts agree that salesperson responsiveness is a key factor for consumers throughout their customer journey, and it’s also just as important in the relationship that you develop with your customer after a sale. This particularly rings true for engineering companies who often work with clients who are managing large, expensive, and lengthy projects.
Fast, accurate communication with these clients is absolutely imperative both before, during, and after completion of the job. Failing to provide this could mean that your client begins to look elsewhere, and may be less likely to recommend you to others. Don’t forget that in the engineering field, word of mouth marketing is still one of the most effective ways to gain new prospects and clients.
Improve client communication by:
- Utilizing an innovative CRM system to stay up to date with client information, requests and more
- Follow up with clients after a sale, during the project, and after completion of the project at least a few times to give them a chance to provide feedback, voice concerns, or ask questions
- Provide ample ways for clients to get in touch quickly and conveniently
3. Emphasize Industry-Specific KPIs
Metrics are essential to sustaining success rates in companies of all industries, but it’s important to note that not all indicators will make sense in every situation. Engineering companies, in particular, tend to work in a very distinctly different selling environment compared to other business-to-business sales organizations, so it’s important to choose KPIs that reflect this.
Consider the following:
- Typically, the sales cycle for engineering firms is longer compared to other types of services and products
- Your prospects are more likely to spend a substantial amount of time researching their options
- There is often a lengthy negotiation period to take into account due to a range of complex variables and the need to examine regulations
Because of this, effective lead generation is often more important for engineering companies, who simply cannot afford to spend time and effort on trying to sell to a prospect who simply isn’t that good of a fit. Because of this, it may be a wise idea to focus more heavily on metrics that are geared towards indicating the success of your lead generation effort.
4. Nurture Client Relationships
Sometimes, it’s the small details that mean the most in the relationship between a client and a sales professional, or a client and the overall brand. The following all play a crucial role in building and maintaining happy, productive relationships with your clients:
- Good communication skills
- Fast response time
- Willingness and ability to provide ongoing value
- Treating the client with respect and kindness
Bear in mind that new customer acquisition is often an expensive feat for engineering firms, so it tends to make more sense to focus more of your efforts into retaining current clients by providing as much value as possible for your existing customer base.
While these things might seem like small and even seemingly insignificant small touches on their own, it’s often all that ‘going the extra mile’ put together as a whole that represents the dedication of your company to building and maintaining long-term, healthy business relationships.
5. Build Trust
Building trust can often take some time in a business-to-business setting, but once you have achieved this, it can be significantly beneficial. Once you have built up a level of trust with your customers and clients, you can often rely on them to provide you with high-quality referrals and attract new prospects to your firm.
In fact, statistics show that over eighty percent of customers will ask for recommendations before they consider making a purchase, so having a referral from a contact that they trust could easily be the difference between a new prospect going ahead with the proposed deal from your company or exploring their other options. Building trust means that your existing clients will want to continue their healthy relationship with your brand while providing more opportunities for your firm to provide value to others.
6. Utilize Search Engine Optimization
While maintaining strong relationships with your existing clients is essential, you may also want to focus some energy on acquiring new business and attracting new clients across to your firm. Search engine optimization, or SEO, is one of the best ways to improve the online visibility of your engineering company. This is usually done through a collection of best practices that will be used to improve the visibility of your engineering company in Google searches for relevant keywords.
SEO could involve:
- Changing several elements on your websites such as adding relevant keywords to page titles and meta descriptions
- Improving your site’s appearance, performance, and mobile-friendliness
- Improving your site’s load speed
- Removing 404 error pages and broken links from your site
- Adding a relevant business blog with regular high-value content
Learning new strategies like these may mean an investment in your education. For example, a masters in engineering management can provide you with advanced training and help to set you apart from other engineers in your field. Click here to find out how you can expect to move forward in your career with an engineering management masters.
7. Pay Per Click Advertising
If you are looking for a quick way to boost both website traffic and revenue, pay per click (PPC) advertising is an ideal option. This type of advertising gives you the ability to determine which keywords or phrases you would like to trigger your ads, for example, you can set your ads to be displayed when people search for ‘engineering firms in my area’.
However, bear in mind that you need to have the highest bids for these search terms for your ads to be displayed right at the top of search engine results pages, above organic listings. You can adjust your bid amount and track the process of your ads using Google Adwords.
One of the main benefits of using PPC advertising is that you can instantly start seeing results. Once your ads are live, they can start sending targeted traffic to your engineering company website.
8. Email Newsletters
Email newsletters can be a great way of both marketing to your current client base, and attracting the attention of new prospects by sending targeted, valuable content to your recipients. Email marketing is all about providing value, and you can use it to:
- Educate non-engineer clients about important engineering concepts
- Provide links to articles, blog posts and videos that you think your clients will find interesting
- Make your clients aware of upcoming events and company milestones
- Offer both new and existing clients discounts on future services
It’s crucial that your email newsletter is a source of useful information to both clients and prospects; you shouldn’t turn them into commercials for your services as you are unlikely to yield the desired result. Your main aim should be to engage your audience and get them to read more.
By using these tips, you should start to see better results from your marketing efforts.