How to market an engineering firm: Tips and strategies for success
Learning how to market an engineering firm can seem like a daunting task. There are a lot of challenges to overcome, from figuring out how to speak your customer’s language, to selecting the right channels for lead generation. However, effective marketing in engineering is essential to your success. Without the right promotion, your business simply won’t thrive.
No matter the industry, every business relies on some form of marketing to generate demand for products and services, and build relationships with customers.
However, in the engineering industry, marketing can be particularly crucial. It’s essential to helping your audience understand exactly what you can do for them, and how you offer value over your competitors.
The good news is there are many great marketing strategies for engineering companies that do deliver results. With a little planning and creativity, you can create a comprehensive promotional strategy that resonates with your audience, and helps your brand to grow.
Here’s your complete guide to engineering firm marketing.
Why is marketing important in the engineering sector?
So, why should you learn how to market an engineering firm in the first place?
The first and most obvious answer is that marketing is the key to getting your business in front of your audience. Without marketing, engineering companies can’t attract new clients, build brand awareness, or cultivate leads for their sales pipeline.
Marketing can be a tricky process in any industry, but it’s often particularly difficult for engineering firms, as well as those in the wider AEC (Architecture, Engineering and Construction) landscape.
Engineering is a highly technical profession, which means creating a message that actually connects with your target audience can be complicated.
Investing in comprehensive marketing plans is how leading engineering firms not only boost the visibility of their business, but also:
Inform and educate customers
There are many different types of engineers. While your name and logo may hint at the area you specialize in, your marketing strategies are how you tell your audience exactly what you do, and showcase your competitive edge.
With informative, educational, and intriguing marketing campaigns, such as high-quality content and email campaigns, engineering companies can earn the trust of their customers, and highlight their achievements in the industry.
Many prospective customers won’t decide which engineering brand to work with just by glancing at their logo. Your marketing strategy is what guides prospective customers through the sales funnel and decision-making process.
Marketing in engineering is also how you differentiate yourself from your competitors, draw attention to your unique value proposition, and build awareness of your company. It’s effectively the key to making sure you can attract, convert, and retain clients for your business.
How do I create a marketing plan for an engineering firm?
Effective marketing in engineering starts with having a plan. There are countless engineering firm marketing strategies you can explore (which we’ll cover below). However, the right strategy for you will depend on a number of factors, from your target audience, to your marketing budget.
Before you dive into creating new content or experimenting with inbound marketing campaigns, you’ll need to take a few essential steps:
Step 1: Crafting a positioning statement for engineering advertising
Your engineering firm marketing plan depends heavily on how you want to position yourself in the broad AEC landscape. A generalist approach isn’t sufficient if you want your company to grow. You need to understand where you stand in your industry to make a lasting impression.
A strong positioning statement will help guide your marketing strategy, and help you to define the message you want to send to your target audience.
You’ll need to define:
- What services you’re going to offer: What type of engineering business are you running? What services do you provide, and why are they valuable?
- Who your potential customers are: What kind of customers do you want to reach? How will they benefit from your service, and why should they choose you over the competition?
- How you’ll serve your customers: What’s your vision as a business, and how are you going to achieve your goals and support your customers?
Research your competitors to gain an insight into the services already available in your market, and define how you’re going to differentiate yourself. Are you going to focus on amazing customer service, unique solutions to common problems, or innovation?
Step 2: Create engineering marketing personas
While crafting your positioning statement, you should have begun researching your target audience and the people you’re going to serve. The next step is diving a little deeper into those insights. Don’t just define your niche, create buyer personas that allow you to step into the shoes of your clients.
Start simple by defining demographic information, such as the age and location of your target audience. From there, begin to think about behavioral and psychographic factors.
For instance, how do your customers search for solutions to their engineering problems? What platforms do they use for market research, and what does their customer journey look like?
Define the pain points and goals of your customers. For example, are your target customers most concerned about price, the speed at which a project is completed, or access to innovative tools?
Step 3: Establish goals for engineering company marketing
Now that you have your positioning statement, an understanding of your target audience, and an insight into your competition, you can begin creating goals for your campaigns.
Marketing in engineering can serve a number of purposes, from increasing brand awareness, to filling your lead funnel, and even retaining existing customers.
If you’re launching a new business, your initial focus might be on building awareness for your brand, and demonstrating your expertise.
If you’re growing an existing brand, you might be focused on showcasing thought leadership, or differentiating yourself from the competition, by highlighting your accomplishments in the engineering industry.
The goals you set will give you an insight into what you need to measure to determine if your marketing strategies are successful.
If your aim is to increase awareness, you might monitor website traffic and brand mentions. If you’re concentrating on getting new leads, you’ll focus on conversion rates, and the number of qualified customers reaching out to your company.
Where do engineering firms get their leads?
When learning how to market an engineering firm, it’s worth remembering that you can attract leads from a variety of different environments.
The key to success is figuring out which channels work best for your business. In general, most companies find they get better results from inbound marketing (drawing customers to them), than from outbound advertising.
Strategies like cold calling and sending mailers to customers isn’t particularly effective in a world where customers are overwhelmed by promotional messages.
However, you can experiment with a variety of different strategies when searching for the best ways to attract new clients. Let’s look at your options both offline, and online.
Engineering firm marketing ideas: Offline engineering advertising
In today’s digital world, it’s tempting to focus most of your marketing budget on online channels, such as your website and social media. Around 72% of all marketing budgets today are dedicated to digital marketing channels.
However, in the engineering industry, it makes sense to have an offline presence too. If your engineering company only serves a specific area, offline advertising will help you to build relationships with a more focused target audience.
Some of the best ways to earn prospective customers with offline advertising include:
Creating industry partnerships
Working alongside other experts in the AEC industry can be a great way to improve brand visibility. Civil engineers can work with construction companies and vice versa to find more potential clients.
You can even ask local companies to refer clients to you, and offer them the same support in return.
Sponsorship in marketing can be an excellent tool for business development. Sponsoring events, sports teams, or even charities in your region draws attention to your business, while also demonstrating value.
It shows your audience you care about your community.
Events and trade shows
Trade shows are an excellent way to promote your engineering company, particularly if you’re running a B2B business. They give you a chance to showcase your expertise with keynote speeches and sessions.
Plus, they’ll help you to find other business owners you can partner with to find prospective clients.
Simply applying your branding to offline assets, such as your office, your uniforms, and even your vehicles, can be an excellent way to attract attention in the early stages of growing your brand.
You could even consider using taglines or slogans to highlight what makes your business different.
Radio and TV advertising
Although not as common today as online marketing strategies, radio and tv advertising is still a great way to grab the attention of a specific audience. You can work with PR companies and radio stations to target a niche group of customers, using eye-catching, or evocative messages.
Digital marketing strategies for engineering companies
As mentioned above, while a strong offline presence is still valuable in the engineering industry, it’s important to cultivate a good online presence too. The reality is most of your customers will start searching for the services they need in the online world today.
Most customers learn about engineering companies from their social media pages, the blogs they post online, and the positive reviews left by other customers on platforms like Google.
Here are some of the best online methods for marketing in engineering:
1. Use your website to develop thought leadership
Educating your audience is crucial in the engineering landscape. Engineering is a complex technical field which many customers still don’t fully understand. Many of your customers might not know whether they need a mechanical engineer, a civil engineer, or something more specific.
Your website gives you a powerful tool to share insights which can guide customers through the sales funnel.
You can start by developing content to raise awareness of your company and what it does, highlighting your services on your home page, your brand story on your “About us” page, and even your history as a brand.
As your customer moves through the purchasing funnel, you can use thought leadership content to build credibility and trust.
Share articles about your knowledge of the industry, and how you’re investing in technological advancement for your brand. Showcase social proof in the form of industry accolades, case studies, and testimonials on your website.
2. Leverage SEO and content marketing
Content is one of the most valuable tools you’ll have when learning how to market an engineering firm. It’s not only how you educate and inform your customers, but also how you capture the attention of your leads.
About 93% of all online experiences start with a search engine, and the right content can help position you at the top of the search results pages when customers are browsing online.
Effective search engine optimization (SEO) can take time to master, which is why many companies invest in SEO agencies to assist with their engineering business marketing strategies.
However, you can get started yourself by:
Find out which terms customers typically use to search for the services you offer as an engineering company. Tools like SEMRush and Ahrefs can help you to pinpoint competitive keywords.
It’s also worth looking at local SEO, using geographical terms to attract customers in your specific service area.
Backlinks are an excellent way to drive customers to your website, and improve your search engine ranking. You can consider contributing guest posts to other authoritative websites, or ask to have your engineering company listed on local directory pages.
You can even partner with other brands on backlink strategies.
Optimizing your website
Optimizing your website doesn’t just mean filling it with keywords, it also means ensuring your customers have a good experience when interacting with your pages. Make sure your site loads quickly on all devices, and that it’s easy to navigate for your customers.
3. Invest in paid engineering firm marketing strategies
If you’re just getting started in the engineering space, building a strong online presence with organic content and unpaid inbound marketing alone can be difficult. Sometimes, it pays to give your presence an initial boost, using strategies like PPC (Pay Per Click) advertising.
With PPC, you pay channels like Google or Facebook to position your ads in front of your target audience. Every time someone clicks on one of these ads, this breaks into your ad budget.
Like SEO, PPC can take time to master. You’ll need to make sure you’re targeting intent focused words, like “civil engineer near me”, and that you’re investing the right amount of budget into your campaigns.
It also pays to create landing pages, where you can showcase your offers to customers whenever they click on one of your ads.
4. Nurture customers with email marketing
Engineering services aren’t something customers pay for on impulse. Whether you’re selling to a B2B or B2C audience, your customers will want to do extensive research into what they’re going to get from you before they make a purchase.
With this in mind, it makes sense to have a way of nurturing your customers through the sales funnel.
Email marketing gives you an effective way to connect with your customers on a consistent basis.
You can create automated funnels using tools like MailChimp or Klaviyo to send messages to customers at specific times in their buying journey, encouraging them to reach out to you and ask for a quote.
Email marketing also helps you to turn customers into advocates for your brand, if you want to take advantage of the power of referral marketing.
The key to success with email marketing is having the right strategy. Segment your audience based on their behaviors, needs, and interests, and make sure you’re sending relevant, personalized content to each customer at the right time.
5. Invest in your social presence
Social media has become one of the most effective ways for any company to start generating leads. It’s a fantastic way to draw attention to your website and services, with organic content. Plus, you can build trust with your customers, by sharing reviews and testimonials.
Social media gives you a great opportunity to engage in a conversation with your customers, showing your commitment to excellent service.
Plus, many social media channels today allow you to create highly targeted ad campaigns, focusing on customers with specific interests and behaviors, so you can draw high-intent leads towards your service.
To succeed in this landscape, you’ll need to ensure you’re creating relevant content for the right social media channels.
Think about how you can connect with your customers through thought leadership posts, videos showcasing your work, and even user-generated content. Engage your customers with questions and insights, and regularly include links to your blog in your posts.
How to market an engineering firm: Top tips for success
By now, you should have a good idea of how to market an engineering firm, and a selection of strategies you can start experimenting with. However, it’s worth remembering that learning how to promote an engineering business effectively takes time.
You’ll need to commit to making marketing a consistent part of your growth strategy if you want to generate real results.
Here are some top tips to keep you on the right track:
Use the right tools
Technology can be extremely useful when you’re investing in marketing as an engineering company.
You can use AI tools to research your target market, analytical tools to track the results of your campaigns, and even automation tools to ensure you’re promoting and publishing content at the best time for your audience.
Leverage social proof
Few things are more important for engineering firm marketing than building trust with your target audience. Social proof, such as industry credentials, testimonials, and customer reviews can help to make your business appear more credible and reliable.
Encourage every customer to give feedback on your work.
Build referral networks
Your existing loyal customers are one of the most valuable resources you have. Consumers are more likely to trust recommendations given to them by other individuals in the industry.
Ask your existing clients to refer you to other customers, and consider working with partners in the AEC industry to grow your presence.
The strategies that generate the most success in the engineering landscape are constantly evolving. Experimenting with different channels and campaigns is a great way to determine what really works for your company.
Run A/B tests on each channel, and track your analytics from each campaign to ensure you’re using your budget correctly.
Preserve your brand
Make sure you’re paying attention to your reputation among potential clients. Monitor your presence in the search engines, track customer reviews with social listening tools, and respond to comments on your social media accounts.
This will help you to preserve your image, and credibility in a changing landscape.
Mastering marketing in engineering
Learning how to market an engineering firm can be a time-consuming and challenging process. You’ll need to experiment with everything from informative blog posts to evocative social media marketing to ensure you’re building the right presence in your industry.
However, if you commit to creating engaging content, connecting with your audience, and developing innovative strategies, your marketing efforts will pay off. The more time and money you invest into your marketing department, the more new customers you’ll be able to attract.
If you need help building a brand to complement your marketing efforts, or you want guidance on building the ultimate marketing strategy, getting some extra help from experts can be useful.
Reach out to Fabrik brands today to find out how we can help you increase your market share, strengthen your relationships with customers, and differentiate yourself from the competition.
Fabrik: A branding agency for our times.