Engineering Business – 3 More Keys to Marketing Success
Many engineers have no clue how to market their services. Marketing is not something they teach in engineering school. Ask any engineer how they market their services, and they would probably say word of mouth. Do not get me wrong word of mouth is probably one of the best marketing tools; it is inexpensive and someone else is vouching for you. But there are many other marketing strategies that also are inexpensive and will help your business grow no matter what the market conditions are.
As we said in our first article on engineering marketing most engineers are really good on the technical end of the business, but so good at the business end. Most engineers rather crunch the numbers and write the report then pick up the phone and talk to a new prospective client. In our first article we discussed two key marketing strategies.
Key 1: Personal ContactKey 2: Networking
In this article will discuss three more marketing strategies that you can implement that will get results.
Key 3: Business Cards – There is more to a business card then your company name, phone number, and your name. The smallest business brochure is the business card. Business cards are a form of marketing, but the purpose is merely for starting communication. This communication can begin with introductions during a meeting at a City conference room meeting, or it begins when an individual is looking through his stack of cards to find a Civil Engineer. He finds your card which he received a year ago at a seminar. The simple rule for business cards is to keep it simple but descriptive enough.
Cheap business cards printed on your printer does not market well. These types of cards make a statement that you are not very successful and don’t think very much about your appearance. A hastily put together business card can also be interpreted as a company that just started or may not be around very long. It is all about building your client’s confidence in your abilities. It would be a shame to loss that confidence by a business card.
The company’s billboard, your business card, should reflect the pride in your profession. The business card should include at a minimum Your Name, Title or Function, Company Name, Address, Phone and Fax Numbers, E-Mail Address, and Web-Site.
When handing out your business card you may want to have a short, concise description of the services your company provides printed on the back of the card or you may say it. This is known as a 10-second introduction. An example is:
Hello, my name is Fred Coaster and I provide Portland, Oregon with Land Development designs that develop our community with environmentally friendly, sustainable and economical projects. I’m a Civil Engineer.
Remember to keep it simple but memorable.
Key 4: Referrals – Another way to gain new clients is by giving referrals. The clients of engineers in Land Development are constantly asking for referrals for a Grading Contractor, Underground Contractor, General Contractor, Architect, Landscape Architect, Geo-technical Engineer, Structural Engineer, Traffic Engineer, Surveyors, Realtors, Commercial Bankers, Lawyers, and the list goes on. The same is true for all other fields of engineering. If you have a list of referrals for each category for your clients, and each of your referrals list you as one of their Civil Engineer referrals, the opportunity of new clients contacting you is greatly increased without spending a dime on advertising.
Key 5: Website – We are now in the internet age, and most clients will use the internet to research your company. Websites are your company’s online marketing brochure. There are two types of web-sites for professional services; the online brochure and lead generator.
The majority of websites used by engineering companies is basically an online company brochure. They typically state who they are, their contact information, the projects they have completed, list of clients, contact information, and the services they provide. Anyone searching the internet for an engineering company in their local area will visit the site, look around and either contact them or move on. The flaw with these sites is that there is no reason for the visitor to return.
A site that can build credibility with the client is a site that also has information (content) that the visitor can use. This type of website is a lead generator. Information on the site can be in the form of articles, newsletter (e-zines), blogs, and freebies. You also want to gather information on your visitors. Ask them to sign-up to receive your free newsletters. You want the visitors to see your site as a resource.
The online lead generator website needs a great deal more content than a typical company brochure website. The information gathered on the website acts as a resource for the reader. Information websites that are updated periodically are also more useful to your viewers. In addition, content rich sites tend to have a higher ranking on search engines.
Some of the items that can be added to the informative website are:
News articles about Engineering and the related fields
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Civil Engineering
Links to other Resources; such as Government Offices, Professional Organizations, other Engineering Companies, and Architects
How-To Guides for Processing Projects through Government Offices
Local trade shows directory and contact information
Most engineers have excellent technical skills, but not necessarily the same level of expertise in marketing. It is the responsibility of the engineer to develop these skills through continuing education. This continuing education can be obtained through Community Colleges, Universities, Professional Training Programs, Professional Organizations, and online training courses. In most states these continuing education courses qualify for continuing education units (CEU) or Professional Development Hours (PDH).
We have discussed 5 key strategies to improving your marketing efforts; two keys in our first article and 3 more keys in this article. In our next article we will discuss 5 more keys to marketing an engineering firm. Managers are the key to marketing the services and products of the company, having a list of strategies that do not require a significant budget to implement maybe the difference between a successful business and not.