Engineering Business – 5 More Keys to Marketing Success
There are many ways to market your services to your prospective clients. The best strategies take time to develop before seeing any results. Once you start seeing results the marketing campaign does not stop. Marketing never stops; the business will need to constantly monitor and adjust its campaigns.
Some may want to reduce the marketing budget during tough times. Well there is nothing wrong with keeping the budget tight, but reduce your marketing efforts. In fact, in tough times you want to increase your marketing campaigns. Fortunately, most the best marketing strategies for engineering firms is quite inexpensive. Television and radio commercials, newspaper advertisements are not necessary. They don’t work anyway. Engineering marketing is all about building client confidence in your abilities. The best clients want the best consultants.
In our previous articles we discussed 5 key marketing strategies that you can implement.
Key 1: Personal Contact
Key 2: Networking
Key 3: Business Cards
Key 4: Referrals
Key 5: Website
In this article we will discuss 5 more marketing strategies that we like to call keys to marketing.
Key 6: Public Speaking – An important marketing strategy is public speaking, which does not always mean having to speak in front of a crowd. Hosting meetings, serving on panels, making presentations, speaking on the internet, and giving classes and seminars are all speaking venues. At a speaking event the audience has an impression that speaker is an authority on the subject; an expert. If you want to see the difference, attend a conference as only as an attendee – you are just a face in the crowd. You may make acquaintances with several individuals that you may or may not see again. If you work the crowd well, a few more may enter your pool of contacts which may lead to clients or information on possible clients. But now imagine yourself as a speaker at the conference. Everyone who attends your sessions is interested in your subject matter. Many may actually need your expertise in solving their particular situation or they may know of others who could not attend the conference but need your services. The individuals attending your presentation recognize you as an expert chosen by the conference committee to speak on an important subject. If you plan the conference well, your chance of obtaining referrals and future clients is greatly improved.
Key 7: Writing – Authors are also seen as experts in their field. Writing and publicity adds credibility and visibility. This strategy includes writing articles or tips, reprinting previously written articles, writing a column, publishing a blog, and writing pamphlets, guides, manuals and books. Writing a 1500 word article is really not that difficult. Trade magazines are always looking for articles. In addition, webmasters, newsletter editors, local magazines and newspapers editors are always looking for articles. Booklets and guides that explain the design process can be given to prospective clients.
In addition, in today’s world of the internet most people search peoples name to see what comes up. If your name results in a list of articles, pamphlets, and books, they will instantly know that you are a true expert in your field. Not only are you an engineer capable of providing the services they need, but also you are a recognized expert in the field of engineering. That’s a dynamite combination that is extremely hard to be beaten by the competition. When you walk into their office to give a presentation you have instant credibility.
Key 8: News Releases – An easy way to get your company name in the media is by submitting Press Releases or as we like to call them News Releases. In reality you are telling the media news about your company. There is a lot of credibility to be gained if you are being quoted by the media, having stories written about you, and being interviewed on broadcast media. The idea is to get your clients to hear or read your name in the media. When they see your name and company popping-up monthly in articles, they will think of you when they need your service.
News (Press) Releases can be about anything, but they are not articles. The best trick is to pick a topic about an event, news, information, or a story that is unique and doesn’t happen every day. You may want to write about the upcoming E-Week and how engineers have benefited society. You may want to write about how engineers have assisted earthquake victims in Haiti and Chile or the oil spill in the gulf. You may want to write about a new technology and how it will save home owners thousands of dollars.
Key 9: Promotions – Even if you hold an event in your conference room, promotional events can be extremely expensive to sit-up and follow through. Make sure you have a good idea how much you stand to make versus the expense of the event. If you are not careful this single strategy can cause you to lose money. But if you are sure that you can make it work then there are several tactics you can follow.
Training seminars / Workshops – These can be done in a conference room at your office, another company’s office, hotel, or convention center. The individuals attending these seminars are interested in the services you perform. You may put on a seminar on How to Process a Successful Zoning Application. Everyone who is attending is a potential client, and they see you as an expert that can help them. Other professions like lawyers, accountants, and financial advisers using the tactic quite often.
Online Seminars – These promotions are the same thing as seminars and workshops except they are performed on the internet. Their main advantage is that they are much cheaper for the event holder and the attendees, because no one has to travel to the event site. A variation of online seminars is online videos of a training session and conference. These videos can be viewed 24/7 and are probably the least expensive promotion technique.
Seminars and Workshops – These seminars are usually held in the company conference room for a small local group of attendees, or in leased conference rooms for larger groups. This event can be very expensive when you take into account the lodging, travel, meals, room and equipment leases, and advertisement.
Sponsorship – This is a relative inexpensive promotion compared to the other tactics. Sponsorship gets your name announced to the audience, printed in the event publications and website. Again the same is true for sponsoring charities, non-profits, little league sports, and other community groups. Sponsorship can be a good way to attract people with similar interest.
Trade Shows – These events can be very expensive, especially if they are held in another town or state. There are some companies that do all of their marketing through trade shows. Engineering companies generally perform their work in the states that they hold a license. Sitting-up a display at a trade show outside of these states may not provide the necessary results. Try to pick trade shows that will have a large audience and is searching for your services. You want to draw the attention of as many attendees as possible, obtain their contact information, and after the show follow-up with emails, phone, calls, and marketing kits.
Open House – This event works best for large companies that can afford a huge expense for catering service, entertainment, and the disruption in work performance. These events are usually held after business hours.
Key 10: Advertisement – There are some relatively easy ways to advertise your engineering company; the internet, newsletters, trade magazines, and the phone book. Most advertising media is not worth the money for an engineering company.
Internet – On the internet you could pay a service to drive traffic to your site; pay-per-click is the most common. A well design engineering company web-site will attract plenty of traffic. A pay-per-click service is not necessary. Another method is to pay a website to place your advertisement on their site. But why would an engineering company want to do that? Make sure that your engineering company is listed in their directories along with your website address. Most sites will include your business in the directory for free. Let your website be your advertisement.
Newsletters – There are a number of newsletters out there that are logical places for an engineering company advertisement and most will accept advertisements for a price. But many of these advertisements are nothing more than vanity, making a statement to other engineering companies that they are there. Does anyone really read these advertisements and say I have to contact these guys. Perhaps some advertisements do generate leads, but the better way to draw a potential client’s eye is by having an article in that same publication.
Trade Magazines – Another tactic is to advertise in a trade magazine. Make sure to advertise in a magazine that your targeted audience reads. Trade magazines generally have a larger reader base than newsletters. One of the advantages of trade magazines is that they are kept and left in the waiting room for visitors to read. If your visitors are like most, they glance through the pictures, read some of the articles, and then move on the next magazine. Most do not stop and read the advertisements. If you have the time, try to get your article in the magazine.
Phone Book – Probably the least effective place for advertisement is the phone book. Phone book advertisements are expensive, and can not be revised until the next printing of the book. Most phone book companies will print your engineering company name; address; phone number; and possibly your website address for free. These advertisements are usually very expensive and the returns are usually very low if any. The only recommended advertisement is to have your website address printed. If you have extra money for marketing and you have exhausted the other inexpensive marketing strategies, then go ahead and place an advertisement in the phone book.
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 management 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).
In our three articles on engineering marketing we have discussed 10 key strategies to marketing your engineering business. 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.