An Engineering Marketing Strategy Built On Foundations To Last
So, you’re in charge of marketing for an engineering company – good for you! By now, you’re probably familiar with the love/hate relationship that engineering leaders have with marketing. They know it’s crucial to the success of the business but it seems too ‘fluffy’ (we know it isn’t) and it can be difficult to get the answers you need from the top.
Instead of investing your time and resources into one-off activities, the best marketers have a solid engineering marketing strategy that engages specific technical target audiences, delivers a consistent flow of high-quality leads to help fuel new sales opportunities.
We’ve got you covered, with a 10-step engineering marketing strategy. Find out what steps you need to take to build a comprehensive marketing plan.
1. Craft a Positioning Statement
In technical markets, a generalist approach is never sufficient if you want your business to grow. When your target audience is primarily engineers who work on specialised projects and critical applications, they need expert advice and proven solutions – not a general direction.
Establishing your business as one that can be trusted, starts with having a clear position and message. Crafting a strong positioning statement shows customers how your service or solution fills a need in a way that your competition doesn’t.
When developing your positioning statement, consider the following elements:
- Who are your potential engineering and scientific customers? (Think beyond your current customers and projects).
- Where will you find their industries and types of organisations?
- Why do they need a solution or expert advice? What are their application pain points?
- What is your solution to the problem they face?
- How will you successfully create and execute those solutions?
- Unlike – What are the drawbacks of competitor solutions?
- Differentiation – What distinctively and uniquely sets your company apart from others?
A clear positioning statement allows you to strengthen your position within the market, differentiate, and build trust with your technical audiences seeking expertise.
2. Know your Business and Marketing Goals
To create goals that have a chance of succeeding, make them SMART. SMART goals are:
- Specific – Be specific about what you want to accomplish
- Measurable – Include metrics that are measurable
- Achievable – Do you have the skills and resources needed to achieve your goal?
- Relevant – Make sure your marketing goals are relevant to the overall business goals
- Time-Specific – Choose a target date for achieving the goal
With clearly defined business goals and objectives in place, you’ll have a greater insight when building a marketing strategy and measuring your results. Having a sound marketing strategy aligned with your business goals will help you to:
- Create awareness for your company, including the products and services you offer.
- Drive website traffic and leads.
- Generate new sales opportunities that match your company’s target audience profile.
3. Develop Your Customer Personas
Customer personas are semi-fictional representations of your ideal customers including insights, such as:
- Demographic data
- Online behavior
- Personal history
- Pain points
Regardless of whether your business is a small startup or a large corporate, breaking down your pool of potential customers into distinct segments ensures your marketing and brand messaging resonates with your prospects.
When developing your personas for your engineering marketing strategy consider:
- The types of companies you want to reach
- The industries they are in
- Their geographic locations
- Any specific pain points
Having a clear representation of your ideal customer persona allows you to develop a deeper understanding of your prospective customers.
4. Think Inbound
With the power of Google, gaining exposure and driving traffic towards your site and securing coverage on technical web publications shouldn’t be underestimated.
Inbound marketing – or “pull” marketing involved harnesses the power of content marketing, social media marketing and SEO to draw customers to your products and services. According to TREW Marketing, 76% of engineers claimed that a Google search was the method they used often or most often to find content related to their work or industry online.
For that reason alone, it’s critical that engineers and technical specialists find your content when searching online. By committing to providing high-quality content, inbound marketing allows you to drive a consistent and long-term flow of leads at a fraction of the cost of any outbound engineering marketing strategy.
5. Work Out the Most Effective Channels
It’s important to look at all channels with an open mind when creating your engineering marketing strategy. You don’t have to leverage every channel to see results. Look closely at your personas and identify the places where they’re most active so your content can reach them directly.
Here are a few marketing channels for ideas when planning your strategy:
- Content – Free or gated content such as blog posts, white papers, case studies, video, and landing pages designed to attract visitors to your website and generate leads.
- Web – Enhance existing or create new web content, including feature graphics, new landing pages, and cross-promotion on other relevant pages on your website.
- SEO – Continuously implement SEO keywords into your web copy and content.
- Email Marketing – Create targeted email campaigns and e-newsletters to follow-up on leads.
- Social Media – Share your content and amplify your engagement with your target audience on social media platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter.
- Public Relations – Deliver news releases, interviews and media outreach.
- Advertising – Consider using online paid search (such as Google AdWords) and print advertisements.
- Events – Attend trade shows, industry-specific conferences and speaking engagements.
To help you pinpoint the best channels that will allow you to meet your goals, identify where your marketing campaign falls on the sales funnel. For example, if your campaign focuses on growing brand awareness, ‘top of the funnel’ activities such as blogging, SEO and social media are your best bet to achieve the greatest results and highest return.
6. Audit your Website
From a marketing point of view, your website is the hub of all of your business’ activities and is the main source for generating leads and establishing your online-brand message. Conducting a website audit allows you to examine the performance of each web page based on SEO and design and how you can improve to boost its effectiveness.
As an engineering company, your website must effectively engage other engineers. A visually outdated website with complicated or unfriendly user-navigation will turn visitors away.
A site that doesn’t offer regularly updated information or has low quality content that isn’t useful to the needs of the target audience will have a similarly negative effect in hurting your brand and your business.
Performing a thorough site audit can help you properly serve the different visitor groups that come to your website, from existing customers, prospective buyers, partners, even down to prospective employees.
When auditing your company website, consider:
- The quality of your content. Does the content on your site leave your visitors satisfied?
- Your website speed. Are there long loading waits and slow server response times?
- Your site design. Does your website convey your unique value to prospects?
- Your conversion rate. How effective is your site at converting visitors into sales?
7. Create a Content Plan
The reality for many technical business leaders is that they are too busy to stop, focus, discuss, debate and then agree on a comprehensive marketing strategy. But, without planning and having a sound engineering marketing strategy, how can you know where you are going and what you need to do to get there?
Acting reactively and taking a risky leap will only lead to mediocre results and higher costs in time, money, stress and frustration for everyone on your team involved. Taking the time to precisely define your marketing goals, the results you want to measure, and a plan of execution will pay off in a way that delivers the ROI that you need and expect from your efforts.
Turn your marketing strategy into an execution plan by using a well-planned campaign structure. This approach will give you and your team the big picture when it comes to the content that will be created and distributed.
This approach allows you to organise your content into themes and topics that your target market will find most valuable. With a content plan, you can also create efficiencies that allow you to align your media channels, publish content at the best times and help you determine which content can be reused for the greatest impact.
8. Align Sales & Marketing
Sales and marketing alignment is a long-term strategy. Digital marketing has transformed the way that businesses can gather insights from the rate at which visitors convert to leads to how often leads become sales opportunities. Despite that, many marketers still have difficulty defining expected outcomes from their marketing and ROI.
According to results from a survey conducted in May 2014 by MIT Sloan Management Review, marketing professionals are being pressured to become more data driven and analytical in order to better determine their ROI. Regardless whether your business is technical or not, aligning your sales and marketing is crucial.
To do this effectively, you must coordinate your sales process with your marketing campaigns. Promoting new offers and content can be an excellent tool for marketers, so it’s always essential that the communication between the marketing and sales teams are clear and transparent. Consider having the two teams attend respective meetings and facilitate alignment training if needed.
The benefits of doing this are that through customer feedback, your buyer persona, and a well-defined marketing strategy you will have a clear map of the customer journey and a much better understanding of how your business can best serve the needs of your customers.
9. Automate your Processes
Today, most buying processes now occur online and companies are starting to transition their marketing efforts online more and more.
Marketing automation is the term given to the software platform that enables greater efficiency and effectiveness of reporting, lead nurturing, and overall campaign execution. As a web-hosted platform, marketing automation includes email marketing, SEO, content publication, contacts database hosting and CRM integration.
There are 3 main ways that marketing automation can be put into practice:
- Gathering and maintaining intelligence through a marketing contact database.
- Increasing conversion rates with lead forms.
- Nurturing to qualify contacts through automated and batch email marketing.
At its core, marketing automation is all about nurturing rather than selling. It promotes an approach that favours quality, valuable, personalised content that squarely aligns with what your target audience are looking for. Implementing marketing automation is bound to make this process simpler and more efficient.
10. Measure and Evaluate
Whether you’re a new technical SME or a large scale engineering organisation measuring and evaluating your marketing performance is the best way to ensure that you are meeting your performance goals.
As part of your performance evaluation it’s important to reflect on your marketing strategy as a whole. Revisit your business goals on a quarterly basis and ask yourself if you’ve met them or if you’re still on track to meet them.
Calculating the quality of your leads and sales readiness through lead scoring can allow you to prioritise the contacts within your database based on the level of their engagement with your content. Having learned information will allow you to understand how well, and to what extent, they align with your customer personas.
By measuring and evaluating if a contact is a strong match for your business goals and your persona you have a chance to reach out and convert that lead into a sale. To best implement lead scoring, establish a robust criteria that examines explicit profile data, such as industry, job title, and company size.
On top of that, measuring your marketing ROI through integrated analytics grants you access to database contacts, the number of marketing qualified leads, leads generated by month, blog traffic and backlink traffic. Integrated analytics and marketing automation platforms simplify marketing measurement to make sure your engineering marketing strategy is always focused on your business goals and objectives.
Create your Engineering Marketing Strategy with Challis Marketing
You need a marketing strategy that successfully engages your specific technical target audiences while simultaneously delivering a consistent flow of high-quality leads to help fuel any new sales opportunities that may appear.
Now that you have a solid understanding of how to create a killer engineering marketing strategy, it’s time to leave the days of poor planning behind.
Get in touch with Challis Marketing today to find out how we can help you promote your business online, generate high-quality leads, and automate your sales and marketing processes.