Having spent over 15 years in the field of marketing, working across various industries and sectors including B2B, B2C, and D2C, I have come to realize that marketing for an engineering firm requires a unique and tailored approach. Unlike many companies that can rely on simple SEO and paid advertising strategies to generate business, engineering firms need to adopt a different mindset.
In my experience, engineering firms often thrive by capitalizing on word-of-mouth referrals and building strong partnerships. When companies require engineering services, they typically turn to their trusted network for recommendations. As a result, engineering firms prioritize three key objectives when seeking assistance with their marketing strategy:
- Crafting a compelling brand image: While their primary source of business stems from partnerships and networking, engineering firms understand the importance of projecting a professional and credible image. Their website, social media presence, and PR efforts must emphasize their expertise and reinforce the fact that they are a reputable and high-quality company.
- Attracting top talent: In an industry where highly skilled professionals are in high demand, engineering firms need their brand to make a lasting impression on potential recruits. By cultivating an attractive and appealing brand identity, these firms can consistently attract new talent and keep their doors open to the best in the field.
- Ranking high in search results: Although word-of-mouth remains the primary driver of business, engineering firms also recognize the significance of appearing at the top of search engine results. While some clients may rely on online searches to find engineering services, it is crucial for these firms to secure a prominent position in search rankings to capture those potential leads.
If these objectives resonate with your goals, I invite you to read further to discover my approach to crafting effective marketing strategies specifically tailored for engineering firms.
My 7 Step Approach to Marketing Strategies for Engineering Firms
- Engineering Firm Brand Identity
- Engineering Website Design
- SEO for Engineering
- PPC for Engineering
- Engineering PR
- Social Media for Engineering Companies
- Email Marketing for Engineers
Engineering Firm Brand Identity
A brand identity is more than just a logo or website. It reflects your firm’s mission, values, and the impression you want to make when people engage with your brand. It guides your communication with your audience and helps build trust.
To create a brand identity for an engineering firm, we start by understanding the target audience, their needs, and challenges. Then we define your firm’s mission, vision, values, and value proposition, differentiating your firm from competitors and outlining your positive industry contributions. This alignment between your brand identity and core principles helps establish trust and credibility with potential clients and partners.
Finally, we create a visual identity that reflects your firm’s professionalism and innovation. This includes designing a logo, selecting suitable colors and fonts, and choosing imagery that showcases your firm’s capabilities. Complement this with clear messaging that communicates your unique value proposition, resonating with your audience and highlighting your technical skills and commitment to excellence.
- Define the target audience
- Define mission, vision, values and value proposition
- Create a visual identity (logo, colors, fonts, imagery guidelines)
Engineering Website Design
A website serves as the first impression for prospects and potential talent, shaping their perception of your company’s values and credibility. In a competitive landscape where engineering firms vie for projects and talent, having an aesthetically pleasing website that effectively communicates your brand and positions you as a reputable and high-value organization can make all the difference in securing deals and attracting top talent.
Unfortunately, engineering firms have been known to maintain clunky, outdated websites overloaded with excessive content. When consulting with a new client regarding website development, we conduct a thorough competitive analysis and discuss brand identity and objectives. This translates into a website strategy that is unique for each company. However, the result always includes these four concepts:
- Emphasize whitespace: Incorporate ample whitespace to create a clean and visually appealing design.
- Visual communication: Utilize images and headers to convey information instead of lengthy paragraphs, ensuring easy comprehension. People don’t read anymore, they scroll. Help them do that.
- Engaging elements: Implement movement and transitions to encourage users to scroll and stay engaged.
- User-friendly navigation: Ensure a clear and concise navigation structure with only a few pages, enabling users to find desired information effortlessly.
Check out this example of a civil engineering website that accomplishes all four of these objectives effortlessly.
#4 is always the the biggest challenge faced by any company. There’s a tendency to include every bit of information, overwhelming the audience. Instead, it’s essential to critically consider the user’s actions on the website and include only relevant items, while providing pathways for users to explore further if they choose. This process, known as wireframing, involves reviewing website analytics and conducting interviews with client-facing teams to determine the optimal structure. I will be writing a detailed post on this topic soon.
By prioritizing a visually appealing, user-friendly website that focuses on essential information and user experience, engineering firms can create a powerful online presence that leaves a lasting positive impression on prospects and attracts top talent.
SEO for Engineering
Many engineering firms have lagged behind in implementing effective SEO strategies. Since their growth has primarily come from word-of-mouth referrals and networking, they may not have seen the need to invest in SEO. However, this presents a significant opportunity waiting to be tapped into.
Need proof? Let me share an example from one of my clients. Over the course of a year, we successfully increased their website traffic by an impressive 149%. Given their focus on attracting talent, we specifically emphasized driving traffic to careers-related pages, resulting in a remarkable year-over-year increase of 1,854%. As a result, this boutique engineering firm located in a small town in Colorado now ranks on the first page of Google for keywords like “best civil engineering companies to work for” and “top places for civil engineers to work,” among others.
When it comes to SEO for engineering firms, it boils down to conducting thorough keyword research to identify the search terms you want to rank for. From there, it’s about creating quality content and implementing the necessary technical structure to optimize your website for those specific terms. In my approach, I divide the SEO strategy for engineering firms into two main categories: service terms and recruitment terms.
To accomplish this, I utilize tools like SEMrush to conduct comprehensive keyword research and determine the realistic ranking potential for both service and recruitment terms. Based on the findings, I develop a content schedule that outlines the creation of new landing pages, blog posts, and the optimization of existing site pages to target the identified keywords. Alongside content creation, there are also on-site and off-site technical optimizations that significantly improve the chances of ranking higher in search results. These optimizations include strategies such as local citation building, link building, internal linking, and more. Stay tuned for an upcoming extended post where I will delve deeper into these techniques.
By embracing a well-rounded SEO strategy tailored to the unique needs of engineering firms, businesses can unlock their full potential, improve their online visibility, and attract both clients and top talent alike.
Paid Advertising for Engineering
The effectiveness of paid advertising for engineering firms largely depends on the nature of the engineering services they offer. For businesses that provide high-value, contract-based services, significant efforts towards paid advertising may not be necessary as most contracts are typically secured through networking. However, when introducing a new service that requires awareness creation, or for services that are more transactional in nature (such as frequent, slightly lower-cost services like surveying for homeowners), a paid advertising approach can be beneficial in some cases. For larger firms, they might want to consider display advertising, which involves the use of banner images displayed on various websites to maintain visibility and awareness.
Public Relations plays a pivotal role in shaping a brand’s identity strategy. Engineering firms aiming to expand their local network and attract the best talent should consider crafting a PR strategy, even if it’s simple and resourceful! PR activities for engineering firms encompass submitting press releases about major company developments such as key appointments and service expansions to local media outlets, arranging press interviews for prominent projects, and even ensuring their visibility on job recruitment websites.
Here’s our quick checklist for PR activities for engineering firms:
- Send press releases to local newspaper outlets to announce key new hires, service expansions and impressive projects
- Solicit the press for interviews (radio, tv, newspaper) for the aforementioned accomplishments
- Maintain recruitment profiles (Glassdoor, Indeed, etc) and create a strategy to generate positive reviews
Social Media for Engineering Companies
No engineering firm is going to be the next trend on TikTok, and they shouldn’t aspire to be, unless they want to allocate resources towards a marketing strategy that doesn’t align with their business goals. When engineering firms seek advice on social media, I advocate for a straightforward approach.
The first question I ask is what the firm hopes to achieve through their social media presence. While most engineering companies need to be on social media to establish credibility and attract prospects or talent, they should not expect to generate direct business leads. The main goal for engineering firms on social media should be to enhance their reputation and increase brand awareness.
When developing a social media strategy for an engineering firm, it is important to conduct a competitor analysis, audience research, and channel hashtag research. However, if you’re looking for a concise guide, here it is: focus primarily on LinkedIn and Google Business. If time permits, you can also consider utilizing Facebook and Instagram, but only if you have enough compelling content to keep your channels fresh. It’s better to have no presence on these platforms than to have outdated content that doesn’t resonate with your audience.
In terms of content, project photos and videos showcasing on-site construction tend to perform well across most platforms. Additionally, featuring team bonding moments and highlighting individual team members can help humanize your brand. Engaging with partners on social media is also crucial. By interacting with their posts and tagging them in your projects, you can reach their audience and potentially attract new talent.
- Channels: LinkedIn and Google Business. Add Facebook and Instagram if you have enough content.
- Content: Post project photos / videos and employee features
- Engagement: Be sure to engage with partners by interacting with their posts and tagging them in projects
Email Marketing for Engineers
Lastly, I would suggest incorporating email marketing into your strategy. Despite being one of the less utilized channels in engineering, it should be considered after all other avenues have been explored. Email marketing in the engineering sector isn’t about driving traffic to your website for immediate purchases. It’s more about building trust with clients and maintaining visibility. Moreover, it’s a great tool for keeping employees informed about company updates and potential talent aware of job opportunities. So while it’s the last channel you should invest in, here’s a summary of the emails to send and when to send them:
- Project Features: Upon completion of a project, having striking photographs from the civil engineering work to the final product presents an excellent chance to dispatch an email recognizing your partners who contributed to the project.
- Service Updates: Consider sending out announcement emails to your regular partners whenever there are new services or technological enhancements, such as the acquisition of new equipment or technologies. It might be beneficial to categorize your list based on the services they usually purchase to make these announcements more pertinent. If you offer any services that should be scheduled regularly, think about setting up reminder notifications for your clients.
- Employee Updates: Maintain regular communication with employees about company objectives, events, and celebrations through a monthly newsletter. This should include updates on the company’s overall status, new team members, internal job vacancies, and most importantly, opportunities for camaraderie and enjoyment.
- Job Openings: Establish an email list that includes all job applicants and former employees eligible for rehiring. Instead of sending individual emails for each job opening, if there are frequent vacancies, compile a biweekly summary of all job postings and send it out to the people on the list.
Engineering Marketing Services
Intrigued by the strategic ideas mentioned in this article but need assistance with implementation? We’ve got you covered. As a full-service digital marketing agency, we specialize in catering to engineering firms. Reach out to us for a complimentary consultation today.