For engineering firms looking to generate new leads and clients, the benefits of inbound marketing strategies can seem especially abstract. After all, engineers live in a world that revolves around responding to RFPs and generating positive word of mouth. How can content creation be a worthwhile strategy for attracting interested parties?
The Truth Is, Content Creation for Engineers Is Vital
Gone are the days when engineers relied solely on outbound marketing techniques (buying ads and networking for leads). As an integral part of a complete inbound strategy (which involves promotion through blogs, newsletters, social media and SEO), compelling content will draw interested parties straight to your website.
Through proper implementation, you’ll be able to take clients through four integrated actions: attraction, conversion, closing and delighting. Ultimately, an inbound marketing strategy for engineering firms will lead to better leads, more clients and a positive return on investment.
How to Generate Organic Traffic
How do you actually implement an Inbound Marketing plan that will naturally attract website visitors? The good news is that engineering firms fill a niche that’s ideal for the Internet age. Chances are that your firm employs some adroit professionals who can explain highly technical concepts to marketing professionals. The trick is to then transform these topics into compelling, easy-to-understand content.
The following five (5) steps will help you during your content creation process.
1. Creating Buyer Personas
Every product or service attracts a certain type of customer. By considering buyer personas, which are a generalized representation of an ideal client, you’ll be able to decide what type of content to create.
The goal is simple: generate content that your buyers want to read about. Creating a buyer persona for your firm involves finding out the following information:
- Details about the individual’s role
- Information about the persona’s company
- Factors like education and hobbies
- Age range
- Income level
- Where they live (urban, rural, etc.)
- Popular industry buzz words
- Mannerisms and personality type
- Priority initiatives that trigger a change
- Success factors when making a buying decision
- Perceived barriers for choosing an engineering firm
- Evaluation criteria when comparing firms
To gather this information, you’ll need to do some market research. There's a wealth of knowledge that can be gained from having your target audience take an online survey or interviewing your clients to get their insight into their decision-making process.
2. Creating a List of Key Phrases
Key Phrases are vital in today’s world of search engine optimization. When creating a key phrase list, think about your buyer persona and the type of search terms that person would use to find your services.
Remember, these customers are trying to find you on the Web. You just want to make it a little easier for them.
Start by coming up with five long tail key phrases. You’ll need to be more specific than just “engineer” because people no longer search with simply one keyword. Instead they use a phrase or even type a question into the search box.
A phrase such as “engineering firms in Orlando” is a better search term than simply “engineer.”
After you've generated a healthy list, implement your key phrases naturally into your site’s content. A great way to do this is by creating blog posts that integrate the search term into the title. For example: “The Top Trends Affecting Engineering Firms in Orlando.”
3. Identifying What Type of Content to Create
Of course, blogs are just one way to implement content. In fact, there’s an ever-growing variety of content types for engineering firms to consider. These include:
- Social media posts
- Email newsletters
- Press releases
- White papers
- Web pages
Using your buyer persona as a guide, you’ll determine what kind of content appeals most to your target audience. Consider the following:
- The intent behind the persona’s Internet search
- The problems they want to solve
- The type of content that will stop them in their tracks
Even if you find that interested parties gravitate strongly toward blog posts, it’s important to cast a wider net. Including more types of content such as case studies and whitepapers gives your audience more options and keeps them on your website longer.
4. Developing a Voice That Caters to Your Audience
Every brand has a certain personality or style that defines the character of its service. The marketing voice of your engineering firm is designed to attract the type of clients you want to serve. Your online content should stick to this voice.
Again, think about the personality of your buyer persona. If your buyers are like most people, they’ll be drawn toward a voice that resonates with their unique disposition. Consider folksy vs. sophisticated, laid back vs. high energy, functional vs. creative.
As you create more content for your site, you’ll further develop your brand. This will be important as you take visitors through the Inbound Marketing phase of attraction to conversion and turn them into customers.
5. Deciding How Often to Add Content
Search engines and visitors love fresh content. This means that the more content you create, the better. However, there are only so many marketing hours in the day. So how do you know when and how often to update?
Start by considering the type of content. It takes less effort to post a 140-character Twitter update than it does to publish a 500-word blog post. At the same time, blog posts are generally easier than uploading new podcasts and videos.
As you think about overall frequency, determine when your audience will browse or check social media. Will they be accessing your site daily or monthly? Once your traffic increases, you’ll know you’ve hit the sweet spot for content creation.
After you’ve gone through all of these steps, repeat the process. Remember, most of the work involved with inbound marketing revolves around strategy and content creation.
Building an online audience and increasing traffic won’t happen overnight. Expect to refine your approach over several months to meet the unique demands of your engineering firm.
While making the jump from traditional outbound marketing to inbound strategies may be intimidating, the benefits will be undeniable. Over time, you’ll be able to generate more leads at a lower cost.