Whether you’re in aerospace, chemical, civil, electrical or mechanical engineering, here are ideas for how to market yourself and/or your company to other businesses that will give you the best ROI on both your time and marketing budget.
From our experience: Your best marketing will come from clients who are satisfied with the work you’ve done and are willing to recommend you to others. Focus on delivering excellent results and customer service to your existing clients and then ask them who else they know who may need your services.
Job #1: Get the basics in place first
Collect the names and contact information for your customers, especially their email address and cell phone number.
Create a simple customer database to save and update your customer information. This is one of your businesses most valuable assets. Treat it that way!
Analyze and segment (cluster) your customers who are most profitable, loyal, vulnerable, new, unprofitable, difficult to deal with, refer the most business to you, etc. This will help you tailor your marketing programs, spending and messaging to these different groups. This is called customer segmentation.
Set up a customer contact plan to keep your business top of mind. You want to contact customers at least once a quarter with some type of relevant message. The least expensive way to do this is using email. You also want to call your best clients regularly to check in or to compliment them on a big job they’ve won or something you read about them or their company in the paper or an industry journal.
Invest in an email marketing service that will allow you to send professional-looking newsletters, alerts and messages to your customers. Share relevant information and tips that will help them and establish you and your company as experts in your field. Learn more about email marketing.
Focus on marketing to your most profitable and pleasant to serve customers. You want to identify these people and find more customers who are like them.
Present your business in a professional way with a logo, colors and typeface. That’s all part of branding. Use the visual identity you create on all your signs and marketing. If you’ve been in business a long time, you may need to refresh your brand look to look more current.
Describe your business in a meaningful and compelling way that will differentiate what you offer from your competitors and attract the kind of customers who will be most profitable. This is called positioning.
Create a simple brochure about your services. Use it to educate your existing and prospective customers about all the services you offer.
Create 2-sided or folded business cards that are like mini ads for your business. Hand these cards out to your existing customers, at trade shows or events and give them to other business owners to use to refer business to you.
Focus on improving customer satisfaction. It’s much less expensive to sell to existing customers than to attract new ones. Keep your existing customers so happy they refer others.
Treat your best customers like VIPs.
Get more referrals! What complementary businesses can you form alliances with where you promote their products/services and they do the same for you? Are you asking your customers for referrals? And thanking them when they do refer others to you? You want to be sure to reward this behavior.
Create and host seminars or events. Get your best customers to bring people.
Attract new customers!
Create a website where people can learn more about your engineering business.
Make sure your website is set up so that it will be found by people searching on Google and other search engines. Learn about searching using keywords.
Get the press and bloggers to cover you and your engineering business. This will make you look like an expert. Be sure to share any press you get with your existing customers. That will reinforce how smart they are to be working with you. And for prospective new customers, press coverage will make choosing you seem more like a “safe choice”. This is a part of PR (public relations.)
Schedule time for business networking every week with people who can and will refer business to you.
Job #2: Beyond the Basics
Try direct mail marketing. Buy a mailing list and send letters with your brochure to prospective clients. Follow that up with a letter with a copy of a relevant industry article or an article you’ve been quoted in. Aim to contact prospects at least once a month with a variety of different mailings. Demonstrate how much you know.
Consider all the different types of advertising, especially search advertising where you can intersect people who are researching engineering companies.
Learn more about advertising and best practices for advertising.
See all Marketing Zone Knowledge Base articles.