You need diligence and commitment to grow your online audience. You need to stick to your content schedule and strategy and publish content like the ever-working ants. Constantly churning out valuable content is a sure way of ensuring that your SEO charts continue to improve month in, month out. But when you are targeting technical guys like engineers, it is an uphill task. Getting into the head of an engineer is a top-of-mind task because engineers don't view marketing the way the rest of us view it.
That is another way of saying that being an engineering marketer is frustrating. You can create an excellent piece of marketing content only for it to get no views. According to MarketingToday, engineers have a low opinion of advertising and marketing managers. For them, empirical evidence and logic triumphs over gimmicky, sweet-nothings and promotional content, and as Hubspot’s Peter Caputa aptly puts it, engineers still view marketing as the dark side or the necessary evil. Engineers are critical, sceptical breed of people who must ensure that something is tried and tested before they can try it.
3-MUST DO'S WHEN REACHING THE ENGINEERING AUDIENCE
Here is what you need to know when it comes to marketing for engineers and appealing to an engineering audience.
1. Engineers have no time for ‘promotional’ content.
As I have already mentioned, engineers want facts, and facts alone they will entertain. Perhaps marketing managers in engineering industries have their work cut out in terms of formulating a marketing plan for an engineering company that will result to lead generation. So the best thing to do is to make your content direct. Do not use slick graphics and motivational or seductive adjectives lest the engineer will toss the material away as fluff.
Engineers want to believe that they are being influenced by the effectiveness or quality of the product. Their decisions are normally based on technical facts. When designing your ad copy or content, try to remain professional. Let them believe that the marketing content was created by a fellow engineer who understands the technical stuff.
Again, as it is worth repeating, engineers are pretty choosy. They don't want to be bothered by unwanted, and often excessive information. They want full control of the data they get; they'd rather choose what to read, when to read, and how to access it. So skip commercials that interrupt them. That is why you will see them (engineers) using DVRs because they hate commercials. They like filtering their email to get rid of spam and they love call screening to dodge ‘annoying’ telemarketers.
2. Engineers hate "consumer approach".
Many studies on marketing for engineering companies have shown that engineers have a bias towards a straightforward, benefit-oriented and fact-ridden approach as opposed to creatively designed consumer style ads. Although one may argue that an engineer is a human being who will most likely respond to creativity, it must be appreciated that an engineer's mindset is different from that of an average consumer. There is a lot of evidence that shows bells-and-whistles marketing content almost always perform poorly in the engineering circles. Engineers generally respond to messages that recognise them as knowledgeable, technical professionals. So you can as well forget about getting leads if you present "hard-sell" package that is devoid of facts.
3. Engineers are not emotional buyers.
There is a consensus among marketers, and this is backed by research findings, that appealing to the emotional part of the consumer is one of the best marketing strategies to use. More often than not, the average consumer uses the left part of the brain to make a buying decision. The majority of people rely on their emotions, instead of information and facts to make brand decisions. However, engineers are a different kind of bread. In fact, if you attempt to appeal to their emotional aspects, you will lose badly. For them, an impulse purchase rarely occurs; instead, we have what we call “considered purchase”. In other words, no purchase decision is made unless all important facts have been put into considerations.
However, this doesn't mean that there are absolutely no emotional components to the engineer's purchase decision. An engineer is a human first and an engineer second. So, there will always be some emotional aspects or biases such as preferring a particular vendor or relying on gut feelings. But for the most part, an engineer will carefully analyse the features of the product, including its technical specifications before opening his/her wallet.
Therefore, a marketing copy aimed at an engineering audience cannot contain fluff. Professionalism, clarity and logic are essential. Do not try to entice the reader by disguising the nature of the product you are selling. Maybe you can emphasise particular features, but don't state the obvious. For instance, when selling a semi-conductor, do not state its uses or benefits. The engineer already knows that. Rather, talk about the quality of material used, its performance, voltage, resistance, current and reliability, among others.
It is important to note that engineers love jargon. This is unlike what happens with general marketing where we are advised to avoid jargon because it interferes with the quality of the message. When dealing with engineers, jargon actually appeals to engineers and other technical audience. The reason why jargon is so effective is that the reader feels that you speak their language; therefore, you understand him/her.
HOW TO ATTRACT THE RIGHT AUDIENCE
Having said that, the next thing a marketing manager should do when developing a marketing plan for an engineering company or a technical audience is to learn how to attract quality traffic that can be converted into paying customers. What we have learnt above is basically the preliminary aspects of targeted technical marketing. Now it is high time you started using your company's website as a marketing tool. Your website is a vital element of your inbound marketing. It is the first place your readers come to. But the big question is, how will your targeted audience find you? The first task of any inbound marketer is to be found. Let’s look at some of the steps needed for one to be found.
Step 1- Create a generous and valuable content.
Search engine optimisation rules the world. The aim of SEO is to both attract and retain customers. So, how do you hook your technical audience? What is it that you offer that your competition doesn't? How best can you demonstrate your expertise to your audience?
Before you formulate your content strategy, it is important that you answer the above questions. After that, you can start writing generous and valuable content. It is highly recommended that you create a content strategy where you can publish posts daily, weekly or monthly depending on the nature of your products or the resources you have at your disposal.
Your main focus should be to create high-quality, informative content that informs and educates your audience. Although this requires dedication, discipline and patience, the good news is that you will start seeing a steady increase in traffic for a long time.
Regarding content, here are a few tips to remember:
- Publish thought-provoking blogs that highlight expertise. As I have already mentioned, do not be afraid to use technical jargon. If anything, jargon will make your audience feel special.
- Publish empirical findings and facts. There is no place for conjectures or beliefs in the engineering world. Publishing original data from your own study findings and case studies can give you an edge over the competition. This is likely to result in a lot of inbound links because others will be making reference to you, which is great for your SEO.
- Try to be the first to talk about a new trend, gadget or invention. Stay alert!
- Use images and graphics in your posts. Engineers love illustrations since they help drive the point home better.
Step 2- Conduct keyword research.
Have you ever tried to understand your audience's behaviour when they are looking for a piece of information? What keywords or phrases are they most likely to use? One thing about technical audiences like engineers is that they tend to be very specific when conducting online searches. They are very relentless because, for them, finding the exact piece of information they are looking for is not an option.
If you publish world-class content without including very specific keywords, you will find yourself in a very precarious situation. You will be invisible if you do not include specific and relevant keywords. Use Google Keyword Planner tool or any other keyword tool to discover the keywords your audience is likely to use when conducting their searches. More ever, understanding the needs, problems, frustrations and fears of your audience will help you to come up with relevant keywords.
Step 3- Use social media.
Contrary to most beliefs, social media is a goldmine when it comes to reaching your technical audience. You can attract more leads via social media by sharing valuable content. If you don’t have social media channels, create one now. Here, you can share news, case studies, and videos with your audience.
In short, if your company is not already leveraging social media to amplify and share content, you are missing out on an important lead generation opportunity.
If you are not sure how to set up social media accounts for business, please read this article: How to set up Facebook, Twitter and every other social media account.
Marketing for engineering companies and engineers themselves, are a different class of customer. The way you approach the average customer is very different from the way you should do it with a technical audience. Engineers have no time for emotional appeals, promotional language or interruptive commercials. The sooner you get to the point in the most factual and logical manner the higher your chances are. The rule of the thumb is to ensure that the technical features of the product you are selling are highlighted to the reader. That being said, creating high-quality content, using the right keywords and sharing it on social media will help in increasing prospects.