When it comes to marketing to engineers and other technical types, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. That’s what they do. Marketers need to facilitate their success in doing that reinvention. And, while that’s what good inbound marketing tactics should do in the first place – that is, continually delivering value that helps prospective clients decide to choose you to resolve their pain points – it requires a precision approach that respects an engineer’s time, talent and intelligence.
The good news is that engineers are already out there on the digital landscape: according to data published by Engineering.com in their annual survey, when participants were polled on their sources of information, the overwhelming majority of respondents named digital resources: leading the way, digital publications, online training platforms and social media. They’re already very comfortable with online life.
On the other hand, print and in-person events have fallen off significantly: to the former, and as we’ve seen with legacy media, print has been steadily falling out of favor, giving way to digital platforms. To the latter, it could reasonably be suggested that scientific, technical and engineering-minded people are more hesitant to return to large gatherings following the pandemic. Regardless, the landscape has shifted: to reach an engineer, you’ll find her online.
At Kuno, we recognized this trend years ago, having worked with technical and engineering-minded company stakeholders worldwide virtually since our beginning. And over the years since, helping engineers from fabricators to electrical connectors to medical devices and software, we’ve found some key ways to deliver your message in a way that will capture their attention, consideration and their business.
Engineers are busy, when they’re not actively working, they’re thinking about work, looking for new insights on the topics driving their projects. Similarly, your messaging should be tight and efficient, but it shouldn’t be so sparse that it doesn’t paint the clearest picture possible.
Solution: Video. Where there was once some reservations around video, the temperature with engineering types has significantly warmed. Video – brief how-tos, digestible news briefs, streaming events and more – is a game-changer. Being able to see and internalize a potential solution or breakthrough insight affords a viewing engineer to be in control of processing new ideas, weighing potential alternatives or roadblocks and developing an internal sense of buy-in.
Granted, any video should be shot and edited well, hosted on a stable platform and feature credible presenters and subject matter experts, but that’s true of the medium, regardless of audience.
If an engineer can’t immediately connect with your message, they won’t waste their time. Whether you’re developing written content or video – note that engineers tend to not spend time on work-related podcasts – keep it short and no-frills as mentioned above, but also accessible on the go and ungated. Again, if you’re not delivering value to a technically-inclined reader relatively quickly out of the gate, or creating artificial roadblocks between the reader and the content they want to read, they will look for insights and answers elsewhere.
This doesn’t just mean tight copy offering a validated value proposition out of the gate, but it also means extra emphasis on calibrating content for search engines.
Solution: SEO. Now more than ever, engineers are leveraging search engine results pages (SERPs): according to Engineering.com’s survey, one-third of respondents said they very often find information through search, while nearly another third identified search as something they leveraged fairly often. Two of every three engineers are looking at SERPs for answers! Your site should be mobile-friendly, easily accessible, easy to navigate and in tune with keywords and personas that are dialed in to your desired audience.
SEO is vital in any industry or digital marketing strategy, but it carries extra weight when it comes to science- or technically-inclined users and engineers.
Everyone knows that pictures help clarify concepts, improve readability and amplify the core message you’re trying to convey.
Strong, tightly-contextual imagery, graphs, charts or infographics not only serve to hammer your points home and deliver digestible data, but also act as an opportunity for SEO uplift through alt text and utilizing modern image file formats designed for mobile-first web principles and fast rendering.
The rise of social media amongst engineers, namely LinkedIn, is a major shift. 84 percent of those polled engaged LinkedIn for engineering-related information, with over half of those respondents frequently on the platform. If your brand isn’t on LinkedIn, you’re missing a growing and vibrant community of potential contacts, leads and customers.
With the above in mind, we wanted to highlight several brands and entities that are doing things the right way:
3M has led the way in marketing their brand and products for decades, from Scotch Tape to Post-It Notes. Inside Angle, 3M’s Health Information Systems (HIS) blog, is a great example of readily getting site visitors to relevant information. With a topical filter and search module right there above fold on all displays, and subject matter experts and titles prominently featured, the user has an immediate sense that they’re in the right place. Rather than deploying creative for creative’s sake, 3M opts for using headshots, giving the reader an engaging mental picture of the author sharing information with them, rather than the reader simply reading.
Within the content on Inside Angle, the right sidebar features the author’s bonafides, other published content and doesn’t push the user to do anything immediate – if the reader wants to subscribe, the option is there; as is the opportunity to visit 3M HIS Twitter feed. The focus is on delivering strong value, and for any inbound marketing approach, that’s paramount.
It might be said that GE Aerospace’s blog tries to do too much: it’s parts pressroom, human interest, ESG, company profile and product innovations. It’s a lot.
The content, though, is first-rate: readable and impactful accounts of product development or testing, balanced with compelling profiles of GE employees and insightful stories about their commitment to being good corporate citizens. With GE’s recent reorganization and focus on splitting the conglomerate into multiple entities, their focus is on overall brand awareness rather than deep dives into their products, many of which are proprietary or otherwise have privileged access.
United States government websites have come a long way in being navigable, understandable and user friendly. The Army Corps of Engineers’ presence highlights two key components: video and the ability for a visitor to explore and find what they need in one place, from permits to publications (and even a podcast, but we won’t hold that against them).
The team that does the annual survey of engineers also boasts a great example of a website that gives visitors control of their information journey. Everything is clearly spelled out and categorized, with multiple ways to get where a user wants to go.
Articles provide clear reading and an option to listen. One small addition here that is popping up all over content platforms, particularly major players like Axios, Medium and Substack, is read time estimate, which suits engineering types well in this case: if a piece is too long, they may not read that particular article, but they may find one that’s shorter or more immediate in the same section without abandoning the site.
Circular connector manufacturer Amerline’s Resource Center is a straightforward catalog of information for product offerings, product manuals, user guides and more. Developed in partnership with the team here at Kuno, this layout gives the reader quick, filtered access to anything they might need surrounding electrical connectors.
Inside blog posts, the right margin on web content provides a read estimate and anchor links for easy jumping within content to what a reader wants to know, along with a CTA to request a quote. An easy experience designed with reader value in mind and the opportunity to engage sales if desired.
Marketing to engineers online is largely an exercise in respecting their time and intelligence, letting them have the power to choose their own destiny. Content should be impactful yet brief, and an omni-channel presence leveraging social, infographics and video provides ease of access to data that gives people in engineering lines of work reason to keep coming to you for insights, as well as good reason to choose to work with you on projects together.
Our full-stack team of consultants, brand journalists, SEO specialists, designers and developers has been working with engineers since the very beginning. From major international electronics makers to software development companies to on-demand fastener manufacturers, our experience working with engineers and creating successful marketing and sales enablement strategies for them speaks for itself. We can deliver these real results for your company, as well. Schedule a consultation today to see how we can add value to your brand.