Marketing to Engineers in a Digital World

Engineers are the target audience for a large portion of industrial B2B companies. You write long-form website copy to meet their informational needs and spend countless hours writing technical papers and case studies to establish your credibility. Your company also probably spends a large portion of your marketing budget on printing catalogs, brochures, and other marketing materials to hand out at business meetings and trade shows.

It’s true that for decades, printed materials were the primary source of information for engineers. But we now live in a world where the way people find and consume information continues to shift to a digital format.   Over 3.8 million Google searches occur every minute, and more than 51% of smartphone users discover new companies or products while searching for information on their smartphone. It’s time to ramp up your digital marketing game if you want to keep and attract customers in today’s highly competitive online market.

Engineering Professionals Are Going Digital

Engineering.com recently conducted a study to see how today’s engineering professionals find information. They interviewed 1,540 engineers from around the globe, ranging in age from 25 and under to 65+, and across a wide range of industries.

pie graph for engineering industries

 

The study verified much of what our digital marketers already knew: More and more people are accessing information online, whether it’s finding products and services or reading case studies and technical papers. Instead of turning to printed materials, engineers of all ages are seeking online sources they can access anywhere, and at any time.

The Majority of Surveyed Engineers Consume Information Digitally

Engineers spend approximately 10 hours per week—about 25% of a typical 40-hour work week – accessing engineering information via computer, mobile device, or print. That’s a significant amount of time. Of the engineers surveyed:

  • 49% of content consumption occurs on a computer
  • 25% occurs on a mobile phone
  • 16% occurs by reading print
  • 10% occurs on a tablet

bar graph of content consumption by platform

Half of Surveyed Engineering Professionals Read Information on Mobile Devices

Consumption of data using a mobile device increased from prior years. Not only that, but at least half of engineers across all age groups regularly access content on their phone. This data stresses the importance of having a mobile-friendly website that:

  • Is user-friendly, including site navigation that clearly shows people what you do and makes it easy to find the information they need quickly.
  • Has a responsive design that looks good and functions well on any device, whether it’s a desktop computer or a mobile phone.
  • Downloads media and written content quickly; over 30% of people leave websites that take more than 7 seconds to download.

graphic depicting engineers mobile information consumption

graphic depicting mobile phone content consumption by age

Quality Online Content Matters to Decision Makers in Engineering Fields

Across the board, engineering professionals reported using search, digital publications, and email as the preferred methods of receiving content. The study also found that the quality of the content is important to engineers. 36% of engineers would request a proposal from a vendor based finding good, quality content on their site. When it comes to senior leadership and decision makers, that number increased to 41%.

two pie graphs depticting engineering decision makers

Businesses Need to Cater Current and Future Decision Makers

To stay competitive, you need to cater to a variety of audiences. Even if you have long-time customers that prefer printed materials, you need to provide digital options for other OEMs and distributors. Why? Because the younger engineering professionals are your future customers, and the ones responsible for collecting information for decision-makers at their company. Providing content in the format they prefer benefits your company not only now, but in the future, when your current, older engineer customers retire.

This means having downloadable PDFs of catalogs and brochures on your website and making them easily accessible. Same with whitepapers and case studies. If one of your employees published an article in an industry magazine, put a link to that on your website as well to establish authority.

If you still want to print catalogs and brochures for your current customers, that’s okay. Just make sure all the same information is also available online.

Customers Prefer Websites that Are Informational and Easy to Navigate

Providing digital versions of your print materials is a good start, but it’s vital that your entire website delivers valuable information in a user-friendly format. A clearly defined navigation makes it easy for site visitors to find information quickly. If it takes too long for someone to find the information they need, they will leave your site and go to the next one on the search engine results page.

Your site pages should contain informational content written in a clear, concise manner with plenty of headers to make the information scannable. Optimizing the content with keywords is also important because it helps search engines understand the information on the page, which improves how your site ranks in search engines.

Site visitors also need access to useful tools and resources.  Clearly labeled Contact Us and Request for Quote buttons should be prominently displayed on each page, with a direct link to your contact/RFQ forms. If these forms are buried at the bottom of your web page or otherwise hard to find, people will get frustrated and leave your site.

For ecommerce sites, links to downloadable CAD drawings and specifications should also be displayed on each product page for easy access. This gives engineers the information they need without making them take the extra step of calling or waiting for an email response.

The overall goal is to establish trusted relationships with engineers, so they see your company as a valuable source of information and services. By having high quality, informative content on your website, you’ll earn that authority and trust, eventually leading to increased conversions.

The team at Ecreativeworks understands digital marketing and the unique needs of today’s engineers and industrial customers. To learn more about creating online content that establishes authority and drives sales, send us a message.

In-text graphics source: Engineering.com.

Access the full study: How Are Engineers Consuming Content

 

Written by Arianna Pittman, Copywriter at Ecreativeworks

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