How to Turn Your Website Into a Marketing Machine

Posted on: 12/28/15
Written by: David Lecours
Topics: Marketing

If you have this nag­ging sense that your architecture, engineering or construction (A/E/C) firm's web­site could be more than an online brochure, you’re right. The mod­ern web­site doesn’t sit idle wait­ing for the arrival of a vis­i­tor to sim­ply con­firm what they’ve already heard about your firm. When com­bined with nar­row posi­tion­ing and content/inbound mar­ket­ing, a good web­site becomes a busi­ness devel­op­ment tool. 

And, as recently discussed in Turning Your Firms Website into a Marketing Machine, my recent session with Josh Miles at PSMJ's 2015 Industry Summit, web­sites have evolved from pas­sive brochure-ware to active lead gen­er­at­ion tools. Following are the four functions A/E/C websites must serve to transform into powerful marketing machines: 

4functions_600

Attract
If your firm is clearly and nar­rowly posi­tioned to attract a spe­cific audi­ence, then your web­site can reach and engage the unaware. These vis­i­tors may be poten­tial clients or employ­ees. Both are impor­tant to the suc­cess of your firm.

A ben­e­fit of know­ing your tar­get audi­ence is know­ing what keeps them up at night. Searchable and opti­mized con­tent on your web­site that soothes client pain points will increase your odds that unaware prospects find you. Once they find you, they will devour your con­tent because it seems like it was writ­ten just for them.

“A main oppor­tu­nity is to attract the unaware: those who need your exper­tise but are unaware you exist or not con­sid­er­ing you.” –Mark O’Brien, Author of A Web­site That Works.

By reg­u­larly adding unique, expertise-based con­tent to your site, you will boost SEO. You begin to con­vey to Google who you are, which helps Google send the right vis­i­tors. The vis­i­tors like your con­tent because it feels cus­tomized for them. Then vis­i­tors start link­ing to your con­tent. Google notices this and increases your search rankings.

Demon­strate Exper­tise
A good web­site can allow some­one to get to know (as described above) to like to trust your firm. This hap­pens by demon­strat­ing your exper­tise in writ­ing. This can be blog posts, white papers or monthly newslet­ters. Make sure the con­tent is index­able (not a PDF), so Google, and vis­i­tors, can find it.

A com­mit­ment to reg­u­larly adding valu­able and search­able con­tent to your web­site demon­strates your exper­tise and works to pre-position your firm as a leader before the RFP comes out. Con­tent mar­ket­ing is so crit­i­cal for pro­fes­sional ser­vices because we are “sell­ing the invis­i­ble.” Buy­ers can’t see, touch, or test our ser­vices before they buy. Con­tent mar­ket­ing is a no pres­sure, non-sales man­ner for prospects to under­stand how you think, what you believe, and how you’ve solved pre­vi­ous problems.

Cre­at­ing engag­ing con­tent is hard to do. Most will give up after a few months. This is an oppor­tu­nity to stand out.

I rec­om­mend start­ing with writ­ing a blog. Then grad­u­ate to:
• quar­terly webi­nars
• white papers
• speak­ing where your clients gather
• videos & podcasts

Con­nect
The mantra I hear repeated is: A/E/C mar­ket­ing is a rela­tion­ship busi­ness. Peo­ple do busi­ness with peo­ple they know. Yet, I’m shocked how many firms are unwill­ing to high­light firm lead­ers on their web­site out of fear that this tal­ent will be poached. Guess what? Your com­pe­ti­tion already knows who your lead­ers are. If your lead­ers’ loy­alty is so frag­ile that an email from a com­peti­tor will cause them to jump ship, then you’ve got big­ger issues.

Con­vert
The sales cycle for pro­fes­sional ser­vices is long and involves mul­ti­ple steps. Nobody is going to visit your site and won­der where your shop­ping cart is so they can pur­chase your ser­vices with Pay­Pal. How­ever, in exchange for your valu­able con­tent, vis­i­tors are will­ing to give you their trust and atten­tion in the form of their name and email address.

You may be reluc­tant to place sign-up forms on most of your pages, because you feel it is too “sales-ey” for a pro­fes­sional ser­vice firm. Get over this con­cern. Vis­i­tors won’t go to all the pages on your site so you don’t want to miss a con­ver­sion oppor­tu­nity by only putting a sign-up form on your Con­tact page. If you are offer­ing valu­able con­tent, you are help­ing vis­i­tors by allow­ing them sign up for your e-newsletter. Then they don’t have to remem­ber to go con­sis­tently return to your site.

Con­ver­sion should be accom­plished through a clear, con­cise and com­pelling call-to-action form (see below). The form should include Name and Email (no more) and a link to exam­ples of the type of con­tent they will receive. Keep the form con­cise to min­i­mize resis­tance in the sign-up process. Since the sales cycle is long, it’s crit­i­cal to get some­one into your CRM and put them on a con­sis­tent drip of valu­able con­tent. When they become ready to buy your ser­vices, your firm will remain front of mind.

No sin­gle piece of con­tent, no mat­ter how excel­lent, will be as suc­cess­ful as a steady, long term flow of qual­ity con­tent.” – Chris But­ler, Author of The Strate­gic Web Designer

Note: This post contains excerpts from a longer post that originally appeared on LecoursDesign

About the author: David Lecours is on a mis­sion to help A/E/C firms fight com­modi­ti­za­tion to win new busi­ness. He believes the anti­dote to com­modi­ti­za­tion is Core Bril­liance Mar­ket­ing. As Cre­ative Direc­tor of brand strat­egy firm LecoursDesign, and as a pro­fes­sional speaker, David helps firms attract clients and tal­ent by choos­ing a nar­row focus and shar­ing exper­tise via the power of story.

Now it's your turn: Can you predict one thing that will transform A/E/C business development in 2016? 

PSMJ is always looking to publish diverse views on issues and trends in the A/E/C industry. We invite you to submit a 500-word post on any industry-related topic. We look forward to hearing from you.

Guest Blogging

For more advice on A/E marketing, following is a list of related blog posts:   

8 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Do A/E Marketing

Get Your Team in Marketing Gear

5 Tips on How to Survive the Marketing Tech Madness

Marketing Spend: Are your budgets targeted for growth?

 

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