Want to know how to turn your architecture or engineering firm into a fast-sinking ship?
Start marketing with traditional advertising!
According to HubSpot’s State of Inbound Marketing Annual Report, traditional advertising and PPC (pay-per-click) accounts for the least amount of leads for marketers, with a mere 6% of leads originating from these categories.
What will deliver on its ROI promises?
Inbound marketing, which in total delivers 54% more leads into the marketing funnel than outbound leads. And when we say inbound marketing, we mean blogging—43% of marketers generated customers via their blog this year—Facebooking, Tweeting, YouTube-ing, Google Plus-ing, Pinterest-ing, and e-newsletter-ing.
So, the question is, if the evidence is so compelling, then why do so many A/E/C firms still rely on traditional advertising and outbound marketing for lead generation? In PSMJ’s recent interview with Debra Andrews, Founder and President of Marketri, LLC, we sought to find an answer.
“From my experience in working with A/E/C firms, they tend to be very sales and business development driven and not focused on marketing,” Andrews said. “I believe they feel that personal relationships and having the lowest bid drives new business, and that marketing doesn’t play a role in either.”
And the stats back her up. According to PSMJ’s A/E Fees & Pricing Benchmarking Survey Report, overall, A/E firms spend a mere 7% of their business development allocation on promotion—and that promotion is usually relegated to traditional outbound ventures, like brochures and other print materials.
What can you do to start upping your lead generation today?
Get with the program. This is not your daddy’s business environment! Stop acting like it. Realize that inbound marketing’s primary function is relationship building. Don’t think that because you’re communicating via a computer keyboard, your message isn’t getting across. The best advice? Talk on the phone with your old clients; cultivate on online presence to attract new clients.
Invest in yourself. Don’t let yourself fall into functional obsolescence by not staying current on the technology curve. There are a plethora of books, webinars, and online classes centering on inbound marketing and social media. Educate yourself.
Pipe down. We know you’ve had a lot of success over the years with the old-guard ways. While there’s nothing that can replace that hard work and years of trial-by-fire experience, you DO have something to learn from your juniors. Next time you’re in a meeting, try this: be quiet. Listen to what the younger people in your company have to say. They have ideas, and good ones. Let them share those ideas. That’s why you hired them, remember?
Take notes. You are the leader of your company—you know its history, its strengths, its weaknesses. You are a venerable knowledge database: the intellectual wellspring of hundreds of blogs, Tweets, and Facebook posts. Think creatively about how you can integrate your knowledge into your company’s inbound marketing realm and take notes. Share your notes with your colleagues, giving them the collateral (and credibility) needed to create insightful, wisdom-laden blogs, e-newsletter articles, and marketing e-mails.
Realize inbound marketing is not a one-person enterprise. If you need to beef up on inbound marketing and social media at your firm, the solution is not to hire a lone social media expert. One person can’t do it all. Empower your marketing team to work together to create the compelling content needed to transition your company from isolated to interactive.
For more advice on A/E marketing, following is a list of related blog posts:
In PSMJ's complimentary report, A/E Business Development Study: How Today’s Most Successful A/E Firms Keep Their Clients Happy and Win New Work, we asked a range of questions relating to firms’ business development efforts, including: If firms have a full-time business development staff and how it functions, and how they train their full-time business development staff. Then we overlaid that data against firms’ financial performance, proposal performance, and client satisfaction, i.e. their business development effectiveness.