Starting an engineering company is a feat on its own. Establishing a steady client base and bringing in business through references and word of mouth is effective but not enough. If a civil-engineering firm wants to succeed, they’ll have to keep up with small-business trends, engage in client interactions and begin thinking like a marketing pro. Without the training and background of an advertiser, many civil-engineering technicians are not sure where to begin when trying to brand their business. The following steps if dutifully followed will help:
1. Identify a Target Audience
The first step in developing a compelling marketing campaign begins well before reaching out to old clients. A civil engineer should first ask themselves: What can I bring to the business that competitors lack?. Civil engineers can target real estate firms, construction companies, and local governments, for example. Architecture companies also often require the work of civil engineers, as do contractors, city governments, and regular consumers. Trying to hit each and every one of these sectors will not only overwhelm you, but will also yield less-than-ideal results.
If you have experience with real estate firms and city governments, begin by marketing your services to these groups. Make cold calls, send out emails to previous clients asking for references, and keep up with local news and government plans for projects to get in on the ground floor with a bid. It’s better to do one project right than to attempt several with mixed results.
2. Get Online
It’s vital for a new and modern civil-engineering firm to have a great website. This means plenty of content, dynamic graphics, and a focus on why your business in particular is the one to choose for planning services, building design, and public-works projects. If you’re not a civil engineer by day and a web-designing genius by night, you may want to consider outsourcing website production to a graphic designer or web developer. Yes, this is an added expense, but it’s worth it—when potential clients visit your site, they’ll find a professional design. Civil engineers are trusted with important tasks that affect countless people; clients want to know with certainty that they can put their faith in a company.
While the web design is being handled by a pro, focus on content. Include detailed information on company founders, including education and level of experience. Use high-resolution photos of completed projects or other renderings to show off your accomplishments and explain why your company is the right choice over a competitor. Think of a website as a storefront or exhibition of your business. Treat a company website with that same level of respect and dedication if you want to attract business. Speaking of websites, another way to impress clients is to use AutoCAD 360 Mobile on your tablet or smartphone and Web Beta on any web-connected computer to view, edit, and share CAD files. Both apps are free and a great way to demonstrate professionalism to clients.
3. Build Strong Relationships
One of the main reasons customers remain loyal to an organization is an overall positive experience. Construction companies are constantly in demand to build new projects, especially so as the economy rebounds and federal and local governments invest more funds in airports, utility districts, and municipal facilities. Build partnerships through client-relationship management that exceeds expectations.
If a customer asks a question via email, respond promptly. You should also give regular project updates, ask for client feedback, and even when a client is being difficult, you should always treat them with kindness and consideration. After a project has been completed, contact clients to ask them how they feel about the outcome and if you can do anything more to help. In business, it’s the small touches that make a big difference.