It’s easy to rely on what we’re most comfortable with. Maybe your firm has been door-to-door marketing since its inception; handing out brochures, booklets, and cards to everyone you meet--they are, after all, potential clients. Or maybe you’re more comfortable seeing someone face-to-face and shaking hands at trade shows to make a lasting impression. Perhaps you’ve relied on direct-mail or even cold-calling for so long it’s hard to know how else to reach anyone?
Watermark has been in the marketing industry since 1980 and has employed virtually every type of advertising there is. So we know that putting all your money, time, and effort into only one method of marketing, no matter how tried-and-true you may think it is, could be a costly mistake for your firm. You could be missing valuable networking opportunities that expand beyond the Rolodex on your desk. Don’t get us wrong, outbound marketing (a.k.a. traditional marketing methods like the ones mentioned above) has its place. Still, with the ever-evolving and expanding reaches of digital marketing, inbound marketing has to be included in any firm’s marketing strategy for keeping up with and outlasting competitors. One isn’t better than the other, but we will show you a lasting approach to bridge the two together to reach the most potential clients without exhausting your budget on costly advertising and marketing strategies that no one may ever even see.
Gone are the days of yellow pages and junk-mail inserts; even email blasts are quickly becoming a thing of the past, so how exactly do you get the attention in the crowded world-wide-web? That’s where inbound marketing comes in. Inbound sets your firm apart from the thousands of others in the AEC industry, not with forced, stale advertising gimmicks, but by creating genuine and lasting consumer connections. Inbound uses dynamic content like video, photography, and educational blog posts or white papers to tell the world your company’s story and how it can better your clients’ lives. Sounds great, right? But how exactly do you do this?
Understand your customer: As consumers become more comfortable with using technology, they are also more likely to expect a personalized buying experience rather than a high-pressure sales pitch. Organic and intuitive content will inform your client about your products and services and build brand trust. According to a survey from SalesForce.com, a staggering 95% of consumers surveyed said they were more likely to be loyal to a company they trust. This fact includes B2B (business-to-business) industries such as Architecture, Engineering, and Construction.
Understand the evolution of the technology you are using: Since web searches drive most consumers to B2B companies, focusing on SEO isn’t enough. The B2B industry has to keep up with rapidly and ever-changing search engine algorithms. Ensure content is relatable to your consumer, and stay one step ahead of how your customers expect to interact with you. Don’t forget; your competitors are also evolving!
Understand how to tie digital and traditional marketing together: The most significant benefit of inbound marketing is tying multiple marketing channels together rather than focusing on each one separately. The most innovative and impactful campaigns create an experience for clients--and future clients—weaving video, photography, digital, and print content together to create a seamless and consistent brand experience across all platforms, online and off. This strategy creates brand awareness, trust and establishes your firm as a thought leader.
Understand that inbound marketing is not the end-all solution: We’ve mentioned it before:relying solely on digital marketing and abandoning all outbound avenues isn’t a guarantee for successful company growth, but neither is printing out a 100-page bulky brochure and snail-mailing postcards to cold leads. You’ve got to know when and how to use both to your advantage. A marketing strategy combined with the right marketing team will balance both to ensure a further reach to bring your brand and company story to more people wanting to see it.
A little research into your company’s customer history and your future projections should help you understand which marketing strategy to employ. Is your firm currently tracking SEO ranks on its website and blog? Does your firm even have a site yet? Do you have a ton of content and videos but are unsure how to link them together? Is your brand stale and impersonal, so you’re looking to break into social media to cultivate communication and share your story with more eyes? Knowing where you are right now will help you to see where you need to start and how. When it comes to costs, there’s no cut-and-dry answer. To say that inbound marketing costs more or less than outbound is irrelevant because spending your entire marketing budget on flashy business cards when you don’t even have a website misses the target and is a costly mistake. But so is spending all your marketing budget on the latest website technology and content development, but then not following up with SEO tracking, lead nurturing, and A-B testing. Your efforts--and your money--can quickly get lost in the ether.
Scheduling with a knowledgeable marketing firm like Watermark that strives to keep up with-- or even ahead of-- ever-evolving technology can help you make educated decisions for the future of your brand and the growth of your business.