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AEC Marketing Basics

There’s no question that your AEC firm is busy! The marketing department may be creating proposals left and right to take advantage of all the new business opportunities. When new business can be quickly earned through proposals, the firm’s marketing basics can be left out to dry. While proposals certainly position your firm to win new business in the present, these marketing basics will continue to position your firm for success long into the future.

Be Present Online

According to Intergrowth, 80% of major purchases start with online research. As people go online to learn about the AEC industry and your services, it’s critical that your firm can be found through an internet search. Here are some ways to make sure your firm shows up as a search result and that your brand is accurately represented online.

    • Add content to your website. When was the last time you updated information on your site? Add information about completed projects, industry trends and anything else that sets your firm apart from the competition. Write a blog about the new drone technology your firm has invested in or highlight a presentation that an employee gave at a recent conference. By creating valuable, educational content, you educate your potential clients and become a trusted thought leader within your industry.

Here are a few content ideas to incorporate into your marketing strategy:

    1. Blog posts
    2. eBooks, worksheets and templates
    3. Project photos and videos

SEO Tip: Adding information to your website helps your firm stand out on search engines like Google. Search engines are more likely to highlight websites that are maintained and updated regularly.

    • Regularly post to social media. Social media is an extension of your website. Use these platforms to engage with partners, clients and to showcase your work. Social media can also be a great tool to retain and attract talent to your firm by highlighting firm news and culture events.

SEO Tip: An active social media account that links to your website also improves your chances of being a top search result on Google or any other search engine. We recommending posting to social media at least 1-2 times a week.

DOWNLOAD: Check out these easy tips to improve your website’s SEO

Email Marketing

Email marketing continues to be one of the most powerful ways to reach warm leads and convert them into clients. By emailing your contact list consistently, your firm stays top of mind. Find an e-newsletter schedule that works best for you and stick to it. We recommend sending an email at least once a month to communicate with your contact list.

Topics to include within your future newsletters:

    • Award Recognition – Highlight recent awards your firm has received, or projects you’ve completed. This showcases your firm’s experience and instills trust in your brand.
    • Webinar Invitations – Whether you’re hosting a webinar or one of the firm’s employees is participating as a speaker in one, promote it via email. This positions your firm as a thought leader within the industry. Webinars are a great lead generation tool!
    • Content Updates – Highlight the new content you’ve added to the website. New blogs, video or resources are always popular to share and will drive traffic back to your website to learn more about the firm.

VIDEO: 5 Email Marketing Tips for Lead Generation

Tell Your Story

Your firm exists to help clients reach their goals. Case studies are a powerful tool to help others understand the work you do and highlights successes. Rather than tell prospective clients how you can help them reach their goals, show them. Tell the story from start to finish, but highlight the client as the focal point. Your case studies should answer the following questions:

    • Who is the client and what do they do?
    • What were the client’s goals?
    • What were their needs?
    • How did you satisfy those needs and help meet the client’s goals?

But don’t stop there! Follow up with this client to ask them how your firm’s work benefited them. What solutions do they feel like your firm provided? 

Testimonials

This leads us to our last point. When discussing previous work with clients, collect a testimonial about your relationship. Share these testimonials far and wide. Share on your website, via social media, in newsletters and in case studies. Testimonials connect with future clients in a meaningful, personal way. Others can relate to a testimonial and will work with your firm to have a similar experience. 

Your AEC firm is busy, but don’t push these marketing essentials to the side any longer. They continue to be the foundation of your firm’s success and support future growth opportunities. Proposals are the sprinkle on top. Position your firm for longevity by investing time and energy into the marketing basics that will continuously position your firm as a leader and innovator within your industry. 

Looking for more guidance on marketing basics? Contact us at Ingenuity.

DOWNLOAD: THIS AEC DEBRIEF CHECKLIST HELPS BUILD LONG-LASTING RELATIONSHIPS. HERE’S HOW.


 

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Best Practices for Digital Ad Campaigns

If you’re reading this, you may have made the decision to maximize your online presence by investing in Google Ads. Or, maybe you have been using Google Ads for some time but want to change them up to improve their overall performance. Let’s talk through best practices to create engaging, persuasive and reputable online advertisements.

READ: How Google Ads Can Support Business Development

The Importance of Versatile Ads

When investing in Google Ads, you want these ads to be placed in front of people that are interested in information related to your firm or association’s services. Your goal is to attract people to your website that need our help.

When creating a Google Ad, you have the ability to create multiple headlines and descriptions. Google is an intuitive machine that will then interchange your headline and description based on what someone is searching for online. The keywords that you implement into the ad content should attract people who are actually searching for information related to your services. If you have been using the same ad copy for a while, it might be time to change the headlines and descriptions to better reach your target audience through refreshed keywords and phrases.

READ: 3 SEO Boosters and How to Implement Them

Create an Engaging Landing Page

Think of the landing page associated with your online ad as the face of your organization. How do you want new website visitors to view your brand or services when they visit your website for the first time?

Tips to make your landing page engaging and effective:

  1. Deliver on the ads promise. Does the landing page provide information a viewer would expect to find based on the content of the ad? Make this information front and center so it can’t be missed.
  2. Create engaging content. Instead of the usual, printed copy on a page, turn your message into a video to better explain your services or upcoming event. Create a downloadable resource to share, or display a case study. These engaging content ideas better position your firm or association as a thought leader by displaying your expertise, and by making your message memorable.
  3. Make it easy to reach out. Create a contact form for website visitors to fill out if they want to get in touch. Visitors that click through your ad and land on the website are potential leads. Collect contact information to follow up with them and add them to your newsletter. This follow-through helps you stay top-of-mind when they are ready to become a client.


Ask yourselves these three questions when designing an ad landing page:

Google prefers to showcase ads with landing pages and that have these three factors: relevance and original content, transparency and navigability.

  1. How will a visitor navigate the page? Design your landing pages with your target audience in mind. Encourage engagement and navigation to other areas of the website.
  2. Are you providing clear information? Be direct and upfront with the information and services you want to highlight on each landing page.
  3. Is your landing page relevant to the ad? Use similar keywords and phrases on the landing page as you do in the ad. Assure visitors that your information is what they were looking for.

The Impact on Quality Score

The relevance of an ad and an engaging landing page do make an impact on your ad’s overall performance. These elements are critical to making your Google Ads a success because these elements impact the ad’s quality score. Quality score is Google’s rating system to show you how user friendly your ads, landing pages and keywords are. This rating is represented on a scale from 1 to 10, with 1 being the lowest and 10 being the highest, or best performing. If your ads have a lower quality score, they are less likely to be placed in front of people searching for services related to what you have to offer.

You can improve an ad’s quality score by creating specific landing pages for each ad you have. Meaning, don’t link to the same landing page for multiple ads. Quality score can also be improved by using relevant keywords. Just like we mentioned before, make sure your ads are relevant to the landing page you’re directing them to.

We hope you now have a grasp on how to make your ads relevant, how to make the landing page engaging and how these elements impact your ad’s overall performance. With these tips in mind, your ads and web content will encourage new visitors to engage with your firm or association, supporting your business development strategy.

Curios to learn more SEO tips? Check out our SEO Checklist, a tool designed to help you improve conversion.


 

Client Satisfaction Blog

Borrow these 3 client experience hacks from DIY tax platforms

Client Satisfaction Blog

Right now, DIY tax platforms are designed for individuals with simple returns, and they don’t necessarily compete with CPA firms. However, their proactive communications throughout tax season are quite elegant and worth a closer look.

Leveraging their technology, these platforms communicate with customers and potential customers prior to tax season, during the tax preparation process and after. Since there is no personal relationship with a CPA, they enhance the client experience with regular, strategic email check-ins and feedback requests.

You may be very proactive throughout the year with your clients in an advisory capacity. When deadlines push and laws change rapidly, though, your firm could leverage marketing technology to stay in touch and productive.

Corporate clients are still run by individuals who are busy and don’t have time to check on the status of tax filings and payments or audits. Even so, they want to know that their CPA is on the job despite regulatory delays or deadline extensions. Take a cue from DIY tax services in these three ways to enhance your clients’ experience. They are simple and will be appreciated.

Hack #1 – Reminders to Connect

Once people have an account with a DIY service, the platform begins a series of emails with friendly reminders to get in touch. It’s their version of a tax planner, but they send it more than once to remind busy customers to get started.

Whether you are communicating with CFOs, administrators or owners, a series of pre-planning or reminder emails strengthens the client experience because it does not require the client to search through paperwork OR emails to find your firm’s instructions or request. When that reminder email shows up, your clients will appreciate the simplicity of following through.

These emails can be personalized and scheduled through your integrated CRM and marketing tools. In this DIY tax platform example, the email is reminding the client of a scheduled appointment. Busy people appreciate reminders.

Appointment Reminder Example

Hack #2 – Automated Updates

With unprecedented tax changes over the past few years, CPAs have experienced an endless tax season. So have your clients.

Amidst these changing tax laws, regulations and filing deadlines, the DIY platforms do a smart thing. They send regular updates to let customers know about the status of their returns.

Automated Email Updates

In your automated email updates, you can give a status update, but also proactively let the client know what it means and what’s next for them.

These updates calm client concerns or frustrations. You will potentially avoid multiple calls or emails from clients, which disrupts your team’s productivity. Use your technology to set up these emails in advance. They can be as simple as:

“Good news! Your tax preparation is underway. I will let you know when I have more details on your filing date. Thank you for choosing us.”

OR

“Thanks for your patience. We are waiting on information from the IRS regarding some aspects of your return, and we will update you on filing status by March 17…”

READ: Keys to Fostering Brand Loyalty for Your Firm

Hack #3 – Measure Client Satisfaction

DIY tax platforms always offer a survey or ask customers to review their service to help them improve it. The surveys are less than three minutes, but they target certain aspects of the tax filing process. They help the company identify service, technology or outcomes that people highly value or highly dislike.

Quality Customer Support

Through your CPA firm marketing, you can offer a series of multiple choice and open-ended questions in a short survey following your key tax or audit engagements. They can be automated like the DIY tax platforms to feed your firm information about the client experience.

Surveys should be analyzed for action steps that support future communications. They can also help you identify new services to offer.

Using these three client experience hacks from DIY tax platforms can optimize the great advisory relationships you have built with loyal clients. They will also help new clients feel like they made the right choice with your firm. If you need assistance with client experience communications or setting up your automated digital marketing surveys, contact us at Ingenuity.

View Ingenuity’s research and survey services.

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Establish Your Firm’s Online Presence

Like many other A/E/C firms, you may feel like your marketing strategy needs a refresh. Maybe you notice that your firm’s marketing strategy continues to support clients you’ve worked with in the past, but the firm struggles marketing to prospective leads. The internet has changed drastically over the past few years. Firms can no longer get by with passively engaging with clients. Today, regular online interactions are vital to any business’ success. In this article we will highlight ways your firm can actively engage with current clients and generate new leads.

Spoiler Alert! To get new business you will have to brag about yourself. Here’s how to do that tactfully to attract quality leads and support business development.

Conduct Market Research

Market research is a key part of developing your marketing strategy. It’s about collecting information that provides insight into how your clients think, their buying patterns and specifics that may influence their way of doing business, like their location or job title. This research also allows you to identify and monitor market trends, and to keep a pulse on what your competition is doing.

It’s always a good idea to conduct market research once you are expanding into a new location, when you are providing new services or if you just feel like your marketing strategy is stagnant. This research will help your firm identify how you can stand out amongst your competitors and market for future work.

Build Your Firm’s Online Reputation

Has your engineering firm established a consistent online presence? Here are a few ways your firm can showcase itself as a thought leader by providing firm updates, informing your followers on industry news and providing project updates.

Utilize the Power of Social Media. Social media is a great tool to provide quick updates, and also is a very powerful way to attract and retain employees. Make it a priority to maintain these channels by posting updates at least twice a week. This type of engagement will establish a strong social media presence and help your firm create a targeted following. Social media platforms your engineering firm should consider using include:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Instagram
  • Yelp
  • Glassdoor


Showcase Your Work Through Email Campaigns.
An e-newsletter is a convenient way to showcase current, future and past projects. Highlighting your work experience and innovative engineering designs may persuade potential leads to become a loyal client. This form of communication also serves as a way to keep your engineering firm top-of-mind. Your firm’s name and reputation are on display whenever you send a newsletter, and people will remember the work you’ve done after reading it.

READ: IMPROVE YOUR DIGITAL CAMPAIGNS WITH THESE THREE TIPS.

Maintain Your Website. Is your site easy to navigate? Does the site highlight previous work to showcase your firm’s expertise? Is your site showing up in a potential client’s online search? These questions are things to monitor and routinely ask yourself when evaluating the effectiveness of your site. An updated, easy to navigate and informative website increases your reputation and will encourage potential leads to work with your firm in the future.

VIDEO: PRIME YOUR WEBSITE FOR EFFECTIVE DIGITAL MARKETING

Online Advertisements. Google Ads or social media advertising is becoming a powerful way to reach potential leads. The online advertising tools allow you to group or segment potential clients based on certain characteristics, such as; location, job title and what services they are searching for online related to your engineering firm. Provide a resource for users who click on your ads. This take-away allows the potential lead to learn more about your firm and your thought-leadership within the industry.

READ: LEARN HOW GOOGLE ADS HAVE BECOME A POWERFUL TOOL FOR LEAD GENERATION.

Ask Clients to Write A Review. Reach out to a few of your loyal clients, asking if they wouldn’t mind writing a social media or Google review for your firm. These reviews are public, so anyone who searches for your firm can find them. Word of mouth is a powerful marketing tool, and these personal accolades to your services will go a long way when persuading others to work with you in the future.

Showcase Your Firm’s Expertise

It’s time to take advantage of the marketing tools available to expand your engineering firm’s online presence. You may find that showcasing the work you’ve done, the awards your firm receives and publicly recognizing employees will not only drive business development. It may lead your firm to retain key employees, strengthen current client relationships and improve your firm’s presence within the community. Start implementing these marketing elements into your firm’s strategy to reap the benefits.

Learn more about how Ingenuity can support your firm when conducting marketing research to identify fresh ideas to position your firm as a thought leader within the industry.


Illustration of sales funnel with elements going in the top of it.

Generate Leads with Google Ads

Illustration of sales funnel with elements going in the top of it.

How do you find information about brands or services? When looking for information you probably think, “I’ll Google it!” If that’s you, you’re not alone. We all rely on search engines to help us find information we’re looking for. 

The marketing world has changed dramatically in recent years, and Google Ads is one of the platforms driving this transformation. In fact, Google Ads has become one of the best tools for lead generation. If the ads are set up properly, they have the potential to send extremely targeted leads to your website to view your services or provide lead contact information by downloading a resource.  

Let’s talk through how your firm can offer a resource through Google Ads to support your lead generation strategy. 

Create a Valuable Resource

Every effective Google Ad will lead interested visitors to an engaging landing page on your website. One way to make a landing page engaging is to offer a downloadable resource that your target audience would be interested in. Maybe a case study, white paper, industry insider tips or a checklist for a new process related to your niche focus area. 

Offering a take-away shows your firm’s thought leadership and expertise in a certain area. It also makes a visitor feel like they found what they were looking for, or better yet, they found a firm that can help support them. 

Collect Contact Information

The best part about offering a free resource is that you can ask the lead to provide contact information to receive it. When you collect contact information, make sure you require the lead to provide:

    • First Name
    • Last Name
    • Email Address

What other information would be important for you to know about the lead? Maybe the company they work for, their location or job title. When designing this landing page, you can make these requirements tailored to your firm’s lead generation strategy, but don’t ask for too much information right away. Each click or required field on a landing page increases the chances for someone to opt out and leave. Keep the information needed to receive the resource simple, clean and quick. 

READ: LEARN MORE ABOUT HOW TO DIRECT PROSPECTS AND CLIENT ATTENTION ONLINE.

Monitor the Results

Don’t rush online advertising. It takes time to find your mojo. Until you find your rhythm and see desired results, frequently monitor your ad and landing page. You can see how many people visit the landing page, if they are downloading your resource and if visitors from your Google Ad explore other areas of your website. All of this information can be tracked through Google Analytics.   

If you notice that people are not downloading your resource, you may need to make the landing page more engaging to persuade and encourage. If you want more people to visit the landing page in general, try tweaking your Google Ad to better reach your target audience. 

With a little patience and an open mind, your Google Ads will become an effective lead generation tool for your firm or association.

Follow Up

Your ad is running smoothly and you’re starting to collect lead contact information when visitors are downloading your free resource. Now what?! 

Reach out to these new leads in a timely manner. Send a friendly email thanking them for visiting your site and learning more about the services you provide. Offer to answer any questions they have regarding the free resource they received. Are there any other questions they have that weren’t answered? Build the relationship and learn more about them. What types of services are they looking for? How can you support them?

Set aside time to contact these new leads. Following up is a critical piece to build your business development strategy, so set firm calendar reminders to incorporate it into your routine.  

Google Ads can be inexpensive and target people specifically searching for the services your organization provides. An effective ad will drive potential leads to your website. An engaging landing page and resource will position your firm as a thought leader in the industry. Follow-through builds great brand recognition and turns these potential leads into future clients. Incorporate Google Ads into your SEO and business development strategy, and be prepared to be wowed by the results.

Listen to our most recent podcast for busy professionals! Learn tricks to easily incorporate business development into your busy schedule.


 

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How to Leverage Virtual Events in 2021

With fewer opportunities to connect face-to-face with clients, prospects, referral sources and coworkers, many firms and associations have found ways to connect virtually. Thanks to modern technology, we are able to continue reaching our target audiences online and just as effectively as in-person interactions.

If you have already started to incorporate virtual events into your marketing strategy, you know how much time and effort is needed to make these successful and worthwhile. Let’s talk through how you can continue to promote past virtual events to further expand your reach into the new year without having to reinvent the wheel.   

Share on Social Media

Utilize your firm or association’s social media channels to spread the word about previously recorded virtual events, trainings, videos or podcasts. The content you have already recorded can still be an engaging way to connect with leads well into the future. Sharing these recordings showcases your teams’ expertise on social media. It will also encourage your followers to learn about the work that you’ve done in the past and keeps your firm or association top-of-mind moving forward.

By posting these previously recorded events on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube, you’re creating a library of resources for your target audience to reference in the future. What better way to stand out as a thought leader and provide accessible information?!

Social media tip: Ask the individuals presenting at your virtual events to share the recordings on their personal social pages. Their followers will be interested in this content which can expand your reach even further.

Utilize Other Creative Outlets

Your target audience is consuming information in new ways because of this virtual environment. It’s important that you stay up-to-date with how people are learning about your services, upcoming events and where they go to find new information.

Did you know that if you record a webinar, video or even a meeting, you can turn that content into a podcast? All you need is an audio converter software program, which transforms your video into a MP3 file. Once you have the audio file downloaded on your computer, you can edit this file to add an intro, outro and make any other audio edits.  Display the finished product as a podcast on your website, share on social media and make available on other podcast sharing platforms.

It’s also possible to transform videos into blog content! Viewers who would rather skim through the content of your video or don’t have the ability to access audio can read a new blog with the same content instead. Take your video and create a transcript using a tool like Rev.com. After reviewing the transcript for any errors, you have already created a new blog post for your website with minimal extra effort. 

Encourage Virtual Business Development

All of the content you work so hard to create (trainings, videos, blogs, podcasts, social media posts, etc.) prove that you’re a thought leader within your industry or niche. Encourage new business by sharing these resources far and wide. Share these resources during a sales pitch, display on your website and use them to encourage future speaking engagements. Showing that you have experience communicating your industry knowledge through these virtual platforms will expand your reach and business development opportunities.

Looking to boost your digital marketing efforts in 2021? CONNECT WITH OUR TEAM TO INCREASE YOUR VISIBILITY.

Stay in-the-know. Give Ingenuity Marketing Group a follow on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn to stay on top of emerging marketing trends in 2021!

Social Media for Engineering Firms illustration

Find Quality Engineering Leads Using Social Media

Have you ever wondered how people are searching for information about your firm online? One of the most powerful ways to share your firm’s story is through social media! When someone decides to search Google for your engineering firm, chances are your social media channels pop up right away. Because social media is becoming increasingly popular, these platforms are a powerful tool to allow firms to connect, generate leads and position themselves as thought leaders.

Let’s talk through four reasons why your engineering firm should be using social media and how to incorporate it into your regular content marketing routine.  

Social Platforms Boost Brand Awareness

Social media is a powerful way for brands to maintain client relationships while having the opportunity to be found by new leads. Your firm’s social pages can become a way to engage with clients at every stage of their journey with you. Whether they are prospective leads or current clients, your social media visitors can engage through comments, ads, video and firm updates.

As your firm gains followers on social media, routinely posting allows your brand to stay top-of-mind. Your followers are interested in your content, and more likely to engage with you as you post more frequently. Social media is also a great way to connect visually with your followers! Create videos and images that represent your brand and specific projects you’re working on.

Incorporate Social into Your Routine

Let’s not sugar coat it. Your firm creates a lot of valuable content to highlight your work. Use social media as a space to share blogs, videos and other content you’ve worked hard on, such as project updates and information about your firm’s culture.

Sharing information regularly (we recommend 2-3 times a week on your selected social platforms) makes it easier for people to see it on their feed and find information they are looking for on your pages. Most importantly, active social media pages encourage your followers to share the content you post! By creating something “shareworthy,” your firm can extend its reach.

Maybe your firm dabbles in social media, but you’re not posting regularly. Make a plan to consistently keep these platforms updated, keeping your followers in-the-know and to position your firm as thought leaders within your industry. You’ve already made the content; now how can you make posting to social part of your normal marketing routine?

READ: LEARN HOW THIS ENGINEERING FIRM USED SOCIAL MEDIA TO GET MORE CLICKS TO ITS WEBSITE

Utilize Social Media to Satisfy Business Objectives

Your firm has big goals! Now more than ever, social media is a way to help you achieve them. Looking to generate more leads? Wanting to connect with employees in the new virtual age? Hoping to become known for your construction, engineering or architecture work? Want to stand out in niche areas? Be more social!

You have the ability to focus on certain topic areas on social media, helping you stand out against competitors. Social media platforms are a great resource for your firm to connect with other thought leaders in the industry, reach new clients/project partners and engage with referral sources. Use these platforms to highlight your firm’s experience in creative and engaging ways.

In addition to better supporting your firm’s social media pages, encourage leaders of your firm to engage with important prospects or clients through their personal pages. Use social as a way to remain connected and aware of what your potential clients care about and how your firm can support them in the future.

Earn Quality Leads

Social media is a way to engage with quality leads because your best followers will care about the topics you share and post regularly. Potential leads are people who follow your firm or who follow the leaders at your firm. They engage with your content and maybe they have already sent a direct message to your firm through social. Here are some ways to make sure quality leads can get in touch:

    • Provide contact information. Your contact information should be up-to-date and readily available on all of your social media profiles, highlighting how your firm prefers to receive inquiries—whether by phone, email or a link to a contact page on your website.
    • Add direct links. Wherever possible, make sure each post has a clear link and a tempting call-to-action. The majority of the links used on your firm’s social media channels should be encouraging followers to visit your website for more information, and they should align with the firm’s business objectives.
    • Take advantage of lead gen forms. Certain platforms offer a paid ad format that’s specific for lead generation. Anyone who clicks on your ad can submit their contact information with the click of a button. Your firm can reach out and connect with these quality leads in the future. 

 

Other ways to find quality leads on social media include joining Facebook or LinkedIn groups, following hashtags and industry influencers, and monitoring who regularly engages with your content.

Now you know more about the power of social media! It’s time to take advantage of this tool in constructive ways to increase brand awareness, meet business objectives and generate quality leads.

Want more content marketing tips? Check out our Create a Content Marketing Strategy That Keeps on Giving blog for ideas to boost your strategy.