How to Create Content That Keeps Engineers Coming Back
Successfully marketing to engineers means taking the time to learn what they want, what they need, and what they don’t have time for. Engineers are smart, discerning, data-driven decision makers that have a lot of influence in the B2B industrial and manufacturing buying cycle — from a marketing standpoint, they’re certainly worth understanding and creating content for.
Engineers are generally the people tasked with finding a new solution to a problem, and are the ones designing new products. They’re the ones searching the web for a solution, partner, or vendor, and are able to influence the process of getting a new company onto a vendor list. If an executive has a question about the validity of your product before making a purchase, their engineers are going to be the people they go to for answers.
Before we dig any deeper, these are the four main things to focus on when creating content to capture the attention of engineers, and keep them coming back:
- Providing clear information, specifications and data
- Building trust
- Engaging with their technical intellect
- Positioning your company as a subject matter expert
Engineers like specifications, form factors, and datasheets. They want easy, clear filtering and a clean, modern UX. They don’t like marketing fluff, vague statements, having to dig for information, or feeling like they’re being sold to. Remember this whenever you’re creating content meant to reach them. Factual content can still be visual and engaging. Clear imagery, specifications, video content, 3d models, charts, tables, graphs and case studies that allow an engineer to dig deep into your products and capabilities will capture their attention far better than salesey messages meant to appeal to their emotions. And, if they can’t find the detail that they’re looking for online, don’t expect them to call your sales team. They’ll continue searching the web to find what they’re looking for, likely from a competitor.
Create examples that tie to long-tail queries
Engineers are often using the web to solve the immediate problem, question, or curiosity at hand. Creating and sharing content that matches long-tail specific queries such as “sensor failure pneumatic actuators” (vs shorter tail, more general terms like “robotics”) will help you show up for the specific queries engineers are searching for.
Creating case studies and other examples that tie to these “problem based” queries should be a priority. Engineers want proof that you’ve solved a very similar problem to their own before and are able to provide them with the specific knowledge they’re seeking. The key here is allowing engineers to find the right information when they need it and showing up when they’re searching. This will also generate brand trust and make them more likely to come back to you to help solve future problems.
Don’t gate your 3d models or datasheets unless you absolutely have to
If you’re a B2B OE or OEM manufacturer and your product is being specified by engineers, provide as much detailed technical information as possible while resisting the temptation to gate datasheets or 3d models. If an engineer wants your 3d model, chances are that they’re pretty far down the path of building them into their product designs and will raise their hands to talk to sales when they’re ready. It’s frustrating, but your products are complex, and they will recognize the need to talk to sales once they’ve done their initial information download. If they have to fill out a form to gain access, they may just move on to a competitor’s site and download their 3d model instead, and build that into their design.
Write in a way that is clear and concise
If you look up an average technical writing course, you’ll see that the main goal will be to teach individuals to write in a way that is clear and concise. Technical writing guidelines are good to reference when creating content for engineers. While your web content won’t need to be quite so buttoned up, using a voice that is reminiscent of the technical articles engineers are used to reading will set you apart from competitors and keep them coming back. Here’s an example of what we mean:
- Instead of writing, “The contemporary design of our latest commodity offering, when utilized, assists with the emancipation of your seconds, minutes, and hours.”
- Try writing, “Our newest product helps save you time.
We’re not saying to remove any semblance of industry writing. Instead, we’re asking you to look critically at the content you create and cut out the fluff. Write with an active voice and avoid the over-use of unnecessarily long words or copy that sounds “salesey.” Engineers are creative people, but they want clear, not cute or clever, when it comes to finding information.
Offer tools and assessments whenever able
If the mathematical equations exist to support it, we recommend creating an assessment or online tool, such as a product finder, configurator or quote builder as a value added feature on your website. Engineers like direct, accessible data that they can get when they need it. If they’re given an opportunity to put in a series of variables or yes/no answers to get specific answers they need, they’ll remember and come back again.
Tools like this can also reduce time spent on custom proposals for people who aren’t yet ready to buy while still positioning your company as a solution-giver. If you can help an engineer with valuable information specific to their needs without them having to talk to sales, everyone wins.
Know what types of content are most likely to get engineers coming back
Engineers are discerning and will subscribe to very few ongoing content sources. It’s up to you to position yourself as one of the few they come back to. Content sources that see the most replay from engineers are sources that offer short, accessible content that is capable of helping them with professional development.
Some specific content types engineers are most likely to respond well to include:
- Thought leadership articles around what’s new in your and their industries, so that they can learn, stay up-to-date and see your company as the people who are always on top of the latest, greatest info.
- Best practices that they can use in their day to day jobs.
- Cool things that you’re experimenting with that are new or pushing the envelope.
- Questions and answers, problems/solutions (these should come from prospects, customers, and people that you serve).
Some work should be done to research the specific questions, topics, and hot issues that your best customers are interested in learning more about before building a content calendar, of course.
When you get to that point, it’s a good time to elicit the help of a professional digital marketing company that focuses on B2B industrial and manufacturing marketing. Partner with a company who not only knows what engineers are looking for, but how to help you dive deep into your industry’s more niche, specific needs.