AEC firms: Why 2017 is the year to kick your content marketing into high gear
Alright, we’re more than a month into this brave new world we’re calling 2017. So how are those resolutions coming?
Maybe you’re crushing that 5K training plan (good for you!), or perhaps you decided a world without fried chicken taco shells isn’t a world you want to live in (you do you, friend). Or maybe the whole New Year’s resolution thing is too mainstream for you. That’s cool, too.
Regardless of where you stand, there’s a conversation we need to have that’s bigger than a simple resolution.
See, a resolution is a choice to do something, but when it comes to the AEC industry, content marketing isn’t really a choice anymore — if you want your business to boom, at least.
Top AEC firms are using content marketing. Are you?
The future looks promising for architecture, engineering and construction firms. Between forecasted market growth and a new administration that is prioritizing infrastructure spending, many say the AEC industry is poised for success in 2017.
But that doesn’t mean all firms will grow at the same rate — or at all, for that matter.
The key to differentiating your firm and winning contracts is telling your story through content marketing.
Nowadays, a growing number of your firm’s clients and prospects are members of the Connected Generation. They get their information on smartphones and tablets, listen to podcasts on the way to work and turn to blogs for answers to their questions. Your prospects are searching Google and doing their homework long before they send your firm a request for proposal (RFP).
As marketer and author Ryan Hanley puts it, “The Connected Generation doesn’t need nor does it want you selling them anything. The Connected Generation wants to feel the sense of empowerment that comes from choosing you.”
But here’s the thing: you can’t achieve that shift and capitalize on it until you stop worrying about selling and focus on educating, entertaining and inspiring your audience.
This is the heart of content marketing.
So why are we having this conversation now? Well, if you’re reading this post, there’s a good chance you’re on the fence about whether content marketing is right for your AEC firm.
Let’s explore a few reasons why 2017 is the year to dive in and say yes to content marketing.
Marketing has shifted from outbound to inbound
It’s a change we’ve seen ripple across the marketing and sales landscape — the transition from traditional outbound tactics to client-centered inbound strategies — and the AEC industry is no exception.
Your prospective clients don’t want salesy brochures crammed into their inbox. They’re hungry for great content, and they care about what your firm can do for them, not a sales pitch about how awesome you are.
By using inbound marketing tactics, you are responding to how people today are using the tools around them — giving them the info they want, the way they want it.
Your next client is looking for relevant, useful content online
Newsflash: the internet has changed everything, and that includes how prospects research and hire AEC firms. Nowadays, they’re looking for answers to their problems online, and they’re looking for more control in the buying process. Educating your prospects equips them and gives them that control, but they won’t forget who equipped them.
Creating and sharing relevant content that solves problems attracts clients while reinforcing your identity and brand. By providing prospects with valuable information online, you’re meeting their needs and building trust in a way marketing collateral never could.
Design and construction services aren’t commodities
Unfortunately, AEC professions can sometimes be treated like commodity services, with the lowest price being the measure of a project’s success — but design and construction management fees are only a fraction of the total cost of a building. Highly specialized services that require critical thinking by trained humans are not commodities.
Plus, you don’t want to be the low-cost provider. That’s not a competitive advantage. So how do you stand out as a quality option and justify your cost in 2017?
(Yep, you’re getting the hang of this.)
Content marketing tells your story, establishes you as an authority and proves why your firm is worth its price tag.
The time is ripe to make 2017 a year of lead-generating, revenue-boosting success with content marketing. Your prospects are ready. Are you?