A common theme I keep coming across with engineers and manufacturers, is that they don’t really understand how to market what they do. They go online and see other companies with their nice, posh products – a pair of trainers, a handbag, some fancy chocolates – advertising them on Instagram and Facebook, and generally milking it with their digital marketing. But when it comes to their own marketing, engineers often feel stuck for ideas.

I totally get this. I’ve been there myself within the engineering industry, and it’s not easy. But what I would say is that the principles of marketing your product remain the same, no matter what industry you’re in. I’m going to walk you through the first few steps here, and then make a few suggestions following on from that.

It starts with a client avatar

Build Your Customer Profile

I always recommend starting out by building a client avatar. And by that, I mean think about your perfect customers. You may or may not already have some, but you need to define them in as much detail as possible.

  • What kind of parts would they buy?
  • How much money would they spend with you?
  • Are they male? Female? Does it even matter?
  • What age group are they?
  • What country are they based in?
  • What sector are they in?
  • What are their stress points?
  • What typical problems and issues do they have?
  • Where do they go to ask questions online?
  • Where do they go to network?

The more questions you can answer about them, the more you’ll come to understand them. And once you fully understand your perfect customer, you can focus on how to get the right message in front of them. You’ll also be able to determine where to target your messages too, so it really does all begin with the client avatar.

What does your website say about you?

My next point is one that’s often missed by every sector, and that’s the website itself. People generally tend to completely undervalue their websites, failing to appreciate what they can actually do for them. But a ‘that’ll do’ approach isn’t going to drive business forward. And it’s usually the case that when people don’t see much return from their website, they assume it’s not worth investing any more in it.

Well that’s not the case. The website is at the hub of all your marketing, so if it hasn’t worked for you in the past it’s going to be down to one of two reasons:

1 Not enough of the right people know where it is, or how to find your site.

2 The site isn’t good enough and doesn’t create the right impression about your company.

If your factory has high-end equipment and is kept so clean that you could eat off the floor, the website needs to reflect that. The site should be beautiful to look at, clean and uncluttered, with plenty of eye-catching detail and images.

But on the flip side, plenty of companies mass produce very cheap products. They do business with customers that don’t expect a clean, pristine environment. But that doesn’t mean you can have a scruffy or untidy website. Your site needs to be clean, uncluttered and with a modern look and feel. Remember, your site reflects who you are, and should be appealing to your ideal customer.

In fact there are two key areas on an engineering website that are really important:

The first is images of the factory, inside and out. So many companies miss this bit out, often because they’re embarrassed by the look of the building. But it’s self-defeating as it’s going to put plenty of people off contacting you. There’s always at least one angle, both inside and outside your premises that will provide a photo opportunity.


The other thing that’s often missing is the type of products that you make. And notice that I use the words ‘type of products’ – often there are NDAs attached to products, so you’re not allowed to show what you’re making for other customers. But there’s nothing to stop you from making some similar items, just for demonstration purposes. This will show people what type of products you manufacture, what your technical capability is and what you’re really good at.

engineering marketing

These two points are really important, because it’s how people will judge you. They’ll assess whether or not to do business with you based on your premises, your machinery, how clean and tidy your site is and the type of products that you manufacture. So if you can put a tick against all of these elements, then you’re already half-way there with your website.

First steps in marketing

So now we have our client avatar and we have a decent website. But where on earth do we market an engineering company?

There are several answers to this question because it depends on the type of industry you’re in and who you’re trying to get in front of. But one great way for engineering companies to begin their marketing is through LinkedIn.

LinkedIn marketing for engineers

Linkedin Engineering marketing

Now two of the biggest mistakes that people make with LinkedIn is that they expect immediate results, and they try to sell to people straight away. But rather than being promotional, you should use LinkedIn like a networking platform. It gives you the chance to engage with people who wouldn’t normally answer the phone to you. Being careful about who you connect with and the connections you allow, you’ll build up an impressive network of contacts. And over time, they’ll see the posts, information and help that you’re contributing on the platform, and be impressed by what you’re providing.

Notice that I used the word ‘help’ there – that’s one of the key things about LinkedIn. If you can be engaging, helping people with problems and making suggestions, rather than trying to sell them something, it will earn their respect. And it will help to put you right at the front of the queue when eventually they’re ready to start doing business.

But the key thing with LinkedIn isn’t about selling products or services. It’s about gently and slowly selling a meeting. That meeting could take place over the phone or face to face. And the really great thing about the platform is that once you start engaging with the right kind of people, you can start running some LinkedIn adverts too, which can produce some very useful results.

Facebook marketing for engineers

Facebook engineering marketing

When it comes to Facebook, people tend to be under the misconception that engineers don’t use this platform. They do. They use Facebook all the time. They’re just not using it within working hours, as they reserve it for their own personal use. But it’s still the same person, just in a different situation.

With Facebook it isn’t so much about the posts that you’re putting out on your page. It’s all about the paid adverts that you’re creating because you can be extremely selective about who gets to see them. And the key thing is to make those ads enjoyable. Forget about being strictly B2B, or promoting your new-fangled cutting tool or chuck system or vice. Instead, focus on making your ads light and engaging, encouraging communication with your audience. Aim to appeal to their personal side, rather than their business side. That doesn’t mean you need to devalue what you do – just do it in a lighter way that isn’t directly selling to people.

Pixel Remarketing, also known as Pixel Retargeting, allows you to be incredibly selective in the adverts you show to specific groups of people. For instance, you have a Hot list and a Cold list of people. On the Cold list are people who don’t know about you, who haven’t yet been to your website. The Hot list is people that have been on your site, and Pixel Retargeting allows you to direct your adverts exclusively to them.

Facebook Pixel marketing

One of the key things about engineers is that they love movement. They love to see things being manufactured and cut. So instead of just showing them a cutting tool, show them that cutting tool in action. Show them the laser machine in action, and that CNC five-axis machine in action, rather than just showing a static picture. At this point, your potential customer isn’t going to be too interested in the facts and figures. So all that’s needed is a headline, some bullet points and the movement of something being made. That’s the way to engage with engineers.

CNC Laser Photography Engineering

A key aspect of any successful marketing strategy is results tracking. And the beauty of digital marketing, whether it’s your website or your Facebook Ads, is that you can track what’s working for you. And over time you can work out which adverts, which strategies and which products are yielding the best results. That enables you to determine where to focus your marketing, making sure that you focus on thoses aspects that give the best return on investment.

This article is only skimming the surface of the marketing options available for engineers. If you’d like more ideas, information, or even a marketing strategy report for your individual business, we’d be more than willing to help. Please get in touch for a no-obligation chat.

Richard Stinson

For more information on marketing your engineering business get in touch with Richard, he has over 15 years marketing experience, many of those gained within the engineering sector itself.