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11 Ways to Promote Engineering Websites


Next time you go to a board meeting, why not suggest the following:
 “ As the Internet doesn’t work for our company, what we should do is design, produce and print 10 000 catalogues, put them in a store room and leave them there”.
I can hear your response- “Don’t be daft!”, “This guy is a complete idiot”…

The reason I make this statement is EngNet communicates with thousands of companies with regards Internet Marketing in the Engineering Industry. Many companies keep telling us that the Internet doesn’t work, they say they have tried it and they received absolutely no business from it. What do they mean they tried it? It generally means that they had a website developed (we’ll not discuss website design in this newsletter) and it was made available to the world via the Internet, and it didn’t work. 

My argument is, if you can print 10,000 catalogues and deliver or post them, why can’t you develop a website and email, post or fax your customers to inform them that you have a website that provides all your company's information. Designing a wonderful website and failing to promote it effectively, is like producing thousands of expensive glossy catalogues and never delivering them to your clients.  Makes no sense.

Over and above a website performing the function of a catalogue, there are many other features and benefits that can be gained out of having a website.  In addition, there are many ways in which to promote your website. This newsletter will focus on the promotion of websites, some free methods and some that you pay for.

Methods for marketing a website:

Online Internet Search Engines

Ahhhh, search engines.  Those wonderful tools where I'm sure every single one of us, has at some stage, ended up far from where we were intially aiming at.  Whilst conducting a search, something will catch my eye being advertised like 'View the latest list of the 100 richest people in the world'.  Out of interest, I will want to find out how rich this Bill Gates is now.... Oooopss getting a little side tracked once again.
Even though search engines can be frustrating, people use them a lot and if someone is seriously looking for something they will persevere.  So, if your site matches a users criteria and you appear in the search engines list, you could have a prospective customer.

I personally feel that being listed on search engines is a bit of a hit and miss affair. EngNet has designed alot of websites for engineering companies and have submitted them to search engines as part of the service. Sometimes a website is accepted easily and sometimes we battle to get it listed. After some experience we have come up with some key factors that must be in place to ensure the best chances of being listed:

  • Title Tag - Search Engines use the title to display the heading search result and also it contributes to the searchability of the website.
  • META-TAGS - Used by search engines to help categorize and search a website.  Description - Provide a short 25 word description of your company. Use words in the description that users would use to search.  Keywords - Choose keywords that match how customers speak and search.
  • Website Hosting - Use a good hosting provider. If your site is too slow or not available when a search engine visits your website, your chances are about nil of getting listed.
  • Website Design - Your website should contain good content, looks aesthetically pleasing and is structured well for easy navigation. Search engines will only link to the most valuable websites.
  • Frames - Try not to use frames in a website. Framed websites are more difficult for search engines to handle and therefore generally don't feature as well as non-framed websites. If you do have a framed website, utilize the 'No Frames' tags to insert text about your website.
  • Categories - Pick the appropriate category.
  • Geographic section of Yahoo! - Yahoo! has regional listings. Even if your company operates in more than one geographical region, it is better to be listed under a geographical area than not at all.
  • Persistence & Patience -  Don't submit once and then leave it, retry every month or two.

Public Relations - Press Releases

When submitting press release articles to publications, make sure that you also submit your website address.  Often readers would like to know more when reading a worthwhile press release, a website is the perfect place for that reader to obtain that info.  In addition, the Internet is filled with online magazines and promotional websites.  It is worthwhile to find one that suites your industry and to send your press releases to them with a direct link to your website.  Another traffic generator.

If your company does not make use of press releases, we suggeset that you start. A survey produced by Forresters Research indicates that public relations is the most effective method of marketing.


  • Email Newsletter Sponsorships:

As an example, the email you received from us would have had a sponsor at the top below the first paragraph. We have found email newsletter sponsorhips generate considerable targeted website traffic to the sponsor's website as soon as the newsletter is sent.

  • Banner Sponsorships:

High traffic websites offer sponsorship opportunities where a company can sponsor a section that is relevant to their business.  The companys' banner would then be displayed every time a user accesses that section.

The effectiveness of the sponsorship will depend on the advert, the number of users viewing the ad and the selection of the correct target market media.

Email Marketing via Newsletters

A brilliant way to keep your customers up-to-date and returning to your website is to provide an email newsletter. To ensure that this method is effective, you will need to ensure that the news you are sending is appropriate and newsworthy. Send news about the latest developments within the company, new products launched, new technologies, new features/information on the website and possibly even the latest contracts received.

It is amazing how fast people forget.  Even if the email just reminds your customers that you have a website, it is worth the effort. Sometimes a customer will only read the email after the third time he has received a newsletter and only then decide to visit your website. Other instances when he has seen your website address displayed he hasn't noticed it, but then he receives a newsletter at a time when he needs what you're offering and you're the first person he will contact.

Opt in Mail

Before you can start benefiting from sending your customers newsletters, you need to have email addresses to send them to. There are various ways to get people to give you their email address, but you need to give them a good reason. As more and more services and newsletters are popping up, you really have to add value in order to avoid having your customer ask to be removed from your list. Your newsletter can keep customers satisfied if the content is worthwhile the time reading. Offer tips & tools, offer recommendations in your field of expertise.

I strongly recommend that you do not ask a user to provide their email address or register before they are allowed to use your website (confidential info you don't want competitors to see is another story). The reason I say this is that there are so many websites that ask for email addresses or registration that a lot of users will simply just not bother if they need to sign up first. EngNet tried this method at one stage and found that our number of users just about halved in the first month.

Online Internet Advertising Banner Adverts

Banner advertising is tricky, let us consider the 2 main factors that will ensure success:

  • Banner Placement:  It is imperative that your banner be displayed to the correct target market. Do not even consider utilising banner advertising unless the site the banners are placed on reaches your exact target market. For an engineering company who advertises to the layman it would be a waste. Within the more advanced websites like Yahoo!, you can buy a search term.  This means that if your company is a Lightning Protection specialist you can buy the search term 'Lightning Protection' so when a user searches for Lighting protection your banner will be displayed.  The users needs search no further and click on your banner because it is what they were looking for.
  • Banner Design: To gain full advantage from you banner ads, the advert must be eye catching and have a quick message that will grab the user instantly.

Affiliate Marketing Programmes

Affiliate marketing is an online referral program. You agree to pay another company for each referral from their website to your website. Remuneration can work in a number of ways, either the affiliates gets paid per "click-through" or paid a percentage of the sales made from the referral.

The effectiveness of an affiliate program will depend on your companies structure and that of your website. If your website sells standard engineering products product online (where a sale could be made on a first visit), you could obtain suitable affiliates that link to your website and generate valuable traffic.

Companies that design engineering products, I don't see an affiliate program working.

Mail shots to Customers

If you don't have your customers' email addresses, send them an annoucement via post informing your customers of your website.  Detail how your website can help them and what information they can find. Please make sure that your website has something to offer or else you'll could end up annoying your customers.

Adverts in Engineering Newspapers and Magazines (Trade Publications)

When utilising your traditional advertising mediums, it is vital that your website address appears in the ad. Your design of your magazines/newspaper advert needs to grab peoples interest and direct them to your website for further detailed information.  Your print advert need not contain a lot of detail but simply communicate a strong message that will motivate potential customers to visit your website.

Company Stationary

Ensure that your website address appears on all company stationary i.e. business cards, faxes, emails sent, compliment slips, invoices etc. 

Outdoor, Radio & TV Advertising

Always make your website address available so that users can gain more information once you have reached them with this type of advert.

Remember, the best way to ensure a long lasting successful website is to provide a useful website.