Government decision-makers and buyers are turning to Google search to find suppliers, and government contractors need to up their digital marketing game.
The days of winning contracts through business development and relationships (only) are over. Long before the RFP or bid stage, contracting officers and other decision-makers scan the internet and look at vendor websites to find information.
Savvy government contractors are leveraging their website and digital marketing tools to get found, engage website visitors, and get on the shortlist of potential suppliers. For set aside opportunities and sole source deals especially, making the shortlist is huge.
Ocean 5 – Digital Marketing for Government Contractors
At Ocean 5 Strategies, we specialize in B2G marketing strategies and GovCon marketing for many of our Washington DC clients. Here are some of the most common strategies and tools we see used today..
Different Strategies Based on Company Size and Status
There is a significant difference between government contractor companies at different lifecycle stages. Each group has its own opportunities and constraints. The four stages are:
- Early growth
The company’s growth goals—aggressive or moderate—will impact which digital marketing (and traditional marketing) tools will be appropriate. Budget will also be a determining factor.
Start-up companies are often cash-constrained and adopt the minimum viable approach, with the website and educational content being the foundations. Marketing execution is based on taking each opportunity and assessing them on its own merit.
Companies in the early growth and accelerated stages often are more creative with their marketing plans and budget accordingly.
Digital Marketing Options for Govcons
Companies with an aggressive growth goal are leveraging some or all of the digital marketing tactics, including:
- Growth-Driven Website: Growth-driven design recognizes that govcon websites need to be dynamic and change as new information opportunities arise. Learn More.
- Content: The website must provide the information decision-makers need. Supplement with educational content. Include validation content such as past performance and case studies. Learn More.
- Search Engine Optimization: SEO is one way to get found online. Make sure you include the keywords used by government researchers (and not the ones you think they use). Learn More.
- Advertising: Advertising is another way to get people to visit your website. Make sure there is useful information when they get there and a mechanism to capture their contact details (or this is a great way to waste money!). Learn More.
- Email Marketing: Email is an effective marketing tool but does require skills and knowledge to execute effectively. Getting emails to government agencies can be particularly challenging. You must have a follow-up plan (or the campaign is wasted). Learn More.
- Social Media: LinkedIn is the primary tool for building a network—learn how to use it well. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc., have a place but can often be more of a distraction than an asset. Learn More.
- Public Relations (PR): Sending a press release is a few hundred dollars—writing a good press release that will get picked up by the media is more challenging. Sending a few press releases is not the same as a sustained PR campaign.
- Events: Trade shows and conferences need to be evaluated on individual merit. Attending events (rather than exhibiting) can be an effective, lower-cost approach to building a network.
Marketing and Messaging Strategies
Embarking on marketing without a strategy can lead to high marketing costs with little return. Irrespective of your size or status, a marketing strategy is recommended.
A prerequisite to building a marketing plan is knowing where to focus. You need to know:
- The right agencies
- The right people in those agencies
- The right (winnable) opportunities for your products, services, and company.
There is a process for selling to the government and a process for researching the opportunities—it can be complex. If you don’t have these answers, we can help. Contact Kris Brinkerfor more information.
A marketing plan is the 12-month roadmap of things you need to do with a clear action plan for the next 3 months. Along with a budget.
It will align your products and services with the target markets. It will also align your marketing activities with your business development activities.
Messaging is your ability to explain that your company has the ideal solution to the buyer’s problems. The more targeting and alignment between your message and their problems, the more likely you are to close new deals.
Messaging workshops consider all three levels of your organization
- Corporate level messaging – what we do, what we do for you, and why we do it
- Segment specific – aligning problems with solutions (and differentiation from the competition)
- Persona specific -messages have to target to the decision-makers and influencers who care about your solutions
For More Information
For more on the important areas of B2G marketing that GovCon companies should be keeping a close eye on, or to learn about our broader digital marketing services in Washington DC, speak to the team at Ocean 5 Strategies today.