Government Contractors who are leveraging online marketing are leading the pack.
87% of federal decision-makers use search engines to find products and services—based on data from a leading research firm, Market Connections. This alone is causing government contractors to reconsider their approach to engaging with federal buyers.
Improving Government Contractor Marketing
Since government buyers and influencers are relying on online research, your website has become one of your most important assets. Website design and website content in combination can lead government decision-makers to you, help build a relationship, and solve their acquisition challenges, even before you start a face-to-face conversation.
What Makes a Good Website?
The following aspects of website design are the key to attracting visitors then turning those visitors into potential buyers.
- Website design and development essentials
- Converting unknown visitors into leads
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Website Design and Development Essentials
According to Government decision-makers, the number one resource for market research, decision making, and vendor comparison is your website.
Since these are the people who choose vendors, it’s vital they can find the information they are looking for with minimal effort—or they will move on to the next website.
To stand out from your competitors you will need to provide an excellent user experience which is a combination of design and technical website development.
User experience has been defined by Google in terms of the following criteria, outlined in the 2021 update called Core Web Vitals (CWV).
Learn more about CWV in this article: Website Design to Play Bigger Role in SEO-Latest Google Update.
Here are the six things you need to consider:
- Load Time
- Design and Navigation
Interested to know how your website is performing? Get a Free Website Assessment
Turning Visitors Into Leads
Website conversion is the process of taking an unknown website visitor and “converting” them into a known individual.
Once you have their contact information you can engage them in a more personalized conversation. Better still, if they download content on one of your services you also have some idea of their interests—ideal information for a business development professional.
Conversions come via landing pages. A landing page offers visitors highly valuable content for the visitors and asks them to fill out a form to get it. Landing pages turn visitors into leads.
Content is a general term for anything on your website, for example, written text, images, graphics, video.
Federal government decision-makers expect to find specific information on a vendor’s website, ranging from past performance, executive team, partnerships, products, and services. Making their life easier means increasing your chance of being chosen. Find out of your website has all the right information — download: The Government Contractors Website Checklist
Get Shortlisted for Set-Asides
Government Buyers are actively looking to place business with companies that qualify for set-asides. It is critical that your website accurately lists all the products and services that you offer.
Also, include the contract vehicles you can use and make the information easy to find (don’t bury it under multiple layers of navigation).
Build Trust, Educate and Help Shape RFIs/RFPs
According to studies by government marketing research experts, Market Connections
- 44% of Federal decision-makers download content from the vendor’s websites
- 25% will incorporate online content into RFPs/RFI
- 73% will download and share online content with colleagues and supervisors
You have an opportunity to earn your buyer’s trust and build a lasting relationship through your website’s content. Provide them with compelling, quality educational materials and thought leadership information.
Messaging For Government Contractors
The more focused your messaging, the more effective it will be. The focus should be on the people you are trying to influence and needs to be modified based on where the decision-maker is in their buying cycle. For example, the message you provide to someone who is researching a topic for the first time is different from the messaging for a person looking for contractors completing an RFP.
Clear messaging is a common concern amongst government contractors but can be improved through a marketing messaging workshop.
Search Engine Optimization
SEO is the process of improving the quality and quantity of website traffic from organic search.
“Organic search” means that someone typed their inquiry into a Search Engine (e.g. Google) and selected a website from the list that came up. This is a different channel from traffic gained from paid advertising, special media, email, etc.
According to Federal market research experts, Market Connections, “82% of Federal decision-makers rated search engines as their top-rated sources for research.”
When constructing your website, the developers should focus on making it easy for search engines (Google, Yahoo, Bing) to understand how the site is structured. To complete the SEO set up, each page should include pages titles, URLs, H tags, and meta descriptions—all of which help get you found.
Updating and adding additional content to your website sends signals to the search engines that your site is active. It signals that the site provides up-to-date and helpful information.
Backlinks (links from other websites to yours) demonstrate to Google that your site is a credible source of information.
Understanding and utilizing keyword research will be critical to the success of an SEO program. It’s vital that your SEO team keep up-to-date on shifting search engine algorithms. The payoff will be increased quality traffic.
The goal is to increase contract awards…to increase your win rate…to be the first ones on the minds of Federal buyers prior to the RFP…to get on the shortlist faster…to get your buyers calling YOU.
Working with an experienced digital marketing and SEO expert can help you increase that win rate faster. Ocean 5 Strategies has a successful track record providing both digital marketing and SEO to GovCon clients in Washington DC and across the U.S.
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About the Author:
Kris Brinker is co-founder of Ocean 5 Strategies. Ocean 5 specializes in helping established government contracting companies meet and exceed their business goals by aligning marketing investments with business objectives. Kris’ clients get the strategies, programs, and campaigns that drive more contract wins and business growth, and include prime contractors and subcontractors in the DC/VA/MD area and nationwide. The Ocean 5 team are recognized subject matter experts for government contractor marketing including website design and development, search engine optimization, email campaigns, content creation and trade show support. They also offer marketing strategy and messaging strategy workshops to create a roadmap for growth for their clients. Kris and her team have earned over forty creative marketing awards to date. Kris’ professional success is energized by her personal passion teaching Tai Chi. Kris has been told that her classes and Zen-like attitude helps her clients feel better about their own demands and goals. Feel free to reach out to Kris to learn more about how to close more contracts, maximize your revenue potential, and accelerate growth.