1 0

Why You Should Consider Display Advertising

 Banner ads that appear across digital networks and highly targeted sites are sometimes overlooked by industrial marketers as an effective marketing tactic. They shouldn’t be. This is a good time to consider whether display advertising can help you develop a stronger 2016 marketing plan.

Digital media has become embedded in the work habits of industrial professionals, and this audience uses a wide variety of digital resources including search engines, websites, online catalogs and more to conduct research, locate suppliers and specify products and services. Display ads appear in many of those places, and your ad can give you exposure to a highly targeted and motivated audience that is actively engaged in their buy cycle.

Display ads are particularly effective for meeting three marketing objectives:

Build brand awareness—When your ad regularly appears across a network of targeted sites, your audience will become familiar with your brand, look and message.
Reach new markets—Display ads can help you reach potential customers in new or hard to reach markets that you otherwise struggle to access.
Launch new products—Many display ads are visual in nature or offer rich media format which can help you get attention when promoting new products.

The Basics of Display Ads
You have two options with display ads. You can choose one or the other, or for maximum effectiveness and visibility, combine the two approaches.

1. Place ads on specific, targeted websites. In this approach, you focus on a single industrial website or destination that is visited extensively for work-related purposes by your target audience. Your ad might appear on a variety of pages within the site, such as alongside a searchable catalog, relevant blog post or news article. With this approach you will reach an audience of highly-targeted, active and motivated searchers.

2. Place your banner ad across a network of sites. Media companies often have a network of targeted sites that have the attention of your audience. This approach allows you to significantly extend your reach into the industry yet still maintain targeting. Ad networks tend to be efficient and affordable in terms of timing, exposure and reach.

Combining these two approaches with a single media buy offers the best of both worlds: the targeting you need with the extensive reach to increase brand awareness across markets.

Other Considerations
Typically you would work with a media partner to purchase display ads. They often have access to the best networks and sites and can package a program to fit your goals and objectives. When speaking to potential partners ask them:

1. Do they reach your target audience? No sense in wasting resources on a broad network of advertising banners if they’re not targeted to the industrial audience you need to reach. Find out what type of sites your ads would appear on and ask for the audience profile. Even for broader branding strategies, you want to stay focused on potential customers and prospects.

2. How do they track and optimize ad performance? You want to know more than impressions and clicks. You want your partner to offer guidance on optimizing the placement of your ad based on where it performs best. You also want robust reporting so that you can see for yourself the performance and include the results in your overall marketing measurements.

3. Do they offer geo-targeting and native-language translations? Many times you will want to reach only a specific geographic market or you may need your ads translated to local languages. Your media partner should offer these capabilities.

4. Do they offer a variety of ad formats and sizes? Display ads come in all shapes, sizes and media. The more options you have available to you, the more creative you can be and the more effective you can make your ad campaign. Skyscrapers, banners, sliders, overlays, rich media ads and more can all be incorporated into your ad portfolio.

Get started today by asking your media partners about their display advertising programs and how they can be seamlessly and effectively integrated into your overall marketing plan for 2016.

Leave a Comment

2016 Marketing Planning: Five Ideas to Guide You

 Last month we got you jump-started with marketing planning for 2016, offering tips on evaluating your current marketing program and pointing out trends that will affect your strategy moving forward. You can read Part 1 here. This month, as we’re nearing the final quarter of the year, we offer five ideas to help you develop the optimal marketing plan to fit your business needs and meet your marketing goals.

1. Think Digital
When creating your 2016 marketing plan, weigh your channel mix heavily towards digital. Traditional print media and in-person tradeshows continue to decline as digital resources become “business as usual” in the work habits of industrial professionals.

Recent research from IHS Engineering360 Media Solutions demonstrates just how important digital media is to this audience. Sixty-eight percent of technical professionals visit at least six websites each week for work-related purposes. More than half of technical professionals spend six or more hours per week on the Internet for work-related purposes, and one-third spend nine-plus hours (a full day) online.

If you’re not allocating the majority of your marketing budget to digital channels, you’re likely missing out on opportunities to connect with potential customers when they are performing their top online work-related activities: finding components, equipment, services, and suppliers; obtaining product specifications; performing research; and comparing products across suppliers.

2. Prioritize Your Marketing Investments
You’d like to use every possible channel to connect with your target audience, but reality and budgets say that’s not possible. Instead, prioritize your marketing investments according to your audience’s behavior and how well your programs work together. Your goal should be to maximize the visibility of your brand and opportunities for engagement, and to reach prospects and customers at every stage of their buying cycle, particularly early on when they are performing research and forming impressions of potential vendors before contacting them.

Search engines, supplier websites, and online catalogs are all top resources for industrial professionals. In addition, webinars, e-newsletters, and online display ads can help you penetrate new markets and connect with hard-to-reach professionals not in your database.

3. Create a Plan for Content Marketing
Your customers and prospects are constantly looking for content to help them solve problems, understand new technologies, and make more informed buying decisions. Suppliers that can deliver valuable, authoritative content can position their companies as industry experts, build trust with prospects, and ultimately make it easier for sales teams to close deals and drive revenue.

Make content marketing part of your overall marketing plan. Think ahead by creating an editorial calendar of the content you will produce. Match up content to expected events in 2016, such as new product launches or major announcements. Select the channels for distributing content. Here’s where your multichannel strategy pays off. For example, you can promote a webinar in an e-newsletter advertisement or in a display ad and drive prospects to your site to register.

Also, review your existing content. Make sure your marketing collateral and website are up-to-date with current messaging and the latest product versions. If you choose to enter new markets, you may need to revise some messaging and re-purpose existing case studies, white papers, and other materials. Create an inventory of content assets and determine what else is needed to move your customers through the buy cycle. Do it now to avoid long lead times.

4. Make Sure it’s Measurable
If you want full support for your marketing plan, make sure it’s measurable. This is another advantage of digital media. Page views, clicks, downloads, and conversions can all be easily counted.

ROI can be complex to measure, but a good starting point is answering a simple question: For the total marketing dollars you spend, what kind of return do you get in terms of engagement opportunities? Programs such as webinars tend to have high return because prospects have proactively registered for the event, which already indicates their interest. Inquiries on your website from existing customers also offer high return; it’s lower for new customers.

Specialized search engines and searchable catalogs tend to deliver good engagement opportunities because only your target audience would be using them, as opposed to general search engines which are used by the world.

Remember that with an integrated marketing plan, your tactics and channels work together. Most prospects will have multiple touches with your company throughout their buy cycle. Keep track of all touchpoints to prevent the mistake of attributing a sale only to their last interaction with you.

5. Work with Experts
Preparing a comprehensive, integrated marketing plan can be challenging, especially with all the new channels available to you and the wide variety of preferences among your target audience. You don’t have to do this work alone. Now is a good time to consult with an experienced digital media partner that understands and has the attention of the industrial audience you need to reach. Discuss your marketing objectives and have them show you an integrated, multi-channel media plan that will help achieve your goals and objectives.

2016 Industrial Marketing Planning Kit
IHS Engineering360 Media Solutions has created the Industrial Marketing Planning Kit to help you evaluate the effectiveness of your current marketing choices, calculate the value of existing marketing programs, understand changes in the marketing climate, and plan more effective prospect and client engagement strategies for 2016. Download your complimentary copy.

Leave a Comment

Have One Marketing Strategy, Backed by Many Tactics

As you prepare for 2016, one of the early and important tasks you must fulfill as a marketer is to identify your primary marketing goals, your overall marketing strategy, and your supporting tactics. It’s not always easy because there can be confusion about what the differences are among these three components of your marketing efforts. But it’s essential to get this right: your goals, strategy, and tactics will guide all other decisions and determine your success.

A military analogy can illustrate the differences. For example, your goal is to win the war. Your strategy might be to divide and conquer. And you devise multiple tactics that can support the strategy and help achieve the goal, such as executing a simultaneous attack on two fronts, dropping paratroopers behind the front line, destroying the enemy’s supply line, and so on.

Now translate this analogy to the situation facing an industrial marketer. For example, your goal might be to increase sales by 15% across all product lines. The strategy to achieve this goal could be to create engagement opportunities with potential customers in new markets. That’s a measurable goal and a single, clear, and focused strategy designed to help you achieve your goal.

When it’s time to consider tactics, you don’t want to make the mistake of using one or two, but instead commit to a broader mix of channels that will increase your opportunities for success. Research backs this up and shows that your target audience of engineers and other industrial professionals use a variety of digital resources for work-related purposes. As a marketer, you should align your tactics with the behavior of your audience.

Top Digital Resources
The top digital resources industrial professionals use for information at all stages of their buy cycle are search engines, online catalogs, and supplier websites, according to the IHS Engineering360 research report “Digital Media Use in the Industrial Sector.” In addition, technical professionals are attending more webinars and other online events than ever before. Last year, two-thirds of industrial professionals attended at least one webinar or online event, and 30% attended four or more. Webinars and online events have proven to be effective marketing platforms, attracting a motivated audience willing to take time out of their busy workdays to attend.

Another channel to consider is digital publications, such as e-newsletters and digital trade magazines. Industrial professionals subscribe to an average of 4.4 digital publications, such as e-newsletters and digital trade magazines, versus an average of 1.4 printed trade magazines, a more than three-fold difference.

Cross-Media Multiplier
You’ve heard of the expression that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts? Evidence is mounting that multichannel marketing is producing the desired results for marketers. The research firm Outsell refers to this phenomenon as the “cross-media multiplier effect” and found that “cross-media campaigns perform much better for advertisers than single media campaigns.”

There are other reasons to use multiple channels. Because industrial professionals use a variety of online resources for work-related purposes, they will be exposed to your company and message more frequently and in more places if you use multiple digital channels. This can help increase brand awareness and affinity among your target audience as well as distinguish your company from competitors.

Finally, no single online channel is the favorite among engineers. They use a variety of resources during their work process and you should do the same to connect with them. It’s the path to success: one strategy, many channels.

Leave a Comment

Tips for Marketing Your Videos

 Industrial marketers are getting into video in a big way. According to the video marketing firm Vidyard, video spending is on the rise for 63% of B2B marketers. Research from IHS Engineering360 Media Solutions found that watching a video is one of the most common activities technical professionals perform on social media, and that 51% of engineers use YouTube or other video sharing sites for work-related purposes.

So while you may have created a number of videos, and your target audience is out there and interested, are you able to maximize the level of exposure for your marketing videos? First, let’s assume you’ve created the compelling type of video that your audience wants, such as a how-to, product demonstration, or training video. You’ve also kept the video short (three minutes or less), and sound, lighting, and other production aspects are of good quality.

Now comes the other half of the equation: marketing the video. As with any other piece of marketing content, you can’t take a “build it and they will come” approach to video. Just as you don’t produce a white paper or webinar and not promote it, the same is true for video. Here are some tips for attracting an audience to your videos.

Optimize video content for search
Optimize the video as you would any traditional piece of digital content. Create a catchy title using keywords so that search engines know what your content is about. Put keywords at the beginning of the title, although make sure your title sounds natural. For example, if your video is a how-to on replacing circuit boards, your video title might be “Replacing circuit boards in ten steps” rather than “Ten steps to replacing circuit boards.”

Additionally, add a description that uses keywords and apply tags to your video. More advanced search engine optimization techniques include creating a video site map and using schema.org markup language for videos.

Post videos across many sites and channels
The vast majority of companies host their video on YouTube because it’s easy, free, and simple to post your YouTube-hosted videos on your website and on other sites. Include videos on your web pages and blogs. You should also promote your videos on your social media channels, such as LinkedIn, Facebook, or Twitter. Include sharing capabilities.

To gain exposure with a highly targeted audience, consider posting videos on industry catalog sites and knowledge platforms. IHS Engineering360 Media Solutions recently began offering a multimedia sponsorship that includes videos on its site, plus banners, newsletters, and product alerts to drive traffic. Companies advertising with IHS Engineering360 Media Solutions can also embed videos from YouTube on their company page - here’s an example.

Include videos in marketing campaigns
Videos can be elements to support more comprehensive marketing campaigns. For example, you can promote a customer testimonial video in a vertical market campaign, use a brief video clip from your webinar to promote the webinar itself, or develop a broader “how-to” campaign that promotes a series of videos.

At the end of the video, embed a call to action to a landing page or other resource. Ask your viewers to do something: watch the next video, download a white paper, attend a webinar, or learn more. Thinking about a call to action will also get you in the frame of mind to consider how any one video is integrated into and complements your overall marketing mix.

Track video performance
Video sharing sites such as YouTube offer metrics you can track to analyze how well your videos perform. Some metrics are related to exposure and reach, such as the number of views and number of shares. Other metrics are related to the quality and relevance of the video itself, such as length of view. If the number of views is low, you’re not promoting your video enough. If you have many viewers dropping out, then your video isn’t grabbing them. Use the metrics to gain insight on how you can improve your video efforts.

Leave a Comment

2016 Marketing Planning—Part 1

 We’re about to enter the fourth quarter of 2015, and that means it’s time to start marketing planning for 2016. Companies getting an early start on their marketing plan can get a jump on competitors and are better positioned going into the new year to win business.

This two-part series will help you put together an effective marketing plan for 2016 that fits your budget and aligns with your marketing goals. Part One focuses on evaluating your current marketing program and understanding the trends that will affect your strategy for 2016. Part Two, publishing next month, will offer tips for developing the optimal marketing plan.

How is your current plan performing?
In simplest terms, marketing programs have two purposes: to raise the visibility and reputation of your brand, products, and services; and to generate engagement opportunities for your sales teams. How are your programs doing on those two fronts?

Digital programs offer the inherent advantage of measurement through page views, clicks, downloads, conversions, and other trackable metrics. You also gain the advantage of connecting with technical professionals where they turn first to find suppliers, products, and services: the Internet.

Marketing tactics that deliver high branding relevancy combined with high engagement opportunities include your website, webinars, specialized search engines, online catalogs, trade shows, and e-newsletters.

Keep in mind when evaluating current programs that your customers typically have multiple interactions with your company and content before they make a final purchasing decision. They may meet you at a trade show, visit your website, click on an e-newsletter advertisement, watch a video, and attend a webinar all as part of their buying journey. Each of these touches contributes to the eventual sale—not just the last action they took before making a purchase decision. Be sure to track all of these activities to better understand how your marketing programs are performing.

What trends will impact your marketing choices?
In the early days of the digital era, manufacturers could get by simply by having a company website. This is no longer the case. Technical professionals now have more digital tools and sources of information to do their jobs better and more efficiently. They are exposed to more companies, are driven by personal digital preferences, have more power, and can choose from a variety of vendors when they are ready to buy.

This phenomenon, called the digital disruption, has significantly impacted the industrial marketing landscape. Rather than relying on a single channel, such as a company website, you should broaden and deepen your online presence to engage technical professionals in ways that match their searching and sourcing preferences. In addition, broadening your presence across multiple channels will help you fend off increased competition online, as increasing numbers of companies allocate more of their marketing dollars to digital media.

Diversifying your marketing spend and expanding your media program to multiple channels will get your name and brand front and center during the important early stages of the buying cycle when potential customers are looking, and produce more opportunities to build awareness and generate engagement opportunities. Manufacturers that can display their products and services simultaneously across multiple markets will have the best opportunity to gain new customers. This is known as the Cross Media Multiplier—integrated cross media campaigns perform better than single channel campaigns.

What is your company’s business plan for 2016?
If your company is planning to introduce new products, expand to new markets or customer segments, or launch other strategic initiatives, you will need to build your marketing plan to account for these milestones.

Now is the time to meet with executives to learn about the timing of new initiatives. You should also meet with sales leaders to understand revenue growth objectives. This will not only give you information you need to develop your marketing plan, it also demonstrates that you are proactive about developing a plan that supports your company’s goals and objectives.

It’s also time to start talking about budgets and gaining approvals. If you wait too long, you might be playing catch up and unable to solidify your marketing plan until the new year has already begun. Be ready to talk about what’s working and what isn’t in 2015, and how you can make improvements to be more effective in 2016.

2016 Industrial Marketing Planning Kit
IHS Engineering360 Media Solutions has created the Industrial Marketing Planning Kit to help you evaluate the effectiveness of your current marketing choices, calculate the value of existing marketing programs, understand changes in the marketing climate, and plan more effective prospect and client engagement strategies for 2016. Download your complimentary copy.

Leave a Comment

Three Key Tactics for Marketing to Support Sales

 Companies continue to devote resources and effort toward creating alignment between marketing and sales teams. The more these two teams are on the same page, the more efficient your sales and marketing machine will operate and the more business you can win.

Industrial marketers have many responsibilities: creating marketing plans, selecting channels, executing campaigns, producing content, tracking results, and much more. But at the end of the day, all of their work comes down to helping make it as easy as possible for your sales team to win deals.

Whatever stage your company is in—full alignment between sales and marketing or just beginning to break down silos—here are three key tactics industrial marketers can deploy to help support their sales teams.

1. Provide dynamic access to relevant content
Marketers have become expert producers of content to attract potential customers and guide them through their buying journey. Websites, white papers, webinars, articles, videos, case studies—all good stuff. But your sales team also has a need for content, some of which you must create specifically for their needs, such as:

• “Elevator pitches” that reflect the positioning and value propositions of your company
• Collateral designed to take down specific competitors—a late-stage sales cycle need when buyers have narrowed their choices to a few contenders
• Customizable slide decks with a core set of slides that sales people can build upon for individual presentations
• Customer testimonials and case studies along product lines or vertical markets
• Email or letter templates for sales to use when corresponding one-to-one with prospects
• A library of responses to standard Request for Proposal questions

These are just a few examples of the types of content your sales team might need. The other part of the content equation is making content readily and easily available to sales people. Consider creating a dynamic document or an intranet page that you update frequently with links to content along with explanations on how they can best use the different types of content and in what situations.

2. Pass only sales-ready leads to your sales team
Your sales and marketing teams should work together to create buyer personas and a lead scoring system. Lead scoring systems are generally based on how well a prospect fits a buyer persona and their patterns of interest, as exhibited by their behavior (such as visiting your website and taking some type of conversion action).

Once a lead scoring system is in place, it’s marketing’s responsibility to assign scores and to pass to sales people only those leads that have scores high enough to be sales ready. The remainder of prospects goes into your lead nurturing programs until they, too, are ready for your sales team, or you are ready to remove them from your database.

If you vet incoming opportunities for your sales team, they will thank you. They won’t have to waste time on leads that are not qualified and will have more time to devote to solid prospects who are more likely to buy. It’s a win for everyone.

Want to delve further into the sales and marketing partnership regarding leads? Read the article, “Don’t Fumble When Handing Off Leads.”

3. Communicate on a regular basis
Too often sales doesn’t know what campaigns marketing has planned, what marketing resources are available to them, and the rationale for what marketing does. You can solve this problem by communicating with the sales team on a regular basis. You can produce a weekly or monthly internal email to the sales team, or send a marketing representative to sales meetings (and, conversely, have a sales rep sit in on your group’s meetings).

You can introduce the campaigns marketing is working on and their goals, explain why and how you are using certain marketing channels, let them know what new content is available to support their sales efforts, and answer any questions they have.

Remember that marketing must take a proactive approach to working with and supporting sales. “How can we help?” should be marketing’s mantra. Follow these three tactics and your sales department will look at marketing as an invaluable resource in their efforts at winning business.

Leave a Comment

Three Keys to Mastering the Early Buy Cycle Stages

 You might have very little contact with customers during the early needs analysis/research stages of their buy cycle, yet the early buy cycle is critically important to your marketing and business success.

Research has shown that only 41% of technical professionals contact a vendor in the early stage of their buy cycle. The conclusion is that the majority of buyers are relying on digital resources to discover and research information about products, services, and suppliers, and to narrow down their options before getting a vendor involved. In order to win business, you must be found in the early stages of the buy cycle, provide exceptional content, and advance your relationship with these buyers. Here’s how to master these three imperatives.

Get Found Early
To be discovered by customers early, you must build and maintain a strong online presence on those digital resources your customers use most often in the early buy cycle stages. General search engines, supplier websites, online catalogs, and industry-specific search engines and information resources such as Engineering360.com are the most popular digital channels for engineers and technical buyers early in the buy cycle.

If you diversify your presence across these channels, you will be able to build brand awareness and visibility as well as accommodate personal preferences among technical professionals for different digital resources. Also consider advertising in industry e-newsletters or posting banner ads across a network of industrial websites. Such diversification can help you make a positive first impression on potential customers. If your company name comes up when engineers begin their search, it’s only natural that they gravitate toward you. Your widespread visibility in itself instills a sense of expertise and fosters trust.

Provide Exceptional Content
In the early stages of the buy cycle, your audience is actively searching for content that will help them advance along their buying journey. They want to compare different approaches to solving their problem, discover new products and technologies, understand how a technical process works, and identify vendors who meet their criteria. At this stage, it’s all about being useful and relevant to potential customers. They’re not ready for pricing quotes and hard selling. Your goal is to get on their short list by demonstrating knowledge and expertise. Do this by keeping content educational in nature.

It’s important to have a content strategy so you can keep up a steady stream of white papers, webinars, videos, web pages, articles, blog posts, newsletters, and more that will help satisfy your prospects’ hunger for content. Creating buyer personas, which are overarching profiles of your customers, can help you create content targeted for different customer types.

Advance Your Relationship
Picture your target customer in the early stages of his buy cycle: an engineer or other technical professional conducting searches, reading articles, watching videos, and visiting websites. And your company is highly visible through a strong online presence and highly relevant to them due to the exceptional content you provide. Now you must nudge your prospect to the next stage, and you do this by converting them.

Conversion is the act of capturing enough contact information that you can begin a relationship. It could be as little as an email address for your prospect. Remember that they are still in the early stages of their buy cycle and are unlikely to be willing to fill out long forms. But that doesn’t mean you can’t put a number of “premium” pieces of content behind a gate that’s relatively easy for your audience to open. For example, analyst reports, primary research or eBooks might be considered premium content, and if you promote their benefits, a prospect should be willing to give you their email address or other information in order to access the content.

Therefore, you should always give prospects an opportunity to convert and your team an opportunity to begin a nurturing relationship that could lead to a sale. One of the best and least disruptive ways to do this is to offer freely accessible content on a web page, but also offer something beyond—that extra value that’s worth a prospect filling out a brief form to access. You’re still working with a prospect that’s in the early stages of their buy cycle, but also one who is moving along the path and is keeping your company on its short list of potential vendors.

Even though most technical professionals won’t contact you until later in their buy cycle, a lot of your business can be won in the early stages by building a digital presence, offering relevant content, and giving prospects a chance to engage. If you don’t have a strong early cycle marketing effort, you’ll never know how many potential customers you might have missed.

Leave a Comment

Checklist: Is Your Email Copy Helping or Hurting Conversion Rates?

 You probably have measurable conversion goals for your marketing emails. For example: download a white paper, register for a webinar, watch a video, complete a survey, enter to win a contest, and so on.

While email design, graphics, and sending date/time all influence conversion rates, the single most important factor determining success is copy. Your copy carries your message, tone, personality, and style. It announces your call to action. It broadcasts your benefits. Strong copy will increase your conversation rate; weak copy will hurt it. Sometimes it’s that simple.

Here are five ways your copy could be helping your email conversion rates—and five ways it could be hurting them.

1. Appeal to the interests of your audience.
The first rule of copywriting: Know what your audience wants and give it to them. If you are writing to engineers, focus your copy on their concerns. They are trying to solve problems, improve designs, increase efficiency, find the right components. If you’re writing to executives, you might focus your copy on economic messages and return on investment.

2. Create a sense of urgency.
There’s nothing like the sense of time running out to get people to take action. Phrases such as: Only one week left to register for the webinar; the first 50 respondents get a free sample; the trial period ends in 30 days. You get the idea. It’s easy to put off taking action, unless you give your audience a reason to make a decision quickly.

3. Vary your calls to action.
Even within a single email, you should write your call to action in different ways, whether the words appear on a button or in plain text. That’s because people respond differently to different language suggestions. What works for some may not work for others. For example, here are three different ways to word the call to action for the same offer: Download your complimentary copy; Click here for your white paper; Get the report today. Notice that each of them includes an action verb: download; click; get.

4. Keep your copy short and to the point.
While you don’t want to sacrifice meaning, and of course you’re a great writer, you do want to keep your copy concise and on point. Technical professionals are busy; they will scan your email to pick up important, relevant information. The great mystery writer Elmore Leonard had this advice to writers: leave out the boring parts. You should too.

5. Make the email come from someone.
This tip refers to two things. It’s better to use an individual’s name than a company name in the ‘from’ line of the email, or even something like ‘Brian Jones at Company Name’. But also consider writing the body copy as if it were coming from this individual. This helps you write more personally and conversationally, and helps develop rapport and trust with your audience. Don’t forget a signature at the end.

1. Insider language loaded with jargon.
Every industry has its own terms that professionals understand, but you should perform an audience analysis to make sure your reader knows what you’re talking about. Stay away from terms that you use only internally, keep industry jargon to a minimum, and spell out any acronyms you use. An email your reader doesn’t understand is an email quickly headed for the recycling bin.

2. Long blocks of copy.
If any paragraph is more than three or four lines, it’s too long. If any sentence is longer than three lines, it’s too long. Long sentences and paragraphs are visually intimidating and difficult to read. Revise copy into shorter chunks. Use bulleted lists. Add sub-headlines.

3. Sales-oriented copy.
Your audience is looking for useful, educational information that will help them do their jobs better, not a hard sell. If your copy is too sales-oriented and pushes your customers to make a buying decision before they’re ready, you may lose conversions. It’s fine to sell your offer of a white paper or webinar, but do so by promoting benefits. Marketing emails that try to aggressively sell products in the B2B space typically fail.

4. When it’s about you.
“Our company is the first . . . We offer the only . . . Our products are better than . . . We are the market leader in . . .” Guess what? Your audience doesn’t care. Don’t write copy about your company and products. Write copy about how you understand your audience’s needs and can help fulfill them.

5. Mistakes.
Grammar police here. We’re watching and we care. Grammatical and usage errors, misspellings, typos and factual errors not only hurt your conversion rates, they do harm to your company’s reputation. If I can’t trust a company to write clean, mistake-free copy, can I trust them enough to give them my business? Seemingly small errors can have large consequences. Have someone proofread all email copy before you hit the send button.

Leave a Comment

Five Compelling Reasons Webinars Belong in Your Marketing Mix

 In this digital era, there’s no shortage of online channels and tactics for industrial marketers to connect with their target audience of technical professionals. But one tactic that’s been effectively used almost from the dawn of digital marketing is webinars—and webinars are still going strong. Here are five compelling reasons why webinars should be an important part of your marketing mix.

1. Statistics Support the Appeal of Webinars
According to the Content Marketing Institute, 61% of B2B marketers are using webinars/webcasts for marketing in 2015 and survey respondents report that webinars are the second most effective B2B marketing tactic. In addition, the research and advisory firm Outsell in its “Annual Advertising and Marketing Study 2015: B2B Advertising” reported that webinars have increased by 10.4% in the overall B2B marketing mix in the last year and that marketers are increasing their investments in webinars by 19%.

The increased investments in webinars align with the behavior of technical professionals who find value in attending webinars and other online events. Such events are convenient to attend for engineers who prefer to be in their office and at their desks and who may not have the budget or time to attend in-person events. According to the IHS Engineering360 “Digital Media Use in the Industrial Sector” research report, seven out of ten technical professionals attended at least one webinar or online event in the past year. Thirty-two percent said they went to four or more.

2. Webinars Can Help Achieve Many Objectives
You can achieve many objectives with webinars. For example: showcase new products and emerging technologies; provide education and training; share product demonstrations on manufacturing processes; strengthen your thought leadership positioning; promote successful case studies; and more.

In addition, webinars can be more robust, interactive, and compelling than ever before, thanks to advances in technology and near ubiquitous broadband networks. You can collect valuable data from attendees by asking poll questions during the webinar, then display and discuss the poll results in real-time. You can also have an interactive question and answer period at the end of your presentation—or at any time during the event. You can embed video in the webinar. All of these capabilities help you to capture and hold the attention of your audience.

Webinar platforms and partners also offer easy registration capabilities, email reminders, post-webinar follow-ups, and other features to help increase registration, attendance, and audience satisfaction.

3. Webinars Offer Exceptional Engagement Opportunities
Technical professionals who take time out of their busy work schedules to attend your webinar are motivated. They have a special interest in the topic you are presenting. They have questions they want answered. Webinars allow you to control the message, yet still interact with your audience in ways that are helpful to them.

Plus, attendees can be anywhere—there are no geographical boundaries or limitations with webinars, helping you extend your market reach. And you have contact information of attendees from when they registered. This gives you an excellent opportunity to engage a motivated audience and to follow up with them afterwards to build a mutually beneficial business relationship.

4. Webinars Keep on Giving
The real-time, interactive nature of webinars offers a number of benefits, yet webinars continue to provide benefits after the live event is past. You can post archived webinars on your website to be viewed by those who missed the event or may not have known about it. Again, you can collect contact information. You can also post webinars on YouTube or other video-sharing sites. Or repurpose webinar content into articles, white papers, blog posts, or other content formats.

5. You Can Partner with Experts for Custom Webinars
No one denies that webinars require a lot of work to be successful —from choosing a topic, to creating the presentation and script, to promoting your event, to registering and reminding your audience, to having capabilities to host the webinar, to following up with opportunities post-event.

Many industrial marketers are now working with partners such as IHS Engineering360 Media Solutions on webinar programs. You can maintain a strong brand presence while getting help with content creation, promotion, reaching a broader audience beyond your own list, attendee registration and tracking, platform capabilities, reporting, archiving, and more. The result will be a polished, professional, and relevant webinar, while also giving you more time to focus on integrating webinars into your overall marketing strategy and efforts. For more information on custom webinar services from IHS Engineering360 Media Solutions, click here.

Leave a Comment

Seven Steps to Cleaning Up Your Social Media Presence

 Many industrial companies got started with social media by having dedicated employees with social media skills experiment with various platforms—LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and others. There might not have been an overall strategy or vision attached to social media efforts. Some social media accounts may have languished, while others stayed active. In addition, other people in your company might have opened new accounts: customer service started their own, an executive or two took to Twitter, human resources began recruiting on LinkedIn.

You can see how easy it might be to end up spread out on social media, with no centralized control or guiding strategy. It’s time to change that. With social media having established itself in the industrial sector, your company needs a unified social media strategy, a consistent brand and a relevant message. Here’s how you can clean up your social media accounts and get the most out of your social media efforts.

1. Perform an Audit
The first thing to do is take control by identifying and documenting all of your social media profiles, both official and unofficial. The easy ones to find are your official company page on Facebook or LinkedIn. But did you try out Instagram once and never return? Start a YouTube channel and then forgot about it?

Look also for unofficial accounts by performing a general search for your brand on all the major social networks. You might find accounts that have been set up by well-meaning employees or even by rogues and spammers.

2. Check Your Social Media Strategy & Goals
Once you’ve compiled a list of all social media profiles associated with your company, see how each one fits with your social media strategy and goals. Are you trying to build thought leadership, get the most followers possible, interact with customers and prospects, or generate engagement opportunities? Ask how each existing account fits in with your goals, and prune out the ones that are not essential.

3. Understand How Your Audience Values Social Media
How does your social media presence align with the way your customers and prospects use social media? For example, LinkedIn is the most popular social media outlet with 66 percent of engineers and technical professionals maintaining an account the platform, according to the IHS Engineering360 research report, “Social Media Use in the Industrial Sector.” For technical professionals researching a work-related purchase, Google+ and LinkedIn ranked highest in value of all social media platforms. Facebook, SlideShare and Twitter have the least value.

4. Choose the Accounts to Keep
Based on steps 1-3 above, you can decide which social media profiles you should keep active and which you should close down. If you have followers for some of the accounts being closed, you will need to notify them and ask them to follow a different account. Some social media platforms, such as Facebook, offer the ability to merge accounts and pages that you manage.

5. Identify Your Social Media Team
Depending on the size of your company and available resources, your social media team might be one person or it might be a cross-functional team of people. You’ll need to know who’s on the team and what role each person will play. It’s also a good time to determine login credentials and permission levels for the various social media accounts. You probably don’t want a free-for-all when it comes to posting social media updates. If you don’t have a set of guidelines for social media publishing, now is the time to create one, to help ensure inappropriate content is not publicly posted and that all published content is aligned with your social media goals.

6. Update All Profiles
Time to freshen up. Banners and backgrounds don’t have to be the same on every social media account, but they should complement each other and work with your brand. Make sure company descriptions are clear, consistent and offer value to your audience. Don’t just describe your company—give people a reason to follow you, such as promising tips & tricks, or a new how-to article every week.

Fill out all the fields on your profiles. Update bios and photos of contributors. Check all links to other pages (also check the links on social sharing buttons on your website).

7. Consider Using a Social Media Management Tool
If you’re making a commitment to cleaning up your social media presence and plan to integrate social media with your other marketing efforts, you might want to use a social media management tool to plan and schedule posts across platforms, track followers and monitor your results. There are a number of tools available to help you with this task, based on your individual social media needs.

Leave a Comment

Free eBook: Online Marketing for the Industrial Sector. Selection of marketing articles compiled from past editions of the Marketing Maven.

Subscribe To the Marketing Maven e-Newsletter

Follow Us

Subscribe to RSS