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Video and the Industrial Marketing Star

 

Two-thirds of engineers now use YouTube or other video-sharing websites for work-related purposes, as reported in the upcoming “2017 Digital Media Use in the Industrial Sector” survey.

If video isn’t yet part of your marketing campaigns, now’s the time to get the camera rolling. According to the “B2B Content Marketing” research report published by the Content Marketing Institute, 79 percent of B2B marketers used video as a content marketing tactic in 2016 and 62 percent rate it as an effective tactic.

Consider these other statistics compiled by the marketing firm Hubspot:
• 90 percent of users say that product videos are helpful in the decision process.
• Video can dramatically increase conversion rates. Video in an email increases click-through rates 200-300 percent. Including video on a landing page can increase conversions by 80 percent.
• 59 percent of executives would rather watch video than read text.

How to Get Started
If you’ve read the Maven for any length of time, you already know the first step in getting started with a new marketing tactic or campaign: establish your goals.
Stating your marketing goals will not only help you create a more concise, compelling video, it will guide you toward the metrics you need to track in order to measure your results. Your goal might be to:

• Generate an engagement opportunity
• Build brand awareness
• Educate the market about a trend or new technology
• Demonstrate a product or technical concept
• Entertain your audience

Whatever your purpose, there are a group of metrics that can help you determine how successful your video is. Some metrics you might consider include:

• Number of follow-throughs on your call-to-action
• Number of views
• Length of view (it’s important to know how many viewers dropped off before the video reaches the end)
• Number of shares via social media or email
• Number of comments/questions from viewers
Choose the metrics that are aligned with your goals, and track them for as long as your video is part of your campaign.

What Engineers Are Watching
Engineers and technical professionals have a strong preference for specific types of videos. According to the “2016 Social Media Use in the Industrial Sector,” survey, how-to videos/tutorials (86 percent), product demos (85 percent) and training videos (71 percent) are the three most popular types of content to watch on video-sharing websites such as YouTube.

Purpose Drives Production Values
If you’re creating a corporate or investor presentation for your company, you might want to hire a professional video production company and go for all the bells and whistles. But if you’re demonstrating how to use a product or interviewing an expert, the video capabilities on your smartphone should do the trick. The two most important production values are lighting and sound. Make sure your video can be clearly seen and heard.

Short videos are more effective than longer ones. Your video should be between to be 1-3 minutes long and highly targeted. Focus on a single topic, such as a brief product demo, or three questions with an expert. Short videos with targeted keywords rank better for search optimization than do broad, general videos.
Other videos might be longer, such as recorded webinars or speeches. Whether short or long, you must capture and hold viewer interest. The best way to do that is to be relevant to your audience. They will watch what matters to them.

Channels to Post Video
Your video, no matter how great, is nothing if it’s not widely shared. In addition to YouTube, embed the video onto your website and your email sends.
Finally, digital marketing partners such as IEEE GlobalSpec offer marketers the opportunity to showcase videos on company profile pages and in e-newsletters, helping to further engage their audience and generate interest in their company, products and services.

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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.

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The Compelling Reason to Use Video in Your Marketing Mix

 Seventy-six percent of technical professionals watch work-related videos on video sharing sites such as YouTube, according to the 2015 “Social Media Use in the Industrial Sector Survey” from IHS Engineering360.

That’s a huge majority of your target audience, and a compelling reason to use video in your marketing mix. Not only can you connect with customers and prospects using video, it’s now easier and more affordable than ever to capture, edit and publish video. There may still be times when a professionally produced and polished video is appropriate, such as for a corporate or investor presentation, but many industrial marketers are finding success and a following with an inexpensive video camera and an upload to YouTube.

The most effective marketing videos tend to be short (1-3 minutes) and highly targeted. They focus on a single topic or concept, such as a brief product demo, or three questions with an expert, for example. In addition, short, focused videos with targeted keywords rank better for search optimization than broad, general videos.

What is Your Purpose?
As with any marketing tactic, start by defining your purpose. This will not only help you create a more concise and compelling video, it will guide you toward the metrics you need to track in order to measure your results. Your purpose for creating a video might be:

• Generate an engagement opportunity
• Build brand awareness
• Educate the market about a trend or new technology
• Demonstrate a product or technical concept
• Entertain

Whatever your purpose, there are a group of metrics that can help you determine how successful your video is. These include:

• Number of follow-throughs on your call-to-action (many videos end with a call to action, such as contacting a supplier or accessing additional content)
• Number of views
• Length of view (it’s important to know how many viewers dropped off before the video reaches the end)
• Number of shares
• Number of comments

Choose the metrics that are aligned with your goals, and track them for as long as the video is part of your campaign.

Most Popular Video Types for Industrial Professionals
Engineers and technical professionals have a strong preference for specific types of videos. According to the “Social Media Use in the Industrial Sector Survey,” the most popular types of content to watch on video-sharing websites are how-to videos/tutorials (82 percent), product demos (79 percent) and training videos (70 percent).

What each of these video types has in common is that they are information-dense. Your audience is seeking valuable, relevant information to help them do their jobs better.

Other types of videos may also be effective and popular with your audience, such as brief interviews with influential people or a customer testimonial. If appropriate, you can produce a video tour of your company, showing off your advanced production capabilities, processes or operations. Remember that customers are not just buying your product, but buying into your entire company. An insider look is a great tool. You can also create videos by recording presentations and keynote addresses for customers who were not able to attend an event.

Where to Post Video
YouTube is the most popular place to have an account for posting your videos, and the most widely used by engineers and technical professionals. You can add the YouTube code into your website and blogs and have the videos run within those pages. If you produce a library of videos, you might want to create a page on your website where they can all be archived by type or subject matter.

Video embedded directly into email can help you create differentiation in your customers’ crowded inboxes. Many email marketing service providers offer this capability, as well as the ability to ensure emails render well on mobile devices.

What’s Different about Video
Marketers have learned how to write for the web by understanding that their audience doesn’t read web pages beginning to end, but scans pages for content of interest. That’s why good web writing includes headlines, bulleted lists and short statements.

There’s no such scanning option with video. You have to keep your audience engaged, opening credits to fade out. That’s why short videos are more effective than longer ones. It’s also good to keep in mind the words of suspense-master Alfred Hitchcock, who once said that a good story is a lot like life but with the dull parts taken out. Trim your videos of anything dull, and you’ll keep your audience interested, perhaps even on the edge of their seats.

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New Research: How Technical Professionals Use Social Media

Results from IHS GlobalSpec’s annual survey of technical professionals and their use of social media are now available. While many larger studies have been conducted on social media and B2B marketing, this is the only research specifically focused on the manufacturing and engineering communities.

social media800

Download the research report, “Social Media Use in the Industrial Sector,” to get survey findings, practical tips and recommendations to help you evaluate your social media efforts.

The major conclusion is that social media has an established presence in the industrial sector and the use of social media by technical professionals has stabilized and is holding steady. However, technical professionals use social media primarily in passive ways. They prefer to read or watch content on social media platforms as opposed to actively post, participate in discussions or create content of their own.

Preferred social media platforms
The majority of technical professionals (56 percent) spend less than one hour per week using social media for work-related purposes. The most popular social media platform among this group is the professional networking site LinkedIn, with 74 percent having an account. Sixty-one percent have a Facebook account, and 41 percent have a Google+ account, although Facebook usage has stagnated while Google+ continues to grow. Forty-eight percent make use of YouTube or other video sharing platforms. Twitter lags behind with just 17 percent adoption.

Reasons for using social media
The biggest reason technical professionals use social media is to stay up-to-date on the latest company, product and technology news (50 percent). Forty-nine percent use social media to find and read product reviews, and 41 percent to find new suppliers.

Facebook and Google+ technical professionals will follow other businesses and groups within their industry. On LinkedIn, in addition to searching for contacts, they will join groups and read discussions, read product/industry news and search for suppliers. On video sites, they will watch product demo, how-to videos and tutorials.

Most of these uses would be considered early stage buy cycle activities centered on research and education. Suppliers need to build high brand visibility in order to be found by their audience during these stages and on these platforms.

Social media usage varies with age
Older workers and younger workers use social media differently. Not surprisingly, younger technical professionals under age 35 use all social media platforms more than older technical professionals do. The lone exception is LinkedIn, which has higher usage among the over 35 crowd.

Those over age 34 tend to use social media for traditional tasks such as finding product reviews and reading news. Younger technical professionals are more active on social media; they post, share and participate more than older workers. Younger technical professionals are also more likely to use social media to look for new job opportunities.

Social media lags behind other digital resources in usefulness
When it comes to researching a work-related purpose, technical professionals prefer established digital channels to social media. General search engines, online catalogs and supplier websites are the top three resources used to research a work-related purchase. No social media platform cracked the top ten.

The fact that these resources are more valuable than social media to technical professionals is the main reason (reported by 62 percent) why social media is not used more for work-related purposes. Technical professionals state there is “too much noise and not enough substance” in social media (52%). Users also report they can’t find valuable content, which likely contributes to the “too much noise, not enough substance.” The takeaway for suppliers is that you will likely achieve greater success with social media if you can deliver useful information to your audience of technical professionals.

An opportunity for industrial marketers
The survey asked technical professionals about how the companies they work for participate in social media. It’s interesting to compare how technical professionals think their company is using social media with actual participation. For example, just 24 percent of technical professionals say their company uses LinkedIn. According to the "2013 Trends in Industrial Marketing" research report, 72 percent of industrial companies participate on LinkedIn.

Also, 78 percent of technical professionals have never posted news or information about their own companies to their social networks. There seems to be an opportunity for industrial marketers to educate their own technical professionals on how their company uses social media. In addition, recruiting your own internal team to help spread the word on social media can be a viable strategy.

Get your copy of the report
Download your complimentary copy of the research report, “Social Media Use in the Industrial Sector.” Survey results are presented in chart and graph form, along with analysis and recommendations on how to best use social media to achieve your marketing goals. Don’t miss out on this valuable resource for industrial marketers.

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How do you use social media as part of your marketing mix? What tips or strategies would you pass along to your peers in industrial marketing? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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Nine Tips to Make Your Marketing Videos More Engaging

The use of video as an information source is growing among your target audience. About half of technical professionals use YouTube or other video sharing sites for work-related purposes, making video a strong channel for industrial marketers.

video marketing
Photo by bill mulder / cc by

Video belongs in your marketing mix. But just because you can create a video doesn’t mean it will be visually interesting or engaging to your audience. Follow these tips to deliver more powerful videos that your customers and prospects will watch from beginning to end and be more likely to remember.

1. Give technical professionals what they want
Not all video content is equal in the eyes of your audience. Technical professionals aren’t looking for big-budget, flashy marketing videos with all the bells and whistles. They simply want information to help them do their jobs better. The three most-watched types of videos among this audience are product demos, how-to videos/tutorials, and training videos. What’s common among these video types is they are focused on how to use something or do something practical and relevant to their work. Your audience also likes educational videos that present information on new trends and technologies.

2. Length doesn’t matter—but keep it short
The assumption is that if your content is compelling enough, your video can be long as you want. But let’s face it: none of us are Steven Spielberg or Quentin Tarantino. And attention spans in the Internet age are notoriously short. A good rule of thumb is to keep your video under five minutes in length - and even that might seem long. If you have a multi-step or complex how-to video, you can break it down into several shorter segments.

3. Provide good lighting and a neutral background
If you’re filming product demos, you’re likely showing computer screens. But if you have people talking in your videos, you need to be aware of lighting and background. Avoid casting shadows or uneven or harsh lighting. Make sure your subject is well lit. Don’t have anything that’s visually distracting in the background such as items on a desk, papers on a wall, or people passing by.

4. Eliminate noise, improve sound
There are two ways you need to deal with sound. One is to eliminate background noise: humming machinery, traffic, talking, the soda machine, etc. The other is to use a good microphone to clearly capture your speaker or narrator’s voice. Also, give your video some life by adding introductory, transitional and closing music. You can try lowering the volume and keeping the music throughout the video to provide a pleasant and subtle aural texture (as opposed to background noise). Most video editing software comes with music clips you can add.

5. Follow basic principles of composition
The “Rule of Thirds” has you break down the image window for filming or photography into sections so that you can better frame your subject and provide greater visual interest. Here’s a good primer on it. Apply these principles and you’ll notice a difference in your video quality.

6. Brand your video
Make sure to include your company name/logo at the beginning and end of every video. Use other brand elements such as colors in a consistent fashion so that your videos all have the same brand identity. Perhaps choose a few pieces of music that becomes part of your brand—if your audience consistently hears the same few pieces of music they will associate them with your brand. Use branding elements during video transitions.

7. Include a call to action
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.

8. Share your videos
You need to spread the word about your videos. Post your videos on YouTube or other video sharing sites. Create thumbnail graphics and link to them in your email newsletters. Embed them on your website and in your social media platforms. Show them on your GlobalSpec.com page.

9. Track performance
Video sharing sites such as YouTube offer metrics you can track to analyze how well your videos perform. Number of views, number of shares, and length of viewing are all important. If you find that viewers are not watching your entire video, you may need to dig deeper and do some testing. Is the content not relevant? Is the video too long? Use the metrics to gain insight on how you can improve your video production. Maybe you do have some Spielberg in you.

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How do you use video as part of your marketing mix? What tips or strategies would you pass along to your peers in industrial marketing? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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How to Produce Videos Industrial Professionals Will Watch

If you’re thinking of using video for marketing to engineers and technical professionals, that’s a good decision. With video you can connect with your target audience. Forty-seven percent of engineers use YouTube or other video sharing sites for work purposes. No surprise. Engineers are passive participators in social media. They prefer to watch and read rather than create and post.

Another benefit is the ease of sharing videos across channels: company website, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, GlobalSpec.com, etc. So there are built in economies, plus it’s a natural fit for your content marketing strategy. But before you put on your director’s hat and call “Action,” here are five tips to make your videos a powerful force in your marketing portfolio.

1. Give your audience what they want
Based on our latest Social Media Use in the Industrial Sector research report, 85 percent of engineers and technical professionals watch product demos and 80 percent watch how-to videos. If you create product demos and how-to’s, you’re in the game. Use these types of videos to demonstrate what’s different and special about your products. Or how to use them. Check out the video resources page on FUTEK’s website. You can choose application, product and support videos among other categories.

2. Give your audience what they need
There’s more to your customers’ buying decision than just finding the technology or product that meets their needs. Your customers also are motivated to buy from the right company. They want confidence in you. Sixty-three percent of engineers watch videos on new trends and technologies. Sprinkle in a branding video, third-party testimonial, or your thought leadership series to let customers and prospects know why they should buy from you. Make sure you have a clear message and the right person to deliver it.

3. Always have a storyboard
If you have an off-camera narrator, you’ll want to write a complete script to ensure smoothness (practice narrating so it doesn’t sound like someone’s reading; that’s boring). If no script, you at least need a storyboard that documents what you’re going to film and the story sequence. If you can plan your shots in advance and script your message, you have a better chance to finish your project on time and create a polished final product.

4. Make equipment and production decisions
There are lots of ways you can go here: from grassroots videos from your smartphone, to high-def cameras, lighting, and audio. In the YouTube era, you can get away with casual production standards—sometimes. But if you’ve got the resources, you might want to get some gear. Good lighting and clear sound immediately improve production quality. You can also clean and spiff your footage with video editing software. Add music and transitions. Some editing programs are free. You might even have one installed on your computer. Higher-featured offerings cost a hundred dollars and up.

5. Allocate an appropriate amount of time
Even simple videos can take a great deal of time and effort. A good rule of thumb is that every minute of finished video will cost one hour of production time. That time is taken up planning your message, writing the script/storyboard, setting up shots, filming, editing, and publishing across channels. This ratio of one minute to one hour will help you keep your videos short—a couple minutes at most (that’s what you want; people have short attention spans). Also plan on tracking how well your videos perform. The number of views and length of view (stats which you can get from YouTube or Google Analytics) will give you a good idea of performance.

Okay, now you’re ready: Lights, Camera, Action!

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Have you created videos aimed at engineers and technical professionals? What are your tips and best practices? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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