Best Practices for E-Newsletter Advertising

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Publishing your company’s own newsletter is an effective marketing tactic, but you can reach only people already on your house list. To place your company, products, and services in front of an engaged, motivated audience, and to increase brand awareness and engagement opportunities, many industrial marketers are advertising in respected and trusted industry newsletters.

Subscribers use e-newsletters as a resource for timely information and to stay current with new technologies, product applications, and suppliers during the buying process. Forty-five percent of technical professionals subscribe to three or more free e-newsletters, according to the “2017 Digital Media Use in the Industrial Sector” research report from IEEE GlobalSpec Media Solutions.

E-newsletter advertising is a great way for industrial marketers to connect with and influence their target audience. Your efforts, however, will only be as effective as your ad’s copy, image, and call-to-action. Follow these best practices to create compelling and noticeable advertisements that encourage readers to take action.

Set Goals

Your goals will determine what kind of ad you produce and drive all creative and content decisions.

For example, if your goal is to drive engagement opportunities, consider a product-specific ad that focuses on a particular product’s benefits and how it can solve a problem or help a reader do a job more effectively. These types of ads will interest a prospect that is at the stage of their buying cycle when they are evaluating or comparing different products.

On the other hand, newsletter ads can be used to reach readers early in their buy cycle who aren’t quite ready to make a decision. These prospects will be more interested in educational ads that promote white papers, technical articles, and other relevant content. Such ads can help educate readers about your products or trends in the industry while helping you build brand awareness.

Write Compelling Headlines

The most successful headlines and copy are those focused on the interests and needs of your audience. Know your audience and your content will flow from there.

The ad headline is your most important piece of copy. The headline determines whether a reader will simply glance over your ad or spend a moment reading the rest of your copy.

Keep your headline short and to the point. Be persuasive and use your headline to promote a solution to a problem. Example: “New Container Seals Resist Tampering.” Or use your headline to offer something of value to the reader. Example: “Complimentary LED Mount Sample Kit.” Or: “How to Calibrate an Oscilloscope.”

Complement with Copy

Your copy should complement and build upon the promise of your headline. It should be easy to read, therefore short, simple sentences work best. Focus on benefits and creating value for the reader rather than making a sales pitch, and use copy to speak directly to your reader by using words like “you” and “your.”

Don’t feel like you need to get all of your points into the copy- there simply isn’t enough room. Instead, provide just enough incentive for the reader to click-through for more information.

Add an Image

Along with your headline, the image in your ad is what gets noticed first. Again, the word is complementary: your image needs to work hand-in-hand with your headline and copy. If it doesn’t, the reader will be confused and quickly move on.

Ensure that your images are high quality. Product photos should be clear and crisp. Avoid graphs and images that include text as the words may not be legible. Unless your goal is corporate branding, company logos will not be the best use of an image in your advertisement. Readers who are unfamiliar with your company or don’t recognize the logo may pass over your ad.

Add Hyperlinks

Every e-newsletter ad should include a call-to-action that entices your reader to click. Your CTA should give a reason to click and make clear exactly what will come next. “View a product demo video,” “Visit our website for more information,” “Order a product sample,” or “Download the white paper” are good examples of transparent call-to-actions.

Consider using more than one hyperlink. You can put one in the copy, which might be, for example, the name of your product or title of a white paper, and another link in the call-to-action.

Choose the Right E-Newsletter

When deciding which industry e-newsletters to advertise in, make sure you work with a media partner that has the attention of the audience you are trying to reach, the expertise to help you create a compelling ad, and backend reporting services that deliver timely information to you including click-through rates, engagement opportunities and other metrics that help measure your success.

IEEE GlobalSpec Media Solutions offers you the ability to target the very professionals you want to reach via their inboxes. Our 80+ newsletter titles focus on specific industry segments and products, giving you access to a highly engaged audience of decision-makers who use newsletters as a key resource during all stages of their buying process. Find out more here.

E-Mail Marketing Marketing, General

How to Rise Above Your Competitors

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The three biggest challenges that industrial marketers face: Limited marketing resources, generating enough high quality leads for sales and increased competition. The first two are perennial challenges, the third a more recent trend.

These findings were reported in the “2017 Industrial Marketing Trends” research survey conducted by IEEE GlobalSpec Media Solutions.

One of the major reasons competition has increased and become more of a challenge is the predominance of digital media and its many channels. Engineers and other technical professionals have more discovery resources at their disposal than ever before. They are exposed to more suppliers in their search for products, services, and information.

That makes your job harder, but you can rise above your competitors. Here’s how.

Diversify Your Spending

The most successful marketers use a mix of push/outbound (email, tradeshows) and pull/inbound marketing tactics (corporate website, online catalogs).

An optimized mix of channels and tactics is crucial for reaching out to and connecting with technical professionals. The broader your presence, the more likely potential customers will see you and not your competitors.

Past research demonstrates the performance benefits of diversifying your marketing spend across multiple digital media channels rather than relying on a single platform. Consider shifting a portion of your budget to other online channels such as online directories/websites, e-newsletters, webinars, and video.

Maintain Marketing Momentum

A common mistake some marketers make is to execute a campaign and then take their foot off the gas. Don’t do this. Your mantra should be “never stop marketing.”

If you disappear for a while, customers might forget about your company and your products and services, leaving an opening for competitors to fill the void. Even if your budget is modest, you can maintain marketing momentum by staying committed to those channels that work best for you.

Differentiate Your Offerings

Whether you market and sell commodity products or complex, customized systems, you need to differentiate your offerings from those of your competitors. What’s special about your products and services?

Fifty-four percent of industrial marketers say their key differentiator is the quality of their products and services. If quality is what sets you apart, then highlight quality over and over again in your messaging. If it’s something else—low cost, superior customer support, warranties, etc.—then play those attributes up.

Produce Exceptional Content

Your audience is clamoring for relevant, educational content that can help them navigate through their buying cycle and make the right purchasing decisions.

Focus on improving your content marketing skills by better understanding customer needs and challenges, and producing content that they trust, which in turn helps them to trust you. Use webinars, white papers, articles, newsletters, videos and other content to show potential customers how to solve a problem, how a technology or product works, or how to perform a task.

Put your energy and time into educating potential customers, while leaving the hard sell to your competitors, and see who wins more business.

Cultivate a Visual Brand Identity

One way to separate yourself from the competition is to be immediately recognizable to potential customers. This means you should cultivate a consistent look and feel in advertisements, webinars, white papers and other marketing content.

For example, choose a color palette and stick with it. Use the same fonts. Create a unique style of imagery. Arrange elements in the same manner. Put your logo in the same place. While these may seem like small touches, they take on significance when your audience is repeatedly exposed to them. They’ll remember you instead of your competition.

Perform Competitive Research

If you want to rise above your competitors you have to know where they stand. This doesn’t mean you must commission an extensive competitive research project. But you must be familiar with your competitor’s offerings and how they position their company, products, and services.

Scour their websites, download their content, study their marketing tendencies. You can create competitive “cheat sheets” that counter the value propositions your competitors make. Salespeople will thank you.

Partner Up

If competitors are getting in your way, find a way around them. A trusted, expert media partner that understands and has the attention of your audience and is knowledgeable about market trends, can help you optimize your marketing mix and laser target the customers you need to reach.

The right media partner is your essential ally in a competitive environment. They often have ideas and strategies you may not have thought of and can help put your company in the best possible position to succeed.

Now go beat your competition.

 

Content Marketing Marketing Strategy Marketing, General

Seven Tips to Make Customer Case Studies More Effective

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Case studies are an important asset of almost every industrial marketer’s content portfolio. Potential buyers often read or view customer case studies in the later stages of their buy cycle, when they’re ready to hear the voice of other customers who use your company’s products or services.

Successful case studies can be tricky to get right. Customers are often hesitant to participate, and when they do, the results can be disappointing if you don’t tell a compelling story.

To make your case studies more effective, follow these seven tips.

1. Choose the right targets

It might be difficult to produce case studies for every market segment you sell to, and if you can, that’s great. If not, you need to prioritize:

  • Approach customers in the verticals where you have special initiatives or selling goals.
  • Try to interview customers who have similar roles and responsibilities as those you market to.
  • Ask your sales team and account managers for case study recommendations. They’re close to their customers and know who might be willing to participate.

2. Demonstrate value to your customer

To overcome a reluctant customer, demonstrate how their participation will benefit their company. If you promote the case study on your website and social media with links back to their website, you can provide positive exposure for their company. The same is true if you use the case study to pitch stories to media outlets. It’s free publicity for your customer.

There are other ways to motivate customers to participate, such as offering purchasing discounts, early peeks at new products, passes to events or other incentives.

3. Research your customer before the interview

Don’t waste precious interview time asking your customer questions you can answer yourself. Make sure you know as much as you can about your customer before you conduct your case study interview. Review their website to understand their business: its size, office locations, products, positioning, markets, etc.

You can also speak to the account rep to find out more about your customer’s business and their relationship with your company.

4. Plan your interview questions and case study format in advance

Most customer case studies follow the format of Problem>Solution>Results. Develop your questions around these three areas. What business problem was your customer trying to solve or what objective were they trying to achieve? How did the problem impact their business? How did they search for a solution? Why did they choose your company? How does the solution work for them? What were the results?

5. Record your interview

Whether your interview takes place in person, over the phone, or via Skype, you should record the entire interview. This not only gives you a record of what was said so you can accurately write the story and quote the customer, it also frees you to listen more closely and easily ask side questions based on the direction of your conversation. If you’re trying to take notes during the interview, you could lose track of your thoughts and what your customer is saying.

6. Always ask about quantifiable benefits

The real meat of a customer case study is the measurable benefits of using your solution. Hours of time saved. Percent productivity improved. Money saved. Reliability improvements.

The challenge is that your customer might not have this information readily at hand during your interview. That’s why it’s a good idea to submit your questions beforehand so that your customer can prepare and have the information you need.

7. Make your customer the hero

All winning stories feature heroes overcoming obstacles. A case study is a perfect way to present your customer as the hero of their own story. Faced with market pressures, desire for growth, low production rates or other obstacles, your customer took on the business problem and chose your solution to defeat the villain. That’s heroic. People love those kinds of stories.

Bonus tip: don’t forget to send your customer a personalized thank you note or small gift to show your appreciation for their participation in your case study.

 

Marketing, General

SEO Basics All Marketers Should Know

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Every company wants to rank high on search engines. Appearing on the first page of search results for important keywords is an effective way to drive motivated traffic to your website and attract quality leads.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of improving your rankings on organic search results for a specific set of keywords. However, “organic” doesn’t mean free. Like any marketing initiative, SEO requires budget, resources and expertise. Still, there are some basic SEO tactics that almost every industrial company should deploy to help improve their rankings. Let’s look at each one of these in turn and how they can help improve your SEO rankings.

1.      Identify targeted keywords.

Before you can perform any search engine optimization, you need to know which set of keywords you want to target for improved search results rankings.

To identify the most relevant keywords:

  • Evaluate your existing content for the words you use to talk about your products and services.
  • Ask salespeople or customers to describe your products or services.
  • Analyze your competitors’ content for keywords.
  • Use one or more of the many available keyword discovery and analysis tools to identify those words most relevant to your offerings.

You may not be able to rank well for the most popular keywords in your sector. Instead, focus on more specific keywords that may not have as much search volume but are more targeted to your offerings.

Once you have identified your keywords, you can use them to write content, optimize web pages and build links.

2.      Write great content for your audience

Fresh content – new and updated web pages, articles and blog posts – is the foundation of a successful SEO strategy. Search engines use software programs called spiders that roam the web and index content. Fresh content is considered more relevant than old content.

Use keywords in your content, but don’t stuff pages with keywords. Write for your target audience, not for search engines. Users will quickly spot content that overuses keywords and is designed for search engines rather than user needs. Such content is annoying and typically doesn’t read well, and users that come across these overstuffed web pages through search are likely to go elsewhere.

Instead, produce and post a continual flow of fresh content for your users: how to solve problems, how things work, etc. Your audience will appreciate it, increasing your chances of improved search results.

3.      Optimize web pages for search engines

If stuffing keywords onto web pages isn’t the right approach, then how do you optimize web pages for search engines? The process is called “on-page” optimization. There are a number of tactics you can use:

  • Use the title and description tags as places for keywords. If you are responsible for your website, you can do this yourself. If an IT or web development department manages your website, you will need to collaborate with them. The title and description appear in the search engine results for users to read. This is also a good place to mention your brand name.
  • Make the URL simple and include keywords. Separate words by dashes. If possible, avoid URLS that have long strings of search parameters.
  • Use alt-tags on images and video. The alt-tag is a brief text description that search engines will pick up. It also provides context for users who block images.
  • For video or audio content, you can include text transcription, which will give more detailed content for search engines to pick up.

4.      Build reputable links

Within your site, linking is relatively straightforward. Use keyword-based text links within your content to link to related pages within your site. Search engines rank pages that are connected to other pages higher than those that are isolated.

Getting external links back to your web site is called “off-page” optimization. The theory is that if you have relevant and reputable websites linking back to your site, your pages increase in importance and can rise in rankings. For example, IEEE GlobalSpec clients can link back to their websites from their listings on Globalspec.com, a well-respected and popular site in the industrial sector. Additionally, seek out links from partners. Try to publish content such as articles or blog posts on other industry sites that will link back to pages on your website. Comment on industry blogs and be active on industry forums where you can link back to your website.

Next Steps

These are the four broad categories of SEO you need to familiarize yourself with to improve your search rankings. If you perform the basics, you should see improvement in your organic search engine results for your targeted keywords. If you want to take the next step, you will probably need to enlist the help of an expert well-versed in SEO practices.

There are many firms and consultants offering SEO services. Be sure to ask the agency how they approach SEO to make sure they only use reputable tactics, and try to work with a firm that has experience and satisfied customers in your industry.

 

 

Marketing, General SEO

Five Guidelines for Nurturing Leads

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Studies show that 70 percent of new business can come from prospects that are in the early stages of their buy cycles when they first come in contact with your company, but are not yet ready to engage with sales or make a purchase decision.

We call these longer-term prospects nurture-ready contacts. One definition of nurture is “to support and encourage, as during the period of training or development.” Another is “to feed and protect.”

As a marketer, that’s exactly what you need to do: “support and encourage” nurture-ready leads to take the next steps in their buy cycle, “feed” them valuable information that will help them make the right buying decision, and “protect” them from being stolen by your competitors. You can do all this through lead nurturing campaigns.

Lead nurturing campaigns are designed to:

  • Provide nurture-ready contacts with relevant information related to their area of interest
  • Maintain their interest so they don’t abandon you for another supplier
  • Keep in regular contact with prospects, always ready to meet their needs
  • Give prospects appropriate offers to help them move forward toward a buying decision

To create successful lead nurturing campaigns, follow these guidelines:

1. Create the foundation for successful campaigns

Before you can launch a lead-nurturing campaign, you need infrastructure and processes to support the program. Assemble your team and perform the following tasks:

  • Develop guidelines for how sales and marketing teams will work together, including at what point in the nurturing cycle you should hand leads off to sales.
  • Input nurture-ready contacts into your system.
  • Score and segment contacts so you can determine what type of leads you have and what campaigns they belong in.
  • Establish response rules based on your contacts’ behavior at points during the campaign.

2. Plan campaigns for each group of prospects

If your company has only one product and one type of customer, you can skip this step and instead plan a “one size fits all” lead-nurturing campaign. But most companies have an eclectic customer base with different areas of interest.

This requires you to segment your contacts by interest and plan different campaigns according to relevant criteria. Segmentation criteria could be by product, status (according to lead scoring or position in the buy cycle, for example), geography, or other expressed interest. The more you can segment nurture-ready contacts into distinct groups, the more closely you can target their interests and needs, and in doing so be more relevant and attractive to them.

3. Develop and organize your content for distribution

Content is the fuel that keeps lead nurturing campaigns running. It’s what persuades nurture-ready contacts to trust a supplier and to take the next step in their buy cycle.

You probably already have a lot of content on hand that you can use in your lead nurturing campaigns, but there may be some missing pieces. The time to create content is now, while you’re segmenting your contacts and planning campaigns.

New contacts in early buy-cycle stages might be interested in educational content such as infographics, blog posts, articles, white papers and webinars. Prospects that score higher or are further along in their buy cycle could be looking for demos, product overviews and technical specs. The next level might include buying guides, customer case studies, ROI calculators and competitive differentiators.

4. Move prospects to the next step

With every touch-point, include a call to action by giving your prospects something to do. It could be downloading a white paper, reading an article, registering for a demonstration or webinar, filling out a survey or any other type of action.

These actions enable you to track the digital behavior of your prospects, as well as determine what type of content is appealing and what isn’t.

You also need to develop response rules based on what your prospects do. For example, if someone responds to an offer by downloading a white paper, you will send them a related article. Or if a prospect engages in X number of activities, you consider them sales-ready.

Your response rules are like a flow chart, with decision points and actions along the way. You can apply logic and even branching (if they do this, then we do that, otherwise something else) in order to optimize your campaign’s flow and effectiveness—and to get high-potential leads into the hands of sales reps at the right time.

5. Measure and improve

A lead nurturing campaign provides a trove of valuable data based on your contacts’ behavior. Track what works and what doesn’t. Get rid of offers and content that don’t perform well, while building on what’s most popular by creating similar offers. Continually refine your campaign and you should see improved results.

Demand Generation Lead Management Marketing, General

5 Tips for Measuring Marketing ROI

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Marketers of all kinds agree that they’re under pressure to demonstrate ROI on their investments. While this is necessary to avoid wasting resources, marketing ROI can be difficult to measure, even in today’s digital-centric world.

To improve your ability to measure ROI—and to gain the insight you need to make meaningful adjustments to your marketing programs—follow these tips:

Define what marketing ROI means to your organization

Every marketing organization has its own unique vision for and definition of success. The first thing you must do is agree upon and document your key performance indicators (KPIs).

Even within your organization,  definitions of success may vary. For example, the chief marketing officer may be interested in cost-per-qualified-lead, whereas a content manager might define success by the number of downloads or shares of content. When having the ROI discussion, make sure multiple stakeholders have their voices heard.

Use marketing automation

If at all possible, take advantage of the low-cost marketing automation solutions on the market today. They will help you keep much better track of campaigns and prospect activity, making ROI measurement a lot easier and your overall marketing efforts more efficient.

You can still get the ROI job done with spreadsheets if you keep your definition of success and metrics simple. However, your task will be more manual and cumbersome and your results perhaps less accurate.

Beware of the single attribution methodology

The simplest and easiest way to measure ROI is to assign the revenue from a deal to the first point of contact a customer had with your company, and then calculate ROI from there Here is an example of single attribution: A prospect downloads a white paper and you add that lead source to their record. Eventually they purchase. The sale is then attributed to the white paper campaign.

Another method is to attribute revenue to the “last click” a customer has or the last action they took before buying, under the reasoning that this is what finally motivated them to buy. But single attribution, whether it’s first touch or last touch, has severe shortcomings, including:

  • It doesn’t account for the way most engineers and technical professionals engage in the buying process. Engineers typically have multiple contacts with a company over a period of time, with each touchpoint helping the buyer move closer to making a buying decision.
  • Single attribution gives too much credit to lead generation programs and not enough to lead nurturing touches or individual contributions from your sales team.
  • Results can be skewed by deal size or time. A particularly large deal would make the attributed source appear wildly successful. A long sales cycle might diminish the importance of the single source.

Account for multiple touches

A more accurate and defensible method of measuring marketing ROI is to account for multiple touches with a prospect over what could be multiple different campaigns. Here’s where your marketing automation helps a lot, as complexity of measurement increases.

In multi-touch attribution, you track every touch made with a prospect along their buying journey. For example, Prospect A from Company X may have attended a webinar, clicked on an e-newsletter ad, watched a video, and downloaded a spec sheet. That’s four distinct touchpoints before a purchasing decision was made.

You could attribute one-quarter of the revenue to each of these four campaign tactics. More likely, you might choose to weight some touches over others based on when they occurred in relation to the sale or the action that delivered value—but beware the “last click” mistake.

You also might give more weight to programs that touched the key decision maker than programs that affected other influencers.  Or you might choose to weight certain types of touches more heavily than others based on the level of engagement. For example, attending an hour-long seminar may have more impact than a simple website visit. How you weight touches is entirely up to you.

Multi-touch attribution for calculating ROI offers a number of benefits:

  • Accounts for longer-term nurturing touches as well as lead generation.
  • Especially useful for long buying cycles that include multiple prospects and many touchpoints.
  • Focuses on all contacts and touchpoints associated with a deal, not just the first or last.

While multi-touch attribution for calculating ROI has significant advantages over single attribution, you should be aware of potential pitfalls and how your findings might be challenged:

  • You have to make assumptions based on weighting touches, and your assumptions could be wrong. On the other hand, if you weight all touches equally, you run the risk of over-crediting low impact touchpoints.
  • It’s still difficult to account for “hidden” contributors, including sales activity and unattributed online activity.

Accept a learning curve

It’s a challenging task to measure marketing ROI, but you must do it in order to justify budgets and optimize expenditures. It will likely take time to get good at ROI measurement, but you are not alone. According to a MMA/Forrester/ANA study, 87 percent of senior marketers did not feel confident in their ability to impact the sales forecast of their programs.

The most important aspect of measuring ROI is to get everyone on the same page in terms of how you define success and what measurements contribute to determining your level of success. From there, move forward as your skills and tools allow, always focusing on improving your methodologies, increasing your confidence in your results, and adjusting programs based on data.

 

 

 

 

Marketing Measurement Marketing ROI Marketing, General

Three Industrial Marketing Predictions for 2018

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There might be as many marketing predictions out there for 2018 as there are marketing gurus. Everyone has their crystal ball out this time of year. Here at the Maven, we focus exclusively on the industrial sector. Our top three predictions for 2018 are all about you and what we expect you’ll be doing in the upcoming year.

1. Industrial Marketers Will Expand Multichannel Capabilities

Recent data from a survey sponsored by IEEE GlobalSpec and conducted by the Content Marketing Institute reveals that B2B marketers are using eight different marketing tactics in the development of content. Social media content (83 percent), blogs (80 percent) and email newsletters (77 percent) rise to the top as the most frequent tactics used.

The most successful marketers in 2018 will use a mix of push/outbound (email, tradeshows) and pull/inbound marketing tactics (corporate website, online catalogs). Currently, 50 percent of industrial marketers are using such a mix. Only 26 percent are satisfied with their marketing mix and only 25 percent are satisfied with their online marketing efforts (with 50 percent neutral).

These results indicate an opportunity for marketers to expand and diversify their mix more, especially in online channels, to better connect with their audience.  Past research about the “Cross-Media Multiplier” demonstrates the performance benefits of diversifying your marketing spend across multiple digital media channels rather than relying on a single platform

2. Industrial Marketers Will Document their Strategies

Forty-one percent of B2B marketers have a content strategy but it’s not documented, compared to 19 percent who have a documented strategy, according to the Content Marketing Institute survey.

It’s great to have a concept or general idea of where you want to go and what you want to achieve, but that’s not always enough to succeed. It’s all about having a clear and concise strategy that is documented, reviewed, and shared company-wide with all active participants so that everyone is aligned and aware of your marketing goals. Too many companies are starting from scratch every year, which is inefficient and can waste resources, but this will be the year that industrial marketers document their strategies to serve as signposts as well as a measuring stick of performance against expectations.

3. Industrial Marketers Will Work with Partners for Content Marketing

If you are like most industrial marketers, content marketing is going to play a role in your 2018 plan. However, content marketing, while an essential marketing strategy, presents a number of challenges you must overcome. Industrial marketers cite a lack of internal resources, difficulty in producing engaging content on a regular basis, and distributing content to their target audience as three of their more pressing challenges.

To overcome these challenges, more industrial marketers will turn to partners for help. The right partner will have deep knowledge and expertise in your technical field so they can help you create targeted, relevant content without having to take a long time to get up to speed. The right partner will also be able to create a variety of content types, including white papers, native advertising, technical briefs, e-books, webinars, infographics, and more.

A trusted media partner will also be able to turn your goals and objectives into action by designing effective campaigns to get your content in front of your target audience. Make sure you work with a partner that has the capabilities to offer comprehensive reports about the performance of your content and the ability to identify who is accessing it.

 

Marketing Trends Marketing, General

Five Marketing Resolutions for 2018

As marketers we tend to start off each new year with a mix of excitement and concern. We’re excited because the marketing canvas is clean, our plans are plentiful, and success lies just ahead. But we’re also concerned— we’re starting from scratch, we have to choose among many marketing ideas, and there’s always the chance we don’t meet expectations.

To stay confident in 2018, adopt some marketing resolutions. Here are five specific strategies and tactics you can resolve to adopt to help you have a successful year in marketing.

1. Stick with the channels your customers use

In this era of digital media, there is a proliferation of channels commanding attention from engineers. Technical professionals have more digital tools and sources of information that help them to do their jobs better and more efficiently. They are also exposed to more companies and have many options when ready to buy. This leaves marketers having to choose among many possible channels for their marketing investments.

Resolve to use the channels that your customers use. This will give you the greatest opportunity to connect with your target audience.

When researching a work-related purchase, the top three channels for technical professionals are search engines, online catalogs, and supplier websites. However, your audience uses many other channels to keep up with the latest technologies and product news. In addition to the top three, continue to invest in e-newsletters, webinars, in-person tradeshows, and industry websites and publications. These are all important industry information sources for your customers.

2. Use both creative and directional advertising

Creative advertising generates awareness for your brand in the marketplace, helping your target audience understand who you are and what you have to offer. Banner ads, webinars, technical articles—these are good vehicles for creating awareness.

Directional advertising is where professionals turn to find a business like yours. They know exactly what they are looking for and simply need to find the right supplier. Online catalogs, e-newsletters, and search engines are marketing tactics often used to capture potential buyers. Your company website can serve as both an awareness and lead generation machine.

By implementing both creative and directional strategies, you will build awareness among the potential customers you want to reach—and be there when they are researching or making a purchasing decision.

3. Deliver the content potential buyers need

Content is critical to the buying process. According to the IEEE GlobalSpec Industrial Buy Cycle Survey, 70 percent of buyers review four or more pieces of content prior to purchases greater than $10,000. Being a provider of valuable, authoritative content positions your company as an expert in your industry; builds trust with your prospects; and ultimately makes it easier to sell your products and services, and drive revenue.

It’s important that your marketing collateral and website are up-to-date. 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. Be mindful of measurement

You’re likely under pressure to justify marketing expenditures and show a return on marketing investment. You also might need to change marketing plans mid-journey if you are not getting the results you expected. Measurement is the key to supporting marketing decisions and justifying budgets.

Today, the most effective marketing programs are ones that demonstrate branding, awareness and engagement opportunities for your company. Online channels, which easily lend themselves to measurement (views, clicks, conversions, etc.), let you easily see what is working in order to focus marketing dollars on the most successful programs.

5. Work with new media partners

You shouldn’t have to navigate the complexities of industrial marketing alone. The beginning of the year is a good time to consult with an experienced media partner that understands and has the attention of the industrial audience you need to reach.

Discuss your marketing objectives with your media partners and have them show you an integrated, multichannel media plan that will help achieve your goals and objectives. Remember that media partners are your allies—they want you to succeed as much as you do.

Marketing, General

Don’t Make These Three Marketing Mistakes

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Marketing in the industrial sector is increasingly complex. Your audience of engineers and technical professionals has access to more information during the buy cycle, and are exposed to more buying options than ever.

As a marketer, you must allocate a limited budget across multiple channels in order to best connect with customers and prospects. It can be a daunting process, and errors are often made. Here are three of the biggest errors marketers make and how to avoid them.

Mistake #1: Failing to Monitor Marketing Programs

The phrase “you can only manage what you can measure” is true. If you don’t know what‘s working and what’s not, then you can’t make appropriate changes to improve your marketing effectiveness.

According to the soon-to-be-published “2017 Trends in Industrial Marketing” report, the top measurements for marketing success are customer acquisition, sales attributed to marketing campaigns and customer satisfaction.

Customer acquisition is relatively straightforward to measure: How many new customers did we gain through our marketing programs? Similarly, you can get a grasp on customer satisfaction easily by looking at customer retention rates and conducting customer surveys.

Sales attributed to marketing campaigns takes more nuance to measure. Don’t fall into the “last click” trap, which attributes sales only to the last action your customer took before purchasing. In fact, many influencing actions took place before the final one. Page views, clicks, completed forms, downloads, shares, comments and more can all be counted.

The point is to keep measuring programs. Count every interaction with customers and prospects, and determine which ones work best and are deserving of more resources, and which need refining or eliminating.

Mistake #2: Moving Ahead Without a Plan

The infamous fourth quarter push is beginning, and the 2018 will quickly follow. Are you developing your road map for the future? Set aside time now to brainstorm your goals and objectives, review your results to date, and plan your tactics for the year ahead, including marketing channels that align with your goals.

Be sure to check in with your sales team to ensure that your channels and campaigns are delivering the kind of exposure and engagement opportunities that ultimately support sales. Include both push/outbound tactics (email, tradeshows) and pull/inbound (online directories and catalogs, search engine optimization, etc.) in your marketing mix.

This is often a good time to plan because budgets for 2018 are being formed. As marketers, you must be able to defend budgets by pointing to past results and forecasting expected ROI on marketing programs. This data takes time to gather and interpret, so again, now is the time to make a plan.

Mistake #3: Neglecting to Maximize Your Media Partner Relationships

While planning and accountability are essential to any marketing program, you shouldn’t be expected to shoulder the burden on your own. Marketers site a lack of resources as their biggest challenge today (2017 Trends in Industrial Marketing). Budgets are remaining mostly steady, while the number of available marketing channels continues to grow.

This an ideal time to find a trusted, expert media partner who can help you optimize your mix of channels and get the most out of your budget, while allowing you to free up some internal resources for other efforts. No matter the size of your company, whether you need strategic advice or detailed planning, the right media partner is your essential ally, not only during planning and budgeting, but while you are in the midst of executing and measuring campaign results.

Marketing, General

The Two Types of Marketing Essential to Your Success

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Most industrial marketers are familiar with the terms push and pull marketing. Others use the phrases outbound and inbound marketing, or creative and directional. Whatever their names, these two types of marketing are essential to your success.

Though they are different, creative and directional advertising must work together to form an integrated marketing strategy. As you begin your initial marketing planning for 2018, keep these two approaches in mind.

Push, Outbound, Creative

These are the classic marketing tactics, where you push your message out to create brand awareness or raise a need in your audience.

  • Examples: Direct mail, email blasts, online ads, mobile text marketing, event marketing, telephone calls
  • Benefits: The marketer controls the timing, channel, content and frequency of outbound promotions. Tactics help build brand visibility in the market and awareness among your audience.
  • Challenges: Because push marketing is disruptive, many of those you reach will have no interest in your message at the time when it arrives. Also, while the marketer is in control of the campaign, the customer decides whether or not to pay attention to your marketing efforts.
  • Best practices: Segment your audience as much as possible by advertising on industry-specific sites or emailing only to a target audience.

Pull, Inbound, Directional

Although this type of marketing has been around for years (i.e., a person with a recognized need used to turn to the yellow pages), the rise of the internet and the digital age has led to the dramatic growth in pull marketing.

Directional advertising is placing your business in front of people who are actually looking for your product or service. Your audience has a recognized need and is searching for a solution. Your goal is to make sure they find you.

  • Examples: Supplier websites, presence on industry websites, search engine optimization/paid keyword search, social media recommendations, public relations/article placement
  • Benefits: Ability to connect with your target audience when they are motivated and searching, particularly early in their buy cycle before they make contact with a vendor. Typically, lower cost per opportunity generated
  • Challenges: Requires optimal allocation of resources across the variety of channels that your customers use today to access information and search for products, services and suppliers
  • Best use: Focus on maintaining an effective company website as well as building a broad and visible presence on industry sites that your customers use on a regular basis

Putting Creative and Directional Together

You need both creative and directional tactics to execute an effective marketing program. By implementing both strategies, you will build awareness among the potential customers you want to reach, and be highly visible to them when they are researching or making a purchasing decision.

Push and pull tactics work hand-in-hand for greater efficiency and effectiveness. For example, a web page optimized for specific search terms (pull) that you also drive prospects to using email blasts or banner advertising (push).

Another example is a supplier hub on Engineering360.com where engineers can find you when searching for solutions like those you offer (pull), and where you can also drive traffic to your hub or products through display ads on the site or by advertising in a targeted e-newsletter.

According to the upcoming Trends in Industrial Marketing research report, 69 percent of industrial marketers use both push and pull marketing tactics, but say they could be diversifying their mix more. How do you find the right mix? You can get more tips about creative and directional advertising, plus tools and recommendations to build a stellar marketing plan, in the just-published 2018 Marketing Planning Kit. Download your complimentary copy today.

Marketing, General Multichannel Marketing