Five Reasons Why Webinars Continue to Work

Just a few years ago, webinars were the definition of cutting edge digital marketing in the industrial sector. While new digital strategies such as social media, video, mobile and others seem to be getting a lot of the attention lately, webinars continue to evolve and remain an essential piece of your marketing mix. At the same time, they remain an affordable, effective, measurable, and proven B2B marketing platform – exactly what you need in your marketing portfolio. Here are five reasons why:

1. Exceptional Engagement Opportunities
A webinar audience is a motivated audience. These professionals are taking time out of their busy work schedules to attend your event. They have a special interest in the topic you are presenting. They have questions they want answered. And you have their contact information from when they registered. This offers an excellent opportunity for you to engage a motivated audience and to follow up with them and build a mutually beneficial business relationship, as long as you…

2. Tell a Compelling Story
Your primary goal of hosting a webinar shouldn’t be to generate engagement opportunities or boast about your wonderful new product. It should be to captivate and hold your audience’s attention by telling a compelling, relevant story. If you don’t do that, you won’t be able to meet your other objectives. The mystery novelist Elmore Leonard once gave this tip to writers: Leave out the boring parts. Same goes for webinars. Skip the dull stuff and tell your audience something super useful that they don’t already know. Focus on their needs and what they want to learn.

3. Branding and Thought Leadership
If your marketing objectives include raising your company’s brand awareness or demonstrating thought leadership, use webinars. They are an excellent way to convey your company’s position on the state of your industry, to offer innovative ways to solve problems, to present research and analyze trends, and much more. Another effective approach is to work with industry partners and experts to jointly present or sponsor webinars that will help build your reputation and grow visibility.

4. Controlled Interaction
Let’s face it: social media platforms are great for listening to and participating in conversations, and that’s important, but social media is also very unstructured. You never know what comments you might get or where the conversation might lead. Webinars, on the other hand, allow you to control the message yet still interact with your audience in ways that are helpful to them. You can ask poll questions during the event and then display and discuss the 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. Survey your audience to get valuable feedback on your presentation. Webinar platforms also allow you to provide resources – such as research reports, white papers, product fact sheets and more – through the audience’s viewing console, providing your attendees instant access to additional information relevant to your webinar topic.

5. Support Content Marketing Strategy
A lot of marketing today is content marketing: disseminating relevant, useful information to customers and prospects across multiple media channels. Webinars help fulfill this function. You host the live event and offer an archived version of the webinar on demand following the event. And the topics you cover in the webinar could be re-purposed into white papers, blog posts, articles and more to help feed your content marketing machine.

Webinars continue to be a relevant and valuable marketing platform in the industrial sector. If you’d like to see a webinar in action, check out one of our upcoming events.

If this article was helpful to you, please spread the word using the share buttons below.

What do you love about hosting webinars? How have you found them successful? Or perhaps you’re considering webinars for your marketing mix. Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Digital Media Webinars

Social Media and Marketing in the Industrial Sector: Webinar Recap

The recent Social Media Use in the Industrial Sector Webinar presented findings and recommendations from IHS GlobalSpec’s annual social media survey of industrial and technical professionals. 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. You can use this research to support your social media efforts and gain practical tips and recommendations as you evaluate your social media plan.

View the webinar on demand.

The full Social Media Use in the Industrial Sector research report will be available shortly. To be notified, sign up for the Marketing Maven e-newsletter using the “subscribe” button on the right-hand side of this page. Or join us on LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook using the “Follow Us” icons.

The social channels your audience prefers
Among industrial and technical professionals, LinkedIn is the most popular social platform and Google Plus is the fastest growing.

Sixty-three percent of industrial professionals have a LinkedIn account, where the two activities they perform most are searching for contacts and reading product and industry news. Sixty-seven percent belong to at least two groups, which are comprised of members who share common interests, and offer a forum for discussions, asking and answering questions, providing relevant content, networking and more.

Fifty-four percent have Facebook accounts, down from 65 percent last year. This may be due to an overall slight decline in Facebook usage in North America and the survey focused on that region. There also may be some “Facebook fatigue” setting in, although respondents do still use Facebook for work-related tasks. For example, 71 percent like or follow companies within their industry and 32 percent like or comment in work-related discussions. Perhaps more importantly, 34 percent say they research and read work-related content while on Facebook.

So while overall Facebook use declined over the last year, it still is a good channel for your content marketing and presents an opportunity for increasing brand awareness.
Only 18 percent of respondents have Twitter accounts, a figure which has held steady for the past few years. On the other hand, 36 percent now have a Google Plus account, up from 23 percent in 2011. Suppliers should pay attention to Google Plus and discover how it fits into their social media strategy.

Forty-seven percent use YouTube and other video sharing sites, which makes video valuable content to create and promote. Not surprisingly, given the nature of their work, engineers and other technical professionals mostly watch product demos and how-to videos. If you produce videos, you should consider publishing them on video sharing sites.

Accounts are one thing, engagement is another
A common theme among industrial professionals is that they are passive users of social media. This is really no different from how the typical Internet user interacts with social media. We are usually passive users of social media rather than actively engaged. Industrial professionals prefer to read and watch content rather than starting or commenting on discussions. However, that doesn’t mean social media lacks value as a component of your marketing mix. But it does mean you’ll need to match your social media strategy to what your audience seeks from these channels.

Fifty-two percent of respondents indicate they use social media to keep abreast of the latest company, product, and technology news. Slightly fewer than half of respondents use social media to find peer reviews, new suppliers, and industry expertise. The conclusion to draw is that for industrial professionals, social media is valuable as a way to search for and discover content. And for suppliers, social media can be another channel for your content marketing efforts. White papers, research reports, product announcements, and press releases can be shared on social media to reach your target audience, be useful to them, and build your brand visibility and reputation.

Valuable resources for researching purchases
While industrial professionals find social media useful for searching and discovering content, when researching a potential work-related purchase, other online resources are more valuable to them, including general search engines, online catalogs, supplier websites and GlobalSpec.com. The social media channels Facebook and Twitter are the least valuable.

The top reasons industrial professionals don’t value social media for researching work-related purchases is that social media is not as efficient (67 percent) and there’s too much noise (54 percent). The takeaway for suppliers is that, like with any other marketing channel, you must be relevant and make information easy to find for your audience.

Engaging your audience on social media
The survey revealed that online communities and discussion sites, as well as Facebook and blogging, are the most popular ways industrial companies implement social media. However, video and LinkedIn are in the lower half of social media platforms that suppliers use. Given the popularity of these two areas among their audience, suppliers should invest time and resources into LinkedIn and video. They should also promote their social media properties through their supplier profile pages on GlobalSpec.com, which offers an easy way to integrate social media with your other marketing initiatives.

To engage your audience through social media, you must provide valuable content. Your followers may not comment on your Facebook posts or videos, but they do consume the content. If you continually distribute useful content, you can build trust with this audience as well as stay top-of-mind. And although industrial buyers may not be ready to make a purchasing decision, if you educate them through social media and other channels you have a shot at being on their short list when it does come time to buy.

Most importantly, you should treat social media as you do any other tactic in your marketing plan. It needs to align with your corporate goals and integrate with (not replace) other marketing efforts. This will also help get buy-in from company executives.

View the webinar and let us know how you are implementing social media as part of your overall marketing strategy in the comments section below. Also, if you enjoyed this blog post, please spread the word using the share buttons.

Social Media Webinars

Creating Demand and Awareness with Digital Media

As industrial professionals increasingly use online tools and resources to perform key job functions like product research and discovery, Indium Corporation drives demand, awareness and engagement with its target audience through GlobalSpec digital media solutions.

In this video, Indium’s Marketing Communications Supervisor Anita Brown and Director of Marketing Communications Rick Short discuss how they incorporated GlobalSpec online catalogs and directories, custom Webinars and e-newsletter advertising into the marketing mix to reach the key decision makers in target industries.

When targeting the specifiers, buyers and design engineers in industries and markets as diverse as aerospace, defense, electronics, medical equipment, semiconductor and solar energy, Indium seeks to create demand and awareness for its products and deliver engagement opportunities to its sales team.

Indium has built a strong presence in GlobalSpec’s online catalogs and directories as its target audience uses these tools to quickly search for and discover the products they need to do their jobs.

“GlobalSpec is a well-known, very well proven and very trusted platform or arena for our target audience to operate in,” Short said.

In addition, Indium hosts custom Webinars to create engagement opportunities and build its thought leadership position.

“We’re trying to develop a great, powerful, effective, efficient lead generation program and, as part of that, we want to establish ourselves as a thought leader. So, once again, GlobalSpec delivers exactly that,” Short said.

Rounding out its digital media program, Indium advertises in GlobalSpec product- and industry-specific e-newsletters to drive awareness with a relevant audience.

“We can target just the right audience for our message. It’s efficient and it’s effective,” Brown said.

For more, watch the video “Creating Demand and Awareness through Digital Media Solutions.” Also, to see how Indium has used Custom Webinars to reach the key decision makers in their target industries, generate engagement opportunities and establish its thought leadership, check out “Reaching Key Decision Makers through Custom Webinars.”

Content Marketing Industrial Marketing and Sales Marketing, General Webinars

Build Your Brand Through Webinars

Webinars resonate with industrial professionals. They give your target audience the opportunity to connect with you online from the convenience and comfort of their own offices. In addition to lead generation, Webinars offer you the opportunity to build credibility and brand awareness, and create a lasting, positive impression on your audience.

Following these tips will help you create and deliver Webinars your audience will appreciate and will help your company increase its brand visibility and reputation in the market.

1. Present educational content
It may seem counterintuitive, but to use Webinars for branding you need to avoid focusing Webinar content only on your brand, products or services. Instead, educate your audience, be helpful, and become a trusted resource. Do this by focusing your Webinar on topics such as presenting a unique position on an industry issue, comparing different approaches to solving problems your audience faces, or offering recent and relevant research that will help them do their jobs better.

If you are useful to your audience, they will remember your brand. One effective strategy to be relevant and educational is to invite a third-party Webinar presenter. For example, recruit a speaker from a standards governing body, a governmental agency, an industry analyst, or a media spokesperson in your industry.

2. Prepare presenters
If you are presenting at the Webinar, practice ahead of time. Prepare an outline, and synch up speaker notes with slides. Almost everyone needs to practice, not only what they want to say, but how they say it: tone, emphasis, and pace all count. How you present is as much a reflection on your brand as what you present.

Be sure to set up early and test all voice and data connections before the scheduled start time for your Webinar. Getting hit with technical difficulties or starting late will give your brand black marks before you even get started.

3. Create visual interest and interactivity
Webinars are a combination of voice and visuals. The voice part you practice, the visuals you prepare. Make your slides image heavy and text light. No one wants to sit in front of a slide with long lists of bullet points. It’s better to have many slides packed with images and a few words, than it is to have a few slides packed with words. You can also take your visual presentation to the next level by using video instead of slides. Video Webinars provide a stronger integration of audio and visual than the traditional slide and audio presentation. They are a great way to demonstrate products and showcase the thought leaders within your organization on a more personal level.

Also, engage your audience with polls and surveys during the Webinar and show the results in real-time. For example, ask the audience how many of them have faced a specific challenge, or how many hours they typically spend on certain types of work-related activities. Save time at the end for a live question and answer period. A good custom Webinar provider will be able to offer all these rich features that improve your audience’s experience.

Another note on visuals: include photos of all presenters in the Webinar so that your audience can attach a face to the voice they hear. It’s another way to develop a bond with your audience.

4. Extend the reach of Webinars after the live event
Not everyone who registers for your Webinar will attend the live event. It’s important to archive previously recorded Webinars so that your audience can view them on demand. On the same page, list upcoming Webinars which allows your audience to register for events of interest to them. You should also convert your Webinar slides and audio into video format for use on social media sites such as YouTube.

5. Work with a Webinar provider that can reach your target audience
Working with a respected industrial sector media company can help you achieve much greater reach and eliminate the production burden of your custom Webinar initiative. GlobalSpec’s custom Webinar program helps you reach the most relevant audience for your topic from their registered user base of 6.5 million engineering, technical, and industrial professionals. Globalspec’s Custom Webinar Program includes services such as e-mail invitations, promotion in relevant e-newsletters and e-mail alerts, audience registration, and attendee reporting for both the live-day event and on-demand viewing post-event. By partnering with a well-known industrial media company for Webinars, your company’s brand visibility and reputation will rise.
 

Industrial Marketing and Sales Marketing, General Webinars