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.

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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 Use Social Media with a Purpose

Social media use among technical professionals is holding steady, and social media should have a place in your marketing strategy. Recent research shows that the majority of industrial companies now use social media, yet many still do not have a clear purpose, goals, or means of defining or measuring success. Wherever your organization is on the social media scale—ignoring, listening, or regularly contributing—you’re at the right place to step back for a moment to assess your strategy and to plan a logical, effective path forward.

Set realistic goals and objectives

Social media is oriented towards interaction, dialog, education and networking, and therefore may not be a direct driver of sales. But before you shut down your social media efforts, you should realize that technical professionals regularly participate in social media and in particular find it useful at the early stages of their buying cycle.

Recent research shows that the top three uses of social media among technical professionals are to keep up with the latest company news/products/technologies, to find product reviews, and to find new suppliers. These are all activities related to the early buy cycle when customers are engaged in gathering information and surveying the supplier landscape.
So if you are investing in social media in order to generate fast leads and sales, you may be disappointed. However, if your social media goals are to build thought leadership, foster a community, and generate brand awareness that will lead to engagement opportunities, then you may experience a high level of success.

Hang out with your customers

Doesn’t it seem like there’s always the next latest and greatest social media platform getting all the attention? It’s hard to keep up. And it’s almost impossible to spread your social media efforts across every platform available. That’s why it’s important to know which social media channels technical professionals like to use and to concentrate your efforts on one or a few of those channels.

According to IHS GlobalSpec’s Social Media Use in the Industrial Sector research report, LinkedIn is the most popular social media channel among technical professionals. Facebook and Google+ are next in usage, although in the past few years Facebook usage has stagnated and Google+ usage has increased among technical professionals. Twitter has yet to see widespread adoption with this audience.

Use this information to help direct your social media efforts. Establish company pages on these channels if you haven’t already. Post news and content to it. Invite customers and prospects to follow you. You’ll learn pretty quickly the types of content that resonate and you can start customizing each channel’s content to its audience.

Deliver Useful Content on Social Media

One of the biggest challenges technical professionals report about using social media for work-related purposes is that there is “too much noise and not enough substance.” The company that can rise to the top in social media is the company that provides “substance” in the form of useful information about new technologies, how to solve problems, relevant news and more. Use social media to deliver this type of content. You can post and link to white papers, articles, webinar invitations, interviews, news alerts and more.

Video is also a popular medium for social media users. Technical professionals use YouTube and other video sharing sites for work-related purposes. They’re looking for product demos, tutorials, how-to’s, and training videos. Establish an account on a video-sharing site and link to all your videos from your social media platforms.

Use Metrics that Matter to Measure Success

Technical professionals are passive users of social media. That means they prefer watching a video to creating and posting one. They prefer reading discussions more than contributing to them. Their most common activity on LinkedIn is to search for contacts. On Facebook and Google+, it’s to find and follow other groups or businesses within their industry.

By understanding what your audience is doing on social media, you will be able to define the metrics that are important to track. In this regard, the number of relevant people following your company on social media is what counts. If this number is increasing, you’re probably doing it right, and are increasing your brand visibility and gaining a reputation as a thought leader.

Integrate with other Marketing Efforts

Social media is one component of your marketing strategy, and like all components, needs to be integrated into your overall plan. Technical professionals still consider other online resources more valuable than social media for researching a work-related purpose: online catalogs, general search engines, supplier websites and GlobalSpec.com all rank high. Therefore, make sure that your social media presence is integrated with these other marketing channels. For example, links to your social platforms should be highly visible on your website. Or you can take advantage of integrating your social posts and videos on your GlobalSpec.com page.

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How do you use social media for industrial marketing? How do you measure your efforts? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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5 Ways to Upgrade Your Content Marketing in 2014

As 2014 gets into full swing, content marketing remains a hot and highly effective marketing strategy in the industrial sector. Your audience of technical professionals has an insatiable appetite for relevant, engaging and useful content, which means you have to keep the content marketing machine producing and distributing at a high level.

Resolve to upgrade your content marketing strategy so that it operates at peak efficiency. Here are five ways to get you started:

1. Re-purpose whenever possible

Re-purposing existing content into new formats helps you achieve three valuable benefits:

  • You don’t have to keep coming up with new content all the time.
  • You can reinforce your core messages across multiple mediums
  • You can give your customers flexible options to access content in their preferred formats.

Some people like to read reports, others want to watch videos, still others prefer to scan web pages or attend webinars. Re-purposing your content can serve all these needs as well as strengthen your brand and message.

2. Produce content for the entire buy cycle

The industrial buy cycle consists of distinct stages your customers pass through: from awareness and research, to consideration and comparison, to buying decision and procurement. You need content to support potential customers through all stages, especially the early stages, because studies show that many buyers do not contact suppliers until they are ready to make a purchasing decision. That means they’ve already done their research and narrowed down their choices of products and vendors to a short list.

Entice customers in the early stages of their buy cycle with educational content that establishes your company as a leader and an expert with a unique and advantageous way of solving the problems and challenges that your customers face. Use content that introduces new technologies, new ideas, analysis of trends, etc. Compare and contrast your approach to that of competitors’. Later stage buy cycle needs include specification sheets, case studies, ROI calculators, and warranties.

3. Expand the types of content you offer

White papers, blog articles, videos, webinars, research reports, case studies, data sheets—these are standard types of content that most marketers include in their portfolio and that your audience finds valuable.

There are other types of content you might consider as well. Infographics combining text and visuals have become increasingly popular as a way to explain complex ideas or processes. You can also create online polls and share results, or quick surveys. Stage a contest. Create a game. What about contracting with a partner to produce a mobile app? There are apps that calculate pressure drop, estimate pipe size, calculate volumetric flow, connect with other engineers, and many more. While not traditional content, an app is something that can go viral, showcase your brand, and help you promote other content.

4. Consider paid distribution of content

If you’re having trouble getting content into the hands of hard-to-reach prospects using typical channels such as your website, email or social media, you might want to consider paid distribution strategies. You can also use paid distribution to reach new markets.

For example, LinkedIn offers sponsorships that allow you to target a specific audience with your content, and the majority of technical professionals have LinkedIn accounts. You can also invest in promoted posts on Twitter and Facebook. Digital media platforms like IHS GlobalSpec offer a number of effective ways to distribute content to your target audience, including e-newsletter ads, online banners, co-branded webinars and more—all of which can significantly increase the number of prospects exposed to your content.

Focus on content performance

For all of your content, you should establish goals and metrics to measure performance. Downloads, views, shares, comments and more could all be metrics you decide to track. By tracking performance you will know what types of content are most popular with your audience and what channels work best for distribution. You will have better information to make decisions about enhancing your content offerings and distributing through those channels that are most effective in helping you achieve your goals.

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How will you improve your content marketing in 2014? What strategies for upgrading your content marketing efforts 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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