Six Tips to Get the Best Return from Your Webinars

One of the key reasons why webinars are an effective marketing tactic is that your attending audience tends to be motivated and interested. Think about it: they are taking 30 minutes to an hour or so out of their busy day to listen to your message and interact with your presenters. That takes a lot more effort on their part than, for instance, scanning an email or reading a web page.

If you aren’t already, you should integrate webinars into your marketing mix. If you currently are using webinars, you can make them stronger and more successful. Here are six tips (plus a bonus!) on how to be efficient and earn a higher return on your webinar efforts.

siemens plm software
WeBINARS ATTRACT MOTIVATED AND ENGAGED ENGINEERS AND TECHNICAL PROFESSIONALS. mAKE THEM WORK EVEN HARDER FOR YOU WITH THESE SIX TIPS.

1. Leverage content you already have

You might have an existing presentation from an industry conference, technical report, white paper, product demo, customer testimonial or other content that can make a strong foundation for a webinar or at least help generate ideas for a webinar. You don’t have to start from scratch every time. Another benefit of leveraging existing content is that it helps you deliver a consistent message to the market.

2. Be clear on your topic and the audience you want to reach

You need to be honest with your audience on what to expect during your webinar or they will lose trust in your brand and company. Webinars are ideal to deliver thought leadership content. If your webinar is about how additive manufacturing is transforming the automotive industry, then it shouldn’t be about your 3D printers. It’s standard practice for the host or sponsor of a webinar to deliver a brief promotion about its products. However, if you want to devote an entire webinar to the benefits of your products, then that needs to be clear in your webinar promotions.

Before creating your webinar, you not only need to define your topic but also the audience you wish to attract. Leveraging your existing content can again provide an advantage here. For example, you might invite everyone who downloaded a certain white paper to a webinar on a topic related to the white paper. That way, you are matching topic to audience, and will increase the likelihood of keeping your audience engaged.

3. Promote the webinar through multiple channels

First follow the tip above about identifying your topic and the audience you want to attract, and then determine the best channels to promote your webinar. Your in-house email list is a likely choice as are your own website and social media platforms. You might consider reaching farther out to connect with a wider audience, as long as your content is relevant to them. Advertising in industry-specific e-newsletters is an effective way to reach a potentially new, yet still targeted audience. If you are working with a partner on the webinar, reach out to their email list in addition to your own. For an even broader audience, try promoting your webinar through banner ads on industrial websites, distributing press releases, or posting on your directory listings.

4. Generate new content during the live webinar

Today’s webinar hosting platforms offer sophisticated features such as real-time polls and live Q & A. Not only can you deliver educational content to your audience, you can capture content from your audience in return. Poll questions can serve as effective transitions between topics, help involve your audience, and return to you valuable information. You can display answers in real-time and offer comments on the results, making the webinar even more interactive. After the webinar, results of your polls can be the basis for blog articles, social media postings, infographics and more.

At the end of the webinar, you will typically leave time for a question and answer period. Again, you can gain valuable information from your audience based on the questions they ask. You might be able to use this content to create an FAQ document to share on your blog, website and through social media.

5. Extend the shelf life of your webinar content

Your webinar content can remain useful long after the live event itself is over. You can archive the webinar on your website for on-demand viewing. Post it to YouTube or SlideShare. Write a blog post re-cap of the event. These other channels provide an opportunity for those in your audience who missed or didn’t know about the webinar to access the content. On-demand availability also gives you another opportunity to reach out to your email list (Sorry we missed you, now you can view the webinar at your convenience…). You can reasonably ask for registration information from visitors who want to view recorded webinars, resulting in additional engagement opportunities for you.

6. Follow-up with attendees

An engineer or technical professional who attended your webinar has demonstrated an active interest in your content. Be sure to have in place a marketing process to stay in touch with those attendees. Some of them might have expressed enough interest to qualify as a good engagement opportunity for your sales team; others may be better suited to a longer-term nurturing program. However you score these opportunities, be sure to deliver relevant content to them based on their interest in your webinar topic.

Bonus: Sponsor a webinar featuring an industry thought leader

If you would like to take advantage of the engagement opportunities generated by a webinar, without putting together and executing the actual presentation, you may want to consider sponsoring a webinar delivered by an expert in your industry.

These types of webinars are usually on a pre-determined topic (although the sponsor may have some input) and feature a trusted authority in the market presenting on a topic of interest to your audience.

The sponsor receives branding and association with the expert’s thought leadership as well as exposure to an audience they might not otherwise have attracted to their content.

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How are you using webinars in your marketing strategy? What advice or tips would you give your peers in industrial marketing? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Learn more about webinar solutions from IHS Engineering360 Media Solutions.

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Should Marketing Take a Summer Vacation?

If your business is barbecues, sunglasses and beer, then summer is a hot time for your marketing efforts. But what if you’re in the industrial sector and your prospects are engineers and technical professionals, many of whom have visions of summer vacation in their heads? If they are in the office, will they pay the slightest attention to your carefully crafted email offer, take the time and read your whitepaper, or register for your webinar? And if they’re out on vacation, then what?

Beach
Photo by Luke Ma / CC BY

Some industrial marketers believe that dollars budgeted for marketing programs during summer months are dollars better saved for the cooler days of other seasons. They reason that their customers and prospects are either 1) out on vacation; 2) cramming at work getting ready to go on vacation; or 3) buried because they’ve just come back from vacation. Email goes unopened. Newsletters aren’t read. Online events are an afterthought.

In reality, summer is not the time to take a break from marketing. Here are five reasons why marketing is for all seasons:

1. The numbers game.
Let’s say every engineer takes a vacation in summer. There are nine weeks in the summer season of July and August. That averages out to 11% of technical professionals being on vacation in any given week (if everyone takes a summer vacation, and not everyone does). So you might ask: Can you afford to spend on marketing programs when 11% of your prospects might not get your message during the week it arrives? A better question is this: Can you afford not to market when in fact 89% of your target audience will receive your message? By the way, if you don’t market, it’s guaranteed that 100% of your prospects will not receive your message.

2. Summer is catch-up time.
Summer may be a slower time for some engineers and technical professionals, which gives them more time to take in a webinar or pay attention to your e-newsletter. Data from IHS GlobalSpec shows that attendance at webinars for engineers and technical professionals held during the summer is consistent with other times of the year and clicks on e-newsletter ads are the same if not better during the summer. It’s a good time for you to catch technical professionals who are catching up or simply have more time on their hands.

3. Frequency, consistency.
Everyone knows one of the keys to successful marketing is maintaining frequency and consistency. Because you’ve been regularly marketing to technical professionals all winter and spring—building brand awareness, cultivating relationships, generating engagement opportunities, filling the pipeline—if you stop or slow down in the summer months, you’ll feel the negative impact later in your customers’ buy cycle. Plus, you may not be the first thing on your prospects’ minds. They can and will forget about your company, products and services if you stop keeping in touch. And maybe they’ll remember your competitor instead, who decides that marketing in summer is a worthy endeavor.

4. It’s budget time.
For many companies, summer is the season when they start planning the following fiscal year’s budgets. If you’re in front of customers and prospects now, they’re more likely to remember that you can solve a problem they’re struggling with, increasing the likelihood they’ll include an investment in your solution as part of their next budget. In fact, summer is a good time to remind them to do just that.

5. Always connected.
Sure, we all take vacations, but we also all have our jobs to do. For better or worse, more and more technical professionals are staying connected to work when they’re not on the job, and many of them might take along a work version of summer reading to stay up-to-date on recent news, industry trends, hot new technologies and other information they seek. This is a good time to send out a key white paper or an important article, maybe even labeled “Summer Reading.”

Hope everyone enjoys the summer. Keep your marketing going!

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It’s the Golden Era for Webinars

This may be the golden era for webinars as a marketing tool in the industrial sector. Broadband connections are nearly ubiquitous, webinar hosting platforms offer sophisticated features enriching the webinar experience, and marketers have learned to offer relevant, educational content that technical professionals find interesting and useful.

Aerzen webinar

Here are six other reasons why webinars make such an effective marketing tool:

1. Webinars are easy for your audience
Technical professionals are already spending hours per week online for work-related purposes, so it’s easy for them to join your webinar right from their office, coffee cup or snack in hand. Plus, webinars break down geographical barriers; you can be anywhere in the world and still attend. This is especially helpful if your customers are dispersed and difficult to reach or your webinar topic has broad appeal. You can also make webinars easy by keeping them short—definitely under an hour, including Q&A time at the end. If your content is long or complex, consider creating a series of shorter webinars to make it easier for your audience.

2. Webinars generate good engagement opportunities
While webinars may be easy for your audience to attend, they also require commitment. Not just any lazy tire-kicker is going to attend your webinar. A technical professional willing to take time out of their busy day for your webinar is likely highly interested in your webinar topic and eager to learn something new. These are exactly the people you want to engage and start a relationship with. And you already have their contact information because they’ve registered.

3. Webinars let you be the expert
In a webinar, you’re educating your audience—about industry trends, novel solutions to problems, hot topics, new products or technologies—and by the nature of your position as host you’re the expert on the content. You’re in control of the message and how it’s delivered, unlike, for example, on social media where you don’t have control over comments and feedback. This makes webinars a perfect tool for helping to establish and maintain your thought leadership position on important topics.

4. Webinars let you give and get
With webinars, not only can you deliver educational content to your audience, you can capture data from your audience in return. Adding several real-time polling questions to your webinar can serve as effective transitions between topics, help involve your audience, and return to you valuable information. You can ask how technical professionals currently solve a problem you’re presenting on. Or how often they use certain types of products. Or any other multiple-choice question they can answer quickly. You can display their answers in real-time and comment on the results, making the webinar even more interactive.

5. Webinar content can be re-purposed
If this is the golden age of webinars, it’s also the golden age of content marketing. Every marketer has a mandate to get content into the hands of their target audience using multiple digital channels. Webinars can help. You can promote the content of your webinar over channels such as social media, your website, e-newsletter ads and banner ads. You can also re-purpose the webinar content into other forms: articles, white papers, infographics, videos and more. Not only do you help fulfill content marketing goals, you can maintain a consistent message across different content formats and distribution channels.

6. Webinars have a long shelf life
Webinars don’t have to be live events only. You can archive past webinars on your website for on-demand viewing by technical professionals. This gives those audience members who missed or didn’t know about the webinar an opportunity to participate. You can reasonably ask for registration information from visitors who want to view recorded webinars, resulting in additional engagement opportunities for you.

If you’d like to know how leading industrial suppliers are using webinars to build thought leadership and generate engagement opportunities, check out the schedule of upcoming webinars hosted by IHS GlobalSpec.

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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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Search and Discovery: Why Both Should be Part of an Industrial Marketing Plan

Industrial marketers know the importance of being found online on GlobalSpec.com, Datasheets360.com, search engine results pages, and other resources when potential customers search for relevant products and services.
These searches tend to be based on customer needs. They are related to early and middle stages of the buy cycle: needs awareness, research and comparison and evaluation. Customers are motivated because they have a problem to solve and are searching for suppliers, products, and services that can help solve the problem.

That’s why marketers invest in online catalogs, search engine optimization, and pay-per-click marketing programs—to rise to the top for relevant searches and increase opportunities to engage with customers and prospects.

But search isn’t the only aspect of digital media that’s important to marketers, because search isn’t the only work-related activity industrial professionals do online. They also spend significant amounts of time reading news, keeping up with industry trends, learning about the latest technologies, seeking out educational opportunities and more. It’s during these work-related activities that their customers are performing when suppliers and manufacturers need to be “discovered.” Even though your audience many not have an immediate and pressing need, you still want to be in front of them because they could be a potential customer.

Allocating some of your budget to the discovery aspect of marketing will help raise the visibility and awareness of your products and services among potential customers. Your brand will become recognized by and familiar to potential customers, so that when they do perform a targeted search and your company, products and services appear, they will be more likely to choose you because industrial professionals—like anyone else—want to do business with a company they know and has a positive reputation in the industry. In this way, search and discovery work hand-in-hand.

Here are ideas for pumping up the discovery side of your marketing program. And all of them are easy to implement with the right media partner and to track in terms of impressions, clicks, and conversions:

  • E-newsletter advertisements: Engineers and related professionals subscribe to an average of 5.8 digital publications making newsletters a primary information source for work purposes. Look for opt-in e-newsletters focused on your industry or product area. Be sure to study audience demographics and profiles to make sure you are reaching the right people.
  • Online events and webinars: Nearly two-thirds of industrial professionals said they attended at least one webinar or online event last year. Twenty-six percent went to four or more. Exhibiting at an online event is a great way to build thought leadership and distribute content such as white papers, articles, videos and case studies.
  • Industry websites: Maintaining a presence on targeted industry websites (such as Electronics360.com) keeps you in front of potential customers while they are performing work-related tasks. Engineers spend time on sites reading recent news and learning about the latest technologies, as well as searching for products and services that meet their needs.
  • Banner ads: Banner ads that appear across a network of targeted industrial sites offer you broad and deep exposure to potential customers who might otherwise not know about your company or are hard to reach. Your banner ads can link back to your website, online catalog, or any other online destination that is useful to your target audience and meets your marketing goals and objectives.

Search AND Discovery—both are important to your marketing success. When planning for 2014, be sure to allocate marketing budget to both types of programs.

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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.

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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.

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A Game-Changing Way to Engage Electronics Professionals

It can be a challenge to connect with electronics professionals. Their information needs change quickly as they move through the product design lifecycle.

When electronics professionals start this process with their initial research, they are gathering information on potential solutions that fit their needs. To begin, they may only have one part specification to go on but there are a number of resources that electronics professionals can turn to for information on possible products.

As they move into the consideration and comparison phase, they have shortened their list of potential solutions, put together a full list of specifications and turn to datasheets and other resources to help them further refine their search.

When a product has been identified and it’s time to buy, they’ll look for procurement information, distributor pricing and product availability and then Bill of Materials (BOM) tools and product lifecycle data during the parts inventory management phase.

And across all stages of the product design lifecycle, electronics professionals seek community and education through editorial, news, research and analysis.

As a result, each phase of the electronics product design lifecycle is a silo and suppliers and manufacturers have had to divide their advertising and marketing budgets across many media channels in hopes of reaching this splintered audience. You end up spread too thin, which is an inefficient and frustrating use of marketing dollars and resources. But now the game has changed.

The recent acquisition of GlobalSpec by IHS brought together the strengths of both organizations and has transformed the way engineers and industrial professional make critical decisions.

Leading companies rely on the expertise of IHS in the end-to-end electronics value chain to shape their businesses. IHS is also the pre-eminent global leader in critical information and insight for electronics professionals. IHS GlobalSpec provides the largest platform to reach this audience. It’s the single source for the critical information electronic professionals are seeking—at every point in the product design lifecycle.

Recently launched information resources—combined with IHS GlobalSpec’s e-newsletters, online events, ad network, and webinars—give electronics professionals access to all the information they need, and at the same time give suppliers a comprehensive platform to connect with decision makers.

Electronics360: Your opportunity to build brand
One example is Electronics360, considered the premier source for the latest trends, information, insights and analysis for the entire electronics value chain—end to end. Electronics360 is supported by the world’s largest electronics and media research team at IHS that delivers featured articles, research, daily blog entries, webcasts, surveys and polls, white papers and more. Featuring industry thought leaders delivering wholly unique, widely respected editorial and content and IHS industry analysts and experts discussing key topics in the electronics field, Electronics360 is a trusted destination for electronics professionals, decision makers and influencers alike.

Datasheets360: Be there for decision time
Another compelling new resource for electronics professionals is Datasheets360, a comprehensive source for electronic component datasheets and distributor pricing and availability information. It’s searchable by partial and exact product numbers. This is where your audience goes for product information in order to make procurement decisions.

Be there for every stage
These new resources compliment IHS GlobalSpec’s well-established platform of digital media solutions to reach and engage electronics professionals. A suite of more than 70 industry- and product-specific e-newsletters features 22 titles specific to the electronics industry and an audience of 2.6 million opt-in subscribers for these electronics-related newsletters. Titles include Electronic Components, Sensors & Switches, Wireless Technology, and many more. Readers use these newsletters as a primary way to keep abreast of new suppliers, products, technology and solutions—valuable information for early and middle stages of the product design cycle.

IHS GlobalSpec also hosts online events throughout the year on topics such as Aerospace Technology, Alternative & Renewable Energy, Electronic Components & Product Design, and more. Attendees take advantage of high-quality learning, networking and meaningful engagement with exhibitors.

An electronics ad network, datasheet promoter, custom webinars and online catalogs and directories help round out the possibilities for connecting with electronics professionals.

If you’re seeking to connect with electronics professionals at any point in their product design lifecycle, it’s time to check out IHS GlobalSpec. You no longer need to parse out your marketing budget trying to reach a splintered audience. They’re all in one place, and IHS GlobalSpec is built to help you reach your marketing goals: building awareness and delivering demand and engagement opportunities for your sales teams.

For more information on these opportunities, download our media kit for the electronics industry.

Digital Media Electronics Marketing, General