Tag Archives: content development

More FAQs from the “Marketing to Engineers” Webcast by CFE & TREW

Continued from last week’s post, we have more FAQs from the TREW and CFE Media webcast which discussed how engineers respond to inbound marketing techniques such as the use search engines, why they visit company websites, and what they value most in marketing content.

The 100+ attendees had some incredibly insightful questions that further proved the point that engineers what to achieve smart marketing. Read their questions and the answers Rebecca and CFE provided below:

Preferred Content Types

Q: How important is a good mix of different formats of content for them?

Geier: Very important. People have diverse preferences for how they want to consume information, and it varies along the buying cycle. This can be very efficient for marketers, if you do it right. For example, you can take pieces of a white paper and turn it into a video, or compile a series of blog posts into a packaged, gated piece of content.

Q: What is the most desirable content that a consulting engineer will download from a website?

Rourke: Our research clearly finds that anything related to codes and standards are the most viewed and/or downloaded information. If you have a product or service that is codes or standards related, as many are, then you may want to highlight how it uniquely supports specific codes or standards.

Q: To consider for future surveys: What type of specific information do engineers want in case studies? Continue reading

FAQs for Effectively Marketing to Engineers

TREW CEO and Co-founder Rebecca Geier, along with Steve Rourke from CFE Media, held a free webcast last month discussing how engineers use search engines, why they visit company websites, and what they value most in marketing content.  The seminar specifically covered the results and findings of the TREW and CFE Media industry-first survey of more than 700 engineers primarily in R&D.

Throughout the seminar, the 100+ attendees had some incredibly insightful questions that further proved the point that engineers what to achieve smart marketing. Read part I of their questions and the answers Rebecca and CFE provided below:

How Are Engineers Finding Information?

Q: What are some of the best ways to get engineers’ attention?

Geier: Be generous with your content. And be specific about what you do. And give away beer and t-shirts at your trade show booth.

Q: How should you build an audience so they can find your material?

Geier: Be generous with your content, and be committed. It’s a marathon.

Rourke: Understand target audience content needs and behavior, work your way back. Once you understand this you can provide content in a way that most effectively engages/educates/builds your target audience.

Content is King

Q: How important is search engine marketing (SEM) to engineers compared to alternate methods?

Geier: Absolutely critical. Google is where engineers—and everyone else—go first to find what they need. Engineers will go much deeper though. And content is the currency—to get found, you have to be generously committed to producing content.

Rourke: SEM is an important component of most integrated marketing programs. Engineers perform as many searches as anyone but are often more descriptive in their search criteria (list more search terms) and go deeper in results.

Q: What percentage of engineers are willing to or actively participate in online forums?

Rourke: Overall, engineers are willing to join a forum (e.g. there are over 70,000 members in Automation & Control Engineering LinkedIn group), however given their workloads, most of them are not actively engaging in an online forum (e.g. only 140 or 0.2% of member comments per week). It’s simply that many do not have the time to regularly read or participate in forums. And getting them to join and participate in new forums is challenging given the number of already established communication channels available. We understand from our research and experience with several forums that engineers like to help each other and answer questions. For example, on our LinkedIn forum, there is a small group of engineers that are constantly reviewing and answering questions. Some of these engineers are retired and like sharing their experience with other engineers. They also like to read what other engineers are doing and learn from their peers.

More tips from TREW on how to get Engineers’ attention: Smart Marketing Blog: Lead Nurturing & Lead Generation

Cross-Industry Trends

Q: Any insights on how engineers view content relevance from other industries? (i.e. Will an oil and gas engineer read a case study about a similar technology or application, even if the example is in a different industry, like cement?)

Rourke: Excellent question, this is something that we’ve been investigating recently at CFE Media. It’s absolutely true that some industry segments will relate to and be interested in other industry segment applications and technology usage. So yes, it is true that a food and beverage controls engineer will likely be interested in oil and gas controls content. What we’ve found is that oil and gas applications are often considered extremely robust and technically advanced compared to some other industries, often being considered market-leading technical solutions. So industries and specific industry applications that are considered technology leaders are often of interest to other similar industries (e.g. process based industries).

Social Media Platform Use

Q: Can you please share some successful strategies you’ve done to engage engineers on LinkedIn?

Rourke: Sure, our Automation & Control Engineering LinkedIn group has done well by fostering an environment where engineers can interact freely without commercial interruption. We occasionally will ask a question concerning a topic that is of interest to us editorially and then use the responses, with authors’ permission, in an article or use the information for internal intelligence. We used to review the questions being asked in the LinkedIn group each day and would contact people we know in the industry to answer questions if needed. Now that the LinkedIn community is fairly large and active, we find that we do not need to reach out to get questions answered since the community will answer most of the questions.

Activity of Engineers throughout the Buying Cycle

eBook: Smart Marketing for Engineers - Lead Generation

Q: At what point in the buying cycle are engineers doing their research?

Geier & Rourke: Every single point

Q: At what stage of the buying cycle do you engage with a company sales expert versus self discovery?

Geier: That is an excellent question and varies by company, lead volume, average selling price, type of sale (commodity versus consultative), etc. Hubspot’s founder, Darhmesh Shah, cited a study last year that found 63% of the buying process is controlled by your prospect—before a salesperson is engaged. With this in mind, with generous content generation and marketing automation in place, marketing has a huge opportunity to bring efficiency to sales by pushing out the time when sales needs to get involved, giving leads more opportunity to engage, and finally become an SQL that sales reaches out to. The first step in defining this for your company is by having sales and marketing come together to define what an MQL is, what an SQL is, what the SLA is b/w mktg and sales in terms of volume of both, and then put processes in place to execute this plan and get feedback along the way to improve the accuracy.

Rourke: Engineers often like to perform as much research and analysis as possible on their own without consulting a sales expert. When they decide to go to an expert they usually want to be armed with as much background information as feasible to ensure they are prepared for the discussion. They do not like to be “sold” and respect sales people who understand their situation, have done the background work and can quickly give them the information they need to feel comfortable with a decision.

Q: Did you find any information regarding what engineers are seeking at various stages of the buying cycle?

Geier: No, we didn’t ask a question about it this time around, but there may be a way to ask this in a future survey. We have written an ebook—Smart Marketing for Engineers: Lead Generation—that goes into this in more detail. You can find it on our website at trewmarketing.com/resources.

Q: Are engineers often the decision maker or purchaser?

Rourke: We get this question on a regular basis, and the answer is that when it comes to identifying and selecting products/services that will meet a specific project, application, or system need, the engineer is often the decision maker. At a minimum they are a significant purchase influencer, and in many smaller companies and projects they are the ones making the purchase (exception is that consulting-specifying engineers typically only specify types of products). For bigger companies and projects, the engineer(s) will likely be part of a committee or group consisting of other departments (e.g. purchasing, IT, and others), who will make the final purchasing decision together based on many considerations.

To better understand the Buying Cycle, find more articles here: Smart Marketing Blog: Buying Cycle

Read Part II next week for Engineers’ Preferred Content types, Advertising to Engineers and Measuring your Effectiveness. 

Trends: Marketing Content that Wins Long Term Loyalty

A recent article in the Wall Street Journal featured the 2014 collaborative study, Compare Your B2B Content Marketing Maturity, by Forrester Research, the Business Marketing Association and the Online Marketing Institute. There are some important content marketing take-aways from this study for marketers in the B2B space, most notably the need to move from product-focused to relationship-focused marketing content and marketing practices.

In the study, researchers found that “while 51% of B2B marketing leaders rate their content marketing practices as very mature, an overwhelming 85% fail to connect content activity to business value — and, as a result, fail to retain customers or win their long-term loyalty. In fact, when asked to look back at the past 12 months and rate the effectiveness of content marketing efforts, only 14% of those surveyed gave their content practices high marks for delivering value back to the business.”

Does your Content Engage your Audience?

The study found that the majority of content by B2B marketers focused too narrowly on the “early-stage buyer acquisition” (ie, sales-focused at the middle to bottom of the funnel) and not enough throughout the buying cycle and their lifetime relationship with the company.

Continue reading

NEW DATA: Google Authorship: The Ever-Changing Buzzword

So, after all I said and wrote about Google+, SEO, and Google Authorship, Google has decided to pull the plug on featuring authorship details in the search engine results page (SERP) – specifically, the author’s picture and his or her Google+ Circle count.

Turns out, 13 days after I published the blog, “Google Authorship: The New Buzzword affecting SEO,” Google decided that its SERP needed a facelift – AGAIN.  It decided it wasn’t fair to include pictures of Google+ users nor the count of other Google+ users who were in their Circles. Sneaky marketers were stuffing their Google+ profiles with links and people in their Circles. These stuffed profiles were ranking highly in the SERP and, therefore, were getting more clicks because – as we know – images are more appealing to click.

Googleauthorship

How this Affects your Content Marketing:

Basically, they are making it difficult again to optimize Google+ to help with search results. Good thing you’ve got killer content to get results anyway! As well, don’t forget to follow the guidelines from my original post. Even without your photo in the SERP, using Google Authorship to tie your content and Google+ profile still has weight with Google.

Read more in the articles below posted by HubSpot to see the new details they’ve uncovered, and keep on posting quality content! 

Thanks for reading! Hopefully Google will give me at least 30 days this time before it makes me a liar.

Original Post Content with New Data:

Technical audiences are in need of following Google’s newest update by placing more weight on optimized Google Authorship for longer lasting SEO and quality content marketing.

NEW DATA: Remember, your Google+ profile linked to your content strengthens your Google Authorship. No longer including the Google+ profile picture in the SERP (by Google) is what has changed.

Gone are the days when you can outsource content to “ghost writers” that fill your blog and website with keywords and links in order to shoot to the top of the search engine rank page (SERP).  Additionally, simply adding an “expert” author to your blog along with search engine optimization (SEO) tactics will no longer automatically and exponentially raise your “Author Rank.”

Google puts more effort into ‘author rank’ algorithm

Just like previous SEO trends, Google has decided it is tired of trying to weed out the quality content from the spam content through simple link building and authorship algorithms. Instead, Google has drilled deeper into its version of “Author Rank” in order to decipher accurate and useful content based on the quality of the author, or as Google has coined, ‘Authorship.’

Google Authorship Using Google+ for Author Rank

Source: wpseotricks.com

Rich Snippets are becoming more selective

Additionally, Google cut the use of rich snippets (the few lines of text under a search result that give more information) for low quality sites by 15%. It also indicates that rich snippets using authorship found in the SERP will be focused on more in-depth content. This means that author rank is more competitive and the gap between authoritative authors and “ghost” authors will be larger, which is very good news for technical audiences who seek out in-depth content.

Rich Snippets in the Google SERP

NEW DATA: The author’s image and Google+ circle count in this image will no longer be included in the SERP. The author will still be included. 

Summary: Authorship is key

As content marketing becomes as important as – and interchangeable with – search engine optimization, expert authors become more important to Google and its searchers. Predicted in the near future by Forbes, sites that do not create and maintain author rank will be in risk of not ranking at all on the SERP. Fortunately, technical content for marketing to engineers and scientists is tends to be already naturally optimized for the high quality and in-depth content Google is now valuing more highly, so long as the author is following authorship best practices.

To get started on building your authorship, contact TREW Marketing about our Search Engine Marketing and Content Marketing services.

Want To Be More Effective With Your Content Marketing?

Watch the video “Marketing Content Planning to Drive Leads” as part of our two-part series to learn how strong marketing content builds your B2B company’s reputation, improves your site’s SEO, and increases leads.

Video- Part 2: Why You Should Treat Your Content Like a Product

Building quality content can be one of the most challenging elements in content marketing, but it is also one of the most valuable. Based on our recent survey conducted with CFE Media, we know that engineers and scientists in particular value content that is technically accurate, highly detailed, and current. This is great information to know, but also means that you must give your content the time and effort it takes to make it truly valuable to an audience with relatively high standards.

Your prospects are depending on your content to provide them with the information and expertise they need to do their job better, faster, and cheaper. Content assists in growing awareness and trust of your company brand, improves your search engine optimization performance, and generates leads. Quality content is so valuable, in fact, that you should consider it as its own product for your company, dedicating time and resources to build it and refine it.

Watch the video, "Content Planning Part 2" now.

Watch the video to learn the importance of building quality content, creating a content calendar, and examples of content marketing methods for technical audiences.

Content Planning and Marketing Methods for Technical Audiences

In this video, we continue the series on content planning with Part II, focusing on brainstorming and building your content, the importance of creating a content calendar, and examples of companies that have used these content marketing methods for their technical audiences.

In part I of the video series, “Content Planning,” TREW Marketing CEO and co-founder, Rebecca Geier, described the benefits of a content marketing plan and introduced the content planning tool used to create it.  She explained that it is natural, as you complete the table, to find gaps in your content path.

Investing in Content for Multiple Uses and Longevity

In Part II of this tutorial, Geier discusses best practices for addressing these gaps, as well as questions to ask yourself when brainstorming new content ideas. She also walks through examples of companies who have invested in their content with great success, creating content that can have multiple uses and surprising longevity.

Watch the video "Content Planning Part 2" now.

Watch the video “Content Planning Part 2″ now.

One piece of well-written, well-placed content can have multiple uses and surprising longevity. Through examples of companies who have created quality content in Part II, Geier explains how to think of your content as a product and how you can leverage it for many years to come.

As found in the TREW and CFE survey of over 700 engineers about their marketing preferences, creating quality content is essential in taking advantage of your audience’s captive web presence to ensure they find your company, visit your website and move into your sales cycle.

Watch the video now.

To learn more on Content Marketing for lead creation, check out our free ebook, Lead Generation, in our series, Smart Marketing for Engineers.

Thursday Trends: Search Engine Optimization for People, not just Search Engines

Search engine optimization (SEO) has been a hot-topic in website design, traffic generation and lead conversion for years. Recently, however, as Google continues to update its ever-changing algorithm, companies are beginning to focus SEO efforts on the people using the search engines, rather than just the search engines themselves. In other words, it’s not just about quantity – the number of clicks; it’s more and more about the quality – who is clicking.

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New Data: How Engineers Search Google

In March 2014, TREW Marketing teamed up with CFE Media – publisher of Control Engineering and Plant Engineering, among other publications – to survey engineers about their preferences and behaviors online. The official survey results will be launched later this quarter, but we didn’t want to wait to share a few highlights from the findings.

Over 700 participants in North America completed the survey, and primarily qualified themselves as in R&D/Engineering departments (>60%) or General Management (>20%). One of the first highlights is respondents’ opinions about content.

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4 Ways to Get More Blog Traffic

Looking for additional insight? Check out our checklist: A 15-Point Checklist to Evaluate Your B2B Technical Website

I attended the Inbound conference by HubSpot, and one of my favorite sessions was on blogging. The session was called Getting 100K followers to your Blog. As an author to this blog, they had my full attention – who doesn’t want 100,000 people reading their blog?

We’ve already established that increased, quality traffic fuels growth in leads, and that blogs are great traffic-generators. So how do you increase traffic to your site through your blog?

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