2016 saw marketers buy 50% more webinars at ENGINEERING.com compared to 2015. Other media companies have reported increases in webinars as well. What’s going on?
It seems that marketers love webinars because engineers love webinars.
In this post we’ll explore why that is so, and how to make sure that you rock your next webinar for engineers. First, we’ll examine why in a recent survey marketers ranked webinars as the most effective revenue generating marketing tactic. Then we’ll look at five key things engineers look for to get value from a webinar.
Marketers say that webinars are highly effective at generating revenue
We asked engineering marketers in a 2017 survey how effective webinars are at generating revenue. Over 30% said that they were “Highly Effective”, which was the highest possible score. Less than 10% gave them the lowest score of “Not effective at all”. No other marketing activity that we surveyed performed better.
30% of Marketers say
Webinars are Highly Effective at Generating Revenue
Let’s consider the typical format of a webinar to see why they can be so effective. First, webinars typically offer an expert who introduces the topic, followed by an application engineer or a customer who describes a specific application.
In a survey of 580 engineers, they told us that the most trustworthy source of information was an engineer at a vendor company. Engineers trust other engineers more than any other source, including industry analysts or editorial stories.
Another thing that engineers really appreciate is being able to stay anonymous until they have discovered whether a solution meets their requirements. Webinars have the feel of anonymity, while still giving the engineer a chance to direct specific questions to the vendor’s application engineer if they think the solution might be a fit for them.
This Q & A format also works well for marketers because it helps those prospects move farther along in their purchasing journey. And since marketers are ever more likely to be evaluated on leads and pipeline, they are buying more webinars than ever.
How can you run a successful webinar for engineers?
Following a webinar, we regularly survey our attendees. You can see from the data below that engineers consistently report having a positive experience.
Not only do engineers tell us how we did overall, they’ll also let us know where we hit it out of the park and where we dropped the ball. We've distilled down all we've learned into a helpful list that you can reference when you put together your next webinar. Here then, in descending order of importance, are the five things you must do to run a successful webinar:
1. Real world examples. Having true application stories is the most important part of any webinar. Whether you have a customer tell their own story or you have one of your application engineers share several customer applications, engineers need to hear the truth of how your product works in the real world. Sincerity is critical. Any engineer worth his salt knows that no implementation is problem free. Telling them both where you triumphed, where you failed, and how you worked around and improved your process will earn their respect and hopefully their business.
2. Images and diagrams. Engineers are used to seeing the physical world displayed in well-designed graphics. Not every one of your images has to be as brilliant as the periodic table, but your webinar will be better if you have a number of graphical representations of how your solution works.
3. Pre-webinar explanation of what you will learn. When we design a landing page, we always set out what the engineer can expect to learn by attending the webinar.
You can convey this information with a good landing page. The following graphic sets out four tips on how to write a good landing page for your webinar that will help you attract engineers:
- Make your heading / webinar title technical enough to capture the attention of engineers. Also, be sure that it is specific enough to reach the exact target audience.
- Your image on the landing page should also be technical, and it should relate directly to the topic of the webinar.
- The body text can set out some possible application reasons why an engineer might be facing the problem that your solution fixes. The body should definitely set out what the engineer can expect to learn by attending.
- The call to action needs to be clear and prominent. I also encourage you to only ask for the fields you need, as the number of people who sign up will be directly impacted by the amount of contact data you request. Be wary of asking for phone numbers, they are sign-up killers. Many engineers think that if you ask for a phone number that means a cold call is coming next and will think twice about signing up, or worse sign up but give you false credentials that will waste your marketing and sales teams’ time.
4. Product demonstrations. This point may surprise you – engineers actually want to see your product in action if at all possible. You can accomplish this through a demonstration if you are a software vendor, or through video if you have mechanical or electronic components or equipment.
5. Trends and research data. Engineers look for well-researched facts as to why a particular trend may impact their future product designs or their manufacturing floor. Including these facts gives your audience value and differentiates your company as a thought leader.
So there you have it. Why marketers and engineers love webinars, and how to run a great one. Let us know if you would like help with your webinar in 2017.