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5 Small Business Marketing Tips to Keep You Ahead of the Competition

 

small business marketing resized 600Small business marketing is not for the faint of heart, but if you have been in marketing for longer than two seconds, you know that. Marketing your small business is dependent upon doing some key factors well and these things will make or break a small business in this dog eat dog world we live in. Competition is intense and learning how to make the most out of your web pages is tricky.

Digital Marketing is Dead,” claimed Proctor and Gamble’s Global Brand-Building Officer Marc Pritchard last September.  What he meant is that now is the time to work digital tools, technology and trends right into our marketing plans, instead of keeping them separate.

Try and resist thinking about digital in terms of the tools, the platforms, the QR Codes and all of the technology coming next,” Pritchard writes. “We try and see it for what it is, which is a tool for engaging people with fresh, creative campaigns.

This may be straightforward for a brand with the resources of P&G to declare, but for the rest of us, digital marketing is filled with choices: an array of well-hyped tools, techniques, social networks and smart glasses that may or may not deliver the return we need. You have to plan to get the funds you need to outmanoeuvre the competition. The pressure is on to make the right choices. You don’t want to have to go back to the boss, complaining you missed the next Pinterest because you weren’t up to speed. So which horses should you pick?

In 2014, we see search, social, PR, data and mobile become linked, connected and customer-centric. We are able to automate certain tasks, but we’ll still need to create human connections that make our brands stand out to our customers.

Here are five essential steps to get ahead of the game!

  1. Create a Marketing Plan – A detailed marketing plan is crucial to success. You don’t want to leave something to chance. It should be well planned. Map out every marketing element, and exactly how you plan to get it done. At the very least, it ought to paint broad strokes to success.

  2. Social Media Marketing91% of experiences social marketers generate improved website traffic and 79% generate more quality leads according to MediaBistro.com. Just how do they do this? They don’t waste time with their social media marketing. Map out a plan for social media an stick to it.

  3. Build a Mailing ListMarketingProfs.com reported emails averages a ROI (return on investment) of £40 for every £1 spent. This far outweighs keyword ads (£17) and banner ads (£2). Don’t be fooled into thinking collecting and building an email list is dead. If you fail to build a list, you are failing to build your business! You simply can’t afford to leave such a large source of potential profits to your competition.

  4. Video Marketing – Connect with all the local traffic that’s out there searching for your business. Video marketing in this space is a relatively untapped vein, and having a simple video advertising your wares on page one of Google may result in tons of traffic and authority coming to your web site! According to the research company Forrester, any given video stands about a 50x better chance of appearing on the first page of Google than any given text page.

  5. Gain a Mobile PresenceMicrosoft reports that by 2014 mobile browsing will overtake desktop browsing. If your company does not have a mobile presence, then you will become invisible. Therefore your small business’s website better start optimizing for mobile users and it had better do it fast. Right now, the numbers are encroaching on the 50%. Are you ready?

Don’t Make the Mistake of Going It Alone!

No one is a superhero and you needn’t be. The realm of online marketing is always changing and evolving. You need to learn what is working now, learn from the best, and hire the best outsourcing you can find. In the long run, it’ll pay off substantially!

But before you do that get the full story by downloading my FREE eBook from the link below:-

A Guide to Small Business Marketingin 2014

B2B Website Marketing - The Next Generation of Apps

 

b2b website mobile marketing Apple’s App Store is 5 years old. Apps have come a long way in such a short time. The number of apps for smartphones and tablet computers are said to be well over a million and growing by the day. Apps are becoming the latest ‘must have’ feature for companies in B2B website marketing wanting to catch the attention of their customers and secure sales.

So, what makes an effective app?

The most effective apps are usually those which either generate regular income or help build brand awareness. Apps should be useful, enjoyable and entertaining to the user. Whilst most apps are free to download, industry analyst Juniper Research predicts that by 2016 mobile apps will generate revenues of $52bn. The exponential growth in smartphones and tablet computers means that more people are using handheld devices instead of a PC or laptop. And we will be using even more apps in the future – for both personal use and in the workplace.

So, what will be the next generation of apps?

Remote controlling your life

Already in development are apps which can transform your smartphone into a ‘remote’ control. Wireless sensors placed within your home, car, bicycle and even shoes can ‘communicate’ to your handheld device to pass on information. Remote apps will be the norm and technology such as Near Field Communications (NFC) can bring a host of mundane equipment to life via your phone. Need to fill your bath or turn on the heating in your car? Do all within a matter of a few clicks – no matter where you are.

You will also be able to pay via your smartphone thanks to NFC technology. Apps such as Google Wallet and the iPhone’s Passbook are just some of the apps transforming your handheld device. In Sweden, cash transactions account for just 3%. In the UK, airlines have begun updating their ticketing system to allow people to swipe their handsets at the check in desk.

Interlinked entertainment

With apps such as BBC’s iPlayer, you can already watch television on your handheld device and some apps let you record programmes on your digital box at home. Thanks to the smartphone, your physical location is becoming less and less important.

Soon you will have one app that looks after all your entertainment accounts (iPlayer/Sky/Cable/Netflix etc.) allowing you to watch what you want, where you want, through your chosen device. The app could synchronise all of your devices so that if you only watch so many minutes of a particular programme, it will store this information in order for you to continue watching where you left off from, on any device.

Location is everything

Augmented Reality (AR) will change the way you look at things. AR is a live look at the world with computer generated information enhancing the image. Point your smartphone camera to a street, or even an exhibit at a museum and your phone will provide on screen details that include reviews, background information and money off vouchers.

AR’s interactive capabilities provide businesses with an amazing array of possibilities. Businesses can now bring their products and services to life – at home, on a train or even off a sheet of paper. It could give you a chance to see how a sofa fits into your living room or try on clothes without going into a fitting room!  Juniper Research predicts that over 2 billion AR apps will be downloaded by 2017. The future definitely ‘looks’ different.

Stuck at a train station you’ve never been to before? Your phone will automatically find a coffee shop on the concourse or give you the directions to a hotel in line with your past personal preferences.

Enterprising apps

Over the next few years, businesses will move away from using PCs and laptops to provide staff with tablet computers. Already Windows phones make it possible to be on the move and work on programmes such as Word. Within a few clicks staff can access inventories, risk assessments, CRM data, competitor intelligence etc. Such mobile computing power could revolutionise the office and drive productivity.

The ‘bigger’ effortless future

As your handheld device is with you whenever you are out and about, it will gather data on your location and ‘compound apps’ will personalise all of your devices. Information on your preferences such as your train to work, the coffee chain you frequent will all be stored and linked. This vast bank of information, known as “Big data”, will also link with people who have a similar interest to provide a more networked effortless world where your device does the ‘thinking and looking’. Think how social media is linked across many networks now, just imagine the power of compound apps and how they could change our lives.

With apps the possibilities are endless. One note of caution however – figures show that as the number of apps have increased, their lifespan has decreased. Research has found that only around 20% of users return to an app after the first day of downloading it and the average app has a less than 5% chance of being used for greater than 30 days.

So there’s a glimpse int o this new world.  For the present you need to ensure your B2B website marketing is fully optimised.  Get up to speed by downloading my eBook on this from the link below:-

 Website ContentOptimisation

Is Your B2B Website Marketing Strategy Up to Date?

 

b2b website marketing strategyThe Internet is a volatile place, with new platforms launching on a regular basis and a constant shifting in the ways that users use the Web. Those in small business marketing are playing a constant game of catch-up as the online world marches steadily onward. It’s a game that can be very easy to lose when you don’t have a full-time marketing staff to keep tabs on things 24/7.

Do you think your B2B website marketing strategy might be living in the past? Not even sure what an up-to-date online marketing strategy looks like?

These four signs indicate that it might be time to stir things up a bit and trade those proverbial bell bottoms for app development, Pinterest and Vine.

Your Online Marketing Strategy Might Need an Update If:

You’re Using Somebody Else’s Platform Exclusively

Now, I’m not saying that uploading photos to Facebook is a bad thing. But using big, corporate-owned platforms and not hosting any of your own content on your own website, for example is not such a great idea.

There are two big reasons for this:

  • One is the phenomenon of digital sharecropping, in which sites like Instagram and Facebook wind up owning your content and potentially profiting from it.

  • Second is that in this day and age, you’re just not going to look like a legitimate business without your own website full of relevant and interesting content.

Not sure how to get started? It might be time to ask an internet marketing consultant to get you set up.

You’re Four Social Networks Behind

Does MySpace ring a bell? Xanga? LiveJournal? These early social networking sites all had their day, to be sure, but that day is long gone. In fact, many of them are changing to appeal to different audiences, or simply aren’t used or functional in any useful capacity anymore.

I know it can be tough for small businesses to keep up with every single new social network, and it’s not always worth it to be an early adopter when you don’t know what’s going to be the next Facebook – but it is important to find the networks that are thriving and right for your business.

You’re Ignoring ROI (Return on Investment) and Analytics

This more technical side of B2B website marketing can be intimidating and just a little bit bewildering. You’re already running a marketing campaign – now you need to analyse it, too.

True, it takes a little bit more work, but tracking data can go a long way in ensuring that the effort you put into your B2B website marketing is well-placed. And the good news is, you don’t need to be a mathematician or programming expert to measure the success of your online marketing strategy.

You’re Trying to Appeal to Everyone

The days when you could roll out content and try to reach everyone with it are over. Now, market segmentation is a necessity. There’s simply so much of the Web to reach that you need to develop a strategy and produce content accordingly.

Even more, you need to post that segmented content in the right places. What you post on Pinterest, for example, is going to be very different from what you post on LinkedIn.

The Magic Word is Strategy

The key to online marketing success is right there in the title of this post: Strategy. The biggest sign that your B2B website marketing strategy is outdated might be the fact that you have no strategy.

If this is the case, it’s time to put your nose to the grindstone, agree your personas, create an editorial calendar and start writing content that adds up to a greater whole.

Once you’ve done that then download my FREE eBook from the link below to develop your campaigns. And of course, don’t forget to measure the results of your online marketing strategy.

   How to Run a B2B Website  Marketing Campaign

Small Business Marketing Checklist

 

internet marketing consultantDo you have a small business marketing checklist? It’s a good idea to keep a checklist of your small business marketing goals at your desk daily. If you have a mobile office you may want to keep your marketing checklist on your phone or tablet. It’s a great way to stay on task.

I find myself crossing off tasks every week and developing new ones. Things change rapidly in marketing and there is always something to accomplish. Here are a few things you might keep on checklist for your small business marketing:

  1. Regularly update your website and make sure your content is mobile friendly.

  2. Use keywords and phrases & create rich content around them.

  3. Link Your Social Media icons to your website and be a social butterfly consistently.

  4. Investigate & integrate new social media platforms to grow your business.

  5. Design Landing Pages for specific products you sell or services you offer.

  6. Advertise on major search engines and social media consistently while keeping ads fresh.

  7. Use Email Marketing to reach existing & new customers.

  8. Collect customer testimonials for your website and ask customers for online reviews.

  9. Create short Videos on YouTube.

  10. Blog regularly and keep active in online forums.

Once you’ve gotten these marketing tasks down, place them into a daily routine and move into things like Search Engine Marketing & Mobile Marketing if you haven’t already done so. The key is to keep your small business marketing checklist where you can see it every day. Keep working at it! The idea is to always be working towards something even if you don’t necessarily cross it off entirely each day.

Many of the marketing goals for small business or any business for that matter require consistency. Chances are just when you’ve got something sorted; you will have to shift gears again. Keeping up with what’s happening in the world of your customers is absolutely essential. It will make the transition of starting something new that much easier if you’re already on board. If you find yourself falling behind, consider hiring a consultant to provide you with support.

One area that you may not fully understand is the objectives of Landing Pages.  So here is some background to help:-

How Do Landing Page Objectives Differ for B2Bs vs. B2Cs?

An effective landing page is critical for marketers; it’s where a potential lead clicks and either converts—or doesn’t. So it’s important for marketers to pay close attention to how compelling their landing page really is for visitors.

Ascend2, an agency consulting company, and Research Underwriters surveyed business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) marketing professionals worldwide on their landing page optimisation strategy. The greatest percentage from both groups considered conversion to be the most useful metric for analysing the performance of their landing pages, cited by 57% of B2B respondents and 69% of B2C respondents. Clickthrough rate (CTR) was also important to B2B marketers, significantly more so than to B2Cs.

landing page research chart 1

This disparity is likely a reflection of the differing objectives of B2Bs and B2Cs for their landing pages. More than 60% of B2B marketers sought to increase leads from the landing page - thus a click would be worth quite a bit to these respondents. By contrast, only 34% of B2Cs showed interest in generating leads from the landing page.

B2C marketers were far more interested in the lead-to-customer conversion rate, as well as increasing direct sales from the landing page, again underscoring that closing the deal remains the unparalleled end goal for these companies.

landing page research 2

Marketers have a number of different landing page elements they can look at when they’re trying to determine what’s working and what’s not on the page. The greatest percentage of both B2Bs and B2Cs most often tested the optimisation of their call-to-action. That was followed by the website headline. When trying to improve their landing page strategy, 51% of B2B marketers and 65% of B2C marketers said simplifying the landing page and doing a redesign was the most effective optimisation tactic.

That’s a bit of background.  To fully understand how to create effective landing pages, why not download my latest paper from the link below:-

  10 Tips for Creating an Effective Landing Page

B2B Online Marketing - Website content Optimisation

 

b2b online marketing for small businessWhen a print company buys a new printing press it ensures its employees use its full functionality, it lets customers know about the company’s new capabilities, and it pushes as much work as possible through the new press.

When a law firm invests in a new suite of computers for its staff it ensures those employees have full training on this new kit. It develops its internal processes to make the most of the new capabilities, and it expects to see an increase in the volume and quality of work going through their firm.

When a technology company makes a senior hire it extracts all the knowledge and contacts that person has for its own training and sales needs, and it makes sure that expensive member of staff is up and running, delivering results quickly.

Getting a return on an investment is not a new concept in business. It is what successful companies do. Yet why do so few B2B companies take the same approach to their website content – to the words, images, structure, appearance, and everything else that is actually on their site? Why do they sign off four or five figure budgets for the design and development of their websites, spend similar sums on tactical campaigns driving prospects to those sites, and yet pay so little regard to the content on those sites?

Why do businesses spend money making their shops welcoming to passers-by and easy to explore, or their offices look impressive to visitors, and yet be prepared for a visitor to arrive on their website, and be quickly confused or bored?

Yet it happens remarkably often. Research has revealed around half of B2B marketers change the content on their website less than once a month. Around a quarter have no schedule for reviewing the structure and functionality of their sites.

It is a startling lack of attention to getting a return on investment on a website. Why does it happen?

The Whitepaper that can be obtained from the link below analyses the areas that need to be considered in website content optimisation in B2B online marketing.  It then goes on to offer the reader 6 steps to carry out the processes required to accomplish the task.  These are:-

  1. Build a strategy

  2. Focus on ‘good’ customers

  3. Understand the buyer journey

  4. Focus on quality

  5. Bring in the pros

  6. Update continually

So if you wish to find out more about why website content optimisation is essential in B2B online marketing and the details of the 6 steps, just click on the button below:-

 Website ContentOptimisation

7 Tips on Follow-up Email Marketing Campaigns

 

email marketing resized 600One of the first steps to take in the world of Marketing Automation in small business B2B marketing involves the use of follow-up email campaigns so I've got 7 tips on the best ways to use them.

While you can manually build on a case-by-case basis Marketing Automation prides itself on putting the pieces in place and then setting the ball rolling, safe in the knowledge things are going to be sent in a specific order and at a specific time.  

1) Write them before you need them

While it could be argued that this isn't really a "tip" it finds itself in the list because doing the hard work up front can save you time in the long run. Rather than selling your product / service and then going "wouldn't it be great if we sent them an email to say thanks and see how they are getting on" you can plan and build this sort of thing ahead of time.

 2) Offer support and guidance

Follow-up email marketing campaigns should be used to further build a relationship with recipients not be used as the first opportunity for upsell, that comes later. Offer support and guidance related to your product / service and your recipients will thank you for it and be more open to upsell messages in the future.

 3) Use examples to highlight functionality and results

If you've got some great features in your product or service that people rarely use why not send a follow-up campaign highlighting a success story or how this feature could be used to benefit the recipient. You know your product / service better than they do and may be missing out on something vital.

4) Ask for feedback and suggestions

Another method for building that relationship and demonstrating a hint of a "we really care" mentality is to use follow-up campaigns to ask for feedback and suggestions to improve things. This makes recipients feel like they have a voice and are involved in the decision making process.

5) Upsell

Use your follow-up campaigns as a tool to Upsell. If you've built a relationship and supported your customers in overcoming the initial challenges of learning a new product or service they'll be far more receptive to offers and sales messages but as a word of warning, use them wisely.

6) Personalisation

Personalisation of content takes the guesswork out of analysing customer behaviour. By using the data collected from factors such as most-frequently visited pages, campaigns with the most clicks, and the most-read articles and blog posts, you can deliver a personalised experience, and deliver the right content to the right person at the right time. Being able to take this approach puts you on the fast track to more leads, more conversions, and more sales.  

Email content personalisation starts with having the insight into what you should deliver, and to whom. A built-in web analytics module can track each customer’s history and automatically aggregate that data in the order you wish. No matter the behaviour you choose to target, the results of content personalisation gives the ability to segment a group of customers by that specified behaviour.

7) Segmentation

This is the marketing practice of dividing a customer base into specified groups based on psychographic or behavioural attributes. Segmentation allows a company to optimise marketing, sales and product offerings to match customer interests, and allows for precise alignment between these two areas. The data gathered from personalisation can then be used in creating segmented lists of the visitors who might be the most likely to come back, who was most engaged with your content, and who would be most likely to purchase more products. These custom-built lists can then be given to sales teams so they can contact the hottest leads with precise timing.

Segmentation works seamlessly with personalisation to create a very effective marketing strategy.

Combining these tactics is a growing trend within online marketing, as 37% of marketers are already choosing to segment campaigns based on behaviour. Even as you read this, that number is on the rise, and will continue to do so as more companies adopt new digital marketing strategies.  

So there are 7 tips on process but what about the emails themselves? Well I’ve produced an eBook on the 12 Core Components of an “Five Star” B2B Email.  Why not read it to get some great advice in this area. Just click the button below:-

  12 Core Components of a “Five Star” B2B Email

 

10 ways to "suck" at Social Media Marketing

 

10 ways for social media marketing resized 600There’s no shortage of gurus offering up social media marketing advice, which is why I believe there’s room in the market for an anti-guru

I’d like to show you how to be the worst practitioner of the social media marketing arts that you can possibly be. If you follow these simple rules, you too can suck at social media marketing. 

1. Not listening

The first thing you do when creating a social media marketing strategy, is listen. More and more brands realise the importance of listening, but listening is more than just reading a dashboard.

Proper listening requires extracting insights and value from data and turning it into something actionable.

In 2012, SoDa reported 49% of respondents said creating insights and value from data was a challenge.

Despite all the benefits that you can gain from listening there are still some companies that don’t monitor conversations. If you want to distance your brand from consumers and miss out on valuable insight don’t listen at all.

2. False mirroring

Science teaches us that mirroring is an effective flirtation technique. Using similarity as a way into a consumer’s mind can work and internet marketing consultants use it on a daily basis, but when it misses the mark, people react negatively.

Not all brands can or should mirror on social as you can have a diverse group of people in the same digital space.  Weetabix’s “Three Types of Mums” Mother’s Day push didn’t go down well on Twitter. Presumably because there are more than three types of mums.

3. Asking too much

There’s a simple rule that you should always remember when running a promotion on social media. The more you ask for, the less you’ll get.

Video competitions are probably the worst offenders. You’re essentially asking users to stop what they are doing, plan, make, edit and upload the video, solicit votes and follow up on their progress on a regular basis.

Few people will take the time. The more simple the ask the wider the pool of people who will take part.

4. Spreading yourself thin

How many social networks are too many? It depends on how much time, money and resources you have available. Every network you enter should be objective backed.

Start where your audience is or where your brand will have the most impact. Only do what you can manage. If you want to suck at social media marketing, be great on every channel all the time.

5. Siloed thinking

Social media marketing doesn’t work on its own. It works best when paired with other marketing activities.

Social competitions, for example, should be paired with data capture and CRM. Conversations should be paired with brand objectives.

When brands isolate social from other tactics, or think of social media as an afterthought, they weaken the effects - waste time and money by treating social as an afterthought.

6. Being slow 

Many brands try to jump on the bandwagon, but does anyone remember?

With any “viral trend the spread has a peak and then it fades. Most brands catch the downside of the trends, so unless they do something to be more memorable they won’t be remembered.

If you want to become part of the noise, take your time and react to trends at your own pace.

7. Expecting sales by simply being social

Social media marketing as part of an integrated campaign can improve sales. But if you don’t do anything to ask for the sale or nudge people to buy don’t expect people to buy.

If you’re out there to create conversations don’t expect sales. The main reason people follow your brand is because they want offers and promotions.

If you don’t want sales, use social strictly for conversations and don’t do anything to sweeten the deal.

8. Underestimating the power

A healthy fear of social isn’t necessarily a bad thing. While fear may drive aversion to social, it also fuels careful planning and consideration.

If you want to fail big, don’t worry about a little crisis. What’s the worst that could happen?

9. Thinking that it’s cheap & easy

It’s called earned media for a reason. Social media marketing campaigns require investment, just like every other marketing effort. It may even require more investment than expected.

You may need new staff, tools, content creation and paid media to make it work. This doesn’t even take into account the time required to actually make it happen. The viral benefits of social sharing can often generate a higher than anticipated media value, but this is the exception. Earning media is a marathon, not a sprint.

10.  Good old fashioned stupidity

All ideas are good ideas at the time, most of the time. Other ideas are stupid from the beginning. Not all PR is good PR, especially when you try to use a serious issue to push your products or services. 

So if you don’t want to have social media campaigns that “suck” have a read of my eBook obtained from the button below!

How to React to Changes to Social Networks

B2B Email Marketing - 12 Core Components of a “Five Star” Email

 

B2B email marketingA few years ago, marketers were decrying the death of B2B email marketing. Instead of fading away like Myspace and mood rings, email remains one of the most productive means of generating leads and selling products online. According to a 2013 US National DMA email report, 89% of marketers consider email important to their organisational goals. Rather than dying out, 56% of email markets plan to focus more on their email campaigns in 2014.

 

How do you make sure this focus pays off?

By making sure you are maximising conversions and clickthrough rates with every email you send. Chefs in five-star restaurants spend hours combining the right ingredients for their recipes. Similarly, creating a five-star email marketing campaign involves more than laying out some content and crossing your fingers – emails with killer clickthrough rates have a special mix of the right content, a great layout, and the right underlying strategy.

In the rush to send out emails, we know it can be difficult to design the perfect email layout every time. We spend a lot of time learning how to test and improve our email marketing.

We have published the new eBook to take you through each of the 12 core elements of a “five star” email in detail to help you understand the strategy behind each of these email sections, and explain how to optimise your email marketing campaigns. It can be obtained from the link at the end of this blog.

However, to give you a taste here are a couple of sections:-

  1. Company Branding

Ensure your email marketing templates echo your overall company brand. You want the people opening your email to recognise who you are, and remember why they clicked on your email.

While they don’t need to be identical, the design elements in your emails should echo your company style. A consistent brand image, language, and tone helps your audience relate to your content and expands your overall brand experience. Consistent brand style also conveys the professionalism and planning that goes into your email marketing efforts – or at the very least, it’s a great step toward faking it!

The easiest way to ensure a consistent email style is to create, and regularly utilise, email templates. In your template design, include your company colours, logo and any other important corporate branding elements. 

When designing your branded templates, don’t overdo it, and pay attention to how long it takes to download your email messages. Emails with lots of design elements – big images or video, for example – can create problems in prospects’ inboxes than more basic HTML emails.

Some of your recipients’ inboxes will default to prevent images from downloading, or in other words, it will take too long to find and download all those images. You want the visual design of your emails to enhance the overall experience, not get in the way of the content, so make sure your design doesn’t inadvertently decrease your open rates.

  1. Personalised Content

According to research, personalised emails improve clickthrough rates by 14%. Simply include a person’s first name in your email greeting to net a double-digit boost in email clickthroughs.

Despite the impressive benefits of email personalisation, a surprising 68% of marketers aren’t utilising personalised content in their email marketing – despite the fact that a third of marketers believe personalised campaigns are highly effective.

As a result, developing personalised emails is a great way to gain a competitive advantage in your email marketing. With 72% of B2B firms reporting that a top priority for this year is to deliver highly relevant content, this is the time to employ personalisation tactics and get ahead of your competition.

Think about how to leverage personalisation for your lead nurturing or sales strategies. Beyond simply adding a first name to your email greetings, develop targeted content for each list segment. Delivering personalised email messages or specific offers based on your audience behaviours, interests, or buying stage is a terrific way to set your content apart.

Just like a five-star restaurant would remember and cater to their top customers’ preferences – for example whether you like red or white wine – you can use smart lists and dynamic email templates to deliver individualised content based on your contacts’ form responses or past purchase history.

The other 10 sections cover:-

  • A Clear, Attention-Grabbing Email Subject Line

  • Actual Person as the Sender

  • Appropriate Segment

  • Value Proposition and Context

  • Obvious, Focused Call-to-Action

  • Relevant Image

  • Social Sharing Buttons/Links

  • Secondary Call-to-Action

  • Link to Privacy Policy

  • Unsubscribe Link

Get your FREE copy now by clicking the link below:-

  12 Core Components of a “Five Star” B2B Email

 

 

B2B Web Marketing - Why speak in 140 characters

 

b2b website marketing - social mediaFirst it was consumers, then B2C - but after years of reticence, the B2B sector is finally finding its feet in social media. According to a B2B website marketing benchmarking report, 85% of B2B firms now have a Twitter feed and 77% have a company LinkedIn page.

What’s not so clear is what they're using social media for. Is it direct marketing? Customer relationship management? A new channel to push out existing content? While they're all great ways to use social media, these online platforms are also providing the arena for today’s thought leaders to build their profile.

Where to lead thinking

Twitter and LinkedIn are the most popular social networks for B2B brands and seen as the most useful platforms according to the report, with YouTube and Facebook following behind.

Twitter is a fast-paced digital metropolis of news, commentary, speculation and debate. It’s a busy place to be but, with the right approach, it can give big rewards for people standing on the pulpit of their industry. Businesses and professionals looking to make their mark on Twitter should be engaging, opinionated and relevant to the day’s news in their sector.

Tweets should include links to relevant content and engage with industry stakeholders by mentioning them in your post, inviting debate and boosting your chances of your content being shared again via a retweet.

LinkedIn offers space for a more in-depth discourse. It has discussion threads that provide good opportunities to get into the crux of an issue with fellow industry professionals. You can also join groups relevant to your sector and increase your personal network. As with Twitter, having an opinion is essential.

For those happy in front of a camera, YouTube is a growing area for thought leaders sharing business insights, whether this is linked to a new report or industry event. While this can be a slick, professional video, a DIY approach can work well if you set up a shot carefully with your own camera or smartphone.

You may even be surprised to find businesses lending us their thoughts on Facebook, which has an ever-growing B2B presence. If you want to see a thriving B2B Facebook page, check out Oracle Business Analytics, featuring infographics, videos and special reports. It looks like Facebook, seen by many as a consumer brand playground, is fair game for the outspoken B2B industry leader.

Time for social media marketing services

Whether using traditional or digital media, good thought leadership takes both expertise and time. Successful thought leaders are getting involved in the online conversations, and driving them forward, on a regular basis. Spending a bit of time each day to monitor industry news and share an informed view is key. Unlike traditional thought-leadership opportunities like print media, online features or even blogs, social media requires daily attention and reactions to the day’s events in your industry, so investing a bit of time each day will pay off in the long-term. And if you haven't got the time get someone to do it who has!

Integrate your thoughts

It’s important to integrate your social media activity with other channels. If you have written a blog, make sure you start a discussion about it on LinkedIn. If you have an article appearing in your sector magazine, tweet them about it. If you’re speaking at or attending an event, let your followers know. Better yet, take an opportunity to make a quick video from the event and post it on YouTube.

Whatever industry you’re in, there is probably already a thriving social media community, or one waiting to happen. If you have a thought leadership strategy, its approach to digital media should take centre-stage. If you don’t have one yet, perhaps social media is the platform you’ve been waiting for? However, before you jump in you may wish to know about the recent changes that have occurred, get up to date by reading this paper that you can obtain for FREE from the link below:-

How to React to Changes to Social Networks

B2B Web Marketing - Marketing Automation

 

marketing automation resized 600The world has changed very quickly in the past decade and marketers have struggled to keep up with the advances that digital marketing now provides not only B2C but also B2B marketers.

Marketing automation has been heralded as the saviour of marketing departments and it really can help them to maximise the opportunities that the shift online has brought - but only if it’s done right..

Marketing Automation

You can’t just install a marketing automation solution and expect your results to be magically transformed. You have to have transformation on a cultural level first - it needs to be supported by an attitude shift in all your staff and management to ensure:

  • Collaborative working between departments.

  • Consistent measurement of results.

  • Continual improvement cycles.

So before you rush off to tell the board how your new marketing automation system is going to change their world and increase your sales, make sure you’ve got the right plans and processes in place to ensure that it can. 

How to make the most of marketing automation implementation

In an article on Marketing Sherpa David Kirkpatrick lists seven tactics for implementing marketing automation, we’ve expanded on these great tips to include two more. Our list of 9 points would look like this:

  • Choose your marketing automation solution provider and ensure it covers all YOUR channels.

  • Understand the marketing assets you have in place already.

  • Make sure your website is optimised for marketing automation.

  • Understand your CRM.

  • Know your content strategy.

  • Develop your employee engagement strategy and implement your benefits-driven internal communications plan.

  • Appoint cross-functional project teams.

  • Ensure relevant staff get the training they need.

  • Plan and review your process.

Here, we’re going to look at tip six in more detail.

Develop your employee engagement strategy

If you don’t get the motivation for the marketing automation solution to succeed embedded across the relevant teams, then it’s really going to have its work cut out to get you the results you want.

Everyone talks about how important it is to get sales and marketing aligned to maximise your sales, and research by the Aberdeen Group has revealed that the companies that have done it and are using marketing automation to manage the lead generation and development process are:

  • Seeing 40% of the sales pipeline coming directly from marketing-generated leads.

  • Achieving 31.6% year-over-year revenue growth.

Therefore, getting the sales team engaged is imperative. But a wider employee engagement strategy is essential if the customer experience delivered is to live up to what your marketing campaigns and collateral promise.

'Delivering on the promise of marketing automation' from MarketingProfs has some excellent steps to follow for driving adoption of the new solution, while these five keys for developing an employee engagement strategy should help you ensure that everyone cares about its success:

  • Have provocative visions and values for the project to excite and inspire people.

  • Show how the new way of working will provide more opportunities for professional and personal development.

  • Help everyone find a meaningful purpose in their work.

  • Introduce a meaningful reward and recognition process for initial adoption and continued use.

  • Include plans to manage ebbs in engagement levels and drive them back up again.

If you want to understand more about how the digital world can help you run marketing campaigns then a good look at my latest eBook on the topic may be found useful. To get your FREE copy just click on the link below and the PDF will be winging its way to you:-

   How to Run a B2B Website  Marketing Campaign

 

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