How to write B2B Content for your Personas & Yourself

Posted by frank harris on 18/11/18 16:38

digital marketing 1018Writing B2B content for online marketing is difficult. On one hand you have a set message to deliver, but on the other you must be interesting, otherwise, you risk losing your audience.

For short passages - keep words simple, sentences short, and use signposts in your writing.

 

But for longer copy, you have to do more than that.  

 

Your writing must make an impression, convince someone of something, and then get the reader to do what they might not otherwise do.

So how can you do that? 

There are countless blog posts on this topic. Sorting useful tips is not easy.  

 

At a high level, writing online B2B content requires two approaches which may seem contradictory, but can help you deliver lively, yet relevant, online copy.

Write your B2B Content for your Persona

To write persuasive and compelling copy, think about your personas.

  • What do they care about?
  • What’s on their mind?
  • What problem are they trying to solve right now?
  • What can they accomplish by reading your writing? 

This is not the same thing as keeping your words simple and your sentences short.

 

Writing for personas means stepping back from your writing tools, assembling a logical structure, and checking, constantly, that you’re writing something which your personas value.

 

Focusing on your persona offers three main benefits.

  1. De-clutter your copy

When you have a clear idea what you are writing and who you are writing for, you’ll feel confident to remove the 'business speak' which clutters writing and confuses readers.

 

Using words like 'leverage', 'synergies', and 'learnings' during a corporate meeting might seem normal, but you would never use them elsewhere, so don’t clutter your writing either.

  1. Grab your reader's attention

When you feature items which people are already interested in, rather than what you want to say, readers will be attracted to it. 

 

According to research, individuals pay close attention to and focus on things which they consider interesting.

  1. Keep your reader's attention

Readers are faced with the same distractions we all face: emails, messaging apps, phone calls.

 

The competition to keep your reader's attention is almost too overwhelming to consider.

 

But writing about something which the reader thinks and cares about, can transcend these distractions and capture the reader.

But….

… you're not finished yet. Writing which only considers its audience can end up sounding like an essay written at school.  

 

It will cover all the right points but be lifeless. And lifeless writing loses readers.

 

There is a paradox though. To make your writing interesting, you must write for yourself. This means putting words down as they come into your head. Writing as you speak and think.

 

Somehow, this seems wrong. We’re meant to write to attract and keep your personas’ attention. How will writing in our own voice accomplish that?

 

I will address this later, but first let’s look at the benefits from just writing for yourself.

  1. Your writing will flow more naturally

If you bind yourself to writing for someone else, then you will simply find it harder to write.

 

Writing is easier when the only filter you use in deciding what to say is your own preference, not what you imagine someone else's to be.

  1. Your writing will sound more human

Back to removing clutter. If you write in a way that makes sense to you, then you’ll naturally remove the words which make you sound like a corporate-speak robot.

 

Words and phrases such as mission-critical and going forward never appear naturally when speaking.

Writing for yourself will keep them out of your copy as well.

  1. You will break rules and catch people off guard

The most important reason to write for yourself is because it makes your writing more interesting.

 

So, delivering your own quirks through your writing makes you stand out from the crowd and be interesting.

Resolving the paradox

William Zinsser, in On Writing Well, discusses these two opposing approaches to writing.  He says that trying to do both seems like a paradox but explains that writing for personas and for yourself are two separate tasks which you can do in the same copy.

 

Writing for personas, he calls 'craft' and writing for yourself, he calls 'attitude.' 

 

When you think of what you are going to say, you are practicing the 'craft' of writing and you should think of your personas. 

 

When you think of how you are going to say it, you must inject your own personality, your own 'attitude', and you need to think of yourself.

 

It's easier said than done as nearly all writers struggle with these opposing constraints.

 

Yet to capture and keep an audience, we must use both approaches when writing.

So...

…how can you manage this paradox?

 

Every writer does it in their own way, but consider:

  1. Think what you want to say and who you want to say it to.
  2. Put together an outline which covers your main points.
  3. With your outline in view, write a draft in your personal voice.

It takes practice, but allowing yourself to write in your own voice is liberating and will produce more interesting copy.

 

And managing this apparent paradox also makes writing online copy much easier, even enjoyable at times!

 

For more on B2B content, just follow this link>>>

 

content marketing for small business

Tags: b2b marketing consultants, b2b marketing agency, b2b marketing leads, b2b marketing, b2b content marketing, b2b content

How to Build an B2B Online Marketing Community

Posted by frank harris on 18/10/18 10:12

b2b online marketing communityWhat differentiates you from your B2B online marketing competition? Your product and its features? The relationships you build with your clients? I think that every category has, somehow, become commoditised.

 

When you produce an innovative product, it isn’t long before your competition catches up. This leaves little for the customer to base buying decisions on apart from perceived value.

 

Also, there’s a lot content out there. Marketers are pouring more and more into content strategies, but most of the time they simply add to the content which most consumers are becoming more accustomed and immune to.

The Challenge?

If traditional marketing is old hat, how do we create a unique positioning to become the go-to supplier for our products and get a step ahead of the competition?

 

You can do it with excellent customer service and great retention strategies, but the best ways are through emotional and psychological bonds marketers can build by creating a sense of community.

 

Marketers have now realised that it’s possible to build a flourishing B2B online marketing community around values and beliefs which initially attracted them to your brand.

Why should marketers build a community around their products and brand?

  1. To Increase Perceived Value - When you increase the perceived value of your product, you increase the actual value.
  2. To Create a Content Experience - If someone visits your website and then returns on a mobile or tablet, can you identify them?
  3. To Move to The Next Stage in the Customer JourneyDespite GDPR, we’ll still give our email addresses in exchange for value. But creating an experience is key to delivering a deeper level of engagement. Marketers should build a destination so that prospects feel like they belong to a thriving community where people share their values.

What is a B2B Online Marketing Community?

The popularity of LinkedIn groups and email for discussing industry interests show that people value coming together with others in different ways. These groups are based on shared interests, values, and a desire to share content they feel is relevant to them.

 

People like asking for advice, and develop camaraderie knowing that there are people with similar experiences facing similar challenges. Thus, they build long term loyalty and trust.

 

But size isn’t always important. A micro-community with only a small number of members can be very successful if it has the right audience that is engaged.

 

How to create communities

  1. Identify your Customers

It’s important to know who your personas are. Beside demographic information age, income, and occupation, understand their lifestyles, attitudes, and beliefs. Develop your buyer personas - fictional profiles of the people who you want to sell to. They help you understand their point of view and the problems they need solving.

  1. Your Values

Besides knowing what makes your customers tick, it’s essential to understand your company’s values. An established company has developed values over time, and even a start-up has an idea of how to do things. However, values may not be explicit. Putting them into words is a good way to get them crystal clear.

  1. A Sense of Belonging

When you know your values, use them to create a sense of belonging by showing your personas how they relate to their worldview. They may not appeal to everyone, but that doesn’t matter as it can be helpful to alienate some people to strengthen the community’s sense of belonging.

  1. Opting in

Creating a shared purpose brings your customers closer. You can communicate messages using quality content e.g. online blogs, videos and articles. While some content should be freely available, customers must opt in to your community to access others.

 

Opting in is not onerous - just means providing a name, email address and perhaps signing up to your newsletter. Quality content that helps personas solve a problem is the key to encouraging them to opt in.

  1. Logging In

Logging in is a step up from opting in. People log in to access services like Facebook and Netflix - and it indicates they highly value the experience.

 

From a marketing perspective, it’s useful when customers log in because you gain more valuable data and can track people across different devices and anticipate where they’ll go and what they’ll do next. 

  1. Experience and Engagement

Once logged in, people need to feel they are getting value from the experience. They’ll return and make a long-term investment of their time in the community.

 

When developing a community, quality Not quantity is key. It’s better to have 100 members who regularly log in and contribute, than 1,000 occasionally.  Recruiting a community manager can initiate conversations, draw attention to relevant content, and introduce new members.

  1. Monetisation

Your community’s developed, your customers know and trust your brand, and share an outlook. So, you now know more about your potential customers and have an effective channel for sharing new developments with them.

 

Content develops the conversation. Don’t push too much sales information on the community immediately. It’s important to keep using great content to develop discussions, so your customers feel they are getting value. Once they trust you, they will like you, and your brand will come to mind when they have a problem to solve.

Conclusion

Brands need ongoing engagement, a way to continue the community conversation to build advocacy, engagement, and lifetime value.  You can communicate with prospects at different stages of their life cycle and promote the right content, at the right time, and in the right context - and to the right people. For more on developing content follow the link below:

 

content marketing for small business

Tags: b2b marketing agency, small business internet marketing services, b2b small business marketing, b2b online marketing, b2b customers, small business marketing strategy, b2b customer experience

8 Questions to ask before you hire a B2B Website Marketing Partner

Posted by frank harris on 02/10/14 08:12

B2B_Website_Marketing_PartnerAs a small business owner who runs a B2B website marketing company, I often hear about relationships that didn’t work out. Small business owners who can’t find a marketing company that they “click” with, etc.

Communication is key to avoiding these issues.

Remember, marketing is a partnership. You need to be able to do your part to make the relationship work. And a big part of this is being clear about what you want. To do that, you need to ask yourself some questions first.

  1. Will you Listen and try new things?

Before you spend anything on B2B website marketing, ask yourself if you’re ready, willing and able to listen to the person you appoint.

No one says you have to implement every idea. Working with a marketer doesn’t mean adhering to everything they have to say. But if you’re not willing to consider something different from how you’ve always done it, you’re wasting your money paying for someone else’s new ideas.

  1. What’s your communication style?

Some people prefer to communicate with their marketing company rarely, primarily through emails and scheduled meetings. Others want more from their marketing team, expecting instant availability and response to calls and emails.

Understanding your communication style is helpful when appointing a marketing company. You want to find one that’s a good fit. If you like instant communication and the firm you work with has a more laid-back approach to answering calls and emails, it will be a difficult working relationship to maintain.

Keep in mind that the more time a marketing company spends with you, the larger your bill will be.

  1. How are you with deadlines?

Every marketing company will need certain things from you in order to do their jobs. It takes a lot of information to run a successful marketing campaign.

As the business owner, your marketing partner depends on you to answer questions, provide insights and in-house graphics, review material as it’s developed and give approvals in a timely fashion to meet deadlines which are all important elements to successful marketing.

  1. Where do ideas come from?

Be clear about what you expect of your marketing partner. Do you want them to generate creative ideas for you, or do you want them to implement ideas you already have?

The answer to this question varies over time. With a long-term relationship some creative concepts are generated by them while others come from you.  The best ideas are often collaborations.

Your personality and expertise are two of your business’ biggest assets. You need to think through how you’re going to integrate these qualities into your messaging.

Some business owners prefer to be behind the scenes, letting their business be represented by logos etc., while others want their customers to be able to put a face with the business name. When it comes to expertise, some business owners share almost everything they know, while other business owners are more close-lipped.

Only use the approach that makes you comfortable. You need to know what your preferences are and communicate them to your marketing partner.

  1. How much education should your Marketing Partner provide?

If you’re experienced and tech-savvy, you may feel confident about your ability to implement the strategies recommended using the tools suggested. If you’re not as confident, get your marketing partner to provide education and training for your team.

For example, a digital marketing team may be asked to teach a business owner how to set up a LinkedIn bio. Be aware of what your needs and expectations are, and communicate them to your marketing partner, to help you find the best fit for your needs.

  1. What do you expect your Marketing Agency to do?

One big problem in marketing/client relationships is when clients expect services that the marketing partner doesn’t provide. Not every marketing firm does everything. The team that create signage for your store probably can’t provide great B2B website marketing.

Understand what your team does well and when you’d be better served by finding another company in tandem. It’s not always cost-effective to have one marketing partner do everything. However, do ensure everyone knows how to work together to support your overall brand and message.

  1. Should your Marketing Partner work with other Professionals?

Have you established working relationships with your Web master, graphic designer etc. - that you wish to continue?

Talk to your prospective marketing partner about your existing relationships, and ask about their willingness to work collaboratively. Clear communication around this point is essential.

  1. What about a Guarantee?

You’ve learned to be cautious. Guarantees are good so if something doesn’t work out, you get your money back. Marketers will present you with tactics and tools that have worked well for companies similar to yours previously, as well as their own creative approach to implementation.

However, there’s no way to guarantee that your audience will respond the way you want them to. There are too many factors beyond the marketer’s control. That’s why you rarely see guarantees offered by marketing agencies.

To understand exactly what should be in a B2B Website Marketing proposal why not have a look at one of mine:-

The Optimax B2B Website Marketing Proposal

Tags: b2b marketing agency

6 Tools to Launch & MeasureSmall Business Online Marketing Campaigns

Posted by frank harris on 15/11/13 08:54

small-business-marketing-campaigns-ukIn the words of Joseph Jaffe, “Marketing is not a campaign, it’s a commitment.”

When you launch a UK online marketing campaign, you are committing to a certain message. Whether that message is the promise of an educational piece of content, an idea-provoking conference, or an irresistible new deal, the message is there.

And if the people who decide to follow your campaign are not given what they are promised, you have broken their commitment.

But how do you stay true to that commitment? Having the right tools in your marketing tool kit is the first step. Without the right tools, you can’t even begin to launch a campaign. This eBook will advise you on 6 essential marketing tools that should be in your handy marketing tool kit.

From there, it’ll be up to you to ensure every campaign includes these tools. Whether you do so by printing and pinning it to your desk, or by carrying this tool kit around in your mind, this eBook will help you along the way.

So to give you a feel of what’s included let’s give the first two tools here:-

“TOOL 1: LANDING PAGES

Why Should Landing Pages Be In Your Tool Kit?

Companies that increase their landing pages from 10 to 15 see a 55% increase in leads. While that leap from 10 to 15 may seem small, think about why an increase in landing pages leads to an increase in leads.

The answer should seem quite natural. According to Marketing Sherpa, 44% of clicks for B2B companies are directed to the business’ homepage. While this statistic and the one above are not directly correlated, you can see the inherent issue.

People who click on any marketing message you send should be directed to a customised landing page for that message. In other words, your landing page should be customised for the needs of every campaign you launch.

If you’re announcing an upcoming event, your landing page should only be highlighting details of the event. If you’re launching a new eBook, your landing page should only be summarising the content readers will find. If you’re sharing a new deal, your landing page should only detail what the value of the deal is. Sending users to your homepage will significantly increase drop-off rates because they have no idea where to go once they arrive. A landing page solves that problem.

TOOL 2: CALLS-TO- ACTION

Why Should Calls-to-Action Be In Your Tool Kit?

Once you have your landing pages built, you can further promote your campaigns, drive sales, and capture visitor information. For such a proportionally small part of the total webpage, the call-to-action (CTA) plays a critical role in converting site visitors to leads. CTAs are the triggers that allow your customer to convert. By clicking through a CTA, your prospect is pulled further down your funnel - prospect to lead, and lead to customer.

To influence such conversions, add CTA buttons to all your campaigns. A CTA is the button a website visitor “clicks” on, which funnels them through the next step on your overall site conversion path. These CTAs can come in the form of linked text or images.

As hinted at, CTAs can help conversions on every stage of the funnel. For example, a CTA on a product landing page can bring people to your company shopping cart, while a CTA in an email can bring your subscribers to a new landing page to collect more detailed information. In this sense, CTAs are an essential part of your tool kit - they are the driving force behind moving people along in your campaign."

So there you have a taster of this helpful guide. The other 4 tools discussed in the eBook are:-

As you can see, the 6 tools are the most important and useful tools for any small business marketing campaign that you will need to do to get more traffic, leads and sales from your online marketing.

So get the full story by clicking the button below:-

6 Tools to Launch & Measure Online Marketing Campaigns

Tags: internet marketing for small business, small business marketing, internet marketing tips, integrated online marketing, small business marketing consultant uk, inbound marketing, get more leads, b2b marketing agency, digital marketing agency

Getting a balance in B2B Small Business Marketing

Posted by frank harris on 01/07/13 08:27

small business marketing successes resized 600As an online marketing specialist, I believe that the greatest challenge for business brands seeking to drive customer value in today’s multichannel world is understanding.

Whilst consumer brands have historically taken a more forensic approach to mapping customer touch points, analysing behaviour and building personas to understand how, when and where people are engaging with them and where opportunities lie, many business brands fail to explore customer needs closely enough.

The paradox? Data remains both one of the biggest opportunities and biggest headaches facing B2B marketers today. The sheer volume of data businesses have access to is seen by many as an obstacle.

How will we capture it? How will we measure it? What are the legalities? Etc…

It is true that in a multichannel world, more channels means more analysis. The consensus is that collecting and analysing data is time intensive, there is too much to keep track of and data keeps changing.

Whilst your own data will tell you how your customers are using your services and engaging with your channels, external data sources enable you to watch and react to the market and pitch your products at the right level, time and to the right audiences.

Being able to utilise data to analyse and monitor competitors allow you to see threats ahead and identify new ideas that can make the difference between success and failure.

So, with big data, where should companies prioritise their efforts for the best return? Which patterns should you try to decipher and which channels should you focus on? What can data tell B2B business about how their market is changing?

Micro-market analysis

As B2B marketing consultants, it seems micro-market analysis is an opportunity to use multichannel data in B2B.

Consider the case of a chemicals company, instead of looking at sales by region, the company examined market share within industry sectors.

The micro-market analysis revealed that although the company had 20% of the overall market, it had up to 60% in some markets but only 10% in others, including some of the fastest-growing segments. On the basis of this analysis, the company reorganised its sales force to exploit the growth.

Multichannel measurement

According to Forbes, more than 60% of marketers polled in a recent B2B marketing survey said their greatest marketing challenge was generating more leads, and nearly two-thirds (63%) reported that their marketing mix either doesn’t meet sales demand or they’re unsure whether it is effective.

Nearly 40% cited accurate measurement and attribution of online marketing as their biggest challenge. Remarkably, a quarter (26%) of respondents said they do not track leads to any marketing programme at all or they only attribute leads to one programme. They know half their marketing spend works but not which half.

Micro-market analysis principles could just as easily be applied to using data to optimise your best performing marketing channels. Identifying where extra sales are achievable and identifying the impact one channel has on another is important.

In summary

So, do B2B marketers really need a single customer view to leverage data? Not really, just better analytics, an appreciation of the inter-relationships between customer channels and the capability to respond effectively through flexible processes.

  • Look at your processes and identify the areas that are holding you back. What changes are necessary?  

  • Understand how data is held in your business and look at your analytics suite, could this be better integrated?

  • Could customer sales processes be automated to drive efficiency and speed to market?

  • Be honest about whether your current operation has the expertise to support integrated analysis and whether your processes afford you the flexibility to respond quickly to opportunities and threats in this world of perpetual motion.

  • What will your formula for success be?

If you are using Inbound Marketing then this FREE Whitepaper on how to be more successful could be very useful.  Download your copy now:-

"7 Steps to small  business success"

Tags: internet marketing consultant, small business marketing, internet marketing specialist, b2b marketing consultants, b2b marketing agency

Small Business Marketing is not impressed by Twitter

Posted by frank harris on 24/05/13 09:38

social-media-marketing-platformsMuch of the attention lavished on social networks as marketing platforms focuses in on large brands, many of which have invested heavily in these channels and can boast about large audiences.

One of the most popular social networks with brands has been Twitter, which is now generating hundreds of millions of dollars a year in ad revenue and may go public in the next year.

But what about small businesses? They too have been adopting and investing in their presences on social media marketing networks as part of their small business marketing, but they have markedly different views about where the potential is.

According to a survey conducted by the Wall Street Journal and Vistage International, small business owners don't think much of Twitter, with just 3% identifying the service as the social media platform with the greatest potential. That puts Twitter just ahead of Pinterest, which 3% of those polled believe has the most potential, and behind Google+, which came in at 4%.

Interestingly, Facebook didn't fare very well either. The world's largest social network may have a billion users and dominant mindshare, but only 14% of the small businesses the Wall Street Journal surveyed indicated that Mark Zuckerberg's creation has the most potential. That's even less than YouTube.

So which social media marketing network is seen as being the most promising? That distinction goes to LinkedIn, which garnered a fantastic 41% of the vote. That's good news for the professional social network and those in b2b web marketing, which recently rolled out an advertising API.

So how is LinkedIn winning over small business owners? One word: value.

Because even though LinkedIn's audience may be substantially smaller than social media's biggest heavyweights, that audience is capable of doing more.

Small business marketing: a role model for large brands?

Obviously, social media is important in inbound marketing but “your mileage may vary” by channel. The services that deliver will be different from business to business, making experimentation crucial. This also makes measurement a must.

Ironically, it appears that small businesses may be better at measuring what social media is really doing for them than larger companies. As the Wall Street Journal points out, small business owners "tend to think the 'value' of social media comes primarily from measurable factors, such as page views, click-throughs or direct sales."

That's not surprising when one considers that just 40% of small businesses employ somebody full time to manage their social media marketing efforts, and the majority of them allocate less than five hours a week to these efforts. Put simply, most small business simply can't afford not to measure whether they do it themselves or via a business to business marketing agency.

Large brands, of course, are often far more forgiving. They might measure page views, click-throughs and sales, but not all of their social initiatives are even designed to drive those kinds of actions. A lot of initiatives fall under the umbrella of branding, and the metrics used to gauge how well the initiatives went aren't directly tied to the bottom line.

The big question: should brands take a page from smaller businesses and seek to tighten up their social investments?

To be sure, there are huge differences between small businesses and major brands in many respects, so it would be unreasonable to suggest that they should operate the same way in social channels. But the Wall Street Journal's survey does highlight the fact that there are huge differences between the audiences of social networks and brands may want to consider that the audiences they've been investing the most time and money in reaching are far less productive than they had anticipated they'd be.

If you are a B2B company and accept, as I do, that LinkedIn is the best platform to concentrate your social media marketing efforts on, then have a look at my FREE eBook on using company pages – it will help your efforts become more successful.

Get Your FREE eBook on LinkedIn Company Pages

Tags: internet marketing consultant, small business marketing, social media marketing services, inbound business marketing packages, b2b web marketing, b2b marketing agency

Facebook - An Opportunity for Small Business Marketing?

Posted by frank harris on 15/05/13 09:42

facebook-in-small-business-marketingWhen it comes to business, although Facebook is a great networking tool, the most important thing any small business should do is start with a website and utilise all available tools to market it.

Facebook is the biggest social network out there and it’s possibly where your prospects, customers, friends and family are. Not only will Facebook help you find specific people, it also allows you to target these people as part of inbound marketing for small business.

There are three things that small businesses should do to grow a larger following on Facebook.

  1. Be consistent with your posting

  2. Be relevant

  3. Be excited about it

Remember people aren’t necessarily on Facebook to buy, per se. They’re there to have fun. There is no other platform that allows you to create deeper consumer engagement than Facebook. Small business owners should use Facebook as an engagement platform.

How Facebook groups differ from LinkedIn groups

Although LinkedIn has some big, powerful groups, the advantage that Facebook has goes back to friends of friends. This is where Facebook has the edge.

For example, with LinkedIn groups, marketers talk about how to build the group and how you get the LinkedIn alerts. However, when you create a group on Facebook, you can make it private or public but still operate in the Facebook space.

The main differentiator when deciding whether to create a Facebook group or a LinkedIn group is, “What is your audience using?

When it comes to Facebook groups, you have to keep in mind that some are public and some are private and Facebook has a very powerful search feature.

The rules of engagement for Facebook groups for small business marketing opportunities are:-

  • Don’t dive in there and start selling your products.

  • Take the time to become a social friend of that group.

  • Make yourself an asset.

  • When it’s your time to ask a smart question, you are going to get help.

You’ll soon find out who the good people are. Groups are similar to life. In time, the good people rise to the top.

Facebook has a lot of tools that allow business owners to monitor and manage their activities on Facebook. For example - GroSocial is a great tool if you want custom Facebook tabs on your site. Or if you’re into live streaming, you can stream to Facebook with apps such as Ustream.

There are many tools to enhance your own Facebook Page and extend your reach. Engagement is critical when it comes to making sales. You’ll find out what you need to offer your audience to attract interest.

Once you start to build your following, people are attracted to your site for information. Once they get to know, like and trust you, you will be able to draw them into your funnel. It’s your chance to get information from them to move people from social to your email list.

Here are two examples of what businesses can do to “take Facebook offline” and how to bring people to a website or blog.

  • Social plugins allow you to see friends who like the same website. Facebook enables you to show what fans’ other friends like.

  • Eventbrite is an event-management service. With this app, Facebook enables you to log in and see who else is going to the same event.

Share buttons and the Like button can also work for your business.

Facebook is a powerful platform for b2b web marketing. As a small business owner, you can drive more sales and traffic by getting social with no direct cost involved.

Being social can also drive physical traffic to your shop. Facebook has a lot of options when it comes to driving local traffic. For SMEs online marketing needs to get innovative. You need to do anything you can to bring your customers closer to you.

Once you have a Facebook Page for your business, unsatisfied customers will have the ability to write something negative on your wall. And they will! When you have an irate customer who is dissatisfied with something, you need to reply. Make sure you reply in a kind and honest manner. But, if they continue to complain, there are some tools that let you delete them.

Remember, if you have an army of customers who like you and love what you do, they will respond in kind. You need to make sure you are monitoring your Facebook Page. It’s not a “set it and forget it” operation.

So there are a few tips about getting involved in Social Media.  Still not sure?  Well get your copy of my FREE eBook from the button below:-

Why Social Media?

Tags: internet marketing for small business, internet marketing consultant, small business marketing, social media marketing services, b2b marketing agency, business 2 business companies

Five tips to build strong email relationships in B2B web marketing

Posted by frank harris on 10/05/13 09:18

email-in-b2b-web-marketingFor many B2B businesses, email is an important channel (tool) in their b2b web marketing to customers and potential customers. And, in many respects, B2B companies have opportunities to use email to build relationships in ways that B2C companies can't. Knowing how to use this important tool in the armoury of b2b inbound marketing for small businesses is essential.

As a b2b internet marketing agency I know that relationship building is hard, takes time and despite the opportunities email provides as a channel, many companies fail to take full advantage of.

So how can b2b companies use the email channel to build stronger relationships with customers and prospective customers alike? Here are five tips to help you become more successful.

1. Segment

Segmentation of your email list is an important part of any successful email marketing effort, and that's particularly true in B2B web marketing when you use email. If your company sells software, for instance, chances are you'd want to send a different email to a senior board executive than you would a technical lead responsible for deploying and maintaining your solution.

2. Make it personal

B2B web marketing email lists are often much smaller than their B2C counterparts, and that provides an opportunity in inbound marketing for small business to make emails more personal than is often possible in the B2C world.

Personalisation can take many forms. When dealing with existing customers, emails can be tailored based on the type of product or service a customer has purchased in the past, or could feature the customer's account manager as the sender. For prospective customers, information frequently gathered when the prospect is signed up either via the website or other methods such as networking, e.g. industry and company size, can be used to deliver more relevant content.

3. Don't just sell

At the end of the day, most b2b web marketing initiatives are expected to directly or indirectly drive sales, but when it comes to email marketing in a B2B context, that doesn't mean that you should be selling all the time.  In inbound marketing for small business email can be a great channel for offering customer assistance with products and services they've already purchased, or to provide free advice to potential customers.

4. Demonstrate your knowledge, skills and capabilities

B2B purchasing decisions are often more complex, take a greater time to bear fruit and considered and that means that the messages you deliver via email will probably need to be more thoughtful if they're going to produce the desired result. No "Buy one and get one for 50% off!" or "Free shipping!" offers here. The keys to producing a compelling message in b2b web marketing are know your customers, what problems they have right now and how your products and services can be applied to solving them.

5. Don't leave it all to your list

B2B web marketing using email isn't just about your list. If you want to build stronger relationships with customers and potential customers via email, taking the time to send direct messages is a must. For all the effort many companies put into producing content for email marketing campaigns, sometimes a simple "How are things going?" from an account manager can do far, far more to build a long-lasting relationship.

Email is just one area of Inbound marketing for small business.  Getting more traffic, converting traffic into leads, converting leads into customers and analysing how best to go about all this are the goals.  Email is just one tool.  To understand more fully how you can be more successful in your b2b web marketing why not download our FREE eBook on the subject by clicking the button below:-

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Tags: internet marketing for small business, internet marketing consultant, small business marketing, b2b marketing agency, business 2 business companies

4 Benefits of Content Marketing for ROI in Small Business Marketing

Posted by frank harris on 11/03/13 08:44

successful-small-business-marketingAs an internet marketing consultant I find it’s hard to read an article or attend a presentation about social media or content marketing without the subject quickly moving from creative or strategy to measurement - and often with an eye on the ultimate prize: ROI (Return On Investment).

Ostensibly, this is a good thing. After all, it suggests that the  internet marketing agency business has outgrown its “cottage” status and moved into the big house. But in our rush to “be measured like everyone else,” content marketers are in danger of short-changing their full value to companies.

Let’s look at four benefits of content marketing that will never show up on the Marketing Director’s dashboard but can bring immense value to the company and its internal relationships.

1.    Content can give you a recruiting edge

In a competitive industry like the marketing agency business, recruiting top-calibre talent is a priority of the highest order. In fact, recruiting top talent is one of only three priorities for every B2B business owner. Yet despite the importance of recruiting, it would be easy to overlook the impact an engaging content marketing programme can have on this business-critical priority.

So, partner with your HR department. When your company inducts staff, find out the reasons why they joined, and share this information with your internal teams. The ability to prove your content efforts have impacted recruiting will help make you - and your content efforts -  indispensable to your company.

2.    Content can help boost company morale

When I worked in an advertising agency, I recall challenging a client who wanted us to help his company produce a campaign that didn’t necessarily influence its buyers. When I pushed back on this point the Marketing Director told me, “The campaign isn’t for our customers. It’s for our staff. The place lights up when they see the campaign… and I know a lot of our workers see the media proposed.” I’ve never forgotten that lesson, and content marketing can help accomplish this very same goal.

When you publish a popular asset, the cheering it receives on the social web can validate the efforts of the entire company. Your victory lap is everyone’s victory lap, so make sure you “market” the popularity of your content to your colleagues - not to boast personally, but rather to remind them that as crowded as the social web is, your company managed to stand out.

3.    Content opens up lines of communication

Remarkable content doesn’t just get customers and prospects talking; it also gets your internal colleagues buzzing. It gives them something to share with one another, something to debate, or something to challenge. It opens doors, rings phones, and makes people talk over cubicle walls. It also provides you with an opportunity to recruit advocates and participants.

When your colleagues engage with your content, it creates an opportunity to invite them to contribute to future programmes. Because content marketing sits between so many different organisational functions, it is a surprisingly political role. Be sure to marshal your supporters when you have their attention.

4.    Content fosters trust

In a recent "FastCompany" article, Don Peppers convincingly argues that the key to competitive advantage is “being proactively trustworthy.” Creating content that is so valuable that people would pay for it, yet you give it away for free, is a reliable way to earn the public’s trust. This is precisely why the value transfer in content marketing should be from institution to individual, which is an upside-down model for traditional marketers. In other words, when trust is the goal, companies should strive to sell by not selling.

None of this is to suggest that content marketers shouldn’t aspire to be measured - of course as an internet marketing consultant I am and I should be. But as a marketing agency I also need to find ways to highlight the value we provide - especially if there’s no key performance indicator (KPI) attached to it.

To find out more about how to construct a content marketing programme why not download our FREE eBook on Content Marketing from the link below:-

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Tags: online marketing agencies, internet marketing consultant, small business marketing, online marketing services uk, b2b marketing agency, digital marketing agency

12 Content Mistakes to Avoid in Small Business Marketing

Posted by frank harris on 08/03/13 21:06

12 internet marketing tips resized 600With so much b2b lead generation these days being content creation (you should be writing articles, Blogs, newsletters, Facebook posts, Tweets etc) you want to be sure you are putting quality content out there. There are some common mistakes that, as an internet marketing consultant, I see over and over again. Use these 12 Optimax tips below to ensure you avoid these common mistakes.

  1. Bad Spelling/Grammar: Make sure you edit your work. I’m an internet marketing consultant and even I am guilty of this one. I think in spurts and when the content is flowing I don’t want to stop to correct any errors. That’s OK. Go with the flow. But be sure to edit when you are finished; and if you are like me and don’t catch your own errors, get outside help from the experts whether they’re a b2b lead generation company, email marketing agency or your partner!

  2. Size Matters – When It Comes To Content: You don’t want to give away too much information so that, in my case as a b2b marketing agency the readers learn all I want or need them to know, but you definitely don’t want to give too little either – that just blows your credibility and makes it look like you are all smoke and mirrors with no real value. Just like Goldilocks, you have to find the level of knowledge offered that is just right. So aim for offering enough value that you actually help people, without pouring out every little gem your brain is holding on to.

  3. Over-using Your Content: You want to use your social media to drive traffic to your content.  BUT you don’t want to post the original content in lots of different places. Post it on your site on say your blog pages and once it’s been indexed, put it on quality article directories (with slight tweaks and variations to keep it fresh).

  4. Feather Boas: There is an endless supply of content online for b2b lead generation in small business marketing – much of it boring, stilted, regurgitated and of little value. Here’re some internet marketing tips - dress yours up. Don’t be afraid to show some personality. Use analogies. Share stories and insights and opinions. Make jokes. Be controversial. Have fun with it. Make people feel like they are talking to the real you and not just hearing some corporate fodder that you have to spit out. Don’t be afraid to look foolish. (So many of my attempted jokes that I send out to friends have flopped – but it’s OK because they got people responding and engaged!)

  5. Always Think Optimisation: The spiders are going to be crawling your content so always try to work some great phrases in there for your small business seo.

  6. Be Current: If there is news in the world that you can relate to your content, go for it. Everyone loves a good pop culture or news reference to make a point. Show people your content is new and fresh and current.

  7. Be Loud & Proud: Don’t forget to include a strong “About The Author” on articles you submit. Make sure there is no question that you wrote the content and make sure they know who you are, what you offer and how they can reach you. Offer value in the body and scream your marketing message in the biography!

  8. Short & Sweet: Remember to keep your sentences and paragraphs short and sweet – too much text lumped together is intimidating and isn’t skim-reading friendly.

  9. Headlines and Sub-Heads Are Your Friend: Make strong points and guide your reader through your piece by using compelling headlines and sub-heads in your b2b lead generation. It breaks up the text and also gives compelling peeks at the content covered when someone skims before they commit to actually reading the content.

  10. Pictures Are Worth A Thousand Words: While the key messages will be delivered in your content, you should also use imagery to jazz things up and help make a point (not forgetting to put in the necessary alt text!).

  11. Avoid Jargon: Most people think industry jargon makes them sound smart but more often than not, it just confuses readers. Remember KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid). It’s one of the best copywriting rules.

  12. Format, Layout and Visual Presentation Are Key: If someone takes one look at your content and decides it’s too overwhelming, it doesn’t matter if it’s the best content ever written, no one will read it. Be sure you format with plenty of white space, bullet lists, bolding etc. It helps you highlight key points and it also ensures the page looks pleasing to the eye.

Well I hope these 12 tips have been both informative and a pleasure to the eye.  But for those not used to or just plain frightened to grapple with content why not find out why it’s necessary in the digital world of small business marketing by downloading the FREE eBook obtainable via the button below:-

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Tags: B2B lead generation, internet marketing consultant, small business marketing, internet marketing tips, b2b marketing agency

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