What they don’t tell you about Small Business SEO

Posted by frank harris on 13/09/18 16:02

seo-notebook-notes-ss-1920Small business SEO is tough.

I’ve worked on countless projects where the company has seriously underestimated the resources needed for small business SEO campaigns.

 

More often than not, they’ve read a case study online where someone has scaled up their organic search traffic from zero and is now bringing in hundreds of thousands of visitors to their website each month.

 

“Well, if they can do it, why can’t you?” they ask me.

 

They see the same things being mentioned by “SEO experts” that guarantee success:

  • Create lots of great content, and it’ll start to rank.
  • Google loves fresh content, so the more the better.

The chart below represents how a lot of people imagine SEO gains over time: a nice steady upward trend of traffic.

 

seo time line 1

 

The reality is that it’s more like this:

 

seo time line 2

 

Organic traffic growth is often unpredictable. You might find yourself doing SEO for quite some time with very little to show for it — then, suddenly, one of your pieces of content gains traction. Once it starts ranking, it has a knock-on effect to a few more of your pages, and you start to then see straight line growth.

 

Even during this period, it just takes one of your big traffic-driving pages to slip down to page 2 of Google, and you’re back where you started.

 

I’m sure a lot of people reading this right now have experienced this very thing. This is how even some of the most successful SEO campaigns pan out.

It’s not all about “great content”

Contrary to popular belief, great content isn’t enough.

 

Without doubt, the biggest cause of failure with SEO campaigns is the assumption that simply creating great content will get you results.

 

Yes, your content needs to be great. Yes, it needs to resonate with your buyer personas. Yes, it needs to be aligned to the keywords that you want to rank for.

 

All of the above is true, but if you don’t have great promotion, too, then that content will end up gathering dust in the nether regions of Google’s search results.

 

Nick Eubanks wrote a great article recently titled, “Content is Queen.” He described the very thing that I’m talking about and showed a number of examples where “great content” has completely failed to deliver results.

 

Here is one of the examples that Nick talked about:

 

seo blog 3

 

A lot of time and effort has clearly gone into this piece of content, which sits at nearly 7,000 words total. It’s full of useful stuff and is what you would class as fairly “linkable content.” But if that’s the case, then why has is only earned four backlinks from two websites (including Nick’s)?

 

The reason is that this content hasn’t been promoted well. The only evidence of this piece of content being promoted is on the brand’s Facebook, SlideShare and Pinterest presences.

Not all your content will rank

It’s common for a large proportion of your overall organic search traffic to come from a very small proportion of your overall content.

 

seo blog chart

 

 

Here’s some data from a study that, Pam Vaughan, did across the HubSpot blog. She found that 46% of all of their blog leads came from 0.5% of their blog posts (just 30 posts out of nearly 6,000!). Considering most of their small business leads come from organic search traffic, you can see how this can reinforce the point I’ve made above.

 

Don’t worry if this is the case with your own website. My advice here is to dig into what’s making the small number of posts so successful and see if you can “reoptimise” your underperforming content accordingly.

More importantly, don’t just tear down a piece of content and start again if it doesn’t perform as well as you had hoped. There are lots of ways to leverage or repurpose existing content, some of which I’ve described in detail in my small business SEO tips guide.

Links really do matter

This one can’t be stressed enough: Backlinks matter.

 

If you think that big websites online with a lot of “authority” don’t need to worry about links, then you’re mistaken.

 

Backlinks are probably the single most important factor toward ranking for competitive search terms, and they matter just as much to established websites as to brand-new ones.

 

There is very strong positive correlation between top-performing content within organic search and the number of backlinks that content had.

 

Even for a website as authoritative as HubSpot.com, they still need to have a backlink strategy to ensure that our small business marketing content ranks well.

 

If you really want your campaign to be successful, plan for the worst, focus as much of your time as possible on the promotion of your content, and don’t make assumptions before you’ve actually gathered data.

 

For help in getting your small business SEO the best it can be, just download the eBook from the link below>>>

 

lead generation

 

Tags: internet marketing for small business, small business marketing, SEO for small business, SEO services

B2B Email Marketing automation: 5 insights you must consider

Posted by frank harris on 19/08/14 08:17

b2b email marketing automationAutomated campaigns can be 200% more effective at converting sales.

Here’s how to achieve similar returns on your own B2B email marketing automated marketing efforts.

1. Targeting

In the B2B email marketing automation age, targeting is no longer a simple matter of demographics. Successful B2B email marketing automation combines online behaviours with known information to create a complete picture of:

 

  • A person’s roles and responsibilities.

  • Specific business pains that need resolution.

  • Their position in the buying process.

  • Any previous interactions with your brand.

This information then helps marketers to craft highly effective messages tailored to the user, increasing the chances of a successful conversion. 

2. Engagement

Talking to customers is as old as the sales process itself. In the B2B email marketing automated marketing arena, however, the focus has shifted away from your company and its products to the customer’s needs and preferences.

Your customer engages with you when they are ready. Your team needs to know how to handle and act on that information. 

Your business needs to collect relevant background data so that when your customer reaches out, you have the correct content with which to engage them. Finely targeted information will help convert that engagement into a sale. 

According to Gartner, event-triggered marketing can potentially save 80% of your direct mail budget.

3. Conversion

Having engaged your customers with relevant content, by the time they reach out to your sales team they will have almost certainly already made their purchasing decision.

The marketer’s job now shifts from providing information that informs, to content that enables the customer to make a decision. 

This means:

  • Identifying and addressing specific customer pain points.

  • Maintaining contact with leads through their chosen communications channel.

  • Using experience and knowledge gained from previous transactions to assist the customer.

4. Analytics

Each engagement and subsequent conversion yields information that can be recorded and analysed to yield additional insights and value.

By automatically collecting data at each stage of the customer journey, your marketers can see:

  • Which assets used in a campaign were most effective.

  • Segmented figures to calculate performance according to position, geographic location, company turnover or any other metric you care to consider.

  • Whether certain actions were more effective than others in moving customers along the sales pipeline.

These analytics can then be applied to future campaigns to further increase conversions and return on B2B email marketing automation investment.

The data can also be funnelled into traditional CRM functions to provide both service and sales teams with a full relationship history to improve customer service.

B2B research shows that only 21% of marketers say their current tools are even capable of measuring the right things. Furthermore, only 26% believe the data they collect is even accurate.

5. Marketing technology 

The magic behind B2B email marketing automation technology is the actual infrastructure that turns guidelines and triggers into actions. Technology is responsible for engaging with clients initially, then supplies them with the information they need in a format they choose.

B2B email marketing automation technology should:

  • Complement existing systems to recognise maximum value.

  • Help unify sales and marketing departments for ‘joined-up’ selling.

  • Assist with achieving revenue goals.

  • Provide you with the tools you need to reach your customers in the ways they choose.

Research from the Aberdeen Group found that marketing automation platform users have a 53% higher conversion rate from marketing response to marketing-qualified lead than non-users. 

Remember, marketing automation can help you:

  1. Target – be relevant to your customers and leads.

  2. Engage – provide your leads with the right information, at the right time, at their request.

  3. Convert – close the deal with compelling decision-based content and conversations.

  4. Use analytics – learn from previous experiences to create better campaigns in future and to provide your new client with higher levels of service.

  5. Gain maximum benefit from technology – by using innovative tools to automate the marketing cycle in line with revenue goals.

An important part of this is getting the whole email content process on track.  To find out how, click the button below:-

12 Core Components of a  “Five Star” B2B Email

 

Tags: internet marketing for small business, small business marketing, get more sales, online marketing specialist, b2b email marketing, marketing automation

20 Facts about Social Media for Small Business Marketing

Posted by frank harris on 15/08/14 08:54

social media marketing for small business resized 600Social media marketing is getting increasingly popular because of its ability to connect and reach targeted audiences virtually, within less time, and less effort. Especially, small businesses are finding social media very helpful for branding and marketing.

eMarketer says that one in every four people will have a social media account in 2014 across the world. This shows how much popularity social media is gaining in the world. So, if your small business does not yet have a social media presence, then now is the time to start social media marketing.

Facts about social media and small businesses

Here are some facts that show how social media is making big impact on small businesses.

  • Constant Contact reported that 49% of small businesses have found social media marketing effective for their businesses.

  • According to Socialmediatoday, 44% of small business decision makers are using social media websites to extract information of other businesses.

  • 73% of small businesses were using social media in 2013 according to mediabistro.

  • eMarketer reported that 24% of small businesses have integrated social media in a structured way into their business.

  • Facebook is leading among all the social websites with 82% of small businesses registered; it is followed by YouTube, Twitter and LinkedIn with 73%, 47% and 47% respectively. (Source: Mediabistro).

  • 80% of small businesses use social media websites for monitoring and collecting information about competitors to their businesses (Source: Socialmediatoday).

  • Lead-to-close rate is 100% on social media than traditional marketing methods (Source: Socialmediatoday).

  • 80% of customers on social networks prefer to connect themselves to brands through Facebook (Source: Socialmediatoday).

  • 53% of small businesses use social media as an engagement tool for providing 2-way conversation customer support (Source: Socialmediatoday).

  • It might also be surprising to know that 86% of social referrals are done by Facebook, while 11% and 3% are done by Pinterest and Twitter respectively (Source: Socialmediatoday).

Time spent by small businesses on social media websites

  • According to Socialmediatoday, 21% of small business marketers are spending at least an hour on social media per day, while 58% are spending at least 10 minutes on social media per day.

  • 50% of small businesses have increased time spent on social media compared to last year and reported gaining new customers and better business (Source: Swiftpage).

  • 80% of small business marketers have understood importance of social media marketing and are planning to increase their time spent on social media this year (2014) (Source: Socialmediatoday).

Purchases made through social media

  • 46% of online users are counting on social media before making purchase decision (Source: Neilsen).

  • 71% of users of social media websites say that they are more likely to purchase products from the brand they follow online on different social media websites (Source: Digitalsherpa).

  • 15% of customers use social media websites to search for local businesses. This is biggest advantage to local and small businesses (Source: Digitalsherpa).

  • 63% of users prefer businesses with the information that can be easily accessed on the social media websites (Source: Digitalsherpa).

Customer acquisition on social media

According to Socialmediatoday,

  • 52% have found their customers on Facebook in 2013.

  • 43% have found their customers on LinkedIn in 2013.

  • 36% of marketers have acquired customer on Twitter in 2013.

From the above facts and figures, it is clear that many small businesses are utilising different social media platforms for various purposes and reporting gains and profits. Is your business next?

Social Media Marketing is only one strand of Inbound Marketing, using the internet to market your company to get more business.  Find out more about this often talked about subject which you may feel is costly but it’s not, by downloading my FREE eBook from the link below:-

A Guide to  Small Business Marketing in 2014

Tags: internet marketing for small business, internet marketing consultant, small business marketing, get more traffic, b2b website marketing, social media marketing

B2B Website Marketing Automation - is it important for YOU!

Posted by frank harris on 29/07/14 08:22

b2b website marketing automationMarketing automation is a powerful tool for B2B website marketing companies as it allows them to create a rich profile of your audience and use targeted marketing messages to help drive conversions.

For marketing automation to work effectively data must be turned into insights that help to create strong customer lifetime values and optimise marketing messages.

Digital channels provide new and valuable sources of data and customer insight that can be acted upon in real time.

What are the major benefits of marketing automation?

In B2B website marketing, marketing automation is the place where you can manage all your data and create a profile of your prospects, so you can send out the right information at the right time to move prospects along on their buying journey.  

It enables marketers to gather information on their prospects through digital interactions and identifies when a prospect is sending buying signals so that you know that prospect is ready to speak to sales.  

The fact that marketing automation systems can link into CRM systems also allows marketers to give sales better data so they can do a better job and close more deals.

What are the main challenges in the adoption of marketing automation?

Technology is only an enabler. Although you can use automation to manage your database, send out campaigns and review reporting, companies that get the most out of marketing automation align with their sales departments.

Working together to establish common definitions of leads and stages in the funnel so that lead scoring can be set up means you know which leads still need nurturing before they are ready to speak to sales.

How does marketing automation help prove B2B Website Marketing ROI?

As the platform where all marketing data and campaigns are created and executed, marketing automation allows marketers to see what is and isn’t working in terms of response. Once the system is connected to the CRM system, marketers are then able to see how marketing is influencing the funnel and where they can predict where investments at certain stages of the funnel can create a pipeline.

Who should be involved in implementing marketing automation?

Sales and marketing departments in all B2B companies, and it should be supported by top management in both departments.

Marketing should lead in marketing automation and bring sales along for the key component of the lead management process but once it is time to integrate with the CRM system, sales should be very active, understand the marketing requirements and make sure the system works for both departments.

What processes should be in place before businesses implement marketing automation?

Understanding who your target buyers and influencers are and creating personas.  Once you know who you are looking for, what data and how your data should look becomes much clearer and you can focus on what’s important in terms of data quality.

What steps should be taken to ensure data is standardised within an organisation?

Everyone is responsible for data quality within a company, from marketing, to sales and client services. Anyone who touches a prospect or customer needs to help maintain that data.

Each department may have special requirements. For instance, marketing would be very interested in standardisation of job roles, industries and turnover so that they can effectively target certain contacts.

What kind of user data is most valuable for marketing automation, and what data collection should marketers prioritise?

Traditionally, demographic information is all that marketers really have available to them. Today, the most valuable information a marketer can have is behavioural data.  

The combination of ‘who they are’ and ‘what they do’ gives marketers the information they need to feed prospects with the right content to educate them along their buying journey.

Are companies well informed about what's involved with marketing automation?

Most marketers can probably benefit from all aspects of what marketing automation can offer them. The beauty is that once you have the system in place you can continuously improve and extend how you use marketing automation. Most marketers follow an adoption curve where they add sophistication as they master the basics. 

So, marketing automation is a useful tool. However it can only really be great when you fully understand what campaigns and when in the funnel they need to be implemented. To find this out just hit the button below:-

How to Run a  B2B Website Marketing Campaign

Tags: internet marketing for small business, small business marketing, b2b web marketing, online marketing specialist, marketing automation

4 Content Curation Tools to Consider for Small Business Marketing

Posted by frank harris on 18/06/14 08:30

content marketingContent marketing – creating and sharing your own blog entries, videos, infographics and more to attract customer attention and drive sales – is a great strategy to promote your small business. However, great doesn’t mean easy.

Many small business owners have discovered that consistently creating, sharing and promoting original, high quality content is a difficult, time-consuming task. Things become more complicated when you realise that to be an effective content marketer, you don’t just need good content, you need a lot of good content.

What Is Content Curation?

That’s where content curation comes in. Content curation involves gathering, organising and sharing online content that you think your customers will really appreciate. This content doesn’t have to be directly tied to your products or services, but instead speak to topics you know your customers are interested in.

For example, a wedding planner could collect all kinds of content about wedding dresses, fresh flower arrangements, cake design, etiquette and more. Even though the wedding planner doesn’t provide any of these services, they’re obviously topics of interest to their clients.

Today’s customers are always hungry for information. You don’t have to do the work of creating this information yourself – but by providing organised access to it, you enjoy the benefit of having a reason for your customers to engage with your brand, often directly on your website.

Content Curation sites such as paper.li, Rebel Mouse, and Storify automate the content curation process to some extent. These sites make it easier to find content that will be interesting to your customers by searching websites and social media for the keywords and topics you indicate are most relevant. Some sites also offer the ability to include content recommended by other users.

Free or Low-Cost Content Curation Tools

Paper.li

Create a daily, weekly or monthly customised newspaper delivered directly to your subscribers’ inbox. It allows you to automatically draw content from the sites and social media platforms more relevant to your customers. Ensure to take advantage of the editor’s note feature that allows you to speak directly to your readership.

Rebel Mouse

Organise and display all of the content from your social media presence in one central, visually compelling location. If you’re like the typical small business owner, a significant amount of the content on your social media site is not material you created yourself, and is instead items you shared from other sources.

Rebel Mouse allows you to make the most of your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, and LinkedIn content.  RebelMouse can be embedded in your company’s website, adding a valuable element of dynamic content for SEO purposesStrategic use of the Event functionality can help you maximise the return from any events your business attends, participates in or hosts.

Scoop.it

Combine your own content with content you’ve found online or had recommended to you by other Scoop.it users on Topic Pages. Slightly more labour-intensive than Paper.li, Scoop.it allows business owners to send out a monthly newsletter for free; weekly newsletter functionality becomes available at the paid level.

Storify

Collect content from across the Web and publish what you’ve found on Storify’s platform, which can be embedded in your own website.  Easily shared content is a great way to connect with your customers. At the paid level, Storify offers privacy settings which make it an ideal tool for internal communications regarding market research and other online inquiries.

Smart Inbound Marketing

Content curation can be a valuable tool to add to your marketing mix. Before you move forward, however, take the time to think through what you’re going to accomplish with your content curation efforts.

It helps to think of a content curation platform as a custom newspaper or magazine that you’re creating for your customers.  You want to be very clear about what type of content you want to feature. What topics are you going to discuss? What type of tone do you want your publication to have?

Creating parameters for the content you want to feature will make the selection process easier. It’s much better to be organised and systematic than it is to try to fly by the seat of your pants.

Commitment is the other consideration to take into account. Content curation platforms allow you to connect with your customers often. However, you need to objectively analyse whether that level of engagement is sustainable for your business.  Just because content curation is less work than creating original content, it doesn’t mean it’s no work at all.

Focus on quality. It’s much better to create a good newsletter or magazine that’s updated weekly or even monthly than it is to put something of lesser quality out more frequently. Smart integration of content curation platforms into your digital marketing toolbox can make the process relatively easy – and even a little fun.

Whatever you do, your blog, social media platforms, email marketing etc. all need to be optimised to get you the best results. To find out more about this just click on the link below:-

How to Optimise your  Internet Marketing Channels

Tags: internet marketing for small business, content marketing, small business marketing consultant uk, b2b web marketing

How B2B Web Marketing can help Small Businesses

Posted by frank harris on 22/05/14 08:40

Small Business 2014 resized 600SMEs have a lot to gain from B2B web marketing.  The Internet can help a business grow and Internet Marketing will help you take full advantage of all the opportunities created in the online world.

However, there are a couple of questions that I am asked all the time from people operating in different niches that I’ll share with you:-.

I am not selling online, why do I need Internet Marketing?

You still need Internet Marketing because nowadays purchasing decisions are influenced by online searches and if you are not found when they are doing their searches, you are missing great opportunities.

My customers are not on Facebook, why spend money on something that won’t give me any return?

Internet Marketing is not only about Facebook or Google. Social Media is only one of the tools available in your campaign. Campaigns cover a number of online technologies and you will concentrate on those that provide a higher ROI for your business.

I am already into this but so far I haven’t seen any results?

Usually this is because:

  • They either hired a person or company who didn’t know what they were doing

  • They don’t use metrics so they don’t know how they’re doing

  • They concentrate on measuring traffic and not conversions

It‘s essential not to make the above mistakes.

Benefits of B2B web marketing for small businesses

  1. Find new customers from the different online markets – there are millions of people searching Google, etc. for content or products, using Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn and other social networks. A well designed B2B web marketing campaign will penetrate all those markets and get your company in front of potential customers.

  2. Get you in front of the competition –If during research potential customers don’t find your website and they find your competitors website then what will happen? You lose customers to your competitors. However,  if you have a good website that is optimised for all devices and users then you have more chances of getting those customers and the investment you are making will keep you in front of the competition.

B2B Web Marketing Tips

Internet Marketing has a number of components.

1.    Web Site: Once you create your website, you need to make sure that it is of high quality and based on best standards and practices.

2.    SEM (Search Engine Marketing): This has 3 parts which are very important for the overall success of any campaign:

a)      On page SEO – gives better visibility in search engines and can make it friendlier to use by people

b)      Off page SEO – techniques to promote your website using white hat practices

c)      PPC – Pay per click advertising to bring your message to more people.

3.    Social Media Marketing: This method promotes your online business and recent studies show that there is an increasing rate of conversion from this traffic.

4.    Content Marketing: People love content and the companies that can provide their potential clients with the right content are winning. Let me give you an example:

If you are not selling online but you are a solicitor looking for local clients then your website should have information about your company, staff, expertise, location, portfolio, ways to make an appointment, general advice about law related matters etc.

5.    Email Marketing: Companies that can get valid email addresses of potential and existing customers have opportunities to increase their customer base. The success of email marketing depends on many factors but use it as part of your overall internet marketing campaign and not standalone. If you use email to send messages with no real value recipients will consider it “spam” and will gradually have a bigger impact on your business.

6.    Mobile Marketing: Mobile usage is increasing with smartphones; the importance of mobile marketing is increasing. First, ensure your website is optimised for the various mobile devices. Next, ensure it is SEO optimised as Google penalises mobile websites that are not SEO optimised. Also consider creating mobile apps for the different mobile markets and find even more customers.

7.    Banner Advertising: If there are quality websites or blogs in your niche that offer advertising space, run a couple of test campaigns and evaluate the results including measuring the return on investment. You need to know what users do from the time they click on your ad, how much time they spend on your site, which pages they visit, what actions they take and how many of them convert. Then you can decide whether or not to continue running the ads.

Conclusion

Internet marketing is a must of every serious business even if it is not depending on the Internet to make sales. Whether you are selling a product or service you need to invest in your Internet presence because this is how business is done today.

Internet marketing works and there are many examples of businesses that have expanded because of the Internet but you need to do it correctly and consistently in an ongoing process.

Finally, if you don’t have the knowledge to do this in-house, it is one of the most appropriate services to outsource and gain from the main benefits.

Once you’ve decided on which channels you are going to use, it is important that you optimise everything you do.  To discover how, download the paper from the button below:-

How to Optimise your  Internet Marketing Channels

Tags: internet marketing for small business, internet marketing consultant, small business marketing, b2b web marketing

The Internet and B2B Web Marketing

Posted by frank harris on 05/05/14 08:26

b2b web marketingDoes the Internet affect your business? Because of the changes it has made for B2B web marketing, it is important even for brick and mortar companies. Fortunately, you can use it to your advantage. The Internet plays your strengths as it enables you to focus your B2B web marketing down on one niche where you can excel.

In my years as a internet marketing consultant, one of the toughest 'sales' I have had is getting clients to understand that not everyone is their prospect. Start by identifying those needs you address best. Concentrate your marketing efforts there to get momentum thereby growing sales.

Sales and Marketing Rule of Thumb

There's been a rule of thumb in sales and marketing for all 40+ years that I've been in the profession: it takes 7 impressions to make a sale. An impression is where a prospect sees or hears about you and your products and services.

Because of the shorter attention spans today, many marketers feel that the number of contacts needed has jumped to between 12-15 impressions. Your goal is for prospects to know, like and trust you. It takes a while and multiple contacts to build a relationship.

Use Both Offline and Online B2B Web Marketing

Offline methods still work. You can reach your ideal prospects through direct mail, networking events, print, radio, TV or poster advertisements in the right media, and telephone calls.

But the Internet can give your small business B2B web marketing a real boost because of how easy it is to focus on your niche. You just need to identify where you ideal customers invest their time.

How to Connect through the Internet

One of the clichés in marketing is "give to get." People want to know that you care about them not just their wallet to buy your products. They also want to know you have the expertise to help them. Here are three options:

  • Answer questions in forums

  • Comment on other people's articles

  • Tell stories that describe their pain

Answer Questions in Forums

When you answer questions on forums, avoid a hard sell. Many people in forums are cynical and wary of people pushing their products instead of sharing. Serve first. If it is appropriate, you can refer them to an article or blog for more information or even a product.

Comment on Other People's Articles

I have generated traffic to my site by commenting on other people's posts. The larger the online publication's audience is, the greater the likelihood someone will follow up on your viewpoint, particularly if you are politely disagreeing with the other position.

Tell Stories that Describe Their Pain

People search the Internet to find solutions to their problems. Most of them are lucky if they can define their problem. They might know that there is a solution but not what it is or which one is best for their needs and situation.

Use stories that describe their pain instead of pushing a specific solution. Let them know you understand them and what they are feeling. You can do that with blog posts, articles on other sites or through videos. Then you can talk about solutions and interest them in knowing more.

The Internet enables your small B2B business, whether brick and mortar or online, to make a strong impact provided you identify and focus on the problems of your niche. You can use forums, commenting on other articles and writing blog posts as part of your small business marketing activities to reach your prospects. It merely takes time instead of a large advertising budget. Because people want to connect with a person, this gives you an edge over major corporations.

Find out more about Internet Marketing for small businesses by downloading the paper from the link below:-

How to make your  Marketing  MORE Successful

Tags: internet marketing for small business, small business marketing consultant uk, b2b web marketing, integrated internet marketing

Content Marketing's Role in Getting Small Business Marketing Leads

Posted by frank harris on 14/02/14 08:06

content-marketing-in-small-business-marketingContent marketing is more important than ever in small business marketing. The B2B small business buying process has changed, and so has the B2B buyer. Gone are the days when salespeople actively “sold” to prospects and marketers would participate in “interruption marketing”– doing their best to get in front of prospective customers regardless of their level of interest or qualification.

The Need for Content Marketing

Thanks to the Internet, social media and other major online influences, prospects are spending more time on the Web doing independent research, obtaining information from their peers and other third parties.

As an B2B marketing consultant, I know that companies are meeting prospective buyers earlier than ever, and they must avoid having a sales engagement with every early-stage lead that is not truly sales ready.

The Role of Content Marketing in Lead Generation

Using B2B lead generation techniques, companies are finding success by increasing awareness and demand for an entire industry, allowing their company to benefit from the expanded market and its increased interest.

To be effective, you cannot just focus on the benefits of your product or service, but instead share the business benefits of employing best practices in your industry. Companies that successfully use content marketing will improve their credibility amongst customers and prospects and will be able to claim a larger share of the available market than competitors. This is because they are building trust and rapport with these prospects and customers, making it easier for them to justify purchasing your product.

Content is not just white papers, webinars and web pages. It includes a wide range of information your company uses to educate buyers. This is thought leadership and can include:-

  • Articles

  • Books/eBooks

  • Brochures/manuals

  • Case Studies

  • Information Guides

  • Microsites/Web Pages

  • Online Courses

  • Podcasts/Videocasts

  • Presentations

  • Product Data Sheets

  • Reference Guides

  • Resource Libraries

  • RSS/XML Feeds

  • Videos

  • Visual Content

  • Webinars/Webcasts

  • White Papers

  • Workbooks

The material you use in content marketing should do more than just inform or educate, it should inspire.

As B2B marketing consultants we have produced an eBook that covers the use of content in the following areas:-

•    Demand Generation

•    Lead Generation    

•    Lead Nurturing     

•    Lead Scoring

Last but not least it also looks at The ROI of Content Marketing and here’s a snippet from this section to whet your appetite:-

“True Return on Investment (ROI) for content marketing to get leads would be a measure of the profit earned from your content marketing. Essentially, it would be the return you receive from creating and distributing content. But you cannot accurately calculate this value without looking at all the sales and marketing that contributed to a sale.

To do this, you must look at the campaigns the content is used in and evaluate the effect of these campaigns on your company’s income. Then you must attribute a percentage of this success to the content used in these campaigns, because their success is only partially due to the content itself. Other factors creating the programme’s success may include: -   

•    Emails distributing content

•    Social media marketing

•    Sales reps sharing content

•    Search engine optimisation

•    Pay per click advertising

•    Trade shows where content is distributed

•    Branding and reputation

In addition to looking at the success of content by campaign, you should begin to measure campaign influence. By looking at which pieces of content are most frequently consumed by successful opportunities (sold deals), you can see what content is most useful to prospects.”

There you have a peek into this most important part of online marketing.  To get the full picture why not download this FREE eBook for yourself from the link below and understand the role of content marketing in getting more small business marketing leads.

Content Marketing’s Role  in Getting Leads

Tags: internet marketing for small business, b2b marketing consultants, content marketing, get more leads, online marketing strategy

5 Tips from a B2B Marketing Consultant

Posted by frank harris on 29/01/14 08:40

small-business-marketing-consultantNo one doubts that the fundamental rules of customer engagement have changed. Customers rely on information from many sources and engage with each other to discuss your brand – often long before you have any contact with them.

But that doesn’t mean they don’t want or need to engage directly with your company. In fact, customers are engaging more deeply with brands than ever before.

The challenge for B2B marketing consultants is to find ways to engage effectively with customers across channels in a seamless, truly conversational, way.

1.    Get to Know Your Customers Better

You must understand your audience in detail – their roles, responsibilities, needs, and wants – i.e. personas.  Personas enable you to get into the mind of customers and prospects in B2B lead generation.  And when you understand your audience’s world and motivations, you can create content that engage them more deeply.

So, start by defining a persona for each of your target buyers and influencers. Give each a real name, a title or position, tasks they need to accomplish, relevant demographics, problems, needs, and wants. Include a narrative that describes the flow of that person’s day, including their skills, attitudes, environment, and goals. Use these on your engagement platforms to track site visitor behaviour and gain insight for optimising your digital marketing efforts.

2.    Understand that Relevance has a Finite Life

Relevance is a key driver of engagement.  However, when it comes to relevance, timing is essential to effectiveness.  Relevance has a shelf life – what is interesting to a prospect or customer now, may not be as interesting or relevant later. Over time, interest wanes and so does relevance.

But if we capture the latest behaviour of our prospect and then trigger an interaction based on that behaviour in a timely way, we deliver a relevant comment or opportunity while interest is still at a peak.  As a B2B marketing consultant I know that being timely and relevant can improve engagement and help prospects move farther along the buying process.  Look for an engagement platform that lets you automate much of the process and triggers the conversation forward with relevant responses

3.    Create a Normal Conversation

There’s a natural cadence to a normal conversation. Each party remembers what was talked about previously and the next conversation picks up where you left off.

To have intelligent, engaging conversations across channels, you need to keep track of the context. If you have siloed channels, the conversation is staccato, rather than a single conversation that builds on the last interaction.

You need to collect, store and mine customer intelligence across all channels. Behaviours, job title, interests, attitudes, all need to be accessible in other channels to continue the conversation wherever it left off.

There are three essential elements for creating natural conversations with prospects:

  1. Customer intelligence – collection of information in one central place.

  2. Moments of opportunity – your turn to speak by identifying these moments throughout the customer engagement lifecycle.

  3. Automated interactions –ensure a timely response by automating the engagement flow, so relevant content gets provided at the height of interest.

4.      Take Personalisation to the next Level

Personalisation increases conversions and sales. But many in B2B lead generation still haven’t moved beyond personalising email with the customer’s name.  Personalisa¬tion is one of the most under-used strate¬gies in marketing.

Start with data collected about your prospects and customers. The data includes interest level, keywords used, preferences, behaviours, needs, wants, and more.

Then model scenarios for what content or offer to present next in the customer lifecycle that would be most relevant based on this data. Technology can help you automate your scenarios to personalise the experience and deepen the engagement.

5.    Measure Engagement Value

Measuring open rate, clicks, and traffic to your site are metrics that show digital marketing performance from a volume perspective. But two-way conversations and customer engagement with the brand can’t be measured using quantitative methods.

You need a way to measure engagement so you know what’s working, so track and measure engagement. You can do that by assigning a value or points to interactions throughout the customer lifecycle. These interactions are your conversion goals and should be indicative of revenue, e.g. signing up for a free trial demonstrates a certain level of engagement so assign it a value.  You can begin to see trends that you might not see only looking at volume statistics and trends.

In the age of the empowered customer, it’s clear that the nature of b2b marketing is changing fundamentally. Traditional marketing is fast losing its effectiveness. Today, online customer engagement is mandatory. Delivering relevant, valuable interactions that earn prospects’ and customers’ interest and trust is the new way to build your brand. So find out the tools needed to launch and measure a B2B Small Business  Online Marketing Campaign by downloading a recent eBook of mine from the link below:-

6 Tools to Launch & Measure Online Marketing Campaigns

Tags: internet marketing for small business, small business marketing, integrated online marketing, b2b marketing consultants

Three steps to develop personas in small business marketing services

Posted by frank harris on 10/01/14 08:41

personas-in-small-business-marketingSegmentation is the key for content marketing success, and as all your marketing messages need to speak to business pains, you need to ensure you develop your small business marketing personas so that you have a specific audience in mind and can show how you can resolve their business frustrations.

Making sure your content resonates with the people you want it to is the way to get B2B lead generation.

These potential leads use online communities to make purchase decisions and consume research reports, social media and email newsletters, as well as more traditional channels such as event and print journals/magazines, on their buyer journey.

These people spend on average 6.5 hours a week consuming online content, so by profiling them correctly you could transform your marketing results.

Follow this easy three step guide to creating small business marketing personas to get the B2B lead generation results you want.

1.    Put together a list of questions to ask yourself about your target customers

Traditional marketing segmentation used to concentrate on things like demographics, age, location and income, but to be successful today, small business marketing consultants recommend that marketers need to go a bit deeper and ask questions that will reveal more valuable details, for example:

•    What is their job title?

•    What are their key business pains?

•    What is their motivation to buy?

•    Who do they look to for trusted information online?

•    Where are they in their buyer journey and what decision-making authority do they have?

2.    Collate the data you gather into a template for each marketing persona you identify

According to Tribal Cafe Marketing, the data you gather will reveal traits and patterns that should enable you to create five clearly-defined personas to speak to.

By gathering the data together into templates you not only have easy-reference to what you need to say to the persona group you want to speak to, but you will also be able to see areas of crossover and where the messages and content you develop for one group can be adapted slightly to speak to another audience in your B2B lead generation programmes.

3.    Don’t go it alone. Persona development needs to be bigger than marketing

What you need to be sure of is that you are getting the right people involved in persona development. Sales and/or Account Management should play a big part in this process, as they are the ones that have conversations with the people you’re targeting with internet marketing services for small business.

Once you’ve got the right people on board, make sure you use the information you've gleaned from them in combination with the data you’ve already built up from your small business marketing campaigns.

Once you have developed your personas, you then need to use what you’ve learnt to guide the development of your content marketing strategy that will speak to them.

So what does this tell us:-

  1. Dig deeper with questions to uncover valuable details.

  2. Organise your treasure into templates.

  3. Ask Sales and/or Account management to help with the digging - they have the tools and the knowledge after all.

Persona development is vital to building a lean, mean sales and marketing organisation for B2B lead generation. It helps to hone in on exactly what your prospects want, and how best to deliver those internet marketing services for small business.

From personas the next step is keyword development then onto SEO, areas I will consider in blogs in the near future.  Meantime understand the changes that have and will happen in SEO by downloading the FREE whitepaper from the link below:-

The Past, Present, and Future of  Small Business Marketing SEO

Tags: B2B lead generation, internet marketing for small business, small business marketing, b2b marketing consultants, small business marketing consultant uk

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