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Why Building Product Marketers Need Q4 Advertising

30 Oct

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How B2B Advertisers Can Utilize Q4 to Dominate Q1

I’ve been in the building products industry long enough to know that Q4 can be pretty quiet. Sales decline and web traffic follows with conversion rates sinking down. The reasons for the Q4 slump can vary:

  • Annual budget is exhausted (this just means the flood gates open in Q1 when budgets are renewed)
  • Holiday travel takes decision-makers off the job
  • Decision fatigue
  • Especially in our industry – the weather plays an important role in many parts of the country

So what can you do about it?

  • First of all, review trends from last year
    • Analyze prior holiday-time performance and predict when your Q4 drop and Q1 pick-up will occur
  • Mitigate the low tide and accentuate the high tide
  • Ensure sales and marketing teams are on the same page and working toward the same goals for both Q4 and Q1

And then – get ready! There is always a traffic slump between Thanksgiving and Christmas, but many B2B markets pick up right after the new year as people start planning. That means you need to be planning for Q1 today. Some of the best strategies for capturing that audience:

  • Build an awesome retargeting foundation around specific audiences. And consider making adjustments to your cookie duration knowing that the holidays will add extra time into the buying process. Also consider video remarketing, but be sure to lower your retargeting bids for these prospects.
  • Create a tiered conversion strategy based on both education- and action-based conversions. While education-related queries will likely dominate Q4, these can lead to big purchases in Q1. Make sure you are visible along every step of the search journey.

Bottom line – Q4 can feel slow, but it’s the perfect time to build a plan to capitalize on revitalized budgets and minds in Q1. Want to know more? Read the full article from Search Engine Watch here.

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How B2B Building Product Marketers Use Twitter

25 Oct

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Learn about the top content sources, handles and apps

I recently read an interesting article in Marketing Profs, “How B2B Marketers Use Twitter: Top Content Sources, Most Retweeted Handles,” and wanted to share some stats about how B2B marketers are using Twitter.

Most shared content:

  1. Industry media sites: 62% of Twitter shares
  2. Mainstream media sites: 25% of Twitter shares
  3. Social media sites: 11% of Twitter shares
  4. E-Commerce: 1% of Twitter shares

Most shared industry media sources:

  1. Mashable
  2. Business Insider
  3. Business 2 Community
  4. Other notable sources: Hubspot, MarketingProfs, Tech Crunch, Venture Beat

Most retweeted people:

  1. @ValaAfshar
  2. @jaybaer
  3. @BrennerMichael
  4. @jeffbullas

Most retweeted vendors:

  1. @HubSpot
  2. @salesforce
  3. @Eloqua
  4. @marketo

How B2B marketers share:

  1. Twitter.com
  2. Tweet button
  3. Twitter for iPhone
  4. Other notable apps: Instagram, foursquare

While it’s beneficial for building product marketers like yourself to know the trends in B2B marketing, it’s even more important to use the content, sources and apps that make sense for your business. Does your Twitter strategy reflect the trends of the B2B masses or have you found solutions that work even better?

Want to know the full findings? Read the article here.

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What You Need to Know about Google in the Building Products Industry – Part 2

9 Oct

G+

Google+ is More Than Another Social Network, Its a Valuable Tool for Your Business

In Part 1 I shared some of Google’s basics: Google AdWords and Analytics and Google Apps for business. In Part 2, we’ll talk about Google+.

Google+ launched in 2011 and is best known as a social network, although it has the power of Google behind it – making it incredibly powerful and important.

  • #2: Second-largest social networking site in the world (it surpassed Twitter in January 2013)
  • 1M+: Business and brand pages created in the first 6 months
  • 500M+: Google+ users and growing fast
  • #4: Google+ was used by 30% of smartphone users between April–June 2013, making it the fourth most used app

While every social outreach component needs to be carefully considered, Google+ needs to be part of the mix. Google+ is how your company manages its Google Places listing (recently renamed to Google+ Local) which dictates how your information shows up in Google search results.

Your Google+ Local profile features relevant contact and business information, your profile image and recent posts. But it’s not only available on Google+, when a user searches for your company, your Google+ profile appears on the right-hand side of the search results. So at the very least, your building products company (and you!) need a Google+ profile.

Still not convinced? Google features social annotations which let people see endorsements from your Google+ followers by linking your Google+ page to your AdWords campaigns. So instead of seeing a lonely ad, users see an ad endorsed by people that already know and trust your brand. Ads with social annotations have a 5-10% higher click-through rate!

Want to take it to the next level? Make Google+ part of your content marketing strategy, add a +1 to your site and encourage customers to connect with you on Google+.

Sign up for Google+ today!

 

 

 

 

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What You Need to Know about Google in the Building Products Industry – Part 1

8 Oct

G+

Google Goes Beyond Search: AdWords, Analytics and Google Apps

We all know Google’s awesome search functionality, but do you know everything else it has to offer? This 2-post series will teach you about:

  • Part 1: Google AdWords, Analytics and Google Apps for business
  • Part 2: Google+

Let’s start with the basics – by now you should be familiar with Google AdWords and Google Analytics:

  • Google AdWords: AdWords (commonly referred to as Pay-Per-Click or PPC) is easy to set up for your building products business and allows you to target specific search terms, manage your budget and see what is working and what isn’t.
  • Google Analytics: Google Analytics allows you to track visitors, and their activity, on your website. If you’re ready to take it to the next level, consider upgrading to Google Analytics Premium which provides even greater insights.

Google has also developed several apps that your building products industry company may want to use. Google Apps is a full suite of cloud-based productivity tools that let you (and your team!) connect from any device. They are simple to set-up, use and manage. Here is an overview of some of my favorites:

  • Gmail: Provides unique functionality like ‘labels’ that allow you to store emails in multiple folders. Also provides 30GB of free storage.
  • Drive: A place to easily organize all of your files on the Google cloud.
  • Docs: Perfect for creating and sharing documents in real-time with your team.
  • Sheets: Spreadsheet functionality with discussion style comments.
  • Slides: Work on presentations with your team in real time.

A couple other notable Google products:

  • Google+ Hangouts: An easy (and free) way for up to 10 people to have a live video call.
  • Google Wallet: Not only does it allow users to purchase products with 2 clicks, it now features a loyalty program component.

Look for my second post on Google coming shortly to determine what your company needs to do to stay relevant in search listings and beyond.

 

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5 Big Myths About Building Product Branding

16 May

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What you don’t know could be hurting yours

Brand is a fun topic and lots of people have opinions about it. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of bad information out there and that makes it more complicated than it should be, not to mention the fact that many people throw the term “brand” around without really understanding it. So here’s a short list of five simple myths about brand that every building products marketer should know:

#1 – Brand is a name or logo

Well, kinda. Those are certainly things a brand is associated with, basically the trigger for a brand, what identifies one brand from another. But to understand brand, we need to go deeper. My favorite explanation of brand comes from Marty Neumeier, who suggests brand is “a person’s gut feeling about a product, service or organization.” And that’s an important distinction to make, especially when we consider Myth #2…

#2 – You own a brand

Nope…and that is completely counter-intuitive. You see, you might own a name or logo, plus a tagline, website content, etc., but those “gut feelings” people have are uniquely theirs. You can’t own that, and yet that is the essence of a brand. So what you CAN own is the elements that impact the experience people have with your product or service—and you should, because it’s exactly what everyone else is using to develop their perception of your brand. From obvious things like quality and innovation to subtler items like website design and on-hold wait times, the elements that impact your brand are all around you.

#3 – Branding is putting our name or logo on things

It’s certainly a part of it, but only a small one. Want to know the biggest, baddest, most impactful way to build a successful brand? Here it is, free of charge: Make the experience match the expectation. There it is, the Golden Ticket to developing your very own Google or Apple (or Therma Tru or Masonite, for that matter). Of course, knowing it and doing it are completely different challenges. But the fact is Apple is known for innovation, Google is associated with results, and Amazon is trusted, not by accident, but because way more often than not, those brands have delighted people by delivering beyond expectation. That’s a positive experience consistently delivered, which builds trust, which builds brand.

#4 – Branding is the same as marketing

They are certainly related, but definitely not the same. Think of it this way: marketing is about delivering the message to your audience; branding is about delivering TO the message FOR your audience. In fact, an effective way to think about branding is “experience control”—all the work, effort, and strategy to ensure that what people experience is on target. That can be everything from how CSRs answer the phone to the quality of paper used in sales collateral. Consider that no matter how slick and new an airliner may be, the company logo sparkling on the bulkhead, that isn’t the airline’s brand; the surly flight attendant who snaps at you and screws up your drink order, for you, THAT is the brand. Ultimately, everything in the brand experience needs to deliver to a single message to build trust and preference.

#5 – There’s no such thing as bad press

This lazy approach to branding has seen some impressive names disappear over the years, even more so with the emergence of social media and the easy sharing of experiences. Today, unrestricted by any professional oversight, every blogger, every Yelp star, every Google “+1″ is all potentially a part of what people think (and feel!) about your brand. And the worst thing to do when something negative is shared is to do nothing at all, hoping the problem will go away. It won’t. So it’s important to keep the experiences and the conversations focused on the positive.

So what does this mean for you and your brand? Well, awareness is the first (and biggest) step. Always consider your brand from the audience perspective; not by what you’re doing, but by what they are experiencing. Knowing and understanding that perspective is critical to building a brand experience that can meet the expectations of those who will build—and talk about—your brand.

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