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Deciding Which Trade Shows to Attend This Year

1 Feb

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The personal relationships and business reputation that you can develop through trade shows is an ROI that you cannot really obtain anywhere else. However, you need to attend the right shows to make sure that you are building the personal relationships and business reputation that actually matter. Your business is probably on a budget as well. Even if you have multiple shows to attend, you may have to make a choice. Here is a short post on how to choose the trade shows to attend this year.

Defining Your Intent

Before you begin looking up keynote speakers and planning logistics, plan out the objectives for your year. The trade shows that might increase your overall leads may not be the same shows that would be best for a new product launch or a loyalty plan.

Shortening the Discovery Process

There are quite a few trade show calendars that you can search for new ideas on what to attend. Before you get a shortlist, you should look around a bit. New shows are popping up all over the world. The globalized economy is more connected than ever, and you may find a show that you did not even know existed. Here is a good calendar to get you started.

Studying the Event History

Once you find a number of interesting shows, you can check the history of those shows online. In the same way that you might check a review for a restaurant before going, you can now check the event history of shows. Take a look at the comments that other attendees have left in past years. Cross-reference their feedback with the goals you set for your business when defining your intent.

Getting the Timing

You may be able to attend more shows with a little logistics work at the beginning of the year. Shows that are close to each other may save you money on travel costs. You may be able to bring exhibits from one show to another that is within the same time frame. You should also consider how the timing of shows coincides with your internal schedule. For instance, a new product expo is no good if you are not going to be done with your prototype.

Looking at the Press

In order to shorten your list, you should look at the additional marketing opportunities that each show offers you. Some shows will have sponsorship opportunities or have speaking slots that you can use to advertise. Prioritize the shows that have the highest ROI, and contact them early to get on these special lists.

Segmenting Your Audience

The total number of attendees at a trade show is much less important than you may think. You want the right people, not the most people. Although the global audience is great to touch, realize that around 50% of attendees at a trade show will come from a 200-mile radius. Is this local audience important to you? If not, then you may be able to skip the show.

Creating a Budget

You now have a shortlist of trade shows and the schedule to attend them. It is time to get the budget together to attend them all. There is a reason that the money comes after the planning stage–hopefully, you have chosen shows that will expand your profitability. If this is the case, then the upfront cost should not matter. If all of your shows brings you $100,000, then a $10,000 expense, no matter how painful in the short term, is always worth it.

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How to Win the Online Marketing Battle

30 Jan

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The quest to convert target customers into clients is never-ending. The battle to connect with such clients has moved to the web across the past couple decades. It is no longer enough to advertise on radio, TV, billboards, magazines, and/or newspapers. If you own, manage or advertise for a business, it is imperative you win the online marketing battle. Here’s how to do it:

Tap Into the Power of Inbound Marketing

Today’s competition for business requires exposure those who spend time on the web as well as those who do not use computers or smartphones. Just about every company needs a healthy mix of traditional outbound marketing with inbound marketing. Inbound marketing is all about connecting with clients who already express an interest in your product or service. These are the prospects who are most inclined to transition into loyal customers. Consider adding something like a membership form for your website. This way, new visitors to the site will be able to obtain more information about your offerings. Whether it is a membership for discounts, industry information, product/service updates or anything else to keep target customers in the loop. Regular correspondence with such clients keeps your company at the forefront of their mind. This consistent contact through online channels will prove essential to keeping target clients thoroughly engaged with your business.

If an online membership or club does not jive with your business and what you offer, consider implementing an email marketing campaign in which those who have expressed an interest in your offerings are provided with an electronic newsletter. An email campaign such as a newsletter will establish your business that is worthy of respect as well as prospective clients’ business. Though an email marketing campaign, online membership or other clubs might not generate an immediate impact on the bottom line, it will catalyze business as time progresses. Be patient, make a genuine commitment to inbound marketing and you will enjoy an uptick in business in the ensuing months and years.

Social Media Matters

Business owners and managers who take the time to study their competitors will likely find these groups have a strong presence on social media. If your organization has not yet established a presence on the popular social media sites, it is time to do so. Appoint a social media manager to manage your company’s accounts on these platforms. This professional will ensure prospective clients are engaged on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social media sites. Use these platforms to provide clients with updates regarding products and services, tips from industry insiders, sales updates, and other important information.

Establishing a presence on social media does not mean you have to employ a full-time social media marketing manager who makes a lofty salary with full benefits. Rather, you can start out with a part-time employee and gradually increase the workload as time progresses. In fact, you might find it prudent to lean on a tech-savvy employee to handle social media responsibilities during lulls in work. Above all, your company’s social media presence should be engaging. Provide interesting information that gives prospective clients insight or facts and they will begin to view your company as a trustworthy authority figure worthy of their business.

Content is Still King

It is often said content is king when it comes to the web. This statement was true a decade ago and it is still accurate in 2018. Companies that generate a steady stream of intriguing content that helps customers solve problems or better understand the product or service offering will inevitably enjoy a spike in business. However, any old content will not engage prospective clients. The content must be laden with keywords and key phrases relevant to your industry and possibly even your locale, depending on the type of services and products you provide. The use of such keywords will help your content rank high on search engine results pages. Highly-ranked website pages will lure in target customers, provide them with captivating content and ultimately lead to a considerable bump in conversions.

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Instant Gratification: 5 Ways it Impacts Your Content Marketing Efforts

2 Jan

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It’s been said that the average human attention span has gone down from 12 seconds in the year 2000 to just eight seconds today. With the advent of mobile just-about-everything and the mainstreaming of the internet of things (IoT), this statistic is hardly surprising—these days, it’s all about instant gratification.

But what does this mean for your content marketing efforts? For starters, it means content has to adapt to stay relevant and to even have a chance of being consumed.

Time is of the Essence

Today’s consumers are ultra-connected and always on the go. They have the internet available to them at all times, on screens of all sizes.

When it comes to content, your audience wants it in small, easily digestible portions. Content needs to be concise and easily scanned across all devices…and of course, it needs to be shareable. Consider these tactics to make your content easier to absorb:

  • Add open graph (OG) tags to your site. OG tags operate for social media much in the same way that meta tags operate for search engines: they create a compelling, attractive preview when your content is shared on social. These previews make your content more noticeable and marketable to those devouring their news feed as quickly as possible.

Rapid-Fire Website Loading is Essential

According to Kissmetrics, website visitors expect a site to load in less than three seconds. To make matters worse, visitors frustrated with slow-to-load sites typically abandon ship and head for the competition.

Try out these tips to help your customer’s gain access to your content as fast as possible:

Google AMP: Speeds up the mobile rendering experience during web browsing by offering potential visitors a stripped-down version of your site.

Facebook Instant Articles: Loads a lightweight version of your blog when a visitor clicks on your link from the Facebook app. This allows for instant loading of your website to your Facebook following, offering a faster reading experience for your customers.

 Personalized Content is the New Normal

Customers expect to get the content they need without much effort—and this includes content that is specifically targeted to their needs and preferences. To help personalize the user experience, consider these tools:

  • Google Optimize 360: Free A/B testing is available to all Google Analytics users. For enterprise users, the content personalization tool helps deliver engaging experiences through website variation testing. The testing process is followed by a tailored approach to personalization according to the results that deliver the best experience for the customer.
  • Adobe Target: An optimization solution designed to deliver data-driven results through experimentation and testing. The automated platform helps businesses boost conversions through personalization and by optimizing mobile app performance based mobile context and user behavior.

For businesses looking to stay relevant and informative in today’s competitive content world, consumers’ need for instant gratification may seem a daunting prospect.  By adapting your content strategy to stay in-line with consumer expectations, you can be sure your content delivers brand messaging that gets noticed and—most importantly—consumed and shared across all channels.

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Is the On Demand Economy Reducing Your Sales?

7 Dec

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The on-demand economy is growing exponentially, and the effects of this growth will be felt in every industry. If your business is not ready to change with the times, then you may suffer a loss in sales because of the new ways which business will be done. The now $57 billion on-demand economy is showing no signs of slowing down – as a matter of fact, more industries than ever are switching to an on demand model to satisfy the needs of their customers.

The Harvard Business Review reports that the on-demand economy brings in more than 22 million customers every year. The largest part of this economy is online marketplaces such as Etsy and eBay. People spend nearly $36 billion on websites like these. After this, transportation companies such as Lyft and Uber bring in around $5.6 billion in yearly spending. Third in line is grocery delivery services such as Instacart. Consumers spend almost $5 billion every year on food delivery.

A very telling statistic is that these on-demand services are being used by people of moderate incomes. Around 46% of the people who are using the on-demand economy have an income of less than $50,000. If the industry has already penetrated into the lower middle class, you can definitely expect it to expand far into the future. Savvy business owners are now looking into ways to incorporate the on-demand economy into business rather than fight or ignore it.

How exactly will the on-demand economy affect your sales if you do not jump when this new technology says jump?

First of all, if your business does not specialize in obsessively solving a universal problem for your buyers, you will have trouble making sales. On-demand means a higher degree of specialization. Not only that, but this specialization comes with a high degree of transparency, security, and convenience in the transaction. As on-demand expands into more industries, it will be virtually impossible to find a service that cannot be rendered immediately with a few clicks from a mobile phone or laptop.

Secondly, there will be an increase in the number of single service entrepreneurs. The on-demand economy is giving individuals the ability to scale to the level of a B2B company quickly. It is now quite possible for a single person with the right technology on his side to function just as well as a team of human beings. The customer, of course, does not care who is rendering the service as long as it is done correctly. These entrepreneurs are also highly skilled in very precise areas. If your business is in any way general, you will need to shore up your most profitable niche in order to compete with these niche ninjas.

The increased emphasis on entrepreneurship will also make it more difficult to find top talent for your business. As more people choose to work for themselves, you will not only be competing for customers, but also for talent. Your business will need to market its culture and the benefits that come with working for you in order to attract the human capital that you will need to stay ahead.

Personalization is now the norm. If your service is equal to that of your competitors, but you are able to offer a more personalized experience, you will come out on top 10 times out of 10. However, you will need to work quickly. Companies in every industry are moving towards personalization, so shore up your audience today.

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Salesforce Simplifying B2B Facebook Marketing?

16 Nov

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Perhaps unjustly, Facebook has never been known as a hub for B2B lead generation. This is not for lack of potential – plenty of companies use Facebook for surfacing contact info. However, following up on that contact through automation and CRM systems required a bevy of tools that were disconnected and independent of each other. No longer – Salesforce Lead Analytics for Facebook brings the sales funnel together.

The Salesforce tool innovates by working simultaneously across Instagram (which is owned by Facebook), Facebook itself and the Facebook Audience Network, which is the official name for the Facebook ad platform. Users of the Salesforce Lead Analytics tool will enjoy a data stream that connects the first interaction of the customer all the way to the purchase. Users will also be able to connect data from upsells and resells. The dashboard will showcase the most important performance metrics that marketers need to improve campaigns, such as leads generated and total views, as well as sales performance related to ads. In addition, the proprietary Salesforce Einstein AI will give a marketer a score for each prospect after that prospect finishes with a lead form.

There is plenty of other data for marketers to pick through with this new tool. Some of the other featured data includes a Pardot score rating, ad spend for campaigns, click through rates, campaign ROI and qualified leads that each campaign generates.

Salesforce is not done here. Alongside the Lead Analytics tool, the company is also bringing out the Einstein Account-Based Marketing tool. This tool will automate the connection between the sales and marketing staff. The data in both departments will now be easier to marry, streamlining execution time.

These new innovations from Salesforce have definitely come under duress. Its main competition in the CRM landscape, Microsoft, has greatly strengthened its position in the market through its soon-to-be acquisition of LinkedIn. Although Salesforce has tried to block the acquisition, the effort will likely fail. However, these new tools certainly bolster Salesforce’s position in the market, especially since they are currently on the cutting edge of technology here.

 

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