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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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Your Best Demand Generation Practices for 2018

18 Jan

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The new buzzword for improving interest in your products and services is demand generation, which is fast becoming a vital metric for many companies. Not only does good demand generation help the supply chain, it also leads to happier customers and more alignment between sales and marketing. Here are some of the best demand generation strategies that you can use in 2018.

Automate and Centralize

Marketing automation platforms have made processes in the middle of the sales funnel far more efficient than ever before. Over half of all B2B firms are now using automation to nurture leads and, believe it or not, create more personalized content. Around the top of the funnel, centralizing the source of your leads gives you additional efficiency for the automation that you employ around the mid-level processes such as closed-loop reporting, vendor management, and standardization/enhancement.

Using Account Based Marketing Strategies

Email blasting cold contact lists is no longer viable in the modern business landscape. There are plenty of new tools that can precisely target accounts based on directed strategies. Segmenting your accounts from the beginning can help immensely when it is time for your sales and marketing teams to align themselves to go in for the kill.

A New Focus on Data Quality

Big data is so 2014. If you are not properly segmenting and organizing your data, then you will find scaling your demand generation to be a big problem. The tips above can help you avoid wasting money on low-quality leads, which will usually create a higher conversion rate for the business. You must also try to enhance your current leads with more precise data points. The entire subdiscipline of MarTech is focused on this, so get digging and find the right tools.

Your Qualified Lead Velocity Rate (QLVR)

You should be looking at a hard growth in your qualified leads on a month over month basis. This growth should be consistent, as your real-time rate is the best predictor of future growth and revenues. The revenues that you report in the current month usually do not represent the leads that were converted in that month – lead times for B2B firms is usually half a year to a year. The calculation for QLVR: your current month’s MQL (marketing qualified lead) conversion/ last month’s MQL. Multiply by 100 for the final metric.

Customer Service Communications

You can expect a 36% increase in customer retention if you purposefully align your sales and marketing teams. Alignment means that sales and marketing shares vision and metrics, communicate on a regular basis, and share in each other’s successes. Improved communications in your customer service line obviously lead to better customer experiences, and your marketing team will benefit from the input from sales. Marketing can increase demand generation from the additional information about the buyer’s journey, and the department will also have more leverage to support upselling and cross-selling.

Direct Client Interface

Your marketing team must take on the new responsibility of engaging directly with clients. Your frontline salesmen have knowledge about your buyers that is unique. Your marketers need the same sort of vision in order to increase demand generation. Clients may also help your marketing team identify opportunities and industry trends that are difficult to see from high rise offices away from the streets.

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10 Interesting Digital Marketing Stats to Ring in 2018

21 Dec

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1. 84% of millennial B2B decision-makers regard their mobile device as a critical tool – and 76% of older B2B buyers agree.

Google has already declared mobile to be mandatory for search—as of 2018, the tech giant’s mobile-first index will view sites through the eyes of the mobile user, and will rank them accordingly. Bottom line: if your mobile and desktop sites differ greatly, you could suffer a penalty on your desktop Search Engine Results Page.

2. 64% of senior employees make the final decision on B2B purchases – but 81% of non-senior employees influence their choices.

Traditional B2B marketing strategies might need to rethink their target audience when it comes to who the influencers are. Senior-level managers are looking to the younger generation when considering B2B buying decisions—and the majority of those influencers are non-C-Suite employees.

3. In the B2B marketing space, LinkedIn is the most effective social media platform.

While it’s true 94% of B2B marketers use LinkedIn, more than 66% regard the platform as the most effective social media tool in the B2B marketing space.

4. Instagram has the highest social media interaction rate.

At 22.53 interactions per 1000 followers, Instagram takes the lead in social media engagement. Facebook pulls up second place at 5.99, with LinkedIn following behind at 1.09. Twitter comes in at 0.86.

5. For 85% of B2B marketers, quality content and a commitment to metrics is critical.

The majority of B2B marketers regard content quality and efficiency as top priorities for their digital marketing campaigns, and nearly half consider metrics and optimization to be crucial for success.

6. Millennials make up more than half of B2B researchers.

In just the last few years, millennials have been part of a major shift in the B2B researcher demographic. In 2012, B2B researchers were pretty evenly distributed across all age groups. Over two years, a dramatic shift took place: 18 to 34-year-olds made up more than half of all researchers, amounting to an increase of 70%. And the number just keeps rising.

7. Instagram is one of the fastest growing social media platforms.

With more than 300 million daily Instagrammers—80% under age 35—B2B brands could be missing out. Just 33% of B2B brands have an Instagram presence.

Considering joining? You’d be in good company. Instagram has more than doubled its users to more than 700 million monthly actives in just two years, and its growth rate is skyrocketing. From December 2016 to April 2017, in just four months, its user base grew another 100 million followers. Take a look at these stats:

October 6, 2010 – Instagram Launch

February 26, 2013 – 100 million users acquired over 28 months

March 25, 2014 – 200 million over 13 months

December 10, 2014 – 300 million over 9 months

September 22, 2015 – 400 million over 9 months

June 21, 2016 – 500 million over 9 months

December 15, 2016 – 600 million over 6 months

April 26, 2017 – 700 million over 4 months

How do these numbers compare to other social platforms? Instagram has more than twice the user base of Twitter, and it’s fast headed for the billion-user club alongside the likes of Facebook (1.8 billion), WhatsApp, and Messenger (combined 1.2 billion).

8. 89% of marketers use content marketing as their strategy, and 62% report that it’s more successful than just one year ago.

More than half of marketers regard effective distribution as the reason for their success, with 93% of B2B marketers using email as their primary distribution channel. With 54% of all emails accessed via mobile device, it’s easy to see how mobile content optimization will be critical in 2018.

9. 71% of B2B researchers begin searching Google with generic search terms.

That’s right—in today’s competitive marketplace, ranking for certain keywords has never been more difficult.

So how are searchers getting to your site? According to Google Think, they are looking for a product first—not for your brand—and generic paid search is huge when it comes to the initial path to purchase for industrial/business brands.

What does this mean for your business? In short, it means that your potential customers are reaching your brand much later in their journey, so you have to be prepared to present value to them earlier in the process—well before the initial contact and sale. Bidding on your brand terms is no longer enough, as decision making is taking place prior to brand awareness. If you pinpoint where you might be part of the conversation early on and throughout the search process, you’ll be in a better position to make a connection that turns into a sale.

10. Just 50% of B2B organizations have a responsive website.

What does this mean for your business? A new year is fast approaching and making an investment in your site’s responsiveness could give you a competitive edge in the market. Check out our latest blog on digital marketing trends for 2018 here.

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The New Market for B2B Social Influencers

14 Nov

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Influencer marketing has long been a staple in the B2C marketplace. However, many experts believe that it will soon rise in the B2B marketplace as well. As thought leaders in influential markets begin to grow social media followings, they will be able to use inbound marketing techniques like podcasts and live streaming in the same way that commercial companies do.

The audience is definitely there for these techniques. Livestream recently reported that 81% of Internet users watched more content in 2016 than in 2015. Convince and Convert reports a 14% increase in the number of podcast viewers year over year. Because of stats like these, savvy B2B marketers are looking to move into influencer marketing in a big way.

There is still a huge amount of potential in B2B influencer campaigns even as the current generation of campaigns rises in competition. Most companies still do not think of influencer marketing when they look to marketing, so the technique has plenty of room to grow. Savvy companies are already pitching social media influencers to work with them. Although the market is still the Wild West, there are a few techniques that have been tested.

Using Publishers as Influencers

Because business in some markets hinges on the latest news in that industry, publishers hold a great deal of power as social media influencers. Companies are finding great success through partnerships with publishers for content or full-on promo campaigns. Publishers often have more staff focused on running a blog or maintaining a social media presence. They have the potential for much more than the traditional banner ads – you can move forward into social media posts, branded content, and even sponsored reviews.

Sites like the Wall Street Journal and Business Insider have already created portals for partners.

Well Known Speakers and Authors

If you can hook up with an author or speaker who is self-employed, there will be no limits to the collaborations they can take on. You can offer these people visibility and viability in exchange for the collaboration. You may be able to reduce the price you pay, although your visibility will usually not be enough on its own to warrant free promo services. However, you never know. Experiment with authors and speakers with larger or smaller audiences to find your sweet spot.

Types of Campaigns

Virtually any marketing campaign can be bolstered with an influencer campaign. Awareness campaigns, online reviews and presentations are just a few of the ways that you can collaborate with social influencers. For instance:

- If you are trying to use social media to promote a new product, have your influencers post about the product instead of trying to drive traffic through your brand to your brand. Make sure that you research the FTC guidelines on sponsored content.

- Create long form content with a well known influencer or blogger. Your target audience will come to learn from the white papers or webinars that your influencer creates, and you will get leads and exposure from your sponsorship.

- Send influencers to cover industry events for you. They will be able to take photos, videos, and blog about the event while judiciously mentioning your business as they go. If you have the ability to give people press passes, all the better. Those are like gold to the social influencer.

 

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