Archive | Uncategorized RSS feed for this section

Salesforce Simplifying B2B Facebook Marketing?

16 Nov

StockSnap_QCHFC9BKIF

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.

 

Share via email

Speaking Creative: 6 Tips for Efficient Revisions

2 Nov

StockSnap_1PXJWGO765

hillman

Guest Contributor: Matt Hillman, Creative Director

If you’ve been a building products marketer for long, chances are you’ve worked with “creatives,” those writers and designers—and even developers and programmers—who make the marketing materials that help sell your products. And if you’ve worked with them, that means you’ve likely had to review work and provide feedback.

It’s a safe bet that at some point you’ve needed to look over a document or a layout and given feedback and experienced one or more of the following:

  • resistance
  • arguments
  • eye rolls
  • temper flares
  • passive-aggressive remarks
  • confused looks
  • crying
  • something different than what you asked for
  • the complete opposite of what you asked for

For many of you, this is confusing. The creative process is supposed to be collaborative and part of that collaboration is making the materials as accurate and impactful as possible. So why are the people who need the feedback and revisions so resistant to making them?

Presuming you have the right people in the right roles, and everyone is a mature professional—and if that’s not the case, you have bigger fish to fry—it basically comes down to providing the right inputs. Armed with clear, concise information, it’s amazing how quickly your creative team can solve problems and get your materials where they need to be.

Here are six ways to improve your feedback for more efficient revisions:

  1. Consume it before you critique it.

If the review process finds you immediately grabbing a pen and marking “what’s wrong,” you’re missing an opportunity to understand the work like the audience will. You’re also creating a mindset where you’re presuming something is already broken. Reading or looking it over twice is key—once as the audience, once as the reviewer. This gives you the context you need to better understand the intent of the work rather than jumping immediately into the mechanics of it.

  1. Consolidate inputs.

A common process for most creative work is an initial draft followed by 2–3 rounds of revisions. Unfortunately, many changes come to creatives in bits & pieces, resulting in significantly more rounds and increased inefficiency. And as revisions can often come from multiple sources, it’s also normal for one person’s revisions to counter those of another. To avoid this, for each round of changes, consolidate and prioritize feedback from the team into a single list.

  1. Avoid one-person focus groups.

Sometimes large-scale projects, like campaigns, warrant getting reactions from the target audience—and for good reason. Actual feedback from those we’re trying to reach can be invaluable. Unfortunately, what happens more often is “I shared the logo options with my wife and she didn’t like any of them” or “The barista at Starbucks didn’t care for your cattle vaccine tagline.” Outside inputs can provide needed perspective, but unless it’s the actual target, it usually just sows confusion.

  1. Something is better than nothing.

A phrase every creative has heard at some point (sending a shiver down our collective spine) is “I’ll know it when I see it.” This is essentially creative skeet shooting, simply tossing one idea after another and waiting to see what doesn’t get blown away. Not only is it demoralizing, it’s a serious waste of resources, costing you time and money as your team essentially tries to read your mind. At minimum, tell your creatives two things: “Make it less ____ and more ____.” With those two simple blanks filled in, they’ll arrive at what you want faster—even if you’re not sure what it is yet.

  1. Set the goal, not the solution.

All too often, well-intentioned marketers will “help out” by providing painstaking how-to instructions or actually doing the work themselves (e.g., “I’m not a writer, but I wrote two pages that you can use”). Few things will disengage your creatives faster, because your underlying message is “You’re another pair of hands to me, not a mind.” If you want their best work, point out the problem you’re trying to solve and let their unique skillsets provide the appropriate way to get there.

  1. SCORE it.

News flash: “I don’t like it” isn’t valuable feedback. Step into the paint department of any big-box building retailer and there are hundreds of paint chip colors offered. That’s because taste is completely subjective—even among professional marketers and skilled creatives. One person’s “love it” is another person’s “disgusting.” Instead of providing feedback in terms of what you like or don’t, use the SCORE method to more objectively review creative work:

Strategy – How well does it deliver to the objective/intent?
Creativity – How unique and distinctive is it (vs. others in marketplace)?
Ownability – How easily will you be able to claim it as your own?
Relatability – How well will the audience connect with it?
Extendibility – How well will it work with variations?

By utilizing the SCORE method, you’ll not only be able to judge the value of the creative work more objectively, but the answers will assist your creatives by providing them with actionable feedback.

Share via email

Why You Should Move from HTTP to HTTPS

26 Oct

StockSnap_X64R5O23D8

One of the trends that has been most evident in 2017 is that many B2B website owners are moving from HTTP to HTTPS. For those who are not tech savvy, this change is almost invisible unless you are paying attention. You can still search for websites at their original HTTP web address and smoothly be redirected to the HTTPS version without ever noticing. HTTPS stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure, which is the safer version of HTTP.

Why are Websites Changing?

The real answer to this question is that Google has recommended this change. Since webmasters want to comply with Google’s recommendations to perform better in SERP (Search Engine Results Pages), sites are being upgraded to HTTPS. Google has made this recommendation because they want websites to be as secure as possible. As is clear through daily news reports, website hacking is getting more sophisticated every day. Therefore upgrading security can only endear you to your users and clients. Certainly, no one wants their private information to be displayed any more publicly than necessary. Adding layers of security will give your customers confidence to use your website without fear of privacy risk.

Do You Really Need to Change to HTTPS?

If you don’t have an e-commerce site or collect private customer information, you really don’t NEED HTTPS. However, this issue is a catch-22 for website operators: visitors to your site who read your posts and learn about products or services, and then don’t leave their data behind aren’t risking their security. But, even if the only information you collect is an email address, privacy becomes an issue. The truth is that it probably isn’t too hard to obtain a person’s email address in other ways. Customers may not realize that truth, though.

Perception vs. Reality

The appearance of security in the customer’s mind is the key factor in this discussion. If a customer feels safer with HTTPS, that fact in itself is a reason to change over. With news media posting articles about voter hacking and data breaches, you can understand why clients might be leery about privacy and security. Why should they trust you when it seems that anyone can hack into supposedly secure websites? Ultimately, your decision should be based on what is best for your customers and your company’s business growth. And that decision is clearly moving to HTTPS. Any marketer can tell you that perception is more important than reality. If your site appears to be more secure (even if it really doesn’t need that level of security), your visitors will feel more secure.

Technical Aspects of Moving to HTTPS

The most critical areas of your website to move to HTTPS are pages that involve e-commerce, payment, or collecting data. You may find the moving part of your website is more budget-friendly, and then you can delay the rest for next year’s budget.

Moving the entire site is not too complicated with a knowledgeable webmaster or web service. There are plugins for WordPress that will handle the change for you if you have a smaller site, or if your site is more complex, your website contractor can make the move for you. The change isn’t time-consuming and can be made without any interruption of service.

Conclusion

The primary reasons that you should move to HTTPS are that (1) Google wants you to, and (2) your customers will feel more secure. The procedure will not change your content or customer interactions, but will improve your relationships with Google and prospective and existing clients. Eventually, Google will require HTTPS for any sites that want to be competitive in their search engine, and they may require it to appear in SERP at all.

Share via email

Why B2B Marketers Could Learn Some Things From B2C Brands

24 Oct

Business building, skyscraper looking up

B2B and B2C are too often seen as completely separate and distinct modes of business. As consumers become bulk buyers and large companies demand more personalized service, however, business practices are overlapping between the two disciplines more and more. There are quite a few things that B2B marketers could learn from the consumer marketing pros. Here are just a few of the most successful tips.

The Audience as Your Central Focus

It is becoming important to recognize even the largest of companies as a personal partner in the sales process. If your sales process consists of checking off boxes in your CRM, you may soon find yourself supplanted by a company that drills down into the personal information of your former customer. You need individual site hierarchies. You need to understand a company’s capacity to purchase. Most importantly, you must cultivate personal relationships within the company in order to truly qualify a lead and streamline your sales funnel.

Getting More Personal

The more precisely that you know your target market, the more effectively you can target relevant content to qualified leads.Your work in this matter will provide an advantage not only to your company, but also to the prospects you market to. If you personalize your research and connection to customers, they will buy more because they “get” the reasons why you are actually contacting them. Forego the temptation to waste your time marketing to unqualified leads for the sake of playing the percentage game.

Omnichannel Marketing

It may seem counterintuitive to talk about streamlining the sales flow process while expanding the communications platforms upon which the sales funnel takes place. However, giving your prospects a proper choice of how to get in touch with you actually personalizes the experience more for them, giving you a leg up on your competition. You never know how a company may prefer to be contacted – direct mail, phone, social media – so it is best to have all of those stations fully manned and ready to go.

Benefits, Not Features

Features are what your tech staff communicate to your executive staff when the company is looking to generate a genuinely superior product for the marketplace. Once the value has been established, it must be translated to the needs of each individual user. This is where your personalized research into each prospect will truly pay off. Just as you never know how your prospect will prefer to contact you, you never know what feature will truly speak to their needs unless you know them. Benefit descriptions speak directly to the immediate problems that a prospect is facing and gives precise solutions.

There will always be a bit of difference between selling to Sears and Roebuck and selling to Joe Roebuck. However, a good marketer understands the distance between business is closing as technology expands and improves. Take the tips above to heart no matter the scale that you sell on. Every marketer needs to be more flexible in order to keep up with the challenges of the modern business landscape. For best results, bring it all together in a constantly evolving strategy that takes the responses of your target prospects into account at all times.

 

Share via email

Top 5 Content Marketing Trends for 2017

17 Oct

StockSnap_RM676MH2KP

Content marketing trends change often due to advances in technology, search engine preferences and changes in advertising. While the primary goals remain the same, strategies and techniques vary dependent on audience and industry. B2B companies work to find the best practices to reach their leads and prospects and turn them into loyal customers as they move through the marketing funnel. As content marketing becomes more sophisticated and prospects more discerning, let’s take a look at the current trends for 2017.

1. Videos Gain Importance

When online videos were first introduced, the video channels were clogged with homemade videos made by teenagers and kids that they shared with friends on YouTube and other video sites. Videos are still made by teens these days, but they are vastly surpassed by professionally made content marketing videos. Videos are a popular form of content, especially with the growth of mobile technology. They are easy for prospects to view on any device and if they offer value, drive traffic, revenues and profits to your website and/or brick-and-mortar store.

While videos can be effective for any product or service, they are particularly useful for B2B companies. Most B2B companies need to explain complex operations in bite-sized pieces. Videos are the perfect medium for that purpose. Videos don’t always have to be highly professional; simple hand-held cameras that display insight into a company’s culture, process or events can build a relationship between the business and customer one person at a time. You should also take note that videos show up at the top of the SERPS on Google, and can be searched on YouTube. YouTube is the 2nd largest search engine on the internet.

2. People Get their News from Social Media

With the majority of the news media online, many people get their news from their preferred social media channel. While a person may get individual updates from a local or national news source via email, it is quite likely that they are also getting access to stories on Facebook, Twitter or other social media sites. When you add this trend to the growing move towards personalized content, you can see how different segments of the population are seeing completely different stories. Knowing where your audience hangs out is very important in targeting your content marketing. Knowing which personas are your best customers will help hone that content for your preferred audience.

3. Super Niche, Micro Niche or Sub-Niche Branding

As content marketing becomes more personalized, marketers can increasingly dig deeper for niche interests. By pulling together a detailed persona of their ideal buyer for each tiny niche, marketing can be targeted to a very niche population. Big brands are taking advantage of this sophisticated targeting by creating micro-niche branding. If you pay attention, you can see this trend every day in advertising for foods, travel, clothing and specialized markets.

4. The Growth of Remarketing

Remarketing is an insidious force that is very effective. When you visit a website and then leave, you are shown ads from that site as you move around the internet. You can see evidence of this trend any time you search for a topic or visit a site. You get reminders to go back to the original site and place an order.

5. Interactive and Easy-to-Navigate Content

It is easy to lose prospects when they land on difficult or confusing content or hard-to-navigate pages. This issue is problematic, especially after working so hard to move leads and prospects through your marketing funnel. Making websites easier and more fun to use is an effective method of retaining visitors. As technology advances, it is a smart choice to make site interactions more entertaining.

Share via email