Tag Archives: B2B Marketing

Top 5 B2B Social Media Marketing Myths

26 Jul

iStock_000065451201_Large

Social networking is a large part of most people’s lives. But we don’t always know how to make it a part of our lives as B2B marketers. If you are not on social media or if you are not having strong results, you may have fallen prey to one of these common social media myths.

  1. Social media marketing isn’t for B2B. 

There are social networks that are expressly for B2B communication, such as LinkedIn, SlideShare and, to a lesser extent, Quora. There are also social networks that you should consider just because they are a huge part of most people’s day-to-day lives, such as Facebook and Twitter. Remember that businesses are made up of people; go to the networks your people are most likely to be on and you will find a way to connect.

  1. You need to be on every network.

Joining every social network that comes up will lead to burnt out employees, too much money spent networking and not a lot to show for it. Every network is different and has a different audience. LinkedIn is a place where professionals gather. Quora is a good place to hang out if you have a lot of knowledge to share about your industry. YouTube and Instagram are great for sharing visual content. There are many customers for building materials on Pinterest. Pick two or three networks and work on building out robust presences there. Don’t worry about the rest.

  1. It’s never okay to automate.

Automation can give you a chance to connect with people who you might not otherwise reach. If you have an international customer base, automating a few posts to show up while you are in bed and your prospects are up and at the office or job site can mean access to people you might otherwise miss. Automation can also allow you to keep posting consistent even when you are away from the office or otherwise tied up with other tasks.

  1. Automate everything!

It’s easy to go too far in the other direction. Have you ever posted on Twitter and immediately been hit by an @ message from a Twitter bot triggered by a phrase you used? No one else likes this any more than you do.

  1. Social media marketing doesn’t work.

Every year, hundreds of think pieces come out claiming that social media just isn’t the place for business. The figures prove these people wrong. According to HubSpot, two out of three companies with a presence on LinkedIn have gotten a customer from there. Businesses that use Twitter have twice as many leads as those that don’t. The benefits of a social media presence are measurable and powerful.

Social media marketing success does not come overnight. It can take a while to find your niche and your audience on social media. When you have gotten into the groove, you will find that you have better relationships with customers, a better-known brand and more business by using social media well.

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Take Your B2B Offense Up A Notch

8 Jul

How to Create Effective Presentations and Repurpose Content

Home Run

I am a big Kansas City Royals fan, and I love the game of baseball. The other day while I was watching a game, I realized just what it was that made the Royals such a relentless team. Although it may be better known for its defense, the Royals are also known for keeping the line moving on offense and putting the ball in play. This had me thinking about how the approach to putting out content can be very similar in strategy.

Today’s B2B marketers are faced with an increasing amount of presentations and content that they have to create in order to match the efforts of competitors. In fact, 76% of marketers will produce more content in 2016 than they did in 2015. With such a high rate of content being produced, your audience is looking for digestible content that will hook their interest and keep them engaged throughout your presentation and their experience with your brand. In this post, I will explore how keeping it simple, having a direct call to action, and repurposing content can enhance your marketing strategies and make you an all-around smarter B2B baserunner.

Getting On Base:

Whether it’s by bunting, hitting a single, or simply being selective with pitches and getting walked, the most important thing is to get on base. Simplifying your message is one of the best practices when presenting, and is sure to get you out of the batter’s box and on to the bag. You want to avoid overwhelming your audience with too much information on one slide. Keep your points direct and simple, allowing only a one point or two per slide to stay on message. This is key because your audience will process information in an organized sequence that will help them to understand your most important points. In fact, during his presentation for the iPhone, Steve Jobs only used 19 words in 12 slides, resulting in one of the most memorable and effective sales presentations, landing him in the metaphorical presenter Hall of Fame. While it is proven that visuals increase retention levels, visuals should only be used to illustrate a point and not just to fill space. It is okay to leave some whitespace, as you do not want to distract your audience from the message’s main takeaway.

Stealing Second:

Any good baserunner will tell you that reading the signs is crucial. Reading your audience is as important as timing the pitcher’s throw to home, and with the average attention span being only 8.25 seconds, you have only a short window to hook their attention. The best way to keep your audience engaged is to end each presentation with a clear call to action. Implementing a strategic ending is crucial and your strategy should adjust to get your audience engaged with your brand. For example, on a webinar I gave recently, I used the last slide of the presentation, which would normally consist of a thank you message, to advertise one of ER Marketing’s whitepapers with information on how to download it. This slide was effective because it stayed on the screen throughout our entire Q&A portion of the presentation, and converted a lot of attendees into people who downloaded and subscribed to our content. By using this slide as a direct CTA, we took a usually worthless slide and converted it to a runner in scoring position.

Taking Third:

Not every piece of content needs to take you from first to third; in fact, in most cases your past content already has you half way there. Since the need to constantly keep turning out content to keep your audience engaged is rapidly increasing, consider modifying and recycling some of the content you used in your presentation. This will add value to your marketing and further drive home your message. Repurposing your presentation can be something as simple as taking information from your presentation to create a more in-depth whitepaper or using video during the presentation to upload short highlights for your company’s website. You can also repurpose titles and headers from your presentation for Twitter posts with links to a related blog your company has written in the past. The combinations are endless.

The Home Stretch:

Home plate is in sight and you’re getting a good lead down the line, but don’t forget to take into consideration whether or not you will need to go back to tag third. When repurposing content, not only is it important to consider the medium that you want to use, but it is also important to recognize that content needs to be optimized for mobile viewing. According to KCPB, mobile digital media time is now greater than time spent on a desktop. It was also found that more people are viewing email on mobile. It is clear that mobile can no longer be treated as a separate channel, because most of your audience will be interacting with your content through mobile digital experience. Keeping a consistent experience with your content on both mobile and desktop will get you sliding into home safely.

While content and presentation curation may seem daunting, just remember to keep it simple and direct in order to drive home your messaging. As George Brett said, “When you get in that situation you simplify the approach…you play as hard as you can, win a game and come back to play another game.”

For your next presentation or webinar turn to these content tips, or visit ermarketing.net.

 

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Content Marketing & SEM: Stats Any B2B CMO Should See

5 May

Why Content Marketing Should Be Part of Your Digital Strategy

SEO and Content

Content marketing. Heard of it? If not, you probably haven’t been reading much Navigate-the-Channel. We’ve spoken a lot about how content is an incredibly effective B2B strategy to provide more information to customers at the early stages of their buyer’s journey, establish companies’ trust and expertise, and ultimately, drive more sales.

That’s all well and good, but there are other issues that B2B companies need to consider when it comes to their content strategies. Issues like Google’s Panda and Penguin updates, in which major search algorithm updates will affect the way search engines deliver the highest-quality results to their users. If your website can’t offer relevant content to those users, you can bet that your website will literally be bumped down the page, hidden under a pile of search results from companies that were just a little smarter than you about integrating content marketing into their strategies.

A recent article from Search Engine Land drew my attention because of its insights regarding content marketing and SEM. Here are a few standout facts that B2B companies should read before planning their content strategy:

  • More than 60-70% of content goes unused, meaning companies need to work to better understand who they’re writing for and why by conducting an audit of buyer personas and journeys.
  • B2B companies should prioritize utilizing a Content Management System (CMS) that integrates authors, topics, and keywords. For Adobe, switching to an SEO-friendly CMS resulted in a 307% increase in organic traffic within a year and a 287% increase in rankings on Page 1.
  • Don’t forget design—content needs to capture attention to be effective. Images, video, website design, and aesthetics are important contributing factors when it comes to “moving the needle” and shouldn’t be underestimated.

As Google continues to demand more and more from websites, it will become critically important that B2B companies fill their sites with the high-quality, relevant content users are searching for. You need to make sure that you’ve not only done the research to find out what your audience is looking for online, but that your content is written and created to deliver to those needs. SEO, therefore, is a critical component of your content marketing strategy.

Or it’s not. But if it’s not, you better enjoy Page 2.

 

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Why Do B2C Brands Have More “Epic Fails” Than B2B?

26 Apr

Marketing Fails

hillmanGuest Contributor:
Matt Hillman, Creative Director

Google the term “fails” and you net more than 350 million results—everything from proposals gone wrong to typos on billboards. Narrow it to “brand fails” and that number drops to just under 90 million. Expand the search to “b2b brand fails” and it falls to 325,000.

So what is it that’s protecting B2B brands from the foray? How is it that not even 4% of the brand fails are categorized as B2B?

One answer might be market size, the sheer volume of business in B2C vs. B2B makes for more opportunities to fail, but that’s not the case. If anything, B2B dwarfs B2C. In fact, by 2020, Forrester research projects the US B2B eCommerce market alone to be worth $1 trillion—twice the size of the US business-to-consumer (B2C) eCommerce market. Every year, B2B companies spend billions of dollars marketing their products & services with print and digital ads, trade shows, websites, collateral, and more; so there’s plenty of opportunity.

Then what is it? Why don’t we see the catastrophic failures in B2B marketing that we see in B2C? I suspect it’s a number of things—publicity, saturation of visible media, how easily broad B2C audiences can take offense to things—but most importantly, it comes down to the very intimate conversation in B2B between a specialized brand and a specialized audience.

There’s a unique level of understanding between B2B brands and their audiences, regardless if they’re selling building products or engagement surveys or auditing software or anything else. Where B2C requires an exploration of demo- and psychographics to find cues for connecting with various consumers (e.g., “White and Hispanic, suburban, college-educated women, 24–40, with multiple children, seeking time-saving solutions to maximize family time”), in B2B, we focus on clearer audience sets (e.g., “manufacturing company CFOs and COOs looking for greater shipping efficiency”).

Over time, that understanding means a greater ability to forecast how messages will be received, what matters most to those you’re talking to, and how to speak to them on their own terms.

Add to that the direct feedback between purveyors of B2B products & services and those who purchase them—or at the very least influence that decision—and you build a familiarity that simply doesn’t exist in most B2C marketing. As a result, B2B marketers can be less prone to putting their foot in their collective mouth.

But let’s face it: seeing the fails happen to someone else’s brand can be oddly satisfying—whether B2B or B2C. We take a deeper look as to why that happens in our latest whitepaper, “The Appeal of Brand Fails (and Six Ways B2B Brand Can Avoid Being One.” Get it for free right now.

 

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When Selling Building Products, Opt for Simple

21 Apr

Lessons Learned from the 2016 ISC West Show

ISC West

As building products marketers, are we overcomplicating things? Do we consult with people down the channel—including customers and even our own sales teams—to make sure we are delivering the best information in ways that are easy to consume? Most importantly, who can we look to for simplification inspiration in the building products industry?

I recently attended the 2016 ISC West Show, the largest security industry trade show in the United States, with technical reps from more than 1,000 exhibitors and brands in the security industry. While there, I explored and learned about the rapidly growing segment of the connected home and the integration challenges of hardware and software in the security and door hardware industry.

The attendees of the show are typically security dealers. They sell in consumer homes, similar to a lot of building materials products. And, like a window or siding rep, they have to “win the kitchen table” if they hope to sell their product effectively down the channel.

One of the tours that did a great job of demonstrating how to “win the kitchen table” based on their product offering was the Tektronix® Connected Home booth. There, I learned how their integrated system connects the video doorbell to the alarm, the sprinklers, garage door, network-boosting light bulbs, and so on. Obviously, Tektronix is not the only company doing this, but for manufacturers not thinking about what homeowners want, this is where they need to start looking.

What I found amazing was one of the final items on the Tektronix tour, which displayed their “upsell kit.” It’s what a marketer might call a sales rep kit or in-home kit. Over the years, we’ve probably created dozens of these for clients, ranging from somewhat basic to very complex and expensive to produce. You’ve likely done these as well.

The upsell kit Tektronix showed at their booth is their most requested and used of all time. So what makes it unique? Triple fold-out panels with a wiring schematic that integrates all the cool features? Maybe some electronic component that connects via Bluetooth to the reps phone?

Nope. It’s simply a printed image of all the pieces that might normally go into the kit.Unknown

Yes, you read that right. The sample kit doesn’t have physical samples. It has pictures of them and a call out image on the inside flap of the box. It’s very light, so it’s easy to carry. It’s very cheap to produce so dealers can have several of these for all their reps.

These are home security items—technology items. These are items that protect the homeowner’s family. But even with all that, they don’t require a physical sample. I realize they aren’t picking a color or finish, but compared to what most in the building products industry have always done, many might consider it a “fake” sales kit. But for Tektronix, it works well—and suits both their customers’ and sales teams’ needs just fine.

So, I’ve challenged our team and I’m challenging you to think about this when developing your in-home sales kit and other sales enablement tools. Have you talked to the dealers to see what works or why they don’t use one item or another? Have you ever tried a completely different approach? Have you asked why your company does it that way?

And most importantly, have you asked yourself if there is a simpler way to do this? That’s what drove this change in their upsell kit. We can do this too—find things to simplify in our increasingly complex lives, both as people and as marketers.

 

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