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Influencers improve B2B marketing strategies

Working with influencers can have a positive impact on B2B marketing strategies.

Partnering with an influencer can have a dramatically positive effect on B2B content marketing. An influencer is an entity or organization that informs and impacts a business' target audience. An influencer helps identify industry trends and meticulously applies them to generate higher quality content for buyers (1). Today, 65 percent of B2B corporations utilize a digital influencer marketing strategy (2).

An influencer is not the same as an advocate (2). An advocate is loyal to one specific company, whereas an influencer is merely a specialist within an industry. The site outlined a three-step strategy for implementing an influencer marketing system into a business' current practices.

Identification
It is important to find a variety of influencers. Both established leaders and fresh faces can be beneficial to a company. Scope out online conversations consumers are having about the specific industry to see if certain names or groups are routinely mentioned (1). Each enterprise should focus on the sites and forums specific to their sector.

Qualifications
In-depth analysis is necessary when choosing influencers. Data compiled on the prospective partner should include how frequently they interact with their industry and how the target audience responds to this engagement. Make sure these industry leaders have significant knowledge, produce quality material and interact on a regular basis with consumers. Even if one is not well known, do not discard him or her as a potential influencer. Above all else, they must have a strong connection to the target audience. 

Recruitment
Once an influencer has been identified, take care choosing the right person to deliver the pitch. If the prospect is a senior member of an organization, have an equally senior employee make contact. In addition, check their activity for personality traits that may give clues on approach methods. Very vocal and involved parties may respond well to a direct pitch, while a more reserved potential influencer will need time and space to consider the opportunity. Be aware of seasonal obstacles that may get in the way of recruitment; ends of quarters, tax season and holidays are just a few examples of events that may hinder their ability to substantiate the offer. 

Be prepared to establish why forming a partnership will benefit the influencer. This is an incredibly important part of the process. Financial compensation is not always an influencer's first choice. Often a boost in their status among other industry leaders will be more appealing than money. 

1. "9 Tips for B2B Marketing with Influencers"

2. "Marketers Tap Influencers to Build Credible, Buyer-Centric Relationships"

Posted in Analytics, Social Media Marketing |

Social media lead generation for B2B highly effective

Twitter is becoming more important for lead generation.

There are conflicting views on social media's place as a B2B lead generation tool. However, it can be difficult for B2B marketing professionals to attract high-quality leads, and Twitter in particular may be an untapped resource that helps them connect with influencers in the industry. 

It's important to understand how buyers use Twitter as a critical part of their research processes. Because these individuals are on the hunt for more information, they are more likely to visit a B2B website after seeing a tweet from the brand (1). Additionally, seeing tweets from a particular company makes decision-makers more likely to seriously consider the brand as a contender. Firms that leverage the power of Twitter can take advantage of this. Use tweets to link to case studies or product demo pages that may otherwise be buried deep within a website.

Utilizing video through tweets can also help B2B marketers garner more attention (2). Twitter is a highly versatile tool that allows B2B marketers to connect with their audience on a number of different levels. Since so many decision-makers use this tool to stay up to date on industry news, it should definitely factor into any lead generation strategy. 

1. "Twitter and Compete study: How Tweets influence B2B tech audiences"
2. "Promoted Video on Twitter May Help B2B Marketers Boost Engagement"

Posted in Lead Generation, Social Media Marketing |

3 tips to improve content marketing

Content marketing can be tricky to get exactly right.

Content marketing is nearly essential for B2B companies to generate leads and build relationships with potential customers. While firms race to outdo each other with content, some may not be providing a good experience to leads. Content needs be informative, easy to read and engaging for website visitors. Otherwise it could have a detrimental effect on search engine optimization. B2B marketing professionals need to communicate the benefits to readers while staying brief and incorporating relevant keywords to ensure the post is found in a search engine (1). Here are some tips for hitting the mark with content:

1. Focus on keyword placement rather than density
It's no secret that content marketing and SEO are closely linked. While it's more important to provide valuable content, users may not find it unless you incorporate keywords that increase organic traffic. In the past, the sheer number of keywords could impact results, but most search engines are gradually moving away from this model. Including a diverse range of keywords can be effective, but only if these terms are as specific as possible (1). It's also important to avoid including the same term six times in one paragraph, for example. Keywords deliver the intended result when they are used intuitively in the text. This provides more value to readers than clogging a paragraph with a repetitive phrase.

2. Diversify types of content
It's hard to capture the attention span of business buyers and even harder to hold it over time. There are a multitude of content types out there, but it's essential to consider which are the most relevant to your audience (2). Videos won't perform very well if your target audience would prefer to read a white paper. In general, a B2B content marketing strategy includes various types of content for the different phases in the sales cycle. Blogs, press releases, webinars, case studies and buyer-specific landing pages are all commonly used. However, more visual sources like video and infographics are starting to make a larger impact in B2B marketing because they are highly effective for condensing complex information into a more digestible format. Companies should always be mindful of their customers' particular interests to select the right types of content to engage their audience.

3. Always keep your target audience in mind
To expand on the second point, content always needs to speak to buyers' business needs, goals and main challenges. One of the main reasons why content marketing efforts fall flat is because marketers get so wrapped up in trying to promote their products that they miss the point in explaining how the service could help potential customers. Making content easy to find in a search engine is only one piece of the puzzle. Marketers need to ensure content is easy for their ideal customers to read because this increases the odds of them returning to the website (1). Content should always speak to the particular challenges in a buyer's industry. During the later stages of the sales cycle, content needs to address how a particular solution can alleviate some of these issues. Marketing materials always should focus on buyers' top concerns to maintain effectiveness.

One of the ways marketers can overcome this challenge is by defining buyer personas. These fictional representations of a target audience can help B2B firms keep their content marketing efforts on point to ensure readers keep coming back. Businesses that do a good job of this typically have better lead generation campaigns and close more deals. 

1. "Why Your Web Copy Is Missing the Mark (and How You Can Fix It)"
2. "How To Create A First-Rate Content Marketing Strategy"

Posted in Lead Generation |

Why mobile SEO is crucial for reaching B2B decision-makers

Mobile SEO is crucial to reach senior decision-makers.

Marketers need to use mobile search engine optimization to connect with executives. These influential people that business-to-business marketers are trying to reach using SEO strategies are increasingly leaning on their mobile devices to conduct research into potential partnerships.

In fact, 92 percent of senior executives own a smartphone which they use for business purposes, and 77 percent indicated they use this mobile technology to look for in-depth information about products or services (1). Meanwhile, 50 percent of senior-level employees used their smartphone to buy information technology items for their companies.

This tendency among executives to make business purchases on a mobile device should signal to marketers that they need to make sure their company can be found easily through organic search and content marketing strategies using smartphones and tablets. For those looking to capture leads at the top of the sales funnel, 71 percent of marketers use more general keywords to catch the attention of decision-makers looking for information (2).

At the same time, 61 percent of marketing professionals have integrated responsive design to boost mobile SEO because the senior executives trying to get information need to be able to view content, including case studies and infographics, comfortably on their mobile devices.

1. Putting the Spotlight on the Mobile Evolution
2. State of Search Marketing 2014

Posted in Mobile Marketing |

How Google’s latest algorithm update changes SEO?

Updates to Google's algorithm will change local search marketing.

The most recent changes to the algorithm Google uses to manage search results will likely influence local search marketing. While Google hasn't officially given a name to the update – breaking the string of animal names beginning with "p" – the update alters organic search results in both Google Maps and a standard query (1). In fact, some businesses have disappeared from the map when users search for certain keywords. At the same time, the update will have an impact on the knowledge graph, which is the vast network of connections Google is constantly stringing together to make search more relevant.

Another Internet enterprise that stands to gain from the update is the customer review site Yelp. Previously, the company charged Google with not dealing fairly with search engine results when people explicitly search for Yelp reviews (2). For instance, a query containing the word "yelp" frequently didn't put company's page at the top of the SERP. This may have a significant influence on the way business owners drive traffic to their homepages. Because many buyers tend to look at the experiences of others who have collaborated with a specific business, positive or negative reviews on sites like Yelp may attract or alienate potential customers.

1. Google "Pigeon" Local Search Algorithm Launches
2. Google's Pigeon Update Solves Yelp Problem, Boosts Local Directories

Posted in Search Engine Optimization |

More local SEO changes ahead

Google's Pigeon update will bring more changes for local search marketing.

The latest Google algorithm may once again redefine local search marketing. Nicknamed Pigeon, the update will try to deliver better local search results through improvements to Google's distance and location ranking parameters (1). While the search engine giant has yet to say much about Pigeon, Google reported the new algorithm will link local search more closely to standard Web searches, which could help B2B companies with a small geographic target audience gain more traction.

Each time Google announces a search engine optimization update, marketers often panic because they are unsure how the changes will impact their campaigns. It seems there may still some kinks to work out before it's fully understood how Pigeon will change SEO (2). In particular, the effect on mobile SEO is still unclear. Despite the skepticism about Pigeon, there was similar confusion when Hummingbird was released in 2013, and the development has mostly been positive for marketers. As more prospects use their mobile devices to do business research on the go, it will become increasingly important to provide a high-quality user experience because this will be tied to a company's search engine results. 

1. "Experts Weigh In On Google's 'Pigeon' Update Aimed At Improving Local Search Results"
2. "New Google Search Algorithm Update Targets Local Search Queries"

Posted in Search Engine Optimization |

Are SEO myths harming your results?

SEO is becoming more complex.

Search engine optimization is a constantly evolving process, but B2B marketing professionals may be clinging to ineffective tactics. This could diminish results over time. Here is a closer look at two of the most harmful myths in SEO and what you should be doing to rise to new challenges in the industry:

  1. Keyword density is the most important component of SEO.
  2. Content is only useful for increasing search engine ranking (1).

Myth 1: Keyword density
In the past, marketers could gain decent search engine rankings with relatively low-quality content that was stuffed with keywords. However, most search engines, especially Google, now prioritize quality and readability as content marketing continues to take off. Keywords need to flow intuitively within the content. Additionally, focusing on keyword density is no longer very effective because SEO isn't a new tactic anymore, meaning brands face more competition from other companies using similar keywords (1). 

This isn't to say that keywords have been rendered irrelevant. It's still crucial to know how prospects find your page because it allows you to refine your marketing strategy. Strong content is the way to succeed at SEO rather than packing blog posts full of keywords.

Myth 2: Content marketing is just a means of boosting SEO
It's true; it would be difficult for prospective customers to find your website without an SEO strategy in place. While content marketing does boost search engine results, especially in the wake of Google's recent changes and shifting focus to quality, this tactic serves multiple purposes. Content is an excellent lead generation and nurturing tool. It increases brand awareness and loyalty and encourages visitors to return to your site. It also boosts engagement on your website. Content is no longer a novelty in B2B marketing; it's an essential part of doing business. If you believe people don't read Web content, you could be hurting your ability to win new business. Most buyers consult content in their research processes.

The convergence of SEO, social media, content and mobile
Many marketers are struggling to determine the right mix of tactics because they are all starting to run together. Content marketing and SEO have always been linked, but this is becoming increasingly clear. However, marketers need to shift focus to determine how mobile will affect their content and search engine results. Mobile searches could exceed desktop this year. Additionally, 74 percent of the U.S. population is expected to own smartphones by the end of the year (2). This means B2B marketers will have a better opportunity to reach their target audience in more places. 

A website's user-friendliness from a mobile device is starting to have a greater impact on search engine results. Because so many more people are searching from their smartphones, Google has started penalizing sites that do not load within an acceptable timeframe. Additionally, mobile users are less tolerant of a poor experience. If content doesn't load quickly or display without zooming, visitors may not stay on your site. This will contribute to a higher bounce rate, potentially damaging your search engine rankings. It's important to consider that desktop users may have different needs than prospects on the go. You may need to provide different content for each group of users. 

Going beyond mobile, marketers also need to consider social media in their SEO strategies. Google Plus and YouTube have a clear link to search engine results (3). Including relevant keywords in Google Plus posts of YouTube videos can increase search engine visibility. 

1. "Detrimental SEO Myths Still Plaguing Online Businesses"
2. "The Future Of Content & SEO: How To Stay On Top"
3. "Social media versus SEO"

Posted in Search Engine Optimization, Social Media Marketing |

Determining the right type of social media engagement

Social media improves B2B marketing efforts.

Social media is a highly valuable tool in the B2B sphere, but companies need to ensure they are using it properly to achieve the best results. There are multiple ways social media can be used to connect with buyers. While social platforms are useful for both lead generation and ongoing customer service after buyers make a purchase, different tactics apply to each scenario.

While most B2B marketing tools have an inbound or outbound focus, social media can serve both purposes when used and measured in different ways (1). Social media marketing engagement is the number of people interacting with content on various networks and the goal is typically to increase brand awareness. This is valuable for lead generation purposes. However, this number is generally measured by the number of followers, likes and shares a brand has on a particular platform, which may not be the most effective indicator.

B2B brands can be more successful when they create stronger engagement with influencers in the industry (2). Because these influencers are deeply connected, marketers can reach new contacts they may not have otherwise. This can improve overall lead generation efforts.

1. "The Two Types of Social Media Engagement"
2. "Marketers Tap Influencers To Build Credible, Buyer-Centric Relationships"

Posted in Social Media Marketing |

Video is gaining strength in B2B marketing world

Videos are a more important part of B2B marketing efforts.

Video may not be the first thing that comes to mind for a successful B2B content marketing strategy. However, it's becoming an essential engagement tool during the lead generation and nurturing process. 

Many B2B marketing professionals are already getting on board with video. In fact, 82 percent of marketers have seen success with this technique (1). Some of the ways companies would make sure their videos were seen included tagging content with search engine optimization keywords and posting videos on the blog. Increasing brand awareness was the primary reason why B2B firms got involved with video creation.

Video is a versatile medium that can be used during the initial stages of the sales process and later as a lead nurturing tool. In fact, this form of content can significantly increase conversion rates (2). One of the reasons B2B content marketing can be tricky is because of the lack of an emotional engagement, but video is a great way to surmount this challenge. It's a useful medium for telling a story and conveying complex information in a more condensed way. Customer testimonials can be a great way to make video work for B2B marketing.

1. "Are Marketers Having Success with B2B Video?"
2. "Smart B2B Video: A Killer Tactic for Hitting 2014 Revenue Goals"

Posted in Lead Generation |

Mobile marketing becoming essential for B2B success

Mobile marketing has a bigger role in B2B.

B2B firms need to start considering mobile marketing now. While it may not seem like a priority in the face of other lead generation tools, experts project there will be to be 1.75 billion smartphone users around the world in 2014 (1). Mobile devices have fundamentally changed B2B marketing because of the way buyers interact with content on the go. 

While marketers have had a variety of Internet marketing tools at their disposal for the past few years, decision-makers are increasingly searching for content from their smartphones. In addition, buyers are using more than one device before arriving at a decision, which almost certainly means they are relying on mobile for part of their search. It's important to effectively engage with these leads or risk losing them.

In fact, mobile marketing offers the distinct advantage of better segmentation (2). This is especially valuable for firms that cater to multiple customer groups. Mobile allows them to deliver exactly what potential clients are looking for. This channel offers an excellent way to engage customers through relevant industry content, targeted local information and helpful, entertaining videos. Mixing up mobile content leads to a richer marketing strategy

1. "Smartphone Users Worldwide Will Total 1.75 Billion in 2014"
2. "Seven Deadly Sins of Mobile Marketing [Infographic]"

Posted in Mobile Marketing |

 

 

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