B2B Mobile Marketing May Be Closer Than You Think

B2B companies don’t have to rush to embrace mobile internet technology until their customers demand it.  However, that day may not be too far away, if it hasn’t already arrived.  The B2B mobile marketing world is still new. However, think of this; there is evidence that mobile technology has been fully adopted as the single one device that individuals desire to carry.  According to Microsoft, we are a few years away from the day when mobile internet usage takes over desktop internet usage.  However, closing the B2B sales process typically doesn’t depend on as heavily on web based tools; therefore to say it is urgent to may be overstating the case. But that will change, and soon b2b mobile marketing will quickly become its own animal.

b2b mobile marketing

However, there are certain statistics that may surprise B2B managers before they want to conclude that nothing in the immediate future needs to be done to their internet presence:

  1. The Gomez corporation states that over 70% of those who use Mobile browsers have the expectation that web pages should load as fast as those on their personal computer.
  2. 50% of search conducted in local areas were completed on mobile devices.
  3. Over 100 million users use a mobile device to connect with Facebook

These statistics should state clearly that if a company intends to market through search, their visitors are likely to eventually be mobile users.  If companies intend to market using social media, they can expect that their prospects will be there. If you are conducting educational programs, professionals will probably want to be able to follow along on their mobile device, not necessarily their PC.

Visit Your Site as a B2B Mobile Marketing Tool

Given the reality of B2B sales process and the growing necessity of mobile accommodation, what should companies do immediately to keep themselves from missing opportunities

  1. Executives and staff should visit their site with a mobile device.  They should attempt to take all of the important actions: find research, opt-in, find telephone numbers, search the site.  If these things are not easily completed during the test, managers have just placed themselves in the position of their prospective customers.  If company personnel cannot take actions favorable to the company, they will need to do everything that they can to make it so that these steps are made possible.
  1. Executives and staff should also attempt to consume content on the site and then to take note of whether it is easy to read and navigate. If it is not, steps should be taken to optimize content for mobile devices.   Some content should be created conducive to short attention spans and small screens.  Long paragraphs may be important, but also may not be practical to read while on a mobile device.
  1. Executives and staff should take note of how long it takes for pages to load.  It is estimated by the Gomez Corporation that almost three quarters of consumers wait 5 seconds for a page to load on their site before giving up altogether.  Recognizing that statistic applies to B2C marketers, there is definitely some evidence that site visitors find it distasteful when a B2B page doesn’t load quickly.

Closing Thoughts

While B2B marketers are not dependent (yet) on mobile technology to close deals, it is quite possible that traffic and engagement opportunities can be missed by not being ready to receive mobile visitors. Starting with the staff’s general analysis their own a site visit companies should begin making changes that are common sense in orientation.  Checking to see if basic objectives are easy or difficult in navigating the site will give executives a good start on figuring out what needs to be done.

What do you find when you visit your site from a mobile device?

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4 Ways to Improve Your Product Launch Strategy

Bringing a product to market is expensive even before you take into account the industrial marketing costs associated with it.  There is the product design and blueprint that must be worked through and finalized.  If there are any patents or copyrights left to be considered, they must be carefully attended to with a legal team.  There is usually a prototype and beta test conducted in order to wrap up potential wrinkles in the product’s success.  Finally once these preliminaries are completed the product or service can be test marketed forming the overall product launch marketing strategy.

product launch marketing strategy

Often it is at this point when a company’s learning takes place regarding what the market truly desires from a product like the one you have designed.  Assuming that the product is manufactured well or the service is delivered flawlessly, you will get real feedback on whether the product or service design works well.  Companies routinely take these early comments into consideration as they strengthen their offer.  However, waiting to make the adjustment at this time can weaken the value proposition if changes are constantly being made.   How can companies get this feedback earlier in the process to strengthen the product or service before it is launched?

Rethinking the Product Launch Marketing Strategy

Businesses that integrate online marketing into their product launch are at an advantage if they leverage this relationship into product design.  Marketers are able to do research into the search patterns of those interested in topics concerning your industry.  They can give you information on what the searchers’ intentions might be as well as what they are reading on a regular basis.  They gather this data as part of what they do for B2B companies.  Starting with securing search pattern information, here are some steps that a company can take to get prospective feedback prior to product design.

  1. Companies should work with their industrial marketing consultant to determine what search phrases capture the interest of the market.  These search phrases will formulate the rest of the online research the company will conduct.
  2. Using the search phrases gathered from the industrial marketing consultant, the company should conduct meta-forum searches using sites such as Big-Boards.Com, Boardtracker.Com, Omgili.Com and Boardreader.com.  This will give the company access to people who are discussing the issues with other professionals in their industry.
  3. Using the same search phrases companies should look to industry blogs to find out what discussions are taking place in a related manner to the problems that your new problem look to solve. These blogs can easily be searched using Tehnorati.Com, IceRocket.com.
  4. Management should repeat the process looking for the conversations within social media using sites such as monitter.com, samepoint.com, yacktrack.com and socialmention.com.  Although social conversations will be less useful than other meta-searches, companies will be able to locate key industry personalities to talk to.

Takeaway

It is assumed that management is surveying its customer database, following news and trends and attending to industry trade publications.  Much can be learned from following these sources in terms of customer preference.  However, they do not offer a glimpse into more informal online conversations.  Is an industry most likely to share their true thoughts in a formal or informal setting?  Arguments can be made for both.

The question is, are you only taking formal conversations into account for customer preference?  If so, is it possible that you could be missing valuable information that could strengthen a product or service before it came to market?

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How Much are the Big Companies Willing to Spend on SEO?

As big businesses continue to embrace paid media as a mainstream aspect in their marketing strategy, this mode of advertising is turning to be costly and takes substantially a large chunk of the advertising and marketing budget. On the Internet, when hits from PPC are displayed alongside the organic search engine results, viewers are most likely to click on the natural website links. Consumers browsing the Internet have built more trust on the organically displayed search results.

SEO for Big Brands

Coca-Cola’s 20% on Earned Media

Both Coca-Cola’s CMO and CEO have hinted that about 20% of their marketing budget will go elsewhere other than the “creative excellence” marketing, which they have for years embraced through TVs and PPC among other paid media. Coke Chief Marketing Officer, Joseph Tripodi, called it inbound marketing, while the CEO, Muhtar Kent, cited it as social media. These words are synonyms in Internet marketing and mean content strategy marketing.

Acknowledging the Shift

The CEO in an Interview with Harvard Business Review’s editor in chief, Adi Ignatius said that Coke was increasingly shifting its focus to Internet-based channels though he did not mean that the company was abandoning the traditional channels like television. He said that television advertising was still a valuable marketing tool for the company but it was expensive and doesn’t enhance brand accessibility and reputation as does a concrete social campaign.

The executive further pointed out that 5 years ago, SMM entailed only 3% of its ad budget and this has since changed with increased appeal to improve prospects and customer engagement. What this means is that Coca-Cola is realizing that it cannot continue clinging on the old-versioned “creative marketing” as its only dependable marketing strategy. People’s thoughts, ideas, imaginations, decisions, trust, confidence, and consumer behavior is greatly being influenced by the Internet.

In order to exemplify its role in switching to inbound and social media marketing, Coca-Cola, which is the leading brand in the world, according to Interbrand’s research, featured its sponsorship campaign for 2012 Olympics in a different way. The campaign dubbed “move to the beat” was presented in form of a video clip footage that created an interactive element on Facebook.

The Impact

Coca-Cola has the largest business brand on Facebook with close to 40 million fans. But it has not harnessed this opportunity to incorporate it as a key component of its marketing strategy. In a study by Gina Sverdlov of Forrester Research that focused on fan-economies and which involved Coca-Cola, Best Buy, Walmart and BlackBerry, it revealed that Facebook fans are more likely to purchase from these brands than non fans by a 79% to 41% ratio.

One of the peculiar things about SEO is that if done organically, it produces long term results at in a very cost effective manner. The reality of the burden of the cost function of paid advertising like Television, adWord, adSense, Facebook ads, LinkedIn ads and others is really being experienced by the big companies. Procter and Gamble, the worlds largest marketer felt the pinch when their advertising and marketing budget clocked $10 billion hurting the company’s margins.

P&G reacted to this scenario by saying that it planned to lay off 1,600 employees as a way of cost cutting. Robert McDonald, the CEO of P&G has finally admitted that the company cannot continue keeping its ad budget so high regardless of its sales. The CEO told Wall Street analytics that he would strongly moderate his ad budget because Google and Facebook can really be effective when compared to traditional marketing methods, which take the lion’s share of the company’s ad budget.

What’s Next for Big Business

In its 2020 vision, the Coca-cola company plans to cut down on cost and invest in brand building. By the end of 2015, the Coca-Cola company strives to cut $550 to 650 million costs and this money will be reinvested in marketing and brand building as well as addressing the issue of rising commodity prices. Content marketing and inbound marketing are strongly changing the way businesses, small and big, spend in ads budget.

Apparently, the big businesses are taking too long to respond to this change in marketing. And the big question is; should big companies still continue paying big money for the paid media at the expense of increasing marketing costs?

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Level Your Playing Field

One problem that many smaller industrial companies have run into in the past is lacking the financial backing to compete with much larger companies. Even if they provide outstanding products, their impact may be reduced simply because they can’t afford to pay for an effective marketing campaign. Some major issues that can arise from this problem are…

  • An inability to reach a large scale audience
  • Limited marketing options stemming from a minimal budget
  • Lacking the funds to hire a marketing manager (typically $40,000 to $50,000 annually)

3 Ways Small Businesses can Compete with Big Businesses

Fortunately, online marketing has drastically changed the overall marketing landscape in recent years. Due to newer techniques that are both efficient and cost effective, smaller businesses can realistically compete with their larger counterparts and stake their claim regardless of the industry they are in. Even with a shoestring budget, it’s possible for smaller companies to outshine or at least go head to head with the big boys when implementing smart online marketing strategies. With this in mind, let’s discuss some tangible ways small industrial companies can market themselves and grow from the ground up.

1) Search Engine Optimization – Optimizing a company’s website so that it ranks highly on Google and other search engines is perhaps the best way to compete. Not only does a high ranking bring in targeted and organic traffic, it tends to give a company a sense of credibility that’s essential for building trust. On top of this, it’s also incredibly cost effective and can bring in sales for years to come.

To implement SEO, it typically begins by using the Google Keyword Tool to pick keywords that receive large volumes of searches but have minimal competition. From there, the keyword should be used within the title of an article and a keyword density of 1.5 to 5 percent should be used within the body of text. Besides this, taking on-site optimization steps like installing SEO plugins, adding a site map and tagging content helps search engines to index a website’s content. The final step of SEO involves creating backlinks that point back to a business’s website. For the best results, it’s smart to create backlinks from high quality websites that are also relevant to a company’s industry.

2) Content Marketing – While it may have been possible to manipulate search engines by providing mediocre content in the past, quality content is now incredibly important. Consequently, content marketing can help a company’s SEO campaign while simultaneously building a positive reputation within its industry. This concept revolves around writing high quality content that helps people solve a problem or adds value to their lives. Rather than paying big money on advertising to essentially shove products or promotions down an audience’s throat, content marketing works in a more subtle manner and creates leads by first building rapport with a target audience. It’s an effective way for a company to show its expertise and gradually build a loyal following over time. Even if leads don’t result in immediate conversions, content marketing will often result in a long term client or customer base.

3) Social Media – This is an additional online marketing technique that can be implemented completely for free when done in house. Due to the millions of people who use social media sites every day, this is perfect for reaching a company’s demographic on the global scale. To engage in a social media campaign, an industrial company will mainly want to focus on LinkedIn as a way to find prospects. After setting up a profile, a business should actively engage with the community and network with relevant businesses, clients or customers.

One of the best features of this website is LinkedIn Answers where professionals can showcase their knowledge by answering a live question that’s relevant to the industrial world. Offering helpful information that solves a problem is a quick ticket to gaining legitimacy on LinkedIn and is perfect for networking. Over time, a business can create a substantial following and can expect to generate ongoing leads.
Have you and your company used any of these online marketing techniques and have you seen success?

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Don’t be so Quick to Jump Into Social Media

There’s a common theme in small business today. Be on social media. Utilize Social Media. Love Social Media. It is flooding business strategy as if the day you sign up, an instantaneous growth of revenue will occur (it won’t). Companies are flocking to Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn to get their piece of the pie. As I meet with clients, I can almost be certain that at some point, a question regarding social media will arise. The remarks of “we need to get on Facebook” or “we want to connect with our customers on Twitter” are common modern day client recommendations. And let’s be honest with ourselves here. Is not accurate to say that just about every marketing agency recommends to their clients that they have a social media presence? I completely disagree. There was a point in time where I, too, felt that every business operating in today’s modern business atmosphere would be stupid not to be present on social media. Because of people’s ability to piss others off online, this has changed for me.

don't jump into social media

We All Understand Social Media is a Good Thing

First, let me disclose that I fully understand and support the advantages that social media brings to a business. Social media brings a wealth of benefits to a business. It allows you to more personally connect with your customers. Engage them in ways they have not been engaged. It allows your business to learn more about your customers than ever before and put that data to very good use. It allows you to take advantage of better search results by satisfying the search engines’ new found importance on social media. And of course we could pour in about 1,000 other checkmate arguments to be “where the customer is” on social media. I get it. It makes sense. It’s logical. It’s beneficial. It differentiates future sustained companies from slowing dying ones. Again, I get it. However, it doesn’t change the fact that I feel social media can absolutely hurt a company who’s not ready for it.

Companies hear this battle cry for social media and naturally they are drawn into the big 3 (or 4 depending on your business); Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and in many b2b cases, LinkedIn. They set up their profiles, upload a logo, send out a couple quick updates to give the appearance they’ve been here before and generate a buzz around their offices that they are currently now on social media. The strategy then becomes fairly consistent for most. Put a link to our Facebook page here. Mention our Twitter handle there. Stream the feeds to our website and ensure there is a link to every social media network so it appears we’re “well connected” to our customer. After a few days of posting press releases and updates on the fact that your CEO is speaking at the ‘No one gives a damn’ Conference in Egypt, you notice your revenue hasn’t improved at all. Social media has failed you. You now realize that your social media campaign requires constant attention and the 8 spamming followers you now have on Twitter are lower than worthless. Well, you tried. It was a good run. You laughed while creating the profile, you cried when it didn’t work, and can now confidently say that social media is not right for the company.

But What we Don’t Understand is Social Media is NOT ALWAYS A GOOD THING

Here’s the problem. As social media continues to grow, more and more of your customers will become part of it. So in a year when your customers finally decide to reach out to connect you on social media, there’s a problem. Your profile is dated, you haven’t posted anything in 8 months and the 5 comments that were sent to your company from prospects or customers went completely unanswered. Your social media presence that was once such a hopeful and glorified asset to your company, has just made you look worthless. The real question is; “would it have been better to have not been there at all, than to look like you’ve been there and failed? Was it worth the trial and error that was nailed into your mind by agencies and social media “experts”? I can answer that one myself, it wasn’t.

Start Small and Decide if Social Media is Truly For You

Social media is a very visible piece of the marketplace and if you’re not truly ready to dedicate the resources to dive in, don’t. It’s not a small investment of time. It’s not instantaneous. It requires time and resources to be effective. If you don’t have these things spare, don’t dive in. Companies are so consumed with just “being there” that they lose sight of what really goes into social media. Social media isn’t a marketing tool, it’s a method of communication. It’s a way to give your customers access to you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and if you’re not willing to make that commitment, take the highroad and don’t get involved and certainly don’t get involved on EVERY single platform available to start. Learn the ropes. If you’re starting out on social media, take some time to evaluate the different and choose the one that works best for your business.

Facebook – Are you a consumer based business? Do your customers come in all sorts of shapes and sizes? If so, this could be a great place to start.

Twitter – Are you customers ahead of the game? Edgy? Are extremely into the “now”? You notice a common trend about Twitter users. Mr. Smith, your 54 year old industrial engineer may not fit that trend.

LinkedIn – Are you business to business based? Do you focus on executives and management for your business. Are your credentials a big reason that b2b customers buy from you? Try it out.

Google+ – Are your customers early adopting or a younger generation? Google+ is new and fresh. When you utilize words such as “hangouts” and “circles” to describe key features of your service, you get a sense that your audience base will certainly have that “cool factor”.

Closing Thoughts

Choose one and get started. Test out the waters. Give it time to develop and don’t overwhelm yourself. Take it slow and understand the features of your social platform and begin to introduce it piece by piece into your business model. This will eliminate the possibility of looking like a complete jackass down the road if you do get fed up with social media and can’t seem to adopt it. It happens. It will continue to happen. Even with the majority of society screaming for you to get on social media, keep one thing in mind; It’s sometimes better to not show up the party, than to show up and suck. Am I wrong?

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