How Does Social Media Impact a B-to-B Purchase?

April 8, 2014

B-to-B purchases are usually more complex and the selling cycles are longer with multiple decision makers in the mix.

I recently read a post by Heidi Cohen, B2B Purchase Process 2014: What You Need to Know, that highlights findings from the DemandGen’s 2014 B2B buyers behavior survey.

Use of Social Media in B2B Purchase Process 2014

Here are some points of interest that would relate to Manufacturers:

  • Purchasing process teamwork – 55% include 1-3 people and 37% include 4-7 people.
  • 72% use social for research – they are looking for recommendations, expert advice and connecting with potential suppliers.
  • They’re not looking for information, but quality content.
  • 46% of buyers use search engines to start their purchasing process.
  • 37% ranked white papers and infographics on manufacturers’ websites to be the most important info.

So based on these stats, what are you doing to make sure you’re being found and considered?


Smaller Companies Doing a Better Job with Content Marketing

December 10, 2013

Smaller B-to-B companies (under 100 employees) seem to be doing a better job maximizing their content marketing efforts according to Content Marketing and Marketing Prof’s B2B Content Marketing 2014 Benchmark, Budgets and Trends Research.

Heidi Cohen does a good job highlighting important nuggets from the report. Among them:

  • Over 90% of B2B marketers are using some sort of content marketing.
  • 42% of marketers think their content is effective and 20% thinks theirs isn’t.
  • 48% of smaller B2B organizations have a documented content strategy compared to 41% of bigger organizations.
  • 78% of smaller companies have someone specific overseeing content marketing as opposed to 58% of larger companies.

More people are planning on spending more of their budget on content marketing. If you’re like the rest of us, budgets aren’t getting any larger next year and we have to do more with less. Heidi suggests looking in other people’s budgets to help the cause.

The biggest challenge still is producing good relevant content no matter what your budget is. That’s why a content marketing strategy is the most important thing you can do to ensure  good content on a regular basis.

Are these findings consistent with what’s happening in your world?


Is Your B2B Blog Your Top Marketing Tool?

November 12, 2013

B2B prospects tend to be well on their way through the buying process before they even identify a company. Don’t you want to be one of those they contact?

In the 3 years that I’ve been doing a blog, I’ve seen more and more interest and yes, business that has originated because of what folks read on my blog. In many cases, by the time they identified themselves, we’re already talking strategy and have won the business. It’s a nice position to be in.

I recently read a post by Heidi Cohen, How to Make Your B2B Blog Your Content Marketing Tool that outlines 10 steps that will help you get there.

Here are some key takeaways:

  • Understand your audience.
  • Do an editorial calendar that ties in with your other promotional activities/events.
  • Optimize content for findability via search engines.
  • Distribute content by building regular readership either by RSS or e-newsletters.
  • Use other social platforms to promote your content.

Blogs are time-consuming to do,but if you’re going to do it, then do it right. It’s a great way to stay in front of prospects on an ongoing basis, builds your credibility in the space you’re in and ultimately generates new business.

If you like this post, you may want to read:

Blogs that Reach the Professional Tradesman

B2B Blogs Can Help Increase Marketing Efforts to the Professional Tradesman


Do You Have a Mobile App? Are You Promoting It?

October 23, 2013

I think everyone realizes by now that mobile is the fastest growing segment of the business. While the biggest impact is on the retail markets, B-to-B usage continues to grow. So should you have an app? The answer to that is, will your app give value and help your targeted user with practical things? If yes, then you’d better get rolling.

comScore data shows that 63% of mobile commerce happens via a smartphone. Don’t take these retail numbers for granted. From a B-to-B perspective, giants like Amazon are leading the way in this category. That means that a consumer can buy a book as easily as a hydraulic fitting using a smartphone.

So the questions you have to ask yourself are this: do I have a mobile website, and if I do, is it optimized for smartphones and tablets? If not, you need to get a responsive designed site sooner than later. But just because you’ve built an app doesn’t mean people will come.

I recently read a post by Heidi Cohen, 21 Ways to Promote Your Mobile App that gives you quick ideas on how to promote. Here are some highlights:

  • Promote your app on your website
  • Promote your app on your mobile site
  • Get your app in iOS and Android app stores
  • Use it in self promotion from emails to QR codes in print and digital ads
  • Promote it on your business cards and email signature

Let’s not waste an opportunity.

If you like this post, you may want to read:

Mobile Marketing to the Professional Tradesman – What are you Doing?

Things to Consider When Using Mobile to Reach the Professional Tradesman.

Is Your Website Mobile Ready for the Professional Tradesman?


Manufacturers: What are you Trying to Accomplish With Your Content Marketing?

July 2, 2013

So you’re creating content and are using both traditional as well as social media to get the word out. The key question is, what are you trying to accomplish? Have you set goals and identified the appropriate target market you want to go after?

A recent article by Heidi Cohen, 53 Actionable Content Marketing Metrics caught my eye. Her metrics support your content marketing goals.

  • Build your brand
  • Attract new  prospects
  • Increase customer engagement
  • Improve search
  • Build thought leadership
  • Increase leads
  • Drive sales
  • Increase customer loyalty
  • Reduce costs

She gives clear action items we all can use. Hopefully these will help all of us get more out of content marketing.


What Are You Doing to Ensure Social Media will be Successful?

August 14, 2012

Social media is no different from any other marketing tool. In order for it to be successful, you need to have a specific plan with action items that can not only be attained but measured. Once you have a plan, get the C suite to buy into your goals and objectives and keep them in the loop as things move forward.

Once you get approval, make sure you integrate social media programs into your other marketing  plans. It can’t and shouldn’t stand alone.

I recently read a good article by Heidi Cohen that outlines seven social media goals. Here are some highlights:

  • Build brand awareness – a great way to engage directly with prospects.
  • Protect your reputation - you need to know what folks are saying about your brand.
  • Learn more about your customers - use social as a kind of market research.
  • Increase customers or prospects - based on your content you can engage new potentials.

What are you doing to ensure your social media program is a success?


Are You Minding Your Manners on Twitter?

November 23, 2011

Yes, there are rules (even though some should be self-evident) on the do’s and don’ts on Twitter. Heidi Cohen does a great job identifying them in a recent post giving you 24 guidelines. Here are just a few:

  • Use a recognizable Twitter handle - keep it short and align it so it can go across several platforms.
  • Brand your page - make sure your Twitter page has the same look and feel as the rest of your branding efforts.
  • Twitter bio - should be there to help others figure out what you’re all about.
  • Let followers know if you’re going to be increasing your tweets - an example would be going to a conference or trade show.
  • Give credit where it’s due - acknowledge the originator.
  • Beware of TMI (too much info) - tell what time it is, not how to build a watch.
  • Pay-it-forward - contribute helpful info and re-tweet and support others without expecting anything in return.

What can you add to the list?


Are You Promoting Your Blog Outside Social Circles?

October 26, 2011

For those of us who are doing blogs, we sometimes get so focused on the social media side of things that we forget to use traditional methods of promotion to promote it.

I recently read a post by Heidi Cohen, 34 Ways to Raise Blog Readership Without Using Social Media. Although all her suggestions aren’t relevant to the manufacturing segment that’s trying to reach the professional tradesman, I’ve highlighted some of the points that hit home to me.

  • SEO - using keywords maximizes your reach.
  • Promote on your website - we even have the three most current posts on our home page to draw attention to the blog.
  • Do an email - to the appropriate audience with link.
  • Packaging - promote on outside of box.
  • Press release - not for every post, but certainly for important ones that have to do with industry research.
  • Include your blog on your business card and on your email signature.

If you’re doing a blog, what ways are you promoting it other than by social?


Are You Maximizing Your Content Marketing?

September 28, 2011

For those of you who have blogs, this will be of interest to you. We all (sometimes) are pressed for time and after writing and spell checking a post, we put it up there with the appropriate key words and let it fly.

I was reminded recently by a post by Heidi Cohen that we may be overlooking some ways to get that little extra out of each post. Her post, Does Your Content Marketing Contain These 12 Must-Have Components? had some good points we all should be using. Here are highlights of the top points that got my attention:

  1. Share this button - Makes sense to give your readers easy access to share your info. I normally add them at the end, but she suggests addding them up front. Good idea.
  2. Join email list - Seems like a “no brainer,” but if readers like what they see, they probably will want more. Give them a reason to sign up.
  3. RSS feed -  Just another option for readers to follow you easily. It’s easy to install .
  4. Contact us functionality - If someone has the need to get a hold of you, give them an email address or phone number to call.
  5. Provide search on your site - Since your content may cause readers to want to find out more or may not answer all of their questions, allow them to seek more information.
  6. Supply links to related content – This is often not done. If you’ve written other posts that are relevant, why not have them at the bottom of the post for people to link to? Makes sense and it helps to keep them on your site while building your thought leadership.

These are just a few tips along with a good call to action that will help you get extra mileage out of each post. What are some things you’re doing to bolster readership?

If you liked this post you might like:

Is Your Brand Disconnecting on Social Media?

Manufacturers: 5 Reasons Content is King

3 Tips on How to Build Followers


Social Media: Is Your Marketing Team on Board?

September 20, 2011

Social media, if used correctly, can be an untapped treasure for marketers. All too often though, marketing departments treat social media just like any other channel they use to PUSH their marketing message. What they don’t seem to understand about social is that it’s about engagement and interacting with real people!

I recently read a post by Heidi Cohen, titled How Marketers Miss the Boat with Social Media Relationships that outlined 7 things not to do if you want to succeed with social media. Here are some highlights:

  1. Don’t talk about you - Talk with them, not to them. Be social and listen. Ask them questions and engage them in a conversation.
  2. Don’t speak in “marketese”- Marketing lingo is selling lingo and it turns people off big time. Talk like a human being. Pretend you’re at a cocktail party. Be funny, inquisitive, be human.
  3. Don’t force YOUR point of view - Listen to what people are saying through brand monitoring and respond accordingly.
  4. Don’t think you can buy customer trust - In the social arena, trust is earned. Pay attention to what customers are saying and if something needs fixed, fix it. There’s no better way of building credibility.
  5. Don’t knock your competion - It doesn’t work in the real world and it certainly isn’t going to work in this one. Focus instead on ways you can help your customer.
  6. Don’t think a social media relationship will result in a sale - Social prospects are not unlike a regular prospect. Not all folks you meet are ready to buy right now. You need to identify where they are in the selling cycle and give them the type of info they need to go to the next step.
  7. Don’t assume that social media relationships are limited to social media networks - Appreciate the fact that people have a life outside social media and have real life relationships. In those relationships, what they’ve learned in social media circles may come out in conversations. Wouldn’t you like it if they were telling their business associates about this great product they found or a solution to a problem they had and they were talking about your brand?

The bottom line is the marketing team needs to be on the same page and treat social media differently.

Do you have any other suggestions on what not to do?


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