B2B SEO Strategy: Targeting Buyer Intent

B2B SEO strategy and, even more importantly, targeting B2B buyer intent can be a big challenge.  This post takes a look at recent B2B SEO strategy best practice, B2B marketing content best practice, and B2B lead generation best practice in order to provide some practical tips.

Technical B2B SEO Best Practice

For years the focus of B2B SEO strategy has been on keyword stuffing and volume of links. But Google is increasingly targeting more subtle ranking factors to deliver relevant vs optimized search results. Take a look – the chart below from SEO authority SearchEngineLand shows the complex mix of factors Google is believed to be using to deliver search results.

B2B SEO Strategy: SearchEngineLand Table

These “Success Factors” include traditional B2B SEO strategy elements such as copy, freshness, HTML tags including titles and descriptions, and links, as well as newer elements such as authority, trust, and social mentions.  Most of the technical elements can be managed by an effective content management system using best practice SEO tools.

B2B SEO Strategy: Content Best Practice

While technical optimization remains complex, the net result is that technical optimization (beyond good Google friendly hygiene) is becoming much less important than developing, publishing, and sharing relevant, useful, and valuable B2B content related to your subject matter expertise.  The starting point should be developing a customer-centric content plan that targets what your customers want to know at each stage of their decision process.  This model targets different stages of B2B buyer intent with different content approaches.

B2B SEO Strategy: B2B content ideas

Next, develop a keyword strategy that will allow you to describe your content using customer language, and target buyer intent searches.  For B2B SEO the focus is not keywords, for example “procurement”, but longer keyword phrases used by prospects at each decision stage, for example “procurement spend under management benchmarks” or “SAP procurement solution reviews”.  While the search volumes will be smaller, the quality of your traffic and prospects will be higher.

B2B SEO Strategy: Lead Generation Best Practice

Finally, attracting the right traffic using B2B SEO strategy is only the initial challenge.  Given the investment it takes to attract high quality traffic, you need to optimize your content, website, and lead generation programs to acquire new prospects using gated content and other tiered calls to action.

Small Talk with Adam the Bobblehead: A Look Inside the Bobbleventure

Over the past few weeks, Brainrider has documented Pardot‘s Adam the Bobblehead as he journeyed on a “Bobbleventure” around Toronto. So, we decided to catch up with Adam the Bobblehead in an intimate one on one interview to hear more about the details of his experience. Our Content Marketing Strategist, Miranda Steinway, sat down with Adam for “Small Talk with Adam the Bobblehead: A Look Inside the Bobbleventure”.

Pardot Elevate2012 Conference: A Curated Tweet Collection

Here is a quick list of great tweets from Elevate 2012 in Atlanta, Pardot’s Marketing Automation Users Conference.

Holy crap! Barry Manilow is at the Symphony Hall right now! #Pardot2012
@aprilewilson Oct 24, 7:17pm via Twitter for iPhone

In an email subject line, the only words that matter are the first four. Make them count. #Pardot2012 @sugarcrm
@chathri Oct 24, 9:45pm via TweetDeck

“@chris_heiden: Websites need to be easy to navigate. Get to the point and get the conversion. #pardot2012”
@kyleplacy Oct 24, 5:40pm via Twitter for iPhone

Psyched about new @Pardot features in the works esp. lifecycle funnel reporting & playbooks 4 integrated, multichannel campaigns #pardot2012
@BTDmarketer Oct 24, 5:32pm via web

Video is the top channel content marketers will increase investment in @eMarketer chart at #pardot2012
@BTDmarketer Oct 24, 5:30pm via web

Pardot Real Soon(tm): template regions, Wistia connector, lifecycle reporting, dynamic email content #pardot2012 #marketing #automation
@mihneastoian Oct 24, 5:01pm via Twitter for iPad

@MatthewBohar one does not simply video market into mordor #Pardot2012. 🙂
@aprilewilson Oct 24, 4:56pm via Twitter for iPhone

#pardot2012 “If content is king, then video is its crown.” Zach Bailey, Pardot
@MatthewBohar Oct 24, 4:53pm via Twitter for Android

For those who want to track the blog-able new features in @Pardot: bit.ly/RDNiS4 #pardot2012
@chris_heiden Oct 24, 4:43pm via Tweetbot for Mac

For most B2B, PPC landing pages are not selling your product, they are selling an offer. Don’t scare away your visitor. #pardot2012
@chris_heiden Oct 24, 4:29pm via Tweetbot for Mac

Want mine and @tjgephart’s 10 Ways to Elevate Pardot from this morning?: slidesha.re/QGCPps. Enjoy! #pardot2012
@chris_heiden Oct 24, 4:21pm via Tweetbot for Mac

#pardottip on lengths of forms and questions you ask. Would you want to submit that data? Either do your prospects. #pardot2012
@chris_heiden Oct 24, 4:19pm via Tweetbot for Mac

In order to be #agile, you need to #prioritize – don’t get into analysis paralysis either! @msweezey #pardot2012
@BTDmarketer Oct 24, 4:11pm via web

Reminder that subdomains are considered a completely separate website by search engines. Use site.com/blog instead @nolin #Pardot2012
@tjgephart Oct 24, 4:10pm via HTC Peep

Treat your blog like your resource page, sort by subject, categorize, and be happy #pardot2012
@marcommadness Oct 24, 4:09pm via Twitter for iPhone

Make key topics bookmarkable pages instead of tabs – easier for prospects to find & save them and good for SEO. @brainrider #pardot2012
@stephanie_gray Oct 24, 4:05pm via Twitterrific

Be relevant and send the user where THEY want to go – not where you want them to go @msweezey #agile #pardot2012
@BTDmarketer Oct 24, 4:04pm via web

props to the company guinea pigs willing to let @nolin critique their website in real-time at #pardot2012
@Sean_Essex Oct 24, 4:03pm via Twitter for Android

w/ email drip programs, don’t need to create ALL the emails at once – build the first few & see how they do – tip from @msweezey #pardot2012
@BTDmarketer Oct 24, 4:00pm via web

It’s fine if you don’t gate your content with a form, but you DO need to track those engagements! @nolin #pardot2012
@tjgephart Oct 24, 3:53pm via HTC Peep

Learning how to be agile. Pleased to see a daily huddle among team-members is first tip. My team does 15 min together every day! #pardot2012
@myfavouritemuse Oct 24, 3:49pm via web

I’m ready to learn “How Pardot Uses Pardot” and then it’s on to “Basic Best Practices for Drip Nurturing” #pardot2012
@mdlorey 9:05am via web

@AdamBlitzer Content is hard: you need a lot, it needs to be fresh, it needs to be high quality #pardot2012
@brainrider 9:14am via HootSuite

@AdamBlitzer, getting your personal congrats on my 911 preso meant so much. Great conference! #pardot2012
@anitamtaylor 9:15am via HootSuite

@AdamBlitzer confesses: “Content is hard – you need a lot, it needs to be fresh, and high quality.” #pardot2012 #b2bmarketing
@intelligentdem 9:15am via HootSuite

#pardot2012 Zombie Lead Management Infographic | MarketStar: marketstar.com/zombie#.UIk7Ok…
@adammprice 9:21am via Tweet Button

@AdamBlitzer The goal of a webinar is not the # of attendees – it’s the number of registrants. Make sure you record it! #pardot2012
@MelanieD_ID 9:23am via HootSuite

RT @KatieBullinger: “Peel the onion” with your leads by providing additional content on thank-you pages #pardot2012
@brainrider 9:23am via HootSuite

By putting data out there you become an authority. #pardot2012
@PardotNair 9:25am via Mobile Web

“Infographics are like crack for marketers.” – @AdamBlitzer #gold #pardot2012
@KatieBullinger 9:39am via Twitter for iPhone

Fake forward email. Genius!!! #pardot2012
@cceleratedFL 9:41am via web

B2B Marketing tip: Arm your sales team w/content for email signatures & set up personalized email drips – @AdamBlitzer #pardot2012
@ktmel 9:41am via Twitter for iPhone

test your emails before you send out drips. don’t make your sales reps look like fools. #pardot2012
@chris_heiden 9:41am via Tweetbot for iOS

About to sit down with @PardotVincent for #officehours at #Pardot2012. I plan to be an expert by lunch. No pressure, Vincent! 🙂 #Pardot2012
@snbaird 9:43am via TweetDeck

@KANASoftware mktg function spilt into product strategy, product marketing and marketing programs #pardot2012
@brainrider 10:03am via HootSuite

@KANASoftware getting 3.66% response rate across over 1 million blast emails #pardot2012
@brainrider 10:04am via HootSuite

How many prospects in ur database r active? Split email metrics between active vs. inactive 2 get a better sense of ur programs #pardot2012
@BTDmarketer 10:06am via web

Create a checklist before setting up a drip program. Yes! I love #checklists but I have too many that just live in my head! #pardot2012
@BTDmarketer 10:11am via web

Tagging and tracking URLs in drip programs – missed opportunity for sure – one of the first things I’ll dig into post conference #pardot2012
BTDmarketer 10:13am via web

#pardot2012 @RedtailCRM Use Pardot as your fishbowl when collecting contestants for your tradeshow free giveaway
@MatthewBohar 10:14am via Twitter for Android

#brilliant: @KANASoftware start your nurturing planning by setting a measurable objective #pardot2012
@brainrider 10:14am via HootSuite

Identify quantifiable goals before building your drip programs. Great talk to day Jessie! @KANASoftware #pardot2012 #pardotpro
@PardotKat 10:20am via web

Ideal marketing team? crew of the Star Trek Enterprise #pardot2012
@marcommadness 10:21am via Twitter for iPhone

Nice work @KANASoftware. Those are some impressive improvements to your email marketing stats! #pardot2012
@STR_Software 10:23am via web

Question to ask yourself before each marketing project: why am I doing this? Is it measurable? #Pardot2012
@marcommadness 10:42am via Twitter for iPhone

Tradeshows are one of last ways to be truly social with prospects. Face-to-face interaction, not just social media. #pardot2012
@ASColleen 10:43am via Twitter for iPhone

Add an extra day to trips for post-tradeshow meetings w prospects. Get them all in 1 room, sit back, and listen to their needs. #pardot2012
@PardotNair 10:47am via web

4 Ways Pardot Maintains a Culture of Innovation bit.ly/R1OEo0 via @Pardot #pardot2012
@mbwesson 10:56am via Buffer

The smaller the biz, sometimes the more complex the demand generation & automation programs can be – to their BENEFIT @abneedles #pardot2012
@BTDmarketer 11:22am via Twitter for Android

@abneedles says SMB companies are often more sophisticated about marketing than enterprise businesses #pardot2012
@Sean_Essex 11:24am via Twitter for Android

Don’t confuse marketing sophistication with complexity – difference between strategic vs tactical #pardot2012
@MalloryRLee 11:26am via Twitter for iPhone

“Agile organizations become masters of the obvious.” Don’t make your #demandgen campaigns complex @abneedles #demandgen #pardot2012 @jimewel
@intelligentdem 11:30am via HootSuite

“On avg, sales reps say only 31% of leads fit their ideal customer profile. Standard B2B #leadgen is failing.” @abneedles #pardot2012
@PardotNair 11:32am via web

Whenver u adopt a new mktg technology, u also have to adjust the sales/marketing process to have success.@abneedles #pardot2012
@BTDmarketer 11:33am via Twitter for Android

#torontob2b Marketers Meetup IX: Marilyn Barefoot

On October 4, 2012, Brainrider held it’s 9th Marketer’s Meetup in Toronto.

In this post we are sharing a BRAINSTORMING WORKSHOP entitied, “Big ideas that will knock your socks off”  by Marilyn Barefoot, from Barefoot Brainstorming.
It was an interactive session, so some content is not shown in this video.

Twitter | Linkedin

#torontob2b Marketers Meetup IX: Trevor Hamilton

On October 4, 2012, Brainrider held its 9th marketers meetup in Toronto.
In this post we are sharing Trevor Hamilton from More Marketers Now’s presentation, “Create an Inbound Marketing Campaign”


Better B2B Marketing Strategies: 2013 Marketing Plan Ideas

A dozen practical ideas and B2B marketing strategies for your 2013 B2B marketing plan including planning by objectives, generating awareness, acquiring prospects, nurturing prospects, and qualifying sales leads in order to get better results.

Planning Your Marketing By Objectives

Get better results by prioritizing measureable marketing objectives and B2B marketing strategies and using them to identify gaps and opportunities in your plan.  Planning by objectives focuses on the strategies, programs, and tactics needed to deliver.  And measureable objectives make it possible to measure and track your progress, test and compare tactics, and more effectively report your results.  This chart lists 4 B2B marketing objectives and what to measure to evaluate performance:

Generating Awareness
Acquiring Prospects
B2B Marketing Strategies: VisitorsB2B Marketing Strategies: Prospects
  • How many find you & your expertise
  • How many become identified prospects & give permission for contact
  • How many are engaging with your credentials
Sales Readiness
B2B Marketing Strategies: MQL
  • How many meet qualified lead criteria
  • How many meet are signaling readiness to buy

Using Playbook Planning To Plan & Execute Programs

With fewer targets, who are difficult to reach, and even more challenging to influence, your B2B marketing strategies have to be hard working.  Get more out of your effort by planning integrated marketing activities that work together as a program instead of a collection of tactics.  Start with the objective for the program, focus on a specific target so you can develop more effective call to action offers, and then ask what channels and activities you should include in the program.  Ask what inbound, outbound, social, and paid channels could support the program.    And evaluate what you could do before, during, and after the key activity.  Finally identify the metrics you need to asses performance against the objective.

Here is a quick B2B marketing strategies program template to help you plan:



•Call to action
•Best performing offers/content

Channel &
Tactical Mix
•Past Results
•Ability to execute


•End date/ongoing

•Qualified Inbound Traffic
•New Prospect Acquisition
•Prospect Activity Scoring


B2B Marketing Strategies: Generating Awareness & Acquiring Prospects

Most marketing plans include events (tradeshows, conferences, roadshows, webinars, etc) and paid media (PPC advertising, sponsorships, e-blasts) because they have been in past plans and they can generate predictable results.  Two newer program types worth testing include inbound marketing and social publishing.

Inbound marketing & social publishing

Inbound marketing leverages what prospect want to know about what you know.  Prospects want information to understand their landscape and make better business decisions.  And they know they can often get that information through you.  Inbound marketing works to connect you with prospects actively looking for that information.  But to reach these prospects you need to make your subject matter expertise easier to find.

Here are seven inbound marketing and social publishing ideas worth testing:

  • Develop and publish better content by targeting what your customer is looking for at each stage of their decision process
  • Optimize your prospect resource center to make your subject matter expertise easier to find
  • Publish your marketing content on a custom Slideshare Channel
  • Use LinkedIn to share relevant content with your target audience
  • Use sidebars with tiered calls to action: raise your hand offers, get more information, and subscribe.
  • Feature more content links on your home page
  • Optimize form completions by offering more relevant content (ie access to what customers want to know)

B2B Marketing Strategies: Nurturing Prospects

Advances in marketing technology have enabled increased prospect nurturing.  But the key to successful nurturing is matching nurturing tactics to audience behaviour.  No prospects want to be continually spammed with conversion offers or new product announcements; instead they want information relevant to what they want to know.   Try thinking like a magazine publisher who has the objective of engaging their readership.  For example:

  • When prospects are actively researching they want information directly related to what they are looking for.  So test relevant “For More Information” links in your thank you content, autoresponders, sidebars and at the end of every content asset.
  • When they are not actively researching, you need to spark their interest.  Try sharing popular or new content that answers the question “What’s my problem?”, “What are my peers doing”, “What are my peers reading?”.  And give them lots of potential links in a digest format so they can easily find and choose their own adventure.

B2B Marketing Strategies: Qualifying Sales Readiness

The final objective in this list is qualifying prospect sales readiness with lead scoring.  This is challenging because out of the box scoring rules and a lack of sales readiness offers and activities reduce scoring accuracy.  Here at two ideas to test for 2013:

  • Focus on Marketing Qualification (MQL): ie is a lead worth sending to sales for a follow-up to see if they are ready to buy.
  • Test Sales Readiness Offers such as “Request a hands-on demonstration”, “Project & Pricing”, “Get a Free Consultation”, or “Get a ROI Analysis”