Marketing Automation Agencies: How To Hire The Right Agency

Marketing Automation tools are so powerful they can help you efficiently overload your sales team, spam your market, publish lots of content no one will read, and then get accurate analytics on how your marketing investment has been wasted.  If you think this might be happening don’t feel alone.

B2B strategy and execution is just starting to catch up to the potential of the software.  The mix of skills and expertise needed to create success crosses different marketing disciplines from content, to web development, to campaign planning, to email marketing, to analytics and more.

This post reviews the different available service options, what to look for, and how to identify what you really need. (more…)

Marketo: The 7 stages of Marketo’s marketing automation pipeline

Jon Miller VP Marketing and Co-Founder at Marketo (@jonmiller2) outlines the 7 stages of Marketo’s marketing pipeline in the following video from softwareadvice.com an online resource for buyers of marketing automation software.

We love several of the concepts that Jon outlines in this process.  First that the names in your pipeline don’t start as active leads until they engage with your content and provide data to help segment and profile them.  The second is the concept of active nurturing and lead recycling.  This video is a great overview of how Marketo uses marketing automation as a tool for lead management and Jon goes on to share more at softwareadvice.com.

It Is Also A Terrific Example of Content and Programs

But how this video is executed  is also a terrific example of both content and programs. (more…)

Using Your Existing B2B Marketing Budget To Increase Engagement & Double Your Online Leads

Generating more qualified leads, increasing their engagement, and getting more customers doesn’t always require a bigger B2B marketing budget.  Instead you should look at optimizing how your budget is spent.  Here is a case study of a client project that delivered double the leads without increasing their budget.

Objective: Better B2B lead generation results from AdWords

While AdWords can efficiently drive traffic it is often a very blunt demand generation tool.  AdWords performance is generally measured by cost per click but for most B2B marketers higher traffic volumes rarely translate into better lead generation.  The real objective should be optimizing all of your marketing, including your AdWords spend, to capture and convert more qualified leads. (more…)

SEO tactics for B2B: new benchmark data from MarketingSherpa

Great new chart from the smart folks at MarketingSherpa on SEO Tactics for B2B marketing. Their survey data helps prioritize how much effort to spend on SEO hygiene vs SEO charm in order to connect with more customers as you build next year’s marketing plan and budget.

Optimizing your SEO effort for B2B marketing

While SEO hygiene (title tags, XML site maps, metadata) is seen as important the big wins are improving your SEO charm with keyword research, content optimization and content creation. But as you can see below these marketing initiatives are also seen as the most challenging and requiring the most effort!

MarketingSherpa Chart B2B SEO Tactics

How to Optimize and Create Better Content

Great!  MarketingSherpa once again shares benchmark data proving that hard-work and content development pay-off.  But how do you put their best practice advice into practice?

A key strategy for optimizing and creating content for better SEO  is to focus on what your customer wants to know at each stage of their decision process. This is the most efficient way to connect with the long tail keyword strings prospects are searching, to develop the content they want, and to reflect the language they are using.

A second successful approach is to re-purpose, develop and test content in lighter formats like tweets and blog posts using an intelligent mud approach before you make a big investment in heavier content formats.  This is the most efficient way to test and learn what is working before you commit your content development budget.

But the best starting point is the development of a content plan.  See this post for a practical approach to content planning or better yet, contact us and we will help you build the right foundation for your B2B marketing.

B2B Lead Generation Best Practices: Reaching More Customers

The BrainRider blog often gets inbound searches looking for information on reaching more B2B customers, lead generation best practices, how to build awareness, get more customers, fill my funnel, create more customer demand.

These searches are the practical evidence of major changes in the B2B marketing mix. (see this post more data on this trend)

The truth is that B2B marketing and selling is quickly evolving. Across industries, the marketing and selling context has changed. Buyers are behaving differently, and the work required to make a sale is becoming more difficult. While tools like the web, search, social media, marketing automation and CRM solutions are driving much of this change the trend is not just about technology. (more…)

B2B Marketing: How To Get More Customers Using Social Media

Research from ITSMA and others has been highlighting how the B2B buying process is changing.  For example over 75% of tech buyers are using Social Media like LinkedIn and blogs as part of the buying process and buyers are making use of search tools like Google which often deliver Social Media results.

A recent example from Booze & Company’s B2B Marketing Survey 2010 highlights how B2B marketers are changing their marketing mix to follow this trend.

Growth of B2B Marketing Spend Shifting to Social Media and Digital

The benefits of using social media in your B2B marketing mix

While there is lots of buzz about Social Media and B2B the practical benefits of a marketing mix that includes Social Media are:

  • Search Engine Optimization
  • More targeted market reach using your network
  • More qualified inbound traffic

And when combined with a best practice mix of content, programs and pipeline marketing tools like Pardot’s Prospect Insight, Social Media can capture more prospects and deliver more visibility into your pipeline.

Along with these practical benefits, softer benefits like anecdotal market insight, corporate openness, customer engagement, and hearing what your customers are saying can also be valuable but BrainRider starts by focusing on how to use Social Media to attract and convert more customers.

The challenges in using Social Media for B2B

But social media also has some significant challenges.  We often work with mid-market companies who compete based on specialized knowledge or expertise–not price. That implies a longer buying cycle, a very targeted market and a need to focus their marketing resources.  For these client’s Social Media can be a challenge because of:

  • The large number of options and platforms
  • The demand for marketing content
  • The investment needed to manage a real-time environment
  • A lack of integration with their pipeline and sales process

However with the right approach these challenges can be managed and you can access the benefits of using Social Media as part of your marketing mix.

A best practice approach: Outposts and Anchors

Our recommendation is a low-hanging fruit approach designed to expand your reach and presence while managing your investment and channelling all your leads into your pipeline.  This B2B specific approach is based on Chris Brogan’s thinking about Social Media outposts and anchors but it has been tailored to fit the needs of our clients.

First, think of your Social Media presence as a series of marketing “outposts” setup in channels where your potential buyers are active and where search engines index for results.  This is a version of the age old recommendation to go where your customers are.

B2B Social Media strategy, LinkedIn, Twitter, Blogging, RSS

Use these outposts to share content designed to connect with prospects at each stage of their decision-making process.  This content can be re-used in multiple formats, types and outposts but it should be focused on what your customers want to know and your value proposition.  And because many Social Media channels can syndicate their content through feeds you can often efficiently post and cross-reference your content across multiple outposts automatically.   This is a smart way to efficiently reduce the time it takes to expand your Social Media presence.

We often recommend starting with a combination of Twitter, LinkedIn, SlideShare, and blogging.  These four social media channels are low hanging opportunities for most companies and they work well together.  But ask your customers what they are using and experiment with new channels as they get on your radar.  But don’t forget in each of these cases, the purpose of these outposts is to quickly connect with your prospects using light content and direct them into your pipeline by using an anchor offering more valuable content.

(To get you started here is a quick post on how to setup your LinkedIn profile to act as an outpost.)

Next create an “anchor” on your own website (BrainRider’s anchor is our https://brainrider.com/knowledge-center) .  Your anchor should be designed to help your prospects quickly find more interesting thinking, knowledge, and expertise as well as to encourage them to easily opt-into for access to even more content.   And because they are now on your website, you can use digital analytics and marketing automation tools to track a specific prospect’s interest in a subject area and nurture them through the decision process with additional relevant content.  Click here for some thoughts on nurturing best practice.

As more and more research is showing, Social Media can be an important part of your marketing mix, I hope this post and the outpost and anchor approach is helpful in getting you get started.  For more information or to discuss your specific needs please feel free to contact us.


For more insight on Social Media, B2B Marketing, and the Booz & Company research Courtney Wiley, Director of Digital Marketing over at INgage Networks has a terrific blog post looking at this trend and she leverages her own practical knowledge to share 7 great tips on what you can do for your own marketing efforts.

Or check out our resource center.

Pardot Elevate 2010: some of the best tweets

Here is a quick recap of some of the most popular, smart, and entertaining tweets from the Pardot Elevate 2010 Marketing Automation User Conference Sept 28-29 in Atlanta.

Click here to get to get free access all the presentations from this terrific conference.

RT @Pardot: We’re excited to have over 100 @pardot clients visit us in Atlanta next week! https://prd.to/a8EVEw #pardot2010
twitter.com/AdamBlitzer

Check out presentations online: More to come… plus videos! #Pardot2010
twitter.com/nolin

Learned more at #pardot2010 in 2 days about using @pardot in 3 years. … #pardot2010
twitter.com/chrisuscha

 

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B2B Lead Generation Leveraging Social Media

There are some really great questions being asked online these days about the performance of social media in B2B lead generation.

Questions like:

  • Are you happy with the results you’re getting through social media?
  • Are your efforts on Twitter and Linkedin paying off?
  • How many leads have you generated? Are they converting to paying customers?
  • For those who are getting results, what has created the breakthrough for you?

Here are some of our answers: (more…)