B2B Blogging Best Practices

If you have not seen Jeff Cohen’s terrific presentation on 16 Best Practices of B2B Corporate Blogging is is worth checking out (see below).

 

Our best practice recommendation:
Start with a content framework

All of Jeff’s recommendations are valuable but the first 7 can be addressed in a practical way by creating a simple content strategy/framework that answers the following questions:

  • What business are you really in?
  • Who is your target?
  • What are their needs and pains?
  • What is your value proposition?
  • What does your customer really want to know, broken out into main categories?
  • What are the key purchase decision stages?
  • What Keywords should you target?

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Marketing Content Development: Top 5 Tactics

B2B marketing content development can be expensive in terms of dollars and time spent — and some tactics are better than others.  According to CMO council research on content ROI “only 22 percent of respondents say they are very satisfied with the caliber of technology content” and this issue is not just limited to technology brands.  But smart companies have learned how to tackle the challenge efficiently and effectively.  How do they do it?

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B2B Buyer Decision Map: Understanding Decision Stages

Understanding the B2B buyer decision map and the decision stages B2B customers go through as they decide to buy from you and developing the content they are looking for at each stage is an essential B2B Marketing best practice.  Creating and sharing the information your customers want at each stage of their decision process will dramatically improve the findability, relevance, and ultimately the value of your content and increase qualified traffic, visitor engagement, and conversions. (more…)

SEO for B2B Marketing: tips to reach more customers

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is an important part of any Business to Business (B2B) marketing and lead generation program designed to reach more customers.  With most purchase decisions involving web research at all stages of the decision process, getting found by search engines is key.  While many companies need help, the good news is that SEO is quickly moving from a hard to understand technical discipline to a marketing discipline focused on strategy, planning, prioritization, and execution.

Understanding search engine optimization (SEO) and key SEO priorities for B2B Marketers.

Unlike B2C SEO marketing which often concentrates on technical optimization and “black-hat” specialists who try to “cheat” the system, improving SEO results for B2B comes from a combination of technical optimization and content value.

Technical optimization is similar to hygiene.  Without good hygiene it is hard to get a date (ask any 14  year old boy!) but hygiene alone will not get you many dates.  To become successful in the dating game you need more than good hygiene, you need to be interesting, and even more importantly interested in your date’s interests.  You need charm to be truly attractive.  SEO for B2B marketers works in a similar way. (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.