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  • Brand New: The Great Guide to Online Display Advertising
  • An Executive's Guide to SEO Strategy
  • Optimize Lead Generation & Inbound Marketing; A collection of Tips
  • Convert! Conversion Rate Optimization Guide
  • 38 Content Marketing Templates
  • Lead Generation with Paid Search
  • Content Marketing Strategy Guide
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Client Results!

3D2B

 

Inquiries Increases by 1400%! 

Organic Traffic Up by 150%

 
2014-08-31T09:48:44+00:00
  Inquiries Increases by 1400%!  Organic Traffic Up by 150%  

Rapid Learning Institute

 

Increased conversions 135%

Cost per conversion decreased 72%
2014-08-31T09:59:56+00:00
  Increased conversions 135% Cost per conversion decreased 72%

Leica Geosystems

 

Generates 40 new leads per month from content marketing
2014-09-02T06:57:42+00:00
  Generates 40 new leads per month from content marketing

Verifi

Increased paid search leads by 126%

Landing page conversions increased from .26% to 3.95%

Generates 90 leads per month via demand generation
2014-09-02T07:02:32+00:00
Increased paid search leads by 126% Landing page conversions increased from .26% to 3.95% Generates 90 leads per month via demand generation

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A hodgepodge of content marketing ideas that are unique, compelling, and lead-generating

outofbox

 

Content marketing is vital to growing a business in today’s economy.  With social media, email campaigns, eBooks, and other internet marketing tools, it’s important that your content stands out in an online sea of information.  Creating content that will leave a lasting impression goes far beyond words.  Internet users have extremely short attention spans, so unless your content includes varying features, many users will skip over it.  This article will give you a few ideas of creative ways to spruce up your content marketing and generate more leads.

Bring back the comics.

The traditional “funnies” – just like newspapers in general – are slowly dying out as more and more information is available online.  Virtual comics, however, are a great way to introduce some fun into your website or blog.  People are more likely to scan through a comic for the chance of a laugh than they are to read a lengthy word-only blog post that relays the same message.  Comics are especially effective if you’re focusing on business to business marketing.  Who better to appreciate your jokes than people familiar with the industry?  In addition, creating a unique comic is easy and free with services like http://www.pixton.com.

Join the meme party.

While you might think of internet memes as territory for the young and hip, they can also greatly benefit your marketing efforts.  By joining in with trends like the meme, you’re showing your target audience that you have a human side, too.  Not every piece of content marketing should be serious or informational; some should just be fun.  Like with comics, there are services that you can utilize to easily create your own memes.  Check out http://memegenerator.net/ for ideas.

Collaborate with another business.

By collaborating with a business in your industry – or even better, one that complements you but isn’t direct competition – you can multiply your content marketing reach.  There are several ways to collaborate.  For example, co-author blog posts or co-host webinars.  Another benefit to collaboration is idea flow.  With a partner, you’ll be able to bounce ideas off one another and possibly come up with something you never would have thought of on your own.

Thank your college professors and create a Slideshare presentation.

Do you remember all those projects you had to do back in your college marketing classes?  Almost 100 percent of them involved creating slideshows.  The concept is the same in today’s online marketing world.  Use http://www.slideshare.net/ to get your information across in a more interesting way than with traditional blog posts. 

Express your opinion with a top 10 list.

Lists are great tools to relay information in a way that grabs and keeps the audience’s attention. Here’s an example.  http://www.nusparkmarketing.com/2012/08/corporate-blog-benefits-lead-generation/ People love to get opinions on the most popular products, services, or ideas.  With an industry-related top 10 list, you can easily boost your business to business content marketing efforts.              

Interview industry experts.

Ask industry thought leaders some questions that you know your target audience will be interested in, and then write a blog post with the responses you get.  Include interviews with more than one person, and indicate where these experts tend to agree and disagree.  This is especially intriguing to other marketers and business professionals to whom you’re attempting to market.  As an added bonus, the people you interview will most likely share your post with their audiences, as well. 

MAKE IT WORK

These are just a few ideas to make your content marketing more appealing.  While some basic strategies are always needed – such as blog posts and webinars – periodically throwing in more creative content will increase your online following, which will in turn boost your image and lead to more sales.  The most important thing to ask yourself before releasing any content marketing item is whether your audience will find it fascinating enough to stop what they’re doing and view it.  If your answer is yes, then you’ve hit the nail on the head.         

How Did That Banner Ad Get To Your Website?

If you’re a novice in the online advertising world and ever wondered how that banner ad showed up on the website you are looking at, I have written a new eBook on how online advertising works, how to plan campaigns, how to target and retarget, how to measure and more. (see below)

For this blog, I wanted to explain as best as I can in layman’s terms how the online display landscape is currently structured from a national buy perspective. Feel free to email me if any questions at all; it’s technical.

 
Programmatic Advertising
Programmatic advertising buying is one of the newest buzzwords in the online display space. In its simplest form, it is the concept of using technology to automate online media buying with unprecedented efficiency. Because technology and software manages the campaigns, it eliminates a lot of the guesswork of media buying, such as human negotiation and manual insertion orders. When you use technology, you become more precise in your media placement tactics to drive effectiveness. It’s a better user experience because website visitors will only see relevant ads, and that increases click rate and awareness.
Calling Servers to Find Ads to Deliver to You
Scenario A: Serve an ad sold directly to an advertiser from the publisher

dispblog1

 

  • You open up a website. Your web browser points to a Web publisher and communicates via a publisher Web server. The publisher Web server responds back to the browser with an HTML file.
  • In the HTML file is a pointer back to the publisher ad server. The browser calls an ad server looking for an ad. The ad server responds with the ad’s file location. In this case, the file is sitting on a content delivery network (CDN).
  • The browser calls out to the CDN requesting the specific file containing the ad’s creative content (JPG, GIF, Flash, etc.). The CDN sends the file back to the browser.

Scenario B: An ad is served not from a publisher but an Ad Network (see below)  server

dispblog2
Instead of the publisher ad server pointing toward its own CDN, the ad server delivers a secondary ad tag, a simple piece of HTML that points toward an ad network server.

  • The browser calls the ad server, which returns the final location of the creative in its own CDN.
  • The browser calls to the ad network server CDN requesting the specific file with the ad’s creative content (JPG, GIF, Flash, etc.). The CDN sends the file back to the browser.

Scenario C: Serve an ad that is purchased by DSP and Ad exchanges (definitions below)

dispblog4
Instead of the publisher ad server pointing toward its own CDN, the ad server delivers a secondary ad tag, a simple piece of HTML that points toward an SSP. Now the concept of real time bidding (RTB) begins, featuring DSPs, DMPs, and Ad Exchanges.
DSPs are used by marketers to buy ad impressions from ad exchanges as cheaply and as efficiently as possible, SSPs are designed by publishers to do the opposite: to maximize the prices their impressions sell at.  SSPs allow publishers to connect their inventory to multiple ad exchanges, DSPs, and networks at once. This in turn allows a huge range of potential buyers to purchase ad space and for publishers to get the highest possible rates. When an SSP generates impressions into ad exchanges, DSPs analyze and purchase them on behalf of marketers depending on certain attributes such as where they’re served, and which specific users they’re being served to. By opening up impressions to as many potential buyers as possible via real-time auctions, publishers can maximize the revenues they receive for their inventory.
This process takes place in milliseconds as a user’s computer loads a webpage.
Data Segments for Better Targeting
DMPs work with DSPs and exchanges to manage cookie IDs and to generate audience segments, which are subsequently used to target specific users with online ads. 3rd party data segments generally cost more as an overlay due to the increased targeting capability.
Real Time Bidding

RTB works on an auction model. Each buying source makes their bid, highest wins, pays $0.01 more than the next highest bidder. Here’s an example which illustrates this:

  • Bidder 1 $0.50
  • Bidder 2 $0.60
  • Bidder 3 (winner) $0.80

Price Paid $0.61
The actual bidding process which takes less than 100 milliseconds looks like this:
1. The Exchange makes a call to the DSP with an available impression.
2. DSP checks to see if they want this impression – it could be someone in their retargeting pool, or in a desired audience segment according to a third party data vendor. If yes …
3. DSP makes a bid for it based on how much they think its worth or can afford to pay
4. Exchange sells the impression to the highest bidder.
5. Ad is delivered by the winning bidder.

 

Definitions
Ad Network: Ad networks connect advertisers to publishers. They aggregate ad inventory and offer it to advertisers

Ad Exchange¨ Display space that’s unsold by either sites or networks is usually collected by an ad exchange, where it is auctioned off to the highest bidder among advertisers, networks and agencies. Exchanges let buyers purchase very specific audiences, especially when using real-time bidding technology

 

DSP: A demand side platform (DSP) is a system that allows digital advertisers to manage multiple ad exchange and data exchange accounts through one interface. Real time bidding for display online ads takes place within the ad exchanges, and by utilizing a DSP, marketers can manage their bids for the banners and the pricing for the data that they are layering on to target their audiences.

 

DMP: A data management platform (DMP) is a centralized data management platform that allows advertisers to create target audiences based on a combination of in-depth first-party and third-party audience data. DMPs enable advertisers to consolidate online and offline customer data from various sources into a single location, then use it to create demographic and behavioral segments that can be used to target online advertising.

 

SSP: Allow publishers to jump into ad exchanges via DSPs to make their inventory available and optimize selling of their online media space. Through SSPs, publishers can gain the highest eCPM for their inventory rather than selling remnant space at lower costs

 

 

I know this summary is technical and hard to explain, but as an online marketer it’s interesting to understand “how that ad got there.

My new ebook explains these concepts further as well as the following:
• Stating the case for display as a relevant advertising strategy
• Campaign planning and KPIs to measure
• Pricing and ad units to consider
• Targeting tactics and retargeting overview
• Mobile web and app campaigns
• Campaign optimization strategies
• A tour of the Google Display Network platform
• B2B topics; lead nurturing, native advertising, LinkedIn advertising
• Display measurement; View-throughs, attribution modeling

 

 

 
Feel free to download a copy of the Great Online Display Advertising Guide here:

Social Selling for Lead Generation: 9 Tips to Optimize Your Efforts

socialsell

In today’s B2B business environment of inbound and content marketing, you must utilize social selling as a source of high quality leads. According to LinkedIn, social selling leads to 45% increase in lead generation and selling opportunities. However, simply logging onto a social media platform and expecting magic to happen will not suffice.

The following information explains a 9 tips designed to help you optimize your social selling for lead generation.

LinkedIn Group Tips

Don’t use LinkedIn Groups to make sales pitches or spam your company’s marketing content. The key is to establish yourself as someone who’s tuned in to your customers and looking to help them solve problems.

Make LinkedIn Groups part of your daily social selling routine. Sporadic posting and inconsistent monitoring are not going to significantly increase the number of leads you generate each quarter.

When you find a compelling news article or blog post online, use a share widget,like Share-This or Share-a-holic, to share it to any of your LinkedIn Groups, directly from the source.

Join Twitter

Undoubtedly, LinkedIn and Twitter are the most effective social networks. Based on the study by B2BMarketing.net, 74% of B2B marketers have a regularly updated LinkedIn profile and 73% are active on Twitter. This means it’s imperative for you to not only be active on LinkedIn, but you can definitely bolster your marketing efforts by joining Twitter.

Content is King

According to the CMO Council, decision makers consume on average five different pieces of content before they are ready to speak to someone on your sales team. Before you share your content on LinkedIn or Twitter, you must make sure your content is properly optimized and created in a web format for the maximum effect.

Include Personality in Your Content

Even though your B2B audience may be loaded with professionals, they are still human. You should negate standard marketing lingo and try to appeal to your audience with personality. The goal is to demonstrate to your audience there is still a person behind the brand.

Use Buyer Oriented Keywords

One of the most important aspects to social selling is the implementation of buyer oriented keywords. Since your buyer persona may change, you should also monitor buyer oriented keywords and implement the new keywords into your new content. When you learn and use new keywords, you can more effectively communicate your understanding of the buyer’s needs by using these keywords in communications.

Watch Your Competition

One of the best ways to optimize your social selling efforts is to monitor your competitors. You can begin by using applications such as Netvibes, which will allow you to build a social media dashboard to monitor how the competition is using social media. Once you understand how your competition is using social media, you can implement pieces and parts of their strategy into your own.

Know The Best Time To Post

In the business world, timing is everything, and nothing is more true than when it comes to posting to social media. According to Ragan’s PR Daily, the best time to post to LinkedIn is before or after business hours. At the same time, the worst time to post to LinkedIn is from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. ET. On Twitter, the best time to post is from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., and the worst time to post is from 8 – 9 p.m.

Diversify Your Content

If your audience responds best to steak, why would you offer them fish? Instead of aimlessly posting content in a form your prospects wont digest, you should offer your audience the most effective forms of content. According to a report by B2BMarketing.net, videos were the most effective form of content. 55% of the respondents stated videos were effective and 37% rated videos as “somewhat effective.” Close behind videos were photos with 47% of the respondents rating videos as effective.

Generate Incentive Structures

In the consumer market, businesses offer consumers coupons and other incentives to boost engagement. While the B2B world is much less transactional and less immediate, you can still entice your B2B prospects with incentive structures. In the B2B world of social selling, you can offer your audience members incremental access to lucrative, relevant, and value-added content. As a result, you position your brand as a thought leader in the industry. At the same time, you are gathering priceless user information about your prospects that you can feed into your CRM for later follow-up.

The benefits of outsourcing telemarketing as part of your demand gen program

telemarketing

 

A Demand gen or Demand Generation program is composed of all activities and tasks that help to create, from regular leads, an awareness, acceptance and desire for your product or services. Standard lead generation is only the beginning in this process and everything that is done from this point on will work to inform, interest, qualify and cement the relationship with a potential buyer.

By creating the demand that will pull the potential client or customer into a decision that is favorable to your company, you are accelerating and therefore shortening the marketing / sales cycle. All of the many tools at your disposal should be brought to bear on this activity as marketing has changed within the last several decades. This means up to date information, processes and outsourcing a few activities that your firm should rethink doing themselves.

All of these will impact the relationships you are forming and should not be undertaken as an afterthought.

Take Telemarketing As An Example Of Relationship Building And What Outsourcing Will Do For You.

In lead generation terms, telemarketing is the reaching out, on a personal level, with a real live operator. This person can, through the scripts designed for this task:

  • Inform the potential client about features of the product or service that may not have been as clear on first inspection.
  • Apply that particular feature to a problem they are having.
  • Answer questions that arise which leads the caller into a fuller, self directed, knowledge of your firm.

One of the many benefits of having a room full of telemarketers is the ability to have many conversations going on all at once and massive relationship building which keeps you busy.

One of the major drawbacks of having a crew of telemarketers in a room is paying for a room full of telemarketers. Lead generation does not have to happen at this high cost. As a businessman or woman, you are looking at your ROI and, without a proper understanding or up to date information about techniques, equipment and processes in modern telemarketing technologies, this capital expenditure may not be in your best interest.

Outsourcing your telemarketing needs may be the best decision as you can work on building the business, developing other products and providing the best brand you can make so all lead generation can and will grow in size and quality. A few of the benefits you can realize from outsourcing this important part of your Demand Gen Program are:

  • Trained professionals, already in place with the latest in technologies.
    This eliminates the need for any in-house training and bringing all personnel up to speed on unfamiliar equipment.
  • They will impart the information supplied with the techniques to locate additional data through the knowledge base they have access to in their own network.
  • These personnel will be able to generate emails and other follow up materials based on their knowledge of the signals used by the potential customers. This is one of the most important elements of lead generation and they have been trained to pick up on this.
  • Professional telemarketers know how to get through all of the gatekeepers standing between them and the decision maker. If that does not happen the first time, it will the next, or the next.
  • Personnel who have done this for quite a while will be knowledgeable in many areas. They can use this, in addition to the scripted material, to make informed decisions about where that potential client is on the scale from uninterested to demanding the brand that you have created.
  • You are not paying for a room of telemarketers; you are paying for results.

In B2B commerce, all tools and experience must be bought into the equation. The creation of a demand gen program takes all of the many elements of your company into account and forms it into a focused, balanced approach for success.

You do not want to repair your own roof. You do not want to fix that impromptu swimming pool forming in your basement. For that you would outsource this work to a roofer or plumber. The reason you do that is because that is what they do.

The role, within lead generation, of the telemarketer has become more important as the economy has forced everyone to focus on who does what the best.

Today’s Rules for Guest Blogging- How to Find Opportunities with Outreach Tools

If you’re working to increase your brand exposure, build your credibility as an industry expert, or improve your back links and SEO ranking, consider writing guest blog entries on other sites. Guest blogging is a great way to make a major impact on your content marketing and SEO strategy by driving qualified traffic to your own blog and website. Many social media experts say guest blogging is one of the most important ways to build authority for your own brand online.

So how do you find opportunities to guest blog? Let’s look at some ways you can uncover guest blogging opportunities and a few online outreach tools to help focus your search.

Getting Started

Before you begin your search, take a few minutes to determine your goals. By understanding the “why, “ you can more effectively target the “where.”

• Are you looking to position yourself as an expert in your industry?

• Is your goal to drive traffic to your blog or website, or increase your SEO ranking?

• Are you working to build backlinks to your website?

Answering these questions clearly, can help you to target your search for appropriate guest blogging opportunities.

The next step is one you’ve probably already done when defining your own content strategy, developing personas.  By defining your audience, you can better target your opportunities.  Be as specific as possible when building your personas. Having a well-defined target audience will not only help you to determine which opportunities to pursue, it can also help you to define your message.

Next Steps

You’ve defined your goals, and your target market. Now it’s time to begin to search for opportunities to reach them. Begin by looking for sites that are relevant to your industry that your target audience might frequent. As you search for, find and visit sites, check for a socially engaged readership. Have the posts been shared socially? Have they been commented on? Make sure the blog owner is active on social media sites. This makes it more likely they will share your guest posts with their community.

Another avenue to target when searching for guest blogging opportunities are the influential people in your particular industry. Using Google, search for them by name and determine if they have a blog that might be a good fit.

While these are great ways to begin your search, you can expand your efforts by using many of the free sites and tools available online.

Expanding Your Search: Using Outreach Tools

As mentioned in the previous paragraph, Google is a great place to begin your search.  Try using some key word searches to find blogs that may accept guest writers. First, type in your industry, for example, “social media marketing.” Then follow this:

            • submit a guest post

            • guest post by

            • accepts guest posts

            • guest post guidelines, etc.

These queries will lead you to a blog’s guest post guidelines, submission pages, and guest posts by numerous other writers.

Using the same criteria, try searching Twitter. Often writers will tweet about guest posts that they have submitted to other blogs and you can then follow the chain to the host blog and inquire,

Here are some other online sites and tools you can use to uncover guest blogging opportunities:

• Buzzstream - www.buzzstream.com - Buzzstream is a web-based software solution to organize your blogging and create an online buzz, all while building links and improving SEO to help get you found. It also helps you to build relationships with the influencers in your industry.

• BlogDash – http://www.blogdash.com - Blogdash helps you to organize and publish content then search and find specific bloggers using keyword search. You can then engage with these influencers and build beneficial relationships.

• Technorati - http://technorati.com/ - Technorati is a directory of blogs searchable by writer or keyword. I helps you to identify potential guest blogging opportunities. By becoming a member (it’s free), you can create a profile and interact with influencers from across all industries, building contacts for you to expore.

•  Open Site Explorer - http://www.opensiteexplorer.org/ - Once you’ve established a potential opportunity, just type the domain name into the box on this site. It will search the web and return information on that site’s domain authority and link profile. 

• Buzz Sumo - http://buzzsumo.com - Buzzsumo is a tool that lets you track trending topics across all social platforms, identify the most shared links and the influencers for an topic. Using buzz sumo allows you to tailor your content and SEO outreach towards hi-visibility topics and the influencers who write about them.

Guest blogging is a great way to grow your community, establish authority, generate backlinks and improve your SEO ranking. Try some of the tools and tips above. With a little targeted research, you’ll uncover hundreds of opportunities to spread your me

Video Marketing; A recap of the potential platforms and placements for promoting your product video

video

A brave new world is upon us. The digital frontier is growing in sophistication, and companies worldwide are scrambling to find the silver bullet technology that will help them effectively promote their product, ideally resulting in a healthy and sustainable expansion of their bottom line.

This is where video marketing enters the fray. As download speeds increase, and streaming video becomes the norm, a wall of text with a value proposition hidden in the middle simply will not suffice.

The writing is already on the wall. Video users are expected to double to 1.5 billion in 2016, with a full 55% of consumer internet traffic tied to the burgeoning format by the same year. Further, 92% of video viewers share these clips with others, providing a viral smoking gun that can exponentially increase a brand’s online presence.

Get on Board!

The funny (and vexing) thing is that many businesses are blind to this revolution. In fact, only about 24% of national brand are currently taking advantage of videos. This makes the internet marketing environment ripe for conquest, with small to mid-size firms having a major advantage due to their ability to operate with agility, pivoting much quicker than their larger counterparts.

This does not come without concerns though. the prime worry for most decision makers is cost. How can an emerging internet marketing technology possibly reach a price point that is realistic?

Fortunately, the internet marketing industry focused on video production has exploded recently. There are numerous cost-effective platforms with which to market your product online that will allow your company to reach new audiences, engage historically fickle demographics, and expand your presence to new markets.

The Contenders

In addition to the sprinkling of sage advice and vital statistics throughout, this article’s primary function is to highlight the notable examples of platforms and placements currently leading the way in making video marketing the dominant form of new media:

Videos can easily be used to explain your products or services to potential customers. Even with the obvious benefits, these video need to be of quality that meets the polish of your own product. This requires professionals who know what they are doing. The team at Brightroll, the largest independent video ad platform, understand this well, and focus on providing impact, intelligence, and scale to digital video campaigns. They believe that these factors are vital in building strong brands while connecting audiences anytime, anywhere…and they are not wrong.  Tubemogul is another all-encompassing video advertising platform. TubeMogul is the leading enterprise software company for digital branding. The world’s largest brands and agencies unify their video advertising on TubeMogul’s programmatic platform

Another full-service video firm is Wistia. They provide value by taking control of every aspect of the video production process, from the storyboards to the online promotion. Wistia is particularly concerned with delivery on ANY device. This factor cannot be advocated enough. As users move from their PC to mobile phones, tablets, and other devices, the compatibility and ease of access is paramount. The inability to encode in HTML5 or Flash, for example, will limit videos to specific devices, blocking out entire groups of people, while annoying the ones who attempt to watch your content without success.

For those looking to stand on the cutting-edge of online video, places like Innovid may be your most attractive option. Intent on pushing the limits of video innovation, Innovid goes a step further than just providing high-quality video, they add interactive elements to the videos themselves, immersing the audience even further into the brand, and allowing them to experience the product as opposed to simply looking at it. Engagement is a primary staple in defining marketing success, and the ability for a potential customer to interact with your product on a deeper level (i.e. kicking the tires), will greatly increase your chances for lead generation and sales conversions.

Lastly, the proliferation of video technology has also helped organically develop a market for companies to offer full multimedia services to clients and brands. one  such companies is my own video alliance at RedCMedia.  Multimedia packages are an all-in-one marketing solution that centers heavily around video. In essence, these are multimedia ecosystems that guide potential customers through the entire value proposition of a brand by creating high-quality videos, including both live-action and whiteboard, along with several other areas of marketing to create an immersive and hugely informative experience that forgoes the status quo of written paragraph blocks and boring blogs.

The Time is Ripe for Video Marketing

These chosen few are just the tip of the iceberg in video marketing. A quick online search will unearth a battalion of potential options. But even so, brands must be highly discerning during this process. A quality video can make all the difference in your internet marketing strategy, so make certain to engage in due diligence and find the video platform that will properly promote your product. If you are able to do so, the sky’s the limit.

 

The role of public relations in lead generation for B2B firms

pr

 

Your goal is to sell to businesses. For that, you need qualified business leads that come from a robust lead generation program. There are many elements to creating a program that produces a high quantity of high quality leads: SEO, SEM, Content Marketing, Social Media, and more. But among these channels, an important strategy is public relations.

Lead generation and PR: Why it matters.

There are two factors contributing to the importance of PR in B2B marketing strategies:

  • B2B companies need more leads of higher quality
  • Third-party sources create the highest quality of leads

Let’s take a look at some recent research: Lattice Engines and CSO Insights report that sixty-eight percent of business are not getting enough quality leads through their lead generation efforts and blame their marketing people for it.

Another study conducted by marketing powerhouses Eloqua and CMO.com, “third-party lead originators and publishers get the most favorable ratings, with 34% saying they deliver a high quantity of leads.”

The experts have reached their conclusion, the reports have been published, and the facts speak for themselves: PR can have tremendous impact on B2B lead generation.

Public Relations: How to do it right.

There are many ways B2B companies harness public relations for the lead generation strategies. While it is true that PR plays an essential role in lead generation, not all strategies are created equal. If you have decided to allocate resources to (at least . . . test) public relations, don’t do it randomly. Think about your strategy, create a plan, set goals and KPIs, and track your progress.

On a strategic level, here are the top elements of PR for lead generation:

      1. Synergize between lead generation channels

Your public relations strategy is not a stand-alone enterprise. It must work in synergy with your other efforts. For example, your PR efforts should always be optimized for search engines, in line with your SEO strategy. Furthermore, your social media strategy must work hand in hand with your PR to get the most out of the press coverage.

      2. Thought leaders get more press

Besides the teamwork among all of your marketing efforts, remember also that public relations is not a short, “quick pay-off” kind of endeavor. You must establish yourself as a thought leader in your vertical. Use your blog or guest blogging opportunities to discuss issues and news that are relevant to your industry (not necessarily to your product). You live and breathe your sector – make your opinions known. Blog about interesting topics, comment on relevant social conversations, participate at virtual and live events. Thought leadership is hard to measure, but its effects are not. Take the time to build your reputation: not only as a seller or your product, but as a commentator about your space.

     3. Recruit evangelists

Think of yourself as a buyer for a moment. What do you trust more: the seller of a product telling you how great the product is, or an actual user of the product telling you how it helped their business? Your satisfied customers can be leveraged to get public relations coverage for your business without even (or, in addition to) quoting you. Contact some of your early adopters to create case studies. Identify influencers in your space and give them an extended trial to test your product and tell others about it.

      4. Track competitors

Do you have direct competitors? Tracking their PR activities can provide valuable insights. You can find new publishers to approach, you can dissect their messaging, and you can understand their offers (and offer something better). But strategic PR efforts take this competitive research a step further. Do not track only your direct competitors: track other companies in your space who are targeting the same buyers. Understand their strategies, reverse-engineer their PR plans, and use the insights you learn to develop your own.

B2B Lead Generation with Public Relations

You can have a B2B marketing program without PR. You will get qualified leads this way (and you probably already have). When your needs to get to the next level: when your sales team demands more/better/quicker, when you are ready to lead the industry, you must include PR in your efforts.

Adding public relations to your marketing efforts will help:

  • Position you as an industry expert
  • Get third party coverage that generates more leads or higher quality
  • Generate buzz about your company
  • Increase traffic to your site

To do public relations right, SMEs may not need a full-time employee on staff to orchestrate the effort. But, the effort does need orchestration, nonetheless. This is where a marketing firm has immense value: make sure you select a partner that in knowledgeable and experienced in increasing your reach and influence through public relations for lead generation

The Secret to B2B Marketing Content That Helps Win More Clients; Buyer Personas

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You might think this article is about how to write in an engaging, persuasive way that brings prospects flocking to your website, downloading e-books, white papers and case studies, and picking up the phone to place their orders.  

It’s not.  

That’s because good content doesn’t start with pecking out words on your keyboard. Compelling content begins with gaining a deep understanding of your prospective customers and creating buyer personas. Adele Revella of the Buyer Persona Institute says feedback she hears about buyer personas often sounds like this:

  It’s almost like cheating, like getting the exam paper weeks before the final. Instead of guessing what matters, I now know … not only what she wants; I know how she goes about (buying).”  

 

Buyer personas answer the following questions, enabling you to create content marketing plans tailored to your prospects’ and clients’ information needs. Producing content that answers buyers’ questions in the formats they prefer helps to shorten your sales cycle and bring more buyers in the door.  

 

  1. What makes solving this problem or exploiting this opportunity a priority?

Because business people lack the resources to deal with all their problems, you want to understand what motivates them to make it a priority to address the problem your product or service solves. For example, in a recent persona project I explored with a business owner why he had put a priority on addressing fraud. He told me that his company had been hemorrhaging money, and if he hadn’t found a solution to address fraud, he would be out of business. The businessman’s answer clearly revealed why finding a solution to fraud was on the top of his “to-do” list and the emotions or pain we could tap into with our marketing content.   

  1. How do prospects envision the results of a successful purchase?

You want to discover how the prospect views the benefits of buying the product. Do they hope to save money? Increase safety? Stay ahead of the competition? Whatever it is, you’ll want to address these benefits in your content.  

  1. What prevents a buyer from investigating a solution to their problem or buying it from you?

There are many issues that prevent prospects from charging forward to address a problem. Of course, you probably encounter price resistance all the time. But there are more subtle barriers that impede action. For example, prospects may be waylaid by internal politics or past bad experiences; fear that the learning curve is too steep; or lack the bandwidth to deal with the problem.  

  1. How do they decide which product, service or solution to buy?

This question goes beyond the benefits, explored in question #2, that a buyer expects.  Now we’re looking at which features and attributes pushed a product over the last hurdle to become the finalist.  

  1. What are the steps through the buying process?

You want to understand how the buyer moves through the buying process.  How do they initially become aware of products on the market? Are they researching on the Internet or do they gain a lot of information by word-of-mouth.   Once buyers know what’s available, they consider different options. In this phase of the cycle are they looking at case studies, articles, white papers, or something else? And what do they look for to make the final decision? Perhaps they’re looking at price and data sheets, and need information to put together a business case.   Once you know the questions buyers are asking as they move through the buying process and the content they like to consume, you’ll be able to map out the marketing content you need to produce.   

 

To create a buyer persona, you’ll need to interview several buyers. If possible, it’s also helpful to talk with prospects who decided not to buy from you, either because they opted for a competitor’s product or decided not to take action. Your interviews should be unstructured conversations that enable you to dig deeply into buyer motivations and needs. By doing so, you’ll gain the insights that can only be found below the surface — those that give you the edge over your competition.    

How to Do a Landing Page A/B Test and Measure Results

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If you have not implemented an A/B Testing program for your landing pages you may be missing out on a valuable opportunity to for conversion rate optimization. Although the name implies there are only two versions, A/B Testing compares the success rate for multiple variations of a single landing page. A/B Testing has recently gained in popularity simply due to the fact that it works.

A/B Testing Basics

To conduct an A/B Test, a business must first develop alternative versions of a landing page, which feature differing copy, images and design on key components of the page. After the pages have been developed, the A/B Test is run by equally splitting randomly assigned website traffic between the different versions of the web page. The performance of each page is measured according to the pages’ overall usability, including bounce rates, conversion rates, sales, time on page, etc.

By taking the best performing elements and combining them together, A/B Testing can help facilitate conversion rate optimization. Here are some of the landing page components, and how they can be adjusted to facilitate the best results in A/B Testing.

Landing Page Components

The first step in A/B Testing is to identify the landing page elements that will have the biggest impact on overall conversion rates and contribute the most towards increasing profits. The best practices in landing page design have identified the Headline, Subtitle, Image and Call-to-Action as the “must have” components for landing page success. This is a good place to begin, however after testing these initial elements your can continue to increase your conversion rate optimization by testing additional elements of your landing page as well.

Headline and Subtitle

Best practices in landing page design and layout deem that businesses include a highly visible Headline and supporting Subtitle at the top of the page. Your copy for these elements should clearly define your Unique Selling Proposition, in wording that is clear, concise and scan-able. Focus on testing out a few versions of your Headline and Subtitle that help your prospects understand why the products or services you provide are better than your competition and what benefit this brings to your customers.

Image

Your landing page should include a key image or photo that shows your product or service being used in context or an image that engages with your customers. In many instances, an image of an attractive smiling woman has been proven to deliver the best conversion rates. However, you should test various images and placements to ensure you obtain the highest conversion rate optimization.

CTA

Your Call-to-Action (CTA) should appeal to your prospects by telling them what they have to gain. Avoid terminology that is demanding and use “you” or “my” to connect with your audience. Test page using words like “do” and “get” to determine which has the best impact on reinforcing these concepts and motivating your prospects.

Other CTA examples include:

  • Try it for free
  • Start my/your free trial
  • Get my/your free E-book
  • Schedule my/your demo/consultation
  • Increase my/your ROI today

Benefits

A short bulleted list of the benefits your prospects will receive from your products or services can be like “icing on the cake”. Depending on the products or services offered, listing 3 to 5 brief benefits may help your conversion rate optimization. In most instances, it may not have a measurable positive impact but it will not have a negative impact either.

Colors and Graphics

A/B Testing is a great way to test the color theory that works best with your target audience. Colors have been proven to successfully convey and impact buyer emotions. Subtle variations on a single color or combination of colors can have a substantial effect on landing page conversion rate optimization. A/B Testing is a cost-effective way to determine which design works best for your products or services, and the results are often surprising.

Additional Page Components

Although they may seem insignificant there are numerous additional page components that can be tested to assist with conversion rate optimization. Many businesses have found that listing the logos of business partners or other validations like the Verisign® trust symbol can have a small but meaningful impact on the tested page’s conversion rates.

Conclusion

A/B Testing should become a standard and ongoing practice to assist with landing page conversion rate optimization. Optimization should be a continual practice of testing and fine tuning your messaging to achieve the optimal results in sales and conversions.

Types of Website and Landing Page Conversions you can Track with Google Adwords

In recent years Google has worked to add fresh new tools for tracking conversion metrics into Adwords. Whether you’re tracking conversions on a standard website, within mobile apps, via phone call, or across multiple devices, Adwords has much more to offer today than it did even one year ago. In this article, we’ll discuss the various metrics offered by Adwords today, and discuss how you can use them to better craft your marketing strategies and tactics.

-Hard Numbers-
These are the concrete numbers Google has always offered–people who definitely clicked an add and ended up converting in a directly trackable manner. If you only like planning based on the surest of data, this is where you want to focus most of your attention.

  • Converted Clicks. Exactly what it appears to be, this is the number of clicks that resulted in any number of conversions. One conversion and two hundred conversions from a single click both show up as a ‘+1′ here, so if you’re aiming for repeat customers this might be a less useful metric.
  • Total Conversions. The counterpart to converted clicks, this is the total number of conversions. You can choose to view unique conversions (all conversions by a single person count as 1) or all (every conversion counts), depending on which is the more useful metric for your business.
  • Call Conversions. A newer feature, once set up this will show you how many people used the advertised number for longer than whatever duration you consider appropriate. All calls that meet a duration threshold you set will count as ‘conversions’ for this metric, as Google has no way of knowing whether an actual conversion occurred. Still, it’s better than no metric at all.

-Estimates-
These are numbers Google has calculated based on the wealth of data available to the company–you don’t need to set up anything special, this is all on Google’s end. You can probably trust them to be accurate, but don’t turn off your common sense. If something seems inaccurate, maybe it is.

  • Cross-Device Conversions. This will help you get a grasp of those customers who click your ad, then make their conversion later on a different device. This is a very valuable metric, increasingly so if you’re dealing with a younger and/or tech-savvier audience. Note that you don’t have to advertise on multiple devices; Google figures this out on its own.
  • Total Conversions. A combined total conversion number, with your normal total conversions, call conversions, and estimated cross-device conversions combined into a single figure. Probably the most useful figure when considering your Adwords ROI.

-Other Metrics to Consider-
There are a few other metrics you can wring from Adwords. Though they’re not quite as reliable or widely applicable as the other numbers, they can play a big role in perfecting your tactics and strategies. Just don’t overvalue any of these; any conversion counted here could be unrelated and only counted by coincidence.

  • Impression-Assisted Conversions. Basically, conversions that occurred after a particular keyword triggered an impression, but was not directly the cause of the conversion. This data is only available for search campaigns.
  • Click-Assisted Conversions. Like impression-assisted conversions, but with assist clicks instead of impressions. This gives you insight into keywords that help funnel a visitor towards eventual conversion, but don’t necessarily close the deal alone.
  • View-Through Conversions. If someone views an ad on the Display Network, never clicks on it, and eventually converts some other way, that is counted here. If your purpose for an ad is raising brand awareness rather than making immediate conversions, this is a good metric to focus your attention on.

 

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