Tag Archives: business to business

Using Facebook for business free ebook

How to use Facebook for business

How to use Facebook for business

Ellie Mirman of Hubspot created a fantastic new (and free!) ebook on the ins and outs of using Facebook for business.

“The ebook includes everything you need to know to get started using Facebook to reach and engage more potential buyers online.”

What you’ll find inside the free 22-page ebook:

  • How to use Facebook’s ad builder to identify prospects already on the social media network.
  • How to get the best ROI from Facbook ads
  • How to maximize your brand’s exposure to fans and their networks on Facebook
  • How to use Facebook’s built-in analytics to measure visitor engagement

Download the ebook today, it’s more than worth it.

Direct mail’s death by email

The latest reports on direct mail show that it’s doomed, eternally doomed.

What’s to blame for direct mail’s sad demise? Email and online coupons.

“The kudzu-like creep of the Internet is about to claim its third analog victim,” according to the latest research report from research firm Borrell Associates.

“Direct mail has begun spiraling into what we believe is a precipitous decline from which it will never fully recover,” Borrell predicts. More specifically, it is projecting a 39% decline for direct mail over the next five years, from $49.7 billion in annual ad spending in 2008 to $29.8 billion by the end of 2013. (MediaPost)

If Borrell’s predictions pan out, direct mail will no longer be the top placeholder for ad revenue and will fall to the fourth spot. The leaders will then be the Web, broadcast TV and newspapers.

“Email advertising is indeed skyrocketing while its traditional counterpart plummets,” Borrell notes. “In fact, last year, email advertising quietly moved to the No. 1 online ad category spot, surpassing all other forms of interactive advertising.” Last year, advertisers spent $12.1 billion on email marketing, more than they spent on display/banner advertising or search advertising.

The firm is also forecasting that most of the growth in email marketing will be local. Borrell expects local email advertising to grow from $848 million in 2008, to an estimated $2 billion in 2013.

However, the report also warns against jumping into email marketing without being prepared for potential risks.

“Managing large e-mail marketing campaigns require database marketing expertise, a savvy sales force, adequate e-mail management software, familiarity with the rules and regulations and a lot of patience.”

Using facebook to promote your business blog

You may think Facebook is just another social networking site dedicated to young college students, but you may be surprised how Facebook’s demographics are changing.

In the years since it’s creation in 2004, Facebook has become a major meeting place for adults in the working world, according to a new study by O’Reilly Media featured in a recent SHRM article.

O’Reilly Media found that since September 2008, the number of Facebook users between the ages of 35 and 44 increased by 51%; those ages 45-54 grew by 47%, and those 26-34 increased by 26%. More than half of the 140 million Facebook users are out of college.

“With web sites and social networking tools like Facebook, companies now have the ability to be the master of ceremonies and create communities for their customers to join,” Scott Townsend, marketing director with United Linen and Uniform Services, recently told The Examiner-Enterprise.com. “And customers have the opportunity to become a fan of your Facebook page. If you are a small company, you don’t want to reach the whole world; you just want to reach those customers that are jazzed about your business and what it is you have to offer.”

As Facebook continues to attract older professionals, it is becoming one of the best places to promote your business blog or website.

In a recent guest post at ProBlogger, Steve Schwartz, a professional LSAT tutor explained how he has used Facebook to promote his blog and expand his community of readers.

The social network gives his blog readers the opportunity to interact with each other in a way that comments can’t. Facebook’s discussion boards allow users to exchange messages and interact through conversation.

Here’s some of his advice on how to get started:

1. Create a Facebook group. Don’t make the group about your blog directly. Instead, choose a broader topic so people searching on Facebook for a certain topic will feel welcomed to join.

2. Invite your friends. Some of your existing friends may want to join your new group, and some may not. Either way, the invitation will show up on your friends’ news feeds, turning it into a viral marketing mechanism.

3. Tell your blog readers about it. Post a link to your Facebook group in the sidebar of your blog. Write a brief post on your new group for those who didn’t notice the new link. Tell your readers how they will benefit from becoming a member.

4. Join other groups. Look for Facebook groups related to your blog topic. Post messages on their Wall or discussion boards notifying the group’s members of your group and your blog. Spread out the information over a series of posts to make sure you don’t get banned from the group for spamming.

With his efforts, Facebook quickly became one of Steve’s biggest sources of traffic, without having to spend much time on maintenance.

“In order to get more readers, you need to have a presence where they are. For me and for many bloggers these days, our present and future readers spend their time in social networking sites.”

B2B marketing budgets increase despite recession

Even in the face of an economic recession, almost one-third of business to business marketers plan to increase their 2009 marketing budgets, according to BtoB’s “2009 Marketing Priorities and Plans” survey.

Another 43.5% of marketers plan to keep budgets equal to 2008 and only about one-quarter plan to decrease their marketing budgets next year, according to the online survey of over 200 b-to-b marketing professionals in November.

Among the key findings of the survey:

  • Customer acquisition is the top marketing goal in 2009 for B2B marketers (62.2%)
  • Customer retention was cited by 20.6% of marketers as their top marketing goal, followed by brand awareness (12.4%)
  • 66.5% of marketers plan to increase online spending in 2009

Because online marketing has proven to cost less and delivers trackable results, more b-to-b marketers are moving their marketing dollars online. General Electric Co. is one of those companies, according to BtoB.

“About 15% of our media spend is on digital. In my mind, that is not enough,” said Beth Comstock, senior VP-CMO of GE. “One of my goals is to continue to shift that spend.” GE plans to use online technologies including streaming video, webisodes and rich media ads next year.

The most popular online tactics for business to business marketers next year will be:

  • Email marketing (68.3%)
  • Web site development (66.3%)
  • Search (50.0%)
  • Online video (46.6%)
  • Social media (46.6%)

Social media spending is up more than 20% from 2008.

When it comes to more traditional marketing, the survey found that marketers are making budget cuts on print (33.2%), events (30.5%), direct mail (25.6%) and outdoor advertising (21.3%).

2009 B2B Marketing Priorities and Plans

2009 B2B Marketing Priorities and Plans

Greener options when labor laws change

This week, the U.S. Department of Labor released revisions to the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) that will go into effect on January 16, 2009. For an overview of the changes, please read New FMLA rules: What  you need to know.

This latest set of labor law changes will require every employer covered under the FMLA to hang new posters and acquire updated forms. Existing labor law handbooks and manuals will have to be replaced with newer versions to reflect the most recent changes.

As these FMLA changes go into effect, businesses across the country will be throwing away millions of sheets of paper and stacks upon stacks of labor law posters. Most of the labor law posters out there are laminated, therefore un-recyclable, and only a small fraction of the discarded materials will be recycled.

With dozens of labor law changes each year, this process repeats over and over, wasting more paper and adding to the size of our growing landfills. Because these changes are mandatory, it’s difficult for business owners to think there’s anything they can do to change it.

Thankfully, those at Tread Softly on the Earth recently shared some green tips on how businesses can stay in compliance with mandatory changes while reducing their carbon footprint. Here are just a few:

  • Explore recycled and recyclable options. We’re seeing more and more recycled labor law posters and resources available on the market every day. Providers like mystateposters.com have developed state and federal posters made entirely with recycled materials.
  • Go paperless, if possible. Choose downloadable or printable versions when replacing your mandatory forms. Go a step further and print your forms on recycled paper using soy or vegetable ink.
  • Buy or print the minimum. Reduce the amount of waste in your workplace by only purchasing or printing the forms and papers you really need.

Read the full list of green compliance ideas.

It may take just a little more work on your part, but your impact on the earth will be big. Find greener ways for your company to do business and we’ll all succeed.

Business holiday cards build customer loyalty

Building customer loyalty is on the top of most businesses’ to-do lists at any given time of the year, but with the current economic slowdown and the approaching holiday season it’s more important than ever.

Connecting with business contacts, customers and clients during the holiday season can help strengthen bonds and forge lasting relationships during times of economic uncertainty.

At the end of the year, business holiday cards are the most popular form of communication between businesses and customers, and customers enjoy and appreciate the connection, according to recent national research by Hallmark Business Expressions, the business-to-business subsidiary of Hallmark Cards Inc..

The findings of its 2008 national consumer attitude survey about holiday greeting cards revealed 78% of respondents receive holiday cards from businesses. Half of those recipients are more likely to do future business with a company that sends holiday greeting cards.

Sending business holiday cards helps create a positive company image and improves customer loyalty. Of survey participants who receive greeting cards, the majority appreciate the gesture and feel it shows the company truly cares about them.

“Nurturing relationships with your existing, loyal customers is cost-effective for businesses because those customers have shown a propensity for your brand. When the customer is considering his next purchase, the business that sent holiday greeting cards will likely benefit,” said Marc Wagenheim, product marketing director for Hallmark Business Expressions.

Business holiday cards can send a smile and a little laughter this holiday season when times may not be as easy as they were in the past. Lighthearted and funny greeting cards may be one way to get a chuckle out of stressed-out customers.

If you’re worried that a humorous holiday card could be viewed as unsympathetic or disrespectful, try looking for cards that are lighthearted, but with a humorous twist. Send a card with some holiday cheer, it may be just what your business contacts need this year.