Tag Archives: Web marketing

Twitter to swim with the big fishes in business marketing

Most of the Twitter users who use it to promote their small business expect their company’s use of the popular microblogging tool to increase during the next six months, according to a recent survey by MarketingProfs.

The informal survey revealed that the practice of using Twitter as a business tool is gaining acceptance as an important piece of social media marketing. According to the MarketingProfs survey, 84% of respondents say their company’s use of Twitter will increase, with 46% saying the increase will be by a “significant” margin.

Twitter as a business tool

Twitter as a business tool

Compared to other social media tools, Twitter ranks second only to company blogs in perceived value. Company blogs and Twitter still rank ahead of LinkedIn and Facebook.

“This data shows that Twitter users, typically early adopters, no longer think of Twitter as just a personal networking tool, but as something that can provide real value for their company or business,” said Ann Handley, chief content officer for MarketingProfs. “Much like Facebook, Twitter is now moving into the business mainstream.” Additional Twitter research from MarketingProfs revealed that Twitter users are primarily motivated by the learning and immediacy components of the application. (MarketingCharts)

Twitter as a business tool

Twitter as a business tool

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They’re talking about you, like it or not

I ran across some great advice today at the B2B Marketing Blog that needed to be passed along. In today’s post, Brian Courtney delivers some wise words:

“People will be talking about your brand with or without you. You may as well take part in the conversation.”

And he warns that there’s a new type of ROI out there – the Risk Of Ignoring.

Even if you thing you’re doing it wrong, just being a part of social media is the right way to go.

Read the full B2B Marketing Blog post.

B2B buying behaviors, more irrational than we thought

If you’ve ever been searching for research on business-to-business buying behaviors, it can seem like you’re stuck in a maze full of an overwhelming amount of information on consumers around each turn.

To ease our frustration, Marketo and Enquiro Research teamed up to perform some research of their own to discover exactly how businesses make complex purchases.

Yesterday, Jon Miller shared some initial findings from their research at the Marketo blog. Here are a few highlights:

Despite popular belief, business buying is not rational. B2B buyers are self-taught and use a trial-and-error process in their decision making, helping to simplify complex decisions. Instead of dealing with just one irrational decision maker, marketers must deal with an entire group of irrational decision makers, making the buying process that much more complex.

Emotions play a big role. After a purchase, a B2B buyer may not experience the full benefit of their purchase directly or may not be recognized for making the decision and making a poor decision can put that buyer’s job security at risk. Fear drives most B2B buying decisions. “B2B buying is all about minimizing fear by minimizing risk.”

So, it turns out that what we once thought was a strictly linear buying funnel is actually a buying process that may not be logical or rational at times.

Check out the full post for even more great information, including Enquiro’s advice for managing B2B buyer’s perceived risk.

Quasi opt-ins or true subscribers? Who’s counting?

Armed with just one little chart, MarketingSherpa managed to send a chill down the spine of a marketer or two at their Email Summit last week. Titled, “The Current Myth of Opt-in,” their new chart explains why not every opt-in is necessarily a willing subscriber.

The Sherpas admit the chart may be somewhat confusing, but basically they found that over 50% of respondents reported that all of the email they received from legitimate companies, they had asked only for 25% of it or less. Almost 20% said they never asked for any of it.

Email opt-ins

Email opt-ins

They define the conundrum with a highly-technical term: the quasi opt-in event. Quasi opt-in events generally happen when site visitors submit information where there was a pre-checked box or in situations where people who just wanted a white paper ended also got a subscription to a newsletter with their download.

While all of it is legal for the most part, it may not be living up to the true definition of opt-in. Signing up a prospect for emails they never asked for can seriously damage the relationship you were trying to build.

The most important piece of advice the Sherpas share in the article is to segment your quasi opt-ins accordingly. These people should not be treated the same as a true subscriber.

“Think of them in the same way you would think of a co-registration name — both need to be wooed. Separate them from other new subscribers and make sure that messaging explains why they’re receiving the email, what they’re going to get from it and why they should stick around.”

If you continually surprise people with emails they never knew they signed up for, you’ll start to see many of your emails landing in spam folders. Show people why the information you’re sending would be valuable to them, then ask if they would be interested. Simple as that.

B2B’s bread and butter: The white paper

White papers, B2B's bread and butter

White papers, B2B's bread and butter

InformationWeek recently released an insightful report on how to maximize the power of white papers in B2B marketing.

Researchers surveyed 542 IT decision makers and how they use white papers. The survey results show that white papers are still considered an important tool in persuading and engaging customer decisions.

You’ll have to register with InformationWeek to download a full copy of the report, but here are some highlights:

  • 76% of respondents use white papers for general education on a specific technology topic or issue
  • 74% percent use white papers to investigate possible technology solutions
  • 83% use white papers just as much or more than they have in the past
  • 93% pass along information they find in downloaded white papers to colleagues

While the survey dealt specifically with IT buyers, the results of the survey are easily translated across all areas of business to business marketing.

The survey also asked for feedback on what readers want from white papers, information that anyone within the IT industry or not can put to good use. Respondents revealed the top features of a good white paper include:

  • A concise abstract
  • Transparency/minimal marketing
  • Case studies
  • Product information with specifications
  • Technical diagrams
  • Downloadable PDF version

Survey respondents also revealed some eye-opening statistics on the impact white papers have on readers. Among the survey respondents:

  • 54% contacted a vendor for more information as a result of reading a white paper
  • 36% made a purchase after reading a white paper
  • 32% included a white paper in a case to support a purchase.

As new media struggles to show its growing value, the tried-and-true methods like business to business white papers prove that they still can have powerful results.

Of demons and customer service

Seth Godin wrote a blog post last week, titled “Demonization,” that ties in seamlessly with our Tuesday post on what can happen when terrible customer service hits the Internet.

Here’s what Seth says:

The closer you get to someone, something, some brand, some organization… the harder it is to demonize it, objectify it or hate it.

So, if you want to not be hated, open up. Let people in. Engage. Interact.

If you interact regularly with your customers in the places they like to hang out (blogs, forums, Twitter, etc.), an unhappy customer will be more likely to approach you first, before telling all of their friends about the horrible experience they had.

Be open, engage your customers and help them when they ask for it. Instead of telling everyone how terrible you are, maybe, just maybe they’ll spread the word on how absolutely wonderful your company is.

Improve product visibility with Google Base

Google Base is a free service from Google that allows you to submit information about your company’s products and services, along with keyword descriptions to help improve your online visibility.

The cool part is that you don’t necessarily need a website in order for Google Base to work for you. Anyone can list their products and services whether they’re sold online or offline.

Improve product visibility with Google Base

Improve product visibility with Google Base

The service functions just like a regular Google search. Depending on how relevant your product is to a person’s Google search, your product will either show up in “Google Product Search” or it will come up on the main search results page.

Google Base is easy to set up. First you need a Google account, which is free and takes minutes to create. Once you have your account, go to Google Base and login. You can either start adding your products and services one by one, or upload the information using a spreadsheet or XML file.

Similar to the way you optimize your web pages, there are ways to improve the chance of your products showing up at the top of Google Base results pages. Success mainly depends on your product descriptions and images.

Make sure that the titles and descriptions of each item are valid. Avoid using salesy descriptions or anything that sounds spammy, it will only hurt your rankings.

Upload a high-quality image for every item you list. Images increase the chance that people will click on your item to find out more information.

Google Base is an interesting tool that is definitely worth trying. Even if you don’t have a website, it’s a great way to boost your product visibility online.