There are a number of shared platforms for B2B marketers that promise increased traffic and search visibility for their members. Before you subscribe to a shared platform, be sure you understand whether it will really help you and how to best use it to drive increased visibility in the search results. This article looks at an example of one of those platforms and how to best use it. You can use the information to evaluate other shared platforms relevant to your business.
Analytics are great. They provide us with loads of good information. The danger is what we do with that information and in the assumptions we make.
Here are three faulty assumptions I see regularly. Please share yours, too.
In early May, I led the Hot Seat Lab on Better Blogging for Business at MarketingProfs’ B2B Forum in Boston. In it, three brave B2B marketers volunteered to have their corporate blogs critiqued in front of a room full of peers. While the blogs obviously differed in design and content, their shortcomings from an SEO standpoint were surprisingly similar—and substantial. Here’s a summary of the problems they shared and what to do about them.
Recently, Google enhanced several features of its Local Business Center and rebranded it Google Places. Among the new features is an ability to specify the regions a business serves. But will the new changes help B2B marketers serving a larger region get found?
A dragon is a good thing to have. Everyone knows dragons have magical powers. They are wise, although sometimes also vain. Dragons can be fierce protectors, too. The magic of the content marketing dragon is lead generation, lead nurturing, and SEO (especially if your dragon has a long tail.) But if you’re going to own a dragon, you have to feed it. Otherwise, no more fire. No more magic.
Here are a few tips on the proper care and feeding of your dragon:
B2B brands are often reliant on channel partners to sell products and services to end users. And while manufacturers and others offer traditional co-branding marketing tools, they often fail miserably at driving traffic to distributors, dealers, and other channel partners through B2B search marketing. Optimized channel partner landing pages, bulk uploads of locations to Google Maps, and geo-based sitemaps are three good ways to do this. Here are some strategies to help you succeed.
Content marketing is one of the most powerful tools for B2B marketers, most of whom likely have content development as a substantial part of their 2010 marketing plans. But before you get started with developing more content marketing assets, take a step back to assess your efforts to date. Below are six steps to help you do that. While the list is not exhaustive, my hope is that these steps will help you improve the performance of existing assets and develop strong future content marketing efforts.
Lately, when we talk to prospective B2B clients, I see increasingly divergent views on B2B blogging. On the one hand, there are those who lust after success stories involving other social media (e.g., Twitter) used to drive high amounts of immediate, short-term traffic to a business blog. Many times, these people are so eager to jump into the promise and immediacy of Twitter, LinkedIn groups, and Facebook to drive traffic to a blog, that they give little consideration to developing the meaningful, valuable content required to attract interest in the first place.
On the other hand, there are those that tend to lump B2B blogging in with Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, social-bookmarking sites, and the like. Many of these people are in niche B2B industries where the pace of adoption of social media vehicles is slow and the potential “crowd” is thin. When they consider blogging as a part of their marketing strategy, they see little promise. Sure, they say, maybe we’ll get 20 subscribers to our blog, but what good is that? We’re not going to get large amounts of followers on Twitter. We’re not going to get large amounts of subscribers to our blog. Social media just isn’t a good fit, whatever form it comes in.
Both groups seem overly focused on the short-term, either somewhat crazed by the potential of short-term gains or convinced that such gains aren’t possible, and as a result, dismissing the very idea of B2B blogging. Both groups tend to ignore the long-term, most valuable benefits of B2B blogging—search visibility and thought leadership positioning.
I’m just back from speaking at MarketingSherpa’s B2B Summits in San Francisco and Boston, where I was giving a joint presentation with a client on SEO. As part of that presentation, we talked about the role and impact of corporate blogging.
The client is a professional services firm operating solely in the B2B space. Theirs is a complex sale with an average sales cycle of 2-3 months from first contact to the time work begins. There are typically multiple people from different parties involved in or influencing the buying process, and the average engagement is in the low-to-mid five-figure range.
We had already optimized the professional service firm’s website. Early last year, however, we recommended the client also start a blog, both for purposes of positioning via thought leadership and fulfilling the rest of the SEO keyword strategy we had previously identified. The company is now about 15 months into blogging. They post once each week, and there are seven professional staff members who contribute to the blog.
We made sure the blog was integrated with the client’s site, not a separate domain or hosted blog. We chose WordPress and made sure to integrate plug-ins that would give us the proper optimization options. Then we worked with the client to develop topics, B2B blogging guidelines, and help educate those who would be contributing.
The ongoing work is largely handled in-house, by the client. On a periodic basis, we review the posts and make or recommend changes, both in terms of editing content for readers and better optimizing individual posts for search.
The results have been far beyond expectations. Today, while the blog accounts for 32% of the landing pages on the site, it accounts for more than 53% of the client’s organic traffic. The number of unique keywords for which the firm’s site is found has nearly tripled since the start of blogging. The firm’s website is responsible for more than 50% of its new business. They no longer have need for full-time people dedicated to finding new business; the firm’s new business activity is essentially responding to requests for work, not identifying and nurturing leads.
It should be noted, though, while the business results are good, it’s clear the results aren’t just about search; the quality and quantity of B2B content plays an equal, if not larger, role in positioning the firm and generating leads.
While the site optimization and corporate blogging has been successful, there were three key lessons learned along the way.
If you have a content-rich, optimized site, you’re likely getting a substantial amount of organic traffic from channels you didn’t plan on – visitors searching for something related to your business who briefly land at your site and move on. Rather than ignore this extra traffic, you should engage them as potential ambassadors and influencers.