Be Careful What Assumptions You Make with Analytics

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.

Organic Search Strategies For Driving Traffic To Channel Partners

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.

A Six-Step Content Marketing Check-Up For B2B Marketers

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.

B2B Blogging: Short-Term Brains Or Long-Term Gains?

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.

Tips for Turning Unintended Traffic Into Ambassadors

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.

Twitter Search Tips For B2B Marketers

By all measures, business use of Twitter continues to expand. Twitter can be a great tool used to follow others in your industry, keep track of what’s being said regarding issues relevant to your customers, as well as identify and learn more about potential prospects. Yet finding relevant Twitter users to follow (and making it easy for them to find you) can be time consuming and sometimes frustrating – especially in the B2B space, where the industry lexicons are often very diverse. Here are a few tips to help you in that process.

B2B Purchasing: A Risky Proposition

In the last couple years, I’ve written that risk is a primary motivator in B2B purchase decisions, and that fear of making the wrong decision strongly influences B2B supplier selection. And rightly so. The wrong choice can have long-lasting business and career implications.

This week, Enquiro, released a white paper entitled Mapping the BuyerSphere (registration required). The white paper presents findings of Enquiro’s recent research into B2B buyer behavior; illustrates risk as the common, dominant factor in B2B purchasing; and explores an alternative model for targeting and mapping markets and prospects. Gord Hotchkiss and his team have done a great job, and the paper is well worth downloading.

If you haven’t thought about B2B purchasing in these terms before, it can really make you question and rethink your approach to the market. If risk is the primary motivator, how do you need to adjust your tactics, your messaging, your positioning?

B2B Marketers: Why Google Analytics May Not Be The Best Choice

Most web analytics tools, including Google Analytics, attribute online conversions to the most recent visit. Sure, you can define the funnel and see how many people enter the funnel, the visitors who abandon the funnel, and how many people ultimately convert, but only if all of these events happen in a single visit. Conversion in the B2B world doesn’t necessarily happen that way. There may have been many previous visits to your site via other channels that influenced a visitor to finally take the desired action. If you’re not capturing this information, you may not be making good decisions.

In March 2009, Business.com completed an analytics study of more than 27,000 B2B web sites. It’s a great study and well worth downloading. Here are some of the findings:

  • 93% of sites can’t see the influence that multiple campaigns/keywords have on conversions
  • 49% use a third-party web analytics program that only provides basic site traffic data or which, by default, use the “last click” method for connecting a prospect action (e.g., clicking on a banner ad or link in an email newsletter) with a conversion, such as a purchase or registration. (82% of these B2B sites used Google Analytics or Urchin software by Google)
  • 44% use no web analytics or, in rare cases, use a custom in-house solution

Most analytics programs attribute conversion to the last trackable link clicked before conversion, the “last click” method. In some cases, this may be just fine; perhaps conversion actually did happen in a single visit. But with lengthening sales cycles and the significant amount of purchase research that happens in the B2B world, prospects may have visited your site several times through various means before they returned once more to ultimately take action.

Business.com’s study cites the following example:
Continue reading…

SEO for Professional Service Firms | Where Many Fall Short

It seems like professional services firms really struggle with search engine optimization. Few do it well. In the audits we do for clients, perhaps the most common issue is inadequate site architecture. That is, not having enough pages in the site to respond to the diverse range of potential search terms. But there are other common problems, too. Here are some of the issues and what you can do about them.
Continue reading article…

Best Of B2B Search Marketing Blog Posts 2008

Articles and blog postings on B2B search marketing are often hard to find. But during the year, I’ve found a lot of other great content, too. I chose 30 of my favorite B2B search and internet marketing posts from 2009. To that I added three of my own articles that were especially popular or helpful to people. I know I’ve missed some great content. If you know of others, please add them via comments.
Continue reading article…