Fresh Marketing: B2B Marketing Tips, Trends and Best Practices http://copywritertoronto.com Copywriter Toronto - B2B Technology and Software Copywriter Wed, 26 Aug 2015 12:00:50 +0000 en-US hourly 1 How to Get B2B Buyers to Pay Attention to Your Content http://copywritertoronto.com/how-to-get-b2b-buyers-to-pay-attention-to-your-content/ http://copywritertoronto.com/how-to-get-b2b-buyers-to-pay-attention-to-your-content/#respond Wed, 26 Aug 2015 12:00:50 +0000 http://copywritertoronto.com/?p=5642 Cartoon cinema with How to Get B2B Buyers to Pay Attention to Your Content  on the screen

 

You only have eight seconds to capture a customer’s attention online. Here’s how to make the most out of every second…

If I gave you eight seconds to tell me about your product or service, what would you say?

Traditional elevator pitches are an average of 56 seconds. However, the average attention span has dropped to just eight seconds.

Eight seconds isn’t long. It was just enough time for you to read the title and first line in this blog post.

Test it out yourself.

Say, “I’m with [name of your company], and we …” See if you can get your message across before the time runs out.

See if you can get your message across before the time runs out.

See if you can get your message across before the time runs out.


How did you do?

Now, what if you had to make your message even more concise? A study showed that 17% of page views last less than four seconds. Almost a fifth of your visitors aren’t even giving you the full eight seconds.

This means that your customers have shorter attention spans than your childhood goldfish. Yikes!

As attention spans get shorter, it’s no surprise that B2B marketers are struggling to make their messages stick. According to the Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs, only 38% of B2B marketers rate their content as “effective” or “very effective”.

Here are five ways to catch and keep your customers’ attention online:

1. Work from a content marketing strategy.

Cartoon cinema with a screen that shows Work from a content marketing strategy

A content marketing strategy helps you gain a deeper understanding of your customers, so you can create content that resonates with them.

A study by the Altimeter Group found that 70% of marketers lack a consistent or integrated content strategy.

If you don’t have a content marketing strategy, you’ll randomly throw messages into the world and hope that customers read them. Creating a content marketing strategy helps you gain a deeper understanding of your customers, so you can create content that resonates with them. 

The Content Marketing Institute and MarktingProfs reported that B2B marketers who have a documented content marketing strategy “are more effective in all aspects of content marketing” than those who don’t have a documented strategy.

For tips on improving your content’s results, read “10 Steps to an Effective B2B Content Marketing Strategy”. 

2. Design for conversions.

Cartoon cinema screen that says Design for conversions

Make sure that your design encourages visitors to read your content, opt in to your list and learn more about your products.

Your website’s design has a huge impact on your customers’ buying decisions. In fact, a study by Rareform New Media found that “48% of people cited a website’s design as the number one factor in deciding the credibility of a business”.

When you redesign your website, it’s easy to get pulled into the latest design trends – opting for a site that “looks cool” as opposed to increasing your conversions. However, if your site isn’t increasing your conversions, it’s not doing its job.

Make sure that your design encourages visitors to read your content, opt in to your list and learn more about your products. If you’re not sure how visitors are reacting to your site, you can use heatmap software to see where they look and what they click.

3. Get up to speed.

Cartoon cinema screen that says Get Up To Speed

40% of people abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load.

If you only have four seconds to capture a customer’s attention, but your site takes five seconds to load, you’re in trouble.

According to an Akamai study, “40% of people abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load.” Meanwhile, a one-second delay in page-load can cause a 7% loss in customer conversions. 

Look at your bounce rates and determine if your website’s speed is impacting how long visitors stay on each page. Be sure to test your site in different browsers and on different platforms to see how long it takes your pages to load. You can also use the free GTmetrix tool to test your site’s speed.

4. Make your site mobile friendly.

Cartoon cinema screen that says Make your site mobile friendly.

A mobile-friendly site is no longer an option.

A mobile-friendly site is no longer an option.

According to a study by MarginMedia, 48% of users say that if they arrive on a business site that doesn’t work well on mobile, they take it as an indication that the business doesn’t care.

Google is also giving preference to mobile-friendly sites. If your site isn’t optimized for all devices, your rankings may suffer. 

5. Improve your copy.

Cartoon cinema screen that says Improve your copy

Much B2B copy is boring and robotic. These 5 tips help you improve your copy.

Every word in your marketing has the power to engage leads and convert them into customers. However, much B2B copy is boring and robotic. Here are five ways you can improve your B2B copy:

  • Capture your audience’s attention with strong headlines and intriguing introductions.
  • Use stories to keep readers engaged.
  • Cut the corporate jargon.
  • Focus your copy on your customers – not on yourself.
  • Make sure that all of your content includes a call to action that motivates readers to take the next step.

Also remember that most people don’t read online content word by word. Their eyes dart around the page. Get your key messages across in your headers, sub-headers and introduction to ensure that more customers see them. 

stop-b2b-buyers
Get Instant Access to the FREE Resource
Stop B2B Buyers In Their Tracks!

A 24 Question Checklist That Will Help You Grab Customers’ Attention, Lower Your Bounce Rates and Boost Your Conversions 

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FREE CHECKLIST

3 Ways to Apply This Information Now

  1. Download Stop B2B Buyers In Their Tracks! 24 questions you must ask before you publish your next piece of content.

  2. Read “5 Keys to an Amazing B2B Content Experience” to discover why great content is only half of the equation.

  3. Click to share this article on LinkedIn. Sharing quality content increases your visibility and credibility with your existing contacts, creating conversations and potentially new business.

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5 Free SEO Tools That Will Help Your Content Get Found http://copywritertoronto.com/5-free-seo-tools/ http://copywritertoronto.com/5-free-seo-tools/#respond Wed, 22 Jul 2015 12:00:07 +0000 http://copywritertoronto.com/?p=5616 cartoon business man with binoculars

The #1 metric for B2B content marketing success is website traffic. Here are five free tools that will help you get more …

If you publish a blog post, and no one finds it, does it exist?

With 70% of B2B marketers creating more content than they did a year ago, it’s getting harder to make your content stand out from the competition.

One way to – literally – put yourself ahead of your competition is by improving your rankings on Google. The more love you get from Google, the more you can increase your website traffic, blog readership and online conversion rates.  

Here are five free tools that will help your content get found:

1. BuzzSumo

Image of BuzzSumo tool

BuzzSumo shows you which content is trending for your keywords.

 

One of the hardest parts of blogging is finding topics that draw readers in. BuzzSumo shows you which content is trending for your keywords. Simply enter your keywords, and BuzzSumo will display the most-shared content containing those words.

2. Quicksprout Website Analyzer

Example of Quicksprout Grade

Get an SEO grade and recommendations to improve your Google rankings.

 

I recently checked out Quicksprout’s Website Analyzer and learned a lot about my site.

Simply enter your URL and the free tool gives you an SEO grade. It also recommends things you can fix to improve your Google rankings.

For example, do you need to adjust your meta tags, get more social shares or build more backlinks? Is your site too slow? How does it look on a smartphone or tablet?

You can even enter a few of your competitors’ sites to see how yours compares.

3. Google’s 200 Ranking Factors: The Complete List

Google’s 200 Ranking Factors: The Complete List

If you want to learn what matters and what doesn’t when it comes to SEO, read this.

It’s time to pull out the big guns …

Backlinko compiled a list of more than 200 of Google’s ranking factors. It includes data on where to place your keywords, how page length impacts your Google rankings and other valuable optimization tips.

If you want to learn what matters and what doesn’t when it comes to SEO, this post is worth a read.

4. Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test

Screen capture of Google Mobile Friendly Test

If your site isn’t optimized for tablets and smartphones, your rankings may suffer.

 

Google now gives preference to sites that are mobile friendly. If your site isn’t optimized for tablets and smartphones, your rankings may suffer. Use this tool to see if your site passes Google’s Mobile-Friendly test.

5. #SuggestMrx

screen shot of SuggestMrx

Keywords still have their place – especially when it comes to title and meta tags.

 

Google is placing less importance on keywords and more importance on helpful, relevant content. However, keywords still have their place – especially when it comes to title and meta tags.

When you enter a keyword, SuggestMrx will offer a number of related key phrase suggestions. You can search for keywords in domains, such as Google.com, Google.ca and YouTube. You can also narrow your search by language.

These tools can help you bring more leads and customers to your content. But for a bigger SEO boost, regularly add fresh content to your website and blog. According to HubSpot, businesses with websites of 401-1,000 pages receive 6x more leads than those with 51-100 pages. The larger number of pages likely results in higher Google rankings and more clicks.

2 planesGet Instant Access to the FREE Blog Post Pre-Flight Checklist

Discover what to include in all of your blog posts to improve your SEO, engage readers and increase your conversions.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FREE CHECKLIST
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The 4 Pillars You Need to Tell Great B2B Stories http://copywritertoronto.com/4-pillars-of-b2b-stories/ http://copywritertoronto.com/4-pillars-of-b2b-stories/#respond Thu, 16 Jul 2015 12:00:11 +0000 http://copywritertoronto.com/?p=5601 Stories can help you connect with customers on an emotional level, show your value and stand out from the competition. Here’s how to add compelling stories to your B2B marketing mix …

cartoon typewriter that says your story and text that says 4 pillars you need to tell great stories

Discover How to Tell Great B2B Stories

Back in the days of Mad Men, marketers could tell customers how to think and what to buy.

But times have changed.

Customers no longer trust advertising and don’t want to hear companies talk about how great they are.

To stand out, B2B companies must reach customers on an emotional level. I recently spoke with Ira Haberman, Director of Storytelling at Brainrider, about how B2B marketers can use stories to create these connections.

“All B2B companies have a story to tell – whether it’s about technology or piping or financial services,” says Ira. “The best way to connect with your audience is by telling your stories.”

According to Ira, great B2B stories are based on the following four pillars:

1. Your Customers

cartoon people representing customers with their backs to the screen.

Your best stories aren’t about you. They come from your customers.

Your best stories come from your customers.

“Your best stories aren’t about you,” says Ira. “Instead of talking about yourself in a video, show how your customers are using your products and the benefits they are achieving.”

One way to get your customers’ stories is to reach out to your sales and customer service teams. They are on the front line and speak with your customers every day. For example, invite customers to share their success stories. Then you can turn these stories into case studies, testimonials, blog posts and videos.

It’s also important to hear from customers who aren’t happy. Ask reps to send you a list of the top five things customers are complaining about. Then you can address these issues in your content.

You can also hear stories from customers who aren’t achieving success. This will help you learn what you need to do to improve.

Also be sure to speak with potential clients who said “no”. Find out why they decided to go with one of your competitors or maintain the status quo. You may find out that you’re telling the wrong stories.  

2. Your Employees

a cartoon man sitting at a desk cheering

Featuring your employees’ stories can make your company more human and relatable.

Today’s customers don’t want to interact with a logo – they want to interact with people. Featuring your employees’ stories can make your company more human and relatable.

Here are five ways to tell your employees’ stories:

  • Create a video that shows employees talking about why they work for you.
  • Ask employees to write for your blog and share their subject matter expertise. If they don’t have the time to blog, you can ask a ghost writer to interview them and write stories on their behalf.
  • Have employees speak at conferences and other live events.
  • Continually ask for stories. For example, include a “call for stories” in your newsletter. You can also start threads in your internal social network that ask questions such as, “What was your biggest success this month?”
  • Start your employee meetings with a success story.

3. Your Advocates

2 cartoon people sitting a table

Your advocates are champions for your stories.

“Your advocates are champions for your stories,” says Ira. “Connect with them and find out why they love your product or service. Then, when you’re ready to tell a new story, you’ll have lots of information to draw from.”

You likely have advocates who sing your praises online. However, you probably also have power users who aren’t vocal. Reach out to these power users to learn why they use our service and what makes you better than everyone else. When you cultivate these relationships, you can build more advocates.

4. Your Brand

Cartoon hands at a computer.

Focus on how your products or services will make your customers’ lives better.

Your brand stories should be less about you and more about the value you bring customers. Even your “about us” page should focus more on your customers than your brand.

When you talk about your brand, focus on how your products or services will make your customers’ lives better. This will help you show your value and stand out from your competitors.

It’s also important to use personal pronouns in your copy.

“I can’t use personal pronouns enough,” says Ira. “They give your audience a sense of belonging and help to make your stories about your customers.”

When you build stories around these four pillars, you will build an emotional connection with more customers.

You’ll be even more successful if you measure your results on an ongoing basis. This will ensure that you’re telling the right stories. You’ll learn from your hits and misses, so you can better respond to customer needs and improve your marketing ROI.

3 Ways to Apply This Information Now

  1. Download the B2B Call to Action Cheat Sheet to discover how to get readers to take the next step after they check out your stories.  

  2. Read “5 Ways to Get Your Internal Team to Write for Your B2B Blog” to learn how to get your colleagues to tell their stories. 

  3. Click to share this article on LinkedIn. Sharing quality content increases your visibility and credibility with your existing contacts, creating conversations and potentially new business.

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5 Keys to an Amazing B2B Content Experience http://copywritertoronto.com/5-keys-to-an-amazing-b2b-content-experience/ http://copywritertoronto.com/5-keys-to-an-amazing-b2b-content-experience/#respond Wed, 08 Jul 2015 12:00:13 +0000 http://copywritertoronto.com/?p=5585 Young woman squeezing her hands and smiling in excitement.

Publishing great content is only half of the equation. You also must give your audience a great content experience if you want them to keep coming back for more. Here’s how …   

“If a piece of content is published, and nobody reads it, does it exist?”

This was a question that Hana Abaza asked when she spoke at Pipecon, a B2B marketing and sales pipeline conference in Toronto.

Many B2B marketers produce great content. However, it may not bring them the shares, leads and conversions that they hope for.

According to Hana, VP of Marketing at Uberflip, the problem may not be your content, but your content experience. For example, a lot of prospects may view your content, but you may fail to send them to a landing page where they can opt in for more. Or your content’s format may make it difficult to read.

“If your experience is bad, you’ll lose leads, customers and revenue,” says Hana. “Then, content marketing will turn into a cost center as opposed to a growth driver.”

Hana stated that great content is scanable, actionable, sharable, scalable and you-oriented (SASSY). Here’s how you can make you B2B content SASSY:

1. Scanable

The easier your content is to read, the more likely customers will see the value in reading it.

The easier your content is to read, the more likely customers will see the value in reading it.

Today’s customers are uber busy and don’t have time to dive into a long-form blog post (unless they see immediate value in it). The easier your content is to read, the more likely customers will see the value in reading it.

Here are some ways you can make your content more scanable:

  • Use short paragraphs.
  • Add headers and subheaders to break up long blocks of text.
  • Use bullets and numbered lists.
  • Post write-ups below your videos, in case people don’t want to watch a long video when they only need one point from it. 
  • Make sure your designs include lots of white space.
  • Check how your content looks on mobile devices.

2. Actionable

White shoes on a wooden floor with white arrows.

Every piece of content needs a call to action that asks your audience to take the next step and move further along your funnel.

As marketers, we’re not creating content for the sake of creating content. We’re creating content to attract more leads and turn them into customers. Every piece of content needs a call to action that asks your audience to take the next step and move further along your funnel.

Think about how Ikea stores have arrows on the floor that guide you to exactly where the company wants you to go. Where do you want people to go after they check out your content? Do you want them to view other content, register for a webinar, subscribe to your blog, sign up for a demo or do something else? Include a call to action that asks them to take the next step. 

It’s also important to pair the right call to action with the right content. For example, you don’t want to promote a “Marketing 101” ebook on the same page as a blog post about advanced marketing. Make sure that your ads and calls to action align with your content.   

3. Sharable

 

Hands Holding Speech Bubbles with Social Media Words

Is your content worth sharing?

Is your content worth sharing?

One way to make your content sharable is by focusing on topics that matter to your target audience. The more they see themselves in your content, the more they will share it. Ask your sales and customer service teams what questions they get from customers. Then, address these questions in your content.

Another way to get more shares is by asking. For example, you can include a line at the end of an email that asks readers to forward it to a colleague. You should also make sure your social sharing icons are easy to see and use on mobile devices.

4. Scalable

Make your content scalable.

Now is the time to provide your audience with a great mobile experience.

Hana stated that “scalable” content is content that scales to any screen size.

Google is placing more importance on mobile-friendly websites. If your content isn’t optimized for mobile, your Google rankings may decrease. In addition to the wrath of Google, you’ll also face lower conversion rates if people can’t interact with your content on mobile devices.

Now is the time to provide your audience with a great mobile experience.  You can use this Google tool to determine if your website is mobile friendly.

5. You-Oriented

hands of creation

“Very few people think about optimizing their content experience,” says Hana. “Doing so can give you a huge advantage.”

 Much B2B content talks too much about products and features. However, your audience doesn’t want to know about how great your products are. Instead, they want content that helps them solve their top challenges.

Here are some ways to make your content “you-oriented” and focus on your customers:

  • Personalize your content.
  • Segment your audience and provide them with relevant content.
  • Review your website and ask if it’s easy for your prospects and customers to find what they need.
  • Use the Customer Focus Calculator to see what percentage of your copy speaks to your customers versus speaks about yourself. 

“Very few people think about optimizing their content experience,” says Hana. “Doing so can give you a huge advantage.”

3 Ways to Apply This Information Now

  1. Download the B2B Call to Action Cheat Sheet to discover how to get readers to take the next step after viewing your content. 

  2. Read “How to Attract B2B Customers With Personalized Content” to learn how to craft “you-oriented” content that engages customers.

  3. Click to share this article on LinkedIn. Sharing quality content increases your visibility and credibility with your existing contacts, creating conversations and potentially new business.

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How to Get More Value From Your Articles http://copywritertoronto.com/how-to-get-more-value-from-your-articles/ http://copywritertoronto.com/how-to-get-more-value-from-your-articles/#respond Wed, 03 Jun 2015 12:00:25 +0000 http://copywritertoronto.com/?p=5530 Articles and blog posts are a B2B marketing power tool. Here’s how to get more value from all of your articles, so you can reach a wider audience, attract more leads and turn them into customers …

picture of a typewriter and a megaphone talking to different media

Articles and blog posts are a B2B marketing power tool. Make sure you get the most from them.

 

Articles – including blog posts – are one of the top B2B marketing tactics.

And with good reason …

They can enhance your thought leadership, improve your SEO and bring more targeted leads to your content. Articles are also useful for educating and nurturing leads throughout your sales cycle.

According to the 2015 B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends report, 81% of B2B marketers are using articles on their websites. Meanwhile, 80% are blogging.

B2B Content Marketing Tactic Usage Research Chart

Image source: 2015 B2B Content Marketing Trends—North America: Content Marketing Institute/MarketingProfs

 

However, many B2B marketers bury articles on their websites and hope customers will find them. Or, they promote a new blog post the day it comes out and then move on to the next thing.

Here are seven ways to get more value from your articles:

1. Interlink your articles and blog posts.

Coloured circles that are linked by lines.

Linking your articles lowers bounce rates and keep visitors on your site longer.

 

Many marketers focus on bringing visitors to their website. While this is important, it’s even more important to keep them there once they arrive.

One way you can do this is by linking all of your articles to related content. When someone scans one of your articles, they will see where you have related content and can click for more information. This will lower your bounce rates and keep visitors on your site longer.

Interlinking your posts also makes it easier for search engines to crawl and index your content. This can improve your SEO.

Take Action: Read your last five blog posts or articles and see if you have the opportunity to link to any of your existing articles, premium content or product pages.

2. Make it easy for readers to tweet your content.

Map of the world in chalk with twitter birds and hashtags

Make it easy for your busy readers to share your content by providing them with pre-written tweets.

 

Have you ever pressed a “tweet now” button on a blog post only to have a blank box appear? If so, how often do you decide not to tweet something, because you don’t want to type the name of the blog post or copy and paste a link?

You’re not lazy, you’re just busy.

Make it easy for your busy readers to share your content by providing them with pre-written tweets. This also gives you more control over what people are saying about you on social media. You can hand select your juiciest quotes and insert your top hashtags.

Take Action: Check out www.clicktotweet.com. It’s a free service that lets you add tweetable quotes to your WordPress site.

3. Always include a call to action.

Picture of man's hand on a keyboard and a computer screen that says add your text here

Always include a call to action in your articles that asks readers to take the next step.

 

Many B2B marketers create amazing content that educates buyers and leaves them wanting more. But then they leave readers hanging.

Always include a call to action in your articles that asks readers to take the next step. FYI – contacting a sales rep is usually too big of a step for someone who just stumbled upon your article online.

However, you can ask them to check out another piece of content, register for a webinar or download a white paper.

Take Action: Read “How to Turbocharge Your List Building With Content Upgrades” to learn about a new call to action that is making waves in the marketing community.

4. Use images.

computer screen full of images

Articles with images receive 94% more views than those without.

 

Articles with images receive 94% more views than those without. In addition to capturing a reader’s attention, images can also improve your SEO. The better you optimize your images, the more your articles will get found.

A new study has also found that consumers are moving to image-focused social networks, such as Pinterest and Instagram. Since what people do at home carries into how they behave at work, it may be worthwhile to include “Pinterest-worthy” images in your articles.

You can also turn some of your existing articles into infographics to make use of images, repurpose your content and reach a wider audience.

Take Action: Review the images in your last five articles or blog posts. Are they something you would want to share on Pinterest? If not, how can you make your images more interesting?

5. Use your own data in your articles.

A rocket flying over a data chart

Using your own data gives you something unique and highly sharable.

 

According to a B2B Content Preferences Survey, 59.9% of B2B buyers strongly believe that vendors need more data and research to support their content.

While using others’ data can lend credibility to your articles, using your own data gives you something unique and highly sharable.

According to Derek Singleton, Analyst at  Software Advice, “When you publish primary research, you’re not repurposing what everyone else has said. This makes your content more powerful, as it’s supported by original, qualitative data.”

Take Action: Read “How Original Research Can Help Your B2B Technology Company Stand Out” to learn what types of data best engages technology buyers.

6. Turn your articles into SlideShare presentations.

SlideShare is an overlooked B2B social network. According to SlideShare, most of its 60 million monthly users are business professionals. They use the site to find information that will help them do their jobs better.

One great thing about using SlideShare is that you can insert lead capture forms directly into your presentations. SlideShare notifies you when you have a new lead and provides analytics on how your presentations and forms are performing.

SlideShare also integrates directly with LinkedIn. This means that every presentation you upload to SlideShare can boost your presence on LinkedIn.

Take Action: Read your last five blog posts or articles and determine if any of them would make good presentations that you can upload to SlideShare.

7. Turn a group of articles into a white paper or ebook.

Laptop with a collection eBooks

Pulling your best articles into an ebook or a white paper is a great way to make your content live longer, reach a wider audience and influence more buying decisions.

 

Creating a large piece of content – such as a white paper or ebook –can be a daunting project. One way to make this task easier is by collecting your existing articles and turning them into something larger.

This is also a great way to “save” your best articles. Blog posts and articles often get buried in websites. Pulling your best articles into an ebook or a white paper is a great way to make your content live longer, reach a wider audience and influence more buying decisions.  

Take Action: Review your marketing goals and select a topic for a white paper or ebook. Do you have any articles that can form the basis for this content?

3 Ways to Apply This Information Now

  1. Download the B2B Blog Post Pre-Flight Checklist, so you can ensure that all of your articles hit the mark with your readers.
  2. Read “How to Turbocharge Your List Building With Content Upgrades” to learn about a new call to action that is making waves in the marketing community.
  3. Click to share this article on LinkedIn. Sharing quality content increases your visibility and credibility with your existing contacts, creating conversations and potentially new business.

 

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7 Keys to Successful Content Marketing http://copywritertoronto.com/7-keys-to-successful-content-marketing-camp/ http://copywritertoronto.com/7-keys-to-successful-content-marketing-camp/#respond Wed, 27 May 2015 12:00:44 +0000 http://copywritertoronto.com/?p=5526 The Canadian Association of Marketing Professionals (CAMP) held a panel on how to get better results from your content marketing efforts. Here are seven things that every B2B content marketer must know …

camp

One of the biggest challenges in content marketing is getting traction.

You may publish an amazing, thought-provoking article on your blog but then nothing happens.

No shares … no comments … no rush of new leads calling …

How can you get more of your ideal customers to read and share your content?

The Canadian Association of Marketing Professionals (CAMP) held a panel on how to get more mileage from your content. Here are the top seven things that I learned from the panelists:

1. Stop thinking like a publisher and start thinking like a reporter.

Mark Evans, author of Storytelling for Startups, believes that many marketers produce content for the sake of producing content. When they do this, they often sacrifice quality for quantity.  However, Mark has seen marketers get better results when they focus on telling compelling stories with interesting angles.

2. Ask your customers for help.

According to Cassandra Jowett, Content Marketing Manager at Influitive, marketers don’t need to go it alone. You likely have an army of customers, fans and evangelists – or advocates  – who are willing to help. Invite them into a formal advocate marketing program where they can take an active role in your sales, marketing and product development. For example, they may share your content, participate in beta tests or send you referrals.   

Jowett said, “People naturally refer others to companies all the time. But you can scale this way up if you put a formal process in place.”

3. Lead customers on a journey.

Randy Frisch, COO/Co-Founder of Uberflip, loves getting content on LinkedIn. Once he goes on the site, he gets drawn into the web of interesting content. Frisch says marketers should mirror this experience by leading customers on a content journey.

Include a call to action at the end of all of your content that invites customers to take the next step. For example, you can ask them to check out more in-depth content or attend a webinar.

“Your call to action shouldn’t be generic,” said Frisch. “You need to make the right ask at the right time.”

4. Focus on your customers.

Today’s customers can smell a sales pitch a mile away. If you’re constantly pitching your products or services, you’ll bore customers and cause them to tune out. The panelists stressed the importance of creating customer-focused, not product-focused, content. According to Jowett, “Your content should be useful without being salesy. Then, customers can draw their own conclusions about what they should and shouldn’t buy.”

5. Content should come from your entire team.

The panelists believe that content marketing shouldn’t be one person’s job. It should be a company-wide mindset, where everyone produces content. This takes some of the pressure off the marketing team, so they don’t feel obligated to spend all of their time producing content. It also leads to more diverse stories, different insights and better content.

However, you also need a content marketing evangelist to oversee your content strategy. This person can empower others to produce content by providing them with the right training and tools.

6. Compare your content against your goals.

According to Frisch, many marketers think content is successful if it gets tons of shares or views. However, you must step back and look at your goals for a piece of content to determine if it was successful. Was your top goal to get a lot of views? Or was it to generate B2B leads? If you don’t know how many leads you’re getting, it may not matter if you get a lot of views.   

7. Be honest.

The panelists’ most successful content included blog posts and videos about their mistakes. Customers will view your company as more human when you admit your mistakes. Being honest and talking about your failures can help you build stronger relationships with customers.  

As you can see, the panelists at CAMP’s event shared a lot of wonderful content marketing insights. Follow their advice to get more traction from all of your content.

3 Ways to Apply This Information Now

  1. Read “5 Ways Small B2B Marketing Teams Can Win at Content Marketing” to learn how to get better results from your content when you don’t have a lot of time or resources.
  2. Read “10 Steps to an Effective B2B Content Marketing Strategy” to learn how to create a content strategy that brings you results.
  3. Click to share this article on LinkedIn. Sharing quality content increases your visibility and credibility with your existing contacts, creating conversations and potentially new business.

 

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How to Attract B2B Customers With Personalized Content http://copywritertoronto.com/content-personalization/ http://copywritertoronto.com/content-personalization/#respond Wed, 20 May 2015 12:00:12 +0000 http://copywritertoronto.com/?p=5509 Personalizing your content can help you attract more customers and stand out from the competition. And it may not take as much time or effort as you think …

How To Attract B2B Customers

Today’s marketers are producing more content than ever.

According to the 2015 B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends report, 70% of B2B marketers are creating more content than they did one year ago. 

With this flood of new content, it’s getting harder to stand out from the crowd. But, unfortunately, most of this content is generic and doesn’t help customers make informed buying decisions.

B2B buyers want to read content that speaks directly to their needs, challenges and goals. Your content must be relevant if you want to engage buyers and stand apart from your competition.

jakeI had the opportunity to speak with Jake Coventry, owner of Matizmo, on the topic of content personalization. According to Jake, B2B marketers have a lot to lose if they don’t personalize their content.

“If you use generic content – or if your content only speaks to a small subset of your audience, you’ll miss out,” said Jake. “You’ll lose leads, customers and sales.”  

Are You Creating Too Much Content?

Content personalization allows you to speak to each of your audiences – without creating completely new content for each audience.

For example, you may spend a lot of time creating completely unique white papers for a range of audiences. With content personalization, you can start with one basic white paper and then change parts of it – such as the case studies and introduction – to speak to a specific audience.

Then, all of your leads can go to the same landing page. From there, they simply select their role or industry to automatically receive a custom white paper.

How Personalized Content Engages B2B Customers

B2B marketers can learn a thing or two from the consumer space.

Today, consumers can customize just about everything – from organic produce boxes to shoes. For example, when someone designs a pair of NIKEiD sneakers, they’ll be more likely to build an emotional connection with the brand. They’ll be proud of their design and want to show it off to their friends.

Jake believes that if you allow leads to have a say in their content, they’ll engage more with you.

“B2B buyers don’t like to complete opt-in forms. However, they’ll be more likely to complete a form if they know that they’ll receive customized content at the end,” said Jake.

If they don’t answer your questions correctly, the content won’t reflect their needs. The more information they provide, the more relevant their content will be. Plus, you’ll receive higher quality sales leads. It’s a win-win.

The Key to Attracting Customers With Personalized Content

There are endless ways you can customize your content. For example, you can personalize it based on a customer’s role, industry, company size or stage in the sales cycle.

But for your personalization efforts to work, you must find out what makes your customers tick.

“Companies get caught up in creating tons of buyer personas and forget what customers want from their content,” said Jake. “Think of the key people who use your service and what they want to know. Make sure your content is speaks to their needs and is useful.” 

3 Ways to Apply This Information Now

  1. Read “5 Keys to Creating Content That Engages Different Verticals to learn how to maintain a consistent voice when personalizing content for with different audiences. 
  2. Read about the missing link to B2B content marketing success to learn how to fill the gaps in your content and better engage customers.  
  3. Click to share this article on LinkedIn. Sharing quality content increases your visibility and credibility with your existing contacts, creating conversations and potentially new business.
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The B2B Blog Post Checklist: 9 Keys to Boosting Engagement, Shares and Conversions http://copywritertoronto.com/blog-post-checklist/ http://copywritertoronto.com/blog-post-checklist/#respond Wed, 13 May 2015 12:39:15 +0000 http://copywritertoronto.com/?p=5496 A blog can be one of your most valuable marketing assets, as it can bring targeted leads to your content and engage them throughout every stage of your sales cycle. Here’s what to include in all of your blog posts to boost your readership, shares and conversions …

Info sign at international airport representing the theme of launching results for your blog post with the blog post checklist

Woo-hoo!

You’re ready to publish your latest blog post and bring more targeted leads to your content. But before you queue it up, take a moment to review this checklist to make sure your post contains everything you need to engage leads, increase your social shares and drive conversions.

Here are nine things to check before you publish your next blog post:

1. Your topic

Is your topic something that will appeal to your target audience? Does it help them solve one of their key challenges? Avoid publishing blog posts that just talk about your products or your company. These usually aren’t helpful and won’t bring you many readers.   

Related Reading: Mind the Gap: The Missing Link to B2B Content Marketing Success

2. Your title

Your title is what motivates readers to check out your blog posts. This is why many top bloggers recommend that you spend as much time developing your title as you spend writing the rest of your blog post. Here are a few tips on titles:

  • Titles that include “How to” or numerals tend to perform well.
  • Keep your title under 65 characters and put your most important message at the beginning. This ensures that readers can get your message if they are viewing the title on a mobile device.
  • Include your main keyword or key phrase in your title.

3. Your summary

It’s a good idea to include a short summary (less than three sentences) directly beneath your blog post’s title. The summary should clearly state why people must read your blog post. A well-crafted summary can increase your readership and shares.

4. Your images and/or videos

Did you include an interesting feature image at the top of your blog post? Use your own images whenever possible, as they reflect your brand better than boring clip art. Break up long blog posts with additional images, videos and charts. Also be sure to optimize your images for SEO, as your images can have an impact on your Google rankings. 

5. Your keywords

Google is placing less importance on keywords and more importance on high-quality content. However, using keywords can still help you get found. Here are a few places to include your keywords:

  • Your page title and meta tags
  • Your blog post title
  • Your subheads
  • A few times in your body copy – don’t go crazy
  • Anchor text that links to other pages on your website
  • Your images
  • Your blog post tags and categories

6. Your blog post’s readability

Most people skim blog posts, rather than read them word for word. That’s why you must break up your text using subheads, bullet points, numbered lists and short paragraphs. You can also draw attention to key points with bold text and call-outs.

In addition, read through your post and ask if it sounds like a human wrote it or a robot wrote it. Cut the marketing fluff and corporate jargon.

7. Your links

Do all of your links work? Did you include links to other areas of your website to encourage readers to check out more of your content? Did you link back to anyone whom you quoted or any research that you cited?

8. Your call to action

Did you include a compelling call to action that relates directly to your blog post’s topic? For example, if you publish a blog post on cloud security, you can promote a webinar on the same topic. The more your opt-in offer relates to your blog post, the more you can build your list.

Related reading: How to Turbocharge Your List Building With Content Upgrades

9. Your author bio

People like to interact with people – not with companies. Including the author’s bio and contact information will make your company more human.

And finally, be sure to proofread your post to make sure it doesn’t go out with any glaring typos.

Here’s to your blogging success!

3 Ways to Apply This Information Now

  1. Download the B2B Blog Post Pre-Flight Checklist, so you can ensure each of your blog posts hits the mark with your readers.
  2. Watch my video on “How to Build a Blog that Attracts Leads and Increases Your Conversions”.
  3. Click to share this article on LinkedIn. Sharing quality content increases your visibility and credibility with your existing contacts, creating conversations and potentially new business.

 

content Get the B2B Blog Post Pre-Flight Checklist to help all of your blog posts take off.

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What IT Buyers Really Think About Your Marketing http://copywritertoronto.com/what-it-buyers-think/ http://copywritertoronto.com/what-it-buyers-think/#respond Wed, 06 May 2015 12:00:35 +0000 http://copywritertoronto.com/?p=5482 what-it-buyers-really-think

What if you could be a fly on the wall and watch as an IT buyer checked out your marketing?

Would you like how they react?

I attended Spiceworks Unplugged in Toronto, where a room of IT marketers heard the truth from a panel of straight-talking IT professionals. The IT pros represented a variety of industries – from software to education. And some of the things they said were surprising.

Here are some of the questions that the IT marketers asked, along with how the IT pros responded:

What is your biggest IT challenge?

Their top challenges included trying to do as much as possible with limited time, staff and resources. Another big challenge was modernizing dated IT infrastructure.

What do you expect from technology marketers?

IT professionals can spot BS a mile away. If you want to engage them, cut the marketing fluff and get real about your product. You should also explain your product from a technical standpoint, as IT pros want to know how to use and maintain your technology. It’s key to explain how your product will integrate with their existing systems.

What buzzwords should you avoid?

The most-hated list includes:

“Failproof”, as users will always find something that fails.

“ROI”. The only way an IT pro can prove your product’s ROI is by deploying it and seeing that it works. They think that ROI calculators are “noise”.

“Cloud”.  IT pros have a joke – “Don’t put it in the cloud. What happens when it rains?” They feel that marketers apply this word to everything. What does the “cloud” really mean when it comes to your product? How will your “cloud” make their lives better?

How long should a demo be?

Many 14-day demos aren’t long enough to evaluate a technology. One IT pro said, “You’re lucky if I finish reading your white paper in 14 days.”

What types of content do you look at when you’re evaluating a product?

The IT pros use white papers to learn about new technologies. Some of the panelists will save the white papers to their iPads and read them at home.

They also like webinars. However, the Spiceworks panelists dislike “live” demos where a salesperson runs the technology in a canned environment. They would prefer to see the technology in action in a real environment. If something goes wrong, they want to see how quickly your rep can resolve the problem.  

One of the IT pros said that he watches videos after he creates a shortlist.

Another one of the IT pros skips the marketing content and goes straight to user manuals. If he knows what he’s looking for in a product, the user manual will provide him with specs. 

What types of content do you hate?

Gated content.

The Spiceworks’ panelists dislike filling out forms just to learn about a product. Some of them have “special” email addresses just for these forms.

They feel like the gate is a “fish hook” to get them on the phone with a sales rep. One of the panelists said that he won’t answer his phone after completing a marketing form, as he’d rather avoid all his calls than speak with a sales rep. 

The IT pros would prefer it if you provided all your content in one place and gave them the power to decide if and when they want to speak with a sales rep.

They also suggested including a checkbox in your form that asks whether they want to be contacted. Yes, sometimes they’re waiting for your call.

Do you ever read purely educational content, such as blog posts?

IT pros love learning, so they enjoy reading educational blog posts. However, they may not share your posts with their social networks, as their corporate IT policies often prevent them from visiting social media sites.

3 Ways to Apply This Information Now

1. Download the slide presentation to refer to these insights later.

2. Read 10 Steps to an Effective B2B Content Marketing Strategy to learn how to get the best results from your content marketing.

3. Click to share this article on LinkedIn. Sharing quality content increases your visibility and credibility with your existing contacts, creating conversations and potentially new business.

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Mind the Gap: The Missing Link to B2B Content Marketing Success http://copywritertoronto.com/how-to-fill-content-gaps/ http://copywritertoronto.com/how-to-fill-content-gaps/#respond Wed, 22 Apr 2015 12:00:35 +0000 http://copywritertoronto.com/?p=5465 Many B2B marketers have a disconnect between the content they’re producing and the content their customers actually want. If your content doesn’t hit the mark, buyers won’t respond. Here’s how to identify and fill your content gaps so you can wow customers and get them to take action.

Mind the gap sign with speeding train in London underground

It’s every content marketer’s worst fear … 

You devote a lot of time and resources into producing a piece of content. You think the topic is interesting. The design is eye-catching. The writing is clear and concise.

But then you publish the content, and nothing happens. No likes … no shares … no rush of leads banging on your door wanting to buy your product …

So, what happened?

You likely missed the mark and put tons of effort into a topic that your audience doesn’t care about.

But there are steps to take to ensure this won’t happen again.

Take stock of your existing content and compare it against what your audience is talking about. You’ll likely find gaps between the content you’re creating and the content your audience wants. Then, create new content that fills these gaps.

Follow these seven steps to fill the gaps in your content: 

1. Conduct a content audit.

It’s hard to get to the finish line if you don’t know your starting point. Audit your existing content to see what you have on hand. For example, you can audit your: 

  • Web pages
  • Blog posts and articles (in your company’s publications and external publications)
  • Sales content such as brochures, sell sheets and data sheets
  • White papers, ebooks and research reports
  • Presentations (e.g. keynotes, webinars and SlideShare decks)
  • FAQs and emails where you answer customer questions
  • Social media updates and replies
  • Demos
  • User forums and support groups
  • Customer advocacy communities
  • Case studies and testimonials

When you audit your content, you’ll likely discover that you have much more content than you thought you had. You’re likely sitting on tons of material that you can turn into valuable content for prospects, leads and customers.

As you go through the other steps in this process, determine how much of your existing content should be refreshed, overhauled or repurposed. 

2. Map content to your buyer personas.

If you haven’t updated your buyer personas since Lost went off the air, it’s time for a refresh. The more your content appeals to each persona, the more successful your marketing will be. Here are some questions to ask when you update your buyer personas:

  • What are their job titles?
  • What types of companies do they work for?
  • What is a typical day like for them?
  • What are their biggest challenges?
  • What are their top goals?
  • How have their challenges and goals changed from the last time you worked on your buyer personas?
  • Where do they get their information?
  • What stage(s) of the sales cycle are they typically involved in?

3. Map content to each stage of the sales cycle.

In Demand Gen Report’s 2014 B2B Buyer Behavior Survey, 61% of respondents said they selected vendors who delivered a mix of content that was appropriate for each stage of their buying process. When you look at each buyer persona, determine if you have enough content to engage them during the following stages:

  1. Awareness
  2. Investigation
  3. Evaluation
  4. Decision
  5. Loyalty/advocacy

 4. Tune in to the right channels.

Are your customers hanging out somewhere without you? Don’t miss the party!

According to Oracle’s Cross-Channel Marketing Report, 67% of companies want to integrate their key marketing activities across channels. However, only 43% say they understand the customer journey and adapt their channel mix accordingly.  

Research how your customers are using different channels. For example, do they ask questions about your products on Quora while you’re investing more in Facebook? Will they respond better to a white paper or a webinar? How are they arriving at your website?

For more tips on boosting your cross-channel engagement read, “How to Tell a Consistent Story Across All of Your B2B Marketing Channels”.

5. Fill your promotional gaps.

Do you have a product launch coming up and not enough content to support it? Are you gearing up for a big trade show and need content that will lure buyers away from other booths? Add these upcoming launches and events to your editorial calendar.

6. Answer customer questions.

One of the best places to find content ideas is from questions your customers ask. What are they emailing you about? What are they posting on your social networks and in your support forums?

Are there any questions that appear over and over? Have you answered these questions in your key content assets? If not, add them to your editorial calendar.

7. Go beyond sales content.

Many B2B marketers create the same type of content all the time. For example, it might all be educational or sales focused. However, varying your content can keep you on your toes – and keep buyers engaged. Create content that does the following:

  • Entertains
  • Educates
  • Engages
  • Persuades

When you go through these steps, you’ll find quite a few gaps in your content. Decide which gaps you would like to fill right away. Which areas are the most critical? Where will you get the biggest bang for your content investment? Add this content to your editorial calendar.

3 Ways to Apply This Information Now

  1. Download the Editorial Calendar Template to take action and fill those content gaps.
  2. Read “5 Keys to Creating Content That Engages Different Verticals” to learn how to maintain a consistent voice when speaking with different audiences.
  3. Share this article on LinkedIn. Sharing quality content increases your visibility and credibility with your existing contacts, creating conversations and potentially new business. 


Download the Editorial Calendar Template to plan your content
and stay on track.

 

 

 

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