So I have a question: how the heck are we supposed to get noticed and win SEO points nowadays when literally everyone is adopting the same techniques and competing for the same space?
As a copywriter, content marketer (I could be referred to as either depending on who you ask – but that’s a different story) and general wordsmith, I’d most certainly fall into the ‘creative’ bucket of candidates.
And although being a ‘creative’ sounds cool and fashionable it can actually be pretty tough; particularly in a corporate world.
Do you dedicate much time and thought to the way you say what you say?
Contrary to popular belief, content isn’t everything. Not in isolation, anyway.
Tone of voice is crucial if you really want to stand out in your market – rather than just in it.
Has anyone else noticed how Oxford Circus station appears to have become particularly ‘exclusive’ with its advertising recently?
‘Copywriting’ and ‘Content Marketing’; two phrases often used interchangeably and the topic of much debate and confusion.
So which is which, and what are you doing?
Or more importantly, what should you be doing?
Interruptive marketing is out. Content marketing is in.
But you already knew that right?
Here are my top 5 inbound marketing campaigns of 2013. Check out these inspiring examples of top quality content marketing.
B2B Marketing – Should you be Online or Offline?
Think you know what works for your business? I’m sure you do to a large extent. But when did you last test existing versus new marketing approaches?
In my experience, most B2B businesses believe offline marketing techniques such as relationship marketing campaigns, face to face meet and greets, networking opportunities, industry events and word of mouth, present the only real way to win new clients in a business to business environment.
All this ‘online marketing talk’ about SEO, PPC, social engagement and content marketing is for fluffy businesses with big budgets and time to waste, right?
It’s no longer about using offline and online channels as separate entities, but combining the best of both to generate positive return on investment for your business. This applies to both B2B and B2C marketing strategies.
How to Approach Your B2B Marketing Strategy (it’s actually easier than B2C)
Despite my observation above, B2B and B2C must be treated as distinct market categories. Certain channels or techniques that work for one won’t necessarily work for the other.
At first glance, B2B can seem the scarier of the two because more often than not, a client is worth much more to a business than a consumer, and traditional offline marketing approaches are generally more expensive and harder to measure. This is largely why in B2B marketing, the emphasis is on quality of leads not quantity. B2C companies tend to lean in the direction of very high volumes and low revenue per purchase – so enormous demand is usually necessary.
We generally understand more about potential clients than consumers, i.e. who they are, what their job is and typical buying behaviours. Therefore B2B marketing activities can be highly targeted, reducing the influx of unqualified leads thus increasing attraction/conversion rates.
B2B companies have been slower to embrace online marketing because of reliance on pre-existing knowledge and understanding of their clients and what has/hasn’t worked in the past. But things are changing.
B2B businesses are starting to incorporate online activities into their marketing plans. These businesses are casting the net wider; identifying new opportunities and exploring new markets, whilst ensuring that they are catering to the ever-changing needs of existing markets where target audiences are moving online to justify purchasing decisions.
Getting Started with B2B Online Marketing – Top Tips
Tip 1 – Get Blogging!
In a B2B environment, you’re communicating with like-minded professionals so it’s essential that you establish yourself as a thought leader. By providing interesting, relevant content you will position yourself as an industry expert and gain respect from your followers.
Blogging is probably the fastest way to build traffic and inbound links to your company website. It’s simple – the more a company blogs, the more new customers it attracts. Switch from monthly to weekly blog posts and see the impact for yourself. By building a portfolio of good content on your blog, you become more searchable online and are more likely to appear on results pages when a potential client looks for information on your services.
To start with, look at industry trade magazines to see what’s topical and monitor your competitors to follow what they’re blogging about. Why not write an opinion piece on new legislation, conduct an interview with a key industry influencer or put together a ‘how-to’ article that answers frequently asked questions.
And lastly, ensure your posts are topically diverse and be sure to get exposure across all social channels – get it out there!
Tip 2 – Get Linking In!
LinkedIn is the number one B2B channel. Every professional should have their own LinkedIn account irrespective of industry, and from this account, you should create a company page and/or group to encourage engagement and display your content.
Traffic from LinkedIn is generally considered to be of higher quality than traffic from Facebook and Twitter. Facebook and Twitter are mass audience exposure platforms where volume is achieved over quality, and the audience is far more diverse in terms of what people are expecting to get from that particular platform (namely for fun, personal use).
LinkedIn is a professional network for business people, meaning that you are capturing an audience focused on corporate information sharing, networking and employment/partnership opportunities.
Remember to reply and engage with every group comment daily and include a link back to your website. Regularity of content promotion is key, whether it’s created or curated, and focus on addressing the needs of your client rather than selling your brand or product –the shift from self to consumer focus is paramount.
Part 1 – Explaining Integrated Marketing
As a marketing professional, I am as guilty as any when it comes to using acronyms, phraseology and jargon to explain what is really, a very simple concept.
So I’m making it my mission to dispel the mythological language of marketing and explain the core meanings behind key industry terms.
Are you plagued by a particular marketing topic or expression? Send your queries to firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll explain.
What do we mean by integrated marketing?
Simply put, it is the use of multiple marketing disciplines and channels to promote a brand or campaign. This is based on the belief that adopting different approaches will weave together the strengths and weaknesses of each format, and reach different audiences in their preferred ways, thereby increasing success rates.
This can mean taking one piece of written content and turning it into an infographic, video, blog post, whitepaper or press release. Using one core piece of work and converting it into different formats is not only an efficient use of time (as the core content has already been created) but it also takes into consideration the fact that different audiences digest information differently. You are catering to a diverse online audience.
Tip: content should never be duplicated verbatim. Google penalises duplicate content which means it won’t contribute towards improvement of your search ranking position. So post one blog piece in one place only, and then tailor the content for the press release and turn it into a PDF for the whitepaper (for example).
Promoting your content
Let’s take the infographic. You can create these for free using easelly.
Now promote the infographic using integrated marketing techniques. Using Twitter, Facebook, Google + and Linked In, create a summary sentence detailing the core message and where appropriate, use hashtags and include the image as a thumbnail. Use Yammer to promote the infographic internally and ask colleagues to share with friends and followers.
You should promote any new piece of content daily for around 2 weeks in my opinion. Schedule two posts a day for one week, and then reduce to one for the next. Measure the success of each channel in terms of click-throughs, page hits (on your blog) and shares.
Tip: The use of Google + is essential in improving online presence and increasing brand/product exposure. Be sure to create an author profile and links to your content to ensure it is indexed and wins those all-important search engine optimisation points. Check out my profile as an example.
So there’s a basic overview on how to ensure your marketing efforts are integrated. Create consistency and maximise your communications by adopting a multi-channel approach.