Some weeks ago, we spoke about a study that described what B2B decision makers expect to read on vendor websites. Now, a new study of 352 buyers (predominantly large businesses) from The CMO Council and NetLine shows that the majority of organizations (94%) favors to curate and circulate relevant content in their organization before finally deciding to purchase B2B solutions and services. For years, marketers thought B2B buyers and influencers alike are simply using vendor-related content from time to time.
The study makes clear that there is no real sharing structure to be made out from company to company. However, there are three main patterns that the study highlights in their results:
– From the Middle Out (35%): Execution-level executives search and find content about vendors/products and make the purchase. Senior management gets educated thorugh them why the decision was made.
– From the Bottom Up (30%): Junior or mid-level employees find vendor-related content and share their discoveries with senior management. Then they make the final decision.
– From the Top Down (29%): Senior managers find the content, then share it with lower-level managers for analysis and final purchase.
The same as with the sharing patterns, there are three key personas within the businesses who act according to their own behaviors, expectations and needs.
– Researchers: Primarily focused on new industry reports/research to inform them of advancements in solutions, trends affecting the markets, and opportunities for improvement.
– Influencers: Interested in both thought leadership found in trusted third-party channels and vendor-branded technology specifications, data sheets, and use cases. Their special interest is in summarized content, i.e. infographics, videos, and blog comments.
– Decision-Makers: Want to stay informed through broad research reports and analyst commentary. However, they expect to have access to detailed data to enable better decision-making at the tail end of the purchasing funnel.
The study reveals some further interesting insights. The vendor selection is major to moderate influenced by online content, find 88% of the B2B buyers and more than a third (38%) find that online content provides strategic insights and shapes the purchase decision. The content that is valued the most is research reports and studies (65%), technical spec and data sheets (50%), analyst reports (46%), whitepapers (35%) and posts on trade publishing sites (30%). The power of Google and the vendor website comes out as well: When more than two third state they start their vendor-related content sourcing with search engines and portals, it shows that the best training the marketers is to read the two B2B studies and draw some conclusion out of it for the future of your own content, PR and marketing acitivites. And if you cannot find a solution, we are happy to help…
Is it really still the phone number and the email address? Well, at least contact information should be easily accessible on B2B vendor websites. This is the main finding of a recent report from Dianna Huff and KoMarketing Associates.
The study, based on a survey of 175 B2B buyers, states that the majority of B2B buyers (68%) find the vendor’s address and contact information is mission critical information. Thus, 55% make clear they’ll leave the website if it isn’t accessible. For most B2B buyers (81%) want to contact vendors via email in the first place, phone comes in second place (58%). Furthermore, it is not only about accessibility. Credibility of a vendor’s website establishes for 51% of the respondents when contact or about information is displayed.
From a content perspective, 43% of buyers see pricing as a “must have” content on vendor websites. Having worked with different b2b vendors in the last years, we know that the challenge for them is the indirect sales when partners have different levels of pricing models that often cannot be displayed public; however separate logins can handle that challenge.
90% of buyers expect to see product/services information on vendor websites. They also want to see about/company information (61%), marketing collateral (37%), and testimonials (36%). Although social media becomes more impact in our daily business, only 24% try to find social media add-ons (24%) or look for blogs (22%).
Although the contact form is the most common way to get in touch with the vendor, only 39% like to use it. This is critical as buyers usually do not take too much time to stay on vendor websites.
Especially when getting bored or when they click out of a website, buyers tend to leave. Another mismatch that makes people leave is when video or audio plays automatically (93%). Animated ads, like crawling banners or pop-ups are also a NoGo for 88%, and a bad positioning about company offers makes 83% move to the competitor sites.
Probably you have been one of those social media complainers in your career of tweets and status updates yourself already. If not, maybe you have heard of some of these types from your customer service unit or your sales team. Be aware: Complainers are everywhere, not only on your website or social hubs!
Some studies show that most big companies still do not take social media complains from the social web serious. Comments on brand’s blogs, Facebook or Twitter profiles stay uncommented, or are just a given option to calm the user down and then make them forget about their issue if it is not too complex. Most customers take this personal and just turn to competitors. The revenue of these customers gets lost.
But how can you differentiate between the types of complainers? How can you know who to take serious, and who not? Which typer of complainers should you respond, and how? The guys at ExactTarget have created a nice infographic that helps you structure complainers from
Many marketing, PR or product managers think about starting their own blogs when joining one of our inhouse or open seminars. And for most of them, it has become a challenge just finding the right topic that makes them outstanding with their product or service offering. This is not surprising, bearing in mind that there were already 74.874.233 WordPress websites out there when I wrote this post – and when you think about Blogger, Typepad, Tumblrs and all of those enterprise blogs, it becomes a mission impossible to find a niche that helps building brands.
Now, the guys at WhoIsHostingThis.com have published some helpful infographic which give us some quite good arguments on what matters when you start blogging.
There is no magazine without a smashing title. Ideally, you write about the topics you are an expert in. As people will want credible, meaningful and authentic blog posts, this is the only way to get your readers attention. Then, check out what readers do want, discuss and share on your topic via social media monitoring. This will make your content interesting and will prevent you from writing content that nobody reads.
Original or Curated?
If you have got the time to write original content, go for it. It’s the best for your reputation and shows your own mindset. And most importantly, Google likes original content which is more likely to rank better. Whenever, there are guest bloggers who want to contribute to your website, invite them.
However, the truth is that if you curate your competitor’s content or third party content from time to time (with a back link!), you jump into their fish-bowl. The easiest bit is if you use their infographics, webinars and branded industry blogs to expand their ideas and thoughts.
Find your style and stick with it. People want to feel “at home” and comfortable. Figure out when most people share your updates, or when it’s better not to send them live. If you can afford it, stick to an editorial calendar as people love publishing source they can rely on finding the relevant set of information that stands out.
Good luck (and if you need help), we are here to advice…
Are you planning your lead generation programs at the moment? Well, you better be quick then. Why? The conversion rates for B2B online lead campaigns generate the best results when the year starts – so now! The reasons are quite obvious: Budget are fresh or renewed. Funds are starting. Conversion falls below average in the Christmas month, probably as of intense planning activity and budget cuts. Not surprisingly, the summer months show a significant decrease in conversion activity.
The findings are coming from some recent analysis by Software Advice, based on data generated from over six million visitors to the Software Advice website in the last 5 years. Although this might be some very detailed experience for the B2B software industry, it is still valid and applicable for the whole b2b industry if they do lead generation programs.
The report shows that B2B buyers were most active on the Software Advice website Tuesday through Thursday, with Tuesday being the most active day and Wednesday driving the highest conversion rates.
Interestingly enough, traffic peaks in the first half of the day, and especially around lunch time. 53% more unique visitors showed up during work hours when compared with Software Advice’s unique visitor traffic.
Comparing this with other engagement studies from the social media world (here and here), we see that the time around midday seems to be best to get people engaged in content marketing, social media and lead generation. Speaking from our own experience with silicon.de over ten years, I can say that the morning hours when people get their first coffee were also successful in lead and demand generation.
Some years ago, I have written about the Retweet button being the “killer of positive blog comments”. Over the years in many seminars and speeches, I have stressed the point that the ROI of the social web is not about generating high quantity in “thumbs up” on Facebook or Retweets on Twitter, or anything automated that comes along with similar meaning.
Retweets, Repins & Co. are only of value for your business, if…
– you accept those automated response generators as the pillars of your ROI system.
– you are a marketer who builds their business on proving the capability of accelerating reach rather than relevance.
– you are a brand that struggles to understood the value of building a community-centric business.
Still: Are ratings as insightful as a written comment – be it on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or any other community platform out there in the social web?
I definitely agree that the Facebook “Like” has become confusing, and in some way worthless. Many users just click on the Like button out of a pure and immediate emotion, nothing sustainable, lasting or resilient. Some are expressing their solidarity with it. Some are missing the dislike button, and click the Like button.
Do those automated responses tell us what they really feel? Do they tell us what people really think? Do they help us to evaluate our position? Fair enough, these automated response creators are some word-of-mouth catalysts. Well, I admit by adding these five star ratings, there is at least some specification in the differentiation of generating feedback.
Obviously, the new rating system puts Facebook in a different position and moves it more to the likes of Foursquare, Yelp and traditional trend shop systems. Furthermore, it allows users to be more concrete in defining their opinions. Users might get better orientation in why a coffee shop or a business or restaurant deserves to be tested.
But does it really help us? What is a 4.2 with twelve votes compared to a 4.9 what two people have build up? Do we know who gave the votings, and if these people have the same interest and preferences that we have got? Doesn’t orientation get even more confusing? What will we book on travel websites when there are less and less reviews and recommendations?
The 3 Rs of the social customer (ratings, reviews and recommendations) might make our lives interesting and exciting for new stuff. But maybe there is too much new trends and products out there to get our heads around. Maybe a real review or recommendation will sometimes help (one positive and one negative like Amazon does it already). Still, automated feedbacks -be it stars, RTs, Likes, etc.- are the least valuable insight creation generators on a relevance scale that helps defining internal and external social web ROI.
PS: If your managers are still happy when your numbers of Likes go up, be happy and tell them nothing about this post. If not, let’s discuss further how social networks should constitute in order to deliver deeper insights in the mindset of our customers.
It is one of these questions that many brand marketers are asking themselves: What makes us reach the top search results on Google? A recent report based on Searchmetric data for 10,000 top Google search keywords sheds some light here. It was based on correlations and website characteristics of 300,000 URLs appearing in the top search result position in the US between March 2013 and June 2013.
The report shows that those websites tend to perform best that have a high social impact in terms of likes, shares, tweets and Google “+1″‘s. It also makes clear that there is a realationship between ranking high on Google and collecting Google+ links to achieve better ranking impact which the graphic below indicates.
Despite common believe that fast website performance through intelligent on-page coding might create some benefit for the search ranking, the study shows that just not having it will let websites achieve lower rankings. This means that SEO basics like having H1 and H2 tags or providing brief descriptions now are seen as standards but won’t support any boost effect.
Still, content is king for Google. Good rankings were correlated always positively with good and unique content and had a bigger effect in 2013 than the year ago. As main ingredients of positive content can be named a clever internal link structure, a URL with a clear message and longer text plus a sensible number of integrated (audio)-visual files. This could be as of the fact that Google wants to boost their own pictures search sites and obviously Youtube.
Keywords keep up their impact on the rankings. On the page, they still need to placed in the title as close to the front as possible and in the text they need to be placed wisely as well. As of some algorithm changes compared to 2012, the importance of keywords in the domain name or the URL has lost its significance.
According to the report, websites of brands and other domains seem to play on different levels for Google. Obviously, brand websites seem to be superior to normal sites. The report states that it looks as if the search engine finds it normal for brands to generate more backlinks with the brand name appearing in referring content pieces alone.
The infographic provides some more information – and if this version is too small, just click here and download it…
When the MINI Paceman was first promoted at the Detroit Motor Show in 2011 as a concept car, I said and wrote to my fans, followers and friends: “This is gonna be my new car!” To some of them, it came as no surprise. Some knew of my passion for the MINI brand. Some recalled my words from brand strategy workshops, from keynote speeches or marketing seminars. Some remembered pictures of me in front of my former white MINI Cooper, and they were surprised I am selling it. Some responded and asked questions about features of the new Paceman; even I could not answer those days. Today I can.
But… Many of them did not even know of the new concept, the new brand, the new design, the new small SUV category that MINI kind of invented, and so on. I did. I saw the potential. I just got infected by the brand. I wanted a new MINI Paceman. I loved the outlook: Getting the keys handed out for a MINI Paceman.
I have thought a long time about writing this post, or just forgetting about it. But I am a challenger…
Today, the IAA 2013 is opening their doors in Frankfurt. Car brands are proudly presenting their latest auto concepts. Managers posing in front of their new innovations in modern steel or carbon. They are shaking hands with those that make them look good. But who does really make them stand out? The technical suppliers? The revenue driving resellers? The social influencers? Or those who hold up a sign in the streets without being incentivized or getting cash saying: “I love this brand!” Those who stand out, and those who make stand out: the brand advocates?
Maybe today is the right time to write a blog post and tell a story that to many of my fans, followers and friends sounds unbelievable – but MINI, I tell you, it is the absolute truth. I write it in the night when other people are sleeping. My clients tomorrow won’t care whether I had enough sleep, or not. I write this, when there is more important things on the desktop than leveraging a brand that does not listen, nor understand. Am I mad? Am I not clever? No, I am honest. I am what I am. I am a real MINI Paceman advocate.
Beginning of February 2013, I sat down with my MINI car sales representative and told him that I want to buy a Paceman. I wanted to be one of the first in Munich. I wanted to sign the contract. Now. And I asked whether he could open doors to the marketing, PR or social media department at MINI when an idea hit my brain just in the minutes when I sat there: Two of my clients have called me their “pacemaker”. The word transition from pacemaker to paceman was not too far off for me. So, some brilliant thought (at least in my mind) awoke in my head: Why not call yourself “Mr. Paceman”?
A concept created in a brain flash: Website domain. Web space. Web blog. Unique content published in a Paceman. The life of a Pacemaker in a Paceman. Lifestyle. Design. Speed. My life.
While the reseller configured my MINI Paceman, I bought the website domain, set up the blog with a little help of a friend and scribbled the whole concept on my smartphone. I told my MINI sales rep about the idea when I had signed the contract. He was enthusiastic about the concept and saw a lot of other potential cooperation opportunities.
I was ready to start publishing. Publishing about the pleasant participation for my MINI Paceman. The color. The design. The coffee holders. The changing interior lights. The engine. And so on. Publishing about the pace of my days, my experiences with the new Paceman, my life in a MINI Paceman nutshell. I wanted to share pictures of MINIs. I wanted to post design ideas of other MINI freaks, and find the first MINI Paceman pics, I might come across. And a lot more…
Now, obviously I knew about brand protection and brand rights. I knew that -before I started buying the domain- I should get in touch with some MINI brand contacts and get some formal permission to use the brand name. I thought: “Just do it!”
So, I wrote emails to MINI, their PR department, their marketing department, their social media people, and their agencies. I even contacted strategic partners from MINI. I wish I hadn’t done it. I felt like a little unloved kid being pushed from one corner to another in order not to cause any trouble for anyone, in order to shut up. MINI did not move. I continued. The answers I got where just some lines making clear that I am not allowed to use the brand for my purposes.
Hang on! My purposes? Is that the power of a big modern brand, is that arrogance, hubris or simply ignorance?
If I promote a brand I like, invest time, offer to wear their branded merchandising clothes and have even bought the brand product before (and maybe a far too expensive brand product), why should I not be allowed to do marketing and PR for that brand to my fellow peers? A target-group that MINI is chasing with banners, print ads, wallpapers, outdoor marketing, newsletter mailings and a lot more.
Doesn’t this mean, I am actually doing what MINI pays others for; marketing agencies, PR people and media houses with the old “quid-pro quo” game: editorial coverage for advertising dollars? Those institutions that create corporate publishing products for brands which cost these brands a fortune?
Shall I then be happy and not get crazy, when I get the feedback: “We might consider that you are writing a guest post on our official MINI blog.” Hurray! What an outcome of my activities! Sorry MINI, you missed the point! I am not just a buyer. I am not a normal influencer. I am more. I am a MINI Paceman brand advocate, if you know what this means MINI. If not, you might just read the study by Ogilvy)?!More than seven months later, the blog is still online – online without any content at MrPaceman.com. The case has been mentioned by me in at least 20 seminars and on several stage appearances at events. Events where even the BMW marketing departments or some of their agencies participated. I saw people shaking heads, heard their words asking how ignorant and un-clever brands can be, and read their tweets and updates trying to get reactions to this case from MINI. MINI did nothing. For seven months now, the MINI brand managers did nothing.
Yesterday, some silver surfers passed by my MINI Paceman. One of them, a man in his seventies approached me when I got out of my Paceman: “Great car. Cool design and colors. Is this new? Have never seen this car before…” His wife replied: “This is one of these new SUV cars but just in a MINI format. Nice high access. Like it!”
Would this make up for a really cool advertisement? Now, just imagine, I had written about such stories, shared a picture with these older people and spread the word around the world about my life in the MINI Paceman. Don’t you think these stories, these emotions, these experiences might have made a difference in the way the MINI Paceman gets positioned, promoted and had pulled sales leads?
“Advocacy goes deeper. Advocacy is emotion-driven. Advocacy is loyalty. Loyalty is commitment. Loyalty is passion. Loyalty let’s forget the rules of logic, of facts, of the rational. Advocates drive on the streets of loyalty and breath it’s air.” Martin Meyer-Gossner on brand advocacy, September 2013
Did I make the benefit of brand advocates clear to you, MINI? Ok, then get into the next MINI Paceman and drive to me. Let’s speak!
PS: All of you out there who think MINI should make a move towards brand advocacy, share this post and maybe that will make them clear what opportunity they might have missed. And let’s hope some other brands learn from this case…!
There are some secrets in online marketing, and there are those that have become common knowledge which people might spread in infographics. However, it is still a challenge for most marketers to detect those inbound marketing insights that simply come from the structure and content of a website. If you as a marketer are looking to increase the data you generate through your landing pages, this infographic might offer some more food for thought.
Whether you know what it means to create a user-friendly website structure, a clever banner campaign to get more potential customer data, or not. Reach Local states in their advice that almost half of the users come to research your service or products via the mobile website. So, did you ever invest in a mobile-friendly website? Or have you ever thought about a video and the time people invest to watch it? Often you loose a sales pitch in 10 seconds but according to the infographic your clients might spend 60 seconds at least to watch a video about your product or service.
Check out which of the seven hints might help you drive more leads through to your sales team.
And, whether you believe it or not, there are three more hints in this text that might foster lead generation for The Strategy Web. If you have found them, share them with a comment below. If not, get in touch and we will help you.
Incorporating a strong SEO strategy into the design of an ecommerce website can greatly improve its chances of success. For an online shop to succeed, customers must be able to easily find it using a search engine. Whether you’re using an expensive SEO consultant or simply relying on a subscription ecommerce platform, you’ll want to take heed of the following common mistakes made by ecommerce websites.
1. Not Including Product Descriptions
High quality photos are essential for ecommerce websites, but if there is no accompanying description the product stands a low chance of being picked up by search engines. Be sure to add descriptions to each product in order to help give each product page an SEO boost. In addition to the description itself, the navigation, text, sidebar, and footer all count towards the final word count. With unique, descriptive content you can help market your wares while becoming more visible by the search engines.
2. Duplicating Product Descriptions
One common mistake that ecommerce sites make is copying the manufacturer’s product description word-for-word, usually in an attempt to avoid making mistake #1. While this will give you an accurate product description, it can work against you in the end. If your site uses the same manufacturer description, there’s a high chance that other rivals are doing the same. This creates the problem of duplicate content. Either rewrite the description, or add your own editorial underneath it. The same rule goes for listing your products on 3rd party sites such as Amazon or eBay. If you use the same content that appears on your website, you’ll run into the problem of duplicate content.
3. Lack of Related Content
Product descriptions are a mainstay of any ecommerce website, but they are not the only facet of ecommerce SEO to pay attention to. Many buyers are interested in finding out more about your products and company. Include information about your business’s history, along with shipping and return policies. Keeping a business blog is an easy way to rejuvenate your site with fresh content, as is opening up the site to customer reviews.
4. Using Non-Targeted URLs
You may have beautifully written unique content on your ecommerce site, but what about your URLs? If these are a jumble of letters and numbers it can not only be confusing for visitors, but it misses out on a chance to incorporate keywords into a clean, descriptive URL.
5. Not Targeting Content to Keywords
As you work on revising your content, it’s helpful to keep the keywords that your customers are typing into search engines in mind. These can be easily followed using analytics tools and are important for promoting the right terms for your audience. Keywords and search terms can also be incorporated into your off page SEO strategy. When you create content that links back to your main website, if it includes these same keywords it will draw in the type of readers who would be interested in your shop.
6. Not Using Robots.txt
Using the robots.txt file gives ecommerce website owners a way to give instructions to search engine spiders. This helps you make sure that you have control over which pages you wish to be indexed and which you don’t. For example, you can use robots.txt to block areas of the website with duplicate content, such as tags or archives. Not using this can hinder your SEO presence.
By avoiding these six common mistakes, you can improve your ecommerce website’s chances of standing out from the crowd online.