Posts

5 Reasons You Should Build a Strong In-House List

B2B marketers continue to rely heavily on email for effective lead generation, content marketing and growing revenues. According to results from the B2B Content Marketing: 2019 Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends – North America report, email is the number one content distribution channel used by 87% of marketers. This means you need a “strong” in-house list, one with complete and accurate contact information.

Do you rely on purchased lists? Haven’t been properly maintaining your in-house list? If you answered “Yes” to either of these questions, you’re wasting time and money. Plus you’re increasing the risk of missing your revenue growth goals.

Let’s discuss 5 reasons why you should invest in your B2B in-house list 

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Your B2B Marketing Content: Corporate Asset or Just Another Expense?

Way back in 2011, Joe Pulizzi, founder of the Content Marketing Institute, posed the question, “Is content an asset or an expense?”. Most B2B marketers know content is the fuel for their lead generation and nurture. However, it seems many have forgotten or failed to answer Joe’s important question. So let’s revisit this topic now.

“Why now?”, you ask. You’ve likely set your budget for 2019. But ask yourself how hard it was to get the budget for your content development including writing, design, and management. If you had trouble justifying the budget or didn’t get the budget you needed, then read on. Read more

Lead Tracking Leads B2B Marketers to Answers

How many leads did your marketing team generate last year? This simple question can be hard to answer for many B2B marketers because tracking leads is a complicated process, especially if you don’t have automated systems in place. However, being able to confidently answer this and other questions around marketing’s contribution to lead generation and revenue will:

  • insure company growth
  • justify increasing budget dollars for your marketing efforts
  • improve marketing’s lead generation effectiveness

B2B marketers need to utilize a system for lead tracking to answer these questions.

Let’s discuss what lead tracking is and how to get started, even if you’re a marketing “team” of one or two, or lack an automated lead tracking system.

What is lead tracking?

One of the most important responsibilities for a B2B marketer or marketing team is to generate leads. In its simplest form a lead is an individual who is interested in your product or service. And a simple lead management process is one where marketing generates a lead, then passes it over to the sales team who “close” the lead as either a won or lost sale.

Lead tracking is the ability to track each lead from initial inquiry via a marketing channel (online or offline) or campaign (digital ad, email, direct mail etc.) response through to a closed sale (won or lost).

This simple lead tracking and management business process can get complicated very quickly. For example, is the lead located in a geographic area your company sells into, which sales person gets which leads, how does marketing hand off the lead information, and how does sales notify marketing of closing the sale. These are just some of the lead tracking details you typically need to work through. Read my post about business processes to learn the why and how for lead tracking and other marketing processes. Read more

Looming EU Data Privacy Regs: Boom or Bust for US B2B Marketers?

If you’re a B2B marketer in the US you’re probably aware of the general trend toward more stringent data privacy regulations. But are you and your organization ready for the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which goes into effect in May 2018 and applies to both B2C and B2B?

The GDPR applies to any B2B marketer who collects, stores, or uses identifying data (name, phone number, email address, IP address, etc.) about individuals in the EU. So if, like most B2B marketers, you have a database with EU prospects or customers, or use web forms, track web visitor behavior, send email campaigns, use third party lists, or exhibit at trade shows, then read on to learn more about the GDPR and why it could be a bust or boom for your marketing efforts.

GDPR Basics

The GDPR became law in 2016 and requires compliance as of May 25, 2018. The law applies to any entity, not just those based in the EU, so US firms need to understand the law now while there’s time to take the necessary actions. Some particular concerns for B2B marketers include: Read more

Picture It, The Right Photo When You Need It

Managing B2B marketing photo assets is more important than ever. Photos are an important element for B2B marketing such as content, social media, websites, and presentations. Photos and images add visual interest, understanding and engagement to everything from white papers and case studies to literature and blogs. For example, according to Buffer Social, adding a photo to a tweet boosts retweets by 150%. We are visual creatures. In fact it’s been shown that three days after hearing a piece of information a person can only recall 10%, but add a picture and their recall is 65%.

However, B2B marketing teams struggle to ensure photo assets reflect their brand and messaging, are visually engaging, and easy to retrieve and use. Why is this such a challenge and what’s the solution? Read more

4 Tips for Conquering the Top Decision Stage Challenges

Part 3 in a 3-Part Series on Content Marketing for the B2B Buyer’s Journey

I discussed in Part 1: Awareness stage challenges and in Part2: 6 Tips for Conquering Consideration Stage Challenges.  In Part 3 of this 3-Part series, I’ll discuss the Decision stage of the buyer’s journey and provide tips for overcoming the top B2B content marketing challenges in the Decision stage.

Decision stage buyer activities

The buyer moves into the Decision stage once they know the best type of solution for solving their problem or opportunity for improvement. They are ready to buy, but haven’t decided exactly which vendor to use, but your company made their short list. During the Decision stage the buyer is typically researching their short list vendors online. They want to understand which vendor’s specific products, services, and capabilities are the best fit for their needs. They are looking for content that helps them:

  • compare vendors and pricing
  • sell the solution internally to upper management (return on investment, ROI calculators)
  • purchase and implement the solution

BuyerJourney

The content marketer’s goal during the Decision stage is convincing the buyer your solution is the best fit.

Content marketing in the Decision stage

For most B2B companies, the Decision stage is where others such as purchasing and upper management become active participants in the buying decision. So it’s important Read more

Challenges in the Consideration Stage: 6 Tips for Conquering

Part 2 in a 3-Part Series on Content Marketing for the B2B Buyer’s Journey

In Part 2 of this 3-Part series, I share the top challenges B2B marketers face when developing Consideration stage content. I also provide tips for overcoming these challenges. In Part 1 I reviewed the Buyer’s Journey and provided tips for conquering challenges in the Awareness stage. The buyer moves into the next stage, Consideration, after clearly defining their problem, or opportunity for improvement, and determining it’s worth finding a solution. Now let’s take a look at the Consideration stage to understand the top challenges B2B marketers face.

BuyerJourney

Consideration stage buyer activities

The buyer in the Consideration stage first researches and evaluates the different approaches, methods, or solution strategies available for solving their problem or making improvements. The buyer wants to understand and think about which approach best fits their needs, so they are comparing solution strategies (make or buy, hire or outsource are two examples of solution approaches). They also begin comparing specific solutions, vendors, and suppliers within the approach that best fits their needs. They are looking for content that helps them understand the pros and cons of available approaches and why it would be the best fit for them.  Content should also begin comparing product/service features and functions. The goal for a content marketer during the Consideration stage is to convince the buyer your solution method is the best fit for them and that your specific solution should be on their short list.

Top 2 content marketing challenges in Consideration stage

Especially for B2B companies, the buyer usually spends more time in the Consideration stage than the awareness stage because they want to devote time to researching to ensure they make the best decision. The content marketer should provide more in-depth information and industry expertise to continue building a trusting relationship with the buyer and reinforcing your brand as a thought leader. Read more

Tips for Conquering the Top 2 Challenges in the Awareness Stage

Part 1 in a 3-Part Series on Content Marketing for the B2B Buyer’s Journey

B2B content marketing seeks to provide helpful and compelling content for each stage of the Buyer’s Journey. By thinking about what actions a buyer is taking in each stage, B2B marketers should provide content that educates. Your content should help the buyer progress to the next stage in the Buyer’s Journey and toward your product or service.

In a three-part blog series, I address the primary challenges B2B content marketers face during each buyer’s journey stage and provide tips for how to conquer these challenges. So let’s jump in!

Review of the buyer’s journey

First, a quick review of the buyer’s journey which defines the typical actions and steps a prospective buyer takes. The buyer starts by first understanding their problem to finally purchasing a solution. By defining specific phases or stages along the journey, we can better understand what information the buyer needs in each stage. There are many different buyer’s journey concepts available, some more granular than others. I prefer HubSpot’s Buyers Journey, shown in the graphic below, because it is easy to understand and more than adequate for content marketing purposes.

BuyerJourneyThe entire journey has only three stages, Awareness, Consideration, and Decision. In this blog, Part 1 of 3, I discuss the Awareness stage.

Awareness stage buyer activities

During the Awareness stage, the buyer is just becoming aware there is a problem that may need to be solved. Or they may be discovering an opportunity for improvement. The buyer is typically researching online and offline to better understand if they have a problem, or opportunity, that warrants further investigation. They are looking for trustworthy educational content. This is content that is not trying to sell. It is content that helps them more clearly define their problem or opportunity. The goal for a content marketer during the Awareness stage is to gain the buyer’s attention. The successful content marketer does this by offering educational and helpful content in the places where the buyer is looking and researching.

Top 2 content marketing challenges in Awareness stage

Assuming you know and have defined your target Personas (read my post, B2B Buyer Personas: 6 Easy Ways to Research & Develop, if you need help creating Personas) and have compelling content appropriate for the Awareness stage, your top 2 challenges for Read more

Customer Retention: From Sticky Relationships to LTV

B2B customer retention marketing focuses on strategies and programs designed to retain your existing customers and optimize lifetime customer value. In my previous post, B2B Retention Marketing: The First Thing You Must Do, I discussed why B2B customer retention marketing is worth doing and where to begin. Now let’s talk about some strategies B2B marketers can use to retain their existing customers and gain additional revenues throughout the relationship.

Strategies for customer retention

At a fundamental level retaining your customers boils down to keeping them happy enough to continue doing business with you. Many customers, though of course it varies by industry and product/service, will simply maintain the status quo.  Change involves the risk, real or perceived, of an unknown provider. Most importantly, changing providers also involves switching costs.  Switching costs are actual costs the customer incurs (financial fees for early termination) or personal costs (career risks, time required to research providers and negotiate an agreement) to stop buying your product or service and begin with a new provider.

Create “sticky” customer relationships

closeup rubber adhesive on yellow background

To prevent your customers from defecting to competitors who will eventually upset the Read more