Rebecca Caroe B2B marketing speaker

Is B2B marketing yielding good returns?

Is the marketing you are doing giving you the yield you seek?

I am asking this question a LOT at the moment.  I  ask it to myself, for my own businesses, I ask clients, I ask prospects.

One answer came from a professional services marketer.  It serves as a good example for in-house marketers to challenge their thinking, to up-skill and to get insight from beyond the internal team in the business.

This is what she wrote  to answer

Hmmm… It’s hard to tell. I cannot know if a speaking engagement got someone interested enough to ask their consultant to investigate our solutions and eventually get in touch with us and 2 years later… we have a deal signed. It is a complex process to sell our service.

Is a long sales cycle a B2B marketing problem?

Yes, it certainly is.  Tracking and managing a diverse set of marketing tactics and campaigns over time takes discipline and forethought.

But where I felt this marketing manager was failing her business colleagues was around integrating the content creation, the speech-giving with marketing analytics and tracking data.

I challenge the assertion that you “cannot know” if a speaking engagement has any effect.

How to track conference speeches for marketing impact

Let me make some suggestions:

  • Every conference – offer a free download of something valuable. Create a trackable URL. Cookie the browsers visiting that site.
  • ALSO offer the visitor something even more valuable (not a sales pitch) if they sign up to your database

Both of these create trackable events which (even if 2 years passes) can enable you to demonstrate results.

Any pass-on of URLs to second parties like consultants or colleagues is tracked too.

I use Google Campaign URL builder and also short link services like Bit.ly for this.

Upskill your internal marketing team

When did you last go and get training and invest in your internal marketing team?  I fear many in-house teams do not get the attention they deserve.  Hiring an agency or consultant is not necessarily going to improve the team skills – it delegates marketing activity to outsiders.

What could you do to invest better, to improve your team’s ability to run the strategy as well as the execution, to better understand what the agency / consultant is doing for you, so that they can brief better, to guide the marketing plan better, to adapt and adjust the marketing budget for new tech, for new market conditions (recession?) and above all, to stay in front of the competition?

So challenge yourself, is the marketing you are doing giving you the yield you seek?

podcasts, seo podcast, search for podcast

Podcast SEO and search

Podcasts are seriously TERRIBLE at helping your website and brand SEO.

If you are a podcaster, chances are that you have a website page or category in which you list your episodes.  But these pages do not perform well in natural search.  Have you done a search in your own analytics for podcast pages?  Have you done an incognito search for your own podcast in a search engine? Chances are that you were disappointed in the results.

I have done searches looking for past episodes of my podcasts and found that the name of the guest is often a good result for natural search – IF the person is looking for information about that guest.  The rest of the time, it’s just been hard graft for precious little return.

3 reasons podcast SEO is bad

The situation is not good at present for three reasons.

  1. Podcast episode blog posts get little traffic – even if you send emails to your list with links
  2. Show notes and transcripts aren’t keyword optimised
  3. Anyone who already subscribes to your podcast is listening in an app (not searching your website)
  4. People looking for your podcast content are searching in apps not via a web browser (which reinforces 1 above)

What can we do to improve SEO for podcasts?

Luckily for us, Google has also noticed that its results need improving.  As announced earlier this year, Google will start indexing individual podcast episodes into its search results.  But there are caveats – you have to include the word “podcast” in the search string…. and it is starting (obviously) with already popular content from publishers with “authority” and prioritising US based podcasters [don’t get me started on where the centre of the universe actually is….].

podcasts, seo podcast, search for podcast

Search results for podcast – that’s mine, RowingChat

 

The image is of a search I did today for “best rowing podcasts”.  And halfway down the page are image link results under a sub-heading of Podcast.
And individual episodes show up higher in the page, as well as results from other distribution services like Stitcher.  So far so good.

What can I do to get MY podcast showing up?

  1. Publish your podcast on the Google Podcasts platform – they are prioritising their own ecosystem first.  I had to get a US based friend to submit my podcast for me (it isn’t rolled out in all countries yet)
  2. Use an RSS feed to publish – Google say that they are using this to automatically index shows.
  3. Write good headlines – ensure your episode title has the most important keywords early.  Don’t waste characters by repeating your podcast name, episode number or hashtag.  Save that for the description or show notes.
website error page 404

Write a custom 404 error page

Custom 404 pages are a great sign to your readers that you are engaged with your website and want to be helpful.

Here is a sample text I wrote for a client

Custom 404 page text

Oops!  That seems to be a broken link.

Sorry.

If you have the time or inclination – please tell us the page it was on by sending us an email. [link Sendto: support@yourwebsite.com Subject: Broken Link on Website]

Maybe you are looking for something like

  • Our Services [link to services summary page]
  • Our Shop [link to shop page]
  • Something else?  Contact us [link to contact page]

Add a lightly humorous image – something to show that you thought about it.

I have chosen a capsize image for a watersport brand, a broken stick for a gifts company and a sad looking person for a consultancy firm.

Get on it now….

How retailers can differentiate customers

This photo was shared by the famous author, Susan Cain.  She noted “There’s an introvert on the customer services team.”

Her world view is all focused on explaining to the majority of the population who are extroverts how the minority (introverts) prefer to be treated.

Treat different customers differently by Sephora retail

Skilful marketers treat different customers differently

Face to face retail is different from online retail.  Online, the customer wanders where she wants, unhindered except by popups and tracking cookies – she’s unaware of one of these most of the time.

But in shops, it’s different.  Many sales assistants are paid on commission – this drives their behaviours.  And without a customer to speak to they risk not getting a commission payment.

When I worked the shop floor [Harrods, Burberrys] and now when I go to Trade Shows, I developed a technique which was successful for me.

I would make eye contact with the customer prospect, smile, and then look away first.  Sometimes I also said ‘Hi’.

Why did this method customer engagement work?

Firstly, I made the customer aware that I was there and could help if needed.

Secondly, by looking away first I left them in control of any future re-engagement.  They could choose to ignore me and I had signalled that this was fine, that they had no obligation to respond or engage with me.

Back to Sephora

A comment under Susan Cain’s post said

While I understand that we are not all extroverts, is it really that hard to say no thanks when asked if you require help? Perhaps it is? Perhaps one solution would be to changes the words. Red”Happy to be approached for you to assist me” Black “Thanks for not approaching me, I would love your assistance when I ask for it”

And this was my reply

It’s not the “hard” aspect that matters, Debbie. It is the quiet lack of interruption in the shopping experience and the energy it takes to interact when you’d prefer not to.

I am married to an introvert and I have had to do a lot of learning.

Plus, enabling ways for brands to “treat different customers differently” is not just about Susan Cain‘s introverts versus extroverts angle.  There are many ways.

I did a website design for a real estate agent.  2 buttons on the home page – I’m Buying – I’m Selling.  They go to separate customer journeys…. with different messaging.

Retail customer segmentation challenge

If you run a retail business, where can you enable simple ways to allow customers to self-identify into different groups who want / need to be treated differently?

Mid-Sized Business Marketing

The power of New Zealand business as an engine for economic growth lies mainly in  mid-sized businesses.  These are under-recognised by many for the power they wield.

Grant Thornton has done a study of the sector  which has some interesting findings.

  • Mid-sized firms are growing faster than large or small (absolute numbers).
  • Most are mature, in B2B industries
  • Job growth is much higher than in other corporations (large or small)
  • They suffer low productivity
  • Capital investment is low (obvs as GT specialises in this type of consultancy)
  • Suffer low international / export aspirations
  • Few get >10% of orders via online sources and most under-utilise digital opportunities

5 solutions for future growth

The recommendations made by GT are rather bland, probably reflecting the diversity of business types in the group and the fact that they want to be paid for custom recommendations.

Here’s what I would add as ways to get your own business started on its future path.

  1. Bring on short-term contractors to assess opportunities and report to the Board
  2. Add Board Members with specific expertise on a short term basis to guide the Board  [and then leave] e.g. cyber-security, digital marketing, B2B procurement online
  3. Budget for pilot projects [and be prepared to walk away]
  4. Hire newly migrated kiwis who can bring overseas experience [leverage them for knowledge, implementation and then don’t worry if they leave]
  5. New Zealand experience in employees is over-rated.  Find people NOT like your current team.  Use them to show you overseas methods / techniques / tools and input to 1 above.

Mid sized business recommendations

Download the report

Solving B2B marketing challenges

I got this question from a client

Marketing Association Training Courses

Our challenge is the digital marketer who may not be well-versed in the requirements and realities of B2B. Often they have come from a B2C/retail environment, and might get stuck on things like 3rd party seller integrations that we don’t offer, rather than the deep integration and B2B functionality we specialise in. These personas are generally NOT committed to passing on our story, because they’re telling themselves a different one.

Common situation – where you know more than the (junior) client marketer, but you need them to be willing to implement your solution.

How to solve for ignorance

Easy fixes.

Find a partner who LOVES those 3rd party seller integrations and agree to collaborate with them. So you can confidently say that “yes we integrate with everything” and bypass these objections. [BTW Zapier does pretty much everything with an open API.]

One thing you can also do is offer deep hands-on training when you implement so you will be up-skilling the digital marketer who doesn’t have a B2B marketing background… leaving them skilled in both using and implementing good tactical campaigns. If this can be aligned with a public certification as well (See the CIM courses or NZ Marketing Association Diploma) then there’s a side-benefit for the individual getting a recognised qualification along the way.

marketing competitors, competitor positioning,

Why don’t customers buy now?

Today I’m working with a client who is finding it hard to get prospects to buy.

We are working through a list of possible reasons.  My first view is that more advertising / publicity is probably not the reason.  I think that it’s more to do with the offer, the positioning, the brand promise and perceptions of value and immediate need.

Later is an option

Buying now is obviously what the client brand wants.

But for the prospect, why would they?

Deferring risk is part of the prospect’s decision making.  And as marketers we tend to presume that our logic, our world view must prevail.

But the reasons people don’t buy can also be

  • awareness
  • trust
  • world view
  • perceptions about value

We wrote a list of all the reasons someone would not buy this product.  Try it for yourself.

Competitors exist too

Some people will buy from your competitors.  Can you find out why they chose them?  Do you have anecdotes about customers trying another brand and coming back to yours?

Without publishing it, could you assemble anecdotes about your competitors, classify them and produce a rank order of WHY people choose them over you?

Then compare that to your positioning and brand promise.
Where do you really stand out, where are you broadly the same?

That will give your sales team clues….. I call these “golden questions” and they are defined by Don Peppers as questions whose answers tell you a lot more than the question implies.

So, if the customer is really concerned about something…. what do you ask / tell them?
If they are really concerned about price and only price ….what do you ask / tell them?

Today is later

Now is usually better than later.

SEO-optimisation-tools

Top 25 Free Tools For Mastering SEO in 2019

Competition for the top spot in search engines is becoming increasingly fierce, with new websites popping up all the time. To make matters worse? Competitors aren’t the only thing you’re…well, competing with. Thanks to Google’s ever-changing algorithms, you have the search engine itself to contend with, too!

Staying ahead of the field can be a full-time job, so when it comes to building a solid SEO strategy it pays to make the most of the tools available to you. From researching your site’s keywords and monitoring its traffic, through to finding relevant content ideas and building high-quality backlinks, here is our list of the top twenty-five (free) tools you should be using right now:

1. Google Keyword Planner

Keywords are an essential component of SEO. They tell the search engines what you, your website, and its content is about so that it’s found when people search for these terms. Google Keyword Planner shows how different keywords perform, their search volumes, and competitiveness, making it easy to choose the right keywords for your site.

2.Integrity Link Checker

Broken links lower the quality and usability of your website and, in turn, your SEO. Apps like Integrity help you identify, find, and repair these broken links so you can improve your site’s performance and ensure users aren’t left staring at a 404 Error Page.

3.Spider View Simulator

Have you ever wondered how Google views your website? Spider View Simulator allows you to see your website exactly as Google does by simulating a search engine spider. This allows you to see the source code of a page, your inbound and outbound links, main keywords, and phrases.

4.Google Analytics

Google Analytics is one of the most well-known SEO tools, and rightly so. This allows you to track and report on conversion rates, search traffic, and pageviews from a variety of sources. To name just a few! It’s a super handy tool to have in your digital toolkit.

5.Ahrefs’ Backlink Checker

Backlinks are the hyperlinks that point back to your website from another webpage. High-quality backlinks build authority in the eyes of Google and improve your rankings.

Ahrefs’ Backlink Checker makes tracking these links easy. You can easily check the number of backlinks and referring domains to your site, as well as monitor important metrics like Domain Rating, URL Rating, and AHREFS rank.

6. Remove’em Over Optimised Backlinks

Over optimizing can be as detrimental as under optimizing. Over-optimizing the links back to your site is now seen as a spammy, black-hat practice by Google which is harmful to your SEO. Remove’em makes it easy to identify and then remove these over-optimized links that may be damaging your site’s rankings.

7.Google My Business

If you think local SEO isn’t important, you should think again! Google My Business is the holy grail for local SEO. You can claim your listing, share your location, respond to reviews, and connect with customers across the web.

8.Page Speed Insights

If your page load speed isn’t up to scratch, then your visitors are going to leave. So too will the search engines! Page Speed Insights from Google analyses the load speed of your webpages and generates suggestions that you can use to speed up the slow ones.

9.MobileMoxie SERP Test

Mobile phones serve as the largest platform for searching and browsing the internet, so it pays to make sure your website is performing at its best. MobileMoxie allows you to search for individual terms on different devices, see results for specific locations, and view page variations by location.

10.Google Mobile-Friendly Test

Looking for another option? If MobileMoxie isn’t what you’re after, you can also use Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test to put your site through its paces and test its usability across a range of mobile devices including tablets and phones.

11.Moz SEO Toolbar

Master the basics of SEO with MozBar, the industry’s leading SEO toolbar. MozBar provides you with SEO research on the go, so you can quickly and easily view page metrics, authority scores, and so much more while you’re browsing the web.

12.SEMrush

Do you need insights for SEO, paid campaigns, social media, content, and PR, or marketing research? SEMrush can help with it all. This versatile site runs the gamut, providing tools for everything from checking keywords and traffic through to analyzing competitors and their content.

13.Portents SERP Preview Tool

Want to visualize your webpage’s snippet in Google Search before it goes live? Portents SERP Preview Tool shows you your proposed meta title, description, URL, and bolded keywords in a preview SERP. It’s a great way to measure your ‘clickability’!

14.Yoast WordPress SEO Plugin

Yoast is one of the most popular WordPress plugins around, and for good reason. It provides a sweeping range of tools that plug right into your WordPress website that makes managing your SEO, simple.

15.Google Search Console

Google Search Console allows you to check your site’s ranking as well as which of your web pages aren’t indexed so you can improve and track your SEO performance.

16.Smush Image Optimisation

Images are the top culprit for slow page load speed due to large file sizes. Smush is a great plugin for WordPress which helps compress, resize, and optimize images so you can speed up your site and improve performance.

17.Answer The Public

Do you want to create content that people are actually interested in? Answer The Public provides you with queries that people are searching for in search engines like Google, which can help you create content that users are actually interested in within your industry or niche.

18.BROWSEO

View your webpage in plain HTML as a search engine does without the distractions of styling and CSS with BROWSEO. It’s the perfect way to check your page’s structure, and ensure that it’s set up in such a way that makes it easy for search engines to see what you’re all about.

19.Keywordit

Keywordit searches and extracts keywords from the popular US discussion site, Reddit. This handy tool generates hundreds of popular keywords and monthly search volumes so you can quickly and easily identify your audience’s major interests.

20.SEO Web Page Analyser

SEO Web Page Analyser provides a snapshot of your website’s SEO, breaking down the structure of your website and analyzing usability, content, and built quality from a search engine’s point of view. It’s a great way to improve both on- and off-page SEO.

21.SERPROBOT

SerpRobot checks your ranking in Google’s search engine quickly and accurately to show you where you stand amongst competitors and how you can best optimize your website for search.

22.Screaming Frog

This industry-leading SEO web crawler allows you to analyze your onsite SEO, making it easy to manage broken links, page titles, metadata, redirects, duplicate content, and so much more.

23. Where Goes?

Check the path of your redirects and meta refreshes with Where Goes. It’s the easiest way to troubleshoot and diagnose any problems you might be having with links, as well as ensure redirects are up and working.

24.Keywords Everywhere

Reduce the amount of time you spend researching keywords with Keywords Everywhere. This add-on for Chrome shows you cost-per-click, monthly search volumes, and Adwords competition right there in your browser.

25.Google Tag Manager

Google Tag Manager is a free tool created by Google that allows you to manage HTML and Javascript tags, without the need for any coding. It integrates seamlessly with a range of Google products, including Google Ads for easy conversion tracking and remarketing, as well as a variety of third-party vendors.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, there are a lot of useful free tools out there that can help you master the fine art of SEO, whether you’re just starting out or an industry veteran. By adding one, two, or even all of these to your digital tool belt, you’ll be finding keywords, writing content, and promoting your site more effectively than ever before in next to no time!