I'll bet my last pack of toilet roll that at least one of the following three happened during your last virtual meeting:
- Someone was late due to ‘technical difficulties'
- Someone’s audio was compromised or not working at all
- No agenda was prepared
I'll bet my last pack of toilet roll that at least one of the following three happened during your last virtual meeting:
Ask anyone how they vet a potential B2B partner or supplier and the likelihood is that it starts with a trawl around their website.
But the website user journey isn’t just designed to entice and attract new customers, it should also delight and impress existing customers.
One of the biggest oversights of B2B businesses is that they can become complacent when it comes to their website.
“It does the job just fine.”
“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
Valued at $75 billion, and boasting over 500 million active users, it’s hard to ignore new kid on the block ‘TikTok’. It’s the video-sharing app that's the talk of the town, or at least, the talk of everyone between 16-24.
So, should we, as marketers, be worried?
While the young are obsessed, the old are befuddled. And me? I sit somewhere in the middle. While I’m fast approaching 30, I 'get it' to some extent, but I'm still trying to understand the nonsensical lip-syncing videos that flood my newly downloaded TikTok feed. At the moment, it’s just highlighting a cross-generational friction.
I figured most of you probably sit in the same camp, with the same questions as me. What exactly is TikTok? Do I need to worry about it? Should I be on it? And will it help my business?
Content marketing has become prolific over the last decade. As B2B and B2C alike have recognised the benefits of a strategic content marketing approach, we've seen an increase in email newsletters, blogging, social media marketing, podcasts and video.
It's clear that investing in the creation and publishing of content is essential if businesses want to succeed. But what is the best way to invest?
Do you train your existing teams in content marketing strategy and tactics?
Do you hire in a suitably experienced marketing professional(s)?
Or do our outsource your content marketing entirely?
"How do you morally work in marketing? You're just manipulating people into buying things they don't actually need."
Believe it or not, this was the argument I found myself on the other side of a few days ago.
It turns out, some people still think of marketers as sleazy, suited men huddled in musky conference rooms, drinking whiskey while conjuring up clever ads to trick the public into the buying things they don't really need.
Not only has the ethical side of marketing tightened up, but so has our relationship with our audiences.
You might not think this is a necessary read just yet. But as the adage goes: preparation prevents poor performance. And the way you plan the next five years of your business could be largely determined by new ideas, insights and preferences of the next generation: Generation Z.
Generation Z will account for over 30% of UK and European customers by 2020 and 40% of online customers. And with the oldest members of the cohort celebrating their 24th birthday, Gen Z are slowly creeping up the B2B ranks and may even be perched on a (remote) desk near you very soon.
Following on from my commentary of Brian Halligan's keynote presentation at Inbound 2019, let's reflect on key insights from fellow Hubspot co-founder Dharmesh Shah's presentation.
Dharmesh took a very different focus: 5 business fears you need to over come to grow bolder and better.
He started off his keynote with some light-hearted anecdotes introducing us to his biggest fears: low phone battery, eye contact and water. He went on to explain that while we all have fears, it's overcoming them that defines our business' future. Which, according to Dharmesh, is more important than ever.
Dharmesh talks about the 5 fears both he and co-founder Brian Halligan needed to overcome in order to grow bolder and better, resulting in the renowned, international success of the HubSpot platform and brand.
Brian focused on the experience disruptors of the moment, using a few familiar names to illustrate his point: Netflix, Spotify, Slack, for example.
Wow, can you believe 2020 is just 3 months away?
It was just a short decade ago that we were getting to grips with Facebook and preparing ourselves for the onset of social media.
Rewind another ten years, and we were anticipating the 'millennium bug'.
Today, we communicate with bots on a daily basis, we ask our smart home hub whether we need an umbrella or sun cream, and our toddlers can unlock and scroll before they can say "Wifi".
We focus so much energy on attracting new customers, converting prospects, and nurturing leads into buyers. And rightly so. Acquiring new customers is essential for growth, is incredibly satisfying, plus, it’s a great morale booster.
But it's easy to get caught up in the excitement of chasing that next new contact which is very often short-lived - especially if the customer doesn't stick around very long.
Acquiring a new customer takes a lot of energy, resource, and cost, so if they don't stick around, it can be hard to see a return on investment.
Psychology and sales have always gone hand in hand. Those subtle, little cues that brands use to encourage us to part with our money - we seem to fall for them time and time again.
Quite rightly, you might associate the psychological side of selling with B2C brands, but many of the same principles can be applied to the B2B conversion process.
Great copywriting is the oil that greases the cogs of your marketing machine. It keeps everything moving smoothly, swiftly and efficiently.
The higher the quality of that oil, and the more consistent you are with your application, the longer your machine will last.
But it’s not uncommon for marketers to underestimate the need for quality copy.
Marketing is multi-faceted and no two journeys will be the same.
A great copywriter will address this.
The word community can mean different things to different people.
A sense of community can be brought about by religion, place of origin or background. Or your community might depend on where and how you live.
Lots of well-known, successful brands have harnessed this sense of community, and created armies of loyal advocates who engage and interact with each other based on a set of shared experiences, interests and challenges.
Meta descriptions and alt tags. How much time should you dedicate? How long should they be? How often should you use keywords? Are they even a ranking factor?
The world of metadata can be confusing; best practice seems to change from week to week. Adding fuel to that confusion are recent updates from Hubspot, in which their portal now recommends meta descriptions are less than 150 characters.
I'm not going to preach the importance of customer retention. We all know this by now. And we all know how much easier (and cost-effective) it is to retain and nurture an existing customer than to acquire a new one.
If you've read any of Equinet's latest content, you'll understand by now that the content marketing industry is in the midst of a disruption. If B2B businesses are to thrive in this new climate, they need to stop marketing and start publishing. But this requires new strategies, new processes and in some cases, new employees.
Read the following sentence:
‘If people want to become more productive and efficient at work, they should implement the following habits into their working day.’
Let’s change one thing:
'If you want to become more productive and efficient at work, you’ll need to implement the following habits into your working day.’
Notice the difference? Which is more engaging?
Let’s rewind for a moment.
It’s 2008 and blogging is 'the thing to do' in business marketing. Helping to generate website traffic, improve SEO and promote your business, the concept slowly, yet gradually, starts to gain traction.
With little competition (at least back then), it was highly effective. Simply adding pages to your site while demonstrating a sound understanding of a subject and its keywords was enough to rank.
That was of course, before the activity evolved into what we know today. And the complexities and competition in blogging now make it far harder to rank by blogging alone.
Content marketing is evolving yet again with some of the world’s biggest brands adopting a publisher's mindset.
In the wake of content saturation, audiences are switching up their media consumption and this is something we, as marketers, must embrace rather than fear.
More importantly, this is why brands need to shift the focus from content towards 'media'.
Finding an agency that's a good fit could be the difference between your best year and your worse: the make or break project, the campaign that gets you recognised (for the right reasons or the wrong...), the money well invested, or the money wasted.
Ultimately, it will be one your most important working partnerships.
But when you're partnering with a different organisation - with new people, new values and new ideas, how to do you know if this one is the right fit?
As marketers, data analysis takes a firm seat in our weekly schedules. But so many of us are just skating across the surface of what can be achieved.
By shifting the focus from output toward outcomes, a business can maximise its performance and potential.
Your output is the avenue you take to achieve outcomes; it’s the daily activities you use to generate exposure, connect with prospects and promote your business. Your output includes your newsletters, your emails, your website, your blogs.
The flicking cursor taunts your tired mind and you find yourself doing everything and anything to avoid writing. Another pointless email, a quick snack... oh go on, one more coffee - then I'll make a start.
Hours later, you return to your blank page and question whether this blogging malarky is really worth it.
We've all been there. Whether you blog for your own business, outsource to a professional writer, or rely on your employees to come up with streams of remarkable, relevant and consistently well-written blog posts, burnout doesn't discriminate. Even the most talented and experienced writers suffer the dreaded yet inevitable 'bleurgh'.
Content marketing, digital marketing, web design; all are part of such a progressive industry.
We know the value of learning. Our offices are stacked ceiling to floor with books, we constantly seek the latest webinars, seminars and events and we are passionate about training and development. We know that to succeed in this industry, we must always have our finger on the pulse, which is why we promote a culture of learning.
Sometimes, an educated guess just isn't enough.
Deciding on which image to use in your social ad, the location of that call-to-action button, or which adjective to use in your email subject line often needs more backing.
While seemingly minor, small factors like these can significantly impact conversion rates, leads and engagement.
You'll find there's an abundance of studies, statistics and information out there which detail the relationship between conversion rates and psychology. And while this is all extremely valuable, we can find some truth in those theories by running our own experiments.
“But Nikki, I had to buy those boots, the website said they were ‘trending’ and I didn’t want to miss out.”
Were they really trending though, Lucy James? Or were you a victim of social proof?
Of course, Lucy wanted the boots, but usually cautious and sensible with her money, Lucy would’ve deliberated a little more before making such a quick purchase.
What caused this sudden urgency in her behaviour? Perhaps it was the fact the seller used social proof to lure Lucy into impulsively parting with her money - ‘these are selling fast, so buy them quickly before they sell out’.
Landing pages are some of the most important pages on your website. Each is designed to serve a purpose - most likely, to convert a prospect into a lead.
A good landing page will be simple, yet powerful. But a poor landing page could lose a contact at the crucial point of conversion.
Marketers use a variety of techniques to improve conversion rates - like imagery, contrasting colours, and graphics - but as we know, words are the real currency of the internet.
Writing well is one thing, but writing an effective landing page is a dedicated skill.
Millennials have overtaken baby boomers as the most dominant generation in the workforce.
And more importantly, they now make up 45% of B2B buyers.
The top end of this cohort - now approaching their mid-30s, are set to be our biggest allies as they move into managerial roles and acquire more purchasing and decision-making power.
The ubiquity of spoken content in 2019 is undeniable. Podcasts, webinars, videos and presentations are prolific in marketing and sales, but spoken content transcends industry and sector. We see it harnessed in science, popular culture, psychology, education and so much more.
Not only does it empower you to thrust your brand into the spotlight, but it enables your organisation to cultivate thought leadership and gain a wider audience. For that reason, spoken word should be an integral part of your inbound strategy.
Social media has solidified its reputation as a viable B2B marketing tool.
Rather than the fun, leisurely pastime it once was, it is now prolific in the digital marketing space and has been adopted by major business brands looking to take full advantage of the opportunities it offers.
I can’t stand reading my old blogs.
I'd go around the houses about five times before saying anything concrete. I used vocabulary I wasn’t totally comfortable with. And I always seemed to think more was ...more. More words, more examples, more regurgitations of the same ideas.
Of course, that’s reflected in the stats.
Even if traffic was high, nobody was hanging around long enough to extract any value from my posts.
Whether you have an inbound strategy or not, I think it's fair to assume that staying competitive, profitable and on top of search engine results pages (SERPs) is a priority for most businesses.
But that requires you to constantly have your finger on the pulse - algorithm updates, ranking factors and changes in your readers’ behaviour will all influence not just a content marketing strategy, but a marketing strategy full stop.