Category: B2B Marketing


Five Tips for Starting a Company Podcast

Your company probably has a website, blog and social media presence, but do you have a podcast? If not, it may benefit you to consider creating one. A podcast is a digital audio file that’s available via internet for downloading or streaming. Research shows that 40 percent of Americans age 12 or older have listened to a podcast at some point.

Anyone with an iPhone has immediate access to a wealth of podcasts, making them a powerful marketing tool. Podcasts can help you reach a new audience for your business, or they can help familiarize your current customers with your products or services. Plus, they’re easy to create. Use these five tips to start.

Determine your purpose or message. What’s the theme or goal of your podcast? What you teach or discuss depends on your industry, but your message should align with your company’s overall marketing strategy. Continue reading this article


B2B Marketers’ 8 Favorite Content Marketing Tools

In our most recent eBook, B2B Custom Media & Content Marketing, we explore how content marketing—a form of marketing that dates back centuries—is being transformed into a vital part of the marketing strategy in the digital age. Among the topics we highlight are the most popular content tactics and strategies used by marketers now. A great source of insight into the topic of content marketing tools is the Content Marketing Institute’s study, 2017 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends—North America. In it, marketers share their eight most-used content marketing tactics. These are the top eight, along with the percentage of total content marketers who use each one.

Social Media Content | 83% Social media content—posts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and other platforms—is an critical facet of a content marketing strategy. Social media is a great way to engage with your customers, but it also presents opportunities to share content and build brand awareness.

Blogs | 83% Blogs are an important part of a content marketing strategy. Blogs can help drive traffic toward your company’s website, and the content featured can position you as an industry leader.

eNewsletters | 77% Email newsletters can help turn casual readers into engaged brand fans, according to the Content Marketing Institute. When implemented correctly, email newsletters can also motivate your customers to spread the word about your products or services. Continue reading this article


Five Tips for Helping Your Marketing Efforts Finish Strong in 2017 & Five More Hints to Prepare for 2018

As the end of the year approaches, it’s time to start reviewing your 2017 marketing strategy and making adjustments as you plan for 2018. Here are five tips to finish strong this year and make 2018 your best year yet.

Make 2017 Count

Solidify your message. Make sure that every employee—from the receptionist to the CEO—understands your organization’s philosophy, message and brand. Craft your company’s message so that employees can tell prospective clients what sets you apart in under two minutes.

Review your goals. What did you hope to achieve this year? Review the goals you set in January 2017 and track your progress, accounting for anything that needs to be revised or changed now or in 2018.

Examine your analytics. How many people have opened your company-wide emails this year? How many views does your blog get each time you share a new post? Did one Facebook post have more interactions than another? Tracking these analytics can help you determine the type of content in which your customers are most interested. Continue reading this article


How to Use Business-Related Research as Compelling Content

For business-to-business (B2B) marketers, one of the most engaging types of content is industry research. The findings can be used across all communication platforms and channels a company might use. Working with an independent research company like BNP Media’s Clear Seas Research, the research can give your customers insight into an emerging issue while serving as a hook for blog posts, news stories, infographics, eBooks and more. Here are five ways to use the results of your research.

News coverage: Press releases and content marketing activities like infographics, guest blog posts on popular industry websites and interviews with industry influencers can spread the impact of a survey across several forms of media.

Blog and social media posts: Generating news on your own blog posts and social media will get picked up by others if the findings of your survey are of interest to leaders in your industry. Each release of information about the research findings should be treated as a media campaign. Continue reading this article


Why Case Studies Are Critical in Business-to-Business Marketing

When it comes to ranking the most credible forms of advertising, word of mouth always comes out on top. That’s because we trust people we know more than experts we don’t know.

Why don’t customers believe the experts?

Americans have always been a little skeptical of experts and the theories (or facts) they espouse. In fact, there’s a theory called the “backfire effect” that suggests some people become even more convinced they are right when experts give them evidence disproving their beliefs.

For that reason, it’s often better to let your product’s story be told by a third party with whom a potential customer can identify. That third party may not be a university professor, but if he or she has worked in the trenches—perhaps just like your customer—then that person is granted automatic credibility.

Context and Credibility

Presenting your story in the form of a case study provides potential customers the ability to not only understand the product, but also redefine their expectations. Rather than believe a manufacturer’s claims, which could be seen as hype, prospective customers often find it easier to believe the claims of an independent third party. Continue reading this article


Why B-to-B Marketers Should be Concerned About Ad Blockers

Unlike business-to-business (B2B) online media, the business model of online consumer media is nearly 100 percent focused on generating traffic, clicks and views. (B2B online media uses a business model that is focused on who uses a site, not just how many clicks they generate.) Because consumer websites need to boost a lot of traffic, consumers who use the web are bombarded with click-bait pop-ups, automatic animation, audio and video, and slideshows featuring what child actors look like now that they are adults. Such blinking and screaming ads are annoying on a desktop or laptop computer, but they are even more obnoxious on the small screen of a smartphone—the largest and fastest growing segment of online usage.

The online audience is responding with outrage

Blinking pop-ups and instant video techniques have led a growing number of web users to download “ad-blocking” extensions to their computers’ web browsers.

In a 2016 report, Juniper Research predicted ad blocking could cost publishers $27 billion globally in lost ad revenue by 2020. Continue reading this article


How to Come Up With Content Ideas for Your Company Blog

When was the last time you posted an article on your company blog? If it was more than a few weeks ago, you are communicating to your customers and prospects that you put little emphasis on keeping them informed and up-to-date.

A blog can be a marketing tool that separates you from your competition. It can also be a go-to source for information about your industry. It can teach customers how to better use your products.

It shouldn’t be seen as a burden or the last thing on your to-do list. If that’s why it’s been a few months since you’ve posted something, here are some suggestions to help break through your blogging writer’s block. Continue reading this article


Six Ways to Improve the Quality of the Photos on Your Company Blog

Graphics—whether professional photography, infographics or stock photography—have the power to grab an audience’s attention. Approximately 65 percent of people say they are visual learners, so chances are, the first thing people will notice when they visit your company’s blog are its images. That’s why it’s critical to take quality photographs or use high-quality stock photography.

Follow these tips to enhance the quality of photos on your company’s blog.

 

Head shots

When you post employee head shots on your company’s blog or website, make sure you’re putting the representatives of your business in the best light. Be sure to:

·  Shoot in natural light, not fluorescent or other artificial light.

·  Avoid harsh shadows and objects behind the subject’s head.

·  Pick a uncluttered background. You don’t have to use a flat white background, but make sure whatever background you use isn’t busy or cluttered—or detracts from the real focus of the photo.

·  Take the shot face on, not sideways! Profile shots have their place, but for this type of photo, you want to see the subject’s face. Continue reading this article


Think Ahead: Ideas For Your 2018 Marketing Calendar and Budget

If you haven’t started planning for 2018, here are a few suggestions to consider when you begin. (And if you haven’t started, start soon, because your competitors are.)

 1. Check in with industry experts

Listening to those you trust can help you become aware of a trend you may have missed or had not considered correctly. Industry analysts are great sources of what’s happening; so are other marketers who are not working for a direct competitor. And when it comes to providing neutral, non-proprietary information, your BNP representative is available with information about new marketing opportunities.

 2. Preview the 2018 live event calendar

BNP research indicate marketers and customers have tried-and-true events they attend annually, but they are always open to something new if the criteria fits.

 https://www.bnpsolutions.com/events/ Continue reading this article


Four Google-Approved SEO Tips for Mid-Year 2017


Full-time search marketing experts spend a lot of their time debating the tweaks and trends of Google’s worldwide network of engineers and scientists. While such understanding of Google is important, for most of us mere mortal marketers, it’s probably more important to steer clear of the theoretical until after we embrace those practices we know that Google already endorses.

There are many resources Google provides to help marketers use search marketing. But right now, if you don’t have months and months to dedicate yourself to mastering all that Google does, sign up for these three resources:

    1. Think With Google: This is a non-technical resource that focuses on case studies, tools and trends that showcase Google’s advertising solutions. While not directly related to SEO, it’s a great insight into what Google is “thinking” about.

    2. Google Webmasters: This can be very technical at times, but provides a treasure trove of tools and advice about being found by those who search for information using Google (translation: everyone).

    3. Google Analytics and Data Studio: Okay, this may get a little geeky to set up, but the first step in understanding how Google interacts with your website is installing the free Google Analytics mega-tool. Recently, Google added another free resource called Data Studio that provides several visualization tools that help explain to us mere mortals what’s taking place at Google Analytics. (You’ll probably need help setting up both of these, but after you know the basics, you’ll find you have lots of data at your fingertips.) Continue reading this article


The Importance of Having a Multichannel Marketing Strategy

During the period dramatized on “Mad Men,” the marketers and media companies along Madison Avenue could do a year’s worth of ad buys in an afternoon—between martinis. Three TV networks and a few major magazines would reach every customer in America. For example, the highest-rated TV series of the 1950s was “I Love Lucy.” At its peak, the show was watched by more than 67 percent of everyone with a TV turned on. Fast-forward to the 2010s, and the most-watched TV series today is “Sunday Night Football.” Yet only 13 percent of every TV is turned on to watch it.

Today, advertising decisions are often made by software using real-time data to determine where and when to place ads. Advertising can not only be tailored to a person’s location, but it can also take into account a customer’s interests based on previous patterns of usage.

In other words, as people have more and more media options and advertisers have more and more ways to distribute advertising, using all of these different types of media to reach a specific group of customers becomes more and more challenging—not easier as the future is sometimes promised to be. Continue reading this article


The Role Blogging Plays in Improving Your SEO and Serving Your Customers

There are many reasons your company website should have a blog. A blog can help you build relationships with your current and potential customers, position you as a subject matter expert, and provide an easy outlet for sharing company news, events and information. But a blog can also boost search engine optimization (SEO) and drive traffic toward your site. It’s a win-win.

Here are five ways to use your blog to improve your SEO rankings and drive more traffic toward your company’s website.

    1. Create original—and quality—content. Unique content can boost your website in search rankings. But the information found on your website probably doesn’t change that often. That’s why it’s important to write blog posts on a regular basis. That way, you’re always adding new and fresh content to attract readers.

    2. Stop overusing keywords. The more keywords, the better, right? Not exactly. While keywords are important, search engines are now paying attention to the whole query instead of individual words. In 2013, Google introduced Hummingbird, an algorithm that judges the context and intent of the person doing the search, attempting to zero in on what they are trying to figure out. So, instead of focusing on 10–15 individual keywords in your blog post, try using long-tail keywords and phrases that people would typically use when searching for something relevant to your site. Continue reading this article


How New Media Enhances, Not Hurts, Traditional Media

The term “traditional media” sounds like something one’s grandparents may have used back in the good ole days. But in a business context, traditional media refers to the evolution of ways we access news and information for our work interests and free time passions.

Traditional media was a daily newspaper with a thick sports section filled with lots of ads for tires and used cars. Traditional media was having three or four local TV affiliates of major broadcast networks. Traditional media meant lots of local TV ads during the news, weather and sports. Traditional media meant thick weekly news magazines, Reader’s Digest and TV Guide.

Now we have something called “new media,” a term that refers to anything that includes the words digital, social, streaming, data and content. For nearly 20 years, new media people have claimed to be disrupting the traditional media titans. However, in reality, new media is turning to traditional media to help them find sustainable channels of growth. Facebook, Google and Twitter are constantly experimenting with how to pay for streaming sports and other live events so that TV viewers will have something to be social about. Continue reading this article


The Importance of Having a Multichannel Marketing Strategy

During the period dramatized on “Mad Men,” the marketers and media companies along Madison Avenue could do a year’s worth of ad buys in an afternoon—between martinis. Three TV networks and a few major magazines would reach every customer in America. For example, the highest-rated TV series of the 1950s was “I Love Lucy.” At its peak, the show was watched by more than 67 percent of everyone with a TV turned on. Fast-forward to the 2010s, and the most-watched TV series today is “Sunday Night Football.” Yet only 13 percent of every TV is turned on to watch it.

Today, advertising decisions are often made by software using real-time data to determine where and when to place ads. Advertising can not only be tailored to a person’s location, but it can also take into account a customer’s interests based on previous patterns of usage.

In other words, as people have more and more media options and advertisers have more and more ways to distribute advertising, using all of these different types of media to reach a specific group of customers becomes more and more challenging—not easier as the future is sometimes promised to be. Continue reading this article


Why Print B2B Magazines Matter

Since the release of early web browsers during the mid-1990s, self-proclaimed experts have been declaring that “print magazines are dead.” Of course, the media landscape has undergone a lot of change in the two decades since, but one thing hasn’t changed: Print magazines are alive and well. For example, followers of Samir Husni’s “Launch Monitor Blog” [https://launchmonitor.wordpress.com/] are aware that dozens of magazines are launched each month.

Many magazines have shut down since 1995, but that’s not unusual—magazines have opened and closed regularly since they first began. For example, a magazine published by Benjamin Franklin in 1741 titled The American lasted only one issue. But no one in those days declared magazines were dead.

New communications technologies since Franklin’s day have remade magazine publishing time and again. Improvements in printing technology, enhanced distribution methods enabled by the railroad, instant communication made possible by the wireless telegraph, and the creative mediums of radio, film and TV have all changed the business of publishing. Continue reading this article


3 Reasons Customers Can’t Find Your Website, And How to Correct It

An online presence for a business is critical in today’s e-commerce culture. When business-to-business (B2B) customers are ready to research or buy a new product or service, they don’t turn to the industry sourcing directories they may have used in the past. Instead, they open their web browser and visit Google.

If you want customers to easily find your website, it’s important to adhere to Google’s webmaster guidelines. These guidelines give tips on how to help Google find and understand your website, such as building a sitemap file, limiting the number of links on a page and submitting your website to Google. If you don’t follow these tips, your site’s chances of showing up in Google’s search results are low, making it difficult for customers to find you.

Here are three more reasons your customers may not be able to find your website—and how you can solve the problem.

1. You give customers no reason to visit. A good website is rich with helpful content. Slick use of photography can make a site look pretty, but your audience is there to learn about your products or services. Plus, search engines want to see unique, easy-to-understand content. Google actually penalizes sites that feature content found on other websites, making search engine results drop lower and lower. Feature content that’s unique to your company.

2. Keywords aren’t used. Keywords can increase your website’s SEO—search engine optimization—potential. Use language similar to what your intended audience will use. For example, a pizza place may want to use frequent references to “delivery,” “carry-out,” “pizzeria” or even “pepperoni” to optimize SEO keywords. The more effective your keywords, the more likely you are to pop up in your audience’s search results.

3. Navigation is confusing. In order for search engines to find your website, the content has to be linked properly. Make sure that all pages on your site can be reached by a link on another page. Not only will linking pages correctly increase your chances of appearing in search engines, but it will also make your site easier for visitors to navigate.


Why Business-to-Business Print Media Is a Long Way From Extinction

“Print business magazines will soon be dead” went the predictions of self-proclaimed internet gurus of the mid-1990s. But here we are, 20 years into the advertising-supported business-to-business (B2B) digital media era, and one thing is certain: B2B print magazines haven’t gone away.

What’s more, much of the growth of B2B digital media is tied to trusted brands that today have thriving multi-channel opportunities (print, digital, live) for buyers and sellers to connect in industry marketplaces.

Magazines are still popular with readers

While the business model of weekly news magazines and daily newspapers makes their future more challenging than other print products, there is no evidence that the entire magazine medium is going away. Continue reading this article


3 Tips for Creating an Effective B2B Infographic

Using graphics—or, to be more precise, hieroglyphics—to visualize data goes back to prehistoric cave drawings. However, the modern idea of infographics is tied to statistical tools that emerged during the last quarter of the 20th century. That’s when a young graphic artist from the United Kingdom named Nigel Holmes joined the chart and maps department of Time magazine. For the next 16 years, his work there helped define and popularize the type of storytelling illustrations that everyone now calls infographics. (He calls them “explanatory graphics.”)

At the same time, a Princeton professor named Edward Tufte was pioneering a field called statistical graphics. Today, any smartphone mobile app that displays numbers can trace its design to Tufte’s work and insight. As their approaches differ greatly, Holmes and Tufte might protest being mentioned in the same article. But together, their work has influenced generations of data graphics—some great and some quite awful.

To keep your infographics great, here are some suggestions inspired by Holmes and Tufte for improving the infographics you use in your marketing. Continue reading this article


Business customers indicate they favor marketing that informs, helps, teaches

It should come as no surprise that the majority of business-to-business (B2B) customers favor informative or helpful marketing. Funny videos or entertaining Live Events or webinars have their place, but new research from BNP Solutions shows that most B2B customers desire more substance in the marketing materials they use—they want to learn, and they want to understand more about what they’re purchasing.

BNP’s market research team surveyed more than 750 industry professionals to discover more about they they value in webinars, Live Events and videos. Here are some highlights from that research. Continue reading this article


Here’s to Having a B2B Happy New Year in 2017

In a previous post, we made five B2B predictions for 2017.

While such predictions are thought-provoking and a little fun, they rarely provide deep insight into the specific information most companies need to prepare for or take advantage of any predicted event. They tend to focus on the macro trend than the “Black Swan” event.

For most of us, looking for patterns of change in our own companies or business-verticals provide the most helpful insight into the future. That said, it is important to look for the data and trends that can inform and prepare us. Continue reading this article

 
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