We are a B2B Demand Generation agency that uses sales and marketing know-how to help customers increase revenue by deploying Inbound Marketing, Content Marketing and Marketing Automation strategies. Our Mission is to deliver btob marketing communications with impact and precision, which lead to a quantifiable return-on-investment.
If your B2B organization isn’t using Marketing Automation, where have you been? It’s 2018 and MAP is bigger, better and more relevant than it’s ever been before. If you’re not using it, your competitors may have an advantage over you.
Not sure if Marketing Automation is for you? Here are 5 things you’re missing out on if you don’t adopt it into your tech stack:
1. Intelligent Email Campaigns
The ability to nurture your contacts depending on their actions and behavior means you can cater relevant content to them and guide them along their buyer journey. No more batch-and-blast and hoping it hits that sweet spot!
2. Watch users’ buyer journey
Watch the journey an individual takes through your website and emails. Feed this directly into your CRM and allow salespeople to approach them when the time is right.
3. Easily segment large data sets
This is dependant on the individual contacts details and site browsing history. Once you’ve obtained this data, you’ll be able to target a very specific audience.
4. Email Campaign Analytics
You are able to easily view and analyze data from your previous campaigns, which you can use when planning future projects. Never make the same mistake twice and each campaign can be better optimized than the last!
On February 7th, 2018 people around the world watched with interest as entrepreneur Elon Musk launched his Space X brainchild, the much-anticipated Falcon Heavy Rocket. The unassuming (or at least as unassuming as a rocket can be) Falcon Heavy was docked and launched from the famous Cape Canaveral, Florida.
Overall, the launch was a resounding success, with 2 of the 3 outer cores doing something which until recently had been the preserve of science fiction films only; returning to earth 10 minutes after launch and successfully landing.
But what can content marketers learn from this event?
Lesson 1) Live Streams continue to gain momentum in 2018
At its peak over 2.3 million viewers tuned in to watch the launch of Space X’s Falcon Heavy on YouTube. Surpassed only by Red Bull’s Stratos jump back in 2012, which achieved 8 million simultaneous views, the live rocket launch event was a massive success.
Live streaming has been on the rise for the last few years and in 2018 continues to be one to watch. With technology continuously improving, the possibilities of what your live stream could achieve are really limitless.
Don’t panic! Your brand doesn’t need a supernova sized event to make a big impact!
Think about what your brand offers and build on that. Have you got some great people in your company with a strong knowledge base you’re keen to share? Why not start off by hosting a live Q&A or webinar and allow your prospective customers the chance to quiz your thought leadership and see why you’re the company they should trust. Speaking of trust…
Lesson 2) Admitting lessons learned builds your brand credibility
Elon Musk is renowned for admitting when he’s made a mistake. The eagle-eyed reader will have noted we mentioned that only 2 of the 3 outer cores successfully made their landing. The third -which was planned to touch down on a drone ship – instead hit the water at over 300mph, exploding on impact.
And it’s not the first time something like this has happened.
In September last year Musk released a video of his favourite Space X explosions. But rather than deterring people from the brand, Tesla (the partner company of which Elon Musk is also CEO) saw a noticeable spike in its share price.
Approach this one with common sense obviously, but if nothing else Musk has shown that there is value in admitting when you’re wrong. Not only does this help to humanise the brand, making it more relatable to your potential customers; but also provides valuable social learnings by opening channels of communication. Ask any successful business leader and they will tell you that they’re biggest successes have come off the back of their biggest mistakes and failures.
Angle the story right, make the lessons learnt inspiring to your audience and you too could be well on the way to positive PR coverage.
Lesson 3) Keep the conversation going!
Even after all the drama of the launch itself, fans were able to watch the live stream of a mannequin riding around in Musk’s old Tesla (we know, we did a double take when we first read that sentence too!) Thousands across the globe remained captivated with the video, proving that we’ve only really scratched the surface when it comes to the future of Space Exploration.
Luckily your brand can probably do things on a significantly smaller (and certainly more grounded) scale, but it’s as important as the event itself to keep the conversation going afterwards.
Once you’ve captured any prospect data, make sure that what you’re providing prospects post event is as valuable and useful to them as all your pre-event coms. Whether it’s a further webinar to broaden their knowledge or a great new eBook jam packed full of useful research; continue to help your prospects during the decision process by making sure everything you provide has a purpose.
After all, when it comes to prospects, you need to make sure that your brand continues to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before…(ok we’re done, promise!)
With Pancake Day just around the corner (Tuesday February 13th 2018) there’s a lot to be said for mastering the art of serving a great plate of pancakes! Piled high and smothered in maple syrup or artfully folded and garnished with sugar and lemon juice, the perfect final product is thanks to smart preparation.
And – like a perfect pancake – if you follow the right steps, a good Quality Assurance (QA) process can help you deliver the perfect asset to clients every single time.
Which is all very well and good, but how do you get an effective process in place?
Let us don our aprons as we explain – via the art of pancake making!
Step 1: Choose your recipe before you start. AKADecide exactly what you need QA’d?
Although similar in ingredients, the actual process for making a crepe or American pancakes does vary somewhat.
Similarly, with an email or landing page template, there are subtle but significant issues which need addressed.
For example, on a landing page a key issue might be ensuring that forms all work correctly and lead data is successfully captured. But on an email perhaps the key issue is making sure that specific regional variations are implemented.
Whatever your required testing criteria, it’s a smart idea to decide on it now. Though of course, if you’re not sure, your QA team will be able to give you some pointers and ideas once they’ve seen the brief. Speaking of which…
Step 2: Is the batter the right consistency? AKAHave you provided a high-quality brief to your QA testers?
A bad batter can make for a pretty dodgy pancake. If it’s under-whisked there will be tell-tale signs in the final product (lumps of flour anyone?)
Your QA brief is no different. We all know how frustrating it can be to work from an incomplete brief, so make sure don’t inadvertently subject any of your team members to it.
When devising an internal testing template remember, just because you had a brief from a client, doesn’t mean the other departments were so lucky.
In some instances, it might work to have a ‘one size fits all’ outline where you can just fill in the blanks. But chances are, a bit of collaboration between you and your QA department will go a long way to help ensure you both have everything you need.
Step 3: Did you land the all-important pancake flip? AKADoes everything work as it should?
So many pancakes have landed on the floor (or the ceiling) because the cook hasn’t practiced the flip enough prior to attempting it.
Your emails all built and the content is all written, it looks great! So it’s all good to go right? Not quite…
At this stage you should thoroughly QA all assets as it’s where most mistakes are likely to occur. Check links are pointing to the right place and are tracked. Make sure that forms can be filled in and cleared correctly and all spelling and grammar is impeccable.
Test everything, and then once more, and then just for good measure test again. Far better you spot something than a client does.
Step 4: Has your pancake folded over or torn? AKAHave you checked your layout and formatting?
You know that first pancake you flip without really thinking about it? It usually narrowly escapes hitting the floor by catching on the edge of the pan and being manoeuvred back into place. It usually tastes alright, but always ends up a bit squashed and not quite perfect.
Similarly, with any asset nearly ready for client approval, it’s a good idea to check your layout and formatting across multiple displays. There may be a piece of errant code or unexpected padding which doesn’t show up on your go to web browser, but might be clearly visible on others.
QA specialists have lots of nifty tricks which allow them to test across multiple devices and platforms, so it’s well worth asking them to perform these checks.
From ensuring everything is mobile optimised, to making sure Windows and Mac users get the same experience, these will all be picked up and adjustments can be made. All before the client sees it.
Step 5: Serve your pancake with the perfect topping! AKADoes your asset have a clear purpose and CTA?
Sweet or Savoury, hot or cold, it doesn’t really matter how your pancake topping is served, so long as you know exactly what it is.
Your marketing assets should be no different. During the final sign off, make sure your collateral has a clear purpose and CTA. For example, an email featuring dynamic content, a social media post with an engaging tone of voice, landing pages with easy to use forms; the list is endless!
If you’ve been successfully liaising with your QA department, this final sign off stage should be the simplest, as most of the leg work will have already been completed.
Everyone happy? Great let’s get that asset out the door!
A successful and effective QA stage is guaranteed to improve the overall quality of any deliverables, and make a real difference to the whole creative process; leaving both you and the client extremely satisfied.
So, you’re not using paid social media in your digital marketing strategy? Well it’s your lucky day! Life as you know it (and your marketing strategy), is about to change for the better. Here are 3 reasons why paid social is indispensable in B2B marketing:
You’ve got to love your loyal followers, they helped get you this far, but it’s time to expand and reach out to those aren’t following you and may not even know your brand exists. Scary, right? But it’s time and here are just a few ways to get their attention with paid social media:
With audience creation on LinkedIn, there are a multitude of targeting options from language and location to skill level, LinkedIn group membership and company name. Any audience you create can be saved as a template to be applied again in the future. There are also options to exclude your company’s followers to stop them costing you money when they accidentally click on your ads!
A note on matched audiences: LinkedIn gives advertisers the options to retarget members who have recently visited your website, as well as the option to target from an account or contact list. For the latter option, LinkedIn recommends a list size of 10,000 email addresses, and the match rate must be a minimum of 300 members. However, the upload list size can be smaller as long as you’re able to meet the minimum requirements for a list match.
Twitter has the usual gender, language and geo-targeting options, but it also has a variety of additional options to help you reach your business goals and get in front of the right audience. Do you know if your target audience is engaged with a topic on Twitter? Interest targeting can help you target the users involved in these conversations, by selecting from a list of 25 interest categories which expand to 350 sub-topics,. Interests can range from small business to web design.
Follower targeting allows marketers to connect with people who are likely to be interested in their business, either because they are similar to your current followers, are a business who offer similar products or services, or are an industry influencer.
If you’re an advertiser running campaigns in the US or UK, you can use behavioral targeting to reach audiences based on how they behave both on and offline from information provided by Twitter partners.
Finally, there is also tailored audiences (uploading data from a CRM list; targeting based on web visits or app usage) and keyword targeting. Check out a more exhaustive list and additional information on Twitter advertising here.
A lot of the time I hear that Facebook advertising is just not suitable for B2B audiences. This couldn’t be further from the truth! With 1.37 billion daily active users and a multitude of targeting formats suitable for engaging B2B audiences, it makes sense for B2B marketers to leverage Facebook as an advertising option.
Facebook’s audience targeting is similar to Twitter – so targeting is based on core functionalities, such as demographics, location, interests and behavior; owned data; or based on people who are similar to your existing customers.
There is also a cool functionality called Audience Insights which provides demographic and interest data about people connected to your page, people in your Custom (owned) Audience and people on Facebook. This helps marketers to constantly test, optimize and refine audience targeting to reach the most relevant and specific audience available to them.
2) Lead Gen Ads
Ok, sh*t is about to get seriously cool. A lead gen ad (Facebook) or lead gen form (LinkedIn) is basically an ad with a CTA that prompts a pre-filled form modal in the platform (the data is pulled from the members’ profile page). Once the form is submitted, the member can click the Download button to be taken to the hosted resource on your website (i.e., basically the member has completed the action of filling out a gated form to receive an asset, without ever having left the social platform). Lead data can then be downloaded from Campaign Manager (LinkedIn) and/or integrated with your CRM (both platforms).
The benefit? For the user, a seamless experience undertaken in one platform, and for the marketer, more accurate and reliable lead data. It’s important to note that Lead Gen Forms on LinkedIn can be in the format of a Sponsored Update or Sponsored InMail, and are currently available on mobile only. Which is perfect as 80% of content on LinkedIn is viewed on a mobile device, with the remaining 20%, Lead Gen Forms, available for desktop by Q1 2018.
What are the objectives of your paid social media campaign? Chances are you’re going to find the data you need to reach your KPIs in the social platform. Conversions? It’s got them. Cost per lead? Check. Want to know what hour of the day your audience is most engaged with your ads? You can find that information. Is your campaign resonating best with women over a certain age, or men? Most engaged job titles? Location? Job seniority. Tick, tick, tick. Use this information to optimize your current advertising campaign and inform future ones. Facebook will even now show you reporting by creative – so you can see which visual is performing best, pause those that are under performing and develop new ideas based on your best performing campaigns. Go ahead and knock yourself out with data!!
In conclusion, paid social media is a necessary tactic for lead generation that should be leveraged by B2B marketers. To learn how Ledger Bennett could help you gain quality lead data to fuel your marketing campaigns, contact us.
Briefing – it’s the glue that holds the creative delivery process together. Whether the output is a simple blog or a 10-asset nurture, the brief is designed to impart the creative with everything they need to do a fantastic job. But, this is easier said than done. What is really required in a ‘good’ brief? What do creatives ‘need’ to know to smash it out of the park? It’s a tricky question, and after seeing the challenges of briefing from both the strategic and delivery side, I find the biggest piece of the puzzle still missing is context.
Now by context, I merely mean an understanding of the output’s purpose in relation to the overall campaign or project. It’s all very good telling a copywriter you need an email written for a campaign aimed at a particular audience with subject-focused messaging. But, without an understanding of what role that email will play in the bigger picture, it can be difficult for the creative to produce an asset that makes the most of the opportunity. Does the email sit in a single nurture or is it part of multiple nurtures? Does it sit in a 5-asset campaign or a 50-asset campaign? What is the audience criteria to receive the email? Has the audience previously engaged with content that has qualified them? All these questions bring pieces of the puzzle together that can make a significant difference to what the optimal output looks like.
Your understanding should be their understanding
When briefs are put together, it feels like there’s often a strictly ‘need to know’ approach taken, which restricts the information creatives receive. Now I’m not saying they should get reams and reams of data around every project, but certainly enough to understand where the asset sits in context to everything else.
As a copywriter, the best briefs allowed me to put my feet in the shoes of the reader, understand who they were, what they’d done in their buyer journey so far, what they were expecting from the content and ultimately, what they were trying to accomplish. If a brief helped me successfully piece together the person on the other side of the screen/page then I was able to ensure every word was written for their specific needs, irrespective of format. For me, that is the perfect brief.
Unfortunately, these kinds of briefs are a rarity, information gaps are a common issue and now sitting on the other side of the fence in strategy, I see why. Writing a comprehensive brief is hard! Just when you think you have everything covered, something else unexpected jumps out of nowhere – getting the hard facts on paper is much more difficult than it first appears. However, despite these challenges, I still try to convey to the creative the context of the job as a priority, whether it’s the design of a single image or the creation of an entire e-book.
The example below provides a contrast to just how much more valuable a brief with context can be.
Scenario – A Copywriter has been asked to write an email driving prospects from a target database to a product demo.
The copywriter is requested to write an email that drives prospects from a target database to a product demo. In this brief, the copywriter is given information on who is targeted within the database and what the product demo covers with recommendations on key points to include.
The copywriter is given the information in Brief 1, as well as insight into the previous email the prospect received and further detail on the other assets driving to the product demo. This provides critical context that allows for a better understanding of what the email is designed to do, where it sits in the buyer journey and what it should include as a result. With this information, the creative is empowered to ask further questions that help them control how much or little information they have their disposal. In addition, they are provided with a diagram offering a contextual snapshot of the entire campaign and the role of the email in the bigger picture.
From the example above, it’s clear the better output will come from the 2nd brief as the context is clearly communicated to the creative, allowing them to make more educated decisions.
Empower creatives with context
The best briefs help creatives connect with the objective of the wider campaign, the target audience and the role of the output in question. With full clarity on each of these pieces of the puzzle, they have everything they need to do the job to the best of their capabilities. When it comes to creative briefing, context really can make all the difference.
“We recently made a change to provide more descriptive and useful snippets, to help people better understand how pages are relevant to their searches. This resulted in snippets becoming slightly longer, on average.”
Previously a snippet was 160 characters. Your search results can now show longer snippets than before. A definitive number hasn’t been confirmed, with several CMS plug-ins we’ve looked at limiting you to roughly 320 characters. Although there are snippets with a longer character length. The below has a description of 319 characters.
How does this impact my website?
This change doesn’t impact anyone in the short-term. Your meta descriptions will still be valid and will still present in search results. In fact, Danny Sullivan, Google’s public liaison for search, gave this advice:
So, I’m supposed to do nothing?
Of course not. This all simply means that there’s no rush to edit your meta data, it can be a slow process. If you’re working on more time-sensitive work then complete that first and work in the SEO updates around that.
If it’s not important, why bother?
Longer Snippets mean that you can display more information in search engine results to show users the relevance of your page. This has the potential to increase the number of times your pages appear in search results. It also has the added benefit of potentially lowering bounce rates on websites and pages, as users will have that little bit more information prior to clicking through. Which, when you think about it, is pretty handy!
We’ll be able to tell you more in a few months, once we’ve tried and tested the new Snippet length on our own website.
[Frank:] Anything you can think of I can think better
Before too long I’ll think better than you
[Annie:] No, you can’t
[Frank:] Yes, I can
[Annie:] No, you can’t
[Frank:] Yes, I can
[Annie:] No, you can’t
[Frank:] Yes, I can, yes I can!
[Annie:] Anything you can sell I can sell more
tomorrow I’ll be selling much more than you
[Frank:] No, you won’t
[Annie:] Yes, I will
[Frank:] No, you won’t
[Annie:] Yes, I will
[Frank:] No, you won’t
[Annie:] Yes, I will, yes I will, yes I will!
[Frank:] Anything your competition is coming up with,
you must come up with something better.
Resting on your laurels won’t help your profits.
You need to be more creative not more corporate.
Anything that looks boring is boring and that means your brand is boring.
Anything your marketing is doing someone is trying to do it better.
Stay ahead of the game. Stay focused.
Remember, anything you come up with, whether it’s a strategy, a new marketing formula or just an idea, ask yourself… can I do it better?
[Annie:] Yes, you can! Yes, you can! YES, YOU CAN!!!!
The General Data Protection Regulation is approaching fast! Is your company going to be compliant by the 25th May 2018? We’ve created this GDPR checklist to run through and tick off what you need to know:
Is your company affected by GDPR?
Regardless of company size or status, if you store or process data of EU citizens, then you must comply to GDPR by May 25th 2018. The fines for not complying are hefty – 4% of your annual global turnover or up to €20 million, whichever is highest!
Are you a controller or a processor?
GDPR will significantly affect two types of roles:
Controllers are those who decided how data will be dealt with and what they wish to do with it.
Processors are those actively handling the data and keep in compliance.
Which data is protected by GDPR?
Standard information around identity (Name, address, phone number, etc).
Race, sexuality, health or political information.
IP address, cookie data, general web data and RFID tags.
Understand the definition of ‘consent’ under GDPR
Consent under GDPR means that the user supplying their data is taking intentional action to opt-in.
Long gone will be the days of passively opting-in users when they register to your companies website. Users MUST explicitly state they wish to give you their data and opt-in to any emails you send them.
Hire a Data Protection Officer
Your Data Protection Officer will oversee your entire data security and make sure you never stray from GDPR. This is a requirement for companies that handle large quantities of EU data.
Get to grips with the ‘the right to be forgotten’
Users can now demand their data be deleted if it is no longer fit-for-purpose. It is your responsibility to make sure this information is wiped, and this includes the data you have passed on to third-parties.
Get your data storage sorted!
Data must be stored in common format types (such as .csv files) to make moving or removal of data easy.
What to do if your data is breached?
In the occurrence of any data breach, you must report it to the Information Commissioner’s Office (UK only – check your countries authority) within 72 hours of it happening or face the consequences (2% of your annual turnover, or €10 million, whatever is highest!).
Can you afford to not be ready for GDPR? The race for May 25th 2018 has begun! Learn more about what GDPR means for your business, from our other GDPR resources below.
You’d be surprised how many times it’s come up over the years, especially working with B2B clients. The general guidelines I give anyone asking about an organic social campaign are:
Know your KPI’s
Before you even start planning your social media campaign, ask yourself what you plan to gain from it. There’s no point doing a campaign for the sake of it! You want to know what you’re doing and how you can measure the success of the campaign.
Know your target audience
any organizations assume they know their audience/buyers, and many find they don’t know them that well when they research them. If you don’t know your target audience or buyers, how do you know what will resonate with them? And how will you know where to find them or even if they’re following your accounts?
If it’s been a while since you’ve done persona work for your organization, check out our handy persona cheatsheet to help you.
Know your platforms
One size does not fit all when it comes to social media. Know what’s suitable for each of the platforms you’re planning on using. What works on Instagram is not always welcomed on LinkedIn or even Facebook. Make sure to take this into account at the very beginning of your planning because if it comes in further down the line you may be forced to start again.
I won’t go into this too much as we already have a blog on the dangers of not researching your hashtags, and we all know of the now famous example of #susanalbumparty. However, it is important to check the readability of a hashtag that you’re creating specifically for a campaign to avoid becoming an example of what not to do.
Another good point to note is if you’re using hashtags that are already out there within your campaign, like #marketing, then look into how relevant it is to your content, the search volume for the hashtag and even related hashtags. There are a number of tools out there, paid and free, that will do this for you.
More than ever, your posts need to be engaging. All thanks to Facebook’s push towards meaningful brand interactions, which if history shows us anything will be replicated in some form or another by other platforms. Engaging doesn’t mean, and shouldn’t mean always including a call to action. This is pretty poor practice on organic posts. You want your posts to be authentic to your brand, you want them to flow and be interesting. Your brand needs to be like your friends on social media, your updates need to add value, be of interest and make people want to hit that like or reply button, and even the share button.
Previously we’ve told you about the ideal image sizes for the different social media platforms, and that definitely comes into your campaign planning. In planning, think about the imagery that draws your attention on social media. What makes you stop and pay attention? Draw from that. In B2B, so many organizations get it wrong and create bland and sterile images. It’s 2018, let’s move away from this and create some social images for social platforms!
Your graphics don’t have to be static images, you can add in GIFs and videos or animations to your campaign. All work well on social media and if done right, will be received well.
Don’t overbrand your images and don’t afraid to have fun with them. A great example of an organization that does well with their social imagery is MailChimp. If you look on any of their social channels, you’ll see that they use bright and colorful imagery but they also have fun with them. MailChimp breaks the mold of boring B2B campaigns.
Above all, the best advice I can give you is to think outside the box. A good campaign, no matter the platform, always brings something different to the table – just look at what Poundland did with their Naughty Elf over Christmas. It may have caused some controversy but it increased store sales, social engagement and got people talking about the brand. If you need further help with planning your organic campaigns or with community management, contact us and we can see what we can do.
The evolution of digital has revolutionized B2B marketing, allowing businesses to become even more targeted in their approach to attract new customers. Inbound channels offer many ways in which you can target and reach your potential customers, and with more and more businesses committing to digital, it’s time to get clever in your targeting. So, what about targeting your competitor’s customers?
Key paid channels, such as LinkedIn, Twitter and the Google Display Network (GDN) are ideal for targeting your competitor’s customers. Their targeting methods make them excellent for B2B marketing!
LinkedIn offer many targeting functionalities, some of which are extremely useful when you know exactly who you want to target. In the past, deploying an Account-Based Marketing approach has been a successful tactic, especially when account lists are refined further to ensure that you target the right people in those organizations. In LinkedIn, layering ABM with criteria such as location, job function and seniorities ensures that your ads are put directly in front of the right people.
Taking competitive targeting one step further, another feature new to LinkedIn’s targeting portfolio is 1st degree connection targeting. As the name suggests, this allows you to target the 1st-degree connections of employees who work for a selected organization, as long as they have over 500 employees. This is an excellent tool to put your ads in front of the connections of your key competitor’s employees.
By delivering direct sponsored content ads to your audience, you can increase your brand awareness in front of your competitor’s audience, as well as adding value by providing downloadable content. Lead Generation Forms, another feature recently launched by LinkedIn, allow mobile users to fill out forms in platform, offering a seamless user experience whilst allowing for data capture.
Using Twitter ads, it is possible to target users who are tweeting using keywords that are specific to competitors. As well as this, targeting competitor twitter handles allows you to reach users with interests similar to the followers of these accounts. Once again, layering this method with geographical and language targeting helps to refine targeting approaches further.
As with all paid marketing efforts, it’s ideal to drive substantial traffic through to gated pages to achieve lead generation.
Google Display Targeting
Applying contextual targeting to display campaigns matches ads, targeted by keywords, to sites within the Google Display Network. Generating keywords specific to your competitor will enable your ads to display to an audience with an established interest in the targeting that you have applied.