We all wish we had been early adopters of today’s massive content platforms – YouTube, Google, Medium etc… Alas, most of us were not. However, if you look hard enough, you might just find the next amazing platform for content marketing. I think I may have. Zest Let me take a step back and …
As we move into 2019, B2B marketers can look back at the last 2 decades in awe - how far we have come! Looking forward, there are 10 trends that B2B marketers must begin to embrace if they want to remain relevant in an ever-changing space.
A high converting landing page is the holy grail of any B2B inbound marketing campaign. While you probably know that's true, you may be struggling with how to create a landing page that converts well. You aren't alone.
See, we are living in a world that is saturated with content – in all areas and industries.
So how do you get your voice heard in this noisy environment? That’s where keyword research comes in.
When you have a question, where do you generally go to find the answer?
Chances are, you answered what most people would – Google.
Why Do Keyword Research for B2B?
As was mentioned earlier, with so much content out there, how would you ever get to the top of search results?
You have to be strategic.
Sure, we’d all love for every piece of content we write to magically appear at the top of every search any of our target customers make.
But, that’s not realistic.
Keyword research is a necessary tactic for B2B marketers because it enables you to identify keywords that are
Relevant to your target market
Are actually searched for
Are low competition
These three points are the main crux of keyword research, particularly for B2B marketing.
Features and Benefits of Neil Patel’s Ubersuggest
Recently, SEO guru Neil Patel purchased the keyword research tool Ubersuggest (formerly ubersuggest.io) and incorporated it into his own site, neilpatel.com.
If you aren’t familiar with Neil, you should definitely check out his content.
Not only is he a world-renowned SEO guru, but he puts out fantastic content (video, written, audio) that can help any marketer with leveling up their skill set.
The newly re-designed tool is pure gold for B2B marketers looking for a way to do keyword research.
Let’s go through some of the features and benefits of Ubersuggest.
There are lots of keyword research tools out there, but most of them cost between $100-$300 a month!
With Ubersuggest, you get most of the benefits of those other tools, but at a much better price – $0.
Neil has said a few times on his various channels that he has no intention of charging for Ubersuggest.
And, in fact, it seems like he wants to add more free SEO tools to his site.
Search Volume Estimate
For each keyword you input, Ubersuggest will estimate how many monthly searches are made for it.
Though I don’t know for sure, it’s likely that this data is pulled from Google’s API somehow, but I might be wrong.
It’s true that many tools have this kind of estimate, and they are rarely 100% correct.
However, it’s a fantastic benchmark. You can see if one keyword has significantly more searches than another.
Cost Per Click
While this is less relevant for SEO, it still gives you an indicator of the value (at least the value given by Google) of that particular keyword.
My guess is that this data, too, is pulled from Google’s API as it aligns with the numbers you’d see in Google’s keyword planner tool.
Another data point that is probably less relevant for SEO, but still a good metric to have in mind.
This indicates how difficult it is to rank for this keyword for paid Google ads (formerly “AdWords”).
This is seriously an amazing metric. Though it’s not 100% clear how this number is arrived it, being able to take the difficulty score and compare it to the search volume is the kind of thing SEOs dream of.
Until now, a lot of people would utilize strategies such as the Keyword Golden Ratio. However, Ubersuggest now gives you an easier way to do it without complicated calculations.
Now we get to the meat and potatoes.
Ubersuggest, as the name implies, not only gives you powerful metrics – it suggests potential keywords, including long-tail keywords, for you to try.
This is extremely useful, particularly if your initial keyword is highly competitive.
You can take a look at similar keywords and find one that has a sufficient amount of monthly searches but is lower in competition.
You even get this fun word bubble from Neil telling you about your keyword
B2B Keyword Use-Case Using Ubersuggest
I know what you are thinking – this all sounds great, but how can I use this to my advantage?
In this use-case, you’re planning on writing a new piece of content and want to know which keyword(s) to optimize it for.
Let’s go step-by-step through the process.
Assuming you aren’t coming into this with an idea in mind, you can actually use Ubersuggest to help you craft the entire focus of your post.
Step 1: Initial Keyword
What’s the main focus of your product, service, or blog?
If, for example, your blog generally focuses on topics regarding project management, try that high-level keyword first.
Uh-oh, looks like Neil says this one is going to be tough!
Not to worry, that’s why this tool exists in the first place.
Mouse over to “SD” (SEO Difficulty) and re-order it to go from lowest to highest.
The goal here is to find a keyword that has a medium-to-high amount of monthly searches but a low level of difficulty.
This long-tail keyword has almost 2,000 searches per month, but a difficulty level of only 8.
This would be a great keyword to use.
Step 2: Gathering Additional Keywords for Your Post
While your main keyword is the one you are going to try to rank for the most, having secondary keywords sprinkled throughout your post serves several purposes:
Puts you in contention for top search results for other keywords, even if the monthly searches are low
Can act and as semantic keywords for your post, which will be read by Google as supporting your initial keyword
Gives you more ideas for sub-sections of your post
Ubersuggest makes this really easy, just look at the suggested keywords that it provides and try to add them as H2 or H3 sections in your post!
Step 3: Analyze The Top Ranking Posts
One of the benefits of Ubersuggest, beyond keyword research and analysis, is that it shows you the top 100 pages that rank for a given keyword, as well as some other stats relating to them.
Since you are trying to get position 1, why not take a look at what its current inhabitant has done to get there?
First, you’ll notice that though the exact phrase is not used in their title.
Google’s algorithm is clearly picking up on the semantic similarities between “Program Manager vs. Project Manager” and “Project Management vs Program Management.”
While the differences are minor to a human mind, the fact that Google was able to understand the complexity of natural language is actually pretty impressive.
But, that’s for a different blog post.
Now, let’s take a look at the content itself.
If we take the entire post and create a word cloud, showing which key phrases and words are used most, we can learn a lot about how Google decided this particular post should be listed first.
By pasting the content of the post into a free word cloud generator, we get a great 30,000-foot view of the main focus of the post.
As you may have suspected, the keywords “program”, “project”, and “manager” are all featured prominently.
Let’s take a deeper look at how many times, exactly, some of these key phrases appear.
Two of the most critical keywords appear very often in this post – 15 times for “program manager” and 18 times for “project manager.”
However, the exact phrase that this post is ranking for doesn’t even appear a single time in the post.
The post is also not incredibly long, only 735 words.
These days, that’s a pretty short blog post.
Ok, so with this information in mind, there are a few things you can do in your post to have a better shot at ranking higher:
Use the exact phrase – The currently #1 ranking post does not use the exact phrase once, so you can have the advantage there. Don’t keyword stuff, but at least use it in the title.
Skyscraper – A very popular content tactic among SEO experts these days is the skyscraper technique. Essentially, find a high ranking post and write a similar post, but just make it 10x better. In this case, the post was only 735 words which means it wasn’t very in-depth. If you go deeper and make something that is long-form, you have a great shot at overtaking the #1 spot
Semantic keywords – This post is a clear indication that Google values semantic keywords nearly as much (maybe just as much?) as exact match keywords. You can see that because the post doesn’t even have a single use of the main phrase, but is stuffed with semantically similar terms.
Ubersuggest for B2B Keyword Research: The Verdict
One word, awesome.
For a totally free tool to give you these kinds of actionable insights is unheard of.
To be able to get data on competitiveness, overall monthly searches, and suggested related keywords is just unbelievable.
Not to mention being able to see all the posts that rank for your keyword, along with all the other data.
It also looks like Neil might be planning to include some new features in the tool…
This could be a really cool feature – an engine that suggests content for you in order to help you rank higher? Hopefully, it is included free, but it’s certainly possible this feature will require some amount of money.
What do you think about the new and improved Ubersuggest? Leave your comments below!
These blogs are your best resource for finding out the latest trends, as well as news about new algorithm updates and other important issues regarding SEO today.
There is one thing that is almost a 100% guarantee – your potential customers have email and read it daily.
That’s just a fact.
So, if you have some sort of apprehension about leveraging email marketing because it might come off as “spammy” you better let that go ASAP.
It’s only spammy if you are spamming people.
B2B email marketing comes in two basic forms:
When someone comes to your site and gives you their email address in return for something like an eBook or access to a webinar, they are now an inbound lead.
Once their email is collected, you are now able to nurture them with email marketing.
Since these leads have essentially raised their hand and shown at least a modicum of interest, the type of content they will get will be different.
In general, you should be leveraging some sort of marketing automation tool for this kind of email activity.
Otherwise known as “cold emailing,” this type of B2B email marketing tactic requires real effort, or else you risk falling into becoming just another spammer.
And you don’t want that.
Cold email outreach can carry with it one of the highest ROIs of any B2B marketing strategy.
But, in order to make it a success, you have to make sure the person on the receiving end does not feel like they are being reached out to be a robot.
That means that, even if you are sending emails en masse, you have to make sure they have context for the recipient.
The latest trend in B2B marketing is Account Based Marketing (ABM).
However, this is really a tried-and-true tactic that has been repackaged in a new, sexy title.
Account Based Marketing is a tactic in which a marketer first identifies the “accounts” (companies or individuals) they want to convert. Then, contact information for these people is collected and they are put through a well-constructed marketing campaign.
One of ABM’s greatest benefits is that, due to the fact that the prospects have been hand-picked, the sales process tends to be quicker and more efficient.
B2B Account Based Marketing leverages many channels – however, email marketing tends to have the greatest focus.
5. Virtual Chat
One of the latest crazes in marketing, in general, is the use of virtual chat or chatbots on your website.
When they first hit the scene, they were often used by B2C companies rather than B2B.
However, these have proven to be amazing tools for B2B marketers when done correctly.
The main goal of any B2B marketing strategy is to generate qualified leads and virtual chat gives you the ability to both interact with engaged visitors, as well as qualify them on the spot.
6. Direct Mail
Yes, you read correctly.
Mail, as in snail mail.
It might be old school, but this marketing strategy having a renaissance of sorts.
B2B direct mail marketing is a great tactic when coupled with other outreach methods, such as outbound emailing.
However, just like emails, direct mail should be contextual and relevant to the recipient.
Try sending some sort of gift, perhaps something that you know they like – such as a poster of an athlete on their home team.
7. Banner Ads
Though they are becoming increasingly expensive, banner ads still have great potential for B2B marketing.
Rather than putting your resources towards banner ads through display networks, which can be expensive and provide poor performance, try approaching the blogs you want to be seen on directly.
Often, these blogs will have advertising options that include display ads.
By doing this, you will be able to target the exact audience you are looking for and not rely on algorithms.
One strategy is to look at where you are getting traffic from – is there a blog that once mentioned you that is still driving traffic to your site? Is that traffic converting?
If so, reach out to them – see if you can get your banner on their site.
Clearly, they have an audience that is interested in your product or service.
8. AdWords (Now part of “Google Ads”)
Trying to organically rank for those highly desired keywords can be a costly and time-consuming endeavor.
Yes, organically ranking is definitely the ideal, but sometimes it’s just not realistic.
That’s why AdWords still has so much value for B2B marketers.
If you’ve already outlined a list of high-value keywords, along with those powerful long-tail keywords, you should look it over and decide which keywords are your most valuable.
(If you don’t have such a list, now is the time to write it.)
AdWords is actually as much an art as it is a science. You need to understand how to craft AdWords ads that are of high quality, or else you will end up paying more or, even worse, not have your ads display at all.
Ever visit a site and then notice that you see ads for that very same site everywhere you go?
It’s actually a far more effective form of paid advertising than purely running banner ads.
Using services such as Google Ads or AddRoll, you can serve relevant ads to people at various stages of the buying cycle.
Some retargeting platforms enable you to dictate which ads are shown based on the sites that a visitor “dropped off” on, as well as suppress ads for people that shouldn’t see them – such as those people that have already purchased.
10. Inbound Marketing (Lead Generation)
Leads, leads, and more leads.
That’s what B2B marketers are after.
One of the most tried and true tactics for lead generation is Inbound Marketing.
That is, attracting potential visitors to your site with great content, getting them to fill out a form (in exchange for a piece of content), and then marketing to them as they move through the buying cycle.
Well, that’s nice in concept, but how do you generate leads.
That’s a topic that could have an entire encyclopedia written about it.
The two most important things to focus on for generating inbound leads are:
Have awesome content that establishes thought-leadership in your niche
Optimize your site for converting traffic into leads
Optimizing your site for conversions includes adding forms and website popups – though this must be done tactfully, or you will annoy your visitors.
Sometimes, you want to go straight to your prospects, rather than wait for them to come to you.
That’s when lead prospecting comes into play.
B2B lead prospecting can be done in many ways, but you will always first need to have defined personas of the types of people you most want in your sales pipeline.
With those personas, you can go to places like LinkedIn to find prospects that fit your pre-defined personas.
With those names, companies, and job titles in hand, you can head over to Hunter.io to find their potential email addresses.
On its face, this is a simple process. However, there is a lot of complexity to it and it can be time-consuming – unless you have a defined process to follow.
The real work comes when you begin reaching out to those prospects; your communications with them cannot seem templated.
You have to create context in order to get their attention.
As mentioned earlier, establishing thought-leadership is one of the most important aspects of B2B marketing.
Quora, a social network where people ask and answer questions, is the perfect vehicle for doing it.
Take some time every week to go through questions within your space and answer them. Make sure to be as in-depth as possible.
Then, ask your work colleagues and friends to upvote your answer so that it will get to that coveted #1 spot.
Make sure to include a link back to your site or the post that you are summarizing with your answer.
13. Blog Commenting
This is another tactic that, if done incorrectly, could end up being straight up spam.
However, when done thoughtfully, blog commenting can be a great way to drive relevant traffic to your site.
You should set aside 30 minutes every day to visit the top blogs in your industry. Find new posts that are somewhat related to a post on your blog. Then, make a comment on the blog relating the post with the one you created and share a link.
You should also check Google news search daily for relevant blogs to comment on.
14. Facebook (Facebook Groups)
While a less obvious match for B2B marketing than LinkedIn, Facebook still has significant potential.
Beyond the standard updating of company pages, a new channel within Facebook is giving B2B marketers greater opportunities to expand their reach.
It’s called Facebook Groups.
While not “new” per se, it’s only now gaining traction amongst B2B marketers as a way to build a community and create an engaged audience.
With LinkedIn Groups falling into mediocrity (for now), Facebook Groups are wide open for B2B marketers.
Building a community takes time – it won’t happen overnight.
However, if you keep at it, you will reap the rewards.
Twitter isn’t just for reading the President’s latest tweet-storm.
It’s actually a fantastic distribution channel for content – you just have to know how to get that content in front of the right people.
B2B Twitter marketing should not be an after-thought, it needs to be finely planned and executed.
Make sure you thoroughly research your niche – find out which Twitter accounts have the most followers and engage with them as much as possible, even if they are competition.
Also, research hashtags – make sure to use them in your tweets when distributing your content.
Tweet on a regular basis – multiple times a day.
And not just your own content, you should be curating content as well.
As the pre-eminent professional social network, LinkedIn is an obvious choice for B2B marketers.
Marketing on LinkedIn can take many forms, and upcoming changes to the platform mean that strategies will have to change, too.
Having a wide network on LinkedIn is a huge asset, particularly if your connections are in positions and companies that could be potential sources of revenue for you.
That’s why leveraging your personal profile tends to have greater benefit than a company page.
Not to say that a company page should be ignored – it should not. Your company page should be constantly updated when you publish new content or have a new announcement.
However, with your personal profile, you have much more to work with.
From long-form content to video and hashtags, leveraging your personal profile can be a great marketing strategy for B2B marketing success.
Let’s not forget about LinkedIn Groups, though.
In years past, LinkedIn Groups provided an amazing channel for B2B marketers. However, they have since become a cesspool of spam and low engagement.
But change may be coming and LinkedIn Groups could potentially be something you should look at in the near future.
In the world of B2C marketing, Pinterest has become the latest fad. However, this has not fully made its way over to the B2B side.
And, frankly, it might never make it at all.
However, part of being a good B2B marketer is trying to be where the audience is before they even get there – so you have to put some effort into Pinterest.
A good strategy for getting started with B2B marketing on Pinterest would be to create an image for each new post you make and pin it. Make sure to superimpose the title of the post on the image so that people can easily know where they are going.
This can easily be done on Photoshop, or you can also check out Canva.
Got infographics? Great, use those on Pinterest as well.
Pinterest is likely to become a very widely-used marketing strategy for B2B, so get in on it before everyone else!
Additional B2B Marketing Strategies
Other B2B marketing strategies you should consider include:
While we were also doing “traditional” inbound marketing, we felt that it was going to be more successful to attempt some outbound, account-based marketing.
After discussing internally and looking at previous campaigns we had done – their successes and failures – we set out to create a campaign that would be infinitely more effective and successful than any other we had done up to that point.
First, we had to define the persona of the target that we’re going after.
Every company should have ideal personas that they go after.
Based on the persona that you have created, you can then build your content and positioning to gain their interest.
However, especially with smaller startups, your company may have not done this yet.
For this particular B2B campaign we look at several variables:
Immediacy of Need
For this campaign, we looked for the following:
Director of Marketing
$100,000 annual marketing budget
Looking to do a branding campaign in the next month
Lastly, and most importantly, we were looking at companies that have raised a round of funding greater than $1 million in the last month.
The reasoning behind this was that any startup that has recently raised money:
Has a budget
Is clearly trying to get more visibility around their brand
Before starting our research, we created a spreadsheet that included 6 fields:
This spreadsheet would end up as a .csv file and be uploaded to our marketing automation platform for use during the campaign.
First, we needed to find companies that met our most important criteria – recent round of funding.
To do this, I went over to a highly underutilized channel for B2B prospect research – CrunchBase.
Once we had our list of companies, amount of money raised, and the date of the funding round, we went over to LinkedIn to find the Directors of Marketing at those companies.
Given that the target market included Marketing Directors at startups, it was the most reasonable place to look.
Once we had the names, job titles, companies, as well as the titles of the jobs that these companies were looking for, we then set out to find their actual contact information.
One tool that I found to be successful over and over again, is hunter.io, which has both a freemium and paid subscription service that essentially allows you to find the email addresses of anybody.
In essence, Hunter will look at the person’s name, company, and company URL. If they can’t find their exact email address, they’ll match the naming convention of other people at that company, and will give you a likelihood of if the email address is correct.
In my experience, Hunter has been correct about 85% of the time.
We did have a paid account, so we were able to upload a CSV large scale and spit out the results of the emails.
Once we had all the relevant information, we then uploaded our .csv list to our marketing automation tool.
(At the time, the platform we used was Pardot)
We then set out to create smart email cadences in order to get relevant email content in front of our prospects.
Some of the fields in our .csv file – namely amount raised – were not default fields and therefore needed to be added as “custom fields.”
It was this field that was the most crucial aspect of the campaign, as it was the information that added context to the emails.
The emails and subject lines themselves were written as templates, but utilized mail merges in a way that would make the recipient feel like it was written just for them.
Given that subject lines are the key to getting someone to open an email, we made sure to include the Amount Raised field within the subject.
Congrats on raising <Amount Raised>
There are a few things to notice here.
The body of the first email began as follows:
“Hi, <first name>, I noticed that <company> just raised <amount raised> – congrats!”
Here, too, you can see that we accomplished two things: personalization and context.
The email continued:
“I wanted to let you know that we have the perfect audience for you to increase your brand awareness and generate relevant traffic”
Finally, we ended with a call to action…
Testing Calls to Action
We tested two different strategies in terms of calls to action.
Fill out a form to schedule a meeting
Respond with the best time to speak
We found that a response was much more effective.
Overall, what we did in this campaign created the outcome in which were able to convert 10% of these prospects into sales qualified leads that our sales team was able to work with.
This was a campaign that was extremely successful and something I duplicated over and over again.
Regardless of the industry that you’re in, all that you need to do is create context.
Prospects then get emails that don’t seem like they are automated, it seems like they are unique and personalized to that individual person.
And by doing that you will see an incredible increase in success rate of your email marketing campaigns.
We’re incredibly honored to be listed next to some of the amazing blogs that we, ourselves, love to visit.
The internet can be a crowded place, and we often get inundated with content. However, if you are able to cut through the abundance of schlock out there, there are some fantastic B2B marketing blogs that can offer you immense value.
In celebration of being named by Feedspot as a top B2B Marketing Blog, we wanted to highlight for you our top 10 b2b marketing blogs.
The great thing about Scalable B2B is that we aren’t promoting our service or product – our primary purpose to provide you, the B2B marketer, with the best insights, tips, and actionable tools to scale your company’s marketing and fill your pipeline.
With all the noise out there in the blog-o-sphere, Scalable B2B is maniacally focused on providing the highest caliber B2B marketing content for our readers.
Being featured as a top B2B marketing blog by Feedspot is thrilling and we’re looking forward to continuing to provide you – the B2B marketer – with amazing content to help you maneuver through a changing world.
Make sure to sign up for our newsletter to get amazing B2B marketing content sent directly to your mailbox.
With all the new technologies, tactics, strategies, and trends out there, we are keeping our finger on the pulse of the B2B marketing world – so you can focus on scaling your B2B marketing and crushing your goals.
Just getting started in B2B marketing?
When you are just getting started with B2B marketing, the wealth of knowledge available can often feel overwhelming.
If you try to learn everything, it will be like trying to boil the ocean.