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It’s a great feeling when you first sign up for a marketing automation platform. Finally, you have access to the data you need to improve engagement and move the needle with your B2B digital marketing efforts.

But then you log in. Suddenly, you’re flooded with statistics. Leads. Impressions. Views. Clicks. Opens. Bounces. After years of not having enough marketing data, you find yourself facing the opposite problem–there are too many metrics.

Data can be incredibly valuable and can help guide your marketing strategy, but not all metrics are created equal. The challenge is separating the wheat from the chaff. So, which marketing analytics should you pay attention to?

Here are a few of the metrics every B2B business should be looking out for.

1. Marketing qualified leads

Everyone loves hearing about an increase in leads. Which makes sense, right? More leads mean more people you can contact, nurture and convert into customers. But how do you know which leads are worth following up on? This is the plight many B2B companies face, but marketing qualified leads are the solution.

A marketing qualified lead (MQL) is someone who is more likely to become a customer than other leads. MQLs show a higher level of engagement by taking actions like submitting contact information, opting into a program, downloading content materials or repeatedly visiting your website. The best way to gauge a lead’s level of interest is to set up a lead scoring system using a marketing automation platform like HubSpot or Marketo.

A lead scoring system ranks a lead based on the actions they take. Points can be assigned based on the pages they visit, their frequency of interactions, links clicked, email engagement, downloads, etc. For example, you could assign 5 points for an email click and 10 points for a white paper download. Once a lead reaches a specific score, they become an MQL. Identifying MQLs allows you to hone in on highly qualified leads rather than wasting time pursuing dead-end leads. 

2. Sales qualified leads

A sales qualified lead (or SQL) is the next stage after MQL. Understanding the difference between an SQL and MQL is crucial to effective lead management. An SQL is in the buying stage, while an MQL isn’t ready to make a purchase yet. When an MQL transitions into the SQL stage, that means it’s time for sales to close the deal.

When setting up a lead scoring system, an SQL should have a higher score than an MQL. Only high-interest activities should trigger the transition from MQL to SQL. For instance, someone should be given a higher score if they download a sales guide, fill out a request a quote form or visit product/service spec pages multiple times.

3. Landing pages

Tracking landing page performance is key to analyzing the success of your marketing campaigns. In a landing page report, you can see how many people viewed your page, how long they typically stay on the page, and whether or not they clicked on a call-to-action. Identifying which landing pages convert the most gives you valuable insight into what’s working and what’s not working. This data can help you decide what types of content are most effective and how you want to structure future campaigns.

4. Traffic sources

Knowing your sources of traffic can help you build a more effective digital marketing strategy. In Google Analytics, you can view a traffic report that gives you a general overview of the different sources that send people to your website. Many marketing automation platforms or software also provide detailed reports for traffic sources. They typically break down website traffic into the following sources:

  • Organic search: visits from search engines like Google, Bing, etc.
  • Social media: visits from social media websites like Facebook and Twitter.
  • Referrals: visits from other websites.
  • Email marketing: visits from your email marketing campaigns.
  • Direct traffic: people who type in your website URL.
  • Paid social: people who visit from paid ads.

It’s important to know what sources are driving the most traffic to your website. If you’re running paid ad campaigns, you want to know how well they’re performing and if they are leading to site visits. Similarly, you can gauge the effectiveness of your email marketing by seeing how many people are clicking on your emails and visiting your website.

5. Bounce rate

Bounce rate is the percentage of visitors who leave your website after viewing only one page. You can use bounce rate as an indicator of the quality of your website and landing pages. A high bounce rate typically means that your site pages aren’t relevant to your visitors. It could also be linked to slow page load times, intrusive ads, hard-to-read pages or poor design.

Generally, you should target a bounce rate in the range of 26 to 40 percent. 41 to 50 percent is average, and 56 to 70 percent is higher than average, but it may not be a cause for concern depending on the page. For instance, an informational page that answers a specific question may have a bounce rate that is as high as 90%. This doesn’t mean the page is poorly designed; it just means the visitor found the answer they were looking for and left your website. 

In B2B tech marketing, tactics should be thought of as part of a larger whole, rather than separate pieces. By strategically integrating new and traditional marketing tactics, your marketing program become more effective and cost efficient. To learn more about how you can increase your lead generation and overall marketing, download our free eBook: Modern Integrated Digital Marketing—A Better Path for B2B Technology Marketers.

Courtney Gursky is a Digital Content Specialist at Schubert b2b. She graduated from Lafayette College with a B.A. in English. When she's not working, you can find her re-reading Harry Potter or taking way too many photos of her 4 cats and 3 dogs.

The post The Metrics That Matter Most for B2B Digital Marketing appeared first on Schubert b2b.

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Whether you are starting a new B2B marketing program or have been actively executing one for some time, it’s important to clearly identify your customer personas. You might be thinking, “But we already know our customers. We’ve been selling to them for 30 years.” True, but markets, attitudes, perceptions, challenges, companies and people change. To stay in tune with your current customers and win the mindshare of prospects, here are four things to keep in mind about personas:

1. Learn What Makes Them Tick

Customer personas are composite profiles of your buyers. We recommend creating one persona for each of your key markets. Personas include job-related information like demographics (title, education, location, age, income, etc.), responsibilities, behavior patterns, motivations, pain points/challenges, goals and purchase considerations. They provide a keen insight into the buyers and what is important to them. Ideally, you will also uncover switching incentives that would drive buyers away from your competitors and toward your company.

The goal is to identify the key loyalty drivers and expectations of your brand as compared to competitors. Why do customers buy from you? Why might you lose a sale? What makes you unique? What marketing channels do they use to get information and help them do their jobs better?

2. Market to People

Messaging in business-to-consumer marketing is directed right at the person who will eat, drink, drive, watch or use the product. But it’s really no different with B2B marketing. The ones making the purchasing decision (or influencing those who make the buying decision), are people trying to do their jobs as effectively and efficiently as possible.

Every B2B purchase decision comes down to a person who has a need and decides to trust one company over another. Even in B2B marketing, effective brands connect with people and build an emotional bond. B2B buyers want to know that you will make good on your promises and help them do their job better.

3. Obtain Customer Insights

Personas are created through research of customers and prospects and are used to correlate buyer behaviors by outlining what is typical or common. The best way to understand your customers is to contact them directly. Identify and reach out to customers in your key markets who would be interested in providing feedback about what makes them tick, purchase decisions, customer experience and perception of your company and products. Schedule a phone interview or send a survey by email that includes a section for them to write comments.

Internally, consult your sales, marketing managers and customer service reps about customer pain points, goals and behaviors. Also, take a look at the data you’ve collected in your customer relationship management (CRM) system for insightful comments, complements and critiques.

4. Understand the Customer Journey

Understanding your customers’ journey to find a product or solution gives you the best opportunity to make that process as easy as possible—and to steer them to your company.

Customer journey maps provide insight into what a persona is doing at every step of the sales cycle and what they are thinking and feeling—from awareness of your products, to consideration, to purchase. Armed with this insight, you can better control the interaction with customers and prospects and create deeper engagement with the messaging.

As you can see, accurately identifying customer personas is at the heart of B2B marketing. Personas help you to understand your target audience and build the most compelling messaging and effective tactics to engage them. If you want to learn more, download our eBook, How to Create Buyer Personas for Your Business.

In B2B tech marketing, tactics should be thought of as part of a larger whole, rather than separate pieces. By strategically integrating new and traditional marketing tactics, your marketing program become more effective and cost efficient. To learn more about how you can increase your lead generation and overall marketing, download our free eBook: Modern Integrated Digital Marketing—A Better Path for B2B Technology Marketers.

Lisa Goetz is a public relations executive at Schubert b2b, where she primarily writes content and manages media relations. She brings 20 years of editorial and communications experience to Schubert b2b and holds a PhD in English literature from Duquesne University. When not in the office, Lisa likes to take excursions with her husband and hang out with her cat and a good book.

The post Effective B2B Marketing Starts with Customer Personas appeared first on Schubert b2b.

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B2B PR covers more than press releases and articles; it is about maintaining a favorable image for your company through your ongoing interactions with the media and public. That includes online reviews. Hopefully, most of your reviews are good, but since the invention of the internet, negative reviews come with the territory.

And even in B2B, online reviews carry a lot of weight. People will generally trust other people more than a corporation, so a negative review can really do some damage to your sales. They could be genuine reviews from customers who’ve had a bad experience or even fake reviewers who just get a kick out of it. But in either case, the part that matters the most is how you handle each situation.  

Fake Reviews

If your business is successful, you’re unfortunately prone for someone to leave a fake negative review. Whether it is an actual attack or they accidentally mistook your business for another company, it can be fixed.

Many review platforms allow you to report a review that is false and has malicious intent. So, if you believe the review is fake, act quickly by reporting it and be prepared as they may ask for verification or additional information. The whole process could take a few days and, depending on the review platform, there is a chance your claim might get denied. In the meantime, see below and address the issue as if it was genuine.

Genuine Reviews

You goofed up. It happens, but the way you respond can turn a bad situation into good B2B PR. Just like a fake review, it is important to handle it quickly, but calmly and in a professional manner. Take responsibility for the mistake that occurred and address their concerns. You can even thank them for bringing them to your attention. Empathy goes a long way, so be authentic and personal when you are remedying the problem. Also, try to take it offline. Leave a sincere exchange that the public can see, but look to solve the situation offline or in a private thread.

Taking ownership of the mistake and looking to reconcile is always the right move. It humanizes a company. Taking pride in your business and genuinely wanting to do good work is something people remember. That might even be better than a standard positive review.  

If someone leaves a negative review, don’t ignore it. Even the best B2B companies are bound to slip up eventually. Mess-ups happen, but you should not take them lightly. Online reviews can mean the difference between someone making a purchase or going to a competitor. Using your B2B PR skills to respond respectfully and professionally can go a long way.

In B2B tech marketing, tactics should be thought of as part of a larger whole, rather than separate pieces. By strategically integrating new and traditional marketing tactics, your marketing program become more effective and cost efficient. To learn more about how you can increase your lead generation and overall marketing, download our free eBook: Modern Integrated Digital Marketing—A Better Path for B2B Technology Marketers.

Mitch Mathern is a public relations executive at Schubert b2b. Mitch graduated from Rutgers University with a B.A. in Marketing. When not at the office, Mitch enjoys spending time at the beach with his surfboard, or catching up on the latest Philadelphia sports.

The post How to Handle Negative (Genuine and Fake) Customer Reviews appeared first on Schubert b2b.

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You’ve read many times on the Schubert b2b blog why it’s important to use an integrated strategy for your B2B marketing. That means tactics should be thought of as parts of a larger whole, all working seamlessly together to make your marketing program more effective and cost-efficient. With that advice in mind, here are 3 ways your public relations and social media tactics can work together to boost your B2B marketing:

1. Increase Your Mileage

You’ve written a press release announcing a new product and emailed it to select editors of targeted B2B trade publications. Now you wait. Often, you’ll start to see your news posted on trade pub sites by later that day or the next. But it will take weeks before it appears in print, depending on publication schedules.

To get more immediate mileage out of your release, share the news on your social media platforms. Be sure to change the tone from the formal press release to something more conversational to fit each outlet. Because sharing the news via social media is different than sharing it with editors, you’ll want to write posts that focus on your followers and how your new product is a solution to their challenges. Add the release to your news page and include the link in your posts.

2. Share the Love

If a trade publication picks up your release and shares your news on its social accounts, jump in and engage with those posts. Share the mention on your social media platforms and thank the journal—using the appropriate social handles and hashtags—for covering your news. Include the link to your release on the trade pub’s site.

Monitor your posts to see if any followers—yours or the trade pub’s—comment or share. Then, engage with your audience. When you are mentioned, interact with these social peers and remember that people want to connect with people, even in B2B. Humanize your content and make it obvious that a person is behind the posts while staying true to your brand identity and messaging platform.

3. ICYMI

Unlike a press release, which is a one-and-done tactic, unless an editor wants to feature your new technology in an article, the social sharing of your news can grow and build. In these “in case you missed it” posts, you don’t want to beat your followers over the head with the same verbiage and continue to link to the press release. Videos, animatics and infographics that highlight the benefits of your new product are great ways to keep your social audience consuming your content in different ways. Because they are visually interesting, these pieces will keep your followers from scrolling past the posts.

Together, public relations and social media take your message far and are key players within your integrated B2B marketing strategy. Public relations encourages industry and customer confidence because your appearance in trade publications is earned and relies on editors to approve and publish your news. Social media gives you the power to engage with trade publications and their followers. It also delivers relevant content about your products to your own social audience in a variety of interesting formats.

In B2B tech marketing, tactics should be thought of as part of a larger whole, rather than separate pieces. By strategically integrating new and traditional marketing tactics, your marketing program become more effective and cost efficient. To learn more about how you can increase your lead generation and overall marketing, download our free eBook: Modern Integrated Digital Marketing—A Better Path for B2B Technology Marketers.

Lisa Goetz is a public relations executive at Schubert b2b, where she primarily writes content and manages media relations. She brings 20 years of editorial and communications experience to Schubert b2b and holds a PhD in English literature from Duquesne University. When not in the office, Lisa likes to take excursions with her husband and hang out with her cat and a good book.

The post 3 Ways PR and Social Media Work Together to Boost B2B Marketing appeared first on Schubert b2b.

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These days, almost everyone is drowning in emails. Take a look at anyone’s inbox and you’re bound to see an assortment of emails–from spam and discount codes to newsletters and messages from friends and colleagues. With all of these emails vying for your readers’ attention, how can you rise above the clutter?

A compelling subject line can mean the difference between someone opening your B2B marketing email, deleting it or, even worse, marking it as spam. Take this statistic for example–47% of email recipients open emails based on the subject line alone. With this in mind, you need to know how to create more effective and engaging email subject lines.

We’re sharing a few tips for writing subject lines that convince your prospects to open, read and click on your emails:

1. Focus on their pain points

Before you can create effective email subject lines, you need to know your target audience’s biggest pain points. You can then offer a solution to these challenges in your subject line.

Here are some examples of email subject lines that address specific pain points someone may be experiencing with marketing:

  • What’s holding back your marketing strategy?
  • 5 marketing mistakes and how you can avoid them
  • Want to improve your content marketing? Read this.
  • Steal these 4 content marketing ideas
  • How to plan a marketing strategy on a small budget
2. Watch your subject line length

Keep in mind that your readers are using a variety of different email clients and devices. More emails are being opened on mobile devices, which typically show fewer characters of a subject line than a desktop. According to Return Path, a typical desktop inbox displays about 60 characters of an email subject line, while mobile devices show only 25-30 characters.

Before you can determine the best subject line length, you need to know what percent of your subscribers open your emails on a mobile phone vs. desktop vs. tablet. Depending on what email marketing tool or marketing automation platform you use, you should be able to find this information in your email reports.

If you’re having trouble keeping your subject lines short, think about what words will matter most to your readers. Don’t waste space with unnecessary words like “newsletter” or “update.” Your subject lines should contain words that will pique their interest and elicit an emotional response.

3. Take out anything spammy

Subjects lines that are overly salesy have a higher chance of getting marked as spam. In fact, 69% of email recipients report email as spam based solely on the subject line. That means you should avoid using spam trigger words like free, no cost, bargain, buy now, act now, best price, incredible deal and so on. (For more email spam words to avoid, check out this list from HubSpot.)

Instead of focusing on a promotion, why not focus on your expertise or share useful information? If you’re sending them a link to download an eBook or a whitepaper, the subject line could be the title of the content piece or what they will learn after reading the eBook. For example, you could send an email with the subject line, “5 Ways to Increase B2B Marketing ROI.” It’s short and sweet, triggers a pain point and delivers a clear message.

4. Use personalization

Personalization is key to boosting engagement and improving the results of your B2B email marketing. One way you can personalize your emails is to add the recipient’s first name to your email subject line. This is easy to do in many marketing automation platforms and email marketing services. For example, you could send an email with the subject line, “Eric, thanks for being a loyal customer.”

Adding a person’s name to the subject line can give the email a more personal tone and feel. It also helps your email stand out in a crowded inbox. I know my eyes are immediately drawn to any email with a subject line that addresses me by name, even if it is a promotional email from a company I’ve never heard of.

Before you send out a personalized email, it’s a good idea to proofread your contact list. Make sure their first name is spelled correctly and only the first letter is capitalized. No one wants to see an email with this subject line: “Hi AMY, thanks for downloading the eBook.”

In B2B tech marketing, tactics should be thought of as part of a larger whole, rather than separate pieces. By strategically integrating new and traditional marketing tactics, your marketing program become more effective and cost efficient. To learn more about how you can increase your lead generation and overall marketing, download our free eBook: Modern Integrated Digital Marketing—A Better Path for B2B Technology Marketers.

Courtney Gursky is a Digital Content Specialist at Schubert b2b. She graduated from Lafayette College with a B.A. in English. When she's not working, you can find her re-reading Harry Potter or taking way too many photos of her 4 cats and 3 dogs.

The post 4 Tips for Creating Powerful Email Subject Lines appeared first on Schubert b2b.

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What is growth hacking?

You may have heard the term “growth hacking” before as it has been in the mix of marketing lingo for a few years now, but it is essentially a fancy term for strategies focused solely on exponential growth. It’s a marketing approach with the goal of acquiring as many users or customers as possible while spending as little as possible.

Growth hacking uses creative, low-cost tactics to help businesses acquire and retain customers. Marketers who use this strategy are known as “growth hackers,” or people who replace traditional marketing tactics and utilize only what is testable, trackable and scalable.

Growth hacking B2B

If you do a quick search for growth hacking success stories, you’ll realize that they are largely startups in the B2C world. B2C growth hackers might have some advantages due to the nature of their industry and more buyers, but there is plenty of room in the B2B world for growth hacking tactics and strategies as well.

Growth hacking can fall into many categories, but in B2B, strategies mainly fall into three areas:

1) Content Marketing

Demonstrating your business knowledge and expertise is a great lead generator in B2B. Content marketing can be a low-cost way to get the word out about your products and your overall knowledge of the industry. It can come in the form of:

  • eBooks
  • Infographics
  • White papers
  • Webinars
  • Blogging
2) Product Marketing

The activity of specifically marketing your product or service to make it more appealing and build its user base. This could be offering a free trial, free tool or an incentive based around your product to gain users and visibility for your business.

3) Advertising

Social advertising and using pay-per-click to promote your business and products. If targeted correctly with an enticing and clear offer, advertising on social platforms or websites that your audience frequently visits could radically spike your growth.

Real growth hacking

Paypal

After its development, Paypal used growth hacking to grow their customer base to over 100 million users. The online money transferring platform offered $10 to existing users if they invited new users to use the platform. According to Elon Musk, one of Paypal’s founders, they spent about $60 million on referral incentives before the campaign ended. That may seem like a large chunk of change for a new business, but in 2018, it has more than paid off as the company has a market capitalization value of $104 billion.

Dropbox

With a strategy similar to Paypal’s, Dropbox used referrals to grow their user base from 100,000 to 4,000,000 in just 15 months! Dropbox offered extra storage space to both its referrer and referees of the program. The offer was visible during the on-boarding process, and with its enticing 500 MB of extra storage and a total incentive limit of 16 GB, they created a viral spread of referrals. The company is now worth $10 billion, thanks in part to this early growth hacking strategy. 

Airbnb

Airbnb’s growth hack is a little less conventional than most. In their early years, the online vacation rental hub was looking to expand and knew their main target audience was already using Craigslist for real estate rentals. So, after creating an integration with Craigslist to allow Airbnb listings to be posted on the competition’s website, they also created a bot to email listers on Craigslist that they should also post on Airbnb for more exposure. This definitely constitutes as spam, but it opened the floodgates for a whole new group of users that flocked to their website and helped Airbnb recently receive an evaluation of $31 billion in 2017.

Growing your business might seem like an obvious goal, but using a strategy solely based on low-cost, fast-paced growth is what growth hacking is all about. The cool thing is that  proven tactics and new methods are constantly popping up! The key is using the right ones in a novel way for your business and your customers. If you need help, let us know.

In B2B tech marketing, tactics should be thought of as part of a larger whole, rather than separate pieces. By strategically integrating new and traditional marketing tactics, your marketing program become more effective and cost efficient. To learn more about how you can increase your lead generation and overall marketing, download our free eBook: Modern Integrated Digital Marketing—A Better Path for B2B Technology Marketers.

Mitch Mathern is a public relations executive at Schubert b2b. Mitch graduated from Rutgers University with a B.A. in Marketing. When not at the office, Mitch enjoys spending time at the beach with his surfboard, or catching up on the latest Philadelphia sports.

The post Growth Hacking: Defined, B2B Strategies and Real Examples appeared first on Schubert b2b.

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In the early days of marketing, the only tools you needed were a pen, piece of paper and a strong cup of coffee. Fast forward to today and the average marketer now uses five different marketing and media tools to accomplish their goals.

There are a lot of moving pieces that make up your B2B marketing strategy, from social media and blogging to search engine optimization (SEO) and email marketing. You need the right tools to make sure your marketing is successful and actually leads to sales.

Today, we’re sharing some of our favorite marketing tools—tools we would recommend to anyone looking to improve the effectiveness of their B2B digital marketing. 

1. Buzzsumo

If you’re running out of content ideas, Buzzsumo shows you what content is working well in your industry. The tool allows you to search by keyword or topic to find the most popular or shared content. You have the ability to filter by content type, date, social network, etc. This helps you create content that better engages your target audience.

2. Feedly

There are a ton of resources available online for B2B marketers. The challenge is keeping up with the onslaught of content. Feedly is a news aggregator tool that enables you to read, share and organize content from your favorite marketing blogs, publications and online sources—in one convenient news feed. The tool helps you stay informed and up-to-date on the latest industry or marketing news and trends.

3. HubSpot

Over the last decade, HubSpot has emerged as a major contender in the marketing automation space, and for good reason. The company offers an all-in-one marketing software that includes:

  • Blogging
  • Social media
  • Email
  • Lead management
  • Landing pages
  • Marketing automation
  • Calls-to-action
  • Analytics

HubSpot’s marketing software offers everything you need for successful B2B digital marketing in one place. We work with many different marketing automation platforms, with HubSpot being the foremost among them.

It’s important to connect with prospective buyers at every stage of the research and buying process. Marketers can use HubSpot to develop lead nurturing workflows that engage prospects throughout the buyer’s journey. It’s easy to build emails and landing pages in the platform, and you can find all the insights and metrics you need to make sure your marketing is working.

4. Google Analytics

Analyzing your website traffic is key to improving the effectiveness of your current marketing strategy and knowing when it’s time to make improvements. Google Analytics offers valuable insights into who visits your website, how they arrive at your website and what pages they spend the most time on. The “All Traffic” tab shows you a collective overview of all sources of web traffic—whether it’s social media, organic search, paid search or email.

All of this information helps you create a more customized and relevant site experience for your visitors. It is also useful for deciding which marketing channels you should focus on. If most of your traffic comes from Facebook, you could share more blog posts on this platform.

5. Hotjar

In order to achieve your digital marketing goals, you need to know what’s working and what’s not working on your website. A heat mapping tool, Hotjar lets you see how visitors are really using your website. Visual reports and individual session recordings show you where visitors are coming from, what parts of your website they interact with, and where they were when they left your website. You can see what design elements have a direct impact on conversions and make changes as needed.

There’s no such thing as a “one size fits all” marketing platform or tool. Take the time to figure out what works for you and your business. This process may take awhile, but it is an essential part of any successful marketing strategy. Let us know if you need help deciding on the best tools for your business. We can answer any questions and provide recommendations based on your specific needs.

In B2B tech marketing, tactics should be thought of as part of a larger whole, rather than separate pieces. By strategically integrating new and traditional marketing tactics, your marketing program become more effective and cost efficient. To learn more about how you can increase your lead generation and overall marketing, download our free eBook: Modern Integrated Digital Marketing—A Better Path for B2B Technology Marketers.

The post 5 B2B Digital Marketing Tools You Should Be Using Right Now appeared first on Schubert b2b.

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When creating a B2B marketing plan, you need to determine the best integrated tactics to capture the attention of your buyers. Long-form content, like articles and white papers, written by your subject matter experts demonstrate knowledge of your target industries and the challenges that your products can help to solve. But the question arises, which is preferable—earned or paid content? The former is a public relations tool, while the latter falls under advertising.

Earned Content

Having a trade publication publish an article from your company means editorial gatekeepers accept you as an authority in your field—and they are willing to position your writers as industry experts in their pages and on their websites. To have editors notice the value of your contribution and include it as a featured article, you have to earn it. That means building up your editorial relationships by offering pertinent, targeted content that is informative and not promotional.

But the hard work pays off. Including media relations and earned content in your B2B marketing plan raises the awareness of your company as a leader in the field in the eyes of editors and readers. When a publisher picks up your article, it boosts awareness of your company’s capabilities among your current clients, prospects, industry partners and business leaders.

Landing an earned article on a publication’s site is valuable because it appears in internet searches, often includes a link to your website and lets readers share your content via social media and email.

Paid Content

With the shift from print media to digital, publishers have become very creative in offering digital advertising options. One of the choices is paid content, also known as native advertising because the written pieces resemble the publication’s natural editorial content.

A benefit of running a native advertising campaign with your key publications is that it positions your company as a thought leader more than an advertisement would. Paid article placements that are well-written and solve industry challenges without being overly promotional can provide value to your target audience.

Another advantage of paid content is lead generation. Because you are paying for the package, the publisher will leverage its print and digital media platforms to promote your native advertising campaigns and maximize your return on investment. The publisher likely can provide measurable statistics and deliver leads with key contact information. Often, paid content is tagged with keywords and reader search terms for ongoing exposure on the publisher’s site.

Weighing the Options

Some people might say that paid content blurs the line between editorial and advertising. Although most publications have rules about using promotional language in their paid content, the level of credibility might decline—if the pieces aren’t providing solutions to real-world industry problems. To make sure that your paid content isn’t viewed simply as pay-to-play, craft it with the same editorial integrity that you would when writing an earned article.

Integrating Your B2B Marketing Plan

Both paid and earned content give you the opportunity to showcase your thought leadership, provide visibility and reach your audience. But the most effective B2B marketing plan isn’t executing marketing tactics in isolation with individual goals, but rather developing a unified strategy with a consistent objective and messaging. In successful integrated marketing, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

In B2B tech marketing, tactics should be thought of as part of a larger whole, rather than separate pieces. By strategically integrating new and traditional marketing tactics, your marketing program become more effective and cost efficient. To learn more about how you can increase your lead generation and overall marketing, download our free eBook: Modern Integrated Digital Marketing—A Better Path for B2B Technology Marketers.

Lisa Goetz is a public relations executive at Schubert b2b, where she primarily writes content and manages media relations. She brings 20 years of editorial and communications experience to Schubert b2b and holds a PhD in English literature from Duquesne University. When not in the office, Lisa likes to take excursions with her husband and hang out with her cat and a good book.

The post Earned Versus Paid Content as Part of Your B2B Marketing Plan appeared first on Schubert b2b.

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Your company made the leap to partner with a B2B agency to lead your marketing efforts and to give your personnel more time to do what they do the best—research, develop, manufacture and provide the highest quality products in your industry. The right agency can provide expertise in devising an integrated strategy that grabs the attention of your customers as they search for information to guide purchasing decisions.

Here are three ways to get the most out of the relationship with your B2B agency:

1. Make Sure It’s the Right Fit

Before you sign the contract, take the time to review the B2B agency’s history, work and results. If your business is a B2B tech-based company, then you want to partner with an agency that specializes solely in those two areas. In other words, an agency that focuses mainly on business-to-consumer clients that sell shampoo or pizza might not be the best fit for you.

B2C agencies aren’t as likely to have personnel who understand the technology or the marketing strategies needed to capture the attention of B2B buyers and build your brand leadership. You need an agency that’s at ease with complicated technology in its many forms— software, biotech, electronics, instrumentation, chemicals, you name it. Your agency also must understand the complex markets that you need to reach, your buyers and their buying cycles.

2. Regularly Communicate

Partnering with a B2B agency doesn’t mean that your company never has to think about marketing again. You own the ship and your leadership team is the captain. The agency is the B2B tech marketing navigator. While you should trust that the agency is guiding you in the right direction, you need to make sure that it is delivering the services defined in your contract agreement. You also want to regularly discuss goals, results and next steps. We recommend scheduling regular calls, for example one 30-minute call per month, to update each other on ongoing program strategy, progress and your latest company news.

It’s important that you keep the agency informed of new products, personnel, trade show participation, R&D lab renovations and any other events that it can promote. And it’s your responsibility to make sure everyone in your company is on board. Despite their busy schedules and workload, key members of your team need to be available to serve as subject matter experts who agency personnel can contact to learn about your products, services and technology.

It’s also helpful for you to provide access to personnel from various areas of your business, so the agency’s experts can contact them to discover new information to promote. Some of the best suggestions come from customer-facing team members, like tech support and salespeople.

3. Review Monthly ROI Reports

At the start of the marketing program, work with your B2B agency to establish key performance indicators (KPIs) that the agency will measure. Each month have your agency contact person provide a report on how the program is tracking against the goals. Make sure the agency is also analyzing the month-to-month results and optimizing the program. They should place emphasis on the tactics and messages that are working the best and tweak or eliminate those that aren’t performing as well.

Keep in mind that some marketing activities are easier to measure than others. For example, an inbound marketing program is easier to track than an outbound program. That’s because marketing automation technology can track and monitor the success of your digital inbound marketing campaigns.

Your agency can gather the performance information and provide the expertise to accurately interpret that data to precisely determine what’s working and the best way to structure future campaigns. Analytics can be found for number of emails opened, length of time spent reading an email, most popular web page on a site, conversion rates on landing pages, number of visitors, number of downloads and more.

In B2B tech marketing, tactics should be thought of as part of a larger whole, rather than separate pieces. By strategically integrating new and traditional marketing tactics, your marketing program become more effective and cost efficient. To learn more about how you can increase your lead generation and overall marketing, download our free eBook: Modern Integrated Digital Marketing—A Better Path for B2B Technology Marketers.

Lisa Goetz is a public relations executive at Schubert b2b, where she primarily writes content and manages media relations. She brings 20 years of editorial and communications experience to Schubert b2b and holds a PhD in English literature from Duquesne University. When not in the office, Lisa likes to take excursions with her husband and hang out with her cat and a good book.

The post 3 Ways to Get the Most from Your B2B Agency appeared first on Schubert b2b.

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Muggle. Quaffle. Bludger. Snitch. Pensieve.

What would happen if I sent an email containing all of these terms to someone who isn’t a Harry Potter fan? If they’ve never read the books or watched the movies, they wouldn’t have the faintest idea what these words mean. To them, these phrases might as well be in a foreign language.

We’re all guilty of doing this. In our daily work emails and discussions, we constantly use jargony words that add nothing to the conversation and, even worse, can dilute the message we are trying to get across. Optimize. Scalable. Actionable. Paradigm. The list goes on and on.

It’s no different with B2B content marketing…

Technical jargon has a nasty habit of finding its way into all your B2B marketing materials—eBooks, white papers, videos, infographics, etc. You may use these words on a regular basis, so it’s only natural to include them in your content marketing. But how can your B2B content marketing be effective if people don’t understand the terms you are using?

If technical jargon keeps slipping into your marketing content lately, don’t despair. Here are a few tips for telling a story that resonates with your target audience and generates more leads.

Get to know your audience

Identifying your audience helps you speak their language. Who is your target audience? Who will be reading the eBook or watching the video you’re creating? This is where buyer personas come in handy.

According to HubSpot, buyer personas are defined as “fictional, generalized representations of your ideal customers.” Creating buyer personas is the first step in effective B2B content marketing. A persona can tell you where your audience finds information online, what challenges they are facing and what they consider when making a purchase.

The more detailed your buyer personas, the better. Here are a few things to consider when building buyer personas for your B2B content marketing:

  • Demographics (location, age, income, etc.)
  • Behavior patterns
  • Motivations
  • Pain points
  • Goals
  • Purchase considerations

The best way to understand your customers is to contact them directly. Send a survey by email or, better yet, schedule an interview over the phone. Another option is to consult sales, marketing and customer service reps about customer pain points, goals and behaviors. Lastly, you could take a look at the data you’ve collected in your customer relationship management (CRM) system. If you want to learn more, download our eBook, How to Create Buyer Personas for Your Business.

Use simple language to improve engagement

Jargon can be useful. In some cases, it can provide a concise description of a complicated or highly technical concept. However, it can cause a problem when your prospects don’t understand what you are saying.

Some content marketers may use technical jargon to try and impress readers and establish themselves as an industry expert. But it can end up having the opposite effect. In B2B content marketing, when people don’t understand what you’re saying, you miss out on vital opportunities to connect with and engage your audience.

Simple language is more memorable and stands out in the onslaught of jargon. This doesn’t mean you should “talk down” to people like they are children. What it does mean is that you should deliver a message that is clear and easy to understand.

Many times, when prospects research new technology, they don’t get answers to the questions they are asking. Instead, they get a long list of product features and tech-specific jargon. To be effective, your content marketing should make life easier for your ideal customer and clearly communicate:

  • The benefits of using your products
  • How easy it is to use your products

The last thing you want is for your prospects to read your content and ask, “What does this mean?” “What is this content trying to say?” 

There’s a time and place for technical jargon. If your audience understands the technical jargon, then go ahead and use it freely. However, if your marketing content is so clogged with technical jargon and acronyms that your readers need a translator, it’s time to make some changes. 

In B2B tech marketing, tactics should be thought of as part of a larger whole, rather than separate pieces. By strategically integrating new and traditional marketing tactics, your marketing program become more effective and cost efficient. To learn more about how you can increase your lead generation and overall marketing, download our free eBook: Modern Integrated Digital Marketing—A Better Path for B2B Technology Marketers.

Courtney Gursky is a Digital Content Specialist at Schubert b2b. She graduated from Lafayette College with a B.A. in English. When she's not working, you can find her re-reading Harry Potter or taking way too many photos of her 4 cats and 3 dogs.

The post Why You Should Cut the B2B Technical Jargon appeared first on Schubert b2b.

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