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Spontaneity isn’t my thing. A spur-of-the-moment date with my husband? A surprise party? Let’s play it by ear and see what happens? Horrors. I need a plan. Sure, that makes me really boring socially. But for promoting your products and services, a B2B marketing plan is super exciting because it provides the roadmap for success.

Without one, you run the risk of stringing together random actions that don’t work in concert to attain a specific result. Marketing tactics are just that—merely tactics—when developed and executed individually. Your advertising, emails, SEO efforts, graphic design, content writing, web development, public relations and social media work best when they work together.

Where to Begin

Before you pull together all of your marketing efforts, identify the goals of your integrated marketing plan. For example, you might want your plan to help you establish a more competitive brand in the markets your company serves, create and maintain a highly effective website, and develop a digital program that delivers and nurtures more qualified leads. Once you determine your marketing goals, then it’s time to create an integrated B2B marketing plan to achieve them.

5 Things to Include in Your Plan
  1. Discover and Define
  • Research your competitors and your clientele to determine your customer personas and customer journey maps.
  1. Strategy and Messaging
  1. Inbound Marketing Program for Lead Nurturing
  • Research, select and install a marketing automation platform.
  • Create workflows and develop content targeting your key industries.
  1. SEO, Conversion Design and Website Maintenance
  1. Public Relations and Social Media
  • Create PR and social media strategies that complement each other, coordinate with your inbound workflows and support your overall marketing plan.
Pulling It All Together

Of course, this is just a sample of things to include in your B2B marketing plan. If all of this sounds intimidating and time-consuming, partner with a B2B marketing agency. They can help you develop an integrated program that will utilize the best and most efficient ways to reach your market.

All marketing tactics should be thought of as part of a larger whole, rather than separate pieces. By strategically integrating all tactics, the programs become more effective and cost efficient. An Integrated marketing communication plan helps you meet real business objectives – generate leads, grow revenues, gain market share, and become the leading brand.

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 5 Basics to Boost Your B2B Marketing Plan appeared first on Schubert b2b.

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I have a confession to make. I love jigsaw puzzles. And I love seeing all the jagged pieces fit together to create a kitten playing with yarn, a barnyard full of animals or a castle on a hill.

I think that’s why I enjoy integrated digital marketing so much. It’s another puzzle to piece together. All the parts work seamlessly together to help you grow your B2B business, connect with your audience and create a cohesive branding experience. Content marketing, SEO, web design…by combining all these tactics, you multiply the effectiveness of each one. The challenge is figuring out how all the various pieces fit together.

Today, I’m sharing 4 integral pieces to successful integrated digital marketing for B2B businesses of all sizes.

1. Consistent Brand Messaging

An integrated digital marketing plan should deliver a clear, cohesive message across all channels and communications. It should be a message that resonates with your audience and inspires brand loyalty. Gives your company a competitive edge. Tells a compelling story. All while staying true to your brand’s core identity.

Before you can fully leverage the potential of integrated marketing, you must nail down your brand messaging. Here are some guidelines for developing effective and engaging messaging:

  • Interview the C-suite, sales team, customer service representatives and anyone who interacts directly with your customers.
  • Examine your competitors’ messaging, including taglines, slogans, mission statements, “About Us” pages and social media profiles, and see where you can differentiate yourself.
  • Go straight to the source and ask your existing customers for insights and their overall perception of your brand.

Use all of this information to develop a messaging platform that takes your target audience’s needs and your unique value proposition into consideration.

2. Content Marketing

Content is the powerhouse of a successful integrated digital marketing strategy. By sharing quality content on social media websites and industry blogs, you drive traffic to your website and improve conversions. You also win the trust of your target audience and keep your brand top of mind.

Content marketing is especially relevant to B2B tech brands. B2B buyer cycles continue to grow longer and more complex. In order to hit revenue goals and support growth, B2B companies must deliver relevant, compelling content at every stage of the buyer’s journey. When you share educational content that speaks directly to their needs and helps them solve their challenges, you set the stage for meaningful, long-lasting customer relationships.

3. Website Strategy

If you have a content marketing strategy that drives more traffic to your website, you want to ensure that your website looks…well, nice. Otherwise, your website visitors will run for the hills, never to return again.

Make sure your website is dressed to impress. But remember that a high-performing website requires more than just a pretty face. You also need a responsive, mobile-friendly website that is easy to navigate and optimized for conversions. Here are a few best practices for designing a high-converting website:

  • Strip your website of complex, technical jargon your customers aren’t familiar with.
  • Position your calls-to-action where they are easy to find.
  • Make sure your website navigation is intuitive and easy to use.
  • Set up landing pages that ask for contact information in exchange for a content offer, demo, free trial, etc.

Sound challenging? That’s because it is. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, seek the expert guidance of a B2B web design agency. Search for an agency that specializes in integrated digital marketing and conversion design.

4. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

There’s no denying that SEO plays a pivotal role in your integrated digital marketing strategy. A solid SEO strategy is key to getting your brand noticed in a crowded digital landscape.

When you target the right keyword phrases and produce quality content, you maximize your website traffic and boost your rankings. Conversely, using old-school tactics like keyword stuffing, link baiting and heavy use of anchor text can harm your site’s rankings. Focus on appealing to both search engines and users, and you will reap the benefits.

While this is by no means an exhaustive list, it is a good jumping off point for your integrated digital marketing strategy. As you use these tactics to build a strong framework, the other pieces will start to gradually fall into place.

All marketing tactics should be thought of as part of a larger whole, rather than separate pieces. By strategically integrating all tactics, the programs become more effective and cost efficient. An Integrated marketing communication plan helps you meet real business objectives – generate leads, grow revenues, gain market share, and become the leading brand.

Courtney Feairheller 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 Solving the Puzzle of B2B Integrated Digital Marketing appeared first on Schubert b2b.

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Social media has been around for some time now. Twitter launched 11 years ago, LinkedIn 14 years ago, Facebook 13 years ago — and you know what? They are still as relevant as ever.

Companies across the globe continue to use social media as a vital part of their marketing strategy — creating content to connect and engage their audience. Marketers have found their stride on social media, and B2B activity on Twitter, Facebook and other platforms has increased significantly in the past year. And in 2018, B2B social media use is undoubtedly going to see similar exponential growth as new technologies and marketing tactics come into play.

Gen Z and Gen Y, aka the infamous millennials, are starting to creep into positions with buying power, and a majority are very familiar with social media. In reality, it’s almost all they’ve ever known. They use it daily to connect with friends, check the news, read movie reviews, and even look for job opportunities. And after years of this behavior, this method of information seeking doesn’t just stop.

As new school B2B buyers step into the role of decision-maker, social media will influence their purchase decisions. Stay ahead of the curve in the new year with these B2B social media trends for 2018.

Augmented Reality

If you aren’t familiar with augmented reality (AR), it is computer-generated imagegry (CGI) that is overlaid onto camera-captured video. As a result, these CGI objects appear to be in the real world. And AR is already gaining popularity in the consumer market. It’s almost impossible to go on social media and not come across Snapchat and Instagram face filters and other branded AR content. However, the first widespread international use of augmented reality was the launch of Pokémon GO. The app had people running around cities across the world trying to catch a Pikachu (and it was awesome).

Now back to B2B, your CEO isn’t going to be posting selfies with the dog ears filter on the company Twitter account. But there are plenty of opportunities for AR in B2B marketing. As engineers refine these technologies, business will start to experiment with new marketing tactics.

Through social media platforms, brands will be able to put their products right in front of their customers. For example, take a look below at IKEA’s new “IKEA Place” app. It lets customers use AR to get an idea of what their furniture will look like in their homes using only their phone camera. Pretty cool, right?

Video

Video has already taken over the internet. During 2017, video is estimated to account for 74% of all internet traffic. It’s everywhere, and bumping into some version of a branded video on social media is a given at this point.

But it makes sense for marketers to favor this tool because video is a unique medium. It’s as close to face to face as you can get with your audience. With its various benefits and customizability, the use of video is only going to go up in 2018 as brands continue to refine the technique.

With video, especially on social media, shorter is better. In fact, 56% of all videos published in the last year are less than 2 minutes long. Don’t beat around the bush, be engaging and understand the goals of your video. In addition, the first couple seconds of your video must capture your audience’s attention and lock them in — keeping in mind the users on each platform. Mainly, Twitter and Instagram are quick-hit posts, so put your central message towards the beginning of the video. On the other hand, your audience on Facebook and YouTube will tolerate a longer video, so you don’t have to jump straight to the point.

If you feel like you’ve already overused traditional video, B2B animation is a great alternative for engaging your audience. Overall, animation is fun, playful and lets you stand out from all the other videos on B2B social media. Additionally, it’s a versatile medium that allows you to easily tailor your messaging or explain complex solutions and technical concepts. See an example below:

Using Remote Monitoring Technology to Prevent Pump Downtime - YouTube

And lastly, make sure all your videos are mobile-friendly. It is a must as we transition into 2018.  Also, consider that most people watch mobile videos without sound, so a good rule of thumb for social media video creation is to design with no sound and delight with sound on.

User-Generated Content

User-generated content (UGC) is any type of content created and shared by an unpaid contributor. It can be pictures, videos, or anything else that someone uses to promote the brand. This content strategy has been around since the creation of social media, but it wasn’t until recently that B2B brands began to see its benefits.

UGC speaks volumes for your brand. You’ve seen Coke’s #ShareACoke and Starbucks’ #WhiteCupContest in the B2C world. If someone is willing to broadcast their use of your product on social media, essentially a free word of mouth referral, you have something special. They are letting their followers know that they trust your product and are actively associating themselves with it. And in terms of referrals, people trust people — not corporations. This content lets you leverage that. Retweet or share these posts on your page, or even offer a contest to stimulate action.

In short, you can guarantee UGC will continue to be on all platforms in 2018. No other strategy allows a brand to increase their engagement and follower base with this type of genuine interaction.

Look out for platform changes

Don’t be surprised if the social media platforms themselves shift in the upcoming year. In 2017, we saw Twitter make a major change by doubling their character limit from 140 to 280. This was huge for marketers. You no longer have to say more with less. This addition opens the door to new strategies, more content and longer messages.

Other platforms may look to change or expand their services in 2018. Chatbots are already taking over Facebook messenger in an effort to improve customer service. Facebook is also looking to continue to develop their Spaces virtual reality platform. This tool allows users to connect through VR, letting them talk, interact and share content in a whole new way.

Social media is a fast-paced environment. And these platforms will continue to expand and change almost as fast as users share content on them. The influence B2B social media has on buying decisions is going to increase with upgraded technology and younger decision makers. Make sure you stay on top of trends and try new strategies in 2018. You never know what will go viral.

All marketing tactics should be thought of as part of a larger whole, rather than separate pieces. By strategically integrating all tactics, the programs become more effective and cost efficient. An Integrated marketing communication plan helps you meet real business objectives – generate leads, grow revenues, gain market share, and become the leading brand.

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 binging on the latest season of Vampire Diaries.

The post B2B Social Media Trends We are Going to See in 2018 appeared first on Schubert b2b.

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If your company has tasked you with getting your business brand out in front of potential customers by exhibiting at b2b trade shows, your first thought is probably, “Where do I even begin?” and running for the hills!

While it may seem like a daunting task…sort of looking down a straight highway to nowhere only to see looming mountains in the distance…the only way to proceed is to create a detailed game plan and set up milestones along the way.

There are 5 things you need to consider before you even pick out that shiny new trade show booth.

1. Figure out what your goals are for exhibiting.
  • To gain more leads and or sales?
  • For more brand awareness?
  • To strengthen relationships with prospects and customers?
  • To launch a new product or service?

Once you define your objectives, then you can start searching for shows that will help you meet those goals.

2. Research trade show opportunities.

You’ll need to research what trade shows would be good place to exhibit to meet your goals. For example, a search by industry on one of many available websites like The Tradeshow Network Marketing Group is a great place to start. There you can filter the search by industry to help give you an idea of what shows are coming up in the next year.

3. Decide what shows fit your persona target best.

You’ve picked out a handful of possible venues to exhibit. Now you’ll need to do more sleuthing to figure out if they’re the right ones. Check on the history of the show. How many exhibited and attended the show in the past few years? This way you can get an idea if it was a good show and relevant to your goals. Understand who actually attends those shows and who may be speaking at the show that may draw the people that you’re trying to reach. If you know the size and demographics of the audience, you’ll be able to get a better picture if the show is worth your time, effort and money. You can even get some testimonials from other exhibitors that share your target audience to get a better feel about the show’s quality.

While all your research may look good on paper, consider attending a high profile show yourself before becoming an exhibitor. Exhibiting at a show can be expensive, so this may be a good way to put yourself in the shoes of a potential customer and take note of what types of personas attend the show, what type of booth styles you like, what drew your attention, and what sorts of information you took away from the show. You can learn a lot by watching and listening all around you. Gleaning information you get by attending a show may help justify the costs to exhibit at that show next time.

4. Research your competition.

This is so you can have a feel of what your competition is doing and where they go. On each trade show website is a list of exhibitors. Check those out to see who will be exhibiting. Not to say that you should be at ALL the shows where your competition is, but if the show draws the demographic that you’re targeting for YOUR business, then they’re shows to consider. This will give you the best bang for your buck rather than showing up everywhere.

5. Execute a trade show marketing strategy.

This is the most important step. Just because you’re exhibiting a show, it will not be a “If you build it, they will come” experience. You will need to let your target audience know you’re exhibiting at (or even attending) a b2b trade show and how to find you! Perhaps you can give them a preview of what you’re exhibiting ahead of time. Are you sharing exclusive industry insights? Unveiling a new product? Offering a show discount? All this should be thought out and planned ahead with your b2b marketing team. They are the ones that can help map out a b2b trade show marketing plan and utilize all the social media, PR, email and print media resources they have to get the word out there.

Once you have a clear trade show marketing strategy, only then you can start thinking about the next steps. Deciding on where you’re going to exhibit, booth size and designs, supporting materials like literature, giveaways, etc., who will staff the booth–these are just a small handful of details needed to make a successful exhibit.

If you’ve found this information helpful, check out our 4 Tips for Getting the Most From B2B Trade Shows.

All marketing tactics should be thought of as part of a larger whole, rather than separate pieces. By strategically integrating all tactics, the programs become more effective and cost efficient. An Integrated marketing communication plan helps you meet real business objectives – generate leads, grow revenues, gain market share, and become the leading brand.

Debbie MacKenzie is a 1991 graduate of Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) where she majored in graphic arts production management. Deb cut her professional teeth managing production and customer relations at major printing companies before coming to Schubert b2b 14 years ago. Debbie's a versatile big hitter overseeing all things financial and operational.

The post Planning Ahead for Your First B2B Trade Show? appeared first on Schubert b2b.

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There’s no doubt that the majority of consumers prefer video to written content. The numbers speak for themselves:

Video is a crucial tool for any business looking to strengthen its brand and reach more of its target audience. But it’s not enough. To effectively reach your audience, you need to also create compelling, engaging B2B animation.

Why B2B Animation?

I know what you’re thinking. If videos are so popular, why not create a marketing video instead of an animation?

While videos are an effective way to improve brand awareness, there are only so many hours in a day to watch them. Your customers are busy. They can be highly selective when choosing what videos to watch.

For this reason, B2B companies need to get creative if they want their message heard. This is where B2B animation comes in.

It gets you noticed.

Animated videos stand out in a sea of boring explainer videos and “talking head” videos. They’re engaging. They captivate your audience and resonate with them on an emotional level.

Think about it this way: Would you rather watch a CEO discussing how to use an HVAC system or a cute animation of a hedgehog showing you how to use the same HVAC system? I don’t know about you, but I’d choose the hedgehog any day.

It makes customers feel all warm and fuzzy.

Animation can remind viewers of cartoons and evoke feelings of nostalgia. Nostalgia marketing has proven to be a successful tactic time and time again. Everywhere you look, brands are resurrecting childhood memories to introduce new products and promotions — Harry Potter, Pokémon, Star Wars, to name a few.

The same technique can be applied to your B2B marketing. For all you know, B2B animation may just be the emotional hook you need to reel in more customers.

It’s one of the most versatile marketing tactics.

B2B animation is a highly versatile medium. Your animated video can feature your product line. Bring your brand identity to life. Offer a solution to a customer’s challenge. Or explain complex ideas or technical concepts in just a few minutes. The possibilities are virtually endless.

How to Create Successful B2B Animations

 Now that you know the benefits of adding animation to your marketing mix, let’s explore ways you can create successful B2B animated videos.

 1. Tell a story.

Stories spark interest. They motivate consumers to take action and start a conversation with your brand. They set the stage for long-lasting, trusted relationships with your customers.

Before you create a B2B animation, make sure you have a story to tell. For the most effective storytelling, focus on your customers, their interests and pain points. Keep viewers engaged and interested by showing them how your product or service directly addresses their needs and challenges.

For example, we created an animated video for our client Sensaphone, a provider of remote environmental monitoring systems and early detection products. In the animation, we show how Sensaphone’s remote monitoring systems help water and wastewater treatment facilities avoid costly pump downtime.

The animation offers a clear solution to their customers’ pain points. Check it out below:

Using Remote Monitoring Technology to Prevent Pump Downtime - YouTube

2. Keep it simple.

Make sure your animated videos deliver a clear message in a simple way. Packing your animatic with tons of information and statistics may confuse or overwhelm viewers.

Instead, only focus on the need-to-know information — the critical insights that matter most to your audience. If the video includes any graphs or charts, guide the viewer through them with a voice-over.

 3. Get to the point quickly.

The shorter the video, the better. The goal of your animated video should be to communicate your message as quickly and effectively as possible while, of course, entertaining your audience. If your video is too long, you risk boring or disengaging viewers.

The optimal length for your video will depend on the topic and your industry. If you’re struggling to fit everything you want to say in a video that’s less than 3 minutes, consider making multiple videos rather than one.

Well, there you have it. If you want to improve the success of your B2B digital marketing, animation is clearly the way to go. Use these tips to get off to a good start and let our experts know if you need help hitting the ground running.

All marketing tactics should be thought of as part of a larger whole, rather than separate pieces. By strategically integrating all tactics, the programs become more effective and cost efficient. An Integrated marketing communication plan helps you meet real business objectives – generate leads, grow revenues, gain market share, and become the leading brand.

Courtney Feairheller 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 Need to Focus on B2B Animation in 2018 appeared first on Schubert b2b.

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Digital marketing has taken the world by storm. Now more than ever, B2C marketers are focusing on email, social media, blogging and any marketing that falls within the digital realm. And it’s no different with B2B marketing.

With digital marketing on the rise, many people believe that B2B trade shows will soon go the way of the typewriter, the rotary phone and, let’s take a huge jump back in time, the dinosaurs (R.I.P. Littlefoot). But nothing could be further from the truth.

In a world of mobile apps, social media, and chatbots, trade shows still remain a viable option for reaching your target audience. In fact, 99% of marketers said they found unique value from trade shows — value that no other marketing medium offered.

Trade shows aren’t going anywhere anytime soon, but sometimes it’s hard to separate fact from fiction. To help you get the most out of your B2B trade show promotion, we’re putting these 4 myths to rest. Finally.

Myth #1: B2B trade shows are a waste of time.

False. B2B trade shows are a great opportunity to meet your prospects face-to-face and make a connection. 

Most trade show attendees are there looking for a solution to their challenges. According to a Center for Exhibition Industry Research report, 81% of trade show attendees have buying authority. Trade shows are your chance to get your product or solution in front of the right person.

No gatekeeper screening. No back and forth trying to set up a call. And no “I’m sorry, Lisa is in a meeting. Can I take a message for you?” You meet the decision-maker in person.

Myth #2: The more trade shows you sign up for, the better.

Yes, the more trade shows you attend, the more exposure your brand gets. But your audience won’t be at every show. And, if you’re preparing for too many trade shows, you may stretch your budget too thin.

Increase the effectiveness of your B2B trade show marketing by only participating in the shows that are relevant to your industry. Do your research and find out which shows your competitors and customers attend. There are a few ways you can do this:

  • Monitor social media to see what shows competitors are attending.
  • Send out customer surveys or ask customers directly.
  • Contact show management to ask for attendee and exhibitor data.

Once you’re confident the show is a good fit for your company, that’s when you can start preparing your booth display, trade show messaging, and marketing strategy.

Myth #3: If you show up, traffic will come.

It’s the day of the trade show. You set up your booth, fan out your business cards, bring out the freebies and wait for the traffic to start flooding in.

Crickets.

For a successful trade show, you and your marketing team or B2B marketing agency need to start planning your strategy at least a year in advance. That gives you plenty of time to work out all the details, create your booth display, and connect with potential customers.

Roughly 70% of attendees make a list of booths they want to visit before they even enter the exhibit hall.

Let your target audience know you’re attending the trade show and why they should stop by your booth. Give them a preview of what you’re exhibiting ahead of time. Are you sharing exclusive industry insights? Unveiling a new product? Offering a show discount?

Give them a good reason to come see you, and you’re sure to increase your booth traffic and, in turn, your sales!

Myth #4: It doesn’t take an expert to plan B2B trade show promotion.

A successful trade show takes more than setting up your booth, handing out business cards and giving out freebies. If you want to market your business effectively, you need a strategic campaign that covers all marketing before, during and after the trade show.

Social media, emails, PR, blogs, website banners, e-newsletters…there are so many ways to announce your presence and drive traffic to your booth. Not to mention all the hard work that goes into planning your booth display and B2B messaging.

With so many moving pieces to keep track of, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Schubert b2b can help you reach potential customers before the show and draw them to your booth during the show.

We’ve helped B2B companies in all industries plan, develop and execute a solid trade show marketing strategy. Our team of marketing experts knows exactly what it takes to achieve success at a B2B trade show. Give us a call today to discuss how you can leave a lasting impression at your next event.

All marketing tactics should be thought of as part of a larger whole, rather than separate pieces. By strategically integrating all tactics, the programs become more effective and cost efficient. An Integrated marketing communication plan helps you meet real business objectives – generate leads, grow revenues, gain market share, and become the leading brand.

Courtney Feairheller 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 It’s Time to Debunk These 4 B2B Trade Show Myths appeared first on Schubert b2b.

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A B2B blog can be a great way to attract customers in your market searching for solutions to the challenges that keep them from operating at top efficiency. But if your company is producing blogs, and you feel like they are being ignored in the vast pool of cyberspace, then it’s time to organize your blogging efforts as part of an integrated marketing plan.

It’s understood that B2B buyers spend a lot of time conducting online research before contacting a salesperson. If done well, and backed by a marketing plan and consistent messaging, your blog can serve as a viable resource to current and potential customers.

Here are a few things to consider when starting or adjusting your blogging strategy:

1. Quality Not Quantity

Most often, the B2B buying process is long, complex and involves many people and purchase considerations. That is good news for B2B blogs. By offering information on your blog that hits those pain points and answers those questions, you can attract a smaller, but incredibly valuable audience suited for your product offerings. With your blog, and website in general, you are trying to attract quality prospects, not general web traffic.

Attracting legitimate prospects means that they likely will dig deeper into your blog library, search for other informational content on your website and even venture into your products pages. But if your blog contains content that doesn’t offer any benefit to your specific audience, you’ll see high click-away rates after a few seconds.

2. What to Include

Our clients are B2B technology companies. That means their in-house knowledge base is rich with experts who can address a variety of in-depth industry topics. Sales and customer service teams are also a great source for identifying interesting customer questions. Then, you can take general helpful approaches, like the ones listed below, and tailor them to your specific area of expertise and target audience:

  • Tips for selecting…
  • Latest specialty technology for…
  • How to improve operations by using…
  • Choosing the right (product/service) for your operation…
  • 3 things you need to know about (challenge/problem)…

As long as your posts don’t sound like brochures for your own products, it’s OK to include your own technologies and customer application stories to illustrate your solutions. The key is to come from a help-first perspective.

3. SEO Benefits of B2B Blogs

When posted on a consistent basis, blogs can improve your SEO rankings. Regularly adding new blog posts gives you more pages on your website for Google to index. In addition, blog articles are the perfect opportunity to create keyword-focused content. Because blog posts are written closely around one particular subject, they’ll likely work to improve your site’s rank for those keywords. The more frequently you post fresh, relevant blogs to your site, the more it will help with your SEO rank and driving visitors to your site.

4. Part of a Larger Marketing Plan

B2B blogs work best when they are part of an integrated, ongoing marketing strategy. To be most effective, your blog content needs to be more than a string of unrelated posts. For example, use blog posts to complement an inbound marketing workflow by including a link to further related content. These connected tactics can be tracked with a marketing automation program to measure their effectiveness as a whole. You can also share links to your blogs via social media and emails to targeted customers and prospects.

And don’t let the people responsible for researching and writing your blogs work in isolation. A fruitful, integrated blogging program is a team effort. Writers, editors, proofers, designers, web developers and SEO specialists are all important to producing winning B2B blogs.

All marketing tactics should be thought of as part of a larger whole, rather than separate pieces. By strategically integrating all tactics, the programs become more effective and cost efficient. An Integrated marketing communication plan helps you meet real business objectives – generate leads, grow revenues, gain market share, and become the leading brand.

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 4 Ways to Get the Most Out of B2B Blogs appeared first on Schubert b2b.

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Digital marketing has taken the world by storm. Now more than ever, B2C marketers are focusing on email, social media, blogging and any marketing that falls within the digital realm. And it’s no different with B2B marketing.

With digital marketing on the rise, many people believe that B2B trade shows will soon go the way of the typewriter, the rotary phone and, let’s take a huge jump back in time, the dinosaurs (R.I.P. Littlefoot). But nothing could be further from the truth.

In a world of mobile apps, social media, and chatbots, trade shows still remain a viable option for reaching your target audience. In fact, 99% of marketers said they found unique value from trade shows — value that no other marketing medium offered.

Trade shows aren’t going anywhere anytime soon, but sometimes it’s hard to separate fact from fiction. To help you get the most out of your B2B trade show promotion, we’re putting these 4 myths to rest. Finally.

Myth #1: B2B trade shows are a waste of time.

False. B2B trade shows are a great opportunity to meet your prospects face-to-face and make a connection. 

Most trade show attendees are there looking for a solution to their challenges. According to a Center for Exhibition Industry Research report, 81% of trade show attendees have buying authority. Trade shows are your chance to get your product or solution in front of the right person.

No gatekeeper screening. No back and forth trying to set up a call. And no “I’m sorry, Lisa is in a meeting. Can I take a message for you?” You meet the decision-maker in person.

Myth #2: The more trade shows you sign up for, the better.

Yes, the more trade shows you attend, the more exposure your brand gets. But your audience won’t be at every show. And, if you’re preparing for too many trade shows, you may stretch your budget too thin.

Increase the effectiveness of your B2B trade show marketing by only participating in the shows that are relevant to your industry. Do your research and find out which shows your competitors and customers attend. There are a few ways you can do this:

  • Monitor social media to see what shows competitors are attending.
  • Send out customer surveys or ask customers directly.
  • Contact show management to ask for attendee and exhibitor data.

Once you’re confident the show is a good fit for your company, that’s when you can start preparing your booth display, trade show messaging, and marketing strategy.

Myth #3: If you show up, traffic will come.

It’s the day of the trade show. You set up your booth, fan out your business cards, bring out the freebies and wait for the traffic to start flooding in.

Crickets.

For a successful trade show, you and your marketing team or B2B marketing agency need to start planning your strategy at least a year in advance. That gives you plenty of time to work out all the details, create your booth display, and connect with potential customers.

Roughly 70% of attendees make a list of booths they want to visit before they even enter the exhibit hall.

Let your target audience know you’re attending the trade show and why they should stop by your booth. Give them a preview of what you’re exhibiting ahead of time. Are you sharing exclusive industry insights? Unveiling a new product? Offering a show discount?

Give them a good reason to come see you, and you’re sure to increase your booth traffic and, in turn, your sales!

Myth #4: It doesn’t take an expert to plan B2B trade show promotion.

A successful trade show takes more than setting up your booth, handing out business cards and giving out freebies. If you want to market your business effectively, you need a strategic campaign that covers all marketing before, during and after the trade show.

Social media, emails, PR, blogs, website banners, e-newsletters…there are so many ways to announce your presence and drive traffic to your booth. Not to mention all the hard work that goes into planning your booth display and B2B messaging.

With so many moving pieces to keep track of, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Schubert b2b can help you reach potential customers before the show and draw them to your booth during the show.

We’ve helped B2B companies in all industries plan, develop and execute a solid trade show marketing strategy. Our team of marketing experts knows exactly what it takes to achieve success at a B2B trade show. Give us a call today to discuss how you can leave a lasting impression at your next event.

All marketing tactics should be thought of as part of a larger whole, rather than separate pieces. By strategically integrating all tactics, the programs become more effective and cost efficient. An Integrated marketing communication plan helps you meet real business objectives – generate leads, grow revenues, gain market share, and become the leading brand.

Courtney Feairheller 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 It’s Time to Debunk These 4 B2B Trade Show Myths appeared first on Schubert b2b.

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The term “public relations” encompasses many areas of communications. B2B PR, although more specific because it involves businesses promoting their products and services to other businesses, still covers a lot of communications territory. These can include strategic communications, content marketing, social media, trade show planning, internal messaging and email campaigns, to name a few.

Of these, print and digital media relations are an important part of B2B PR. That’s because when they are done well, it means editorial gatekeepers accept your company as an authority in your field. And they are willing to position you as an industry expert in their pages and on their websites. Here are four things to keep in mind as you are building your media relations outreach. 

1. Niche Can Be Nice

In B2B media relations, bigger isn’t always better. If a print publication has a circulation of 5,000 instead of 50,000, or a digital trade site gets 10,000 new visitors per month and not 100,000, that’s ok if it’s a good fit for your products and services.

If the publication is targets a small, niche audience that is a part of your key marketing demographic, that’s where you want your news to appear! These seemingly lesser-known trade journals or sites actually could be very well known among your customers and prospects.

In fact, most B2B news releases aren’t a good fit for mass newswire distribution. Rather than blast out press releases to a large number of generalized publications and news sites, it’s more effective to identify the best media fit for your news. This results in quality B2B PR placements that will reach your key audience.

2. Creating New News

Media relations isn’t just for promoting a new product or service. News can be any piece of information that a specific audience doesn’t know about. Even your current clients might not be aware of all of your company’s capabilities. In particular, you can catch an editor’s attention by positioning an existing product or service as a solution to a particular industry pain point.

Of course, this requires some homework, like researching challenges that your customers face in doing their jobs, and then explaining how your particular technologies can make their working lives a lot easier. It also helps to research the editorial topic needs of your target publications. That way, the editor knows that you are doing more than promoting your business. And that you actually care about providing helpful news and content.

3. Digging Digital Placements

B2B PR includes more options than making the print pages of a trade journal. Digital placements have become a valuable part of B2B media relations. Most print trade publications have content-rich websites or have become web-only in their own right. Digital media placements are valuable because they:

  • Appear in internet searches
  • Often provide a link to your website
  • Let readers comment on your news
  • Allow readers to easily share your content or news via social media and email
4. Earning Your Earned Media

Media relations is also referred to as earned media. To get noticed and receive placement in your target media, you have to earn it. That means building up your editorial relationships by offering pertinent, targeted content that is more informative than blatantly promotional.

But the hard work pays off. Media relations in B2B PR is an engagement and awareness initiator. Whether your content is in print, online or on social media, it boosts awareness of your company’s capabilities among your current clients, prospects, industry partners and business leaders.

All marketing tactics should be thought of as part of a larger whole, rather than separate pieces. By strategically integrating all tactics, the programs become more effective and cost efficient. An Integrated marketing communication plan helps you meet real business objectives – generate leads, grow revenues, gain market share, and become the leading brand.

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 4 B2B PR Tips for Building Better Media Relations appeared first on Schubert b2b.

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B2B social media can open new doors for companies. Whether it’s engaging with potential customers or a tool to expand your brand identity, it needs to be leveraged correctly. Unfortunately, many companies only use social media to check a box. A classic, “Because other brands have a social media presence, we should too.”

But in reality, effective B2B social media is more than just sending one tweet a day because that’s what everyone else is doing. You must be committed and create strategies to increase your success on these platforms. One of the best ways to increase your engagement and follower base is by leveraging user-generated content (UGC). This social media strategy is great for companies with large, established followings or even brands looking to grow their presence.

How it Works

If you are not familiar with user-generated content, the concept is fairly straightforward. It is any type of content that has been created and shared by an unpaid contributor. It can refer to pictures, videos, testimonials, tweets, blog posts and anything else that the contributor uses to promote the brand — rather than the brand promoting itself.

The role of the company is to ask its followers or customers to upload a photo of its product or service in action. It could be tweeting a photo, or posting it on Facebook, and then tagging the company’s social media, or using a unique hashtag in the post. Next, the company then gathers all of the submissions and posts them across its B2B social media platforms. Ultimately, showcasing their followers using the product.

Why it Works

User-generated content posts are essentially free, word-of-mouth referrals — AKA the best kind of referrals. No matter how much advertising we bombard people with, one thing holds true — people trust people over companies, and UGC leverages that. In a 2013 study, 79% of consumers admitted to trusting online reviews as much as in-person recommendations. That is a huge statistic that social media plays a part in.

If a customer is willing to publicize that they use your product on Twitter or Facebook and show their friends and followers, that speaks volumes for your brand. They really like your products, they want to share that and it could impact their followers more than any advertisement. And there is no better feeling than having someone willing to promote your brand, just because they want to be associated with it.

The user/customer submitting the content also benefits from these endorsements. They are able to simultaneously promote their own account, especially if they get reposted by a company with a large following. And aside from the feature being good exposure, in a B2B sense, associating themselves with your brand could boost their reputation and help sell their product or service!

See it in Action!

Hootsuite

The widely used social media planning and scheduling platform Hootsuite has used UGC in several campaigns to stimulate engagement. One of the more recent ones was its “#IWorkFromHere” UGC campaign that ran on Instagram for several weeks. This not only encouraged Hootsuite downloads, but also engaged their followers to creatively show off how and where they do their social media work.

 

NASDAQ

NASDAQ also utilizes user-generated content across their many brands. They mainly use it to accumulate and bring together social content at social events and other important calendar dates. Overall, UGC allows NASDAQ to stay current with their customers in a creative way.

Social media is a great way to build relationships and extend your brand’s reach. User-generated content fosters this outreach. Leverage the benefits of each your B2B social media platforms and use them to their full potential!

All marketing tactics should be thought of as part of a larger whole, rather than separate pieces. By strategically integrating all tactics, the programs become more effective and cost efficient. An Integrated marketing communication plan helps you meet real business objectives – generate leads, grow revenues, gain market share, and become the leading brand.

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 binging on the latest season of Vampire Diaries.

The post Improve B2B Social Media With User-Generated Content appeared first on Schubert b2b.

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