Award-winning digital marketing and customer experience agency

Content marketing: 5 ways to win B2B hearts and minds

Content marketing: 5 ways to win B2B hearts and minds

B2B content marketing sounds like a rather self important label for old-school copywriting, and in fact many content marketers were at one time copywriters. So, what has changed, and is content marketing really any different from copywriting?

The answer is yes it is, and today it really has to be.

Because to ensure your website stays visible on an overcrowded Internet, with any guarantee of your marketing communications being read, and to create customer trust, engagement and loyalty, your content needs to work very hard indeed.

The reality is that today, prospects and existing customers don’t have the time to read lengthy copy; they want information quickly, and in these crowded and unreliable markets, where anecdotes often pass as facts, they need to have complete trust in your brand before they’ll even consider buying from your enterprise.

Here’s five steps you can take to win over these elusive B2B prospects, and convert them to loyal customers.

1. Understanding your audience

Where old-school copywriting and content marketing vary most is in the level of understanding content marketers must have of your target audience in order to communicate with them effectively.

That is because unlike ‘static’ copywriting, content marketing is not the beginning of a one-sided monologue; it’s the start of a real conversation which will grow and become ever-more personal as engagement develops, so knowing what your targets want to hear is critical to success.

This level of insight requires careful research which will allow you to create a profile of your ideal customer, known as a buyer persona. This profile or persona is the very target you will need to engage with and convert to make a sale, and the process is as relevant to B2C as it is to B2B marketing

2. Building engagement

To build engagement with your prospects and existing customers, B2B marketing content must be proactive and be served not only on your website but across different platforms such as email marketing or, more effectively, via a marketing automation (MA) programme.

This proactive approach means that you can reach out to prospects through email in a way that starts to build value into the conversation as recipients begin to recognise that you are thinking about what they want and drawing them back to your website to offer them more information.

3. Personalising the conversation

As this communications programme progresses, so your understanding of prospect and customer buyer personas will grow, and your marketing content in both email and website content will become ever-more closely targeted to each individual recipient’s needs.

As you analyse recipient feedback and continue to build on your buyer personas, this personalisation process develops further as email and web marketing content guide your target audience through the sales journey, to conversion and sales.

A sale in the B2C space may be as simple as a mouse click, but in B2B, this conversion point is most likely to be a call to a meeting, because while your B2B prospect may have already decided on your product or service, high value transactions will normally be concluded face to face.

4. Creating trust

While this email and web marketing content will be guiding prospects and existing customers on the buying journey, to ensure these individuals convert and buy from you, there has to be a strong element of trust in both your enterprise and your products.

This is where good content marketers, and great marketing content win out over static content, as it is the interactive nature of dynamic communications that create an understanding of your company, its products and ultimately develops trust in your offer

5. Sustaining long-term loyalty

If your content marketers understand the buyer personas they are talking to, and can resonate with them throughout the buying journey, your target recipients will learn to trust your company and at the end of the journey, buy from you or set up a meeting to close a B2B deal.

Having built a level of trust through content marketing interactivity, this relationship can be sustained and grown over time through light-touch nurturing emails, guiding recipients to new products on your website, or even third-party websites with published comparative reviews between your products and others in the marketplace.

This light-touch nurturing, and the ongoing offer of relevant information will help build the long-term relationship you need to sustain loyalty, and place your company front of mind when your audience thinks about the type of products you offer.

And that’s the true difference between static, one-hit copy and dynamic, interactive marketing content. Marketing content is produced by skilled content marketers who work to learn how your customers think and know how to develop a conversation with them that ultimately engages and converts prospects to loyal brand advocates for you and what you have to offer them.

If your content marketers understand the buyer personas they are talking to, and can resonate with them throughout the buying journey, your target recipients will learn to trust your company and at the end of the journey, buy from you or set up a meeting to close a B2B deal.

written by Will Yates,
Client Services Director at Novacom

Inbound marketing: is advertising intrusion the new extinction?

Inbound marketing: is advertising intrusion the new extinction?

While every savvy marketer agrees that inbound marketing and all that good work helping prospects and existing customers along their buying journey with helpful advice and useful information is key in current crowded markets, attracting visitors in the first instance is still critical.

So, given that we know that newer methodologies in walking beside and guiding people on their buying journey is so effective, why is it that at first contact, through banner or pop-up advertising for example, we regress to old-school intrusive techniques we know no longer work?

Ad-blocking is big for a reason

According to the PageFair and Adobe 2015 Ad Blocking Report, globally the number of people using ad blocking software grew 41% year on year, with Europe growing by 35% to 77 million monthly active users during Q2 2015.

In the US, 16% of the online population blocked ads during Q2 2015 and ad block usage grew 48% during the past year, to 45 million monthly active users (MAUs) during the same period. Doesn’t this tell us something?

Sub-optimal ROMI

What this tells us very clearly is that we – both client-side and agency marketers – need to adopt new and smarter thinking if we are to overcome the inherent sub-optimal engagement performance intrusive advertising causes.

It is inherent because campaign performance is affected from the very first banner or pop-up deletion and limiting visitor numbers means campaigns start and will remain sub-optimal, meaning return on marketing investment (ROMI) will also remain sub-optimal.

First to blink wins

What a lot of marketers fear is that if they make the first move and abandon intrusive advertising for a perceived lower-key approach, their advertising will sink into invisibility valium immediately, leaving the field open for competitive intrusive advertising to prevail.

The reality is that visitors delete intrusive or obstructive pop-ups and banners or auto-play videos, particularly if any of this slows or impedes webpage functionality, or ultimately they leave the webpage altogether if they have a negative user experience (UX).

Sticking to newer, smarter principles

So, putting un-intrusive pull advertising out there is not only more likely to prevent your advertising from being deleted in the first place, but will also help optimise campaign performance by removing the systemic, sub-optimal visitor performance deletion causes.

And if you are the first to blink and break this self-defeating cycle, you can place your campaigns ahead of the curve in terms of both click-throughs and increased visitor traffic.

And also, more importantly, you can build greater trust in your brand as a helpful brand, rather than just an annoying one.

And that’s the true difference between static, one-hit copy and dynamic, interactive marketing content. Marketing content is produced by skilled content marketers who work to learn how your customers think and know how to develop a conversation with them that ultimately engages and converts prospects to loyal brand advocates for you and what you have to offer them.

In the US, 16% of the online population blocked ads during Q2 2015 and ad block usage grew 48% during the past year, to 45 million monthly active users (MAUs) during the same period. Doesn’t this tell us something?

written by Will Yates,
Client Services Director at Novacom

Is SEO still critical to B2B website visibility?

Is SEO still critical to B2B website visibility?

SEO – search engine optimisation – has been a constantly evolving search return performance methodology which is generally implemented as part of website content strategy and development to optimise website visibility.

Put simply, key words, then key phrases, then content structure, and now incoming links and social media association have all played their role over time in gaining and maintaining buoyant website search rankings and site visibility.

Is B2B SEO still relevant?

The simple answer is yes, and to ensure effective website visibility in the crowded markets of today, your search terms need to be absolutely current, relevant and mainstream, even with specialist B2B audiences, who may be searching highly specific products or services.

And, given the potentially highly focused nature of B2B SEO on-page language, it is wise to get help from your digital agency if they have SEO expertise, as at the very basic level search terms will need careful research and review ahead of any on-page content development.

But is SEO really the end of the website visibility story? In my opinion, no it isn’t.

Can you drive traffic in inbound marketing?

While the smart digital marketing money is on inbound marketing, with searchers discovering you, your brand values and sincere approach to customer support, you still need visibility to make all this happen.

Otherwise, for all intents and purposes, you won’t exist unless your SEO on your website is absolutely stellar.

What this means is that – counterintuitive as it may seem – certain forms of Internet advertising are critical in optimising SEO effectiveness as it also drives inbound traffic, allowing your site to offer links to other useful information, both internally and externally, and attract more inbound linking from visitors.

You need to get out more

This internal and external linking is very effective in SEO and the more traffic that can be driven through this route, the greater improvement and effectiveness there will be in your website SEO and search visibility. Traffic is very important in the SEO equation.

But for visibility it’s win-win, because as well as increasing search rankings, you’re also visible through the advertising itself, and this visibility can be further optimised on multiple levels by selecting other relevant marketing channels.

Optimised inbound marketing

Remember, this is still all about SEO and we’re still coming at this from an inbound marketing perspective, but what we are now doing is turbo-charging SEO through a greater Internet advertising presence.

And to further turbo-charge SEO, other relevant channels can be employed, such as – but not necessarily exclusively – pay per click (PPC) and retargeting are just two examples.

Success means joined up thinking

But, as with everything, there is of course a health warning , for good sleep buy ambien online . Because, while there is no doubt that SEO can be driven very powerfully through the resultant effects of such channels as PPC and retargeting, you need a very robust, coherent and cohesive marketing communications strategy to deliver it.

So, this methodology needs to be planned and implemented carefully across selected channels with a high level of marketing agility and dexterity to join outbound, inbound and SEO dots.

If you take this route as part of a compelling, engaging and cohesive marketing campaign, you will have developed very powerful brand awareness with a top brand, product or service visibility.

Remember, this is still all about SEO and we’re still coming at this from an inbound marketing perspective, but what we are now doing is turbo-charging SEO through a greater Internet advertising presence.

written by Will Yates,
Client Services Director at Novacom

Multi-website management: how to maximise Internet revenue and profitability

Multi-website management: how to maximise Internet revenue and profitability

Multiple, multi-brand or product-dedicated websites can offer a greater Internet presence than single sites, and it can be argued that discrete websites linked as multisite entities offer greater flexibility, clarity and focus.

Often, these multisite groups have evolved through different global locations and administrative and marketing centres over periods of time and as such, often do not correlate content or offer navigation to synergistic inter-company products and services.

Website complexity reduces revenue

The main – and critical business development – issue with multisites that do not navigate or even indicate the possible presence of other group websites, is that visitors tend to move away from them when they do not offer a complete range of brands, products or services.

Visitors do this believing your extended brands, product ranges or services are unavailable or non-existent as they are not visible, losing you a potential customer while handing the commercial advantage to your competitors.

Controlling multisite management reduces deficits

This continuous loss of revenue is often invisible because it doesn’t fit within conventional financial metrics, even though it can amount to a large financial deficit, and can be compounded by possible continual erosion of commercial positioning.

In most cases, while the misalignments in multisite development may be apparent to an enterprise’s leadership, the actual financial obstacles may only be visible at first sight.

The business case for change

This means there is little or no business case for multisite audit and commercial remediation – accept among visionary and far sighted marketing management.

Calling these issues out, carrying out a proficient web audit and indicating financial improvements is generally welcomed by senior management, and savings are normally ploughed straight back into marketing budgets.

Multisite audit and performance review

But before you commission a review of your enterprise’s multiple websites, take a look at the website structure and what links to where. Most of this will be common sense, so if it all links up and works seamlessly, and you can navigate across all of your web presences there is no issue.

If however you know there are significant disconnects, or you discover that areas of your multisite presence are standalone and disconnected, then you will need to have a competent and specialist digital marketing agency conduct a thorough audit and review.

Creating company-wide opportunities

Working with a competent digital agency, this process will uncover all potential deficiencies in your enterprise’s multisite architecture and point to all the roadblocks to inter-website navigation, and through this, financial improvements can be planned.

But be sure your agency provides you with a clear hierarchical infographic for both current and future state structures as you will need this to communicate the performance benefits of this work to other sections within your enterprise, both locally and in-region.

This is because these changes in web hierarchy will offer a great opportunity for commercial development between different areas of your business and if shared and discussed, it will at the very least allow for cross- and up-selling across brands, products and services.

Building multisite value

And if this review is conducted with a specialist agency, not only will a new and efficient web hierarchy be proposed but as part of this, projected sales revenue uplift can be calculated and predicted.

So, from the outset, make sure that the digital agency specialists you are talking to are not going to deliver a formulaic approach and they’re confident enough to tell you what you need to know to improve sales, rather than telling you what they think you want to hear.

Be sure also that they have ISO 9001 certification for digital marketing quality management, giving you in turn the confidence to trust in the proposal and solutions you are offered in this quest to optimise website performance and maximise revenue generation.

Visitors do this believing your extended brands, product ranges or services are unavailable or non-existent as they are not visible, losing you a potential customer while handing the commercial advantage to your competitors.

written by Will Yates,
Client Services Director at Novacom

Content marketing: five ways to deliver customer engagement

Content marketing: five ways to deliver customer engagement

Marketing today is almost completely data-driven, meaning that when it comes to content marketing, measurement of open rates, click-through statistics and website page visits data is seen as critical to marketing performance indicators.

These statistical indicators are key to delivering marketing success, but can however also create distractions, moving the focal point away from your original marketing message and emotional prospect and customer engagement to one of pure data analysis.

And while we at Novacom live for data-driven performance statistics – we’re even ISO 9001 certified and only one of a small handful of EU agencies holding ISO 27001 – we believe strategic content marketing is what engages and builds loyalty in customers, not data.

So, here are five basic strategic elements for content marketing that will help deliver customer attention, engagement and long-term loyalty.

Research and differentiation

Effective marketing is about taking care of the basics. And the start-point has to be knowing your target marketplace, understanding buyer personas and positioning and differentiating your products or services in a way that makes them visible.

Within this, and through focused market research, you will know what your target buyer is looking for and if, using this information, you start to reflect and communicate this in your marketing content across appropriate channels, you will begin to set yourself apart from the crowd.

Value proposition and increased visibility

This differentiation will increase your visibility, but this visibility needs to be backed by a solid value proposition, meaning using your market research and analysing buyer personas and their needs, you can channel content on multiple and highly specific customer demands.

Continually communicating these multiple and known value propositions and targeting these strategically across appropriate communications channels will build a growing prospect and customer awareness of your proposition, ensuring engagement as the sales journey progresses.

Engagement and the sales journey

Careful and detailed data analysis will help you and your digital marketing agency to stay on track in optimising engagement as you will know how your marketing content is impacting on prospect and customer behaviour.

At this point in the marketing journey, the research done initially, your close understanding of your prospect and customer behaviour and your continued drive for engagement will now have created clear target audience interactivity.

This interactivity will be as close to a human conversation as it is possible to get in the digital space.

Conversion and building on success

If your analytical data has been properly managed throughout the journey, it will have been pretty clear for you to see who among your prospects and existing customers was likely to buy from you as the journey progressed.

This ability to (albeit causally) predict these outcomes will be a clear indication of the quality of your initial work in research, buyer persona development, and the resultant communications strategy driving the campaign.

This means that on an intuitive level you had the communications right. However, the quality of this work will also be informed by the conversion rate performance which tells you that the overall strategy was also right.

Loyalty building

But this is not the end of the road. These customers are valuable assets, and as such should be nurtured for subsequent sales, building brand loyalty by feeding them intelligent and useful information between sales events.

Modern marketing is all about relationship building through the thoughtful delivery of helpful information – content – designed to guide prospects and customers in your sphere of interest.

If you do this, you are creating emotional, loyal bonds with your audience, rather than treating them as cold, hard targets. And while statistical data is key in measuring marketing performance, it is only an analytical tool, not an end in itself: it’s content that delivers customers.

And while we at Novacom live for data-driven performance statistics – we’re even ISO 9001 certified and only one of a small handful of EU agencies holding ISO 27001

6 tips for maximising landing page conversions

6 tips for maximising landing page conversions

Landing pages are a very simple and inexpensive form of prospect or customer engagement, and when implemented and effectively optimised can deliver high prospect and customer conversion rates, generating more inbound leads for your business.

The key to effective, high performance landing pages is simplicity. Less is more, and because landing page graphic design, textual and visual content has to be minimal to be effective, all elements must be put together with one objective in mind: conversion.

So with this in mind, here are our six top tips for optimising your landing page conversion rate performance (CRO):
 

Drive relevant traffic

Make sure the ad or search result listing that you are using to drive visitors is relevant to the content on the page. This sounds simple – and it is – but it’s also vital to gaining visitor engagement. If your marketing platform also supports demographic or behavioural targeting, leverage this to further increase relevance by serving dynamic content specific to that visitor.

Remove the clutter

Look at the essential elements of your page and take out anything that you don’t need – this can even include navigation. Once you’ve done this, do it again until you have really distilled the page down to its core elements. By reducing the amount of content on the page, it will be clearer to visitors what you are asking them to do, so you are helping them to take the action you want them to take.

Search optimise your page

You may be relying on PPC search marketing, social media and/or banner ads to drive traffic to your page, and that’s fine, but this doesn’t mean you should ignore the importance of SEO. The majority of searchers have been shown to click an ‘organic’ result over a paid-for result, so optimising your landing page will help you to drive more organic traffic to your page. As noted above, if this optimised content increases the relevance of the page to the searcher, then they’re more likely to convert. Make sure you at least cover the basics of SEO: keywords in headlines, good page structure and quality supporting metadata to increase the organic visibility of your landing page.

Call-to-action: it’s not just about button colours

There are plenty of articles out there that focus on the value of the colour of your call-to-action (CTA) button, so we won’t dwell on this too much. However, be sure to have a clear call-to-action and feel free to test various layouts – and yes, even button colours – to see what works best for your page.

Only ask for what you need to know

Visitors are more likely to fill out forms with fewer fields, so carefully consider what you would like to know, and only ask for that information. This can be as simple as the recipient’s email address, but our recommendation would be to include their name, email and one other key piece of information relevant to your business. For example, if you’re selling B2B, the visitor’s company name would be useful. Don’t worry if you think this will limit your data insights, if your marketing automation platform supports progressive profiling, you can ask for other relevant information at future touch points to build a fuller picture of the lead – without having more fields per form.

Security, privacy and reputation

It’s likely you’ll be asking for contact details from visitors in exchange for your valuable downloadable content. In a world where major data breaches are happening around once per week, it is critical to ensure that your site is secure, and that this is easily understood by visitors. Make sure that it is clear what you will do with the data they provide, and that the site looks ‘reputable’, so visitors feel that their data will be handled carefully. Including certification marks, such as ISO 27001 or the SSL certificate badge, and an easy-to-understand privacy policy will help visitors recognise quickly that you are trustworthy.

Many inbound marketing campaigns rely on landing pages as the destination for many digital touchpoints; whether visitors are driven there via email, search, social or display banners, the landing page is likely the first point at which a new lead engages with your brand in a meaningful way.

Industry research says that landing page conversion rates are somewhere between 2-5%, although we’ve seen 9-10% for some of our campaigns. It all depends on your audience, your offer and how you convey that offer. If you get your offer across in a simple way to the right people and capture their attention, that’s the first step to a potentially valuable relationship.

You may be relying on PPC search marketing, social media and/or banner ads to drive traffic to your page, and that’s fine, but this doesn’t mean you should ignore the importance of SEO.

written by Will Yates,
Client Services Director at Novacom