Kategorie-Archiv: SEO

Social Significance: Why B2B Brands Value Social CX & Are Spending More

B2B marketers strategizing around a table image.

B2B marketers strategizing around a table image.

Why are B2B brands placing greater value on social media, and why are they willing to spend more than ever before on social customer experience (CX)?

New digital marketing research reveals why B2B brands are finding a renewed passion for the expanding benefits of social media, and why they are becoming more willing than ever to spend more for the competitive advantages that social CX offers.

Let’s take a look at some of the latest report and survey data, and see how B2B brands are changing their social media strategies and outlook.

1 — Social Helps B2B Brands Meet Customer Expectations

A new report from Sprout Social reveals how customer expectations have evolved for the brands that they follow on social media.

Examining insight from over 1,000 U.S. consumers and the same number of U.S. marketers, along with 782 million public social messages, the recently-released „Sprout Social Index, Edition XVII: Accelerate“ report showed that 90 percent of consumers will purchase from brands they follow on social media.

“For marketers, this is an opportunity to demonstrate how social positively influences all parts of the business and why a brand’s competitive advantage lives on social,” the report suggested.

55 percent of marketers said they used social data for understanding their target audience, while 48 percent used it to develop creative content, and 39 percent for supporting other departments, the report showed.

Only 26 percent of marketers said they used social data to foster connections with customers, however, and just 10 percent said they used the data to inform business decisions.

Sprout Social Chart

88 percent of marketers agree their social strategy positively influences their bottom line,” the research concludes.

The value of social data has generally increased over time, and the new Sprout Social study bears this out, revealing that 47 percent of marketers consider social a resource that influences strategy for multiple organizational teams, while 46 still see it as strictly a marketing resource, with eight percent viewing it as an organization-wide resource for business intelligence.

Something as seemingly simple as responding quickly to customer questions can be very important in brand purchase decisions. 47 percent of consumers said that responding to customer service questions in a timely manner was the top way brands could get them to buy and forgo competitors.

Nearly as important among consumers were brands that demonstrate an understanding of what consumers want and need.

“Nine out of 10 consumers will buy from brands they follow on social, while 86% will choose that brand over a competitor,” the Sprout Social report data showed.

Given the importance customers place on speedy response times from brands, it’s easy to see how the new Sprout Social data indicated that “78 percent of consumers agree that social media is the fastest and most direct way to connect with a brand — and consumers want their voices heard.”

When it comes to sharing feedback about a product or service, after social media, consumers turn to e-mail and a brand’s website (18 percent for each), followed closely by review websites, and just 11 percent prefer calling a brand’s customer service phone number, according to the report data.

Even for reaching brands about customer service issues or questions, most consumers (33 percent) prefer social media, followed by customer service (24 percent), e-mail (23 percent), and just nine percent prefer using a company’s website for such questions.

Sprout Social Chart 2

44 percent of consumers will unfollow a brand on social because of poor service, putting a damper on brands‘ growth goals,” the report warned.

The Sprout Social study surfaces a fascinating distinction between what consumers and marketers believe makes for best-in-class social media performance.

The most important factor among consumers — at 47 percent — was brands that offer strong customer service, while that was only the sixth most important factor to marketers, at 35 percent.

2 — Social Will Drive Post-Pandemic B2B Customer Engagement

According to Ascend2 and Wpromote’s newly-released 2021 State of B2B Digital Marketing report, the number one digital marketing trend B2B brands are prioritizing is the utilization of new social platforms.

42 percent said new social platforms represented their top trend priority, followed by 34 percent who said virtual events, and 30 percent who noted that influencer marketing was a priority trend.

Ascend2 / Wpromote Chart 1

“Brands embraced new social platforms, virtual events, and influencer marketing strategies that can open the door to new opportunities to drive brand awareness and grow new audiences,” the report suggested.

A robust 68 percent of B2B marketers said they expected their digital marketing budgets to increase during the forthcoming year, with 26 percent seeing a significant budget increase ahead, according to the report data.

When it comes to driving revenue, 57 percent of B2B marketers saw social media as the most effective digital marketing channel, followed by content marketing and email, each at 47 percent.

Reinforcing the notion supported by the other research we’ve examined, the Ascend2 and Wpromote data showed that social media was the area of digital customer experience that had the most impact on overall strategic success, according to 57 percent of respondents — ahead of website optimization’s 47 percent and paid advertising’s 42 percent.

“Whatever social platforms you use as a B2B marketer, if you prioritize the time and resources to add new social platforms to your mix, you increase the opportunity to build new audiences and further engage with your existing audience,“ Todd Lebo, CEO at Ascend2 told me. „Newer platforms that B2B should consider are TikTok, Clubhouse, and Twitter Spaces,” Lebo added.

We’ve taken a look at how B2B marketers can utilize Twitter Spaces in „On-Target: What’s New With Twitter For B2B Marketers In 2021,“ Clubhouse in „How B2B Brands Can Boost Confidence in Livestream Video, Podcast and Clubhouse Marketing,“ and other new social platforms in „How B2B Marketing Influencers Are Finding Success On New Social Channels.“

The most successful B2B marketers have also tended to inform their CX strategy by including other departments — a structure that less successful marketers don’t tend to utilize.

Ascend2 / Wpromote Chart 2

Bringing many of these trends and tactics together, account-based marketing (ABM) — or even account based experiences (ABX), as our CEO Lee Odden recently explored in “Is ABX the Next Evolution of B2B Marketing?” — is increasingly used by the most successful B2B marketers.

43 percent of the most successful B2B marketers already have a working ABM strategy in place, and 30 percent are actively implementing one, the Ascend2 and Wpromote data showed.

[bctt tweet=““To do ABM well, you need to bend the sales odds in your favor. The best way to bend the odds is to utilize customer data you collect over time and deliver a seamless customer experience (CX).” — Ruth Stevens @RuthPSteven“ username=“toprank“]

3 — Social Drives B2B Customer Experience Personalization

B2B brands are increasing finding success in delivering more personalized CX through social channels.

The digital experiences customers crave can be crucial for building brand affinity, as some 80 percent of respondents in a survey conducted by Salesforce said that these experiences are every bit as important as a firm’s actual products or services.

Brand storytelling helps build more memorable digital experiences, as Microsoft’s Miri Rodriguez has explored, which I outlined earlier this year in „Microsoft’s Miri Rodriguez on How B2B Marketers Are Embracing Empathy For Better Customer Storytelling.“

[bctt tweet=““Storytelling isn’t the mere telling of story, it’s the intentional design of story structure, attributes and elements that conjure emotion, drive inclusion and lead with empathy.” — Miri Rodriguez @MiriRod“ username=“toprank“]

Some 68 percent of businesses in the Salesforce survey said that they expected brands to demonstrate empathy, but only 37 percent said that they were experiencing it — a sentiment Rodriguez shared when she noted that, “Brands want to transact with people who are showing high levels of empathy.”

Ryan Higginson, vice president and UK/ROI Country Leader at Pitney Bowes, sees a future that includes better customer experiences that go beyond the mere algorithmic.

“B2B decision makers want humanized, personalized, helpful and relevant experiences to reduce complexity and save them time,“Higginson recently noted. „They want businesses to anticipate their requirements beyond the ‘You liked that, now try this‚ algorithm. The more B2B organizations get to know their clients at a personal level, the better the relationship becomes and the greater the customer experience,” he added.

A McKinsey study revealed that 97 percent of B2B buyers said that they would use an end-to-end self-serve digital model to make a purchase, with most being comfortable doing so while spending $50K or more.

The pandemic has brought about a shift among B2B buyers, who have grown more comfortable with digital self-service and omni-channel interactions.

McKinsey & Company

LinkedIn’s* State of Sales Report 2021 noted that trust in a brand’s product or service was consistently a top factor in influencing purchases among buyers, and the 2020 version of the report showed that some 75 percent of B2B buyers were particularly influenced by social media, with 84 percent of senior executives utilizing social media to support buying decisions.

We dug into the shift to executive influence in B2B marketing in „Brandfluence – Why Growing Executive Influence is Essential for B2B Marketing,“ and also shared 20 tips for driving executive credibility efforts in „20 Ways to Build B2B Executive Credibility and Thought Leadership.“

[bctt tweet=“Social engagement with prospects along with publishing credible thought leadership content warms prospects for conversations that lead to conversion.” — Lee Odden @LeeOdden“ username=“toprank“]

Reach New B2B Marketing Heights With A Social & CX Mix

via GIPHY

There’s no need to make a leap of faith when you have data-backed research informing your digital marketing strategy.

By using social media to drive customer experience personalization and to help B2B brands meet rising customer expectations, B2B marketers will achieve greater levels of post-pandemic B2B customer engagement.

We hope that our look at recent report and survey data will help inform your own B2B marketing efforts as we move ahead towards 2022.

Crafting award-winning B2B marketing with a creative mixture of social media, influence, and memorable digital customer experiences takes considerable time and effort, which is why many firms choose to work with a top digital marketing agency such as TopRank Marketing. Contact us today and let us know how we can help, as we’ve done for businesses ranging from LinkedIn, Dell and 3M to Adobe, Oracle, monday.com and others.

* LinkedIn is a TopRank Marketing client.

The post Social Significance: Why B2B Brands Value Social CX & Are Spending More appeared first on B2B Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

Source:: toprankblog.com

Design systems and SEO: does it help or hinder SERP achievements?

30-second summary:

  • All the copy and strategic use of keywords in the world will not impress search engines if your web design is not fit for purpose
  • The design of your website or web app is linked intrinsically to user experience, which in turn impacts your Google quality score and SEO performance
  • Website design must drive users from A to B without any unnecessary steps in between – while retaining relevant copy that ties in with your SEO strategy
  • Review your website design when considering your SEO strategy KPIs – a drop in traffic may be due to a substandard or outdated layout
  • Do not neglect copy, as UX meta copy will improve your CTR on paid advertising. In turn, though, ensure that your website’s design system is strong enough to obtain a suitable quality score and keep your Google Ads spending within budget

In many respects, a website is the home of your business on the web. To this end, it’s perhaps fitting that creating a website is not unlike building a house. To achieve your intentions, you’ll need to establish solid foundations before commencing construction. When it comes to building a website from scratch, that means engineering your design systems and templates to maximize SEO potential.

Many businesses emphasize content and keywords in their SEO strategy, with design becoming an afterthought. To return to our housebuilding analogy, that’s like laying a solid roof upon unstable walls. There is no denying that superior copy is critical to enjoying a successful approach to SEO. Even the most gifted writer cannot overcome substandard web design and user experience, though.

What is a design system?

No website, no matter how well designed, will remain the same forever. Therefore, websites and web apps need to be regularly audited, refreshed, and even wholly redesigned. Such steps are the only way to retain your target audience’s interest and ensure that you remain one step ahead of Google’s ever-evolving SEO algorithms.

At the very least, a website redesign is necessary every three years. If you diagnose a plummet in traffic, it may become essential sooner than this. Take a deep breath, review your data, and ascertain what is to blame for your drop-in visitors. If you suspect that your web design is the issue, a wait-and-see approach will not yield results. Your traffic will continue to drop, and the longer you wait to resolve the problem, the more mountains you will need to overcome.

Now, as anybody that has ever built a website from scratch will know, the task requires two things in abundance – time and money. Both are precious commodities for a business, especially an SME.

Alas, all websites periodically need a little tinkering under the bonnet. If you have established a design system, this will be significantly less disruptive. Effective website design systems ensure that your tech team or design agency has a firm and reliable blueprint to work from, and everything is in its place. Essentially, any work on your website is editorial rather than creative. As a result, you’ll enjoy positive implications on labor intensiveness and expense alike.

Above all, design systems create a positive user experience. If you expect to have any measure of success with your SEO strategy, superior UX is non-negotiable. 21st Century consumers have more choice than ever before, and patience is in short supply. If your website design system does not meet users‘ needs quickly and efficiently, visitors will stay away – and Google will sit and take notice.

Do design systems influence SEO performance?

SEO and design systems initially appear to be opposites. Web designers focus on making a site look fabulous and providing accessible, fluid navigation. Copywriters ensure that the content meets a users‘ needs, convincing them to follow the steps laid out in web design. In reality, these two disciplines are entwined when it comes to maximizing SEO.

First thing’s first – if you redesign a website without factoring your SEO into the equation, disaster awaits. Forget to apply 301 redirects, and Google may wipe your entire SEO strategy overnight. If all else fails, at least take advantage of UX microcopy to create engaging, interactive 404 pages. Ensuring that a redesigned website can still find high-performing pages is the only way to maintain SEO and SERP progress, though.

In addition, consider the impact of design on your SEO. Consider how mobile-friendly your design system us, and what coding you use. Anything more complex than industry-standard CSS or HTML may capture the imagination of a first-time user but can be considered a novelty. It may be challenging for readers to understand how to navigate such a site, and you’ll struggle to optimize your content. These issues will have a knock-on effect on your page ranking.

What makes the ideal web design for SEO and SERPs?

As discussed, any business or individual must update their website from time to time. Even if your site is still pulling in traffic, there is no harm in making tweaks. It’s much easier to keep traffic flowing than to regain loyalty and interest from lapsed consumers.

When reviewing your website’s design templates, ensure that you consider the following to maximize the impact of your SEO strategy.

1. Clear brand messaging

First and foremost, ensure that your website design templates clearly and directly explain your brand values and mission. Imagine that every click on your site is from a first-time visitor. Do they know what you can offer and how you’ll do so? If you cannot convince a user that you’re worthy of their attention in less than 15 seconds, they’re likely to click away and be lost for good. Google will acknowledge this bounce rate and adjust your quality score accordingly

2. Investigating competitors

As we have mentioned previously, all websites need to undergo periodic renewal, including your competitors‘ online presence. Be sure to constantly check in on what your rivals are doing, especially those that seem to enjoy excellent SEO performance. Take your findings and build upon them, whether that’s taking a skyscraper approach to SEO copy or adjusting the layout and design of your site to meet the industry gold standard.

Before you embark on any kind of website redesign, factor all these matters into your thinking. If you create a website design system that meets all criteria, any future adjustments will be considerably more straightforward.

3. Understanding industry trends

As well as keeping an eye on your competitors, think about industry trends. While every consumer is unique, large groups can be relied upon to embrace a herd mentality. When building a design system, ensure that you can showcase any social awareness campaigns. Be ready to alter payment methods if a new financial platform takes the world by storm. Consider introducing one-click models to reach pages if these become popular. Few consumers will place their trust in a website that is deemed archaic and out of touch with contemporary tastes and expectations.

4. Be mobile-friendly

Website design packed with bells and whistles can look spectacular on a large HD screen. Consider how your site will perform when squeezed into a 5.5″ smartphone display, though. More and more people are eschewing desktop browsing for a portable alternative, which must factor into your design template. Failure to cater to the mobile market will place you firmly in Google’s bad books.

5. User experience

Arguably the most prominent concern of them all – you must ensure that your website design offers an enhanced UX for your visitors. Get people from A to B with a minimum of fuss. Do not be tempted to stuff your site with additional pages, creating more links in a chain to flex your copywriting muscles or cram in more advertising. Speed and simplicity will always win out.

6. Ease of adjustment

Is your website’s design system engineered in-house or through an external agency? It’s better to bring in outside help if you are not an expert in this field. If you do so, however, ensure that you understand how to make any changes yourself. Fast action may be required, and you will not want to be at the mercy of a third party’s availability.

7. Get meta

Meta text and tags will not directly influence your page ranking with Google, as they do not influence a quality score. Appropriate meta tags on images can help images be sourced by search engines, though, as well as enhancing UX for visually impaired visitors.

8. Gather first-party data

Another consideration when building a website design system for your SEO is the capturing of first-party data. In 2021, the real currency is information. By understanding your target audience and obtaining data that they willingly provide themselves, you tailor your offering to those likeliest to use it. Do not neglect opportunities to source this data for yourself – it will save time and money and ensure accuracy when building a customer profile.

9. Think like Google

Whether we like it or not, this is Google’s world, and we’re just living in it. Set up alerts and do whatever you can to stay one step ahead of any algorithm updates, whether major or minor. History is littered with horror stories of websites that lost four figures of revenue overnight due to traffic slumps following an algorithm update. While it’s impossible to predict what The Big G will get up to next, you can at least protect yourself by pre-empting changes.

10. Avoid intrusive advertising

For some websites, advertising is a necessary evil to maintain a revenue stream. Always consider the placement and style of advertising in your website design system. Static ads that fill a page or videos that slow down performance will infuriate users and lead to a high bounce rate. Google will also notice these issues and reduce your quality score accordingly. Slow loading speeds and an emphasis on advertising over quality content are both red flags.

11. Investigate ROI

Finally, think about how you will assess the success – or otherwise – of your SEO strategy. Is it time to update your choice of SEO tool? Think about the KPIs you measure regularly, and ensure your website design system supports such tools and plug-ins. There is little point in investing in SEO services if you are unaware of their performance.

Does copy influence SEO and SERPs more than design systems?

As discussed, a gold standard copy will not supersede poor website design. However, this does not mean that you ignore your copy needs in favor of focusing on aesthetics. Relevance and information are just as crucial to UX as rapid negotiation of a website. Never lose track of the importance of Google’s algorithms, either. If you fall foul of E-A-T expectations, it can be challenging to regain your standing.

So, to answer the question above, copy is not more important than website design – but it’s equally critical. A well-planned website will attract attention but great copy will retain it. Copy alone will not dictate a stellar Google quality score but can bolster conversions and improve CTR on paid advertising. Such steps are vital when taking advantage of SERPs.

All of this raises an important question – what should come first when prepping an SEO strategy, copy or design? Returning to the housebuilding analogy that opened this guide, design is the sturdy, reliable bricks and mortar of a dwelling. Copy is the personal touch that makes a house a home and something uniquely your own.

If you were building a home from scratch, however, would you not feel strongly about ensuring it met your needs? You would ensure that the dimensions accommodate your existing furniture and that the blueprints provide enough space that you will not need to move any time soon.

If you have your copy planned out before creating a website design system, you will have a margin for error. You can tailor every step of the user journey to the text that you have prepared, and where necessary, streamline your content with the aid of data storytelling. Above all, you can adjust copy without too much fuss, adapting to the ever-shifting SEO landscape. A design system is considerably tougher to remold around your prose. Always keep this in mind when planning your website.

Joe Dawson is Director of strategic growth agency Creative.onl, based in the UK. He can be found on Twitter @jdwn.

The post Design systems and SEO: does it help or hinder SERP achievements? appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Source:: searchenginewatch.com

Inside B2B Influence 14: Ann Handley of MarketingProfs on Content Marketing and Influence

Ann Handley

Ann Handley

Inside B2B Influence is a show that goes behind the scenes of B2B marketing and showcases conversations with insiders from the world of influencer marketing. We connect with influential practitioners at B2B brands of all kinds and sizes to answer the rising number of questions about working with influencers in a business context.

In this first episode of the second season of Inside B2B Influence, I was able to catch up with the incredibly popular, talented and beloved Chief Content Officer at MarketingProfs, Ann Handley. I’ve known Ann for well over 10 years and she’s been a great friend, client and source of inspiration to me about more meaningful content marketing.

Ann talks with me about a variety of topics ranging from the nature of influence in B2B, demand for B2B influencers during the pandemic and our mutually favorite „dogfluencer“, August – the most dashing Cavalier King Charles Spaniel you may ever meet.

Highlights of this episode of Inside B2B Influence with Ann Handley include:

  • Does everybody have influence? Yes and no
  • How the change to digital first B2B marketing has affected demand for influencers
  • The importance of a relationship driven approach
  • Trends in B2B influencer content collaboration
  • Growing emphasis on executive thought leadership and influence
  • Worst practices influencer engagement
  • How to integrate influencers with your newsletter
  • What B2B marketers should do to improve their influencer marketing
  • Some of Ann’s favorite B2B industry influencers

Listen to episode 14 (Confluence: The B2B Content and Influence Connection) of the Inside B2B Influence podcast here:

You wrote the best selling book, Everybody Writes. Do you think everybody has influence?

Ann: That’s such an interesting question because at first pass it’s like, well of course. But then on the other hand it’s kind of an existential question, isn’t it? I really had to think about that for a second. I mean, yes, I do think that everybody has influence, but not everybody has credibility, right? Yes, we all have influence, but not in all topics. Like for example, I really like sushi, but that doesn’t mean that I’m a fish influencer. Is that a thing fishfluencer? I think we all have our spheres of expertise and we are influential within those spheres of expertise. But I don’t think that people are influencers across all things.

Everybody has influence, but not everybody has credibility. @annhandley

I also think that, especially in B2B, that the notion of influencers is even more narrowly defined than it is in, in B2C. Because the expertise that I have in marketing is, you know, it’s content, it’s writing. It’s very specific. I don’t think you would come to me if you were looking for somebody to talk about analytics. Like you would go to Chris Penn for that. He’s an influencer in marketing analytics. So I think, especially in B2B, that that it is absolutely true that the credibility I have as an influencer is very specific and narrow. And I think that’s true of any, any B2B influencer.

The pandemic accelerated digital transformation in B2B impacting all aspects of doing business including marketing. What impact has an emphasis on digital first in B2B marketing had on the demand for influencers like yourself?

Ann: I have definitely seen more of those opportunities come my way because I think, just to your point, all of the traditional B2B tactics of field marketing and in person trade shows and other moments to experience the brands face to face, all of that went away in the past 15 months or so since the pandemic. So what takes its place? That’s been what’s fueling a lot of that digital transformation happening at B2B companies.

Influencer marketing is very much part of that because, how do you build that sort of trust with your audience if you don’t have the ability to meet them in person, to sit down, to have a conversation with them? So I think influencers have become a proxy and a conduit for that.

We’re going to see more companies start to embrace the opportunity to form relationships with influencers versus straight up transactional. @annhandley

What’s interesting and what I see straight up from an influencer standpoint, is that more of those companies seek to have those relationships with me. They’re seeking to build those relationships with me in much less of a transactional way. You and I have talked about this Lee, I remember saying to you that this is like the future of B2B influencer marketing. We’re going to see more companies start to embrace the opportunity to form relationships with influencers versus, you know, straight up transactional – make it less of an advertising / transactional play. Like here, I’ll pay you X amount of dollars if you share my thing, you know? That’s more of a B2C model.

I think in B2B what we’re seeing, and this has been fueled by the pandemic, is that we are seeing those relationships start to happen between brands and influencers like me where they’re reaching out to me proactively and saying, „Hey, we don’t have a thing right now, but we want to work with you. Can we sort of get to know each other?“

And so I think we’re seeing an increasing impetus toward an approach that I feel, has more sustainability long-term and it’s the way that I like to work personally. So yeah, I think we’re seeing a whole lot more of that.

What are some of the content collaboration opportunities between B2B brands and influencers that you’re seeing more of in 2021?

Ann: There are yeah. I want to caveat this by saying that I’m speaking from my personal experience versus, you know, I haven’t necessarily polled B2B marketers. So you probably have a better perspective on this too and whether what I’m talking about is actually reflected in the broader B2B community.

What I see is more brands looking to have a longterm relationship. Not just, come speak at our webinar, but, can we actually think about this over like a fiscal year? What can we do together in Q1 and Q2 and Q3, so that it becomes much more of a, not quite ambassador, but at least more of a brand alignment, right? So that I’m saying, „I believe in what you do“ and and you’re saying that you trust me as well.

More long-term engagements and less transactional is honestly the foundation of a successful B2B influencer marketing program. @annhandley

I think longer-term engagement with a trust foundation to it is definitely something that I’m seeing. I’m also seeing these situations where even if it is about providing a quote for this, or for example, I’ll put something in my newsletter that’s sort of sponsored but for me, it’s not anything that you can buy. It’s something where I read the paper and I believe in it. I have a relationship with the company and so therefore I will share it with my audience. So yes, it’s sponsored, but it’s like, it’s sponsored with my whole self. I guess I’m a little bit goofy, but you know what I mean, with integrity, I should say.

That is a situation where it’ll be over several months, so it’s not just like a one and done. But can you help us promote this and here’s what’s in it for you and here’s what we want to give to you and your audience, that kind of thing. I guess to sum up, much more long-term engagements and less transactional, which I think is honestly the foundation of a successful B2B influencer marketing program anyway. But you probably have more perspective on that than I do.

It’s been really interesting what’s happened not just in terms of content creation and the thought leadership through partnerships between executives and external influencers, but also the relationships that are being facilitated.

Ann: Yeah, that’s really interesting. I think it makes total sense, right? Because in the past 15 months of the pandemic, I think that the brands who have really demonstrated that we’re all in this together, have actually had to show up in a real human genuine way and to be there for their audiences. I think that’s in part what’s driving the kind of collaboration that you’re talking about.

Brands realize that to trust somebody, you’ve got to know them. And how can you trust a B2B brand unless you sort of see the faces of the people behind the brand? @annhandley

Because I do think brands realize that to trust somebody, you’ve got to know them. And how can you trust a B2B brand unless you sort of see the faces of the people behind the brand? I think that cascades throughout B2B marketing as well as influencer marketing. I think that’s clearly one area where we are seeing where that comes to life,

Along with best practices there are also bad practices. I’m curious if there are any bad behaviors in terms of how people reach out or engage with you?

Ann: I think there’s been a few situations where I just, I tend not to engage basically. That’s a situation where a big agency will reach out and it’s clear that I’m one of many. Like I’m like part of a stable of influencers that they’re looking to. And they ask me to respond and fill out this Google form about the size of my audience. I’m not going to do any of that. That’s not what I want and that’s not who I am. It’s not what my brand is all about. That’s just not what I’m going to do.

It doesn’t matter to me how much money is on the table, because damage to my brand, reputation and my credibility far outweighs anything else. @annhandley

So it doesn’t matter to me how much money is on the table, because damage to my brand, reputation and my credibility far outweighs anything else. That’s a situation where I just wouldn’t engage. I can’t even say that it’s a bad practice but it’s de-motivating. When those come in we just sort of delete it immediately.

Or they come at it from a tactic standpoint. I get this a lot. For example, my email newsletter. I’ve talked a lot about it the past couple of years, it’s grown pretty significantly and it has really healthy, open rates. The list is just over 50,000 now. So it’s a good, robust list. I get a lot of people who say, will you share this in your newsletter? And I don’t know them. I don’t have a relationship with you. So if the onus is on me to do the legwork and figure out who you are, what your solution is all about or what your piece of content is all about, then I’m not going to do it.

Also, that’s not the role of the newsletter. If you know me, and if you’re on the list, then you know that, right? So, if you want to get something in my newsletter, then that’s not the first step. The first step is engaging me on social, get to know me. All the things that, you know, you do to start a relationship. All the best practices around that. Not. „Will you share this in your newsletter?“ That’s all the stuff that just ends up being deleted immediately.

What are some ways you can imagine someone incorporating influencer content in a newsletter?

Ann: If you’re a marketer and you’re publishing your own newsletter and you want to work with influencers, trying to figure out a way to highlight them in that environment could be something simple, like highlighting some of their content or highlighting them as an individual. Or it could be something more like inviting them to be like a guest editor depending on the relationship.

I think there’s lots of opportunity there to influence the influencer as part of your brand and not just thinking that your relationship with the influencer is only in the social space. Because I think an email newsletter is just such a rich opportunity to communicate directly with your audience. The degree to which you can invite influencers into that relationship is going to solidify your relationship with the influencer as well.

Who are some of your favorite influencers, you know, that would, you know, that operate in the B2B world in some way, whether it’s marketing or tech or somewhere else?

Ann: Avinash Kaushik at Google. I don’t even know if he would consider himself an influencer, but he is. I think mostly because his brain functions so differently. I’m on his newsletter list. I love to read his perspective and his point of view, and follow him on social for the same reasons.

Chris Penn is somebody else who you know, again, has a very different approach. But if you took Chris Penn’s brain and took my brain and sort of put them together, you’d get like this whole body marketer, you know? I think I come at it very much from the art and high touch perspective and he comes at it very much from a science and analytics standpoint. I appreciate his message so much because he helps me elevate in what I do just by paying attention to what he’s doing.

I love what April Dunford talks about around positioning. I think she offers some really valuable advice and I always love seeing what she has to say and hearing her point of view on things.

You certainly. I think you, and I know it’s like your show so I probably shouldn’t, but like the work you’ve done around influencer marketing, I think you absolutely are helping to push the industry forward in terms of like how to do it right. And, and how to create programs that actually do sustain themselves long-term and deliver value for your organization.

Thanks Ann! You are a great source of inspiration to B2B marketers all over the world and a wonderful human being!

You can also watch the full video interview with Ann Handley here:

For more B2B marketing insights, you can subscribe to Ann’s amazing Total ANNARCHY newsletter here and connect with her on Twitter and LinkedIn. Also, don’t miss out on the MarketingPros B2B Forum coming up October 13-14 this year.

Be sure to stay tuned to TopRank Marketing’s B2B Marketing Blog for our next episode of Inside B2B Influence where we’ll be answering the B2B marketing industry’s most pressing questions about the role of influence in business marketing.

You can also download The State of B2B Influencer Marketing Report featuring insights from a survey of hundreds of B2B marketers plus case studies and contributions from marketing executives at brands including Adobe, LinkedIn, IBM, Dell, SAP and many more.

The post Inside B2B Influence 14: Ann Handley of MarketingProfs on Content Marketing and Influence appeared first on B2B Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

Source:: toprankblog.com

B2B Marketing News: B2B Content Consumption Data, Digital Ad Revenue Sizzles, In-Person Events & Advertisers, & YouTube’s New Time-Savers

2021 June 18 MediaPost IPG Chart

2021 June 18 MediaPost IPG ChartAlmost 90% of B2B Content Consumption Said to Take Place Outside the C-Suite
Nearly 90 percent of B2B content consumption involves those outside corporate executive-level management, with some 21 percent being consumer by individual contributors, according to recently-released B2B buyer breakdown by job titles survey data. MarketingCharts

Podcasts start coming to Facebook next week
Facebook will begin rolling out a new podcast feature on June 22, offering podcast creators a new distribution channel, with features such as one minute promotional clips — to appear in a forthcoming podcasts tab — the social media giant recently announced. The Verge

TikTok Owner ByteDance’s Annual Revenue Jumps to $34.3 Billion
TikTok parent ByteDance saw a 93 percent jump in gross profit during 2020, with revenue more than doubling to $30 billion, the popular short-form social video platform that has seen increasing business interest recently announced in annual employee financial performance data. Wall Street Journal

Google Launches Search Console Insights
Google has launched a new feature to its Search Console product that presents audience data from Google Analytics combined with Search Console insights, to offer an expanded look at customer audiences, the search giant recently announced. Search Engine Journal

YouTube Will Now Enable Creators To Add Midrolls, End Screens and Captions While Their Video Is Processing
Google-owned YouTube has released a new time-saving feature in its YouTube Studio that will smooth workflow for marketers by allowing users to perform more tasks while the initial video uploading process is underway, the firm recently reported. Social Media Today

More Advertisers Envision Return to In-Person Events
17 percent of advertisers plan to resume sponsoring in-person events in the final quarter of 2021, while 16 percent say they plan to do so in the first quarter of 2022, according to newly-released survey data. The survey also showed that some 10 percent of advertisers say that they have no plans to resume sponsoring in-person event. MarketingCharts

2021 June 18 Statistics ImageAugmented Reality Market to Hit $175B by 2026: ABI Research
The global augmented reality (AR) and mixed reality (MR) market will top $175 billion by 2026, with almost 28 million smart glasses expected to ship by then, according to recently-released forecast data of interest to digital marketers. AV Network

Spotify launches its live audio app and Clubhouse rival, Spotify Greenroom
Spotify has begun launching Greenhouse, its Clubhouse-life mobile app offering with features that can also turn live audio conversations into podcasts on the Spotify platform, the firm recently disclosed. Spotify also plans to eventually infuse targeting recommendations and additional Spotify-specific functionality into Greenhouse. TechCrunch

LinkedIn bets on remote events, investing in $5 billion-plus virtual platform company Hopin
Microsoft-owned LinkedIn (client) has invested in virtual conference technology firm Hopin, in a push to allow customers to extend the reach of their live events onto LinkedIn with new immersive experiences, Hopin recently announced. CNBC

Global Ad Growth Consensus Lifted To 10.6% In 2021, 8.2% In 2022
Advertising spending worldwide in 2021 is expected to jump by 10.6 percent, with an 8.2 percent increase forecast for 2022, according to recently-released global ad spend forecast data of interest to online marketers. The figures represent a strong rebound from the 5.2 percent decrease seen in 2020. MediaPost

ON THE LIGHTER SIDE:

2021 June 18 Marketoonist Comic

A lighthearted look at the “the next big thing in marketing” by Marketoonist Tom Fishburne — Marketoonist

Microsoft’s best Cannes Lions-winning ads and campaigns — AdAge

TOPRANK MARKETING & CLIENTS IN THE NEWS:

  • Lee Odden — B2B Influencer Marketing with Lee Odden [Podcast] — Pam Didner
  • Lee Odden — What’s Trending: Innovations in B2B Marketing — LinkedIn (client)

Have you found your own top B2B marketing article from the past week of industry news? Please drop us a line in the comments below.

Thanks for taking the time to join us for the TopRank Marketing B2B marketing news, and we hope that you’ll come back again next Friday for more of the week’s most relevant B2B and digital marketing industry news. In the meantime, you can follow us at @toprank on Twitter for even more timely daily news.

The post B2B Marketing News: B2B Content Consumption Data, Digital Ad Revenue Sizzles, In-Person Events & Advertisers, & YouTube’s New Time-Savers appeared first on B2B Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

Source:: toprankblog.com

Here’s how you can master your next seasonal digital marketing campaign

Seasonal campaigns

30-second summary:

  • To ensure organic visibility for your seasonal pages, start creating, optimizing, and analyzing them now
  • Start creating, organizing, and scheduling seasonal content assets now for a head-start when it’s time to start focusing on driving sales
  • Evaluate your past seasonal content performance to be able to recycle, update, and possibly even expand them into standalone projects
  • Research your competitive tactics to evaluate how they utilize seasonality in their digital marketing strategy
  • Create a detailed editorial calendar to plan out all assignments and deadlines to “catch” the rising interest in seasonal content and deals

Summer is a slow season for many businesses, especially those in a B2B niche. If things are a bit slow for you now, here’s an idea – Use these quiet months to turn your next big season into a huge boost for your business. Here is how you can start preparing for your next big seasonal content marketing campaign now:

1. Check your seasonal rankings now

Do you have a page (or pages) offering seasonal deals, gift ideas, and special offers? The demand for this type of content may be seasonal but its rankings should be permanent. That’s why I always advise against removing these pages or even delinking them throughout the site.

You want those pages to always be accessed by Google for your rankings to be there when the searches start climbing.

If you cannot find your site ranking for your target seasonal queries, it is time to set them up even if the actual season is still months ahead.

Source: Screenshot created by the author

Furthermore, Spyfu offers a comprehensive analysis of all SERP movements for you to identify important patterns and spot a competitor that was doing the best job retaining their organic visibility for seasonal search queries:

SERP analysis of seasonal marketing campaignsSource: Screenshot created by the author

Read more about this feature here.

When it comes to SEO, seasonality can be tricky but it definitely needs to be planned ahead as organic SEO takes time to yield results.

2. Start creating seasonal assets (content and social)

Your high season is going to be a busy time for you and your team, so while planning your upcoming campaigns, start creating (and even scheduling) your content assets beforehand.

When brainstorming seasons content ideas, I always turn to Text Optimizer that does a great job suggesting related concepts and angles to focus on:

Semantic search for seasonal content ideas

Source: Screenshot created by the author

The tool relies on semantic analysis.

Content marketing involves a lot of channels, so the more you are prepared, the easier (and more productive) your seasonal campaign will turn out to be.

Furthermore, there are a few cross-channel content marketing tools that can help create and organize your seasonal content. For example, Boosted by Lightricks allows you to easily create festive videos in multiple formats:

Formats for cross channel marketingSource: Screenshot created by the author

This way you can create content assets that will fit all of your channels. There’s also a handy Brand Kit feature allowing you to maintain a consistent visual identity throughout all your assets:

Creating a brand kit for seasonal campaignsSource: Screenshot created by the author

The app is available on iPhone and Android for free. You can choose to upgrade for $4.99 per month. I for one have been using the free tier (and the above screenshots are taken when using the free version of the app).

The platform also offers a list of seasonal content ideas and hashtags to make your campaign even more effective.

There are a few more video creation apps out there but I don’t think any of them let you access so many great features for free.

Another great content creation tool that gives you lots of free features for free is, of course, Canva. I’ve been using Canva for free for as long as I can remember without ever having to upgrade.

Christmas campaignsSource: Screenshot created by the author

Here’s the guide on planning a Christmas marketing campaign.

3. Evaluate your past seasonal campaign performance

If you were publicizing any seasonal content over the years, find all of it to:

  • Explore an opportunity for an update (“Can I reuse this asset this year?” as well as “How can I make it better?”)
  • Evaluate how effective it was in attracting traffic as well as turning those clicks into conversions

Google Analytics offers an easy way to identify landing pages that did the best job attracting traffic during any period:

  • Go to the Acquisition report and select one channel (for example, “social” or “organic search”)
  • Select the date range of your seasonal campaign from the last year
  • (Optionally) Check the box “Compare” and select “Previous year” from the drop-down
  • Click “Landing page” tab in the chart below:

Analyzing past seasonal campaigns' performance in Google AnalyticsSource: Screenshot created by the author

This gives you an at-a-glance report of the highest traffic page from your previous campaigns. You can further narrow it down by using word filters (for example, type “blog” there to see your best performing seasonal content).

To analyze conversions, you can use Google Analytics goals and funnels. Another tool I am using to closely monitor incoming traffic and its conversions is Finteza. Because it makes it incredibly easy to narrow the data down to identify which traffic source is sending traffic and how well it converts as compared to other pages.

Finteza dataSource: Screenshot created by the author

Read more about Finteza’s conversion funnels here. Finteza costs $25 a month and there’s a 30-day trial available for you to play with the tool before committing.

4. Consider starting a tradition

If any of those previous content assets turned particularly successful, consider expanding that idea into a new project! We all remember the overwhelming success of “Elf Yourself”, Ask Santa, and NORAD mini-projects that were able to engage (and convert) thousands of people year over year.

A separate (single-page) site will be easier to brand and promote without causing any strong associations with your main business. If you need some inspiration, check out Namify:

Start a tradition for your next seasonal campaignSource: Namify

5. Look what your competitors did (or didn’t)

Competitive analysis is important because it motivates a business owner to do more and do it better. Therefore I always include competitive analysis in any of my marketing planning.

There are plenty of ways to research your competitors and what they are doing. My first step is always checking Ahrefs and what other search queries they are ranking for:

competitor analysisSource: Screenshot created by the author

Ahrefs is the only platform in the industry that also offers an estimate of traffic each search query sends. Here’s how they calculate it. Ahrefs lowest tier is $99 per month but it is definitely a must-have tool if you are doing SEO.

Similar Web is another nice tool for competitive research. I like looking at their “Referral Traffic” report to identify which sites are sending traffic to my competitors:

Similar WebSource: Similar Web

This basic report is available for free.

It is also a good idea to set up Google Alerts to be modified when your competitors are doing something new.

6. Create your editorial calendar

Every year people seem to start preparing for big holidays earlier. It is not unusual to spot a Holiday-centric social media ad in October. This can actually cause both excitement and irritation.

So the important question remains: When should I start publishing seasonal content?

This may depend from niche to niche, so I always suggest typing your target seasonal search query into Google Trends:

Google search trends on seasonal keywordsSource: Screenshot created by the author

It also helps to compare several of your target search queries. For example, in this niche the demand seems to be pretty consistent over the years:

Google Trends compareSource: Screenshot created by the author

When it comes to organizing and scheduling your content assets, there are a few great calendar plugins to choose from. I mostly use CoSchedule because it allows me to also schedule those updates to your social media channels as well as assign certain content assets to various contributors.

CoSchedule costs $29 per month. It supports scheduling to Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, and Instagram. I prefer the tool because it combines on-site content planning (assigning content assets to be written) and social media scheduling. This allows me to create a very well-aligned content marketing campaign and makes it easy to organize editorial workflow across many channels.

Instagram also offers a helpful guide on planning your seasonal content strategy here:

Instagram resource on holiday seasonal marketingSource: Screenshot created by the author

Conclusion

Seasonal planning is a great way to make the most of those seasonal interest spikes and build more sales. The earlier you start preparing for your big season, the more time you have to handle an increased amount of sales. Good luck!

Ann Smarty is the Founder of Viral Content Bee, Brand and Community manager at Internet Marketing Ninjas. She can be found on Twitter @seosmarty.

The post Here’s how you can master your next seasonal digital marketing campaign appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Source:: searchenginewatch.com