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For Successful B2B Marketers The Engine of Influence is Always On #B2BIMReport

B2B Influencer Marketing Report 2020

B2B Engine of Influence Always On

As the need for B2B brands to reach and connect authentically with customers rises, B2B influencer marketers are evolving from transactional and intermittent campaigns to more relationship driven, Always-On Influencer engagement programs as our research from the 2020 State of B2B Influencer Marketing report found:

  • 19% are piloting
  • 25% run periodic campaigns
  • 34% use an Always-On approach

Transactional campaign approaches are hard pressed to develop brand loyalty and advocacy. That’s why, with 84% of B2B marketers focused on building brand awareness with their influencer marketing efforts, that ongoing influencer engagement has become essential for creating vested relationships that inspire more qualitative activations and brand advocacy.

The Engine of Influence needs to run ongoing in order to win relationships with the most trusted voices. Our findings amongst B2B marketers have found several interesting insights when it comes to an Always-On approach to influencer relations compared to campaigns, the best practices followed and what Always-On influence in action really looks like.

Influencer Marketing is a Relationship Business

Distractions and competition for attention with B2B customers are at an all-time high. At the same time, B2B marketers are challenged to find the right strategies to maximize resources and marketing impact. Our research found that 76% of B2B marketers find the strategy of working with influencers through Always-On engagement or a combination of Always-On and campaigns, delivers results.

In the world of business, many decisions are made based on emotion, brand strength and the trust of expert voices. B2B marketers who build relationships with trusted experts understand the value of having brand advocates engage authentically with hard to reach audiences that increasingly discount brand communications. An Always-On approach to influencer marketing provides a framework for finding, engaging and elevating relationships with those very experts that customers trust and want to hear from.

The Always-On Imperative for B2B Brands

In today’s uncertain environment, brand reach and credibility are more important than ever. Some of the top B2B brands in the world have invested in developing communities of industry experts through Always-On influencer marketing that they can count on for social engagement, event activations, and brand advocacy.

Our research found that B2B marketers using an Always-On influencer marketing strategy are seeing important benefits including:

  • 75% Increased views of brand content
  • 60% Increased share of voice
  • 55% Increased media mentions of brand
  • 50% Increased brand advocacy

Buyers want to trust the brands they work with and with brand trust at a low, it’s important for B2B companies to invest in relationships with credible experts that buyers do trust.

Garnor Morantes Always-On Influence Quote

Being „always-on“ has allowed our team to build meaningful relationships with influencers. This approach means that the relationship ceases to be „transactional“ (what can you do for us) when we’re in a state of ongoing activity. Because of this foundation, we are in a situation where, when urgency strikes, we’ve been able to immediately activate influencers, whether it be for private, direct, unfiltered feedback and consult, or for external, public-facing advocacy and amplification. B2B brands would be wise to adopt an always-on influencer engagement approach as they look to build true brand advocates.
Garnor Morantes, Group Marketing Manager, LinkedIn

To learn about how LinkedIn built trust and advocacy with Always-On Influence and achieving promising results including:

  • Nearly 2,000 brand mentions by influencers and their networks
  • 84M in potential reach from brand mentions by influencers
  • 200-450% above benchmark engagement on one social influencer activation

see this Always-On Influencer Marketing case study.

How Always-On Influence Drives Marketing Results

Alway-On Influencer Marketing is the practice of ongoing relationship building, engagement and activation of a specified group of influencers to build community, content and brand advocacy that is of mutual value to the brand, its customers and the influencers.

From a confidence standpoint, 94% of B2B marketers using an Always-On influencer engagement strategy believe influencer marketing will grow in importance over the next 12 months vs. 73% of marketers who focus on campaigns.

That confidence is reflected in marketing budgets as well. 89% of B2B marketers implementing Always-On influencer programs expect their budgets to increase or remain the same vs. 73% for marketers running campaign based programs. 28% Always-On influencer programs spend more than $100,000 per year vs. 8% for marketers running campaigns.

Always On Influencer Marketing is a strategic approach to creating communities of trusted experts that is relationship and content focused.

Those relationships are nurtured over time through ongoing engagement and activations that create value for buyers, the brand and the influencers – it is truly an “everybody wins” approach to marketing.

Then Engine of Influence is Always-On

Influencer Marketing is a relationship business and an Always-On influencer engagement strategy helps B2B brands turn those connections with trusted experts into marketing results.

60% of B2B marketers who use Always-On Influencer Marketing programs are very successful vs. 5% who only use periodic campaigns.

Always-On Influencer Marketing elevates influencer engagement from mechanical to meaningful, from transactional to relationship focused. As a result, brands like LinkedIn are able to activate their community on-demand. “When urgency strikes, we’ve been able to immediately activate influencers,” says Garnor Morantes of LinkedIn,”B2B brands would be wise to adopt an always-on influencer engagement approach as they look to build true brand advocates.”

An Always-On Influencer Marketing strategy creates a win for everyone. With a framework that goes beyond influencer content marketing campaigns to partnering with industry experts to drive conversations and advocacy, an Always-On approach builds brand awareness, and inspires customers to trust and engage with the business.

This post is an excerpt from the 2020 State of B2B Influencer Marketing Report. To learn more about the current state of B2B Influencer Marketing, including strategies, tactics, challenges, software, operations, integration and predictions for the future, access our new report here.

B2B Influencer Marketing Report 2020

The post For Successful B2B Marketers The Engine of Influence is Always On #B2BIMReport appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

Source:: toprankblog.com

6 New Rules for B2B Marketing in the COVID-19 Era

B2B Marketing Rules Covid-19

B2B Marketing Rules Covid-19
I was supposed to go to an Alanis Morissette concert this July. When the pandemic hit hard in March, I wasn’t ready to cancel my ticket yet. Surely,
surely we would have it sorted in time for an outdoor concert four months from now. I held out hope. Then, in June, she rescheduled for July, 2021. And now I’m wondering if that will be enough time.

Isn’t it ironic?

Don’t you think?

All of which to say: This pandemic has been around for longer than we thought it would, and is looking to linger far longer than we would like. What seemed like a brief, surreal interlude to be gotten through has now become a reality to live with, at least for the time being.

As B2B marketers, we need to reassess how we are adapting our marketing to our buyers‘ current situation. We’re no longer scrambling to cobble together short-term fixes — we need to be out of reaction mode and into strategic planning mode.

Our marketing agency has been helping clients revise their marketing plans for months now, from messaging and audience to tactics and measurement. Here are a few rules we’ve picked up that other marketers should follow:

6 New Rules for B2B Marketing in the COVID-19 Era

Rule #1: Always Be Relevant

Okay, this is less a NEW rule than a timely reminder. I’m sure most marketers who read our blog (as smart, skilled and beautiful as you are) don’t need to hear it. But just in case: You should never come to an audience without something of value.

Corollary: “Something of value” can not equal “Knowledge of how our product/solution can improve your life.”

People are distracted and stressed. They’re dealing with a new crisis every day. They’re spending way more time with their children than is psychologically healthy. And they have more content than ever before to occupy their free time. If you’re asking for their attention, you must reward it. Be entertaining, be useful, be both if you can. [bctt tweet=“‚Be entertaining, be useful, be both if you can‘ in your #B2B content marketing, says @nitewrites.“ username=“toprank“]

After you deliver, then you can ask for a next step. But make sure your content is intrinsically valuable.

Rule #2: Encourage Interaction

The pandemic lifestyle is, to put it lightly, isolating. Who would have thought you could miss hearing co-workers rock in their chairs, play music a little too loud, or bump into you in the hallway? Most of us are craving social interaction.

If you’re used to broadcasting with your content, it’s time to consider how you can start conversations. How can you interact with your audience on a human level? How can you encourage them to interact with each other, too? Think how much your audience would value a lively, thought-provoking conversation with their colleagues and peers.

You can encourage interaction with content in a few easy ways:

  • Host a LinkedIn Live chat
  • Run a Twitter chat
  • Sponsor a topic-themed chat in a video conferencing app
  • Run an interactive webinar

In general, look for ways you can call out a subset of your audience and get them talking, both to each other and to your brand representatives. We can all use a little more social interaction right now.

Rule #3: Keep Messaging Empathetic

I don’t know about you, but I cringe every time I see an ad about something “going viral.” We are 6 months into a viral pandemic and marketers are still running ads about going viral! How can this be?

This is just one example of how completely innocuous messaging pre-COVID can seem tone-deaf now. Does your content have an anecdote about a dinner party with 15 people? Does your header image feature a crowd of people? Are you talking about “going into the office” or “thinking about this on your commute?” If so, you’re alienating your audience.

Not every piece of content has to be about the pandemic, or being nostalgic for the world that once was. But there needs to be a baseline of empathy: Working from home, social distancing, and mask-wearing are all facts of everyday life.

Rule #4: Experiment with Formats

In the time before the pandemic, we all spent hours looking at screens every day. It’s just there were different screens, in different environments. It was easier to differentiate between the office and home, work and play. Now, our surroundings are homogenous throughout the day — and the content we consume feels same-y, too.

Think about content fatigue as you plan your calendar. Is your audience looking for another wall of text? Do they want to look at another grid of talking heads?

Our agency is finding more success right now with multimedia, interactive content. Our B2B Influencer Marketing report is an example. The content includes case studies, influencer participation, and original research, presented in an animated, dynamic way.

Essentially, keep in mind that idea of efficiently delivering value. Can your blog post be a quick video or audio interview instead? And can that video be five minutes long instead of 10? [bctt tweet=“Can your blog post be a quick video or audio interview instead? And can that video be five minutes long instead of 10? says @nitewrites.“ username=“toprank“]

Rule #5: Collaborate on Content

For me, one of the stranger elements of pandemic life is learning how similar I am to everyone else. I had an urge to do puzzles in March — all the stores were sold out. I wanted to make bread in April — the stores ran out of flour. In May, everyone bought bikes.

Right now, every B2B business is missing their trade shows and in-person demos. So most of them are doubling down on content. The best way to differentiate your content is to bring your audience voices they can’t hear anywhere else.

Co-create content with influencers. Feature subject matter experts in your organization. Tap your current and prospective customers to get their take. The more voices you can bring to your content, the more it will stand out to your audience.

Rule #6: Re-Align Measurement with Current Goals

Per rule #1, people are less interested in promotional content right now. Businesses may have put their purchasing plans on hold, or at least tightened budgets. Marketing’s chief goal right now is likely to be establishing brand credibility, creating thought leadership content, and building relationships for the future.

As your goals change, your measurement must change as well. You can’t measure an awareness campaign in SQLs, or relationship-building in number of demo requests received. That doesn’t mean giving up on measurement or accountability — it just means making the metrics match your goals. For example, you could measure:

  • Brand share of voice
  • Email/Blog subscribers
  • Social media audience/interactions
  • Content consumption metrics (time on page, scroll depth, links clicked)
  • Content resonance (backlinks and social shares)

How New Are These Rules?

So here’s the $100,000 (adjusted for inflation) question: At what point should you stop producing relevant, interactive, empathetic, dynamic and collaborative content? When can you heave a sigh of relief, stop listening to your audience, and start broadcasting promotional messages?

When you put it that way, it’s obvious: These rules are best practices for content no matter what’s going on in the world. The pandemic didn’t create the need for these rules; it just amplified how crucial they are. Back in January, we might have had the luxury of ignoring one or more of them. Now we have the joyous necessity of being forced to do better.

And that’s the good news: Making your marketing better for the pandemic will make you a better marketer now and for whatever comes next.

Need help creating content? We’re here for you.

The post 6 New Rules for B2B Marketing in the COVID-19 Era appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

Source:: toprankblog.com

Five quick and easy ways to make surveys more effective for content marketing

30-second summary:

  • When writing a survey, clarify your objectives before you start writing questions—time spent writing a strategy is well worth it if it means you didn’t forget a vital question (or include an irrelevant one).
  • Don’t get stuck in your old habits when writing surveys—keep trying new things.
  • Phrase questions in a way to get the most specific and clear answers from your survey respondents. Get granular.
  • When writing surveys, draw connections. How might one question relate to other areas of people’s lives?
  • Fractl’s Creative Strategist shares five powerful ways and details on how you can create successful surveys.

In my (sometimes) humble opinion, well-written surveys can be a reliable and effective method of generating newsworthy content.

Surveys allow you to deeply explore personal beliefs and behaviors. They can be tweaked and tailored specifically for your goals, and they appeal to our seemingly universal need to care way too much about what other people think.

I’ve written a lot of surveys in my time at Fractl, and all that experience has taught me plenty of lessons. So, here are five tips that you can employ today to make your next survey a winner.

Tip #1: Embrace the opportunity of survey creation

As content creators, we get paid to be curious, and that’s awesome. Running a survey is a unique opportunity — don’t waste the chance to ask questions worth asking.

We take for granted that our respondents open up about their deep thoughts and personal experiences, maybe even ones they haven’t shared with anybody else. You can write better surveys by simply appreciating that.

Here’s how I like to think of it: Do you want to think up some questions and find out how basically all of society would answer them? If you asked that to just about anybody, I’ll bet they’d take you upon it.

The point is simple: It’s pretty freaking cool to find out how thousands of people think, feel, and behave.

When you’re engaged, your findings will be more engaging.

Tip #2: Draft a survey brief and actually use it

A well-developed campaign brief is the absolute most important part of any project. A survey brief provides structure and strategic direction for your survey. By immersing yourself in the topic, you’ll yield better, more insightful questions.

Let’s dive into each one of those elements a little further.

Survey structure

Here’s something I thought I’d never say: All of those English teachers were right. Every essay did need an outline, and so does every survey.

(I still don’t believe them that the green light over the river was a carefully crafted metaphor for something-or-other, but that’s a discussion for another article.)

Outlining your survey will give you a clear path to follow. This allows you to focus on the more interesting, nuanced aspects of your topic. Having structure, perhaps counterintuitively, actually makes it easier to improvise and take chances.

Strategic direction

Clients aren’t paying us to write surveys because they know we enjoy it, they’re paying us because we achieve their goals.

Drafting a brief will help you clarify your objectives and strategize how to meet them. Referencing that brief throughout the process will keep your survey and your goals aligned.

For example, we often have the goal to build brand awareness for a client. We do this by earning media coverage through the content we create.

When we run surveys that serve as the foundation of our content, we have to consider what journalists (and their audiences) will find interesting. If we don’t keep this in mind, we won’t meet our goals.

Immersion in the topic

A brief isn’t just about planning and outlining; it’s about digging into the topic and sparking curiosity.

This allows you to get the obvious angles out of the way and tap into what’s really newsworthy: a novel, personal, unexpected, nuanced, and humanistic takes on a topic (no matter how common it may seem).

My writing process for a brief typically follows a simple formula:

  1. Research and contemplate the topic: Think about it while your boss sits next to you wondering why you’ve done nothing but stare at your computer for 10 minutes.
  2. Take as many notes as you can: In fact, takes notes as quickly and as incoherently (in my case) as possible. Brainstorm, ask open-ended questions, get lost in the rabbit hole, and get as many thoughts onto the page as possible.
  3. Go back into your notes and make sense of them: Condense them into a clear and ordered outline of the angles you intend to explore.
  4. Leave it and come back: Tweak a few things, give it a spit shine, and send it over to your boss or client for feedback.

By the time you get to your actual survey, you’ll have immersed yourself in the topic. You’ll also have a clear understanding of what you hope to achieve, and you’ll have a detailed, strategic plan.

Tip #3: Be specific when writing survey questions

Specificity doesn’t just ensure clarity and accuracy. It enables you to ask targeted, insightful questions.

“It’s not what you said, Dad, it’s how you said it.” – me, all the time

Choose your words — and your questions — carefully. Detailed, nuanced perspectives make topics more interesting, more relatable, and more newsworthy. Specificity is how you get that.

There are a lot of areas where you can employ specificity to write better surveys, but I’ll focus on the most important: How to ask your questions and set up potential answers.

Examples

Here’s an example: “How many times per week do you shower?”

If you’re me, the answer is “not enough, according to my wife,” but if you’re most people, that question could be interpreted in more than one way. Are you asking how many total showers a person takes in a week, or how many days out of the week that person showers? Are you asking about this week, last week, or whatever random week they might be thinking of?

Some better ways to ask this would be: “In a typical week, how many total showers do you take?” You could also ask more specific questions like, “What’s the longest amount of days that you’ve gone without a shower?” or “In your opinion, to what extent is it acceptable to skip a daily shower occasionally?”

When it comes to providing answer choices, I often aim for the option that will give me the most actionable, most specific data. You can’t unmix paint, so give yourself a good palette instead of a few pre-mixed colors. You can always bucket, convert, and manipulate your detailed data later.

For example: Don’t ask for age ranges. Ask for ages. Do you plan on using age ranges? Great, it’ll take you 10 seconds to make them later if you have each age. Income brackets? No. Why? Ask for income and create your income brackets later, after you’ve done all the interesting things (average, median, percentiles, and more…) that income brackets wouldn’t have let you do.

By phrasing your questions specifically and thinking about how you’ll use the answers, you’ll avoid confusion and being too vague. You’ll also be able to ask more targeted questions. Have you ever done X? Have you ever considered X (even if you haven’t done it)? Have a clear idea of why you’re including each question, and what specifically you hope to do with it.

Tip #4: Get personal

A survey is where the personal and the universal break even.

By tapping into the emotional, humanistic potential of your surveys, you can generate takeaways that truly resonate with a greater audience.

There are plenty of ways to write a newsworthy survey, but to me, surveys are the most interesting when they explore the human condition — when they reveal something about who we really are, why we do things, and how the world affects us.

So how do we do that? By opening up the clock and seeing what makes it tick.

Ask follow-up questions:

Don’t just ask for answers; ask about those answers. People told you that they do X? Great. How does that make them feel? Is there someone in their life who wishes they didn’t do X? How does that affect their relationships? How does X affect their health? Their life satisfaction? How do they feel about people who don’t do X?

Get personal

Surveys are interesting because they tell us about ourselves. Personal takeaways are more unique and are more likely to resonate with the audience on an emotional level. What people do is interesting, but it’s not as interesting as the reasons why they do it, how it impacts their lives or the way that doing it makes them feel. Tip: If you’re getting really personal, you can make the question optional so people don’t feel uncomfortable having to answer.

Embrace nuance and ambivalence

Everything is complicated and (almost) nothing is black and white. Use your surveys to explore the underlying complexity behind people’s beliefs and behaviors. Measure ambivalence by asking respondents if they acknowledge any points that contradict their beliefs or if they ever second-guess or feel guilty about a behavior. Tap into the inherent nuance of most topics by asking questions about its underlying causes or hidden effects.

Let’s take student loan forgiveness, for example. Many people who support loan forgiveness can believe it’s unfair to some people. At the same time, plenty of those who oppose it might acknowledge that it would benefit people, but that other concerns are more important.

By exploring the layers of complexity, we give the topic a fair and detailed perspective, while also uncovering interesting, newsworthy takeaways.

Draw connections

Explore cause and effect. Ask yourself how the topic might impact other areas of people’s lives. Ask yourself how their perspectives on your topic might correlate to other beliefs and behaviors.

Draw connections between people’s perspectives on your topic and their behaviors: Is it making your life better or worse? What are you doing to deal with it? How has it impacted your relationships? What do you think is causing it? Do you think it’s good/bad? Do you think it’s important?

Ask questions that people haven’t asked yet. It’s really that simple. It’s not easy, but it’s simple.

Tip #5: Try new things

Do we all get stuck in our habits? Absolutely. Do rhetorical questions seem to be one of mine? Clearly. Is it important to break out of them? Not this time for me, apparently, but yes!

Try new things in your surveys and on your survey platform, and you might be surprised at how much you’re able to pull off.

Some helpful ideas

If you don’t know what to try, here are some ideas:

  • Open a blank template on your survey platform and play around with it. Look at each feature as a tool and ask what you might be able to do with it. Find a question format that you haven’t used yet, and look for settings that you usually just scroll past.
  • Tweak the settings. For example: Carry responses forward but ask people about the choices they didn’t select. Ask them why they didn’t select them, or how they feel about people who might’ve.
  • Use your answers in a different way. For example: Count the number of selections each respondent made in a select-all question, then create groups based on those counts. Create new demographics using one (or several) of your questions, and break your other results down by those.
  • Strategically divide your sample. For example: Split your respondents into two groups and ask them complementary questions. One group, for example, could report on their habits while the other group reports on their perceptions of those habits.

You may not move forward with every experiment, but it can certainly open your eyes to new ideas.

Conclusion

I do have to add the caveat that self-reported information has its limitations. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t explore fascinating subject matters and gain more insight into public perception and behavior.

Approach survey creation with curiosity, attention to detail, and a sense of experimentation, and your chances of creating compelling content will increase dramatically.

John Bernasconi is a Creative Strategist at Fractl. When he’s not probing anonymous survey respondents about their innermost feelings, you’ll probably find him out in the garage covered in sawdust or in the kitchen (still covered in sawdust).

The post Five quick and easy ways to make surveys more effective for content marketing appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Source:: searchenginewatch.com

20 B2B Influencer Marketing Pros to Follow from Top Brands

B2B influencer marketing pros from top brands

B2B influencer marketing pros from top brands

Recently we published the 2020 State of B2B Influencer Marketing report after surveying hundreds of B2B marketers about their experiences, best practices, tools, budgets and plans for the future.

In an environment where B2B marketing is decidedly digital and marketers are hard pressed to squeeze more productivity out of fewer resources, credible information about marketing best practices, operations and trends for the future are in high demand. Judging by the response we’ve had to The State of B2B Influencer Marketing Report so far, we’re definitely meeting a need.

There is both optimism and an unrealized opportunity with influencer marketing for B2B companies. For evidence, check out these stats from the report:

  • 78% of B2B marketers believe prospects rely on advice from influencers
  • 74% believe that Influencer Marketing improves customer and prospect experiences
  • 63% agree that marketing would have better results if it included an Influencer Marketing program
  • 60% of marketers who use always on Influencer Marketing programs are very successful vs. 5% who do periodic campaigns

And yet:

  • Only 19% of B2B marketers are running ongoing influencer marketing programs
  • Only half include a plan for influencer activation in their influencer marketing strategy
  • Only 35% of marketers use software to identify potential influencers
  • 60% say they don’t have the knowledge to execute or have the right skills in house to implement ongoing Influencer Marketing programs

Influencer Marketing is a significant opportunity for B2B Marketers to connect with trusted and credible experts that have the attention of audiences that are probably overwhelmed with information and ignoring most of the ads that do get to them. At the same time B2B brands that build relationships to co-create content with these industry voices can integrate influence with thought leadership to build the authority and influence of brand employees.

It is very satisfying to have spent the past 8 years focusing on such a niche aspect of B2B marketing to see it now start to grow in acceptance, adoption and maturity amongst some of the top B2B brands in the world. Where there were previously no positions outside of PR with „influencer“ in the title, now it is much more common to find marketers with titles like, Head of Global Influencer Marketing, VP Influencer Marketing and Communications, or B2B Influencer Engagement Strategist.

Many B2B marketing professionals with these titles have earned hard won insights into what makes influencer marketing truly work for B2B, especially during a time when brand marketers are highly motivated to focus on strategies and tactics that will help them survive and thrive during the pandemic.

To help you connect with the collective wisdom of the B2B influencer marketing crowd, here are 20 B2B Influencer Marketing Professionals to follow (in no particular order):

Ursula Ringham
Ursula Ringham
@ursularingham
Head of Global Influencer Marketing at SAP

Rani Mani
Rani Mani
@ranimani0707
Head of Social Influencer Enablement at Adobe

Jen Holtvluwer
Jen Holtvluwer
@JenHoltvluwer
CMO at Spirion

Garnor Morantes
Garnor Morantes
/in/garnormorantes/
Group Marketing Manager at LinkedIn

Martin Hanna
Martin Hanna
@martyhanna
VP, Analyst and Influencer Relations at Schneider Electric

Amisha Gandhi
Amisha Gandhi
@AmishaGandhi
VP Influencer Marketing and Communications at SAP Ariba

Chris Purcell
Chris Purcell
@chrispman01
Manager, Influencer Marketing at Hewlett Packard Enterprise

Janine Wegner
Janine Wegner
@JanineWegner
Global Thought Leadership Program & Activation Manager at Dell

Marshall Kirkpatrick
Marshall Kirkpatrick
@marshallk
VP, Influencer Relations, Analyst Relations, and Competitive Intelligence at Sprinklr

Angela Lipscomb
Angela Lipscomb
@AngelaLipscomb
Influencer Relations Manager at SAS

Srijana Angdembey
Srijana Angdembey
@srijanaa
Director Social Media Marketing at Oracle

Ann Boyd
Ann Boyd
@annb
VP Corporate Communications at Cherwell Software

Tom Treanor
Tom Treanor
@RtMixMktg
Global Head of Marketing at Arm Treasure Data

Sarah Groves
Sarah Groves
@sstoesser
Director, Communications, AT&T Business Marketing at AT&T Business

Alyssa Samuelson
Alyssa Samuelson
@alyssamuelson
Commercial Influencer Relations at Microsoft

Lucinda Henry
Lucinda Henry
@lucindarhenry1
B2B Influencer Engagement Strategist at Intel

Barbara French
Barbara French
@bfr3nch
Sr Director, Content and Influencer Marketing at Juniper Networks

Paul Dobson
Paul Dobson
@svengelsk
Sr. Director, Social and Influencer Marketing at Citrix

Meg Crawford
Meg Crawford
@Postgrad
Sr. Influencer/Social Media Marketing Manager at Splunk

Brandi BoatnerBrandi Boatner @ThinkBluePR
Social and Influencer Communications Lead Global Markets at IBM

Of course there are many B2B influencer marketing practitioners from the consulting and agency world that could be on a list like this, including some of my team at TopRank Marketing. Maybe we’ll publish such a list in the future, but for now this resource is focused on people working at B2B brands.

If you know of other B2B brand influencer marketing practitioners, who would you add to this list?

To tap into the collective wisdom of these and more B2B influencer marketing experts, be sure to check out the full report here.

*SAP, LinkedIn, SAP Ariba, Dell, Cherwell and Treasure Data are TopRank Marketing clients.

The post 20 B2B Influencer Marketing Pros to Follow from Top Brands appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

Source:: toprankblog.com

Foolproof guide to optimizing Shopify for SEO

Shopify for SEO site structure

30-second summary:

  • Search engine rankings play a huge role in making your online store more visible to shoppers. If you rank higher on the SERPs, there’s a higher chance that you’ll rake in more sales.
  • Shopify is one of the most recommended ecommerce platforms. Data from BuiltWith shows that usage of the CMS platform has doubled since 2017, and it currently has more than one million active websites.
  • It offers a great backend administration that can be tailored. More important, it’s packed with SEO-friendly features right out of the box.
  • Growth Rocket’s Lead Outreach Specialist, Stefanie Slclot, walks you through some key steps on how to master SEO for Shopify.

“If you build it, they will come”.

This nugget of wisdom may have worked for Kevin Costner’s character in ‘Field of Dreams‘ when he’s spurned onward by a disembodied voice to pursue his dream of building a baseball field.

But in reality, this sort of advice can prove disastrous for entrepreneurs. After all, businesses rely on strategy, planning, and development for long-term success.

In today’s day and age where online shopping is the new normal, it takes more than just building a great store to draw in more customers.

Search engine rankings play a huge role in making your online store more visible to shoppers. If you rank higher on the SERPs, there’s a higher chance that you’ll rake in more sales.

Does Shopify have good SEO?

Shopify is one of the most recommended ecommerce platforms. Data from BuiltWith shows that usage of the CMS platform has doubled since 2017, and it currently has more than one million active websites.

Shopify is a great option for your online store because it offers easy backend administration and can be easily tailored to your specific requirements. More importantly, it’s packed with SEO-friendly features right out of the box.

Optimizing your Shopify store for success

Keep in mind that boosting organic traffic to your online store is different from optimizing other websites for SEO. In this guide, we’ll walk you through some key steps on how to master SEO for Shopify.

1. Simplify site structure

The way you organize content on your page is crucial to SEO success.

If shoppers can quickly find what they’re looking for on your site, they tend to spend more time on your page. Longer dwell times tell Google that your site offers value, which can give you a solid rankings boost.

To top that off, a logically structured site makes it easier for Google to crawl your website. Ideally, your site architecture should look something like this:

If you look at the diagram closely, you’ll see that your product pages (third row) are only a couple of clicks away from the home page (first row). In turn, organized and user-friendly web design makes it easy for visitors to find what they’re looking for.

Poor site structure, on the other hand, makes it harder for search engine spiders to find and index all the pages on your site.

Shopify for SEO simplify site structure

Meanwhile, if your site architecture is interlinked, spiders can easily follow your links. A simple site architecture also means that link authority flows a lot easier from pages with more backlinks (your home page) to lower-ranking pages (product pages).

The graphic below shows what the site structure for a baking blog should look like:

Shopify for SEO site structure example

2. Eliminate duplicate content

Duplicate content happens when similar content exists on two separate URLs. The page could either be on your site or someone else’s.

Duplicate content on Shopify can have a negative impact on your search performance. Search engines tend to be tolerant of internal site duplication. But if it appears as if you’ve copied text from another site, you could get hit by a search engine penalty.

The good news is that once you’ve wiped your site clean of duplicate content, you can improve your search rankings significantly.

Consider using tools like Copyscape to check for plagiarism and other external duplicate content. You can also conduct site audits to identify pages with similar content to other URLs.

Or maybe your site is due for a redesign or content update. Break free from duplicate content by writing a new copy.

3. Conduct keyword research

Keyword research is the foundation of SEO success. Here are a few tips on how to generate relevant keywords for your store:

  • Export your keywords from Google Ads, and optimize search terms that generate the most revenue and have the highest conversion rate.
  • Use Google Search Console to identify keywords with the most impressions and clicks.
  • Conduct SEO competitor analysis on tools like Ahrefs. Generate the “Content Gap” report to single out keywords your competitors are ranking for.
  • Analyze buyer personas and track search forums related to your products for topic inspirations and keyword ideas.

4. Optimize product pages

Now that you have a list of keywords and a simplified site structure, you can start optimizing your pages with your chosen search terms.

Start with your top pages first, such as your home page and main product collections. The first step to optimizing them is by writing title tags and meta descriptions. Here are some general guidelines for you to follow:

  • Write unique title tags and meta descriptions for each page
  • Include a keyword when appropriate
  • Avoid truncating descriptions and follow the prescribed character limit guidelines
  • Craft copy that will entice visitors to click
  • Keep your descriptions brief yet descriptive

It also pays to add alt texts to your images. Since Google Images is the second largest search engine in the world, you can drive more traffic to your site through your images. That’s why it helps to add alt texts that describe what an image is about.

Once you’ve finished optimizing your titles, meta descriptions, and alt texts you can work on creating unique content to your product pages.

Keep in mind that your descriptions should be written from a user-focused POV. The best way to boost the relevance of your content is by discussing your product’s features and benefits.

5. Set up 301 redirect pages

301 redirects tell search engines that a page is no longer available and that it’s moved permanently to a new URL. After all, you don’t want your customers to move to your competitors after they land on a ‘404 Not Found‘ page on your site.

The goal is for you to lead visitors to a new page, which you can do by creating a URL redirect through your Shopify admin portal. Follow these steps to add 301 redirects:

  • Click Online Store > Navigation > URL Redirects
  • Select Add URL redirect
  • Type in the old URL in Redirect from and the new URL in Redirect to
  • Click add

Keep in mind that before you can redirect users to the new URL, you’ll need to delete the existing webpage.

6. Boost page load speed

If your website loads slowly, it could hurt your Google rankings. That’s why you need to put forth the effort to make your site load quickly.

Check for your store’s site speed through tools like Google’s PageSpeed Insights or GTMetrix. On Shopify, however, you have limited options when it comes to boosting site speed. Here are a few factors you can work with:

  • Choose a theme from the Shopify Theme Store that loads quickly
  • Compress your images before uploading them to Shopify
  • Install only the apps you need so they don’t slow down site performance

7. Build high-quality backlinks

Search engines rely on link building and outreach to determine how the community at large values your site. Think of backlinks as the word-of-mouth equivalent of SEO. With better quality backlinks, you can build your credibility and boost the organic traffic your shop receives.

Below is a list of some backlinks you can obtain for your site:

  • Supplier/Manufacturer links – If you sell products made or supplied by other companies, they may have a policy that lets them link to your store. Reach out in case you’re missing a backlink opportunity.
  • Competitor links – Use tools such as Link Intersect from Ahrefs to find out who’s linking to your competitors. You have a high chance of obtaining a backlink for sites that already link to other people in your industry.
  • Influencer voices – Get in touch with industry leaders for interviews that could help you generate better links and content.
  • Brand mentions – Find out where your brand is being mentioned through websites like mention.com. It may be possible for you to earn a backlink if they choose to include a link to your site along with the mention.
  • Broken links – Keep an eye out for broken links or services similar to what you offer. When you find one, you could reach out to the site owner telling them to link to your site instead.

8. Focus on content marketing

Content is the reason why people visit your site. You may feel tempted to skimp on content marketing for your ecommerce site, but crafting content that delivers value adds to the overall user experience.

People who are ready to buy the moment they visit your shop make up only a small percentage of the marketing funnel. Publishing informational content like blog posts can help you educate people at different stages of the buyer’s journey. In turn, it can also increase the chances of them buying from you in the future.

Your content is a way for people to get to know your brand without selling to them directly. With well-written content, you can rank for more keywords and earn backlinks.

Your Shopify store automatically includes a blog called “News.” If you want to create a new blog, select Blog Posts > Create a new post > Create a new blog.

These steps will help you create a Shopify site experience that is also SEO-ready. Share your thoughts, tips, or queries in the comments section.

Stefanie Slclot is Lead Outreach Specialist at Growth Rocket.

The post Foolproof guide to optimizing Shopify for SEO appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Source:: searchenginewatch.com