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How to Use a B2B Blog to Win Customers and Influence Prospects

I admit my headline is a play on Dale Carnegie’s bestseller, “How to Win Friends and Influence People.” This timeless classic, one of the first bestselling self-help books published in 1937 and sold over 15 million copies globally is still relevant today.

As a B2B marketer, we want to reach our ideal prospects and communicate with customers to maintain top-of-mind awareness throughout their buying cycle. A B2B blog is the perfect online tool to accomplish that.

If you are still not sure about the benefits of using a business blog, head over to HubSpot and read these articles:

Assuming you are now convinced and have your own B2B blog, here are six basic steps for making it the hub of your online presence to win customers and influence prospects. Read more

Top 10 Clichés to Avoid in B2B Marketing Content

You can find plenty of clichés used (overused?) in B2B marketing content. Do they really communicate better with our audience or are we as copywriters/content creators just being lazy? I know I have been guilty on more than one occasion of using popular clichés in my business marketing communications.

I found a Squidoo lens by Seth Godin where he talks about why we tend to use clichés or buzzwords. According to him, “…the vast majority of buzzwords exist for one reason: to hide.” He goes on to list his top ten and invites his readers to add their own to the list.

Here are the top ten business clichés from Seth’s list:

  1. Win-win situation
  2. Thinking outside of the box
  3. Giving 110%
  4. Best Practices
  5. Synergy
  6. Paradigm Shift
    Read more

Survey Finds Growth in Pipelines and Sales Cycles for B2B Lead Generation

I recently read a news release put out by Infogroup on their SalesPulse Survey of B2B sales professionals conducted jointly with OneSource, an Infogroup company. Some of the findings match what I am hearing from my industrial clients and one really surprising result.

The top findings I got out of the release were:

  1. 47% of the sales professionals reported a slight increase in the size of their B2B pipelines this year as compared to last year. However, the sales cycles have also become longer, making it much harder to close deals.

    This agrees with what I am hearing from my engineering and industrial clients, they are seeing a lot more activity but the average sales cycle has grown by an additional 90 ~ 120 days. Because of longer sales cycles, more promising opportunities are being lost since business conditions change at the other end and projects are put on hold indefinitely or being eliminated.

  2. Read more

Using Content to Move Prospects Forward in the Sales Cycle

We often think of online content as the text on a web or blog page. The focus there is to optimize it for keywords or phrases for people to find your website when searching for relevant terms. That however is only part of the solution because if your content doesn’t engage the visitor s/he won’t take a desired action to move forward in the sales cycle.

Ardath Albee, CEO of Marketing Interactions, Inc. said it best when she wrote, “Passive reading of your content is not going to help online marketing initiatives shorten buying cycles or increase customer acquisition and revenues.”

Your online content needs to play a much more active role in moving site visitors along in his/her buy decision. According to Bob Carrigan, CEO of International Data Group, “It [content] fulfills the promise of the Web, which is relationship marketing.”

Using content or Inbound Marketing, you are able to make that key connection with your prospects by delivering specific content needed in order to make an informed decision. Read more

Focus on Content in B2B Marketing

Lately all the talk in B2B marketing has centered on social media. However, to be successful with social media, you have to provide real value and that usually comes from great content.

Paul Dunay in his blog post, “4 C’s of B2B Marketing” has defined this very nicely. His 4C’s are:

  • Content – the creation of a steady stream of engaging content
  • Connection – connecting with the audience you wish to attract
  • Communication – communicating with them in an ongoing conversation
  • Conversion – and then converting them at the illusive moment of need

What is content marketing?

Wikipedia defines content marketing as “an umbrella term encompassing all marketing formats that involve the creation or sharing of content for the purpose of engaging current and potential consumer bases.”

The old ways of pushing out content is no longer effective. Now, B2B content marketing’s agenda is to educate and inform customers and prospects. Content Marketing’s slogan is – “Don’t pitch. Don’t sell. Don’t interrupt. Educate, inform and provide value to customers and prospects. Your business will grow.” (See Content Marketing – The Ultimate Cheat Sheet).

Here’s a short but highly informative slide show that explains how to use content effectively as inbound marketing. Read more